English Writers: An Attempt Towards a History of English Literature


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English Writers. BOOK VI. JFrrrnt (Raxton to Coirerirale. CHAPTER I. NEW LIFE.—THE GREEKS IN ITALY.—GROCYN AND LINACRE AT OXFORD. Renaissance was, at first, a term in architecture. It applied then only to the use of old Greek ornaments on buildings not essentially Greek in plan. Walls were adorned with columns that had nothing to ce* support, and beauty was a warrant for unreason. This Renaissance was of the fifteenth century. It began in Rome with Filippo Brunelleschi, an architect who had first shown his sense of beauty as a sculptor.* He left Rome in 1420, and he died in 1444. * Donatello and Brunelleschi were close friends. Vasari tells that Donatello, having carved in wood with utmost care a Crucifix for the Church of Sta. Croce at Florence, looked for his friend’s praise. But Brunelleschi told him that the figure on the cross was rather that of a day-labourer than of the Christ, whose person must have been of highest beauty, since He was, in all things, the most perfect man. “ It is easy to find fault,” said Donatello. “ Take a piece of wood yourself, and try to make a better Crucifix.” Brunelleschi said no B—VOL. VII.

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