Guariento di Arpo relaxes perfection

Guariento di Arpo, Principati’s angels, ca. 1357

ictorial perfection ruled among artists in 13th century Padua. Mater perspectivae picturae, “the mother of painted perspective:” this is how the Euganean city was addressed. Crowds of scientists, opticians, builders, and artsy ladies who bore the Ancient names of Fina, Lieta, and Giliola gathered on the city’s squares, those corners now called “Duomo”, “Signori,” “delle Erbe,” and “della Frutta.” Padua was known to be a crossroad between art and science, a balance that the lords of the city, the Carraresi, strenuously protected. Great Aristotelian philosophers lived in Padua, first of all Pietro d’Abano, professor at the University, scholar of Islamic medicine, and friend of Marco Polo, but also Lovato Lovati, Albertino Mussato, Marsilio of Padua, Biagio Pelacani, and the Dondi dall’Orologio’s. This circle of pre-humanist intellectuals was responsible for the foundation of modern justice and science, and is now key to understanding the painting of Guariento di Arpo.

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