Domenico Ghirlandaio was one of the most popular artists in fifteenth-century Florence. He worked in a variety of media, including panel paintings, wall murals, mosaic, and manuscript illumination, and his workshop -- to which Michelangelo was apprenticed -- was highly influential. This beautiful book offers a radically new interpretation of Ghirlandaio's life and work, viewing him primarily as an artisan active within the craft traditions, guild structure, and workshop organizations of his day.
Jean K. Cadogan argues that Ghirlandaio was a pivotal figure in the transformation of the artist from medieval artisan to Renaissance genius. She traces his gradual social elevation, which reflected the increasing respect with which he was treated by his patrons. And she notes that the changes in the way he and other artists were viewed created a milieu that encouraged innovation in technique, style, and content, qualities that were vividly displayed in Ghirlandaio's work. Cadogan explains how his working method, his pragmatic, artisan approach to technique, the organization and functioning of his workshop, and his relations with his patrons affected the works of art Ghirlandaio produced. Her text is complemented by a catalogue raisonne of Ghirlandaio's works in all media as well as an appendix of documents useful for scholars.