(b. 1423, Castagno, d. 1457, Firenze)

St John the Evangelist

Fresco, height of figure 176 cm
San Zaccaria, Venice

The vault of the original choir (now transformed into the chapel named Capella di San Tarasio) of San Zaccaria, Venice, was painted when Castagno was about twenty-one, in 1442. The frescoes depicting God the Father, Saints and Evangelists are painted on narrow, sharply curved compartments between the ribs and consequently are particularly hard to photograph effectively. The style reflects a careful study by the young painter of Donatello's sculpture - especially the Zuccone and Jeremiah — with its broad treatment of sturdy figures with puffy draperies, its intensity of expression, and even such secondary details as putti. Features from Uccello may also be detected, but the most important pictorial force acting upon Castagno seems to have been the example of Domenico Veneziano, whose participation in the same fresco program has been suggested.

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