Your clues this week are:
- The artist worked as a manuscript illuminator and panel painter during the Early Italian Renaissance.
- Giorgio Vasari, fount of suspect information, claimed the artist trained under a person who was beatified by Pope John Paul II centuries later. In reality, there is no documentation supporting Vasari's claim (I know! Try to recover from your shock!), but our artist clearly admired the future Blessed's work.
- The artist came from a Florentine family that constantly battled with the Medici clan over who had the most wealth and power. At various times, over the course of 100 years or so, both parties sent rivaling family leaders (an ever-evolving cast of characters) into exile. When both leaders were in Florence, they competed to build the most imposing palazzo -- the artist's family won, by the way, which incited yet another de' Medici to confiscate their palazzo and not return ownership for 30 years. Naturally, all concerned kept marrying their daughters off to the other family thanks to the "friends close, enemies closer" philosophy.
- This work is one of 17 illuminations the artist created for a Book of Hours commissioned by a third Florentine family. They were not nobility, but kept marrying up and acquiring more money by any means necessary. Wealthy, though not nearly as wealthy as the other two, they were known around town for acting like flashy nouveau riche types. This tribe also had a tendency to pick feuds with just about anybody over anything. The list of people they alienated in the late 13th- and early 14th-centuries includes the Guelphs, the Ghibellines and the Neri, as well as Dante Alighieri, who slammed them in the seventeenth canto of the "Paradise" portion of his Divine Comedy.
I bring these plots and intrigue to light to illustrate the irony of the work above, in which a Saint serenely kneels in prayer. Money cannot save one's treacherous soul, but apparently it can buy a very nice picture of it.
Last Week's Answer:
The set of clues didn't seem that easy, but nearly everyone knew that it was Picasso and his Mama. (Many of you were also winners of my top secret Pithy Picasso Comment award.) I can't single anyone out because Sandy knocked me offline for a while and all of the answers came in at the same time. So congratulations, All, and thanks for participating!