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The Uffizi Charts the Renaissance

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Witness the Italian Renaissance as a Mark Lombardi conspiracy. Above is the 1930 Uffizi Gallery chart mentioned in a earlier post. MoMA curatorial assistant Masha Chlenova supplied this higher-resolution image via the “Inventing Abstraction” Tumblr. (Click for enlargement and you can read most of the text.)

The Uffizi chart demonstrates that the nonlinear nature of art history is not such a new insight after all. Solid, arrow-directed lines mark “a direct relation between master and scholar,” and dashed, undirected lines indicate “artistic influence or connection between masters.” The colors key schools approximately west to east (Siena to Venice), and time moves from top to bottom (before 1300 to after 1550), with each artist’s vertical position precisely determined by the date of his death. With its commitment to letting the information speak for itself (and be a glorious mess), it anticipates the philosophy of visualization maven Edward Tufte.

Didn’t make the chart: Pacino di Bonaguida, star rediscovery of the Getty’s “Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance.” He’d be a blue dot just below Giotto, having died three years later.

Can any “tree” represent a history? Comments to the “Tree of Art” post included this East Coast-West Coast meeting of minds.

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