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Passing for a while from the gates of St John of Florence, we come back to painting and a painter, and with them to another monument in itself very noble and curious in its mouldering age, of the old Italians' love to their cities. Andrea Orcagna, otherwise known as Andrea di Cione, one of a brotherhood of painters, was born in Florence about 1315.

Though the church of Orsammichele owes its present form to Taddeo Gaddi, Orcagna, as capo maëstro after Gaddi's death, completed the structure; and though the Loggia de' Lanzi, long ascribed to him by writers upon architecture, is now known to be the work of Benci di Cione, yet Orcagna's Loggia del Bigallo, more modest but not less beautiful, prepared the way for its construction.

The best was that of Lorenzo di Cione Ghiberti, which had design, diligence, invention, art, and the figures very well wrought. Nor was that of Filippo much inferior, wherein he had represented Abraham sacrificing Isaac; and in that scene a slave who is drawing a thorn from his foot, while he is awaiting Abraham and the ass is browsing, deserves no little praise.

His pupil Maso Finniguerra, who turned also to engraving, began his career as a goldsmith. The great silver altar in the Baptistery in Florence occupied nearly all the goldsmiths in that city. In 1330 the father of the Orcagnas, Cione, died; he had worked for some years before that on the altar.

Finiguerra, Pollaiuolo, Cione, Michelozzi, Verrocchio, and Cennini made the lower parts and the bas-reliefs of the front, while the cross, executed in 1456, is by Betto di Francesco, and the base of it by Milano di Domenico dei and Antonio Pollaiuolo.

It was Orcagna's habit to sign his sculpture "Andrea di Cione, painter," and his paintings "Andrea di Cione, sculptor," and thus point his versatility. Within Or San Michele you learn the secret of the stoned-up windows which one sees with regret from without. Each, or nearly each, has an altar against it.

The most eminent pupil of Andrea Pisano, however, was a Florentine the great Andrea Arcagnuolo di Cione, commonly known as Orcagna. This man, like the more illustrious Giotto, was one among the earliest of those comprehensive, many-sided natures produced by Florence for her everlasting glory.

Orcagna, or, to give him his right name, Andrea di Cione, for Orcagna was an abbreviation of Arcagnolo, flourished in the middle of the fourteenth century.

The capsule of gold-beater's skin, in which the grubs of the Cione are enclosed, divides itself, at the moment of liberation, into two hemispheres "of a regularity so perfect that they recall exactly the bursting of the pyxidium when the seed is distributed." Here and there, however, we catch a glimpse of a rudiment of what we understand by consciousness, in the shape of a "vague discrimination."

But since it is seldom that talent is not persecuted by envy, men must continue to the best of their power, by means of the utmost excellence, to assure it of victory, or at least to make it stout and strong to sustain the attacks of that enemy; even as Lorenzo di Cione Ghiberti, otherwise called Di Bartoluccio, was enabled to do both by his own merits and by fortune.