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The Cover
August 25, 1999

Titian's Schoolmaster

JAMA. 1999;282(8):714. doi:10.1001/jama.282.8.714

Giovanni Battista Moroni (1520-1578) painted both religious works and portraits, but it is for his portraits that he is best remembered and most praised. Still, critic and connoisseur Bernard Berenson was less than kind when he referred to Moroni as "the only mere portrait painter that Italy has ever produced." And he was very nearly cruel when he elaborated on Moroni's religious works: "Even . . . in periods of miserable decline, [Italy], Mother of the arts, never had a son so uninventive, nay, so palsied, directly the model failed him. His altarpieces are pitiful shades or scorched copies of his master's." What praise there was, was weak: "As a draughtsman, on the other hand, he is scarcely inferior [to his master]" (Italian Painters of the Renaissance. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press; 1980). More recent opinion has been kinder, calling Moroni "the most significant painter of the 16th-century school of Bergamo" and noting that faces and costume are rendered naturalistically, character objectively (Francesco Frangi, in The Dictionary of Art, Jane Turner, ed, New York, NY: Grove Press; 1996).

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