The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate,
MD, Senior Contributing Editor.
When the Black Death ravished Florence in 1348, a third of its inhabitants
died in a single six-month period. It is estimated that over the entire visitation
of the plague, from half to three quarters of the population died. Exactly
a century later, when Domenico Veneziano (c 1410-1461) arrived from Venice,
the city had regained its vigor. The population was studded with names such
as Donatello, Brunelleschi, Masaccio, da Fabriano (JAMA cover, December
8, 1999), Alberti, Uccello, Fra Filippo Lippi, Luca della Robbia, Fra Angelico,
and Ghiberti; the list goes on. Soon, the Venetian's name would be among the
brightest. Tragically, few—only a half dozen—of Domenico's works
have survived, and only two of those are signed by him. Even fewer facts of
his life are known; some of these, such as his murder by a jealous colleague,
are simply embellishments. (The colleague had died of plague some four years
before the reputed murder.) Although his life events may have been lost in
the murkiness of lore, his work shines, undiminished by time, reputation,
or alteration. Among painters, some would consider him second only to Masaccio.
Southgate MT. Madonna and Child. JAMA. 2000;283(18):2353. doi:10.1001/jama.283.18.2353
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