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LANDSCAPE WITH SCENES FROM LIVES OF THE SAINTS
Small scenes from the lives of the Saints, lost as it were in a landscape that stretches into the distance, play a subordinate role in this composition. Bottom left the hermit St.Jerome has been depicted holding a Crucifix and above him, shown against a rock, is St.Francis granted stigmata in his ecstasy of prayer. Nearer the centre of the work there are scenes of Saint Katherine of Alexandria being tortured on the wheel and of St.George fighting the dragon. In the distance Saint Christopher is depicted with the Infant Christ.
This picture is one of the earliest examples of a landscape in the painting of the Italian Renaissance and is regarded as a prototype for the genre, which came into its own in West-European art in the 17th century.
An illusion of depth in this painting is provided by gradations of colour. Cold tones come to dominate in the range of colours which pales towards the horizon: silhouettes of mountains, trees, castles and clouds are less clearly defined and dissolve into a blue mist. Perspective of this kind came to be known as 'painterly' or 'ethereal' perspective and made its way to Italy from the painting of the Northern Renaissance.