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falling one upon the other, lance in rest; others lying prone upon the earth ; foot-soldiers struggling, horses plunging, and men-atarms in the background, drawing their crossbows : the whole canvas full of movement, but without unity, and marred by that absence of pictorial sentiment and lack of taste peculiar to the artist, although the general effect has something very stirring about it. In the work of another member of the Tuscan School, Piero della Francesca (Battle between Heraclius and Chosroës), the incidents of the fray are closely observed and well reproduced. The Tartar soldier, who seizes by the hair the foeman falling on his knees before him, the horsemen thundering one against the other, the rearing chargers, are all evidently taken from life. But warmth, spirit, animation, are all lacking; the composition is cold. The artist never drops his of impassive reserve, and, above all, the whole action of the scene is confused; there are no episodes that stand out and rivet attention. Exactness in every particular, but no passion. Naturalness, but not a symptom of eloquence. And then, how stiff are the figures, how devoid of freedom or suppleness of gesture! The distinguishing feature of Leonardo's work as compared with that of his forerunners is, as we shall see, the clearness of his incidents, the exuberance of his dramatic feeling.
How did Leonardo solve this problem ?
In one of his manuscripts, the master has left us a description of the Battle of Anghiari, as he had read it in some chronicle, or, perhaps, as he had gathered it from the lips. of one of the last survivors of the famous struggle. “Let us begin,” he writes, “ with the speech of Niccolò Piccinino to the soldiers and the Florentine exiles, amongst whom were Messire Rinaldo degli Albizzi, and other Florentine citizens. After that, he must be represented mounting his horse, fully armed, with his army following him—forty squadrons of cavalry and 2,000 foot-soldiers went with him. The Patriarch 1 climbed up a mountain, early in the morning, to examine the country ; that is to say the hills, the fields, and the valley watered by the river. He perceived Niccolò Piccinino in a cloud of dust, coming with his troops from Borgo San Sepolcro ; having seen him, he returned to the camp and addressed his own men. When
i Cardinal Scarampi, Patriarch of Aquila.