Andrea di Cione (also known as Orcagna) lived and worked in
Andrea Orcagna’s style was infused with several influences, such as the architecture of Arnolfo di Cambio, the sculpture of Andrea Pisano, and the paintings of Giotto. His style, also inspired by Taddeo Gaddi more than the ‘Gothic realism’ that characterized the period, would very much influence the art created in
Orcagna paints using a new scheme, freely drawing his figures without ever seeming to take the five panels into account, and re-visits past graphics, like the Byzantine style, instead of following in Giotto’s footsteps. This different style was due, in part, to the religious crisis that began thanks to the Black Death, or plague, in 1348, and in part, to the research carried out by exponents of the Sienese school.
As a sculptor, his major work is the majestic Tabernacle of Orsanmichele (1349-59). It is a marble altar in the shape of a tabernacle, in prefect
In Orcagna’s scene, there are many people gathering around the Dying Virgin Mary. Among these, one figure located on the far right side of the scene, sitting under a tree with his head covered, is a self-portrait of Orcagna.
From 1359 to 1362, Andrea and his brother Matteo were called to Orvieto to manage the works done to the Duomo, but in 1364, he was already back in Florence to decorate the façade of Santa Maria del Fiore.
The last documented news of Orcagna was in 1368: in that year, he painted the Madonna (today lost) for Orsanmichele. Large parts of the fresco in Santa Croce have also been lost. On the right side of the Basilica, Orcagna painted the Universal Sin, and particularly, the Trionfo della Morte (conserved today in the church museum).
According to Giorgio Vasari, Orcagna is also the painter responsible for the frescos in
As an architect, he designed the Loggia dei Lanzi in Piazza Signoria, the construction, however, was started after his death (from 1376 to 1382).
His brother Jacopo di Cione’s most famous work is the Triptych of San Matteo (1369, Uffizi Gallery).