The remarkably definite and original style formed by Mantegna may be traced out as founded on the study of the antique in Squarcione's atelier, followed by a diligent application of principles of work exemplified by Paolo Uccello and Donatello, with the practical guidance and example of Jacopo Bellini in the sequel.
It has a beautiful but incomplete facade designed by Giovanni di Mino del Pellicciaio in 1382, and a marvellous font with bas-reliefs by Donatello, Ghiberti, Jacopo della Quercia and other 15th-century sculptors.
There is a splendid museum of medieval and Renaissance antiquities in the Bargello, the ancient palace of the Podesta, itself one of the finest buildings in the city; among its many treasures are works of Donatello, Ghiberti, Verrochio and other sculptors, and large collections of ivory, enamel and bronze ware.
The presence of the university attracted many distinguished artists, as Giotto, Lippo Lippi and Donatello; and for native art there was the school of Squarcione (1394-1474), whence issued the great Mantegna (1431-1506).
The municipal art gallery contains an altar-piece by Girolamo da Treviso (who also painted a fresco in the Chiesa della Commenda), a wooden St Jerome by Donatello, and a bust of the young St John by Antonio Rossellino (?), and some fine specimens of majolica, a variety of which, faience, takes its name from the town.
It has a fine doorway with a bas-relief by Andrea della Robbia over it; but the most striking external feature is the lovely open-air pulpit at an angle of the building, erected by Donatello and Michelozzo for displaying to the people without risk the Virgin's girdle, brought from the Holy Land by a knight of Prato in 1130.
Whole volumes might be devoted to the magnificent works in bronze produced by the Florentine artists of this century, works such as the baptistery gates by Ghiberti, the statues of Verrocchio, Donatello and many others, the bronze screen in Prato cathedral by Simone, brother of Donatello, in 1444-1461, and the screen and bronze ornaments of the tomb of Piero and Giovanni dei Medici in San Lorenzo, Florence, by Verrocchio, in 1472.
Yet we find in the writings of Ghiberti and Alberti, we notice in the masterpieces of these men and their compeers Brunelleschi and Donatello, how even in the 15th century the minds of artists were fascinated by what survived of classic grace and science.
But the perfect plastic art of Italy, the pure art of the Cinque Cento, the painting of Raphael, Da Vinci, Titian and Correggio, the sculpture of Donatello, Michelangelo and Sansovino, the architecture of Bramante, Omodeo and the Venetian Lombardi, however much imbued with the spirit of the classical revival, takes rank beside the poetry of Ariosto as a free intelligent product of the Renaissance.
It was the result of the revival of classic architecture known as Renaissance, but the change had commenced already a century earlier, in the works of Ghiberti and Donatello in sculpture, and of Brunelleschi and Alberti in architecture.
Other churches with interesting monuments are Sant' Anna dei Lombardi, built in 1411 by Guerrello Origlia, which contains some splendid marble sculpture, especially Rosellino's " Nativity " in the Cappella Piccolomini; Sant' Angelo a Nilo, which contains the tomb of Cardinal Brancaccio, the joint work of Donatello and Michelozzo; San Giovanni a Carbonara, built in 1344 and enlarged by King Ladislaus in 1400, which contains among much other remarkable sculpture the tomb of the king, the masterpiece of Andrea Ciccione (1414), and that of Sergiami Caracciolo, the favourite of Joanna II., who was murdered in 1432 (the chapel in which it stands is paved with one of the earliest majolica pavements in Italy); San Lorenzo (1324), the Royal Church of the House of Anjou; and, for purely archaeological interest, the Church of Sant' Aspreno, thought to be the oldest Christian church in Italy, in the crypt of the new Borsa or exchange.
One of these groups shows the horse and rider in relatively tranquil march, in the manner of the Gattemalata monument put up fifty years before by Donatello at Padua and the Colleoni monument on which Verocchio was now engaged at Venice.