List of anonymous masters  

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Alle Weissheit ist bey Gott dem Herrn... (1654), informal title of a calligraphy of the Sirach by an anonymous artist
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Alle Weissheit ist bey Gott dem Herrn... (1654), informal title of a calligraphy of the Sirach by an anonymous artist

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In the history of art and architecture, an anonymous master is an architect, Old Master painter, or printmaker whose work is known but not his or her name.

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Pre-Renaissance

Since the early 20th century, an anonymous master in this period is someone known not by their name but by the name the subject and/or commissioner of their best-known work. For example, the Master of the Bardi St Francis is the painter commissioned by the Bardi family to paint their chapel at Santa Croce and who painted (among other paintings) that of the Life of St Francis there.

Renaissance

Only in the Renaissance did individual artists in Western Europe acquire a personality known by his or her peer (listed by Vasari in his Lives of the Artists), such as those known by :

20th century problems of attribution

The idea of a named and recognised painter originated among art historians early in the 20th century, who were attributing works they recognised to known painters. They later went back on some of these attributions, re-naming as anonymous the painters they had formerly named. One example is the case of Pier Francesco Fiorentino, to whom Bernard Berenson attributed a number of works which were later re-attributed to Pseudo Pier Francesco Fiorentino a Florence copyist. Some painters have even been described as anonymous (even many times like Barthélemy Eyck) before later being recognised. They thus held several names historically (those who are noted on the page devoted to them) or for whom doubts continue, such as Giovanni Gaddi (after 1333 - 1383) maybe the Master of the Misericordia dell’Accademia.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "List of anonymous masters" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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