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Parting Thought on Italian Renaissance Artists

The art of the Italian Renaissance, as exemplified by the five prominent painters featured in this section, was to be a continuing inspiration for artists and engravers whose prints Melville collected from the French, Flemish, Dutch, German, English, and American pictorial traditions. The cities in which those Renaissance artists lived, the galleries that preserved their artworks, and the landscapes through which Melville traveled to see them in 1857 were to remain important throughout his future life as a poet and print collector. We have already sampled the lecture he gave and books he collected on Italian art. Here we can look at the way in which his immediate impressions of several architectural sites that caught his eye and imagination as he traveled through Italy were enriched by pictorial images of those same sites that eventually resulted in one of his finest poems.