Domenico Ghirlandaio, Italian, 1449-1494, Florence. Oil on panel in sepia tones. He lived when the Italian Renaissance was gathering speed and producing an astonishing succession of painters of genius. "Now that I have begun to get into the spirit of this art, I wish they would give me the walls of Florence to paint the whole circuit with stories." This is said to be Ghirlandaio's reaction to painting.popes, princes and members of the newly flourishing class of merchants. Banks gave him plenty of walls in Rome and Florence to cover with scenes from scripture and from the lives of saints. Through most of the scenes he scattered recognizable portraits of people of the day. Ghirlandaio seems to have been a born portrait artist. His full name was Domenico di Tommaso Curradi de Daffo Bigardi. Like many Renaissance painters, he began as a goldsmith, learning his trade from his father. His name is a nickname, meaning "garland maker", coming from the gold and silver garlands made in his father's shop and fashionable among Florentine ladies. The boy learned drawing by designing jewelry, and became so facile that, sitting in the shop doorway, he could catch the likenesses of passers-by. He entered the studio of Baldovenetti and became one of the most distinguished mosaicists and painters of his time. His designs were more correct and graceful than had ever been known before. He established a flourishing workshop in Florence with his two younger brothers. He had little inclination for the avant-garde of the day or for the movements we associate with Botticelli (with whom he worked at the Sistine Chapel). It is probable that Michelangelo owed more to the sound craftsmanship of Ghirlandaio, to whom he was apprenticed, than he cared to acknowledge.