Memo to Lodovico Sforza, Il Moro, concerning the reputation of Florentine painters, about 1496
Found among the duke’s papers, this report on Florentine artists notes Ghirlandaio’s promptness as well as his art.
Sandro de Botticello. A most excellent painter both on canvas and wall. His works have a virile air. They are worked out with the utmost reason and proportion.
Philippino son of the great Fra Philippo. Pupil of the above and son of the most singular master of his day. His works have a sweeter air. I do not think they have much art.
Perugino, a singular master and especially on walls. His things have an angelic air and are very sweet.
Domenico Ghirlandaio, a good master on canvas and more on walls. His things have a good air. He is an expeditious man who carries out much work.
All these masters have shown their skill in the Sistine Chapel except Philippino, but all of them at the Ospedaletto of Lorenzo the Magnificent. And it is rather ambiguous which of them bears the palm.
Translation in David. S. Chambers, Patrons and Artists in the Italian Renaissance (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1971), p. 153.