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“Renaissance paintings are often as crowded with people as a car would be in one of China‚Äôs 46 subway systems today. Yet neither in the time of Jesus nor in the time of Masaccio was either the Middle East or Europe densely populated. Life would have been agrarian, with plants and animals everywhere humans went. But these frescoes were not painted to show life as it was. They were simplified models whose purpose was to teach the stories and values.”

Spencer Glendon, “Equinox greetings: hard to believe