Artibus et Historiae no. 14 (VII), 1986
252 x 232 mm
ISSN 0391-9064
SARAH BLAKE WILK - Donatello's Dovizia as an Image of Florentine Political Propaganda (pp. 9—28)
Donatello's Dovizia, a colossal personification of Abundance that once stood atop a column in the Mercato Vecchio, Florence, was commissioned by the city ca. 1428-30. The sculpture seems to have been the first Renaissance monument that truly integrated classical form and content. its imagery depended on the symbol for the Roman state charity, the Alimenta, instituted by Trajan and well known in the Renaissance through literary accounts, Trajan's public monuments, and coins. Like its prototype, the Dovizia symbolized that the state's wealth funded its charity toward the citizenry. The fact that Trajan's soul had been saved by Gregory the Great because of virtuous acts such as the foundation of this charity seems to have made the Alimenta imagery an acceptable model for the Christian figure of Charity. It was first used by Nicola Pisano (Baptistery Pulpit, Pisa, 1260) and continued to be a formative influence on later Italian versions of the theme. 
TIMOTHY VERDON - Donatello and the Theater: Stage Space and Projected Space in the San Lorenzo Pulpits (pp. 29—55)

The unusual ways of articulating spatial depth employed by Donatello in the San Lorenzo pulpit reliefs are analyzed in the context of Quattrocento art and in relation to evolving spatial devices in medieval sculpture and painting. A source or relevant context of aesthetic experience for Donatello's spatial innovations is proposed, in fifteenth-century scenographic design. Especially in the south pulpit, the physical arrangement and narrative concept are seen as recreating the typical stage area of a Renaissance Mystery Play: a wide but shallow platform on which chronologically sequential action unfolded from one side to the other, the episodes separated by aedicules in which, or in front of which, the principal scenes were acted. Other scenographic devices and effects, and some elements of dramatic characterization, are also traced to fifteenth-century theater. 

RONA GOFFEN - Bellini, S. Giobbe, and Altar Egos (pp. 57—70)

In his San Giobbe Altarpiece, Giovanni Bellini created an illusionistic high altar to honor Job, who had in effect been displaced from the actual high altar of the church by St. Bernardino of Siena. At the same time, Bellini's fictive architecture recalls the altar of St. Bernardino in San Marco, endowed by Doge Cristoforo Moro. The following aspects of Bellini's San Giobbe Altarpiece are also considered: the probable patronage (the Scuola di San Giobbe) and date (ca. 1478); Bellini's use of architecture; his ducal imagery; Franciscan spirituality; and the cults of St. Bernardino and of the Immaculate Conception. 

ARTHUR K. WHEELOCK, JR. - St. Praxedis: New Light on the Early Career of Vermeer (pp. 71—89)

St. Praxedis signed and dated 1655, can be firmly placed among the early works of Johannes Vermeer. This large and striking painting, now in the private collection, New York, is a close copy of a painting by the seventeenth century Florentine artist Felice Ficherelli. While Vermeer closely followed his model, he added a crucifix and gave his figure a stronger physical presence. Although no contemporary documents record the presence of Ficherelli's St. Praxedis in Delft, a number of Italian paintings, and copies of Italian paintings, were in the Netherlands around mid-century. Clearly a market for such works existed. Vermeer may have painted this subject because of his connections with the Jesuits. Technical examinations demonstrate that the paints used are consistent with Dutch practices. The ways in which Vermeer layered his paints and highlighted forms in this work parallel his painting techniques in other early works. This painting, thus, reveals much of Vermeer's working methods and clarifies aspects of h is artistic origins. 

JAMES ELKINS - Two Conceptions of the Human Form: Bernard Siegfried Albinus and Andreas Vesalius (pp. 91—106)

The exact measurements of the human form made by Bernard Siegfried Albinus (1747) provided the first effective alternate to Vesalian écorchés which had dominated artists' and anatomists' texts since the sixteenth century. Artists as diverse as Callot, Vien, Bouchardon, Pigalle, Van Loo, David, Hallé, and Géricault were influenced by the Albinian-Vesalian antinomy; some, like Flaxman and Houdon, preferred variants of the slender, mathematically and perspectively correct forms of Albinus; others, such as Hogarth and Samuel F. B. Morse, advocated less Neoclassical, more robust and Vesalian figures. The two patterns may be traced in the teaching of the French Academy from c. 1750 to 1793; and they had a long Nachleben in nineteenth century anatomy texts, where they were influenced by developments in architectural drawing and in photography. 

ALICJA KĘPIŃSKA - Chaos as a Value in the Mythological Background of Action Painting (pp. 107—123)

The semantic background of Action Painting continues to be the subject of intense research. In my opinion the meaning of Action Painting developed from the artist's fascination with ancient myths, primitive art viewed as a "residue of myth" and trends in contemporary philosophy of culture that deal with myths and their content and that stipulate their latent presence in the mind of contemporary man. In light of the structural motives of mythology used by artists, their paintings have a common denominator: the dialectic struggle and union of contradictions in the cosmic model of the cycle of life and death, formation and decay. Chaos and Cosmos interplay continually in paintings as well as in myths. The artists evoked a layer beyond the present leading to the rediscovery of the neglected sources of man's heritage. This change in spiritual perspective reflects renewal of art in a broad anthropological, philosophical perspective. 

GIUSEPPINA DAL CANTON - Redon e la melanconia (pp. 125—152)
Redon and Melancholy
First a summary is made of Redon's notes on Dürer and particularly on Melencolia I, then an examination is made of the various types of treatment Redon himself gave the iconographic theme of melancholy; those, for the most part from his younger years, in which his taking up the theme again does not seem to benefit from the profound original meaning of Dürer's work, others in which on the other hand, that meaning not only is grasped but gets reproposed in an altogether original way, and finally others that are "variations on a theme", works which consciously or not are drawn from Melancholy I or more simply contain "quotations" or elements drawn from it. 
In particular, Redon's recovery of the alchemistic meaning of melancholy is put into relation with esoteric culture and with the hermetic tradition, which had a rather noteworthy vitality and importance in French symbolist culture and especially in the circles Redon assiduously frequented. 
Furthermore in a group of Redon's works, in addition to alchemistic motives gnostic motives are detected and Gustave Flaubert's Tentation de Saint Antoine is identified as the principal source of these. 
PHILIPP P. FEHL - Hermeticism and Art: Emblem and Allegory in the Work of Bernini (pp. 153—189)
This essay considers liveliness and playfulness in the work of Bernini as aspects of his purpose to celebrate and to lend credibility to conceits and constructions of the highest social significance. It reviews telling examples of Bernini's oeuvre in an ascending hierarchical order, from his representation of emblems to his allegories on papal tombs. The approach here developed respects the conventions of decorum and classical rhetoric but also distinguishes between the decorum appropriate to social circumstances and that appropriate to works of fiction. Bernini's daring style, often considered a hallmark of baroque, here is represented as a consequence of the artist's profound respect for the integrity of the subjects he represents and of his wit. His extravagance is the means by which he pays his tribute to propriety and truth. 
In order to clarify the distinctions which here matter an introductory section reviews the conventions of emblematic and allegorical art which Bernini inherited and, in ways entirely his own, perfected in sense but contradicted in manner. Attention is also drawn to the blurred borders which join as well as separate hermetic, emblematic, and allegorical imagery. Bernini made a point of distinguishing clearly between these genres of imaginatively imitating nature. His success is demonstrated in several examples of a paradoxical nature and the moral dimensions of his discernment are explored. 
In the view here proposed a number of familiar works of art by Bernini and others shine in a, perhaps, brighter light and convey new information about themselves. Among these are Domenico Fontana's Moses Fountain, the "monster gate" of the Palazzo Zuccari in Rome, the Porta del Popolo, the Cattedra in St. Peter's, and the tomb of Urban VIII. Newly introduced to art history are emblematic devices combined with weathervanes and clocks on the bell towers of S. Anastasio dei Greci, St. Peter's, and the Palazzo di Montecitorio in Rome.