Artibus et Historiae no. 15 (VIII), 1987
252 x 232 mm
ISSN 0391-9064
ROBERT D. STEVICK - The St. Cuthbert Gospel Binding and Insular Design (pp. 9—19)

The late 7th-century Gospel of St. John preserved among the relics of St. Cuthbert retains its original binding, whose decorative designs embody in an exemplary way the principles of composition that informed early Insular art. The designs on the front and back covers are geometrical not only for showing the influence of compass and straight-edge. They are geometrical in conception as well, having proportions among their major dimensions that are all based on the "two true measures of geometry", the golden section ratio and the square root of two. This essay analyses the forms of the designs and provides line-drawings to show how they could have been created. 

MOSHE BARASCH - The Crying Face (pp. 21—36)

The depiction of the crying face is the final result of a process in which several stages can be distinguished. Full articulation of the crying face is found in the works of Rogier van der Weyden (tears rolling down the cheeks). The motif became quickly popular in Flemish 15th-century painting. Literary traditions, continuing since the early Middle Ages, suggest that tears gradually acquired the meaning of redemption rather than being a manifestation of pain only. In Flemish art only saintly figures are allowed to shed tears. 

CARLO DEL BRAVO - Francesco a Pratolino (pp. 37—46)
Francesco de' Medici at the Villa Pratolino
Comparing the thoughts and actions of Francesco de' Medici with what Aristotle and Diogenes Laertios wrote in their memoirs concerning Empedocles, one can see the Grand Duke's enterprise, the Pratolino villa and park, as an allegory of the elements, of primordial forces, of the natural origin of movement and life, of the possibility of correcting, and elaborating on, nature (and thus virtue too), as well as of the relativity of knowledge. On this basis, we will see that there are also references to Empedocles in other of Francesco de' Medici's artistic endeavors, like putting Giambologna's Rape of the Sabines into Piazza di Firenze, in an attempt to include the sculptures already there in a new vision of things. Raffaello Borghini in his memoirs reports statements of the Grand Duke and other Florentines of the time, who seem to prudently conceal their naturalistic and therefore atheistic attitudes. 
JACOPO BENCI, SILVIA STUCKY - Indagini sulla pala belliniana della Lamentazione. Bonaventura da Forli e i Servi di Maria a Venezia (pp. 47—65)
 Investigating Bellini's Lamentation Altarpiece. Bonaventura da Forlì and the Order of the Servants of Mary in Venice
On the basis of data previously overlooked, the altarpiece now is dated to 1509-10, and suppositions are made as to who may have commissioned it, considering that the painting was originally located in the church of S. Maria dei Servi in Venice. Studies of the work, descriptions of the church, the history of the Order of the Servants of Mary, and the Osservanza congregation within it, allow us to identify the two clerics in the painting. In keeping with the iconographic context and with events connected with the Servi in Venice in the period of 1491-1510, the figures must be Giuliana Falconieri, first woman "exemplum" of the order, and Bonaventura da Forli, eminent preacher of the Observance. The two personages are set in the context of the special devotion on the part of the Observance for Christ crucified and the cross. This is exemplified in the Triumphi (1491) - a collection of religious poems put together by Gasparino Borro, prior of S. Maria dei Servi, in which Bonaventura da Forli is also mentioned - as well as in the erecting in the same church, of an altar to the Cross (1498-1510) sponsored by Guglielmo Dona, ambassador of the Venetian Republic. 
DIANA GISOLFI PECHUKAS - Veronese and His Collaborators at «La Soranza» (pp. 67—108)

Vasari's scattered information on the destroyed Villa Soranza places Anselmo Canneri there as a frescoist as well as Veronese and Zelotti. Comparison of eleven fresco fragments of 1551 form Soranza with contemporary works by the three artists confirms the presence of all three hands in the frescoes, which are usually attributed to Veronese alone. The lost decorative program is reconstructed by collating the original list of 108 fragments, drawn up in 1818, with lists of fragments shown in England in 1825 and 1827 and with the visual remains, using Ridolfi's passage to help place fragments in the four decorated rooms. Twelve drawings in Milan record extant and described elements of the decoration and also record the same three hands identified in the extant fragments. Sources for the cycle at "La Soranza" exist among earlier fresco cycles in Renaissance Verona, where antiquarian studies had fostered illusionistic decorations since 1500. 

ANTONI ZIEMBA - Rembrandts Landschaft als Sinnbild. Versuch einer ikonologischen Deutung (pp. 109—134)
Rembrandt’s Landscapes as Symbol. An Attempt at an Iconological Interpretation
The paper attempts a symbolic interpretation of Rembrandt's landscape paintings and etchings. The first part outlines the methodological problems and briefly summarizes the present state of iconological and iconographic research on 17th-century Dutch landscape painting, including the traditional way of symbolizing nature in 15th - 18th-century European art; this part also defines the characteristics of, and the theoretical and practical assumptions behind, the Dutch masters' non-historical paintings and analyzes more particularly Rembrandt's thoroughly iconographic-historicizing way of thinking of nature and representing it. The second part deals with the Landscape with a Storm in the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum in Braunschweig and the landscape in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in light of the Tempestas Fortunae encompassing symbolic motive. The third part is about the theme of the dying tree battered by the elements, and deals with the Omval, St. Jerome in the Desert and The Announcement to the Shepherds etchings in relation to the vanitas motive. The fourth part gives an alternative interpretation of the etching of the Three Trees representing the trees battered by wind and storm, which survives the onslaught of the elements - as exemplifying the life of the soul, which through faith in God and Christian spiritual strength is able to resist the storms of destiny. The fifth part proposes that we interpret the Landscape with the Story of the Good Samaritan in the National Museum in Cracow, as praise of Christian love of one's neighbor, as one of the prerequisites for the salvation of one's soul. The sixth part deals with the Landscape with a Castle in the Louvre, and shows it to symbolize the passing away, as a result of pride, of man's work in this world. 
LIANA DE GIROLAMI CHENEY - The Oyster in Dutch Genre Paintings: Moral or Erotic Symbolism (pp. 135—158)

The 17th-century development by Dutch genre painters of the oyster meal theme is easily divided into two time periods: the introduction of the theme of consuming oysters in merry company scenes from 1610-35, and the oyster meal often depicted in more intimate settings from 1660-80. There is a hiatus from 1635-60 in which few examples of the oyster meal appear. In both the early and the later periods there is a compositional change, dividing each period into two phases. Paintings of the early period are commonly festive, the important change occurring the shift of locale from outdoors to indoors; whereas, paintings of the later period are nearly all indoors - in domestic interiors - the change lying in the kind of occasion portrayed, which shifts from feast to tryst. The role of the oyster in later painting changed gradually, but distinctly. Always a symbol of the sense of taste - and a delicacy at that - its erotic significance was steadily accentuated. This development accrued to the shift from banquet scenes with oysters as an incidental feature, to lovers scenes, where the oyster meal is the principal theme. The opportunity to moralize varied accordingly with the same changes. 

RICHARD STAPLEFORD, JOHN POTTER - Velázquez' Las Hilanderas (pp. 159—181)
Velázquez' Las Hilanderas
Velázquez' Las Hilanderas, examined in the light of Ripa's entry in his Iconologia for Mutability and with supporting material from Cartari's Le imagini de i dei, proves to be a meditation on the mutability of the life and the permanence of art. The theme is enriched through allusions to Ovid's story of Arachne and Titian's Rape of Europa confined to the background and standing for the triumph of art, and the Three Fates and the Goddess Fortune, depicted in the foreground and standing for the mutable world of human beings. Finally, a personal note can be discerned in a veiled reference to the emblem of the Knights of Santiago, reminding us of Velázquez' tenacious quest for a knighthood during the last decade of his life. 
JOHN F. MOFFITT - Art and Politics: An Underlying Pictorial-Political Topos in Courbert's Real Allegory (pp. 183—193)

Gustave Courbet subtitled the massive painting (1855) depicting his Studio a "real allegory". In practice, this puzzling conjunction of disparate terminology signifies an assemblage of symbolic figures in contemporary dress arranged into a moralized (left vs. right) compositional scheme; the entire ensemble is expressed, however, in a vigorously naturalistic painterly language. Although print-sources have been identified for major canvases by Courbet preceding L'Atelier, to date none has been found to account overall for two significant factors: the anomalous, triptych-like composition and the underlying revolutionary exaltation of "la Liberté". To explain these factors, I propose an engraving, published in 1789 by Claude Niquet, which celebrated the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen" by employing a similarly symbolic composition and apparently parallel allegorizing motifs. Significant correspondences of format, thematics and personifications are discussed and related to what is known of the metaphorical references in L'Atelier and to Courbet's expressed artistic ideas and political sentiments.