Artibus et Historiae no. 45 (XXIII), 2002
252 x 232 mm
ISSN 0391-9064
PHILIPP P. FEHL - Michelangelo's Tomb in Rome: Observations on the Pieta in Florence and the Rondanini Pieta (pp. 9—27)

The chief concern of the present study is the evaluation of the evidence the work in question itself - Michelangelo's Florentine Pietà - offers for the placement of Christ's left leg before Michelangelo attacked it. If, as the author suggests, we abandon our trust in the square socket in the thigh of Christ as a guide to the original position of the left leg, more than one position of the leg seems possible. The reconstruction proposed here narrows the angle between the legs and the pathos of the scene (Deposition) is more silent. If Calcagni, forced by the exigencies of the destruction, invented a new position for the left leg, he did it with a high regard for the pathos of the work as a whole. His restoration has preserved the group, and continues to give us access, like a frame around a painting, to its grief and lonely beauty. 

WILLIAM J. TRAVIS - On Sirens and Onocentaurs: A Romanesque Apocalypse at Montceaux-l'Etoile (pp. 29—62)

Focusing on the relationship between word and image at Montceaux-l'Etoile, this essay argues that a pair of capitals representing a siren and an onocentaur functioned as a sculptural commentary on the apocalyptic notion that "the time is near." From a broader perspective, this interpretation opens up a new way to read the Romanesque sculpture of Burgundy as word images, where capitals evoked specific phrases from scripture and the choice of phrases determined the overall program; comparisons to Autun and Vézelay suggest that these churches adopted a similar method. Eighty-one texts collected in the appendix set out the evidence for the siren and onocentaur in early medieval thought. 

JOSEPH POLZER - Ambrogio Lorenzetti's War and Peace Murals Revisited: Contributions to the Meaning of the Good Government Allegory (pp. 63—105)

This paper focuses on the intricate allegory of Ambrogio Lorenzetti's Good Government mural in the council hall of the nine executive magistrates of the state of Siena in the city's Palazzo Pubblico. Here the role of the state's advisors responsible for the mural's intricate propagandistic intellectual structure serving the state of Siena under the Nine and the genial artist's contribution must be separated. The reading of the mural takes into account the restorations of the later Trecento and especially the loss of bright metal leaf originally applied on significant portions of the mural. It is found that the mural's iconography is more complicated than hitherto thought. Here are some of the conclusions reached: the mural assumes awareness of Simone Martini's Maestà in the adjacent legislative council hall; the images of Commutative and Distributive Justices depart from their Aristotelian-Thomistic roots; the antiquising Peace, represented as the desirable woman, sharing the central stage of the mural with Fortitude, represents the victory of Peace over War; the exceptional presence of two Justices involves one serving God and the other the state of Siena; and the meaningful paired correspondences of virtues with vices, considering the entire mural cycle, are not systematically applied. Last but not least, the significant presence of the Sienese army introduces an element of "realpolitik" which corresponds to the near contemporary views of Marsilius of Padua expressed in his Defensor Pacis

CREIGHTON E. GILBERT - The Hercules in Piero's House (pp. 107—116)

Piero della Francesca's Hercules, a fresco in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and the painter's only secular work, is unique among his paintings in many respects. Although its authenticity as an autograph work has never been questioned, it is usually neglected in the literature on Piero. The fresco comes from the painter's own house in Borgo San Sepolcro and thus is an exceptional case of an artist's self-patronage. The analogy of composition and dimensions with Piero's later portrait, as well as iconographic attributes of the virtue of Prudence and some other clues, lead the author to make a convincing notion that the Hercules is Piero's self-portrait, what is more, a "moral" one, characterising him as an artist. 

AVIGDOR W. G. POSEQ - On Mirror Copying of the Sistine Vault and Mannerist Invenzoni (pp. 117—138)
In Mannerist painting invenzione frequently coincides with citations of works done by predecessors which looks like the opposite of what one would describe as inventiveness. In discussing some of the adaptations of the pre- existent motifs, the author proposes to show that although the Mannerist apprehension of invention is not compatible with what is now understood by this term, their modus operandi anticipates the procedures which we recognise as signs of creativity in modern art. 
Because critical appreciation of Mannerist painting was based on prestigious precedents, inventiveness, as we know it, was not considered a pre-requisite. Creative innovation remained the privilege of the truly great masters whom lesser practitioners were expected to emulate. At a time when artistic training consisted in copying, more or less explicit citations from earlier works would be aesthetically acceptable and even commended. The Mannerist citations, however, are seldom replicas: The poetic license of the painters is especially evident in their adaptations of the scenes painted on the Sistine vault, which in the sixteenth century became a sort of academy of drawing. 
EDWARD J. OLSZEWSKI - The Enlightened Patronage of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (1667-1740) (pp. 139—165)

A survey of the art patronage of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (1667-1740) is presented. This involved a fifty-year-career as Vice-Chancellor of the Church during which time the cardinal engaged painters, sculptors, architects and musicians. Their projects included the Vatican tomb of his great-uncle, Pope Alexander VIII, a confessione and chapel for his basilica of San Lorenzo in Damaso, and a theater and tapestries and paintings for his official palace of the Cancelleria. His artists, many of them court residents, included Arcangelo Corelli, Alessandro Scarlatti, Filippo Juvarra, Domenico Gregorini, Angelo de' Rossi, Francesco Trevisani and Sebastiano Conca, among others. 

ROELOF VAN STRATEN - Rembrandt's "Earliest Prints" Reconsidered (pp. 167—177)

It is now widely believed that Rembrandt started making prints as early as 1625-1626, and that the Circumcision, the Rest on the Flight into Egypt and the Flight into Egypt are his first etchings. In this paper the author attributes the first two of these prints to Jan Lievens and shows that the Flight into Egypt should be dated a few years later than has usually been conjectured. A number of arguments indicate that Rembrandt started etching as late as 1628, and that he must have bought a printing press the following year. 

ULRIKE ILG - Painted Theory of Art: Le suicidé (1877) by Édouard Manet and the Disappearance of Narration (pp. 179—190)

The present article centers on Manet's painting Le suicidé, so far little discussed in modern research. The reluctance of the painter to represent suicide within a narrative context is here considered as the most salient feature of this canvas and serves as a key for its interpretation. As further analysis shows, Manet's approach contradicted the tradition of representing suicide, according to which this subject was normally reserved to history painting and focused on the very aspects Manet chose to omit. It is argued that the artist thus deliberately displayed his disregard of the principles of academic painting and that Le suicidé was an artistic manifesto of Manet's position within the Realist movement. 

VICTOR GINSBURGH, SHEILA WEYERS - De Piles, Drawing and Color. An Essay in Quantitative Art History (pp. 191—203)

We show (a) that de Piles' scores in the balance des peintres are only mildly reflected in his other writings and that color comes out only as a weak and unconvincing explanation of the space he devotes to individual artists in his Abrégé; (b) that his Abrégé is more closely related to the number of paintings in the royal collection; (c) that Félibien des Avaux, the (allegedly) traditionalist art historian who became member of the Royal Academy much earlier than de Piles, admitted in 1699 only, was less in agreement with the tastes of the King than was de Piles and (d) that de Piles changed views on painting and predicted in a much better way than Félibien and the Academy, who were the painters who would pass the test of time, and those who would not. 

PHILIPPE JUNOD - Dans l'oeil du rétroviseur. Pour une histoire relativiste (pp. 205—221)
In the Eye of the Mirror. An Argument for Retrospective Reading of Art History
That our vision has a historical background is demonstrated as much by differences of taste as it is by the ups and downs of the critical appreciation of the great masters of the past. The discovery of the subjectivity of vision and of the plurality of meanings might lead to deliberate projection or to a genuine and radical agnosticism. The realization, however, of how our knowledge of the present influences our image of the past also constitutes a source of value. A retrospective reading of art history is then capable of conferring a dimension of genuine dialogue on our aesthetic perception as long as this reading is based upon a relative understanding of objectivity. 
ANDRÉ CORBOZ - L'Érosion sculptrice et la "réception sans oeuvre" (pp. 223—233)
Carving Erosion and "Reception without Work"
This essay is trying to make clear that what we often consider a perception is in reality a projection. The phenomenon is particularly obvious in the "natural sculptures" field: i. e. rocks in which we can identify either as an animal or a face (by even sometimes assigning some to a particular artist) whereas it only concerns the effects of erosion. Already formulated in the Antiquity, and exploited during the Renaissance by a few painters, this reversed statement has gained importance during the 20th century with the abstract art and then the Land Art. Nowadays the receiver has even become the operator.