The author publishes a text by Andreas Trapezuntius, a private secretary to Pope Sixtus IV, which describes the Sistine Chapel as completed in every way (omni ex parte). Andreas speaks of the “pictura of both Laws rendered by matching figures”, the painted draperies on the wall, the tessellated floor, and the Cancellata. The author dates the text to April - May 1432, and argues that Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Cosimo Rosselli, and Luca Signorelli all finished working in the Chapel in the spring of 1482. The inauguration of the Chapel was delayed until August 1483 because of the military situation at Rome on the feast of the Assumption, 15 August, in 1482.
Veronese’s Cycle of Love in the National Gallery, London primarily depicts the progress of courtship through vicissitudes common in the Petrarchan tradition (illustrated in the first three paintings) to a successful outcome in marriage (celebrated in the fourth). Veronese’s subject matter and narrative imagery are analogous to topoi and coventions of love and courtship in Renaissance amatory poetry, music, and epithalamia. He portrays such poetic topoi as 1) Love guiding an awe-struck suitor to view his sleeping mistress, 2) love’s possessiveness, 3) the disdainful Petrarchan mistress who directs Cupid to inflict torture upon her passionate ad-mirer, and 4) Fortuna Conjugalis bestowing a crown of bounty and glory on the married couple.
Once More a Stranger: Jacopo Tintoretto
The publishing of a comprehensive two volume compendium of the works of Jacopo Tintoretto (Opere sacre e profane, Venice 1982) by Rodolfo Pallucchini (Introduction, development, state of research) and Paola Rossi (registers, critical catalogue, bibliography) offers the occasion to question critically the validity of this type of art divulgation as a working cate-gory. The example of this long-awaited Tintoretto monograph brings out certain virtues (the art history contextualization and location, arrangement into tables, chronology, exhaustive documentation of pictures, bibliography etc.) and shortcomings (reproduction, technical de-tails, iconography, participation of collaborators, meanings etc.) of this ambitious undertaking, but also allow us to realize how much there is still to know for an overall picture of Mannerist Venice and especially for the still unsatisfactorily understood figure of Tintoretto.
Adriaen de Vries and his School in Prague. His Contribution to Spreading Florentine Academic Art in Europe at the End of the 16th and the Beginning of the 17th Centuries
The subject of this study is a very little known bas-relief by Adrian de Vries, executed in 1614 for Franciscus Ursinus bishop of Wrocław, representing the Martyrdom of St. Vincent. The main question posed by the author is: how has the sculptor carried out in this work the aims of the Counterreform (this sculpture was ordered by an alumnus of the Collegium Germanicum in Rome), and what are the signs of Florentine academic training (keeping in mind Sandrart’s information on de Vries’ academic training during his stay in Florence). The con-lusion the author comes to is: the Martyrdom of St. Vincent in Wrocław is a very important example of Florentine academic art principles spread to central Europe.
The Meaning of Light in Caravaggio and Gianlorenzo Bernini
Developing a proposal made by Maurizio Calvesi, the light in the works of the 1600’s by Caravaggio is here considered as the metaphor of Grace in the Aristotelian-Scholastic sense of light, and from the analogies established by Domingo Banes, and then carried on by Felice Passero. As for the relationship that Gianlorenzo Bernini intended to establish between his sculpture and light, the distinction is made between radiating light and illumination; the brev-ity of the radiating time is considered here in connection with Maffeo Barberini’s meditations on the passing away of earthly things. Art, though fiction, is exhalted as described in the Filosofia morale by Emanuele Tesauro.
This iconographic study, by focusing upon Van Dyck’s mounted representations of King Charles V – including the singular “dismounted equestrian-portrait” erroneously called Le Roi a la ciasse, generally interprets the Baroque equestrian-portrait as an essentially symbolic, specifically political, document, thereby refuting the currently accepted “genre-narrative” in-terpretations of this distinctive category of the 17th century State-Portrait. Specifically, this study interprets all the portraits of Charles I, Equestrian by Van Dyck as being representations of the “Christian Knight” theme (Miles Christianus). According to this author, this royal equestrian series drew upon both pictorial and textual sources. Among the latter, most promi-nent are Erasmus’ Enchiridion Militis Christiani (1503) and Olivier de la Marche’s Le Chevalier delibere (1488); and, among the former, most important are Dürer’s print of Der Reuter (1513) and Titian’s Portrait of Charles V on Horseback at the Battle of Muhlberg (1548). As shown here, Titian’s highly influential Imperial-equestrian was deliberately planned as a reborn Miles christianus, as is made clear by reference to the published explanation (1559) for the re-appearance of the same motif upon Charles V’s tumulus.
This study of the Cappella Sagredo in San Francesco della Vigna, Venice, seeks to relate the Chapel and its works of art to the political fortune of the Venetian family that commissioned them. Military disgraces and political achievements are examined as background to a Chapel that honors three distinguished members of the Sagredo family. Gerolamo Pellegrini, a Roman painter, executed frescoes around 1671 glorifying San Gherardo Sagredo, and the Virgin Mary. An ambitious altar tabernacle, again showing both San Gherardo and Mary, was sculpted c.1685 by Niccolo Sagredo (1606–1676) and Patriarch Alvise Sagredo (1617–1688) were executed c.1745 by Giovanni Gai, and a series of frescoes was painted in grisaille by Giambattista Tiepolo that show Allegorical Virtues and the Four Evangelists. It is concluded here that the Chapel stands as testimony to the intimate connections in the Serenissima linking patrician pride to artistic commitment and patriotic service.
Reflections on a Still Life Painting by Pieter Boel (and Some Suggestions on the Earl of Arundel and W. Hollar)
Pieter Boel’s StiII Life with a Cat and Dead Birds in the Picture Gallery of Kromeriz Castle (Czechoslovakia), painted in, or shortly before 1650, is revealed as having been conceived within the tradition of nature morte moralise, established by P. Aertsen, J. Beuckelaer, and their followers. In Boel’s painting, the dark side of the human soul, symbolized by the covet-ous cat, was counterbalanced by the sound force of reason, alluded to by the fragment of an antique frieze represented in the lower right-hand corner. This relief is further identified as the Arundel “Scipio” marble now in the Museum of London. It is likely that the painter was acquainted with it through a now lost or so far unidentified drawing by Wenceslaus Hollar.
In order to lead up to the complex character of this work, we outline the history of paint-ings of people suffering from the convulsions of war. This history begins with Goya, who in his Desastres de la guerra pointed out various ways to express this concept; 1) the eyewitness report, 2) the ennobling of suffering by recalling the passion of Christ, as well as, 3) allegorical or symbolic expression. All three ways were made use of in the 19th century, at times combinations of them. The most important was the eyewitness report, a form which with the hell of World War I reached metaphysical heights especially with German artists – Beckmann, Grosz, Dix, and others. The way Picasso marked off snatches of real history with symbols, recalls furthermore the collage technique, which made John Heartfield’s commentaries on the Spanish Civil War so forceful. However Guernica cannot be interpreted quite so straightforwardly. The horse, for example, may well represent the suffering Spanish people. However it also bursts with aggression. The oppressed victims upsurge oppressing each other.