Written Sources on Andean Cosmogony
Mesoamerican and Andean theories of cosmogonic creation were anciently related as myths, and reunited after the Spanish conquest by accounts written between 1550 and 1633. Two groups separate about 1572: the earlier mentions only two creations, and a later one includes evolutionary schemes and systems of three, four and five creations like those of Mesoamerica. These literary traditions are more Spanish than Indian, but they reflect an underlying and ancient unity of Amerindian cosmogonic theories. The illustrations are taken from Mexican and Andean manuscripts and monuments.
On Text and Pictures in the Late Middle Ages from the Example of the Altar of St. Barbara in Wrocław (1447)
This article brings up the question of the relationship between pictorial and literary traditions from the example of the cycle on the altar in Wrocław (1447) depicting St. Barbara’s life on earth as well as her going to heaven. How the pictorial legend existed on its own, as well as how the literary impulse influenced the tradition of the visual language of the picture – this is the general framework the detailed analysis works within. The legend found on the altar in Wrocław mainly comes from one no longer alive today and originating at the turn of the 14th to the 15th centuries from the Franco-Flemish legend of St. Barbara, which also influenced the form of the altars of Master Francke and of Gonzalo Perez. The creator of the altar in Wrocław who came to Silesia from the Upper Rheinland in this cycle made fragmentary modification at different levels of pictorial representations and these were dictated by reading the legends from the literature, among others the legends in manuscripts which, at the start of the 15th century, were in the Dominican Cloister in Wrocław.
The exhibition The Genius of Venice held in the winter of 1983–1984 at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, was the largest and probably the last such show to be dedicated to the Venetian Cinquecento. Although some works were of questionable attribution and others, such as the paintings of the Brescia and Bergamo schools, seemed out of context there, the exhibition provided an impressive survey of the material, and the catalogue will remain an essential reference work. The present article is intended as a critical gloss on what might be regarded as useful additions and corrections to the catalogue, in particular for the Kingston Lacy Judgement of Solomon. Doubts arise over the practice of delegating the catalogue to an equipe of forty two scholars of variable expertise, and the final impression is that of a scatter-shot aggregation of mostly fine works without a presiding point of view.
The Venetian Lagoon and the Sea of Galilee: The Calling of the Sons of Zebedee by Marco Basaiti
The canvas signed and dated 1510 is now in the Accademia in Venice. It was meant for the main altar of St. Andrea della Certosa in Venice and contains references to monastic traditions of the Carthusian order (the themes of the cage as volontary retreat bringing salva-tion, and of the imitiation of Christ by choosing martyrdom) as well as the election of the Carthusian Patriarch Antonio Suriano, the probable sponsor of the painting who wanted to re-spond by it to criticisms raised of his election and, as summarized in a letter from Blessed Paolo Giustiniano found in a monastery near Frascati. The Calling of the Sons of Zebedee shows how the humblest may be an example to their brothers even accepting responsibilities apparently in contradiction with their initial choice of solitude. The theme of the cage is also analyzed with reference to other examples found in the mosaic in the apse of St. Clement’s Church in Rome and in other contemporary paintings of the Venetian school.
The discussion includes the drawings associated with the marble David and the lost bronze David. There is an occasional departure from conventionally accepted attributions to given projects. An example is the sketch of David and the head of Goliath on the well-known Louvre sheet, 714 recto, long connected with the lost bronze David, which is, instead, Michelangelo’s first visualization of the marble David. A drawing, assigned by Hartt to St. Lorenzo, Florence, as a study for a sculptured St. Lawrence, is actually a drawing for the lost bronze David. Another drawing, traditionally accepted as a rendering of the Apollo Belvedere, is, instead, a fighting young David. Four other drawings have been reassigned, as applicable, to the two Davids. The drawings have been placed in the context of an iconographic consistency proceeding from a study of the political aspects of the marble David.
Dürer, Celtis and the So-called Bishop Achatius in Relation to the Iconography of Dürer’s Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand
This article leads to the conclusion that what iconography manuals have called the theme «Achatius as Bishop» is a false interpretation originating from one Diptychon (Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz Museum Nr. 822). Rather according to mediaeval ecclesiastical literature it should be of Bishop Hermolaus, the Baptizer of the 10,000. He is mentioned by name in the official breviaries of the diocese of Bamberg already at the time of Dürer. The material gath-ered so far is therefore to be called «Bishop Hermolaus Baptizer of the Ten Thousand».
A correct identification requires that one understand Dürer’s altarpiece The Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand (Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum Nr. 835). It is connected with Dürer’s stay in Venice (Hermolaus Epitaph in S. Simeone Maggiore) and with the place the picture was meant for (Hermolaus’ reliques in the castle church in Wittemberg). In the painting the just deceased Konrad Celtis, in the main group in the middle points therefore to Hermolaus the baptizer of the 10,000 and in this way to the meaning of baptism. This is the hitherto un-known basic message of the work.
«Who is in the Brothel of Avignon?», a question inferred by the joking and play-acting in front of Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, provides a basis for an examination of its formal and symbolic possibilities. A re-examination of the familiar anecdotes, snapshots, sketches and quotations concerning the creation of the Demoiselles places the genesis of the painting squarely in the context of the Bateau-Lavoir where caricature in the tradition of Al-fred Jarry was the weapon of the avant-garde. Placed within the mocking arena of the brothel, Picasso’s vocabulary of pose, gesture and expression calls into question the academic methods and sources of his chief rival, Henri Matisse. Also, correspondences between the Demoiselles and photos from L’Etude Academique, a periodical used by artists, students, and voyeurs, sheds new light on the riddle of the medical student and the sailor depicted in Picasso’s original sketch.
Building transforms space into place; establishing place, it articulates an ethos. Building thus has an ethical function. Today this function is threatened by the commitment to objectivity that has shaped modernity. If that commitment has brought a new freedom, it has also brought a loss of place. Such displacement breeds dreams of a more genuine dwelling. But, while we must recognize the legitimacy of such dreams, we should not sacrifice freedom to them. Man belongs to the earth and to the light. This twofold belonging is never without tension. Building can regain its ethical function only when it learns to preserve and articulate that tension. But to do so, it must first open itself to the ambiguous language of space and place.