The article brings modifications to the author’s study of 1957 (Münchner Jahrbuch der bild. Kunst) taking into account research done since then on the subject, especially studies by Christian Tumpel. It appears that the basic source of Rembrandt’s imagery was the rich reper-tory of pictorial narrative produced by the German and Netherlandish graphic art of the 16th and the late 17th centuries. By relating several works of Rembrandt to their visual sources their actual subjects can be established. They often were created by the process of selection from large historical compositions, as Tumpel has shown.
Rembrandt concentrated however on such themes through which basic human emotional and ethical frames of mind could be expressed, and which were called in the 1957 study «encompassing themes» (Rahmenthemen). Problems of iconographic categories especially of genre versus history and allegory in Rembrandt’s art are further discussed.
Although Rembrandt shared with his contemporaries the common emblematic language of signs, in his late works a silent expression of human feelings and thoughts is achieved.
Rembrandt’s frequent and sympathizing rendering of beggars is contrasted to a tradi-tional, unfriendly attitude. The theme of the socially marginal figure (also found, for instance in the Prodigal Son and the Eastern Jew) may have had a psychological attraction for a master whose personality is here considered as having been more complex than is generally thought.
Rembrandt’s Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art) is considered as an essay by Rembrandt on the philosophical value of looking at a work of art. The article surveys philosophical theories upholding the value of contem-plating art from Aristotle through Comenius, as well as the philosophical implications of Rembrandt’s own encyclopedic collection. Aristotle’s golden chain is interpreted as a symbol of contemplative philosophy.
The figure on the left has long been recognized as Raphael himself. The second man was called variously Pontormo and Pordenone as early as the 17th century and has recently been claimed to be Raphael’s friend, Giovanni Battista Branconio dell’Aquila. But the present writer opposes this on the ground that Branconio was Raphael’s junior by ten years.
Instead he proposes the young Pietro Aretino on the strength of resemblance to Marcanto-nio’s print of him in the 1520s (the famous Titian portraits date from the 1540s by which time Aretino was much changed). In 1517–1520 Aretino was living with Raphael’s patron, Agostino Chigi. It is now suggested that the portrait was a present to Chigi, to whom, as recipient, the second figure in the portrait is pointing.
The article deals with meaning in Giovanni Bellini’s so-called Sacred Allegory in the Gallerie degli Uffizi, Florence. Previous attempts at explaining meaning in the painting have been iconographical and have largely ignored the meaning and poetry of its form, hence distorting the picture’s value. The author’s descriptive evocation of poetry in Bellini’s work demon-strates that its form and its meaning are inseparable. Attention is also given to previous criti-cism, other than iconographical, of Bellini’s work.
Tintoretto’s love of music mentioned since Vasari’s time, has never actually been proven, even though «auditive» elements in his works are ever present. The reattribution of The Concert of the Muses (with the miniature scene of the metamorphosis of the Pierids) in the Munich State Collections and the evidence of a single example of a legible score – a «canzonetta» from 1573 by the composer Giovan Ferretti – in the Sextet of Nymphs in Dresden, permits us to analyze the musical horizon of Jacopo, the represented instruments (and even some which Tintoretto has been said to have «invented» himself), his hypothetical familiarity with melomanic Venice, his own musical ability and theoretical background.
The new dating post quem of the programmatic Musica in Dresden (about twenty years later than commonly accepted) – the painting perhaps reflects the friendship and spiritual in-fluence of the great music-theoretician Gioseffo Zarlino – may bring certain changes in the still imprecise dating of many of his major works.
The article deals with Dali’s Metamorphosis of Narcissus in a new light tracing its novelty by comparing it to both previous pictures and literary sources. Both Dali’s picture and poem were influenced by alchemical sources. Various sources for the egg are found in Maierus’ Atalanta Fugiens, 1618, as well as for other elements such as the hermaphrodite. The article also relates the themes to Dali’s autobiography: both to his brother’s death and his own cure through Gala. The opening of the head from which the flower sprouts is shown to be a continuation of therapy. A seventeenth century tradition of cure (Bosch’s Cure of Folly) seems to have been in the background to Dali’s version. It is both in the picture and in the poem that the alchemical and the autobiographical meet.
The Moving of the Warburg Library to Great Britain and the Beginnings of Art History as a University Discipline There
Aby M. Warburg (1866–1929), the famous art historian, critic and great promotor of cultural history collected a unique research library which became a semi-official part of the newly founded University of Hamburg called «Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg» in 1920. At the end of 1933 the library and its staff left Germany in order to prevent the Nazis from destroying this Jewish foundation. Great Britain gave home to it and at the end of 1944 London University incorporated the library now named The Warburg Institute. The Warburg Institute has efficiently helped to promote art history as an academic discipline in Great Brit-ain though its actual aims are of an interdisciplinary nature and go far beyond art history and this has been the case since the days of Warburg. Not only art history but also the American artist R. B. Kitaj living in Great Britain for many years has been deeply influenced by War-burg and Warburgian studies.
What we call avant-garde can be looked at from two different angles. As institutions, the avantgardes are characterized by their bellicose combativeness, their elitarian intransigence, their disdain of the contemporary state of things, their recovery of remote traditions, their obsession with posters, dates, all converging on the same utopian goal – to abolish the abyss separating art from life. Looked on as a way of thinking, they lean toward a scientific-like and revolutionary-like standpoint, foreseeing the eventual self-extermination of art – positive for some (Strzemiński), or negative for others (Witkiewicz). What pulls these two opposing utopias together is the persuasion that historical development is predetermined, linear and irre-versible. Nowadays their role is restricted to a defensive one against the wave of pseudo-avant-garde latecomers.