Whereas traditional writing about art is grounded in historical fiction, modem art historians aspire to rise above such fables of art. Despite their aspiration to transcend fiction, modern scholars often still write in unwittingly imaginative ways, especially when they find the "portraits" of artists and their friends in the work of Raphael, Tintoretto, Veronese, and Masaccio, among others. The epitome of this current of scholarship is found in exegeses of Michelangelo's Last Judgment, which is now read as a sort of pictorial, autobiographical novel. Various well-known works, including Botticelli's Primavera and Giorgione's Tempesta, also afford scholars the opportunity to spin their own yarns disguised unwittingly as iconographical analysis.
The object of this study is to show that a specific part of Michelangelo's painted ceiling, not usually considered intrinsic to thematic discussion, offers not only an important clue regarding the underlying theme of the Ceiling itself but, moreover, suggest that Ceiling is inherently related to the previous and subsequent decorations and indeed even to the purpose of the building itself as an architectural monument. Deriving from Ovid's Metamorphoses, the centralizing symmetry and grandly articulated ignudi of the Sistine Chapel represent the Golden Age of Man. In this way the Hebrew and Christian Bible (the Old Testament) and the "Pagan" Bible (the Ovidian legacy) - familiar sources that did not require theological expertise - were effectively combined and harmonized as the patrimony of Christian Rome. The essence of this conflation suggest that the theme of Law and Justice prevail in the Ceiling, as well as in the original altar wall and the side wall decorations, including Raphael's tapestries, the building itself and its original internal organization and, finally, in Michelangelo's Last Judgement. The so-called Sacrifice of Noah is re-named as the Sacrifice of Abel, which corresponds with the descriptions of this scene by Michelangelo's friends Condivi and Vasari as well as with the correct chronological order of the Ceiling paintings and the theme of Law and Justice.
In the collection of Sir Joshua Reynolds by 1778, Poussin's The Infancy of Bacchus and its missing pendant were still in Rome in the mid-seventeenth century, when Jean Lemaire incorporated figural components from each into the foreground of his Youthful Romulus now in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin. Not unlike the bacchanalian pictures Poussin would have painted for Cassiano dal Pozzo, The Infancy of Bacchus is perhaps stylistically closest to The Landscape with Nymphs and Satyrs (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool), The Venus and Adonis (sections in the Musée Fabre, Montpellier and private collection, New York) and The Nurture of Bacchus (National Gallery, London), all generally dated to 1625—1627. While bacchanalian motifs and handling of these pictures point to Venetian influence - a reason, perhaps, for their popularity - their subject matter stems from antique reliefs, passages in Philostratus's Imagines, or specific late-Renaissance texts. Some of his early Roman works may also reflect Poussin's desire to convey a mood of tenderness (tenerezza), a sentiment frequently encountered in the pastoral poetry of Giambattista Marino (1569—1625).
This article acknowledges the Spanish exclusion of painting from creative liberal arts requiring intellect and inspiration. It merely questions whether this attitude should be considered comprehensive of the whole of the peninsula during Golden Age. An alternative, or corollary, to the "Madrid model" devised by historians is constructed from data collected for painters active in the southern Spanish city of Cordoba during the same period. This corollary model does not pretend to account for Spanish attitudes any more than can the existing Madrid model. It does, however, support the stated possibility that in a kingdom where unification took place as late as 1492 and where there continued to exist significant variations in language, laws, and customs among various Spanish peoples, differing perceptions of profession might coexist at a given moment. Factors accounting for a greater regard for painters in Cordoba include a cultural predisposition toward the arts promoting more positive public perceptions and attitudes, the presence of an enlightened individual able to transform public opinion on the status of painting, and concentration of artist-literati capable of commanding respect and recognition for their chosen profession.
This paper looks briefly at roles played by J. Paul Richter and Bernard Berenson in encouraging collecting by Americans around a hundred years ago of paintings from the School of Verona. It then considers some disputed attributions and offers some new attributions among examples of Renaissance art from Verona now found in Princeton, Philadelphia and Boston. The reattribution of a large canvas of Christ Preaching from Verona belonging to the Cannon Collection leads to some suggestions concerning the original commission of Veronese's Christ Preaching at the Prado.