Artibus et Historiae no. 36 (XVIII), 1997
252 x 232 mm
ISSN 0391-9064
90 EURO
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Contents
CHARLES BURROUGHS - The Altar and the City: Botticelli's "Mannerism" and the Reform of Sacred Art (pp. 9—40)
However defined, 'mannerist' stylistic tendencies variously renounce the conception of the painted image as a window on a fictive world seemingly continuous with the space of the beholder. Renaissance naturalism gives way to a sophisticated, reflexive concern with the protocols and practices of art making itself. An important early twentieth-century historiographical tendency associated art of this kind with periods of external crisis as well as with cultur­al, intellectual, and even mass psychological responses to these. This essay takes up the connection of 'mannerist' tendencies and crisis in relation to the late work of Botticelli, which is sometimes characterized as mannerist.
 
A distinct change in Botticelli's style evident after c. 1488 is especially marked in religious paintings, producing a divergence between sacred and secular imagery at a time of a resurgence of concern with issues of idolatry in Florentine intellectual circles. The assertive anti-naturalism and anti-perspectivism in Botticelli's sacred paintings betrays a fragmentation of the unified art of paint­ing as theorized by Alberti. Even within single works, Botticelli combines diverse levels of naturalism, subverting the Albertian conception of pictorial narrative.
 
On the basis of the discussion of the topographical and institu­tional contexts of certain of Botticelli's late religious paintings, the essay relates them to cultural and political shifts in Florence. In par­ticular, certain radical works are elucidated against the background of renewed emphasis on the city of Florence as a replication of the sacred topography of Rome. This climaxed in during Savonarola's ascendancy, in line with the friar's vision of Florence as purified counterpart to Rome-Babylon. After discussion of specific issues of patronage and iconography, the essay concludes with speculation about the significance of Botticelli's innovations for major early sixteenth-century artistic developments.
MARY PARDO - Giotto and the Things Not Seen, Hidden in the Shadow of Natural Ones (pp. 41—53)
In this essay I argue - on the basis of several well-known scenes in the Arena Chapel (Joachim Among the Shepherds, Annunciation to Anna, Raising of Lazarus, Kiss of Judas, Last Judgment) - that Giotto's celebrated "wit", or ingegno, consisted in far more than the shrewd humor attributed to him by Trecento sources. In analogy to the Plinian artistic virtue of ingenium (the ability to suggest more than is depicted), Giotto's wit was also the specifically pictorial resourcefulness that enabled him to use the devices of a newly-perfected illusionism (foreshortening, lost profiles, effects of illumination) to evoke "invisible" realities. In support of this interpretation, I refer Cennino Cennini's definition of painting as an art of "cloaking" the unseen in the "shadow" of appearances, to the dematerialization of the surface of representation achieved by early Trecento modeling practices. The Arena Chapel as a whole may be viewed as a "theater of illusion" for the staging of the individual beholder's journey towards salvation. I suggest that Giotto's visualizations of the invisible had a fruitful afterlife; we should be attentive to their persistence in the art of the Quattro- and Cinquecento, since they play an especially powerful (though frequently overlooked) part in the "animation" of narrative sequences.
 
CHRISTINE M. BOECKL - The Pisan Triumph of Death and the Papal Constitution Benedictus Deus (pp. 55—61)

The new interpretation of a fresco known as the Triumph of Death in Pisa concerns itself with issues of Western theology such as Pope Benedict XII's bull of 1336. The pontiff stated ex cathedra that each soul will be judged immediately after death and not solely at the end of time as his predecessor, John XXII, had proposed. Thus, Benedictus Deus was an important document in the contemporary debate on eschatology. The Triumph of Death visualizes these dogmatic changes in its allegorical devices. Most importantly, the painting alludes to the increased significance of the immortal soul. The mural portrays the transi (the decaying corpse) as expendable. Formally, the body was thought essential for its resurrection, now it has become merely a sym­bol and a reminder of the soul's impending trial at the time of death.

EDWARD J. OLSZEWSKI - Prophecy and Prolepsis in Donatello's Marble "David" (pp. 63—79)
A reading of David as prophet given to Donatello's marble sculpture in the Bargello is based on the redundant appearance of a stone in David's sling and in Goliath's forehand. Donatello used juxtaposition of stones (or rather the same stone twice) as a prolepsis whereby David holds the loaded sling in the present tense while envisioning the future placement of its stone in the head of Goliath positioned below. This conforms with the scriptural account where David responds to Goliath in the future tense as he foretells what he will do to the Philistine giant. When combined with stylistic arguments and a re-reading of the archival records, this interpretation concludes that Donatello's sculpture must date from 1412 rather than 1408, and that it was never intended for a buttress of the Florentine Duomo, but was originally meant to be placed in the Palazzo Vecchio where it was installed in 1416.
ROSS S. KILPATRICK - Hagar and the Angel in Giorgione's "Tempest" (pp. 81—86)

'La Tempesta' remains a perennial riddle. Salvatore Settis catalogued twenty-nine past solutions, adding his own (Adam, Eve, Cain). This paper explores a biblical source in Genesis 16, Hagar's flight from Sarai. Giorgione would present a tableau of Hagar suckling Ishmael by a spring in the wilderness on the road to Shur, under the watchful protection of the messenger angel, costumed as a Renaissance soldier with lance. (Absence of angels' wings is common in Biblical texts and visual arts). The bolt of lightning becomes a sign of God's power (Revelation and Psalms) and his covenant with Hagar and her offspring.

PAULA CARABELL - Breaking the Frame: Transgression and Transformation in Giulio Romano's Sala dei Giganti (pp. 87—100)

Described by Giorgio Vasari (Vite, 1568) as a "fearsome and terrible sight", the Sala dei Giganti in the Palazzo del Tè in Mantua derives its power from its unusual pictorial structure. More than any other work of the Cinquecento, it extends the Albertian notion that painting is like a window in order to exist as a fully autonomous spatial continuum that transforms the spectator into an active participant. Not surprisingly, this potent form of illusionist held a special fascination for those who frequented the court of the Gonzaga. The Sala dei Giganti was not, however, only appreciated for its ability to conquer the two dimensionality of the picture plane, but was admired because its virtual lack of perimeters forced the viewer to transgress the boundaries between the real and the imaginary. Its unique structure enabled the beholder to enter into an acutely visceral and absorptive relationship with representational space and allowed him to experience more fully the atmosphere of hedonism for which the palace was famous. But such a reduction of the liminal field did not merely provide the visitor with a novel and pleasant diversion; it also instilled in him a sense of the uncanny by decentering his status as viewer. This notion not only finds confirmation in written accounts by such 16th century visitors to Mantua as Giorgio Vasari, Jacopo Strada, and Giovanni Battista Armenini, but is recorded in pictorial form as well. The fame of the Sala dei Giganti rests, therefore, not only upon its ability to offer the viewer a Narcissistically-based experience of delight, but also upon its capacity to revive in him the fearsome memory of his own undifferentiated beginnings, that time when the ego was one with its surroundings.

KATHERINE A. MCIVER - Love, Death and Mourning: Paola Gonzaga's Camerino at Fontanellato (pp. 101—108)

Paola Gonzaga's Camerino in the Rocca Sanvitale at Fontanellato has long been the subject of debate and of speculation in terms of its unusual location, its patron and the meaning of its fresco decoration. It is my contention that this commission was a cooperative arrangement between husband and wife, and that, while Giangaleazzo Sanvitale may have provided the majority of the financial support for the project, it was Paola who determined the theme and the iconography of the Camerino decoration - a room for and about herself. Stimulated by the loss of an infant son, she created a personal statement by which she speaks to her peers about her own tragedy and about her ideas concerning the religious and the moral issues of the day.

YONA PINSON - Un Langage muet - métaphore et morale dans les éléments architecturaux et scénographiques de Nicolas Poussin (pp. 109—127)
Mute Language Morals and Visual Metaphors: Architectural Elements and Scenography in the Art of Nicolas Poussin
 
Poussin considers himself a pictor poetic, expressing his art in a mute language. He demands that his audience read his works and decipher his visual metaphors. According to his biographers, Poussin adopts an unusual method of work by creating a kind of a model of a stage, thus taking on the simultaneous role of both stage director and decorator. In his theory of modes Poussin recommends adapting the style of the setting to the subject-matter. His formulation is largely influenced by Vitruvius' theory, later echoed in the Renaissance theory of Art and scenography (Alberti and later Serlio). According to these principles the sublime and noble setting of the scena tragica the eternal and ideal city, should be adopted for heroic and historical subjects. Poussin, a nonconformist creator, however, could not be content with merely adopting the scena tragica setting repeatedly. His changes and deviations from the Renaissance formulations become expres­sive means (as in the Massacre of the Innocents), and visual metaphors in translating his moralistic ideas. By inserting contemporary architectural elements taken from the scena comica into the ideal city setting, Poussin actualizes the remote time and signs of transience and ephemeral life now become carved in the decor. Thus architectural principles become speaking elements in Poussin's mute language, translating and reflecting his moralistic approach to art.
 
HUGH BRIGSTOCKE - The Rediscovery of a Velázquez Portrait (pp. 129—136)
This article investigates replication in the studio of Velazquez in Seville, focused on a little known version from the FitzHerbert Collection, Derbyshire, of the celebrated portrait in the Prado of Sor Jéronima de la Fuente. Direct comparison with the full-length Prado portrait and with a third version from the Araoz Collection suggests that the FitzHerbert Collection picture is an autograph replica that was subsequently cut down. X-rays of all three pictures confirm the belief that they were all made using the same cartoon or drawing, virtually excluding the possibility that they could have been executed anywhere except in Velazquez's own studio. Pentimenti and a more exploratory technique confirm that the Prado picture is the original version. The FitzHerbert picture may precede the Araoz version: the luminous reserved area around the entire figure, the highlights around the edges of her wimple and habit, especially her right sleeve, are as lively and vibrant as the equivalent passages in the Prado picture, suggesting it is closer in technique to the latter than to the more thinly painted Araoz picture.
 
DAVID R. MARSHALL - Early Panini Reconsidered: The Esztergom Preaching Of An Apostle and the Relationship between Panini and Ghisolfi (pp. 137—199)

Thecorpus of easel paintings by Gian Paolo Panini (1691—1765) prior to 1719 presented in F. Arisi's catalogue raisonné of Panini's work (1986) is to a great extent dependent on the hypothesis that the Preaching of an Apostle in Esztergom (Hungary) is an early work by Panini. This article argues that this painting is a copy of an untraced work by Giovanni Ghisolfi; that a great many other putative early Paninis are in fact by Ghisolfi, Alberto Carlieri, and others; and that Panini in his early years was not the pasticheur of Ghisolfi and others painters that he has been painted.