Artibus et Historiae no. 40 (XX), 1999
252 x 232 mm
ISSN 0391-9064
90 EURO
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Contents
JÓZEF GRABSKI - "Victoria Amoris": Titian's Venus of Urbino. A Commemorative Allegory of Marital Love (pp. 9—33)

In Renaissance painting the female nude, a frequent subject matter which enjoyed considerable popularity, carries for the most part a positive connotation. A nude figure becomes an attribute, or occasionally, the personification of truth, beauty, geniality, friendship, soul and love. Especially in connection with the subject of love it appears in numerous works of philosophers, poets and artists. Such writers, philosophers and poets as Marsilio Ficino, Jacopo Sannazzaro, Pietro Bembo, Baldassare Castiglione, Pietro Aretino or Lodovico Ariosto nurtured the greatest Renaissance creative talents: Leonardo, Giorgione, Titian, Michelangelo and Veronese. The awareness of the relationship between philosophy, poetry, literature and the visual arts and their mutual influence is important to the analysis of Titian's painting. In his article the author attempts to substantiate that the artist's inspiration in painting the Venus of Urbina stems from the love sonnets of one of the greatest poets of Italian Renaissance, Vittoria Colonna (Victoria Columna), written after the death of her husband Ferdinando Francesco (Ferrante) d'Avalos. The subject is a humanly beau­tiful nude woman whose pose is borrowed from the idealized beauty of the Sleeping Venus by Gorgione. Titian's painting contains numerous symbolically important elements of meaning: 1) white bed linen — purity; 2) crimson bed and 3) red roses — love; 4) fading red roses and 5) fallen rose — death; 6) pattern of black flowers, 7) black enamels of the bracelet, 8) widow's black ring and 9) triangular black spot — mourning; 10) green drapery — hope; 11) pearl — symbol of passing, 'Vanitas'; 12) small dog — marital faithfulness; 13) green myrtle in the jardinière — marital love; 14) column — symbol of virtue of bravery and boldness 'Fortitudo', also the emblem of the house of Colonna; and 15) 'cassoni' — bridal chests as well as other significant elements. In Titian's picture all of these symbols concur in the creation of an allegory of love and at the same time of the philosophical treatise which is a reflection on life, death, love and on the temporary earthly time which should be enjoyed. It is the victory of love over time and temptation, as one finds in the love sonnets by Vittoria Colonna, the 'Victoria Amoris'.

RONA GOFFEN - Mary's Motherhood According to Leonardo and Michelangelo (pp. 35—69)

Leonardo's Virgin Mother is always solicitous; Michelangelo's is inattentive. In several images, moreover, most notably in the Doni Tondo, Michelangelo masculinizes the Virgin Mary. Michelangelo's works seem introspective and self-referential; Leonardo is far less personally engaged than Michelangelo in analyzing Mary's motherhood and in conse­quence more traditional in his Marian imagery. Leonardo is intrigued by the individualized Child, whereas Michelangelo is equally obsessed with the Mother, and her separation from her Child. Michelangelo's Madonna is the antithesis of Leonardo's, in physique, physiognomy, and psychology.

PATRIK REUTERSWÄRD - A Plea for Antonello's London Madonna (pp. 71—76)

The present article examines Virgin with the Christ Child, a painting by Antonello da Messina from the National Gallery, London. Its attribution had long been questioned due to the painting's stylistical ambivalence, since it evidently contains elements characteristic to both early and late phase of Antonello's artistic activity, as it was proved by comparison with other of his Madonnas. This inconsistency between the painting's lower and upper parts is explained in the article, thus sketching a possible scenario of its execution, and hopefully removing the question mark often put by the name of its author. It is namely suggested that the painting in question could have been begun by the young artist and only later refashioned, either for himself or at a request of one of his commissioners. Hence comes this stylistical dichotomy in the London Madonna.

ALBERT CHÂTELET - Jean de Pestinien au service de Philippe le Bon et de son prisonnier le Roi René (pp. 77—88)
Jean de Pestinien in the Service with Philip the Good and His Prisoner King René
 
Recent discoveries in archives allow to precise some facts from the life and carrier of a miniature painter Jean Ie Pestinien (about 1395—1464), active in Paris before 1427, then working in Dijon, and in the years 1441—1446 being in the service with Philip the Good (presumably in Flanders) — to come back finally again to Dijon. Thanks to a record of payment for two miniatures added to the Grandes Heures de Philippe le Hardi (Fitzwilliam Museum) he may be identified with an anonymous Master of Augustinus of Chevrot (Brussells, Bibliothèque royale), who at the same time is the author of four miniatures appended to the Heures du Roi René (British Library, Ms. Egerton 1070) in the years 1435—1436. He must have started his carrier in the studio of Jan van Eyck; his hand was also traced in some of the miniatures in the Heures de Turin and de Milan-Turin (1422—1424).
 
AVIGDOR W. G. POSEQ - Aspects of Laterality in Michelangelo (pp. 89—112)

The comparative structural analysis of some of Michelangelo's best known works of sculpture including the Duomo Deposition and the Pietà Rondanini as well as the Brutus and several full length figures, and also of Michelangelo's preparatory drawings for these works and of his studies for the Annunciations and for a Crucifixion and a Resurrection, show that the master constantly reckoned with the conceptual implications of laterality which he defined not according to the left and right of the figure represented but according to the subjective experience of the viewer. In addition to the conventional moral implications of the right and left as metaphors of positive and negative connotations respectively, the polarity also seems to be endowed with special temporal meanings: the left is often associated with a retrospective view of the past and the right with the anticipation of things to come.

PAUL BAROLSKY - Michelangelo's Marble Faun Revisited (pp.113—116)

Having previously suggested that the story of the Faun Michelangelo made in the Medici garden, first told by Condivi and embellished by Vasari, is a fable, the author adduces further reasons to suppose this account deeply poetical. He here places the tale in the tradition of the novella about the artist by associating it with a typologically similar tale, recounted by Doni and repeated by Vasari, about Michelangelo and Topolino. Suggesting that Michelangelo is himself a novelliere, the author relates the tale of the Faun Michelangelo told to Condivi to the related autobiographical fiction of his poetry.

COLIN EISLER - The 'Rabbi' of the Sobieski Hours: Jewish Scholarship and the Spell of Christian Art (pp. 117—124)
The article explores several of the reasons for the long-standing prominence of Jewish scholarship, collecting and dealing in Christian art. Until the last twenty years, those marked by a sudden emergence of Jews in major corporate, legal, governmental and administrative posts, the study of Christian art by Jews has been a most noteworthy achievement.
 
A major early fifteenth-century Franco-Flemish Book of Hours at Windsor Castle is known as the Sobieski Hours. This contains an enigmatic, lengthy Hebrew paean inscribed in the back (the Jewish front) of the sacred Christian text. These words praise the illuminator's inspired, divine powers, dated 1687. The article strives to identify just who the author of the text was, and to which Polish Jewish community he belonged. It is concluded that he was a Karaite of Troki.
MARY NEWCOME-SCHLEIER - Clock Designs by Genoese Artists (pp. 125—130)

Thanks to the help of members of the Casa Piola, a studio which certainly included Gaulli before he went to Rome, clocks in Genoa were highly decorative. Piola's drawing of the 1660s for a night clock perhaps to be painted by the French artist Cotelle [Fig. 2] demonstrates his collaboration with clockmakers, as does Gaulli's night clock for Cardinal Chigi in Ariccia in 1670. Gaulli's clock face painted around 1693 on a clock by Callin [Fig. 1] and his drawing for a standing clock [Fig. 4] show patrons continued to want his designs for these functional items. After the deaths of Piola and Gaulli, ornament on clocks got more complex as Piolesque swinging figures decorated surfaces, i.e., in a drawing by Domenico Parodi [Fig. 6] and in a c. 1730 clock carved by Maragliano [Fig. 5].

MAURIZIO MARINI - L'alfa e l'omega di Michelangelo Marisi da Caravaggio, pittore: qualche precisazione documentaria sulla nascita e sulla morte (pp.131—149)
The Beginning and End of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Painter: Some Documentary Clarifications on His Birth and Death
 
The end of a century is a very appropriate moment to revise previous contributions examining the life and work of Michelangelo da Caravaggio (1571—1610). The artist's birthplace, that had become his surname and by which he is generally known, has been put to doubt, after the exact dates of his birth (first thought to be 1569, then 1573) and his death (previously indicated as 1609 and even 1612) had been dis­covered. After a tentative attempt at considering him to be born in Milan, the re-reading of a document conferring on the artist the knighthood of the Knights of Malta (14 July 1608) confirmed that "...Michael Angelus Carraca, oppido vulgo de Caravaggio in Longobardis natus, hanc urbem appellens...". The noble 'status' of the painter is also attested by a formula added in the 'mens' of "Receptio in fr[atr]em Militem obedientia pro Mag[nifi]co Michaeli Angelo de Caravaggio", as well as by heraldic research on the Caravaggio family.
 
Literary tradition and even more, the heraldic one, testify to non-plebeian origins of the artist, who in a duel on 29 May 1606 killed Ranuccio Tomassoni, and himself was seriously wounded. Caravaggio's escape to the domains of the Colonna family (he was protected by Costanza Colonna Sforza, the marquess of Caravaggio) - then through Naples, Malta, to Sicily, and again to Naples - had its tragic final in Porto Ercole. Certainly, not on a beach - as it was sometimes repeated until now, after reluctant fictitious biographical relations by Baglione and Bellori and by art critics (the latter especially on an attributional level).
ANDREA GOTTDANG - Die getäuschte Erwartung. Witz und Ironie bei Giambattista Tiepolo (pp. 151—168)
Deceived Expectations. Wit and Irony in the Work of Giambattista Tiepolo
 
Art historians always have looked with amusement at witty details in the paintings of Giambatista Tiepolo. They mainly served as proof of the purely decorative or even superficial character of the master's work. Regarded in terms of baroque rhetorical irony, his work takes a different meaning. Apelles Painting Campaspe is an ironical comment on the situation of a court painter, while The Rape of Europa paraphrases Ricci's Europa and exposes the superficiality of Ricci's emulation of Paolo Veronese's masterpiece. From 1740 onward Tiepolo also inserts witty motives in ceiling frescoes. They subversively counteract the original meaning of the program and indicate that Tiepolo reflected on art and its social conditions more profoundly than one would expect, admiring his stupendous 'decorations'.
EDWARD J. OLSZEWSKI - Exorcising Goya's The Family of Charles IV (pp. 169—185)

The American art historical literature has given a consistently negative reading to Goya's masterful portrait of The Family of Charles IV. Surprisingly, this bias made its way from art historical survey literature into the scholarly literature, with comments by nineteenth-century French critics cited as sources but without documentation. Conversely, European criticism was directed at the Bourbon sitters based on a cynical reading of Goya as a caricaturist, but has always been laudatory of the artist. The pejorative views of Goya's portrait may stem from a remark made by Renoir in 1907, probably echoing a popular cliché of the time.

JOSEPH GUTMANN - On Medieval Hanukkah Lamps (pp. 187—190)

Two types of bronze Hanukkah lamps with triangular back plates have since the nineteenth century been dated from the twelfth to the fourteenth century. They have been attributed to Italy, Germany, France and Spain. No scholarly consensus has been reached on either date or country of origin. Medieval Jewish literary sources and surviving medieval miniatures do not attest to bronze Hanukkah lamps with triangular back plates. It is suggested that all of the Hanukkah lamps discussed were produced in the nineteenth century, as the evidence presented for their medieval origins rests largely on unsubstantiated reports and hearsay.

JUDITH ZILCZER - Light Coming on the Plains: Georgia O'Keeffe's Sunrise Series (pp. 191—208)
Analysis of the origins and critical reception of Georgia O'Keeffe's three-part watercolor series, Light Coming on the Plains Nos. I—III (1917), reveals the evolving significance of her solar imagery. Inspired by the Texas landscape, O'Keeffe developed an abstract visual language shaped by the design principles of her teachers, Alon Bemont and Arthur Dow, and by current theories of such philosophers as Henri Bergson.
While her solar imagery spurred her contemporaries Oscar Bluemner and Arthur Dove to produce abstractions of sunrise, in the postwar period younger artists and critics rediscovered O'Keeffe's series, and her solar imagery became a prototypi­cal emblem for American abstract art at mid-century.
WERNER HOFMANN - "Die Dichter stellen immer wieder das Chaos her". Nietsche, Klimt und die Wiener Jahrundertwende (pp. 209—219)
"The Poets Create Chaos Again and Again". Nietzsche, Klimt and the Turn of the Century in Vienna
 
To organize the chaos in one's inner self, and to objectify it; to plunge into it, only in order to subsequently leave it behind, and then to plunge again - that was the teaching of Nietzsche's theory of Doppelblick, according to which one used to think, paint, write poetry, compose and simply live in Vienna at the turn of the century. More precisely, the present article deals with the influence of early works by Friedrich Nietzsche on Viennese artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century - and especially with his influence on Gustav Klimt. Traditional aesthetics was then challenged with the idea, that the art's and artist's main objective was to bring chaos to the world, to put the world upside down. It was Nietzsche who laid theoretical foundations to that thinking. Considerable part of Klimt's artistic output show that he had followed the philosopher's ideas and had put them to good use. And, more importantly, some of his works even give impression that Klimt in his paintings had anticipated certain ideas of the philosopher. Apart from the aesthetic attitude, present in nearly all his works, paradox, perversion and sickness appear in them, as if they were conceived as pictorial equivalents of Nietzsche's theoretical concepts.