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'.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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].
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.
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.