Unique in its vantage-point, Mantegna's canvas popularly known as the Foreshortened Christ is evidently opposed to orthodox perspectival "correctness". Far from conventional in its construction, the image places special emphasis upon Christ's wounds in accord with devotional practices and values of the later Middle Ages. Just as canvas' painter is so often close to the Northern esthetic, he is here equally near later Northern spirituality, though the latter is tied to early Christian and medieval sources. In terms of the focal point of the image, its patronage and subsequent ownership, this curiously, expressionistically condensed vista should be understood synoptically, in the sense that the wounds are given a novel collectivity, their sequence allowing for a phylogeny and ontogeny recapitulating the shedding of Christ's blood.
This study demonstrates that, contrary to present scholarly opinion, Leonardo's Ginevra de' Benci was probably not commissioned by Bernardo Bembo. Close analysis of the painting (including reconsideration of its original format), and of the dating of Bembo's manuscripts bearing an emblem resembling the portrait's reverse, leads the author to reorder the chronology of Bembo's connection with Ginevra's portrait and to propose that Bembo claimed the preexisting emblem of his Florentine platonic beloved for political purposes. Ginevra's own role in the afterlife of her portrait is considered, in the light of new biographical information about her and in the context of women's history in fifteenth-century Italy.
It is difficult to remember today that the Odyssey was translated into Latin and thus became an important element of Western civilisation as late as on the eve of the age of the Renaissance. In the middle of the 15th century in Florence, Apollonio di Giovanni produced the earliest narrative illustrations of Homer's epic in post-antique art. They adorn four long panels on wood which originally constituted the fronts of cassoni or marriage chests; two of them, once in the collection of Count Karol Lanckoroński in Vienna, have, since October 1994, belonged to the Royal Castle in Kraków. Despite their notable artistic qualities and the fact that they provide the most complete depiction of the adventures of Ulysses in early-Renaissance art, the Lanckoroński Odyssey panels have never been the subject of a separate study. The present paper seeks to fill this gap; it investigates Apollonio's literary sources, the models for the numerous scenes he depicted, and the context in which his Odyssey panels were produced. Furthermore it answers the question: What could have been the message being conveyed to the newly weds by the panels in question? Thus this paper is also a contribution to the research on Apollonio di Giovanni's connections with humanism and also 15th-century archaeology.
As signaled by the citation of Proverbs 8:24 and Sirach 24:31 in its prologue, the decree of the Council of Basel on the Immaculate Conception represented a triumph of the immaculist Marian teaching of the Franciscan theologian and philosopher John Duns Scotus. The Franciscan Studium Generale at the church of Sant'Antonio in Padova had been a flourishing center of Scottist philosophy and theology since the beginning of the fourteenth century, when the Franciscan companions and allies of the Subtle Doctor and his immediate successors returned from their studies in Paris and Oxford. It seems plausible that after Basel the Franciscans might have wished to celebrate the victory of the Immaculata and their own Scottist theology in a new altarpiece for their church, carried out by Donatello between 1446 and 1450. The interpretation sets the Virgin's sapiential persona into the broader context of the long-standing Christian homology between Genesis and the Timaeus, producing a Platonic reading of the Immaculata as the feminine principle in creation: the mother, receptacle, and womb of all generation. In his treatise De Iside et Osiride Plutarch had identified that primordial feminine principle with Isis, the Egyptian goddess of wisdom. Certain formal resemblances between Donatello's Virgin and ancient figures of Isis are interpreted in terms of this homology. Given that the Council of Basel was schismatic by the time it issued the decree on the Immaculate Conception, the Isis persona provided a well-found confirmation of their predelicted doctrine in the writings of some "ancient theologians".
During his life, Goethe collected about 11,500 prints and drawings which spanned all epochs. Not limited to works by his favourite artists, his collection is remarkable for its wide scope. Goethe's practices of collecting show striking similarities to his methods of research in the field of natural science. This article proposes that these methods enabled him to define a general concept of art which exists beyond the individual, thus historically based works.
The years 1897 and 1898 are regarded as the golden era for three art groups and three art journals in three separate centres of the Habsburg empire — the cities of Vienna, Cracow and Prague. It was at that time that the three art associations: Vereinigung bildender Künstler Österreichs — "Wiener Secession", Towarzystwo Artystów Polskich "Sztuka" [Society of Polish Artists "Art"], and Spolek výtvarných umělců Mánes [Association of Artists "Mánes"] were set up. The three groups maintained mutual contacts (however cold they proved to be), and jointly participated in many exhibitions, asserting at the same time their distinct national characters. Each of them possessed its own, specific kind of a "temple" and salon of art, where — beside exhibiting art — they introduced a new style of exhibition arrangement, using painted friezes, draperies, furniture, and above all — decorative shrubs, plants and festoons of flowers, which made the exhibition space look like a society drawing room or a garden house. The three associations closely collaborated with three art journals, set up almost simultaneously: Ver Sacrum in Vienna, Volné Smĕry in Prague, and Życie in Cracow, which on their pages united an analogous literary content with a beautiful layout and graphic design. The milieu which yield the three above-mentioned associations consisted of ARTISTS-GENIUSES, ARTISTS-NEUROTICS, ARTISTS-PRIESTS, and also ARTISTS-ACTORS who were ready to fulfil their great missions according to the principle of "art for art's sake". They had great reverence for Romanticism, disposition for melancholy, irrationality, apathy, and eagerly referred to symbolism, and decadence. At the same time, they were ready to cause scandals, defending their beliefs, eager to participate in sophisticated parties and frequented outrageous cabarets cafés — the "seats of debauchery and all kind of evil". After 1905 there followed a decline of the idea of egalitarianism of art and its emotional values; the conviction of the artist's special mission in society was abandoned and the new generation of artists, both in Vienna, Prague, as well as in Cracow, in their aggressive manifestos and programs heralded radical changes to the arts. The outbreak of World War I, the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the recovery of national sovereignty by the Czechs and the Poles had written the last act in the drama of mutual contacts between the Vienna Secession, the Prague Mánes and the Cracow "Sztuka".