Artibus et Historiae no. 57 (XXIX), 2008
252 x 232 mm
ISSN 0391-9064
 
90 EURO
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Contents
BENJAMIN BINSTOCK - The Apprenticeship of Maria Vermeer (pp. 9—47)
Seven paintings currently attributed to Johannes Vermeer and one related work do not fit in with his distinctive approach, level of skill, use of materials, or gradual development, yet were based on the same interiors, furniture, objects, and family members as models. Several of these compositions also copy, adapt, and combine elements from his paintings. Vermeer did not have any official students, but he was not required to register his own children as students. Here I argue that his eldest daughter Maria Vermeer became his apprentice around 1672 at roughly the age of eighteen. Maria's features as model for her father's paintings are also recognizable in her earliest self-portrait studies. Over the next three years, she based her compositions on Vermeer's paintings, using herself and other family members as models. The eight paintings examined here share mutual idiosyncrasies, strategies, and a palpable development. They were created in a complex artistic dialogue with Vermeer, and ultimately influenced him in turn. My account is based primarily on the visual evidence of the paintings, starting with a coherent chronology of Vermeer's works, which can be related in turn to the chronology of Maria Vermeer's paintings from her brief period as his apprentice. Another dimension involves the family members they portrayed, primarily Vermeer's second eldest daughter Elisabeth. A last crucial factor are written documents: an agreement between the painter's widow and a baker to pay a large debt for bread, and the 1696 auction of Vermeer paintings that were originally owned by Vermeer's patron. All these elements are inter-related in a complex puzzle that is inextricable from the riddle of the Sphinx of Delft — his unique approach, vision, and genius. 
 
SARAH E. BASSETT - Style and Meaning in the Imperial Panels at San Vitale (pp. 49—57)

The equation between the verbal and the visual, most famously and succinctly summed up in the Horatian dictum, Ut pictura poesis, is a well-established topos in the history of art. Comments on the relationship between verbal and visual form abound from all periods, and the Byzantine is no exception. This essay considers the analogy between painting and poetry in the context of the early Byzantine period through an examination of two of Byzantium's most familiar images, the sixth-century mosaic portraits of the emperor Justinian (r. 526–—567) and his consort Theodora (d. 546) in the church of San Vitale, Ravenna. 

JOHN R. DECKER - Engendering Contrition, Wounding the Soul: Geertgen tot Sint Jans' Man of Sorrows (pp. 59—73)

In this paper, I discuss Geertgen tot Sint Jans' Man of Sorrows (c. 1495) as a tool for perfecting Christian souls. I argue that this image was a meditational aid that was designed to prick the viewer's conscience and engender contrition for his or her sins. In the period, contrition was central to the Christian penitential system and, for the faithful, was necessary for perfecting the soul and reconciling it with God. Geertgen's image required devotees to exercise their memories and imaginations in order to enmesh themselves mentally in the events of the Passion and forge empathic links between themselves, Christ, and his attendants. These links helped the faithful to experience Christ's sufferings in highly individual terms, to understand their own culpability in them, and to awaken sorrow for their shortcomings. The image was a tool that helped fifteenth-century Christians to desire to make amends for their failings by leading them through a process of careful self-examination and self-recrimination. Scourging their innermost selves with contrition, the faithful prepared their souls for the transition out of sin and toward salvation. 

NIRIT BEN-ARYEH DEBBY - The Santa Croce Pulpit in Context: Sermons, Art and Space (pp. 75—93)

Focusing on Benedetto da Maiano's pulpit in Santa Croce, this paper attempts to investigate the intriguing interrelations between art and preaching by analyzing the manner in which the nature and content of preaching helped shape the pulpit. In Santa Croce, the pulpit is a permanent preaching pulpit used for the seasonal cycles of Advent and Lent; it was specifically intended as a platform for popular preaching to the laity. Located in the lower nave, rather than near the altar, it is not a freestanding structure but part of the pier. The pulpit is examined in terms of its sources (visual and especially textual), its physical context within the church, its historical and cultural context (in particular as related to the sermons of San Bernardino and his followers), and the political and religious climate after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. The Franciscan cycle of this pulpit is associated with the veneration of Saint Francis in the 15th century, the conception of Francis as alter Christus, and crusade ideology. 

LENIA KOUNENI - The Kykkotissa Virgin and its Italian Appropriation (pp. 95—107)

This article deals with the impact of Cypriot art on thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Italian panel painting. The main consideration is an iconographic type of Virgin and Child, known as the Kykkotissa Virgin. This article provides an analysis of the Cypriot iconographic type and its variations, as well as a discussion of the possible channels through which Cypriot art reached Italy. The various occurrences of the Kykkotissa Virgin in Italian panels of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries indicate artistic connections between Cyprus and Italy. This article proposes that Tuscany, in particular, had close ties to Cyprus and played an important role in the diffusion of Cypriot iconographic types. The purpose of this study is to contribute to the discussion of the dissemination of types and motifs from Byzantine tradition to the thirteenth-century Italian art. 

ANDRÉ CORBOZ - Sur la fonction premiere de la Tribune des Offices a Florence (pp. 109—124)

The Original Function of the Uffizi Tribune in Florence

 

The Uffizi Tribune, today one of the best known places in the Florentine art collections, in its origin was not intended to serve as a museum. The analysis of its dome in context of the formal tradition dating from the antiquity, and taking into account the interest of the dukes, popes and queens of the Medici family in occult sciences allow to suggest that the Tribune originally had been built for astrological purposes. 

CLAIRE PACE - Numi de' poeti e della musica: Claude Lorrain's Minerva Visiting the Muses (pp. 125—148)

Claude Lorrain's Minerva Visiting the Muses (c. 1680, LV 195), painted for an unknown patron, is one of the artist's last works, the last recorded in his "Liber Veritatis", and also his last painting of a subject from Ovid's Metamorphoses — one of his favourite literary sources, especially in the 1640s and 1650s. The subject, a relatively rare one, is related to that of "Parnassus" — showing Apollo and the Muses on Mount Helicon, or Parnassus — which Claude painted twice: in 1652, for Camillo Pamphilj (LV 126) and in 1680 (LV 193), for Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna (possibly also the patron of LV 195). The present article considers the relationship between these works, and explores the associations of the subject, drawing on mythographers, and on images in emblem books and the illustrated Ovids. In particular, the association of the Muses with poetic inspiration in rural seclusion, and especially with celestial harmony, is emphasized. The painting, as a tribute to wisdom and the arts, provides a fitting conclusion to Claude's treatment of Ovidian themes. 

MARTA NEZZO - Fra avanguardia e ritorno all'ordine: Leonardo Dudreville e il movimentismo italiano dei primi anni Venti (pp. 149—164)
Between avant-garde and the return to order: Leonardo Dudreville and Italian art of the early 1920s
 
Leonardo Dudreville (Venice 1885 — Ghiffa, Novara 1975) grew up as a painter studying in Brera and then moved to Paris (Autumn 1906), together with artists like Anselmo Bucci, Aroldo Bonzagni and Gino Severini. Afterwards, he worked together with "The Italian Pointillist School" (Divisionist), under Alberto Grubicy's direction. In 1910 Leonardo Dudreville settled in Milan where he tried to join the Futurists, but was rejected as Umberto Boccioni did not want him to enter the movement. As a consequence, Leonardo conceived his own pictorial revolution: his theories and pictures were different from those of the Futurists. Currently this is known as "abstract" painting. He exhibited this kind of work in 1914, with the movement of "Nuove Tendenze". It was a "para-avant-garde" group, that is to say a group of artists who believed in the renewal of arts, but not in the destruction of all the traditional links with the art market and the public. 
After the First World War, Dudreville tried to join the Futurists again and this time he was successful: he presented fifteen pictures at the "Esposizione nazionale futurista", opened on 22 March 1919 in Milan. When Boccioni died, the movement, which was directed by Marinetti, proposed itself as the guide of all Italian avant-garde artists, indiscriminately. In the meantime, many artists began painting with a new synthetic and intelligible conception of form and reality. It was the "return to order". Following both of these movements, Leonardo, with other painters (Funi, Russoli and Sironi), subscribed to a Futurist Manifesto, entitled Contro tutti i ritorni in pittura. Here he declared that the new art should be based on avant-garde experiences and not on national classical traditions; but he also explained that the new painting should be legible and understandable to the general public. At the same time, De Chirico, Carrà and other artists were working on the Italian ancient tradition and the new philosophies of art, in order to meld the past into the new anxious necessity of the modern society. In the years 1919—1922 all those artists met each other at the same national and international exhibitions; some of them practised Futurism, Abstraction, Primitivism or simple Realism at the same time; and they all attracted attention of the same art critics. It was the season of "Movimentismo", the period of the greatest and largest theoretic and associative activity. The story of Leonardo Dudreville offers an interesting example of this moment in Italian art. 
WOJCIECH BAŁUS - La Cathédrale of Joris-Karl Huysmans and the Symbolical Interpretation of the Gothic Cathedral in the 19th Century (pp. 165—182)
In the novel La Cathédrale published in 1897, Joris-Karl Huysmans attempted to understand the phenomenon of the Gothic cathedral, using the example of Notre-Dame at Chartres. The article shows how the author's interpretations are based on the 19th-century thought, and what their sources were. 
Huysmans saw Gothic cathedrals as a religious phenomenon, which was contradictory to the tradition introduced by Victor Hugo. While analyzing the symbolism of the architecture as well as the iconography of the sculptures and stained-glass windows, he followed the 19th-century archaeology and Christian iconography which attached symbolic meaning to all the elements present in the church. He referred to numerous medieval sources, considering them with equal attention, no matter when they were created. Therefore the novel is the result of the 19th-century way of thinking, as opposed to Emile Mâle's book L'art religieux du XIIIe siècle en France
ANDREI NAKOV - Devices, Style and Realisation: Professionalism in Malewicz's Painting Technique (pp. 183—239)

The critical examination of the artistic output of Kazimir Malewicz (1879—1935), intended to establish a catalogue raisonné of the work of the painter, has led the author of the present paper to emphasise some fundamental traits of his painting technique which — apart from their artisanal application — constitute an indispensable element of the painter's artistic practice. Going beyond the limits of the mere specificity of technical processes, this study reveals the aesthetic objectives in the artist's creation, present already in his Expressionist period (1910—1911), and which are far better visible in his works from the Suprematist period (1915—1918). Based on a broad repertory of technical approaches, this study of Malewicz's painting technique, and in particular on the specificity of some of his own artistic devices (lacquered watercolour, intermediary layers of varnish or the characteristic way of inscribing forms in relation to the background of a composition), shows the important aspects of an eminently expressionist conception of non-objective (abstract) forms, "pictural beings" (Malewicz 1915), which for many decades, quite falsely, had been relegated by the pretended "modernist" critics to the purgatory of "geometrical coldness". This vision had subsequently influenced abusive restorations of surfaces of numerous works by Malewicz and thus had distorted the image of Suprematism. Revealing the preliminary stages of creation of several of Malewicz's key works, such as the original Quadrilateral (called the Black Square, 1915) or the lower layers of the White Square (1918), obtained by means of technical investigation — using X-rays or digital infra-red camera — for the first time provided access to the origin of Suprematist forms. In this way one can see to what extent the Suprematist forms are the result of a painstaking, though voluntary process of purification of artistic concepts.