Artibus et Historiae no. 58 (XXIX), 2008
252 x 232 mm
ISSN 0391-9064
 
90 EURO
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Contents
ELINOR M. RICHTER - Pulling out all the Stoups: A Newly-Discovered Acquasantiera by Antonio Federighi (pp. 9—27)

The author recognizes a beautifully carved and intricately designed Acquasantiera in a private collection in London to be the work of the Sienese sculptor, Antonio Federighi (c. 1420—1483).

Federighi helped to reintroduce the heavily foliated carving and pagan imagery of antiquity into the vocabulary of Sienese Quattrocento sculpture. As capomaestro of the Opera, first in Orvieto and later in Siena, Federighi designed a number of holy water basins that were long mistaken for pagan altars. Based on the form of Roman candelabra, the stoups are profusely ornamented with sphinxes, putti astride dolphins, and marine creatures that are combined with more traditional Christian symbols and the burgeoning humanistic ideas of the Renaissance.
This new work has much of the same imagery as the earlier basin in Orvieto (c. 1451—1456), but the carving reveals greater subtlety and finesse. It must therefore be dated to c. 1458—1462 after the artist's return to Siena but before his capolavoro, the Acquasantiera in Siena Duomo, the latter having been recorded as newly finished in 1467. Two coats of arms on the London basin identify the Benincasa, a family of banchieri, and the Counts of Marsciano, a family related by marriage to the great condottiere Gattamelata, as the patrons of the work. No doubt the Acquasantiera was commissioned to celebrate a marriage between the powerful clans or the birth of a mutual heir. The discovery of the London basin adds significantly to our understanding of Federighi's artistic development and further clarifies his role in the history of Tuscan sculpture. 
SYLVIE BÉGUIN - Note sur un dessin de Saint Roch de Lorenzo Lotto (pp. 29—34)

A Note on a Drawing of Saint Roch by Lorenzo Lotto

 
The article casts new light on the dating and discusses the style of a drawing of Saint Roch by Lorenzo Lotto (formerly in the Bestegui collection Paris, now in the Louvre, Department of Graphic Art). The work has been reconsidered by confronting it with Lotto's anti-plague series (1531—1549/50). A new analysis of the style and technique of the drawing, in connection with some of Lotto's painted works, allows to propose a new dating of the drawing — before 1531. 
CATHERINE PUGLISI, WILLIAM C. BARCHAM - Bernardino da Feltre, the Monte di Pieta; and the Man of Sorrows: Activist, Microcredit and Logo (pp. 35—63)

Leading grand processions through the towns of northern Italy in the late fifteenth century, the Franciscan friar Bernardino da Feltre brandished a banner emblazoned with the image of the Man of Sorrows, often called the Imago pietatis. His remarkable dual objective was to found and finance a civic lending bank or Monte di Pietà to help the working poor. Nowadays the designation "Monte di Pietà" seemingly embraces a tension: banking on the one hand and the redemptive body of Christ on the other. Or to put it differently, the need for capital in this world and the promise of Christian salvation in the next. Our article seeks to explain the apparent paradox of the Man of Sorrows as a fitting symbol for the Monte and to clarify Bernardino's role in adopting the image as an organizational logo. We explore these questions in the light of the history of the Man of Sorrows in the Veneto during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and against the political strategies of the Observant Friars generally and Bernardino in particular. 

MIECZYSŁAW MORKA - The Beginnings of Medallic Art in Poland during the Times of Zygmunt I and Bona Sforza (pp. 65—87)

The art of medal making was late in coming to Poland, only making an appearance in 1520. In that year a small medal was cast in silver to mark the birth of Zygmunt August, the first-born son of King Zygmunt I and his second wife, Bona Sforza of Aragon. The medal was an extraordinary piece of work also because of the fact that there was no artist in Cracow at that time who was able to make small moulds for cast medals. Therefore, in 1526 the chancellor, Krzysztof Szydłowiecki, invited Hans Schwarz, a German sculptor and medallist to come to Poland. He cast a one-sided medal of the chancellor in bronze. In the years 1526—1527 Schwarz also worked for King Zygmunt I, proof of which are the surviving five or six medals with a bust of the King. At least one of them was cast in gold, a copy of which Seweryn Boner, a banker and adviser to the monarch, sent as a gift to Erasmus of Rotterdam.

Hans Schwarz left Poland after two years. However, the significance of medal engraving was appreciated at the Polish court, and this is proven by the attitude of Zygmunt I's wife towards the art. There is no doubt that Bona had a keen interest in medallic art and she may have possibly been responsible for bringing the sculptor Giovanni Maria Mosca called Padovano from Venice to Cracow. Padovano executed a series of medals depicting members of the royal family: Zygmunt I, Bona, their daughter Izabela and their son Zygmunt August. The originals were sent, most probably by Bona, as gifts to Ippolito (II) d'Este, the Archbishop of Milan. It is here for the first time that the message contained in those medals has been exhaustively analysed.
Not long after Padovano had made the royal medals, Maciej Schilling, a minter and maker of coin presses, became interested in medallic art. In 1533 in the Toruń mint he struck a so-called thaler medal in gold and silver with portraits of Zygmunt I and Zygmunt II August on both sides. It was used by Melchior Baier, a goldsmith from Nuremberg, as a model for making the portrait plaques on the predella of the so-called Silver Altarpiece in the Sigismund Chapel at Cracow Cathedral. In the same year Schilling made a medal of Seweryn Boner in silver and gold.
Among the medallists working in Poland mention should also be made of Giovanni Giacomo Caraglio from Verona — an engraver, goldsmith and maker of glyptics.
It is worth noting that although some medals dating from the time of Zygmunt I and Bona have not been preserved, we do have some indirect information about them from written sources. The small number of medals made during the reign of Zygmunt I indicate that this craft was treated as rather marginal at the court. Schwarz was the one person to produce them systematically. This was nothing in comparison to the role the medals played at the courts of the House of d'Este in Ferrara and Mantua, the House of Aragon in Naples or the Emperors Maximilian I and Charles V. It was undoubtedly Bona who had a significant role in promulgating medallic art in Poland, and her understanding of the impact of such propaganda is clearly visible. 
 
DEBRA PINCUS - Giovanni Bellin's Humanist Signature: Pietro Bembo, Aldus Manutius and Humanism in Early Sixteenth-Century Venice (pp. 89—119)
Giovanni Bellini's signatures have been discussed in terms of artistic identity. But there is another side to the topic that has received relatively little attention. Bellini was formed within a climate of passionate involvement with letter forms, both antique and those developed within the active book production of Renaissance Venice.
Analyzed here are the specific forms of the letters used by Bellini in his signatures, concentrating on the italic, or cursive, signature. This signature type emerges rather late in Bellini's career, first seen — it is argued here — in Bellini's portrait of Pietro Bembo in the Royal Collection of Her Majesty the Queen. The connection between Pietro Bembo and Aldus Manutius, the publishing genius who put cursive letters in the service of a new type of humanist book, is seen as a key component of the dynamic that led to the change in Bellini's signature style.
REGINA STEFANIAK - Of Founding Fathers and the Necessity of the Place: Giorgione's Tempesta (pp. 121—155)

This essay will identify the blond young woman (the "gypsy" mentioned in the Vendramin sources) and the well-dressed young man in Giorgione's Tempesta with Poverty and Wealth (Poenia and Poros) in Diotima's story of the generation of Eros (Symposium 203). In his treatise De Iside et Osiride Plutarch later linked the couple with Plato's female and male generative principles of creation (Timaeus 49—50). In the Christian Platonic tradition Saints Basil and Ambrose assimilated the Timaean principles to the Creator acting on created prime matter; Eusebius of Caesarea interpreted Diotima's story in terms of the first parents, Adam and Eve. As depicted by Giorgione, this complex cluster of philosophical myth provided an aition for the role of the Venetian patriciate in the founding of Venice ab aeterno: noble and wealthy forefathers confronting the necessity of the place where they chose to live. In the face of critical Italian views concerning Venice and the patriciate the Platonic myth provided an apology for their commercial occupations and energetic pursuit of wealth, and furthermore a mandate for patrician rule in Venice and perhaps even in the terraferma. As a member of the nobility the collector Gabriele Vendramin shared in the general benefits of this politic representation of his class. His possession of a fascinating painting on a very well known classical text whose representation was at the same time not immediately transparent to all visitors could have provided him with some additional measure of personal gratification. 

SARAH BLAKE McHAM - Reflections of Pliny in Giovanni Bellini's Woman with a Mirror (pp. 157—171)
Giovanni Bellini's signed and dated painting of 1515 in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, has long puzzled art historians as its generic title, Woman with a Mirror, suggests. Painted in the year before Bellini's death, the picture is one of a few non-religious subjects in a long, distinguished career of an artist famous for altarpieces and other devotional works. The patron and the circumstances of commission of the Woman with a Mirror are unknown. The painting's indeterminate title reflects the difficulty of deciding whether this beautiful female nude represent a real woman, the mythological goddess Venus, a Christian allegory of vanity or luxury, or all three at once.
I argue that Bellini clearly signaled his intent through his prominent signature, "Joannes Bellinus faciebat". Bellini used the celebrated signature formula of ancient Greek artists highlighted by Pliny's Natural History: the choice announced Bellini's aim to paint a nude Venus that surpassed any created by his predecessors, ancient or modern. Whereas the few earlier artists who adopted the signature had used it on religious works or portraits, Bellini matched it to the cognate subject matter of the idealized female nude, which was a traditional hallmark of Greek art.
This article analyzes several other features of Bellini's painting that substantiate the theory that the artist was depending on the Natural History and intending comparison to Pliny's descriptions of the nude Venuses created by the great Greek artists, Apelles and Praxiteles. It concludes with an examination of the techniques by which Bellini introduced ambiguity, specifically the nude's contemporary accessories and Bellini's reference to celebrated images of nudes by van Eyck, deliberate choices that evoked contemporary debates about the paragone and extended his old-age challenge to the world of contemporary artists.
CAECILIE WEISSERT - Nova Roma. Aspekte der Antikenrezeption in den Niederlanden im 16. Jahrhundert (pp. 173—200)
The paper Nova Roma traces one aspect of Netherlandish reception of antique art and literature during the 16th century. Beside an admiring or practical approach toward classical antiquity, it offers a more theoretical approach focussing on a self-reflexive and self-increasing adaptation. To legitimate the status of artists, both literary sources and pictorial material are used.
In his translation of the theoretical writings from Vitruvius and Serlio. Pieter Coecke van Aelst admonishes his Netherlandish readers to a more reflected and knowledgeable use of the word "antique". He emphasizes the value of historical writings for each nation and the autonomy of the Netherlandish culture facing classical antiquity and Italy.
In his print series the Wonders of the World Maarten van Heemskerck discusses art-historical topics like posthumous fame, honour, artistic competition and the cunning artist. He stages the Wonders of the World as an artists' glorious deeds, which can only be visualised anew by the artist himself.
Finally, the ornamental inventions by Cornelis Floris focus on the inventive faculties of the artist who follows his inner fantasy. Like the poet, his is inspired by God. He thus must obtain the status of a liberal artist. 
ANTHONY COLANTUONO - Guido Reni's Latona for King Philip IV: An Unfinished Masterpiece. Lost, Forgotten, Rediscovered and Restored (pp. 201—216)

Guido Reni's early biographer Count Carlo Cesare Malvasia mentions a large painting of the myth of Latona that the artist had been commissioned to paint for King Philip IV of Spain, but left incomplete at the time of his death. I argue that the canvas Malvasia describes is identical with an unfinished painting of the same subject now in a private collection in Atlanta, Georgia. This article documents the attribution and provenance of the painting, as well as its recent conservation, which has yielded important technical insights. The Spanish monarch commissioned the Latona to make amends for his Roman ambassador's hasty rejection of a previously commissioned work by Reni, the famous Abduction of Helen (Paris, Musée du Louvre), which subsequently met with extraordinary critical acclaim. I further argue that the moral argument of Reni's Latona is closely akin to that of the Helen, and, similarly selected with the advice of the papal court, was probably meant to serve as a diplomatic metaphor pertinent to ongoing political negotiations between Rome and Madrid. 

FILIPPO PEDROCCO - Due nuove opere giovanili di Giambattista Tiepolo (pp. 217—221)
Two Newly-Discovered Early Works by Giambattista Tiepolo
 
It is now a commonly accepted opinion that in his early years, in the period between the end of the 1720s and the beginning of the 1730s, Giambattista Tiepolo seemed to be equally attentive to the model works of his contemporaries, masters belonging to two different artistic currents at that time most popular in Venice. One of them was the "neotenebrosi", originating still in the 17th century, in Baroque art, of which the main representative was Giambattista Piazzetta. The other, more modern current, of the "chiaristi", followed the example of 16th-century painter, Paolo Veronese. The unquestionable leader of the latter movement was Sebastiano Ricci.
The two paintings, which until now have been unpublished and are presented here for the first time — David with the Head of Goliath and The Sacrifice of Iphigenia, belonging to two different private collections — are good examples of those diverse interests of the young Venetian painter at the very beginning of the 1720s. The first picture, built on rather dark colour scheme, is in fact an obvious homage to the art of Piazzetta, also in that regard that its theme is derived from a painting by that master (currently in a private collection in Ireland), though it has been substantially modified in details, according the sensibility of the younger painter. The second canvas, on the other hand, already shows the brightening up of the colour scheme. The colours are becoming very luminous; clearly visible is the inventiveness and compositional mastery of the painter, the softness in rendering of the figures — traits which in future were to become the "signature" of the mature output of Tiepolo
 
GISELA HAASE - Ein barocker Dresdner "Audienz Stuhl" mit Kurfürstlich-Sächsischem und Königlich-Polnischem Wappen (pp. 223—245)
A Baroque Dresden "Audience Chair" with Coats of Arms of the Electorate of Saxony and the Kingdom of Poland
 
The coronation of Frederick August I, Elector of Saxony as King of Poland (Augustus II the Strong) in 1697 started an over sixty-year-long period of close political, economical and artistic relations between Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Saxony. Augustus II the Strong (1670/95—1733) reigned in Warsaw and Dresden — as King of Poland and Elector of Saxony. After his death (on 1 February 1733), his son and heir, Frederick August II succeeded his father as Elector of Saxony and then, on 17 January 1734, was crowned as King of Poland (Augustus III; 1696/17—33—1763). The personal union of Poland and Saxony ended with his death in 1763. The political union of the two countries was also mirrored in the iconography of works of art commissioned by the royal court of the Wettins, among them, a richly carved, gilt audience throne of c. 1720, bearing coats of arms of the Republic of Poland and of Saxony. The throne was made in the royal Dresden workshop by the court cabinetmaker — pupil of the famous Balthasar Permoser (1651—1732) — Johann Benjamin Thomae (1682—1751), active at the decoration of the Zwinger palace in Dresden. Sculptural decoration of the throne under discussion shows close affinities with the style of such of Thomae's works as his altarpiece for the Three Magi Church in Dresden-Neustadt (1738—1740), decoration of the Zwinger, as well as with numerous pieces of furniture done by him, now at the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Dresden. 
The arms were carved in gesso priming at the rear of the throne's back, probably several years after the throne's manufacture. The reason for decorating the throne anew with combined arms of the two states may have been the coronation of Augustus III in 1734. Contemporary sources (iconographic, as well as written ones, e.g. inventories of the castles in Warsaw and Dresden) testify to the fact that such stately thrones or "audience chairs" (of which only very few have survived) were an indispensable element of the courtly ceremonial. Our throne may have been destined either for Dresden or for the royal castle in Warsaw. It is known that the court commissioned also folding "audience chairs", to be used during the King's long travels between Warsaw and Dresden, none of which has been preserved.