Operating upon the principle that each generation of scholars and critics can and should confront and revaluate the influential works which they study, the author here seeks to develop a new reading of the True Cross cycle by Piero della Francesca in Arezzo. No effort is offered for another iconographic reading, however. Instead the author seeks to present a visual reading in which the objects constitute the central matrix. The trigger for this paper is the discovery of documents by Enzo Settesoldi, one of which indicates that Piero began painting the famous cycle in 1457, rather than 1452, the date usually taken. The implications of the new date for future study of Piero is incalculable, but here it will only be applied to the Arezzo frescoes.
The crucifixi dolorosi were traditionally believed to be a product of Central European, especially German culture. Their model was sought for in the well-known Crucifix of St. Maria in Kapitol church in Cologne. It is, however, probable that this sculptural type was of Italian origin. It could be inspired by sculptures of Giovanni Pisano, not only by his stone and wooden crucifixes, but also by such statues as his Christ from the Flagellation in the Pisa Baptistery pulpit. The spiritual roots of the sculptural type are to be found rather in the literature and praxis of flagellant brotherhoods, which blossomed in trecento Italy than in German mysticism where they were sought for earlier.
Pietro Perugino was one of the most important painters of the Italian Renaissance, yet his career reveals a significant debt to the art of sculpture. The artist regularly utilized sculptures to assist in the design of paintings, and he enjoyed profitable working relationships with many individual sculptors. Perugino looked to sculpture both as a source of inspiration and for its practical value in the studio for study, teaching, and as a source of models. Perugino particularly studied works by Verrocchio, Pollaiuolo, Donatello, and Jacopo Sansovino. His professional interaction with practicing sculptors also proved significant, especially his association with Verrocchio and his rental of a studio in Florence from the heirs of Lorenzo Ghiberti. This studio, called "le porte," was still active, in part, as a sculpture workshop and contained sculpture collected from various ages. With the help of recently discovered documents and a reconsideration of various works of art, this study of Perugino highlights the natural interconnection between painting and sculpture (and painters and sculptors) in the Italian Renaissance workshop.
This essay offers a new reading of Michelangelo's Bacchus in the light of reconsidered documents, such as the artist's biographies, descriptions of the statue as seen in Rome, and drawings, as well as visual and literary sources, both classical and Renaissance, that might have been available to the sculptor. Meant to substitute an antique statue, Michelangelo's Bacchus provokes comparing images of the god of wine in ancient texts and works of art with the conceptions of this deity prevalent in the sculptor's ambiance. The inclusion of a panisc points to the dormant bestial forces that since early Christianity had been taught to be repressed in humans. The statue appears simultaneously ancient and modern, with its pagan figures addressing themselves to a Christian beholder.
A remarkable alabaster bust of a semi-clad woman in the Victoria and Albert Museum, formerly attributed to Tullio Lombardo and more recently to Cristoforo Solari, has long been identified as A Virtue. Comparison with sculpture from the Lombardo circle and with early cinquecento northern Italian painting suggests it is instead a uniquely expressive treatment of a distraught antique heroine, possibly Lucretia. Arguments for the Solari attribution are discussed in light of recent research on this important Lombard sculptor, whose documented works on classical subjects are all lost.
The Angels' Chapel in the Church of the Gesù in Rome was painted in the last decade of the 16th century. While the iconographic program of the chapel's decoration reflects the tenets of the Counter-Reformation Church, it is also notably congruent with Jesuit concerns. This article provides a detailed interpretation of the chapel's fresco cycle within two interdependent contexts: the Catholic-Protestant conflict over cardinal theological issues, and the Catholic belief in the hierarchical intercession for salvation. Furthermore, the discussion provides an understanding of how the visual arts served the post-Tridentine Church.
In 1894 the Austrian Ministry of Culture and Education commissioned Gustav Klimt produce a group of paintings that would allegorize the Faculties of the University and the paintings were to be installed in the University's Graduation Hall. Thus Klimt produced The Faculty Pictures - Philosophy, Medicine, and Jurisprudence. One hundred years have passed since Klimt created his masterpieces, yet they have not received the attention they deserve - few critical analyses of the paintings have revealed their intellectual depth and formal sophistication. This essay, meant as a partial remedy, analyzes Medicine. Here we discuss Klimt's morphology, aesthetic paradigm, and juxtaposition of vernacular and classical traditions. Also, we demonstrate that photography had an impact on Klimt and hypothesize that Muybridge's serial photography may have provided him with a catalyst. In conclusion we propose that Medicine embodies the tradition of German Transcendental Idealism as expounded by Schopenhauer in his book which shaped nineteenth century aesthetics - The World as Will and Representation.