The study from life in an English private collection which Rubens painted in the autumn of 1628 of Isabella de Bourbon, first wife of Philip IV of Spain, is here published, and the often doubted version in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, is shown to be a copy post-1640. The significance of the Albertina drawing prepared by Pontius and used as a model for his 1632 engraving of Queen Isabella is examined afresh in view of this rediscovery and of misleading publication in the Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard.
The Death of Samson by Peter Paul Rubens: A Previously Unpublished Transitional Work from the Italian Period
The discovery of The Death of Samson, recently acquired by the J. Paul Getty Mu-seum, Malibu, Cal., sheds considerable light on the artistic evolution of the young Peter Paul Rubens at the court of Vincenzo I Gonzaga, duke of Mantua. Although cited in inventories of the Cosini collection in Florence from the mid-eighteenth century, this important masterpiece long remained obscure.
The painting is all but unique for a work of Rubens’s relatively underdocumented Ital-ian period (1600–1608) in that, as the radiographic evidence shows, it is physically intact, the canvas never having been remounted; its support is also very likely original.
A dating of 1605 is proposed because, in addition to reflecting the influence of the frescoes in the Sala dei Giganti in the Palazzo del Te, The Death of Samson shares similarities in technique with Rubens’s paintings of 1605–1605 (sic) for the Mantuan church of the Holy Trinity, as well as with other works he executed at this time. The picture represents a synthesis of his experiences in Italy thus far, and presages the full blossoming of his genius upon his return to Flanders.
This article is an iconographic examination of how one of the twentieth century’s lead-ing secular artists was influenced by and attempted to retrieve the hapticity (i.e., the emotive physicality of the human body), but not the religious content of a well-known Christian work of art, with specific reference to the agonized figure of St. Mary Magdalene. The regular repetition of Crucifixion imagery in Pablo Picasso’s work shows that the idea, iconography, and meaning of religious sacrifice and ritual death were significant themes for the artist. He felt a fundamental empathy for the work of Matthias Grünewald, which he discovered sometime between 1930 and 1932, and he was particularly drawn to the lamenting Magdalene in the Isenheim Altarpiece. Examples of the sixteenth-century German master’s influence can be found in Picasso’s Crucifixion drawings after 1932, as well as in Guernica.
Explored here are the literary and visual sources for life study of the nude female model in the Renaissance. Based on the evidence provided by works by Leon Battista Alberti, Leonardo Da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Giorgione, Raphael, Lorenzo Lotto, Benvenuto Cellini, and others, it is proposed that the new studio practice only became widespread between 1490 and 1520. It was linked to the contemporaneous emergence in European art of certain kinds of life-like images of nude and partially nude women rooted in issues of sexuality and gender.
Jacopo Bellini’s collection of drawings is shown to be the product of a particular his-torical moment in which humanism, antiquarianism, and artistic sensibilities conjoined in the artist’s personal reappropriation of the classical world. In all likelihood, the albums were inspired by the antiquarian sylloge, and can even be regarded as its pictorial counterpart. Popularized by Ciriaco d’Ancona, the sylloge was a compilation of classical remains: inscriptions, renderings of pagan monuments, coins, and gems, and imaginary scenes of daily life in ancient Rome. It reached its most eloquent expression in the Collectio Antiquitatis of Giovanni Marcanova. The analogies and distinctions that can be discerned between Marcanova’s codices and Bellini’s albums offer revealing evidence of the artist’s personal approach to antiquity. While his drawings of antique settings evoke the classical world through the Gothic idiom of the Venetian present, they also reveal a novel sense of the past in their awareness of time passing and their ambivalence towards the seductive attractions of pagan antiquity.
Sculpture in wood, painted to reproduce the physical realities of the forms which it represented, seems to have stylistic conventions which are remarkablyconsistent over time and differ from those of marble and bronze sculpture. The devotional and liturgical roles for which such sculpture was created provide both a reason for its conservative style, especially during the fifteenth century, and a possible explanation for the late integration of bronze sculpture into decorative programs for interior spaces. Documentary and textual sources indicate that the placement of wooden sculpture and its use as part of liturgical drama gave it an active functional role to play in the religious life of the culture for which it was made. Critical and historical evaluation of wooden sculpture must, therefore, take these factors into account in any discussion of style and context.
Modern scholars have stressed Venice’s artistic and cultural ties to Byzantium, as represented by the imitation and appropriation of Byzantine works - a process that appears to have been at its height in the thirteenth century. Or, alternatively, scholars have emphasized Venice’s connection to the West, to ideas of ancient lineage and classical antique style as in-spired by Rome - a process generally seen as coming to the fore in the fifteenth century. This article sets out to trace the coexistence of both traditions.
Though awareness of this dual heritage developed already in the early thirteenth cen-tury, it was in the following century, with the expanasion onto the mainland, that it was con-sciously cultivated in order to give Venice a distinct identity setting it apart from other Italian city-states. The key figure was the scholar-doge Andrea Dandolo (1343-54), who used San Marco to express artistic statements that would project the East-West message. By the time of the sixteenth-century theorists, such as Gasparo Contarini, the concept was firmly rooted in the Venetian vision.
The fruit still life in the foreground of Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is here raised to new prominence. Its forms are read not as part of a narrative, as in most earlier inter-pretations, but rather as an emblematic and powerful phallic presence generated through the artist’s development of the composition in his preliminary studies for the painting. The five demoiselles now appear to surround a fetishistic assemblage of objects, and the work as a whole, though still startling in its dissonance, becomes a more cultic and confrontational image than the descriptions of Robert Rosenblum or Leo Steinberg suggest.
Discussion of two virtually unknown twin still lifes by Simon Luttichuijs of 1645. In these still lifes we find in all no fewer than six paintings and four prints, most of them by Lievens, and some by Rembrandt. The author gives an iconographical analysis of the two still lifes, and interprets them as carrying the "Vanitas"variant, "Vita Brevis, Ars Longa", as a meaning. Furthermore, Rembrandt’s print B.350 (Old Woman Sleeping) is attributed to Lievens, and a new proposition for the identification of the young man in Rembrandt’s print B.268 (Young Man in a Velvet Cap) is offered.
This study of The Misanthrope by Peter Bruegel the Elder applies an “audience-response” methodology in considering the painting from the point of view of humanists in the Low Countries in the 1550s and the 1560s. On the basis of the literature, emblem books, art, and pageantry of the period, the author suggests that for the audience of mediocriter literati, the painting represented Timon of Athens, the semi-legendary misanthrope of ancient literature. This well-defined character in the ancient world – recognizable by his solitude, sour ex-pression and inhumanitas – was resurrected in the Renaissance and again became proverbial for his bitter hatred of humanity and retreat into isolation.
The Misanthrope is a truly Renaissance work geared to the interests of its original au-dience, which appreciated it not only for its artistry but also as an example of how the ancient past could be brought to bear on the problems of the present.
Based on the discovery of a previously unknown drawing by Perino del Vaga, here identified as an idea for an unexecuted altarpiece commissioned by Andrea Doria, the article posits a “phase I” to the campaign to transform San Matteo, the Doria church in Genoa, into the admiral-prince’s funerary chapel. Major work on this church was carried out in the 1540s, when Montorsoli redesigned the crossing and apse - the Pieta with saints and prophets in the choir and Doria’s tomb in the crypt date from this campaign - but it now seems possible that Andrea Doria’s plans for San Matteo were conceived in the 1530s and that these were en-trusted to Perino, his court artist, then still resident in Genoa. Perino’s altarpiece design shares a common theme with Montorsoli’s more elaborate sculptural program, the triumph over death - an appropriate topos for a mortuary chapel - and, considered in the larger physical context of the church and its furnishings, both articulate Doria’s ambition forhis eternal resting place.This ambition was at once the celebration of his earthly fame and his role as Defender of the Church, and the expression of his hope for salvation and eternal life after death.
Le vite de’ pittori, scoltori et architetti genovesi... by Rafaele Soprani, first written inn 1647-57 but continually revised up until shortly before its posthumous publication in 1674, is the most important source of information on the history of Genoese art. The final version of the work contains 158 chapters and the biographies of 186 artists. These accounts are solidly documneted and in general reliable, giving very few inaccurate dates. Soprani writes knowl-edgeably about Gothic and Renaissance art, but strangely ignores the profound changes that occurred in Italian painting in the seventeenth century. One of his most interesting topics is the uncontrolled export of Genoese art treasures abroad, which he condemns.
The author’s aim is to glorifythe artistic achievemnets of his republic, but he also emerges as a major defender of the art of painting in the struggle to win for it appropriate rec-ognition and social status.
In an obscure, almost inaccessible part of the Sistine Last Judgment, the American painter Eugene D. Markowski recently discovered a hitherto unsuspected self-portrait of Michelangelo strongly resembling that in his Pieta sculpture in the cathedral of Florence. The image was apparently intended for the artist’s private satisfaction alone, in the manner of the self-portraits that appear repeatedly in his early drawings. The discovery lends both weight and an added dimension to the earlier claim by the author of this article that the object in the fresco which had been taken for St. Bartholomew’s knife is in reality a sculptor’s file used to remove the final "skin" of unfinished marble from statues, as referred to in a poem by Michelangelo. The file, which strips away the marble skin to disclose the living skin of the figure beneath, becomes both the creator of forbidden beauty and the instrument of salvation from sin – a dual function that sheds light on the mystical significance of artistic activity for Michelangelo.