This article seeks to define the early development of Raphael's approach to the representation of the nude figure by reviewing the sources and dating of a number of his figure studies. It opens by linking some of these drawings to antiquities visible in Rome to support the theory of Raphael's presence in that city before 1508. It is then argued that, prior to his first studies after antique sculpture and the live nude model, executed in Florence, Raphael had assimilated classical motifs through a close study of the art of Perugino and Antonio Pollaiuolo. New evidence is presented to show that, contrary to a currently held view, Perugino and Pollaiuolo closely imitated antique sources.
Michelangelo's designs for St. Petronius, St. Proculus and the Candelabrum-Bearing Angel, carved for the Shrine of St. Dominic in Bologna during a stay in the city from 1494 to 1495, illustrate his sensitivity to the object as a visual experience bound to the observer and governed by conditions imposed by the site. The visual evidence provided by these three statuettes in fact demonstrates that, from the beginning of his career as a sculptor, Michelangelo's fundamental ideas concerning figural composition al giudizio dell'occhio, for which he later would become famous, were firmly in place.
Some designs for a grand double tomb by Michelangelo are considered to be designs for the never executed Magnifici tomb in the Medici chapel. The reclining figures displayed on the sarcophagi in these designs were accordingly interpreted as the Magnifici effigies. However, for stylistic and iconographic reasons these figures cannot represent effigies. This puts in question the original cause of these designs and consequently leads to wonder whether Michelangelo ever intended to erect a double tomb for the Magnifici on the free entrance wall of the Medici Chapel. It seems that almost from the outset he planned to have two double tombs on the lateral walls.
The rediscovery and analysis of the only extant fresco cycle by Michele Tosini (1503-1577) reaffirms the importance of this Mannerist artist in mid-sixteenth century Florence. The chapel frescoes, commissioned by the Strozzi family, depict the Adoration of the Kings and the Marriage at Cana, two events associated with the favorite Florentine feast day of the Epiphany. A third event, the Baptism of Christ is juxtaposed with a Lamentation scene in the original altar panel. Together, the frescoes and altar panel define the program of the chapel as the full cycle of redemption from the infancy narratives through Christ's sacrifice and death.
The story of Ixion's desire for Juno is one of the more seldom represented myths in the Renaissance. When it does appear in painting, it thematizes his punishment by Jupiter. A notable departure from this tradition is a painting created by Rubens shortly after his return from Italy to Antwerp. Instead of addressing Ixion's suffering, it concentrates on his deception as he embraces a "false" Juno fashioned by Jupiter out of clouds. This essay proposes that Rubens' interpretation draws on a specific classical reading of the myth of Ixion, as well as on contemporary theoretical ideas about pictorial eloquence.
Claude's rendering of Ovidian scenes is best considered in the context of his approach to classical pastoral, and particularly his affinity to Sannazaro's Arcadia. The first part of this paper explores this aspect of Claude's work. The second part considers his treatment of subjects from Ovid, suggesting that his approach differs from that of earlier artists, avoiding dramatic and erotic subjects, and usually also avoiding the actual moment of metamorphosis. Claude's Acis and Galatea is seen as exemplifying his rendering of Ovidian scenes; showing a moment of idyllic happiness shortly to be disturbed by tragic events. This "vespertinal" mood is seen as according with that of pastoral in general. Thus Claude succeeds in reintegrating Ovid's subversive use of pastoral motifs into the pastoral tradition.
A large drawing on seventeenth-century French paper of a Putto in Flight bearing an old attribution to Poussin corresponds in size and design to a putto in Le Temps et la Verité, painted for Cardinal Richelieu by Poussin in the Palais Royal in Paris in 1641. Stylistically anomalous in the corpus of Poussin's known oeuvre, it "should" be a copy - perhaps by young Charles Le Brun, who was working in the same palace at the same time - though this explains neither its variations from the painting nor what kind of preparatory work was required for Poussin to execute Le Temps et la Verité.
Don Quixote occupies an emblematic place in Daumier's work. But contrary to the literary myth of Cervantes's hero, the legend surrounding the artist is based on sparse textual and biographical sources. With 29 paintings and 41 drawings, the Don Quixote motif is the most important in Daumier's work. But why? The «marvelous kinship» (J. Adhémar) between Don Quixote and Daumier must be reinterpreted in the light of ideological, literary and artistic relationships between Spain and France in the 19th century. They reveal that the Don Quixote iconography, far from merely reflecting in an autobiographical fashion the failure of an ageing artist, is instead instrument of conquest and of artistic recognition.
Recent inquiry into the critical reception of Goya's Family of Charles IV as caricature traced a particular phrase, "a grocer and his family who have just won the big lottery prize," that appears in American art history survey textbooks, back to reported comments by Renoir in 1907. New research finds the phrase originated in an 1887 survey of Spanish art by the Belgian critic Lucien Solvay, who did not consider Goya's portrait to be caricature. This article explores the ways in which Solvay's phrase was borrowed and applied, and how these re-uses reflected a dramatic shift in interpreting Goya's painting.
The new "Delft-type" of church interiors appeared in Dutch painting of the Golden Age exactly at mid-century. It is characterized by an original two-point scheme designed to form a corner at the nearest, assymetrically placed column. No convincing explanation has been provided for this "dramatic turn around 1650" (Giltaij), especially in view of the fact that Gerard Houckgeest - the inventor of the scheme - painted still in 1648 church interiors of the traditional type. I would like to suggest here a source of possible inspiration, namely Rembrandt's Medea-etching of 1648, which on closer analysis shows a similar spatial arrangement. A further link might be provided by the use of curtains both in Rembrandt's works (Holy Family, 1646) and in the church interiors of the Delft-type.