In 1977 three canvases by Orazio Gentileschi turned up in London. Their subjects paralleled a passage of the Genoese historian R. Soprani (1674), who mentions a Penitent Magdalene, a Lot and His Daughters and a Danae as the first canvases painted by the artist for his patron Giovanni Antonio Sauli, when he followed him to Genoa (1621 to 1623/4). Benedict Nicolson compares the style of these with that of variants and derivations such as the Magdalenes at Broomhall/New York, Dijon, Lucca and Vienna, the Lots and His Daughters in Berlin, Bilbao, Ottawa and Burghley House, the Danae in the Cleveland Museum of Art. The Berlin and the Cleveland pictures he assumes to be autograph versions executed in Genoa - the latter being possibly the picture known to have been sent from Genoa to Marie de' Medici, Queen of France, and the former a gift of the Cardinal of Savoy to the Marqués de Leganés - whereas the Ottawa picture must have been painted by Gentileschi in France (1624/26) or on arrival in England. The change from the painterly approach of the three Sauli canvases to enamel-like forms and clarity of definition testifies to Gentileschi's development from a romantic view of the world towards an idiosyncratic classicism, as he approaches the English shores.
For Titian's Three Ages of Man (Duke of Sutherland Collection, on loan to the National Gallery of Scotland), the traditional title does not adequately account for some features. There is, for instance, the possibility of a narrative content as suggested by the parallel with methods of illustrating Ovidian stories in early printed texts. In particular, the psychological relationship between the young man and the girl implies that the subject is a story, as well as an emblem of human life. But, beyond both story and emblem, the painting seems, like the Sacred and Profane Love, to point to a poetic reality beyond this-worldly; not only the vanity of human love is represented but also its regenerating power.
The subject of this study concerns the question of what visual examples Renaissance humanists, such as Poggio, had in mind in recommending and designing cycles of paragons of heroic virtue for contemporary patrons. Because the humanists were conscious that the notion of uomini famosi, which they regarded as an antique one, had virtually died out in medieval times, and because no antique artistic precedent is known to have survived, the search of Poggio and his contemporaries for antique example was limited to literary mention. Study of citations by Greek and Roman authors whose works were known at least in fragmentary form to Renaissance humanists reveals that Poggio and his contemporaries were correct in holding up the example of the ancients. Indeed it would appear that the practice is a far more ancient and extensive one than Poggio had imagined. The artistic tradition of rewarding merit through public art is one which appears to have been known in Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman cultures and to have been expressed in programs in sculpture, painting, tapestry and the minor arts.
The paper attempts to reconstruct Rembrandt's process of working on the Portrait of Jan Six (Amsterdam, Six Collection). The sitter's attire, posture, facial traits are viewed in comparison with contemporary portraits such as Rubens' Self-Portrait (Vienna), Van Dyck's Lord John and Lord Bernard Stuart (London, Lady Louis Mountbatten Collection), Hals' Portrait of an Unknown Man (Washington). The etching, Portrait of Jan Six, together with the preparatory drawings are included. Jan Six is suggested as a possible model for Rembrandt's Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art), owing to his facies nigra of a man predisposed to Melancholia.
In Guernica Picasso uses the imagery of the bullfight. However, he reverses the relationship between the bull and a victim, the horse, by referring to the legend of Bellerophon's taming of Pegasus. In Picasso's first preliminary drawing, the tame, friendly bull is shown with the trusting horse resting by his side. As the horse gains in strength and dignity, and moves closer to the kerosene lamp, he becomes "radicalized", while the bull, alienated, disappears from the scene. These developments may be observed in the drawings and photographs of various stages of the painting that have been preserved. The woman's head flying in through the window from "outside" represents Russia. The kerosene lamp she brings in alludes to the help Russia gave the Republican Government, the Loyalists, during the Spanish Civil War (1937). The electric bulb represents the industrial countries France and Great Britain which maintained neutrality. The significance of the kerosene lamp is emphasized by the woman on the lower right, a victim recovering from shock or trauma, who gazes intently at the lamp. The man lying on the ground, his head converted into a bust with classical associations, tells the story of Guernica.