Michelangelo's Rondanini Pietà, while relatively new to the master's canon of accepted works, is often discussed as part of his changing conception of the Pietà as an iconographic type -especially the relationship between mother and son. But close observation of the statue reveals that the work was not begun with the idea of having Mary hold her Son. Furthermore, Michelangelo's retention of fragments of successive stages in the carving in an elaborate sculptural palimpsest suggests that the dialogue of different historical moments is itself not just a part of the formal history of the work, but of its meaning as well.
This paper examines Michelangelo's unfinished Florentine Pietà and the part played by Tiberio Calcagni in its 'completion'. The essay first considers the ambition and technical difficulty of carving a marble group of four figures, which may partly explain Michelangelo's abandonment of the work. Secondly, new documents provide a fuller picture of Michelangelo's long-time friend and assistant, Tiberio Calcagni. Calcagni's relations with Michelangelo are discussed, as is his critical role in saving the damaged sculpture. Finally, the essay considers the anomalous inclusion of the Mary Magdalene and her importance for the composition and iconography of the sculpture.
Despite a 1981 essay by Trexler and Lewis, art historians continue to follow the Varchi/Vasari misidentification of Michelangelo's captains in the New Sacristy of San Lorenzo, Florence. The present article restates and strengthens the Trexler-Lewis arguments for those captains' re-identification and for seeing in the chapel an innovative and triumphant Adoration or Journey of the Magi. The author surveys the published and epistolary reactions (or non-reactions) to the earlier article, calling attention to the low intellectual level of some criticisms. He calls on such Italian art historians to bring a careful study of historical context back into their scholarly equations. As things now stand, he concludes, some art historians still imagine 'their' artists as unrestrained by the formal, social and political behavioral conventions within which humans pass their lives, which in turn permits these scholars to write as if they themselves need not be restrained by established scholarly discourses.
Jean Pillement appears somewhat as a legend as the ascriptions "in the style (or manner) of Pillement", "school of Pillement", "attributed to Pillement", and "after Pillement" are the most frequently used expressions related to his works in the literature on the subject of decorative arts. Such cautious attributions deserve a closer look. The purpose of the present study is twofold. First to provide significant illustrations Pillement's documented presence in the various fields of applied arts and, by the same token, to link, as much as possible, examples of his works with some of the countless interpretations which they inspired, ranging from exact copies to mere echoes.