Night-Light Paintings. Georges de La Tour and St. Augustine
The author recalls works with night scenes of artists in the Cinquecento and the Seicento, and their different approaches to them. Then he deals with works following the Neo-Platonic concept of Grace (Guercino, Saraceni, Poussin in his drawings) and especially the ones for which the candle may be thought of as the symbol of intelligence (Adam de Cos-ter, Gerard Seghers, but especially Terbrugghen, Stomer, Jacomo – formerly identified with Trophime Bigot – and Georges de La Tour). Linking the meanings in various works of these artists, the author gradually reconstructs on Augustinian theological reasoning.
From the point of view of ethics Terbrugghen seems to be cynical, Stomer stoic, while Geor-ges de La Tour, from his way of teaching and his aspiration to the purity of the Primitive Church, seems to be close to Port-Royal. In the artists the theme of St. Sebastian healed would seem to refer to the concealing of the faith, quite precisely one of the key notes i the story of the Saint.
1) The Toledo Lot and His Daughters and Its Possible Author. Some Considerations about the Cavallino Exhibition in Cleveland
During the Cavallino Exhibition in Cleveland (1984) many doubts came up about the at-tribution of the Lot and His Daughters (Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio), to Bernardo Cavallino. The stiffness of the composition as well as other artistic characteristics analyzed in this paper would seem to exclude Cavallino as the possible author. Either F. Guarino or A. Beltrano appear to be a more probable attribution.
2) The Ruffo Triumph of Galatea
The Triumph of Galatea included in the Bernardo Cavallino Exhibition in Cleveland (1984) appears to be hitherto lost but well documented painting by Artemisia Gentileschi, formerly in the Ruffo collection in Messina, painted ca. 1648. As in the Columbus Bathsheba, it would seem to be a product of direct collaboration between Artemisia and Neapolitan paint-ers, in this case Bernardo Cavallino. The overall composition and the figure of Galatea are Artemisia’s work; the tritons as well as dolphins are Cavallino’s. After leaving the Ruffo col-lection in the late seventeenth century the painting was cut and adapted to fit a different frame. The painting was inspired by Raphael’s Galatea and was a source of inspiration for some later Neapolitan compositions, like paintings by Luca Giordano and Paolo de Matteis. Furthermore some iconological corrections have been proposed: the Triumph of Galatea by de Matteis from Pommersfelden is re-identified as the Marine Venus.
3) The Sleeping Venus and Cleopatra by Artemisia Gentileschi
A stylistic analysis of two paintings by Artemisia contributes to determine a chronol-ogy for her oeuvre. The Sleeping Venus with Cupid is to be dated after her stay with Orazio Gentileschi in Genoa, and after her visit to Venice, but before her arrival in Naples, i.e. about 1627–1630. Interesting because of its rarity in Artemisia’s work is the symbolical landscape with the temple of Venus.
The Cleopatra betrays some Ribera influences and because of this it is to be dated to the first year of Artemisia’s stay in Naples, i.e. about 1630–1632.
Both paintings are also interesting from the iconographic point of view, representing themes dear to Artemisia, where women heroines play the main role, and where the female protagonists are exalted by purely artistic means, and this is also the case for the Ruffo Galatea.
The Integrating Power of Humanism. The Philosophy of Conrad Celtis, the German Humanist par excellence. An Iconological Study of Dürer’s and Burgkmair’s Engravings
Interpretations are given for the Philosophia woodcut made by Dürer for the Amores (Nuremberg 1502) of Conrad Celtis and the single-leaf Imperial Eagle woodcut made by Burgkmair (1506–1507) in collaboration with Celtis. Solutions are proposed to some icono-graphic riddles in connections with woodcuts, for example the Greek letters in the Philosophia and the judgment of Paris in the Imperial Eagle. The sources are discussed with respect to form and content and an attempt is made to show that they represent the essence of German humanism about 1500. This kind of humanism aims at encyclopedic education, at the integra-tion of Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance or, in other words, of the best of knowledge of all time and does not separate the humanities from mathematics and science. Humanism meant – at that time – much more than that and is not identical with the so-called studio humanitatis program (grammar, rhetoric poetry, history, and moral philosophy). It fa-vors more Platonico Pythagoraicoque kind of experience in the various fields of study.
Sixteenth century Italian mannerist paintings, characterized by juxtaposed figures in angular poses with limbs and torsos flattened in the picture, have had these elements ex-plained as a result of extensive copying of Roman relief sculpture in the artist’s studio. Figural elongation, although frequently an element of such paintings, could not be explained in this way. It is suggested in this study that figure distortion is reflective of an esthetic attitude reinforced by the studio convention of copying cast shadows. The scientific studies of cast shadows by Leonardo da Vinci demonstrate that the circumstance under which an object and its shadow are of uniform size and shape are so rare that the shape is almost always never a true image. Comparison of prints of the artist’s workshop from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries indicate a change from studying shadows in directed artificial light to working in the suffused light of day.
A new explanation of The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1915–1923) and the reasons why this work remained unfinished. Two spatial planes and their conflict. Unrealized figure of a Juggler intended to become a counterpart to the Bride. The unsolvable conflict between the two planes. Genealogy of the Bride from the por-traits of Duchamp’s sisters. The work was to became a luminous event. Symbols of the circular movement in the ready-mades and in the Bride. Duchamp’s metaphysical despair expressed in the ready-mades after 1916. Dada as “a metaphysical approach”. “Parareligious” character of Duchamp’s artistic experience. Duchamp’s surrealism and his arrangements of surrealistic exhibitions – attempts at creating an environment. Inaccessible space and the symbols of the “Given”. Duchamp – a martyr to the absolute. The social position of an artist. “Revolution of an ascetic type”.
Polish artists, Stanisław Wyspiański, Wojciech Weiss, Józef Pankiewicz, Jan Stanisławski and others, met briefly with Japanese art, mainly through woodcuts, in the Paris of the 1880s (only Jan Fałat and K. Frycz traveled to Japan). More substantially they learned about it in Cracow thanks to the friendship with the greatest collector ever of Japanese art in Poland – Feliks Jasieński, nicknamed “Manggha”, an outstanding personality, writer, and critic. In 1901 he brought to Cracow a large collection, particularly of Japanese prints, gath-ered in Paris. Soon he became a promoter of Polish “Nipponism” but he transferred not so much orientalism as some western ideas about the Orient. Polish artists could not comprehend Japanese works and in imitating them mostly limited themselves to using Japanese accessories. Only Wyspiański, Fałat and Stanisławski were free of dissension. There are two reasons why Japanese art was so strange and difficult. In fact this art as presented to Polish eyes, was born of a mythical time of everlasting present, strictly in a non-historic time. The Poles totally caught up in history, perpetually fighting to regain their political freedom, could not feel that kind of time. Besides, Japanese culture was based on the knightly Samurai code and the val-ues in this culture were expressed through “perfect” forms. Polish artists up to their necks in bourgeois-Catholic tradition could not understand Japanese relationship to art as something spontaneous and disinterested.
Writings on Art (with an Introduction by PIETRO MONTANI)
In 1937 S. M. Eisenstein was working on one of his comprehensive and most system-atic theoretical works on the subject of montage. In this book, unfinished and in part unpub-lished, Eisenstein asserted that montage occurs in various artistical fields other than cinema (literature, poetry, architecture, sculpture, painting, music), in order to show that in all of them there are certain principles at work, that cinema was bound to accept and adapt to. The essay we have extracted from this book is an analysis of the Portrait of Ermolova by V. Serov (1905, Tretiakovskaya Gallery), and shows that its composition is based on a sequence of 4 “shots” as it were of the figure from 4 angles. Depending on which of these angles the ob-server is looking at, his emotional reaction will be different. eisenstein then compares Serov’s kind of composition with that of other painters (Repin, Surikov, Ivanov, Delaunay).
In his introduction Pietro Montani, editor of the Italian translation of S. M. Eisenstein’s Works (Marsilio, Venice), has reconstructed the main theoretical themes of the book the text is taken from, and illustrates the importance that this essay on Serov should have for a definition of the principles of montage.