252 x 232 mm
IN THIS ISSUE - SPECIAL ARTICLES
KONRAD OBERHUBER IN MEMORIAM (1935-2007). PART I
252 x 232 mm
IN THIS ISSUE - SPECIAL ARTICLES
KONRAD OBERHUBER IN MEMORIAM (1935-2007). PART I
Konrad Oberhuber and Albertina
Klaus Albrecht Schröder, director of the Albertina in Vienna, looks back on the period of his predecessor's tenure as the director of the museum (1989—1999), describing the situation of the collection at that time, and the policies Konrad Oberhuber employed, e.g. while acquitting new works of art for the collection (especially the purchases of international works), as well as his activity as a scholar and teacher of art.
On the Connoisseurship and Art-Historical Methodology of Konrad Oberhuber
This article deals with the expertise and art-historical methodology of Konrad Oberhuber. The methodological principles are based on the teachings of the Vienna school of art history, on the one hand, and developed from Oberhuber's museum experience and research work, on the other. Oberhuber was not only one of the most prominent specialists in the field of drawing and one of the most important art historians of our time, he also distinguished himself from other experts by providing detailed written documentation of his attributions, which were grounded in solid scholarship. In a number of examples is explained the approach of this scholar, who had a remarkable visual memory and an exceptional eye.
One of Oberhuber's theories has not yet received the full recognition that it deserves from other scholars of art history. Based on the teachings of Rudolph Steiner, it maintains that the seven-year cycles that occur in human development are also to be found in the works of art. This step-by-step development, which Oberhuber explained using the example of Raphael's oeuvre, can also be applied to the works of other artists, offering art-historical researchers entirely new possibilities with regard to the dating of artworks.
The author, former student of Konrad Oberhuber at Harvard, gives his personal reflections on the personality of the scholar, on his human qualities. Although important for teaching, these qualities generally slip between the cracks of university culture as they cannot be measured, and they are not necessary for professional success.
Konrad's official accomplishments — his publications and museum acquisitions — will survive all of us. Commemorating them seems redundant as they commemorate themselves. Those fortunate to have known Konrad directly can pay tribute to other accomplishments. Although reflected in the tone and content of his scholarship and the particular art works he lovingly acquired for various museums, these personal accomplishments do not translate as well into the official record. They remain tied to private encounters in the living classroom which Konrad took with him wherever he went. Existing in the unrecorded space of the personal encounter, they are what Wordsworth called "that best portion of a good man's life: his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love".
The «Gorgóneion» from Mantua
The present author explores the unusual iconography of a sheet in the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe of the Uffizi, in which she has recognized an autograph drawing by Andrea Mantegna in the so-called Head of a Man with a Wide-Open Mouth. It may be identified with the "Mask in Pen" by the great Paduan artist, mentioned in the manuscript of the Inventory of Drawings of the Florentine Collection, which was compiled at the end of the eighteenth century by Giuseppe Pelli Bencivenni. This drawing is executed in a synthetic manner. It displays the self-confident hand and vigorous technique of parallel-hatching evident in some pen-and-ink studies by Mantegna. He developed this style of graphic mark, and it remained consistent throughout his career, from his earliest years in Padua onward. Like almost all of his securely attributed sheets, the newly identified Uffizi drawing reveals little, or no cross-hatching.
The Uffizi Head of a Man exhibits facial features closely similar with the celebrated Self-Portrait, frescoed by Mantegna in the Camera picta, which peeks out from amidst the stylized ornamental designs and the acanthus leaves on a painted pilaster in the so-called wall of the Meeting. The newly identified Uffizi drawing also resembles the mask with hair in the form of acanthus leaves, seen at the centre of the basin in the Project of a Fountain, now in the British Museum. A second version of this British Museum sheet is also preserved in the drawings collection of Emilio Santarelli, now forming part of the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe of the Uffizi. Both sheets, in turn, seem to stem from a common Mantegnesque prototype, which was either an autonomous lost work, or a work that recombined various figural elements deriving from the great master. The Uffizi drawing, with its exaggerated expression of the face, reveals that it is part of the Quattrocento tradition of reusing antique masks, and which was an especially prominent part of Mantegna's practice of antiquarianism, as has been emphasized by Fritz Saxl and Moshe Barasch.
It is possible that Mantegna sought to portray himself with a terrifying expression, as an allusion to the fierce Gorgon. For, this mythological figure embodied terror, but as she resided on the breast of Athena—Minerva, the Goddess of Wisdom, she was also able to keep her ghosts far away and instil terror only in ignorant and unwise persons. A relevant example, the Medusa on the shield of Pallas in the reverse of a medal, executed by Bartolommeo Melioli, was based on a drawing that was probably by Mantegna, and the physiognomy in this work resembles that of the bronze portrait bust of the great artist in his funerary chapel at Sant'Andrea in Mantua. The attention lavished by Mantegna on the theme of the Medusa (from the ruined frescoes in the Ovetari Chapel in Padua to the Triumphs of Caesar, today at Hampton Court) reflects his close ties to the intellectual milieu of scholars of epigraphy, antiquarii, humanists, and copyist-scribes of ancient sources in Padua and Mantua. They revered the collecting of medals and antique coins, and in these objects the myth of Medusa figured with some prominence. The drawings by Cyriac of Ancona, which were made well known by Felice Feliciano, also provided an important means of dissemination of such motifs.
Mantegna probably produced the Uffizi sheet after he had finished the fresco-cycle in the Camera picta — 1474 being a likely post quem date. This drawing is undoubtedly earlier than the two lost works by Leonardo described in Giorgio Vasari's Vita of the artist, and which Leonardo would have executed before his departure for Milan in 1482—1483. The type of figure in the Uffizi drawing seems also comparable to Florentine works from the 1470s, especially those produced in the workshops of Verrocchio and Pollaiuolo. In these Florentine works, the figures are portrayed with mouth wide-open and hair dishevelled, and thus represent a typology that oscillates between the head of the Gorgon and those of the Furies.
The Self-portrait in the guise of Medusa at the Uffizi appears to embody some kind of artistic declaration by Mantegna. It demonstrates the strength of his will in imitating Sculpture rather than Nature, for it was precisely this artistic propensity in Mantegna's Ovetari frescoes which provoked the criticisms of Squarcione, according to Vasari. At once deeply suggestive and idealized, Mantegna's Self-portrait alludes to the apotropaic masks of antiquity and the myth of the Gorgon, and arrives at a kind of consecration of a "poetica di pietra" — a poetry in stone — magnificently evident from his early sculptural figures of the Ovetari frescoes to the monochrome paintings imitating marble or bronze of his late years.
Florentine artists considered drawing the foundation of art. It is due to this venerable approach that a great number of preparatory drawings were made and that, even with losses due to the vicissitudes of time, numerous examples are preserved today. Many of these are still nameless. The concerns here are some late sixteenth-century and seventeenth-century Florentine drawings which can be lifted from long established orbits of anonymity or of attributions of convenience, identified and related to particular historical contexts. Proposals are made for drawings by the 'reformers' Benedetto Veli, Giovanni Maria Butteri, Giovanni Battista Paggi, Lodovico Cigoli who was a leader in the Florentine Baroque, his disciples Sigismondo Coccapani and Cristofano Allori, the later artist Fabrizio Boschi, and the draftsman-collector Giuseppe Santini.
An Important Drawing by Liberale da Verona in the Uffizi
A beautiful pen drawing in the collection of the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe of the Uffizi (inv. no. 1103 E) depicts Christ blessing (on the recto) and a Seraph with long wings reaching his feet (on the verso). The drawing has hitherto received little scholarly attention, but, for stylistic reasons, can be easily connected to two drawings, also executed in pen, in the collection of the Szépmûvészeti Múzeum in Budapest (inv. nos. 1767 and 1768). The Madonna and Child depicted in one of the Budapest drawings is no doubt a preparatory sketch for a painting of the same subject in the collection of the National Gallery in London (inv. no. 1134), a well-known work by Liberale da Verona from his late period. Therefore, the drawing from the Uffizi should be attributed to the great Veronese master of the Quattrocento. What is more, since the Seraph on the verso is a preparatory drawing for Liberale's fresco in the Bonaveri Chapel in Santa Anastasia church in Verona, executed in the early 1490s, it must have come from under Liberale's hand. The quality of the drawing in the Uffizi as well as of that in the Budapest museum is very high, confirming the high quality of Liberale's art in his late period.
A Series of Paintings Depicting the Stories of Moses by Paolo Veronese and Workshop
In 1976 Terisio Pignatti published a painting representing Moses and the Burning Bush — then in storage in the Pitti Palace — with a provenance from the Villa of Poggio a Caiano, including it, at my suggestion, in his catalogue raisonné of the works of Paolo Veronese: it has since been accepted by other scholars and in 1988 it was shown in two exhibitions devoted to the artist. At that time no one could suspect that the painting was part of a series of five illustrating the main events in the life of Moses, of which four have now been identified (the fifth, representing Moses with the Tables of the Law and the Golden Calf, is still missing). The Finding of Moses, on loan to the Italian Embassy in Bonn, can be attributed to Benedetto Caliari. Another canvas of the series, which reappeared in the storeroom of the Villa of Poggio a Caiano, represents The Crossing of the Red Sea: the quality of the painting would suggest an autograph work by Veronese, and therefore the real pendant of the first picture.
On the occasion of this special publication devoted to the memory of my dear friend Konrad Oberhuber, I wished to do further research on this subject, also because Konrad, in two publications of 1968, pointed out that Veronese had copied from H. Cock's illustrations of ancient Rome (1551) in several ruins that appear in his frescoes in Villa Barbaro at Maser. Similar ruins are also to be found in the Moses and the Burning Bush, providing a clue for a dating in the 1560s, both of the Maser frescoes and the series devoted to Moses, once in the Villa of Poggio a Caiano, for which the earliest record known to us dates back to 1781. To the three pictures discussed above it is now possible to add another one, representing Moses Striking the Rock, on loan from the Florentine Galleries to the palace of the Senate in Rome, which, as G. Fioco thought, may also be attributed to Benedetto Caliari. The provenance of the paintings is still mysterious, but judging from their frames, which seem datable to the beginning of the 17th century, we are inclined to think that they were acquired by a member of the Medici family.
Konrad Oberhuber returned again and again to Giulio Campagnola's prints and drawings, without, however, taking up the problem of his activity as a painter. After reviewing the contemporary evidence for the artist's paintings, together with past attributions, this essay proposes the so-called Faun in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich, as his work. While disputed between Correggio, Palma Vecchio, and Giorgione, among others, the Munich panel resembles another tiny picture of Mars and Venus, convincingly ascribed to Giulio, in the Brooklyn Museum, as well as comparable portrayals in his graphics. The actual subject would appear to be the ancient Daphnis, reputedly the inventor of the pastoral.
Starting with a discussion of Titian's late Nymph and Shepherd in Vienna, of which Panofsky's interpretation as Paris and Oenone is accepted, it is noted that all the figurative components recall work by Sebastiano del Piombo and Titian himself of the early Cinquecento, a period when histories of the early life of Paris were uniquely common in Venetian painting. Various uncontroversial examples of Paris narratives by unidentified artists are cited, and several paintings by or after Giorgione and Titian are proposed as representation of Paris. In particular, from visual comparison with his lost early Finding of Paris, recorded by Michiel and known in a copy by Teniers, it is argued that Giorgione's Tempesta illustrates the Nurture of Paris. It is further shown that a lost Judgement of Paris known in several copies, and of which the original is variously attributed to Giorgione or Titian, must be by Titian since it quotes a figure in an engraving that was not issued in Giorgione's lifetime: Marcantonio Raimondi's Adam and Eve after Raphael. It is suggested that both the Tempesta and the Judgement of Paris may have been components of a Paris cycle in which Sebastiano too could have been involved. The article concludes that by returning, in his Paris and Oenone, to themes that he had addressed over sixty years earlier and to which he had not returned in the interim, the elderly Titian was consciously paralleling his own early life with the early life of Paris, and was responding to a profound emotional need to close the sequence of his mythologies with an untrammelled evocation of youthful love.
The present article discusses a Raphael drawing in the form of a chiaroscuro woodcut depicting Archimedes Contemplating an Icosahexahedron and offers a rare insight into Raphael's visual planning for one of his canonical works, the School of Athens. Preliminary ideas are known for two other frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura: a drawing for the Disputa, and Marcantonio's engraving for the Parnassus. The present author submits a preliminary disegno for a figure in the third fresco, which suggests an earlier and other meaning for the School of Athens. Raphael, clearly the image's designer, always drew for work underway. The article asks several questions on a subject of an image of an ancient philosopher contemplating an icosahexahedron with faces mis-shapen from the square.<br /> Part A<br /> What was the subject's destination? Given the c. 1510 date of the drawing, it must have been prepared for the School of Athens of the Stanza della Segnatura. — How did Raphael know that Archimedes had invented the icosahexahedron? And from where did Raphael get the polyhedron's form? Answering the question involves examining Luca Pacioli's method in arriving independently at that polyhedron, pictured in Divina proportione. — Why was the polyhedron mis-shapen when the Divina's plate shows congruent planes? The mis-shapen form put Archimedes in dialogue with Bramante/Euclid by encoding the crossing of St Peter's. Pacioli was unaware of Archimedes's prior discovery. The article traces the geometric means by which he arrived at the body anew, in order to account for its textual position. The non-corresponding position of the plate is, instead, linked to another body that Pacioli, who was architecturally therefore spatially aware, could have adjusted to its true form. — Why was Archimedes expunged? He vitiated the power of Euclid, the historical personification of geometry. In Aristotle's realm, it was Euclid, of these two geometers, who fulfilled the prescription of higher purpose, that of theoretical wisdom. Raphael then transferred the encoded tribute to Bramante from the icosahexahedron to a diagram on the Bramante/Euclid tablet that indicates Bramante's design of the painted space of the School of Athens.<br /> Raphael's preliminary thoughts, preserved in drawings for the Stanza della Segnatura, are very rare. The present article is the first to identify the early purpose of this design, and to recognize the figure's later manifestation as St. Andrew in the Transfiguration.<br /> Part B<br /> Of the chiaroscuro woodcut itself, only two impressions are known. Of the genre, it is the sole example in which Leonardo's dark manner is engaged. Because of the print's technical importance, the present author has traced the evolution of Ugo Panico da Carpi's graphic skill in the context of Leonardo's influential painterly mode in the Transfiguration and in Parmigianino's Vision of St. Jerome.</p>
Collecting and Philology: Remarks on Drawings by Boltraffio, Solario and Luini from the Jabach Collection at the Louvre
A relationship between the watercolour additions and those in pen and ink in a group of drawings from the Jabach Collection (1618—1695), now in the Département des Arts Graphiques at the Louvre, Paris, is presented here for the first time. The drawings discussed in this study were done by Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, Andrea Solario and Bernardino Luini, as well as by Nicolas Poussin, with additions and integrations executed by Charles Errand on the occasion of the publication of Leonardo's Trattato della Pittura (Paris, 1651). Among the artists Everhard Jabach employed for the "improvements" on the drawings in his collection before selling them to the King of France in 1671, was Michel Corneille the Younger (1642—1708) to whom Jabach assigned a particular role, as has been demonstrated in previous important studies by Catherine Monbeig Goguel.
The present article considers a broader cultural context including mid-seventeenth century Rome, Giovan Pietro Bellori and the veneration for Raphael, to whom at least two of the drawings in the Jabach Collection here examined (now assigned to Solario) were attributed at the time. Certain drawings executed at Jabach's time by French artists, such as Charles Errard, Noël Coypel and Michel Corneille the Younger (hitherto unpublished), seem to show familiarity with the Raphael—Solario drawings, now in the Louvre, retouched and integrated at that time with landscapes and vegetation.
This article provides a re-examination of several crucial aspects of Agnolo Bronzino's Holy Family in Vienna. The painting, mentioned by Vasari and executed for Bartolomeo Panciatichi c. 1545 — early 1550s, was meticulously revised and altered several times by Bronzino, as is revealed by the recent examination with infrared-reflectography and restoration of the painting. An important detail in the painting is a Hebrew word painted on the book supported by the Virgin. While earlier scholars had identified this word "Jesus", this article suggests that instead it is "Isaiah", which would be more suitable to a Holy Family because one of the Prophet Isaiah's most famous prophecies was that of the Birth of Christ. It is proposed that the sources for the Hebrew lettering and phonetic spelling of the word "Isaiah" are to be found in the texts being studied by members of the Florentine literary academy, the Accademia Fiorentina, and in particular those referred to by Pierfrancesco Giambullari in his Il Gello di M. Pierfrancesco Giambullari Accademico Fiorentino, Florence, 1546, such as the works of Sebastian Münster and Sante Pagnino. The patron of the picture, Bartolomeo Panciatichi, who was suspected of unorthodox faith, persecuted for having Lutheran books in 1552, and who was also a member of the Accademia Fiorentina, may have seen the inclusion of the book of "Isaiah" as a veiled reference to traditions more fundamental than those of the modern Catholic church. He would also have been in a position to appreciate the fact that in "Isaiah" in Hebrew means "the Salvation of the Lord", which could allude to the doctrine of salvation through Christ alone.
The relationship between the painting by Claude Lorrain at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College and the related record drawing Liber Veritatis 7, at the British Museum, has broader implications for our understanding of the early evolution and evolving intentions of the artist in the creation of that celebrated album. It is proposed that the album may have been begun about 1635 as a record book of compositional reference for significant works that were being sent abroad, rapidly expanding to include commissions for prestigious patrons and only consequently nearly all major compositions. An examination of the changes in drawing style in the earliest sheets, a comparison of Claude's treatment of figures in several of the early paintings with their handling and occasional removal in the associated Liber Veritatis sheets, and reference to his etchings of the period further assists in our understanding of the genesis of the Liber Veritatis. The Dartmouth College painting also is unique among Claude's paintings in its explicitly erotic narrative — a narrative removed from the Liber Veritatis record drawing — and this issue is also explored in its cultural and historical context.
The Dresden Period of Kokoschka in a Mirror of Contemporary Exhibition Reviews and the First Monographs of the Artist
The present article shows, by means of documentary material, Kokoschka's rise to fame as one of the most eminent painters and draughtsmen of the twentieth century during his stay in Dresden in 1917—1923. This success was possible thanks to the numerous reviews of his exhibitions held in many German cities, written by well-known literary and art historians, and published in art magazines, literary journals, the daily press, as well as in the first monographs of his oeuvre. The reviewers were particularly fascinated by Kokoschka's ability to make the spiritual elements visible in his art, as displayed already in his earliest works. Of crucial importance in this period was Kokoschka's participation in the Venice Biennial of 1922, for the works exhibited there showed the utmost level of colour and expression. All the same, in the subsequent showing at Paul Cassirer's gallery in Berlin in 1923, Kokoschka's success in Germany did not reach its climax.
The Portrait of Caterina Cornaro in Lorenzo Lotto's Adoration of the Christ Child in the National Museum in Cracow
Lorenzo Lotto's Adoration of the Christ Child of c. 1508, purchased in 1971, is part of the holdings of the Gallery of Western European Painting at the National Museum in Cracow (until recently located in the Princes Czartoryski Museum).
The theme of the "Adoration of the Christ Child", which enjoyed wide currency in Italian Renaissance painting, was given here an exceptional rendering. The central group of five figures forms a certain compositional whole, as if bound together by an imaginary circle made of the tilted heads of St Francis, the Virgin and the faces of Jesus and St John. The only figure that stands out of the sacred, self-contained tondo is St Catherine, placed at the rear, against the green drapery, on the right-hand side of the picture. Her face, with individually rendered features, differs significantly from the idealized faces of the other figures. She is not young, rather middle-aged, with rounded, full face and a clearly visible double chin. Such characteristics confirm that this face cannot be an idealized one. Here we have a quite realistic rendering of a particular middle-aged woman, whereas from the lives of saints and other literary sources we know that St Catherine was charming and beautiful, and died a martyr's death at the age of 18.
The figure of St Catherine has been masterfully integrated with the group of saints in the middle ground, yet at the same time she is distinctively separated from them, and her "otherness" is clearly underscored by the Renaissance-style dress she is wearing, which makes her belong to the real world. The "otherness" of St Catherine consists in the fact that she has the portrait features of a particular person, contemporary with the painter. The present author suggests that this person is Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus, brought by Lorenzo Lotto to the unreal world of the saints adoring the Christ Child. What is more, it seems quite probable that the painting, currently in the collection of the National Museum in Cracow, had been painted on the commission of the Queen of Cyprus, perhaps in her estate in Asolo or maybe in Venice, and was supposed to serve her private devotion.
In the rich tradition of paintings depicting Caterina Cornaro, the portrait of the Queen of Cyprus as St Catherine in the Cracow painting by Lorenzo Lotto is all the more important for it had been painted by an artist who knew the Lady of Asolo personally, which can guarantee the authenticity of the model's likeness.
Konrad, it was clear, was in possession of a tremendous intellect. I have met some eminent art historians before, and although they are sympathetically inclined towards an understanding of contemporary art, they labor to achieve it. Konrad spoke beautifully on Raphael and why he was important, but he was a person with an agile capacity to leap centuries with obvious ease. The radical challenge that took place at the beginning of the 20th century when the Russian Revolution forced the pace of the advent of abstraction, made no difference to Konrad's ability to see it, understand it, and estimate it. His flexibility of intellect was impressive. His willingness to embrace art of different ages on its own terms was highly unusual, for such a great specialist.
His appetite and ambition were authentically supported by an intellect that was the acme of focus, and intrepid in its flexibility. Almost as if it were a moral responsibility to deny time its tyranny over understanding. I believe it is this moral imperative that drove Konrad's voyage. Thus he has left us a body of writing and influence that is oceanic.