To mark the five-hundredth anniversary of Raphael’s birth, many of his paintings have been technically investigated and cleaned. Two of these recently treated works – the Small Cowper Madonna in Washington and the Madonna of the Meadow in Vienna – are here compared in terms of their technique and their Leonardo sources. The Small Cowper Madonna is more loosely and thinly painted than the Vienna picture, which is in better condition. Both works have underdrawings revealed in infra-red reflectograms. The two paintings also share the same Leonardo sources. They belong to the initial phase of Raphel’s involvement with Leonardo, in which he borrowed specific motifs from the older master’s work.
The Humanism of Gentile da Fabriano
Lorenzo Lotto in Historical Context: Two Episodes Redocumented
A hypothesis has been put forth lately, by no means convincingly, that Lotto belonged to a community with Protestant leanings. In the present study, we reject a Manichean polarization into orthodox and heterodox and assert the middle-of-the-road position of the painter, who already in the early 1500's employed some of the " reformist " themes of the imitation of Christ and of the contemplative life, and then in the 50's and 40's quite prone to seek a position of mediation and conciliation, which he subsequently made explicit in the Redeemer in Vienna. In this framework the body of the article documents two episodes of interest regarding Lotto, showing that: 1) Girolamo de Bologna, author of the Operetta nova spirituale (Venice 1515) cannot be identified with Girolamo Bologni, the Trevisan humanist. 2) The "vinculo del san Joanne" which as the Libro di spese reports link of Lotto and Joan dal Saon, does not refer to a supposed heterodox community, but to the "vincolo di comparato" the baptismal bond, that unites them in the name of the godfather par excellence, John the Baptist.
Philip the Bold’ innovative art patronage is emphasized in terms of secular architectural commissions. Enlisting Dreux de Dammartin and Jacques de Neuilly, and seeing to the for-mation of artist’s workshops (including Jean de Marvielle, Claus Sluter, Jean de Beaumetz, Arnoul Picornet) and of highly competent masons and other craftsmen, the Duke ordered numerous transformations at the Dijon palace and in his chateaux principally Argilly, Rouvres, Montbard and Talant, while simultaneously occupied with the building of the Charterhouse of Champmol. Construction of Germolles dedicated to courtly sheep rearing and which was to include sculptures completed by Sluter of the ducal couple as shepherds was begun in 1381. Among Philip’s residences in Paris, was the Hotel d’Artois, site of lavish fetes, enlarged and entirely refurbished. Works were also undertaken at chateaux in Artois and Flanders. Here too Philip fostered an architecture which was at the same time more pleasing and more functional.
Problems with Caravaggio Part 2
A) Notes on the Techniques of «Naturalism» in the 1600’s from Caravaggio to «Manfrediana Methodus»
B) Caravaggio and His «Doubles». The Problem of His Possible Collaborators
A) The first paper tries to retrace the Lombard-Veneto (Giorgonesque) component in its full impact on the technical formation of the young Caravaggio and of subsequent interna-tional «naturalism». The investigation is based on biographical sources and works datable just before the public cycles i.e. to the end of the 1500’s (the Contarelli Chapel in the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome, and the Cerasi Chapel in the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome [1599–1600]). The investigation then turns to the technical means of expres-sion in «naturalism» as interpreted by Bartolomeo Manfredi (and by his followers) and this especially in the light of the rediscovering of a series of The Four Evangelists of which only two renderings of St. Mathew and the Angel by other artists had been known of.
B) The second paper deals with up-dating the biographical sources and the catalogue of the works of Caravaggio documented as being in the collection of the noble family Mattei in Roma, of which other versions of very good quality have been recently rediscovered, besides the signed works already known of. Dealt with are the well known discussions on the version of St. John the Baptist in the Pinacoteca Capitolina in Rome, formerly belonging to the Mattei family versus the other in the Galleria Doria Pamphilij also in Rome; on the Supper in Emmaus in London formerly belonging to the family Mattei versus the rediscovered version in a collection in N.Y.; on the Incredulity of St. Thomas in the Bildergalerie Sanssouci in Potsdam versus the probable Mattei version formerly in the Eristoff collection in Paris. This updating (as well as the analysis of other problems in the paintings) helps clear up the problem of 1) copies by anonymous painters 2) those by other, known, painters, 3) of collaborators and «pupils», these last hitherto escaping any rational classification.
The changes in contemporary art are approached by analysing the evolution of the character of a work of art and its related concepts. The concept of the «open work» proposed by Umberto Eco is modified by representing the development of art as the process of a gradual liberation of the work from its limitations. Strict principles of interpretation have been given up in favour of free and variable readings. The next phase has been the liberation of the work from its status as an object - a modern artist is apt to leave some freedom to the performers as readers, allowing for a more or less free handling of his materially unfinished product. The most recent development has been the rejection of the rules which used to govern all artistic communication.
The author analyses two determinants of contemporary changes in the work of art. One of them is the substitution of the process for the object principle: a contemporary work is apt to be a phenomenon, a happening, a show.
Another factor which is claimed to be of essential significance is the random element in the process of creation and reception of art, appearing in three aspects: 1) random patterns, independent of the artists intentions, are included in a material artistic object; 2) random per-formance; 3) random reception is allowed, as the audience is expected to influence actively the structure of the work as an object, or even to cooperate with the artist. The analyses are supported by examples from music, visual arts, and film.