Artibus et Historiae no. 68 (XXXIV), 2013

252 x 232 mm
ISSN 0391-9064

Art in Sixteenth-Century Venice: Context, Practices, Developments. Proceedings of a Conference in Honour of Peter Humfrey (University of St Andrews, 3rd–6th May 2012) – PART TWO

PAUL HILLS – Lorenzo Lotto’s Shrouds and Veils (pp. 9-28)

Lorenzo Lotto’s Shrouds and Veils (pp. 9-28)

Lorenzo Lotto deploys all manner of draperies and cloths within his paintings. He not only observes textiles closely, he uses them to dramatize appearances, staging local disturbances in grand canopies and curtains as well as in more intimate veils. Drapes and cloths are instruments of disclosure and concealment. In this paper I explore two complementary aspects of Lotto’s devotion to cloths, which in a manner characteristic of currents in contemporary spirituality brings together the domestic and the ecclesiastical. In the Madonna and Child with Saints in Cracow, the veil supporting the Child alludes to his shroud. In Lotto’s altarpieces, notably the Entombment in Jesi, Christ’s shroud and the silken cloth draped over the tomb are analogous to the furnishings of the altar. Some precedent for this can be found in the paintings of Lotto’s Venetian predecessor in the Marche, Carlo Crivelli. In Lotto’s smaller religious paintings, such as Christ Taking Leave of his Mother, he points to domestic equivalents – such as towels, handkerchiefs, napkins – for the vestments of Christian ritual.

BERNARD AIKEMA – L’Ecce Homo di Lorenzo Lotto (pp. 29-37)

An Ecce Homo by Lorenzo Lotto (pp. 29-37)

The article presents a hitherto unpublished painting of Ecce Homo. The composition is based on an iconographical tradition of Lombard origin (Andrea Solario), but the picture betrays Venetian hand. The author has been identifi ed here as Lorenzo Lotto, and the work has been dated to the early to mid-1520s, when the artist lived and worked between Bergamo and Venice. The picture shows Christ in utter humiliation, with lowered head and forward-bent body, which makes the fi gure almost tangible for the beholder. The spirituality embodied in this image recalls the religious writings of Pietro Aretino, but even more so the well-known treatise attributed to Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, a copy of which was owned by Lotto. Such spirituality characterized the supporters of the ‘reformed’ social institutions in Venice, such as the Ospedale dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo (Ospedaletto) of which Lotto was a governatore. Christ’s disproportionately large hand serves here to underline His humanity as well as His humility, as is the case of Christ’s hands in contemporary representations of Christ Carrying the Cross by Romanino and Lorenzo Lotto. Unfortunately, nothing is known about the circumstances of the painting’s commission or its early history.

ALLISON SHERMAN – Murder and Martyrdom: Titian’s Gesuiti Saint Lawrence as a Family Peace Offering (pp. 39-54)

Murder and Martyrdom: Titian’s Gesuiti Saint Lawrence as a Family Peace Offering (pp. 39-54)

For centuries viewers have been captivated by Titian’s first version of the fi ery demise of Saint Lawrence in Venice’s Chiesa dei Gesuiti. This study returns this innovative work to its original context in the lost church of the Crociferi, and presents new evidence for the circumstances of its commission. While it has long been established fact that the work was produced for the altar of Lorenzo Massolo and his wife Elisabetta Querini – the learned and beautiful muse of Pietro Bembo and Giovanni della Casa – what has never been entirely clear are their motivations for the selection of the altar in the Crociferi church and the rather unconventional choice for a dramatic scene of martyrdom to decorate it. The answer to these questions involves a brutal murder, a renegade monk, penitential parents and an intricate web of relationships and alliances between powerful patricians and literati that when unravelled, deepens our understanding of the violence of Titian’s masterpiece.

AIDAN WESTON-LEWIS – Titian’s Lost Annunciation Altarpiece for Murano: An Early Copy (pp. 55-59)

Titian’s Lost Annunciation Altarpiece for Murano: An Early Copy (pp. 55-59)

This short note publishes for the fi rst time an early, reduced-scale copy of Titian’s lost Annunciation altarpiece from the mid-1530s in a church in the Scottish Borders. It is argued that this copy offers the best surviving record of the appearance of the lost original.

ENRICO MARIA DAL POZZOLO – Un piccolo maestro dimenticato: Domenico Bottazzo (pp. 61-81)

Domenico Bottazzo: A Forgotten Little Master (pp. 61-81)

Taking a series of documented data revealed by Antonio Sartori as the point of departure, the present study deals with a decorative scheme executed by the painter Domenico Bottazzo at the Scuola del Santo in Padua between 1508 and 1520. The artist was responsible for executing a painted decoration in monochrome ornaments of the ceiling made up of 144 panels, and decorating the lesenes and ornamental strips dividing pictorial compositions painted on walls. A decorative scheme that has never been studied before, it is exceptional because of its perfect state of preservation, the inventiveness of numerous solutions employed as well as the high level of workmanship. The painter knew how to attain equilibrium between various artistic inspirations drawn from the painting of Andrea Mantegna and Bernardino da Parenzo, as well as from sculpture, with references especially to Tullio and Antonio Lombardo, Andrea Riccio and Severo da Ravenna.

ANDREA BAYER, MICHAEL GALLAGHER and SILVIA CENTENO – Jacopo Bassano’s Baptism of Christ (pp. 83-103)

Jacopo Bassano’s Baptism of Christ (pp. 83-103)

Jacopo Bassano’s last altarpiece, the Baptism of Christ, has recently entered the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The painting was left in the artist’s studio at his death, and listed in the inventory drawn up in 1592 as ‘una Tavola d’altare sbozzata’ (Ridolfi, writing in 1648, used the term ‘non finita’ to describe it). It was kept by the family until 1673, and only then did they sell it to another family from Bassano, with whom it remained until late in the following century. Re-discovered in the 1930s, it has since been recognized as one of the most moving and personal of Jacopo’s late works, deviating from tradition both in its nocturnal setting and dramatic sense of foreboding. As the Baptism has just undergone cleaning and conservation, as well as a technical examination including infra-red refl ectography, X-radiography, and pigment analysis under the direction of Michael Gallagher (Chair, Department of Paintings Conservation), this is a propitious moment to look at it again, reassessing Bassano’s approach to the subject and the altarpiece’s place within the artist’s later career. Cleaning and treatment have confi rmed the extraordinary, painterly quality of the work, leading to signifi cant new observations about his technique and the issue of ‘non finito’ in his late paintings.

LINDA BOREAN – Ritratti di collezionisti a Venezia tra secondo Cinquecento e prima metà del Seicento. Alcune considerazioni (pp. 105-119)

Remarks on the Collectors’ Portraits in Venice between the Late Cinquecento and Early Seicento (pp. 105-119)

The Venetian portrait painting of the Cinquecento and Seicento provides an important, even if small, group of portraits of people who were among the most signifi cant collectors of antiquities and paintings, ancient and modern. The portrait of a ‘class’ of people, rather than by a particular artist and, in this case, the portrait of the collector in Venice in the modern era, is a subject that has hitherto been only partially explored by scholars and therefore calls for further research and refl ection. Until now, these works have been studied almost exclusively with regard to the artist–client relationship, with the exception of the portrait of Andrea Odoni by Lorenzo Lotto, which is a kind of archetype of or prototype for the Venetian tradition of a collector’s portrait, very different from its counterparts produced in the Flemish tradition, because the protagonist is always accompanied only by few objects associated with his collection, but never with pictures (even when, especially from the early seventeenth century, paintings gained a predominant place in the galleries of the Venetians). Moreover, in the fi rst half of the seventeenth century, some collectors preferred ‘history’ or allegorical portraits, which immortalized them in the guise of gods or characters from ancient history, from portraits in a setting featuring the works of art. The essay examines the relationship between portraits and literary and/or documentary sources, in the light of new evidence acquired in the course of the present research on Venetian collectors, and tries to show how the text and image contributed to outlining a biography of a collector, since portraits may be considered as a sort of ‘visual biography’, and it is therefore important to examine the extent to which the painted image of a person corresponds with the facts known from written sources (including wills, inventories, and treatises). The cases discussed include the portraits of: Giovanni Paolo Cornaro, Bartolomeo Dalla Nave, Lucas Van Uffel, Alvise Molin, Ludovico Widmann, as well as two anonymous collectors depicted in two little-known paintings attributed to Daniel van den Dyck and Bernardo Strozzi.

PHILIP COTTRELL – Painting Poetry: Bonifacio de’ Pitati’s Triumphs of Petrarch (pp. 121-141)

Painting Poetry: Bonifacio de’ Pitati’s Triumphs of Petrarch (pp. 121-141)

Bonifacio de Pitati’s six paintings of the Triumphs of Petrarch have had a somewhat chequered history. The scheme was discussed at great length by Carlo Ridolfi  in Le Maraviglie dell’arte of 1648, but from the mid-seventeenth-century the Triumphs were continually celebrated as important works by Titian. This essay seeks to reconstruct aspects of their appearance, provenance and critical history. As a result of their size and format, Bonifacio’s paintings are of particular interest in the context of artistic depictions of Petrarch’s Trionfi . Although the poem was frequently portrayed in the art of the period, this was mostly in the form of tapestries, prints or small-scale panel paintings such as cassoni and deschi da parto. It is argued that the nature and content of the scheme have been continually misunderstood and that, in addition to two paintings in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, two further paintings in Weimar which have been dismissed as copies are actually survivors of the original set of six. An appendix acts as a guide to the scheme’s complex iconography.

NINA KUDIŠ – Unknown Paintings by Pace Pace in Dalmatia and a Proposal for Gabriele Caliari (pp. 143-164)

Unknown Paintings by Pace Pace in Dalmatia and a Proposal for Gabriele Caliari (pp. 143-164)

Certain facts about the painter Pace Pace could be summed up in a few sentences. He is first mentioned in the documents of Venetian Fraglia de’ pittori in 1594, as Pase Pase de Felippo Bontecchi. His name appears there for the last time in 1617. On 24 May 1598 Pace Pace acted as witness to the second draft of the last will of Benedetto Caliari (Verona, 1535/1536 – Venice, 1598), Paolo Veronese’s younger brother. On 15 June of the same year he witnessed the wedding of Paolo’s eldest son, Gabriele Caliari (Venice, 1568–1631) and Angela Galini. To Pace Pace’s meagre known catalogue, consisting of three paintings: Saint Sebastian, Christ Washing the Feet of the Disciples (both originally from the demolished church of Santa Croce, Venice) and The Virgin in Glory with Saints and the Souls in Purgatory (Santa Maria dei Carmini, Venice), and few drawings, four new pieces, executed in oil on panel, could be added. They were made in 1599 for the main altar in the Franciscan church Gospa od Anđela (Our Lady of the Angels) that is situated on the slope of the Sveti Ilija (Saint Elias) mountain, above the small town of Orebić on the Dalmatian Pelješac peninsula (Sabioncello). The altarpiece represents the Assumption of the Virgin, while the smaller panels depict Saint Francis, Saint Peter and a Franciscan Saint with the Donor, that is, Nicolai Flori (Nikola Cvitković) from Orebić. Pace’s paintings from Orebić reveal a strong infl uence of Gabriele Caliari, who might be the author of the painting representing The Virgin and Child with Saint Anthony the Abbot, Saint Francis and the Donors, located on the right lateral wall of the famous Cappella Giustinian in the Venetian church of San Francesco della Vigna.

MAURO LUCCO – Occultato nell’ombra di Bonifacio Veronese: disvelamento di Stefano Cernotto (pp. 165-201)

Out of the Shadow of Bonifacio Veronese: Stefano Cernotto Revealed (pp. 165-201)

Three paintings in the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice, one of which is signed ‘Stephano Cernoto’ and dated 1536, have hitherto formed the entire catalogue of works of this artist of Dalmatian origin. And, as they come from a room in Palazzo dei Camerlenghi in Venice, an undertaking almost in its entirety executed by the shop of Bonifacio Veronese, and as the room itself was additionally decorated with canvases by Bonifacio, also the author of the three paintings was considered to be a de’Pitati’s pupil and at the same time a collaborator of his prolifi c workshop. Although a thorough re-evaluation of documents relevant to the painter has not revealed any substantial novelties, it has helped to better establish the chronological and territorial ambits of his artistic activity, which must be narrowed to the period from about 1525 to 1541 and the area of Venice, with brief fl ights into the province of upper Treviso. With those secured dates as a point of departure, the identifi cation of works by the artist’s hand, made by the present author as a result of a research of about thirty-fi ve years, has allowed to compile a fairly consistent corpus of Cernotto, who was repeatedly mistaken for Francesco Vecellio or Polidoro da Lanciano. Additionally, the present study discusses what was considered the key work in Francesco Vecellio’s catalogue, one that for many years had been considered to be homeless, and was apparently never seen by scholars, but which allows to better make out the differences between Cernotto, Vecellio and Polidoro. From this follows that, contrary to what has hitherto been assumed, Stefano Cernotto was not Bonifacio’s pupil, but was trained in the shop of Titian around 1520, a fact that is consistent with a passage by Marcantonio Michiel of 1532, who wrote about a so far never precisely identifi ed ‘Stefano, discepolo de Tiziano’. Furthermore, there is plenty of evidence in Cernotto’s work for his intelligent study of the works by Palma il Vecchio and Savoldo. After having written the present study, the author, found also other works by the painter, and the catalogue of Cernotto’s works, which are fairly easy to identify, will surely grow.

JOSEPH HAMMOND – Tintoretto and the Presentation of Christ: The Altar of the Purifi cation in Santa Maria dei Carmini, Venice (pp. 203-217)

Tintoretto and the Presentation of Christ: The Altar of the Purifi cation in Santa Maria dei Carmini, Venice (pp. 203-217)

This article addresses the authorship, iconography and function of Tintoretto’s altarpiece Presentation of Christ in Santa Maria dei Carmini, Venice. It was commissioned by the Scuola dei Compravendi Pesce to decorate the altar of the Purifi cation in approximately 1545. Here the problem of fi tting the work into the chronology of Tintoretto is addressed and resolved and new indications that the attribution to Tintoretto is correct are proposed. The argument is based on an iconographical examination of the Presentation in Venice, and Tintoretto is found to have employed features that were novel and repeated in works that we are certain are by him. The unique iconography also contributes to the functioning of the panel which addresses the particular concerns of the Divine Offi ce on the feast of the Purifi cation in very specifi c ways. How this would have aided the religious function and appealed to its users is explored.

JOANNA KILIAN MICHIELETTI – Tastar de corde. Musical Improvisation and the Aesthetics of sprezzatura in Sixteenth-Century Venetian Painting (pp. 219-235)

Tastar de corde. Musical Improvisation and the Aesthetics of sprezzatura in Sixteenth-Century Venetian Painting (pp. 219-235)

The paper proposes one more key to interpreting the Venetian Cinquecento paintings representing the music-making. These highly characteristic compositions of early sixteenth-century Serenissima, considered the embodiment of Venetian early Renaissance spirit, might be the testimony to musical improvisations, and these practices can be key to the interpretation of the canvases. Venice has been the musical capital of sixteenth century Europe and the Venetian musical paintings were based on authentic musical practice of the period. This musical practice was vast and music was one of the typical pastimes of educated classes of Serenissima. Western history of music has always concentrated on the most obvious representations of music, namely the score. However, there existed areas of music, not only ethnic or folk, but also classical music, which did not have written form. It was this kind of music that was strongly present in the culture of Northern Italian Renaissance, namely improvised music. Improvisational practice, seemingly totally free, was actually subordinated to fi xed models: typical cadences, rhythmical and ornamental formulae, constituted strictly defi ned or even indispensible element of the prevailing style of the period. The visible attempt at producing the appearance of masterful spontaneity and capturing the moment is an essential component of early sixteenth-century Venetian concerts. The interest that Venetian painters took in the improvisational style of making music (often humorous and capricious) corresponds with the tradition of praising colour and an instinctive, spontaneous technique ascribed to Venetian painting. Venetian Concerts can be seen as a type of paragone, i.e. competition between painting and music for the lead in the art of improvisation. Attaining lightness, creating the impression of negligence and haste (prestezza), and at the same time concealing technical diffi culties was considered an expression of mastery in Venice. This is how the sixteenth-century notion of sprezzatura referring to painting technique can be understood: a refi ned seeming negligence and nonchalance in executing a work of art. Art theorists and great glorifi ers of Serenissima: Lodovico Dolce, Francesco Sansovino and Pietro Aretino in the sixteenth century, as well as Ridolfi  and Boschini in their seventeenth-century works saw this improvisational technique as a distinctive feature and a signature of Venetian painters.

MATTHIAS WIVEL – A Comical Reverse. Titian’s Doodles in Context (pp. 237-255)

A Comical Reverse. Titian’s Doodles in Context (pp. 237-255)

The article examines drawings found on the back of the canvas of the recently surfaced Portrait of a Man (Girolamo Cornaro?) painted by Titian around 1511–1512. Drawn with the point of the brush, they depict a large head in profi le and two smaller fi gures. Loose and broad in execution, at least the former belongs to the domain of caricature. By comparison with similar drawings, on paper as well as the versos of other paintings, the drawings are here attributed to Titian. Further, the possibility that the head might be a portrayal of Michelangelo is explored, as is its value as evidence of the reception of Michelangelo’s outsize public stature and self-fashioning as an imperfect, Socratic artist whose work carried palpable overtones of the grotesque. The two fi gure studies, in themselves acutely Michelangelesque, are related to inventions by other contemporaries. Next, the fact that the caricature wears a beard, but no moustache, occasions an excursus on contemporary facial hair generally and specifi cally that of Michelangelo’s patron, Julius II. Ecclesiastical beards were a controversial issue at the time, and shaving one’s upper lip carried liturgical signifi cance. Julius was the fi rst Renaissance pope to grow a beard, as is famously charted by Raphael in his portraits of him in the Vatican frescoes and elsewhere. By focusing on the depiction of his beard, the article sheds new light on the iconography of these pictures and potentially their confused chronology. Lastly, Titian’s drawings are examined in the context of contemporary grotesques with reference to Leonardo’s explorations of exaggerated physiognomies. On this basis, it proposes a reevaluation of Renaissance caricature.

MARZIA FAIETTI – Betrayals of the Gods and Metamorphoses of Artists: Parmigianino, Caraglio and Agostino Carracci (pp. 257-275)

Betrayals of the Gods and Metamorphoses of Artists: Parmigianino, Caraglio and Agostino Carracci (pp. 257-275)

In Book VI of Metamorphoses Ovid makes only a passing reference to the myth of Jupiter transformed into a satyr to seduce Antiope. For this reason, at the beginning of sixteenth century its iconographic reconstruction could not depend on the ékphrasis of an ample and detailed literary passage, and to illustrate it artists had to draw on collective memory, a reserve of fi gurative models at their disposition. Visual resources thus compensated for the concision of a literary source, and classical myths offered further cues for a new and fascinating game of metamorphoses, this time based on the grafting of different meanings onto identical, or at least similar, forms. Artists’ attempts to fi ll the gap of written tradition in this manner constitute an original chapter of ut pictura poësis. This study permits to refl ect on the intersection between visual sources and literary resources in the creative process of image-making, in reference to the specifi c cases of two representations of Jupiter and Antiope: an engraving made by Gian Giacomo Caraglio, Jupiter Surprising Antiope, and a drawing by Parmigianino, Jupiter in the Form of a Satyr Unveiling Antiope, today in the Louvre. Both executed during the 1520s, to varying degrees they show their debt to the Original Sin in the Sistine Chapel, where the drama of the religious subject and the unusual interpretation given by Michelangelo lends itself to a re-elaboration in scenes of strong erotic content. The first part of the article is focused in particular on the contribution of Parmigianino to Caraglio’s inventio: the long elaboration of the pose of Saint Jerome in Parmigianino’s Madonna with Child, Saint John the Baptist and Saint Jerome, today in the London National Gallery, contributes in fact to the version of Caraglio’s Antiope, providing us with a fi rst example of the cross-pollination of religious and erotic scenes typical of this period. The final part deals with the success as an erotic avatar of the Sistine Eve in examples based on Bolognese engravings and drawings, with particular reference to Agostino and Ludovico Carracci. Through such cases of semantic metamorphoses, it was aimed to underline how the artists under discussion eluded the Roman Church’s prescriptions of decency and decorum both in the years immediately preceding the Sack of Rome and during the Catholic reaction to the Protestant Reformation. Their attempt was made in the name of freedom of artistic creative process and autonomy of their fi gurative resources.

IRVING LAVIN – Divine Grace and the Remedy of the Imperfect. Michelangelo’s Signature on the St Peter’s Pietà (pp. 277-328)

Divine Grace and the Remedy of the Imperfect. Michelangelo’s Signature on the St Peter’s Pietà (pp. 277-328)

It can be said that Michelangelo’s signature on the St Peter’s Pietà (executed 1498–1499/1500) is no less extraordinary and meaningful than the sculpture itself. The two components of the work, sculpture and inscription, move from the past to the future pari-passu, and the author believes that the innovations they bring in both domains are profoundly interrelated. The purpose of this paper is to reconsider Michelangelo’s work in what the author considers to be a new light, which may also illuminate, so to say, the inner relationship between Michelangelo’s words and image.