Slide concept by William V. Ganis, PhD FOR EDUCATIONAL USE ONLY For publication, reproduction or transmission of images, please contact individual artists, estates, photographers and exhibiting institutions for permissions and rights. As you venerate, while passing before it, this figure of the intact Virgin, beware lest you omit to say a Hail Mary ”
Slide concept by William V. Ganis, PhD FOR EDUCATIONAL USE ONLY For publication, reproduction or transmission of images, please contact individual artists, estates, photographers and exhibiting institutions for permissions and rights.
Florence Cultural Trip
1) The Renaissance consists of mostly religious works of art, until you hit theBotticelli Room. Try to identify the stories and protagonists in these pieces.How are stories COMMUNICATED to the viewer? Is there a clearnarrative in these works? How do you know – or not know – what is goingon?2) Thematically, start thinking about comparing works a) between differentperiods or artists; b) of the same subject matter. Look closely at, say, two“Annunciations” or two portraits, and think about their similarities anddifferences. Florence 2011 The Uffizi Guide
The “Rebirth” of Italian CultureThe spread of humanism and the growing interest in classical antiquity contributedsignificantly to the remarkable growth and expansion of artistic culture in 15th-centuryItaly. Also important were political and economic changes that contributed to the rise of anew class of wealthy patrons who fostered art and learning on a lavish scale.A new artistic culture emerged and expanded in Italy in the 15th century.The Spread of Humanism: Humanism flourished in the 15th century. Emphasis wasplaced on education and every form of knowledge, the exploration of individual potentialand a desire to excel, and a commitment to civic responsibility and moral duty.Encouraging Individual Achievement: Humanism also fostered a belief in individualpotential and encouraged individual achievement.Good Citizens: Humanism also encouraged citizens to participate in the social, political,and economic life of their communities.Of Wealth and Power: Shifting power relations among the numerous Italian city-statesfostered the rise of princely courts and control of cities by despots. Princely courts emergedas cultural and artistic centers. Their patronage contributed to the formation and characterof Renaissance art.
Sculpture and Civic Pride in the Early RenaissanceThe republic of Florentine cultivated civic pride and responsibility in itscitizens, which resulted in projects to embellish the citys buildings. Thecompetitive and public nature of these projects, which were usually sponsoredby civic or lay-religious organizations, promoted innovation and served tosignal official approval of the new, classically inspired style. The emulation ofantique models, however, was also supplemented by a growing interest in theanatomical structure of the human body (though often classically idealized)and the desire to show a naturalistic illusion of space (which resulted in thedevelopment of linear perspective). Human life and experience was acutelyobserved by artists such as the sculptor Donatello, who sought to conveythrough gesture, pose, and facial expression the personality and innerpsychological condition of his figures.
he 14th Century in Italy Arnolfo di Cambio Florence Cathedral (view from the South) The “Most Beautiful” Tuscan Church 19-12 Figure Florence, Italy. begun 1296 The Florence Cathedral was recognized as the center of the most important religious observances in Florence. It was begun in 1296 by Arnolfo di Cambio and was intended to be the “most beautiful and honorable church in Tuscany.” It certainly was a visual delight as it towered over the city and gleamed in the sunlight of Florence. Businessmen traveling to this city saw this cathedral, and the impression was made.......Any city with such a work of art had to be wealthy! The building’s surfaces were The Cathedral focuses on horizontal aspects, rather than lifting itself off the ornamented in the old Tuscan ground much like the Cologne Cathedral. The top dome has a crisp, closed fashion, with marble-encrusted silhouette that sets it off emphatically against the sky behind it. geometric designs matching it to its eleventh-century Romanesque The interior was kept minimal in order to remain “humble” to God. Baptistery of San Giovanni.
Fifteenth Century Italian Art Filippo Brunelleschi, dome of Florence A Crowning Achievement Cathedral Florence, Italy; 1420-1436 Brunelleschi’s broad knowledge of Roman construction principles and his analytical and inventive mind permitted him to solve an engineering problem that no other 15th- century architect could have solved. The challenge was the design and construction of a dome for the huge crossing of the unfinished Florence Cathedral. The space to be spanned was much too wide to permit construction with the aid of traditional wooden centering. Nor was it possible [because of the crossing plan] to support the dome with buttressed walls. In 1420, officials overseeing cathedral projects awarded Brunelleschi and Ghiberti a joint commission. Ghiberti later abandoned the project and left it to his associates. Figure 21-14
ifteenth Century Italian Art Filippo Brunelleschi, dome of FlorenceA Crowning Achievement Cathedral Florence, Italy; 1420-1436 Brunelleschi not only discarded traditional building methods and devised new ones, but he also invented much of the machinery necessary for the job. Although he might have preferred the hemispheric shape of Roman domes, Brunelleschi raised the center of his dome which is inherently more stable because it reduces the outward thrust around the dome’s base. To minimize the structure’s weight, he designed a relatively thin double shell--the first in history--around a skeleton of 24 ribs. The eight most important are visible on the exterior. The structure is anchored at the top with a heavy lantern, built after his death but from his design. Figure 21-14 *on ArtStudy CD
BrunelleschiA Fathers Emotional Sacrifice:Filippo Brunelleschis competitionpanel shows a sturdy and vigorousinterpretation of the Sacrifice ofIsaac. FILIPPO BRUNELLESCHI, Sacrifice of Isaac, competition panel for east doors, baptistery of Florence Cathedral, Italy, 1401-1402. Gilded bronze relief, 21" x 17". Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence.
Ghiberti A Sacrifice in Relief: Lorenzo Ghibertis competition panel emphasizes grace and smoothness. LORENZO GHIBERTI, Sacrifice of Isaac, competition panel for eastdoors, baptistery, Florence Cathedral,Italy, 1401-1402. Gilded bronze relief, 21" x 17". Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence.
DonatelloKeeping Perspective: EarlyRenaissance artistsemployed linear perspectiveto make a picture measurableand exact.A Feast in Perspective:Donatellos bronze relief ofthe Feast of Herod employspictorial perspective tocreate an illusion of space. DONATELLO, Feast of Herod, from the baptismal font of Siena Cathedral, Italy, ca. 1425. Gilded bronze relief, approx. 23" x 23".
Ghiberti’s Gates ofParadiseGhibertis "Gates of Paradise"are comprised of ten gildedbronze relief panels depictingscenes from the Old Testament.In Isaac and His Sons, Ghiberticreates the illusion of spaceusing perspective and sculpturalmeans. Ghiberti also persists inusing the medieval narrativemethod of presenting severalepisodes within a single frame. LORENZO GHIBERTI, east doors ("Gates of Paradise"), baptistery, Florence Cathedral, Italy, 1425-1452. Gilded bronze relief, approx. 17 high.
LORENZO GHIBERTI, Isaac and His Sons (detail of FIG. 21-4 ), east doors, baptistery,Florence Cathedral, Italy, 1425-1452. Gilded bronze relief, approx. 31 1/2" x 31 1/2".
Fifteenth Century Italian Art Lorenzo Ghiberti, east doors (”Gates of Paradise”), baptistery, Florence Cathedral, Admiring the “Gates of Paradise Florence, Italy, 1425-1452 Ghiberti, who demonstrated his interest in perspective in his Sacrifice of Isaac, embraced Donatello’s innovations. Ghiberti’s enthusiasm for a unified system for representing space is particularly evident in his famous east doors. Michelangelo later declared these as “so beautiful that they would do well for the gates of Paradise.” Each of the panels contains a relief set in plain moldings and depicts a scene from the Old Testament. The complete gilding of the reliefs creates an effect of great splendor and elegance. Figure 21-4
Fifteenth Century Italian Art Lorenzo Ghiberti, Isaac and his sons (”Gates of Paradise”), baptistery, Florence Cathedral, Florence, Italy, Admiring the “Gates of Paradise 1425-1452 The individual panels clearly recall painting techniques in their depiction of space as well as in their treatment of the narrative. In this panel, the group of women in the left foreground attends the birth of Esau and Jacob in the left background; Isaac sends Esau and his hunting dogs on his mission in the central foreground; and, in the right foreground, Isaac blesses the kneeling Jacob as Rebekah looks on. Viewers experience little confusion because of Ghiberti’s careful and subtle placement of each scene. The figures gracefully twist and turn, appearing to occupy and move through a convincing stage space, which Ghiberti deepened by showing some figures from behind. The beginning of the practice of collecting classical art in the fifteenth century had much to do with the appearance of classicism in Renaissance humanistic art. Figure 21-5
6. Artists asPersonalities/Celebrities Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects Giorgio Vasari 1550
ifteenth Century Italian Art Donatello, David Museo Nationale del Bargello, FlorenceA Classically Inspired David 21-23 Figure 1428-1432 The Medici family commissioned Donatello to create this bronze statue for the Palazzo Medici courtyard. This was the first freestanding nude statue created since ancient times. This statue portrays the biblical David, the young slayer of Goliath and the symbol of the independent Florentine republic. David possesses the relaxed classical contrapposto stance and the proportions and beauty of Greek Praxitelean gods. The Medici family chose the subject of David, perhaps because they had seen Donatello’s previous statue of David which is located in the center of political activity in Florence. This shows that the Medici family identified themselves with Florence, and the prosperity of the city.
Room #2 Room 2: Giotto, Cimabue, and Duccio: Please look carefully at the three large altarpieces in this room. Take the time to compare them and start to see the differences between them. Which one do you think was done latest? Which one best expresses depth and the human form?Cimabue Maesta Giotto’s Maesta
he 14th Century in Italy Giotto Di Bondone, Madonna Enthroned, ca. 1310,Monumental Figures Galleria degli Uffizzi, Florence Giotto’s new form of painting displaced the Byzantine style and established painting as a major form of art form for the next six centuries. He is often credited as the father of Western pictorial art. He restored the naturalistic approach invented by the Romans, that was abandoned in the middle ages, and established a method of pictorial expression based on observation that might be called “early scientific”. Madonna is depicted in representational art with sculptural solidity and weight. Madonna, enthroned with angles, rests within her Gothic throne with the unshakable stability of an ancient marble goddess. His technique for such an aesthetic is called chiaroscuro. This art was aimed to construct a figure that had substance, dimensionality, and bulk. Works painted in this new style portray figures, like those in sculpture, that project into the light and give the illusion that they could cast shadows. In this painting the throne is deep enough to contain the Figure 19-7 monumental
History has long regarded Cimabue as the last of an erathat was overshadowed by the Italian Renaissance. InCanto XI of his Purgatorio, Dante laments Cimabuesquick loss of public interest in the face of Giottosrevolution in art:O vanity of human powers,how briefly lasts the crowning green of glory,unless an age of darkness follows!In painting Cimabue thought he held the fieldbut now its Giotto has the cry,so that the others fame is dimmed.
In his Lives of the Artists, Giorgio Vasari relates that Giotto was a shepherdboy, a merry and intelligent child who was loved by all who knew him. Thegreat Florentine painter Cimabue discovered Giotto drawing pictures of hissheep on a rock. They were so lifelike that Cimabue approached Bondoneand asked if he could take the boy as an apprentice.  Cimabue was one of thetwo most highly renowned painters of Tuscany, the other being Duccio, whoworked mainly in Siena.Vasari recounts a number of such stories about Giottos skill. He writes thatwhen Cimabue was absent from the workshop, his young apprentice paintedsuch a lifelike fly on the face of the painting that Cimabue was working on,that he tried several times to brush it off. Vasari also relates that when thePope sent a messenger to Giotto, asking him to send a drawing todemonstrate his skill, Giotto drew, in red paint, a circle so perfect that itseemed as though it was drawn using a compass and instructed the messengerto give that to the Pope.
What sets Giotto ApartGiottos depiction of the human face and emotion sets hiswork apart from that of his contemporaries. When thedisgraced Joachim returns sadly to the hillside, the twoyoung shepherds look sideways at each other. The soldierwho drags a baby from its screaming mother in the Massacreof the Innocents does so with his head hunched into hisshoulders and a look of shame on his face. The people onthe road to Egypt gossip about Mary and Joseph as they go.Of Giottos realism, the 19th century English critic JohnRuskin said "He painted the Madonna and St. Joseph andthe Christ, yes, by all means ... but essentially Mamma, Papaand Baby."
Room 5-6 Room 5-6: International Gothic. Looking at the two largest works in this room, Lorenzo Monaco’s Coronation of the Virgin and Gentile da Fabriano’s Adoration of the Magi (1423) – what do you conclude are the characteristics of this international gothic style? Gentile Fabriani “Adoration of theMonaco’s “Coronation of the Magi”Virgin
he 14th Century in Italy Simone Martini (and possibly Lippo Memmi) Creating an “International Style” 19-18 Figure Annunciation, 1333 Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Martini’s own style did not quite reach the full exuberance of the developed International Style, A style of 14th- and 15th-century painting begun by Simone Martini, who adapted the French Gothic manner to Sienese art fused with influences from the North. This style appealed to the aristocracy because of its brilliant color, lavish costume, intricate ornament, and themes involving splendid processions of knights and ladies. Image goes here Delete this text before placing the image here. Elegant shapes and radiant color: flowing, fluttering line; and weightless figures in a spaceless setting characterize the Annuciation. The complex etiquette of the European chivalric courts dictated the presentation. The angel Gabriel has just alighted, the breeze of his passage lifting his mantle, his iridescent wings still beating. The gold of his sumptuous gown heraldically represents the celestial realm whence he bears his message. The Virgin, putting down her book of devotions, Lippo Memmi’s contribution is questioned and a matter of debate. shrinks demurely from Gabriel’s reverent genuflection, an appropriate gesture in the presence of royalty.
he 14th Century in Italy Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi Annunciation, 1333Creating an “International Style” Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Luke 1:26-56 (New International Version) The Birth of Jesus Foretold In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgins name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” Figure 19-18 “I am the Lords servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have
The panel portrays the path of the three Magi, inseveral scenes which start from the upper left corner(the voyage and the entrance into Bethlehem) andcontinue clockwise, to the larger meeting with theVirgin and the newborn Jesus which occupies thelowest part of the picture. All the figures wear splendidRenaissance costumes, brocades richly decorated withreal gold and precious stones inserted in the panel.Gentiles typical attention for detail is also evident inthe exotic animals, such as a leopard, a dromedary,some apes and a lion, as well as the magnificent horsesand a hound.
Room 8. Filippo Lippi, Madonna and Child with Angels: consider the tenderness ofexpression, look at how volume is heightened using a black outline (Lippi taughtthis trick to Botticelli). Piero della Francesca, double portrait of the Duke ofUrbino and his wife: what can you guess about gender differences in this period,just by looking at this painting? Whose world is more closed, and why? Duke of Urbino and His Wife - Filippo Lippi, Francesca Madonna and Child with Angels
ifteenth Century Italian Art Fra Filippo Lippi, Madonna and Child with Angels Galleria degli Uffizi, FlorenceA Humanized Madonna and Child 1455 Painted by Fra Filippo, this painting shows his skill in manipulating line. A wonderfully fluid line unifies the composition and contrubutes to the precise and smooth delineation of forms. Few artists have surpassed Fra Filippos skill in using line. He interpreted his subject here in a surprisingly worldly manner. The Madonna, a beautiful young mother, is not at all spiritual or fragile, and neither is the Christ Child, whom two angels hold up. The angels have mischievous looks of children refusing to behave. All the figures reflect the use of live models. Fra Fillipo replenished the charm of youth and beauty. Figure 21-40
Botticelli RoomRoom 10-14: Botticelli’s Primavera, Birth of Venus,Mystic Nativity, Madonna del Magnificat. Also ofinterest, all the religious paintings by Botticelli
ifteenth Century Italian Art Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus Galleria degli Uffizi, FlorenceVisual Poetry 1482 Sandro Botticelli was one of the best known artists who produced works for the Medici. He painted this tempera on canvas for the Medici family. A poem on the theme of the famous Birth of Venus by Angelo Poliziano was what inspired Botticelli to create this lyrical image. Zephyrus (the west wind) blows Venus, born of the sea foam and carried on a cockle shell to her sacred island, Cyprus. The nymph Pomona runs to her with a brocaded The wind is portrayed as light and bodiless, which moves all the figures with out mantle. effort. The more accommodating Renaissance culture gave way for the portrayal of Venus nude, on a large scale. Figure 21-27
ifteenth Century Italian Art Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus Galleria degli Uffizi, FlorenceVisual Poetry 1482 Botticelli’s nude presentation of the Venus figure was in itself an innovation. The nude, especially the female nude, had been proscribed during the Middle Ages. Its appearance on such a scale and the artist’s use of an ancient Venus statue of the Venus pudica (modest Venus) type- a Hellenistic variant of Praxitele’s famous “Aphrodite of Knidos”- as a model could have drawn the charge of paganism and infidelity. But the more accommodating Renaissance culture and under the protection of the powerful Medici, the depiction went unchallenged. The Medici family did not restrict their collecting to any specific style or artist. Their acquisitions often incorporated elements associated with humanism, from mythological subject matter to concerns with anatomy and perspective. Collectively, the art of the Medici also makes a statement about the patrons themselves. Careful businessmen that they were, the Medici were not sentimental about their endowment of art and scholarship. Figure 21-27
ifteenth Century Italian Art Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus Galleria degli Uffizi, FlorenceVisual Poetry 1482 Upper-Left: The West Wind Zephyr and Chloris fly with limbs entwined as a twofold entity: the ruddy Zephyr (his name is Greek for ``the west wind) is puffing vigorously; while the fair Chloris gently sighs the warm breath that wafts Venus ashore. All around them fall roses-- each with a golden heart--which, according to legend, came into being at Venus birth. Upper-Right: The Wooded Shore The trees form part of a flowering orange grove-- corresponding to the sacred garden of the Hesperides in Greek myth--and each small white blossom is tipped with gold. Gold is used throughout the painting, accentuating its role as a precious object and echoing the divine status of Venus. Each Center: The Shell dark green leaf has a gold spine and outline, and the tree Botticelli portrays Venus in the very first suggestion trunks are highlighted with short diagonal lines of gold. of action, with a complex and beautiful series of twists and turns, as she is about to step off her Right: Nymph giant gilded scallop shell onto the shore. Venus The nymph may well be one of the three Horae, or ``The was conceived when the Titan Cronus castrated Hours, Greek goddesses of the seasons, who were his father, the god Uranus--the severed genitals attendants to Venus. Both her lavishly decorated dress and falling into the sea and fertilizing it. Here what we the gorgeous robe she holds out to Venus are embroidered see is actually not Venus birth out of the waves, with red and white daisies, yellow primroses, and blue but the moment when, having been conveyed by cornflowers--all spring flowers appropriate to the theme of the shell, she lands at Paphos in Cyprus. birth. She wears a garland of myrtle--the tree of Venus--and a Figure 21-27 sash of pink roses, as worn by the goddess Flora in Botticellis
Room 15: Leonardoda Vinci’s Annunciation, unfinished Adoration of the Magi(examination reveals how he planned and built up painting); the earlyBaptism of Christ with his teacher Verrocchio (guess which partLeonardo did here).
Room 25Room 25: Don’t miss Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo:think about the position the figures are in – is thisnatural? That is an original frame, incidentally.
How do Raphael Raphaeland his schoolconstruct portraits?Hiscontemporariessaid he dideverything withsuch ease youcould not see theart in it.
Room 28: Titian and Venetian art.. Observe the languid poseof Titian’s Venus of Urbino(who is she waiting for? Herhusband or her lover?).Consider how the Venetianstyle (and subject matter) ofthe early Cinquecento isdifferent than QuattrocentoFlorentine style;
Madonna of the Long Neck The End of the Renaissance Mannerism
The High Renaissance Michelangelo “David” Subduing a Giant 1501-1504 In 1501, the city of Florence asked Michelangelo to work a great block of marble, called “The Giant,” left over from an earlier aborted mission. From this stone, David was sculpted, the defiant hero of the Florentine republic and, in so doing, assured his reputation then and now as an extraordinary talent. David’s formal references to classical antiquity appealed to Julius II, who associated himself with humanists and with Roman emperors. Thus, this sculpture and the fame that accrued to Michelangelo on its completion called the artist to the pope’s attention, leading to major papal commissions. Michelangelo used the themes of Donatello and Andrea del Verrocchio, but with his own original resolution. The artist chose to depict David not after victory, but turning his head to his left, sternly watchful of the approaching foe. His whole muscular body, as well as his face, is tense with gathering power. Figure 22-9
The High Renaissance Michelangelo “David” Subduing a Giant 1501-1504 David exhibits the characteristic representation of energy in reserve. His rugged torso, sturdy limbs, and large hands and feet, alerting viewers to the strength to come, do not consist simply of inert muscle groups, nor did the sculptor idealize them by simplification into broad masses. Each swelling vein and tightening sinew amplifies the psychological energy of the monumental David’s pose. The artist, without strictly imitating the antique style , captured the tension of Lysippan athletes and the psychological insight and emotionalism of Helenistic statuary. This larger than life sculpture reaches over 13 feet in height. Sculpted in perspective (top heavy), this image retains perfection when viewed from below, as the figure looks proportional from the vantage point of the onlooker. Contrapposto (weight shift), yet another allusion to antiquity, is also apparent in this sculpture. This sculpture became the immediate symbol of Florence, a wealthy but small nation at war with a much larger foe. Figure 22-9
Fra AngelicoAnnunciationSan Marco,Florence, Italyca. 1440-1445fresco7 ft. 1 in. x 10 ft. 6 in.
ifteenth Century Italian Art Fra Angelico, AnnunciationA Visual Call to Prayer San Marco, Florence, Italy 1440-1445 This fresco painting by Fra Angelico appears at the top of the stairs leading to the friar’s cells. Appropriately, Fra Angelico presented the scene of the Virgin Mary and and Archangel Gabriel with simplicity and serenity. The two figures appear in plain loggia, and the artist painted all the fresco elements with a pristine clarity. As an admonition to heed the devotional function of the images, he included a small inscription at the base of the image that reads “As you Like most of Fra Angelico’s paintings, Annunciation’s naive and venerate, while passing before it, tender charm still has an almost universal appeal and fully this figure of the intact Virgin, lest reflects the artist’s simple and humble character. you omit to say to say a Hail Figure 21-38 Mary.”
Fifteenth Century Italian Art Masaccio, Tribute Money, Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Momentous Changes in Pictorial Style Florence, Italy, ca. 1427. This painting by Masaccio depicts a story from the Gospel of Matthew. The tax collector confronts Christ at the entrance of Capernaum (a large Galilean fishing village and busy trading center. This place is of special interest to Christians because of its frequent mention in the history of Jesus Christ.) Masaccio presented this narrative in three episodes within the fresco. In the center, Christ, Christ directs Saint surrounded by his disciples, tells Saint Peter to retrieve the coin from the fish, while the tax Peter to Lake Galilee. collector stands in the foreground, his back to spectators and hand extended, awaiting There Peter finds the payment. At the left, in the middle distance, Saint Peter extracts the coin from the fish’s half drachma (formerly mouth, and at the right, he thrusts the coin into the tax collector’s hand. the basic unit of money in Greece) Masaccio realized most of the figures not through generalized modeling with a flat neutral tribute in the mouth of light lacking an identifiable source but by a light coming from a specific source outside the Figure 21-11 a fish and returns to picture.
Fifteenth Century Italian Art Masaccio, Tribute Money, Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Momentous Changes in Pictorial Style Florence, Italy, ca. 1427. The light strikes the figures at an angle, illuminating parts of the solids that obstruct its path and leave the rest in shadows: gives illusion of sculptural relief. Light has its own nature, and the masses are visible The individual figures are solemn and weighty, but also express bodily structure and movement. only because of its They do not appear as a stiff screen in the front planes. Instead, the artist grouped them in circular direction and depth around Christ, and he placed the whole group in a spacious landscape, rather than in the intensity. confined stage space of earlier frescoes. Although ancient Roman painters used aerial perspective, medieval artists had abandoned it. It disappeared from art until Masaccio and his contemporaries rediscovered it. They realized that light and air interposed between viewers and what they see are parts of the visual experience Figure 21-11 called “distance.”
Fifteenth Century Italian Art Masaccio, Holy Trinity A Vision of the Trinity Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy; ca. 1428 Masaccio’s fresco embodies two principal Renaissance interests--realism based on observation and the application of mathematics in the new science of perspective. The composition is painted on two levels of unequal height. In the coffered barrel-vaulted chapel reminiscent of a Roman triumphal arch, the Virgin Mary and St. John appear on either side of the crucified Christ. God the Father emerges from behind Christ, supporting the arms of the cross. The Dove of the Holy Spirit hovers between God and Christ. Also included are portraits of the donors of the painting, Lorenzo Lenzi and his wife, who kneel in front of the pilasters (A rectangular column with a capital and base, projecting only slightly from a wall as an ornamental motif.). Below the altar-- a masonry insert in the depicted composition--the artist painted a tomb containing a skeleton. An Italian inscription above the skeleton reminds spectators that “I was once what you are, and what I am you will become.” Figure 21-13
Fifteenth Century Italian Art Masaccio, Holy Trinity A Vision of the Trinity Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy; ca. 1428 The illusionism of Masaccio’s depiction brilliantly demonstrates the principles of Brunelleschi’s perspective; in fact, the work is so much in the Brunelleschian manner that some historians have suggested that Brunelleschi may have directed Masaccio. Masaccio placed the vanishing point at the foot of the cross. With this point at eye level, spectators look up at the Trinity and down at the tomb. Above the floor level, the vanishing point pulls the two views together, creating the illusion of an actual structure that transects the wall’s vertical plane. While the tomb projects, the chapel recedes visually behind the wall and appears as an extension of the spectators’ space. This adjustment of the pictured space to the position of the viewers was a first step in the development of illusionistic painting, which fascinated many artists of the Renaissance and the later Baroque period. Masaccio was so exact in his metrical proportions that it is possible to actually calculate the dimensions of the chapel. Figure 21-13
ifteenth Century Italian Art Masaccio, Expulsion of Adam and Eve fromA Picture of Sinners’ Anguish 21-12 Figure Eden, Brancacci Chapel, Florence, Italy, ca 1425 This was painted in an awkwardly narrow space at the entrance to the Brancacci Chapel. It displays the representational innovations of Tribute Money. For example, the sharply slanted light from an outside source creates deep relief, with lights placed alongside darks, and acts as a strong unifying agent. Masaccio also presented the figures moving with structural accuracy and with substantial bodily weight. Further, the hazy, atmospheric background specifies no locale but suggests a space around and beyond the figures. Adam’s feet, clearly in contact with the ground, mark the human presence on earth, and the cry issuing from Eve’s mouth voices her anguish. The angel does not force them physically from Eden, rather, they stumble on blindly, driven by the angel’s will and their own despair. The composition is starkly simple, its message incomparably eloquent.
ifteenth Century Italian Art Filippo Brunelleschi, west facade of the Pazzi ChapelApplying Roman Mathematical Logic 21-17 Figure Florence, Italy; begun ca. 1440 The chapel that was the Pazzi family’s gift to the church of Santa Croce in Florence presented Brunelleschi with the opportunity to explore this interest in a structure much better suited to such a design than a basilican church. The chapel was not completed until the 1460s, long after Brunelleschi’s death, and thus the exterior does not reflect Brunelleschi’s original design. The narthex ( the entrance hall leading to the nave of a church.) seems to have been added as an afterthought, perhaps by the sculptor-architect Giuliano da Maiano. It is suggested that the local chapter of Franciscan monks who held meetings in the chapel needed the expansion.
ifteenth Century Italian Art Filippo Brunelleschi, plan of the Pazzi ChapelApplying Roman Mathematical Logic Florence, Italy; begun ca. 1440 Although the plan is rectangular, rather than square or round, the architect placed all emphasis on the central dome-covered space. The short barrel-vault sections that brace the dome on two sides is done in gray stone, the so-called pietra serena [”serene stone”], which stands out against the white stucco walls and crisply defines the modular relationships of plan and elevation. As in his design for Santo Spirito, Brunelleschi used a basic unit that alowed him to construct a balanced, harmonious, and regularly proportioned space. Medallions with glazed terracotta reliefs representing the Four Evangelists in the dome’s pendentives and the Twelve Apostles on the pilaster-framed wall panels provide the interior with striking color accents. Figure 21-18
ifteenth Century Italian Art Sandro Botticelli, Portrait of a Youth National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.A Psychological Profile early 1480s This full face portrait was created by Botticelli in the last decade of the fifteenth century. Italian painters adopted the 3/4 and full face views believing that such poses increased information available to viewers about the subject’s appearance. These poses also permits greater exploration of the subject’s character. This is evident in this portrait where he is highly expressive psychologically. He has a delicate pose, a graceful head tilt, sidelong glance, and an elegant hand gesture. The subject seems to be half-musing, half-insinuating. Botticelli merged feminine and masculine traits to make an image of rarefied beauty. Figure 21-28
ifteenth Century Italian Art Domenico Ghirlandaio, Giovanna Tornabuoni (?)An Elegant and Cultured Woman Madrid, Spain 1488 Domenico Ghirlandaio produced this portait of an aristocratic young woman, probably Giovanna Tornabuoni, a member of the powerful Albizzi family and wife of Lorenzo Tournabuoni. Though artists of this age had moved away from employing the profile pose to convey a character reading, this portrait reveals the proud bearing of a sensitive and beautiful young woman. It tells viewers much about the advanced state of culture in Florence, the value and careful cultivation of beauty in life and art, the breeding of courtly manners, and the great wealth behind it all. The painting also shows the powerful attraction classical liaterature help for Italian humanists; in the background an epitaph quotes the ancient Roman poet Martial. Although Domencio Ghirlandaio did not develop a very inovative style, his art provides viewers with significant insight into artistic developments. This summarizes the state of Florentine art toward the end of the fifteenth century. His works expressed his times to perfection, and, because of this, he enjoyed great popularity among his comtemporaries. His paintings reveal a deep love of FlorenceFigure 21-30 , with its spectacles and pageantry, its material wealth and luxury.
ifteenth Century Italian Art Andrea Del Castagno, Last Supper, monastery of Sant’ Apollonia,Dining in the Presence of Christ Florence, Italy, 1447 Andrea del Castagno, like Fra Angelico, accepted a commission to produce a series of frescoes for a religious establishment. His Last Supper painted in the refectory (dining hall) of Sant’Apollonia in Florence, a convent for Benedictine nuns, manifests The lavishly painted space Christ and his 12 diciples occupy suggests Castagno’s both a absorption with creating the illusion of three-dimensional space. However, on scrutiny, commitment to inconsistencies are apparent, such as the fact Renaissance perspectivial systems make the biblical it impossible to see both the ceiling and the roof, as Castagno depicted. Further, the two narrative and an side walls do not appear parallel. interest in Figure 21-39
ifteenth Century Italian Art Andrea Del Castagno, Last Supper, monastery of Sant’ Apollonia,Dining in the Presence of Christ Florence, Italy, 1447 The artist chose a conventioal compositional format, with the figures seated at a horizontally places table. Castagno derived the apparent self-absorption of most of the disciples and the malevolent features of Judeas from the Gospel of Saint John, rather than the more familiar version of the Last Supper recounted in the Gospel of Saint Luke. The prevalent exploration of perspective clearly influenced Castagno’s depiction of the Last Supper, which no doubt was a powerful presence for the nuns during their daily meals. Figure 21-39