One of Leonardo's earlier works completed while he was apprenticed to Andrea Verrocchio in his Florentine workshop. Although a portrait of Ginevra de' Benci by Leonardo is mentioned by three sixteenth-century writers, the attribution of the Washington painting to that artist has been the cause of much debate. It is now accepted by virtually all Leonardo scholars. The date of the portrait, generally given as c. 1474, and its commission, however, are still discussed. The sitter, born into a wealthy Florentine family, was married to Luigi Niccolini in 1474 at the age of sixteen. It was a customary practice to have a likeness painted on just such an occasion. The heraldic motif on the painted porphyry reverse side of the portrait, with the motto "Beauty adorns Virtue," praises her, and juniper plants symbolize chastity, considered an appropriate choice for a marriage portrait. The juniper bush, ginepro in Italian, is also a pun on her name. Leonardo has painted a sensitive and finely modeled image of Ginevra. The undulating curls of her hair are set against her pale flesh, the surface of the paint smoothed by the artist's own hands. Leonardo's portrait was cut down at the bottom sometime in the past by as much as one-third. Presumably the lower section would have shown her hands, possibly folded or crossed, resting in her lap. Leonardo da Vinci Portrait of Ginevra de' Benci 1474-46 Oil on wood, 38,8 x 36,7 cm National Gallery of Art, Washington
Virgin of the Rocks 1483-86 Oil on panel, 199 x 122 cm Musée du Louvre, Paris The Paris Virgin of the Rocks is the one which first adorned the altar in San Francesco Grande. It may have been given by Leonardo himself to King Louis XII of France, in gratitude for the settlement of the suit between the painters and those who commissioned the works, in dispute over the question of payment. The later London painting replaced this one. For the first time Leonardo could achieve in painting that intellectual program of fusion between human forms and nature which was slowly taking shape in his view of his art. Here there are no thrones or architectural structures to afford a spatial frame for the figures; instead there are the rocks of a grotto, reflected in limpid waters, decorated by leaves of various kinds from different plants while in the distance, as if emerging from a mist composed of very fine droplets and filtered by the golden sunlight, the peaks of those mountains we now know so well reappear. This same light reveals the gentle, mild features of the Madonna, the angel's smiling face, the plump, pink flesh of the two putti. For this work, too, Leonardo made numerous studies, and the figurative expression is slowly adapted to the program of depiction. In fact, the drawing of the face of the angel is, in the sketch, clearly feminine, with a fascination that has nothing ambiguous about it. In the painting, the sex is not defined, and the angel could easily be either a youth or a maiden
There are differing opinions amongst art researchers as to which episode from the Gospels is depicted in the Last Supper. Some consider it to portray the moment at which Jesus has announced the presence of a traitor and the apostles are all reacting with astonishment, others feel that it also represents the introduction of the celebration of the Eucharist by Jesus, who is pointing to the bread and wine with his hands. And yet others feel it depicts the moment when Judas, by reaching for the bread at the same moment as Jesus as related in the Gospel of St Luke (22:21), reveals himself to be the traitor. In the end, none of the interpretations is convincing. Leonardo's Last Supper is not a depiction of a simple or sequential action, but interweaves the individual events narrated in the Gospels, from the announcement of the presence of a traitor to the introduction of the Eucharist, to such an extent that the moment depicted is a meeting of the two events. As a result, the disciples' reactions relate both to the past and subsequent events. The Apostles from left to right: Bartholomew, James the Less, Andrew, Judas, Peter, John, Christ, Thomas, James the Greater, Philip, Matthew, Thaddeus, Simon. The Last Supper 1498 Mixed technique, 460 x 880 cm Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan
The Last Supper, housed in the church and former Dominican monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie, has had an almost unbelievable history of bad luck and neglect -- its near destruction in an American bombing raid in August 1943 was only the latest chapter in a series of misadventures, including, if one 19th-century source is to be believed, being whitewashed over by monks. Yet Leonardo da Vinci chose to work slowly and patiently in oil pigments instead of proceeding hastily on wet plaster according to the conventional fresco technique. Well-meant but disastrous attempts at restoration have done little to rectify the problem of the work's placement: it was executed on a wall unusually vulnerable to climatic dampness. Novelist Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) called it "the saddest work of art in the world." After years of restorers' patiently shifting from one square centimeter to another, Leonardo's famous masterpiece is free of the shroud of scaffolding -- and centuries of retouching, grime, and dust. Astonishing clarity and luminosity have been regained. Reservations are required to view the work; call several days ahead for weekday visits and several weeks in advance for a weekend visit. The reservations office is open 9 AM-6 PM weekdays and 9 AM-2 PM on Saturday. Viewings are in 15-minute slots.
Mona Lisa (La Gioconda) c. 1503-5 Oil on panel, 77 x 53 cm Musée du Louvre, Paris According to Vasari, this picture is a portrait of Mona or Monna (short for Madonna) Lisa, who was born in Florence in 1479 and in 1495 married the Marquese del Giocondo, a Florentine of some standing - hence the painting's other name, `La Gioconda'. This identification, however, has sometimes been questioned. Leonardo took the picture with him from Florence to Milan, and later to France. It must have been this portrait which was seen at Cloux, near Amboise, on 10 October 1517 by the Cardinal of Aragon and his secretary, Antonio de Beatis. There is a slight difficulty here, however, because Beatis says that the portrait had been painted at the wish of Giuliano de Medici. Historians have attempted to solve this problem by suggesting that Monna del Giocondo had been Giuliano's mistress. The painting was probably acquired by François I from Leonardo himself, or after his death from his executor Melzi. It is recorded as being at Fontainebleau by Vasari (1550), Lomazzo (1590), Peiresc, and Cassiano del Pozzo (1625). The latter relates that when the Duke of Buckingham came to the French court to seek the hand of Henrietta of France for Charles I, he made it known that the King was most anxious to own this painting; but the courtiers of Louis XIII prevented him from parting with the picture. It was put on exhibition in the Musée Napoléon in I8o4; before that, in 1800, Bonaparte had it in his room in the Tuileries.
From the beginning it was greatly admired and much copied, and it came to be considered the prototype of the Renaissance portrait. It became even more famous in 1911, when it was stolen from the Salle Carrée on 21 August 1911 by Vicenzo Perrugia, an Italian workman. In 1913 it was found in Florence, exhibited at the Uffizi, then in Rome and Milan, and brought back to Paris on 31 December in the same year. This figure of a woman, dressed in the Florentine fashion of her day and seated in a visionary, mountainous landscape, is a remarkable instance of Leonardo's sfumato technique of soft, smoky modeling. The Mona Lisa's enigmatic expression, which seems both alluring and aloof, has given the portrait universal fame. Reams have been written about this small masterpiece by Leonardo, and the gentle woman who is its subject has been adapted in turn as an aesthetic, philosophical and advertising symbol, entering eventually into the irreverent parodies of the Dada and Surrealist artists. Vasari relates that Leonardo worked on it for four years without being able to finish it; yet the picture gives the impression of being completely realized. The dates suggested for it vary between 1503 and 1513, the most widely accepted being 1503-05. Taking a living model as his point of departure, Leonardo has expressed in an ideal form the concept of balanced and integrated humanity. The smile stands for the movement of life, and the mystery of the soul. The misty blue mountains, towering above the plain and its river, symbolize the universe. There is a suggestion of a smile both in the Mona Lisa's eyes and on the lips and in the corners other mouth; it appears unfathomable and mysterious and during the course of the centuries has given rise to any number of interpretations. Giorgio Vasari, writing about the arts, provided an amusing explanation: Leonardo wanted to depict the lady in a happy mood and for that reason arranged for musicians and clowns to come to the portrait sittings. In the essay "On the perfect beauty of a woman'', by the 16th-century writer Firenzuola, we learn that the slight opening of the lips at the corners of the mouth was considered in that period a sign of elegance. Thus Mona Lisa has that slight smile which enters into the gentle, delicate atmosphere pervading the whole painting.
The sheet includes studies from a number of years. The note "book on water to Mr. Marcho Ant" refers to the anatomical expert Marcantonio della Torre, who died in Pisa in 1511 and with whom Leonardo carried out dissections of human bodies. This drawing of the fetus was the result of knowledge rather than direct observation of nature. Leonardo had examined the fetus of a cow and allowed his observations of the placenta to influence this drawing. Studies of embryos 1509-14 Black and red chalk, pen and ink wash on paper, 305 x 220 mm Royal Library, Windsor
Vitruvian Man 1492 Pen, ink, watercolour and metalpoint on paper, 343 x 245 mm Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice The drawing, probably the most famous by Leonardo, is a study of the human proportions from Vitruvius's De Architectura.
Bramante's Tempietto is in the courtyard of San Pietro in Montorio, believed to be the site of St Peter's martyrdom. The architect clearly worked from a historical typology: individual architectural elements such as columns, entablature, and vault acknowledge a debt to classical structures. The resulting centralized building represented a new type of Christian architecture. Bramante built the Tempietto small in size, hence the title and with classical allusion. The Tempietto is very symmetrical . The only aspect that it is not like ancient memorials is the fact that there is a drum between the main body of the building and the hemisphere of the dome. The little temple with its stylobate rests on three steps which link it to the plan of the courtyard. Sixteen Doric columns which form a luminous enclosure, support the beams above which rises the body of the temple; and the upward movement is stressed by the exterior ribs of the dome (a subdued echo of Brunelleschi). For Bramante, the planning of the Tempietto must have represented the union of illusionistic painting and architecture he had spent his career perfecting. The building, too small on the inside to accommodate a congregation (only 15 feet in diameter), was conceived as a 'picture' to be looked at from outside, a 'marker', a symbol of Saint Peter's martyrdom Bramante Tempietto 1502
By 1506, St. Peter's Basilica, the main church at the Vatican, was too small and decrepit to impress anyone. Following the examples set by emperors and sultans, Pope Julius II decided to crown the old church with a dome. He hired Italian architect Donato Bramante to do the job. Bramante's vision for the Basilica was simple: a Greek cross with equal-sized arms around a central dome. He proposed a centralized building with a dome, a design that expressed the Renaissance ideal of beauty. On 18 Apr 1506 the first stone was laid at the base of a pillar; a temporary chancel had been provided and a large part of the apse and transept demolished, causing Bramante to be nicknamed the “Destructive Maestro”. Sometimes a young man came to watch the work. His name was Michelangelo. Julius II had commissioned him to his tomb, which was to be placed at the heart of the new basilica. Michelangelo admired Bramante’s plan but disapproved of his administration. Having at first been regarded as an intruder, he came to be hated by Bramante . Four crossing piers were set, but construction on the new church ceased with Bramante's death in 1514.
The panel (signed and dated: "RAPHAEL URBINAS MDIIII.") was commissioned by the Albizzini family for the chapel of St Joseph in the church of S. Francesco of the Minorities at Città di Castello. Critics believe the painting to be inspired by two compositions by Perugino: the celebrated Christ Delivering the Keys to St Peter from the fresco cycle in the Sistine Chapel and a panel containing the Marriage of the Virgin now in the Museum of Caën. By painting his name and the date, 1504, in the frieze of the temple in the distance, Raphael abandoned anonymity and confidently announced himself as the creator of the work. The main figures stand in the foreground: Joseph is solemnly placing the ring on the Virgin's finger, and holding the flowering staff, the symbol that he is the chosen one, in his left hand. His wooden staff has blossomed, while those of the other suitors have remained dry. Two of the suitors, disappointed, are breaking their staffs. The polygonal temple in the style of Bramante establishes and dominates the structure of this composition, determining the arrangement of the foreground group and of the other figures. In keeping with the perspective recession shown in the pavement and in the angles of the portico, the figures diminish proportionately in size. The temple in fact is the center of a radial system composed of the steps, portico, buttresses and drum, and extended by the pavement. In the doorway looking through the building and the arcade framing the sky on either side, there is the suggestion that the radiating system continues on the other side, away from the spectator. Raphael Spozalizio (The Engagement of Virgin Mary) 1504
School of Athens , Raphael http://www.newbanner.com/AboutPic/athena/raphael/nbi_ath4.html
The School of Athens is a depiction of philosophy. The scene takes place in classical times, as both the architecture and the garments indicate. Figures representing each subject that must be mastered in order to hold a true philosophic debate - astronomy, geometry, arithmetic, and solid geometry - are depicted in concrete form. The arbiters of this rule, the main figures, Plato and Aristotle, are shown in the center, engaged in such a dialogue. The School of Athens represents the truth acquired through reason. Raphael does not entrust his illustration to allegorical figures, as was customary in the 14th and 15th centuries. Rather, he groups the solemn figures of thinkers and philosophers together in a large, grandiose architectural framework. This framework is characterized by a high dome, a vault with coffered ceiling and pilasters. It is probably inspired by late Roman architecture or - as most critics believe - by Bramante's project for the new St Peter's which is itself a symbol of the synthesis of pagan and Christian philosophies. The figures who dominate the composition do not crowd the environment, nor are they suffocated by it. Rather, they underline the breadth and depth of the architectural structures. The protagonists - Plato, represented with a white beard (some people identify this solemn old man with Leonardo da Vinci) and Aristotle - are both characterized by a precise and meaningful pose. Raphael's descriptive capacity, in contrast to that visible in the allegories of earlier painters, is such that the figures do not pay homage to, or group around the symbols of knowledge; they do not form a parade. They move, act, teach, discuss and become excited. The painting celebrates classical thought, but it is also dedicated to the liberal arts, symbolized by the statues of Apollo and Minerva. Grammar, Arithmetic and Music are personified by figures located in the foreground, at left. Geometry and Astronomy are personified by the figures in the foreground, at right. Behind them stand characters representing Rhetoric and Dialectic. Some of the ancient philosophers bear the features of Raphael's contemporaries. Bramante is shown as Euclid (in the foreground, at right, leaning over a tablet and holding a compass). Leonardo is, as we said, probably shown as Plato. Francesco Maria Della Rovere appears once again near Bramante, dressed in white. Michelangelo, sitting on the stairs and leaning on a block of marble, is represented as Heraclitus. A close examination of the intonaco shows that Heraclitus was the last figure painted when the fresco was completed, in 1511.
Raphael The Triumph of Galatea 1511 Fresco, 295 x 225 cm Villa Farnesina, Rome The Sienese Banker, Agostini Chigi, played a very important role in the cultural and artistic activities which flourished around Julius II. His house was built on the outskirts of Rome in 1509-1510, and was designed as a model of luxury and elegance. He commissioned Baldassarre Peruzzi, Sebastiano Luciani (later called Sebastiano del Piombo) and Raphael to decorate it. All three painted frescoes based on classical mythology in Chigi's house (which was later acquired by the Farnese family and came to be known as "La Farnesina"). As subject Raphael chose a verse from a poem by the Florentine Angelo Poliziano which had also helped to inspire Botticelli's 'Birth of Venus'. These lines describe how the clumsy giant Polyphemus sings a love song to the fair sea-nymph Galatea and how she rides across the waves in a chariot drawn by two dolphins, laughing at his uncouth song, while the happy company of other sea-gods and nymphs is milling round her. Every figure seems to correspond to some other figure, every movement to answer a counter-movement. To start with the small boys with Cupid's bows and arrows who aim at the heart of the nymph: not only do those to right and left echo each other's movements, but the boy swimming beside the chariot corresponds to the one flying at the top of the picture. It is the same with the group of sea-gods which seems to be 'wheeling' round the nymph. But what is more admirable is that all these diverse movements are somehow reflected and taken up in the figure of Galatea herself. Her chariot had been driving from left to right with her veil blowing backwards, but, hearing the strange love song, she turns round and smiles, and all the lines in the picture, from the love-gods' arrows to the reins she holds, converge on her beautiful face in the very center of the picture. By these artistic means Raphael has achieved constant movement throughout the picture, without letting it become restless or unbalanced. It is for this supreme mastery of arranging his figures, this consummate skill in composition, that artists have admired Raphael ever since.
Michelangelo was influenced by the discovery of two Greek sculptures. One of these is a statue of the Greek god Apollo and is called the " Apollo Belvedere " because after it was discovered in Rome in 1490 Pope Julius II (when he became Pope) had it placed in the courtyard of the Belvedere, which was the summer palace of the popes. So it was discovered 8 years before Michelangelo began work on his Pieta (1498-99) . Apollo is of course the ancient Greek god of (among other things) light, truth, reason. This is a Roman copy after a Greek bronze that was made in the late 4th century BC and is, of course, of the more restrained Hellenic tradition in which the quiet face spoke of reason governing the passions . The other sculpture was the Laocoon who was discovered in Rome in 1506 and is of course an example of Hellenistic art . We know that Michelangelo saw this one for he was there when it was being dug out of the earth and that it influenced him profoundly. Because he saw for the first time in the Laocoon an ancient example of the kind of the kind of expressiveness --the use of body language-he wanted in his own work .
Michelangelo Pietà 1499 Marble, height 174 cm, width at the base 195 cm Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican 1. study of ancient sculpture (here he's drawing from the more restrained Hellenic tradition, as opposed to the more dramatic Hellenistic) 2. study of anatomy 3. the Neoplatonic idea that beauty + truth are closely connected: the contemplation of Beauty leads to revelation 4. he's added some of his own touches: He's played w/ proportion: Mary would be 7 feet tall if she stood Mary's head is "too small" for her body giving her great monumentality. He's introduced some ambiguity by putting bulging veins on Christ's dead body, hinting at vitality
In the Pietà, Michelangelo approached a subject which until then had been given form mostly north of the Alps, where the portrayal of pain had always been connected with the idea of redemption: it was called the "Vesperbild" and represented the seated Madonna holding Christ's body in her arms. But now the twenty-three year-old artist presents us with an image of the Madonna with Christ's body never attempted before. Her face is youthful, yet beyond time; her head leans only slightly over the lifeless body of her son lying in her lap. "The body of the dead Christ exhibits the very perfection of research in every muscle, vein, and nerve. No corpse could more completely resemble the dead than does this. There is a most exquisite expression in the countenance. The veins and pulses, moreover, are indicated with so much exactitude, that one cannot but marvel how the hand of the artist should in a short time have produced such a divine work." One must take these words of Vasari about the "divine beauty" of the work in the most literal sense, in order to understand the meaning of this composition. Michelangelo convinces both himself and us of the divine quality and the significance of these figures by means of earthly beauty, perfect by human standards and therefore divine. We are here face to face not only with pain as a condition of redemption, but rather with absolute beauty as one of its consequences.
David 1504 Marble, height 434 cm Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence In 1501 Michelangelo was commissioned to create the David by the Arte della Lana (Guild of Wool Merchant), who were responsible for the upkeep and the decoration of the Cathedral in Florence. For this purpose, he was given a block of marble which Agostino di Duccio had already attempted to fashion forty years previously, perhaps with the same subject in mind. Michelangelo breaks away from the traditional way of representing David. He does not present us with the winner, the giant's head at his feet and the powerful sword in his hand, but portrays the youth in the phase immediately preceding the battle: perhaps he has caught him just in the moment when he has heard that his people are hesitating, and he sees Goliath jeering and mocking them. The artist places him in the most perfect " contrapposto", as in the most beautiful Greek representations of heroes. The right-hand side of the statue is smooth and composed while the left-side, from the outstretched foot all the way up to the disheveled hair is openly active and dynamic. The muscles and the tendons are developed only to the point where they can still be interpreted as the perfect instrument for a strong will, and not to the point of becoming individual self-governing forms. Once the statue was completed, a committee of the highest ranking citizens and artists decided that it must be placed in the main square of the town, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, the Town Hall. It was the first time since antiquity that a large statue of a nude was to be exhibited in a public place. This was only allowed thanks to the action of two forces, which by a fortunate chance complemented each other: the force of an artist able to create, for a political community, the symbol of its highest political ideals, and, on the other hand, that of a community, which understood the power of this symbol. "Strength" and "Wrath" were the two most important virtues, characteristic of the ancient patron of the city Hercules. Both these qualities, passionate strength and wrath, were embodied in the statue of David.
When, by the will of Pope Julius della Rovere (1503-13), Michelangelo went to Rome in 1505, the Pope commissioned him to build in the course of five years a tomb for the Pope. Forty life-sized statues were to surround the tomb which was to be 7 meter wide, 11 meter deep and 8 meter high; it was to be a free-standing tomb and to contain an oval funerary cell. Never, since classical times, had anything like this, in the West, been built for one man alone. According to the iconographic plan, which we are able to reconstruct from written sources, this was to be an outline of the Christian world: the lower level was dedicated to man, the middle level to the prophets and saints, and the top level to the surpassing of both former levels in the Last Judgment. At the summit of the monument, there was to have been a portrayal of two angels leading the Pope out of his tomb on the day of the Last Judgment. Michelangelo immediately began his preparations for this task, but the capricious Pope, in doubt of finding an appropriate place in which to erect his tomb, planned something even more grandiose: the restoration and remodeling of St Peter's. Thus Michelangelo was ordered to make other commissions, first in Bologna then in Rome, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. After the death of the Pope in 1513 Michelangelo and the Pope's heirs reached a new agreement concerning the tomb. It was decided that the tomb was to be smaller and placed against a wall. After several further changes and simplifications the tomb was finally set up in San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome in 1545. The slaves (four in Florence and two in Paris) were intended to the lower level, while the Moses for the middle level
The statue of Moses is the summary of the entire monument, planned but never fully realized as the tomb of Julius II. It was intended for one of the six colossal figures that crowned the tomb. Elder brother to the Sistine Prophets, the Moses is also an image of Michelangelo's own aspirations, a figure in de Tolnay's words, "trembling with indignation, having mastered the explosion of his wrath". The Moses was executed for Michelangelo's second project for the tomb of Julius II. Inspired perhaps by the medieval conception of man as microcosm, he brought together the elements in allegorical guise: the flowing beard suggests water, the wildly twisting hair fire, the heavy drape earth. In an ideal sense, the Moses represents also both the artist and the Pope, two personalities who had in common what is known as "terribilità". Conceived for the second tier of the tomb, the statue was meant to be seen from below and not as it is displayed today at eye-level. Moses 1515 Marble, height 235 cm S. Pietro in Vincoli, Rome
The slaves (four in Florence and two in Paris) were intended to be at the lower level of the tomb of Pope Julius II, while the Moses for the middle level. From the realized version of the tomb, erected in the church San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome after several redesign and reduction of the original plan, the slaves were left out. The tomb of Julius II and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel illustrate the triumph of the soul over the material world. Both the tomb and the Sistine chapel can be interpreted within a Neoplatonic scheme, but in these works, Neoplatonism operates in conjunction with Christian ideology. The struggle of the soul to free itself from matter is equated with the Christian doctrine of resurrection and eternal life. Tombs of popes were traditionally in three levels, which symbolized earthly existence, death and salvation (Fleming 189). Michelangelo's original plan for the tomb incorporated these divisions into a Neoplatonic representation of the soul's reunion with God. The lowest level included several slaves who were struggling to free themselves from their bonds. These statues represented souls who were enslaved in matter. The low state of the slaves was further emphasized by the appearance of the face of an ape in the marble around the Dying Slave . The ape was a "symbol of everything sub-human in man, of lust, greed, and gluttony" (Panofsky 195). Ficino and the Neoplatonists argued that the lower soul was "that nature which we have in common with the all animals" (Cassirer 196). In Christian terms, the slaves represented the soul in bondage to the passions. Bound slaves had long been used as a symbol of the "unresurrected human soul held in bondage by its natural desires" (Panofsky 194). The slaves were contrasted with the Victories, who "represent the human soul in its state of freedom, capable of conquering the base emotions by reason" (Panofsky 197). The lower level of the tomb, in both the Christian and Neoplatonic frameworks, represents the soul in its least desirable state.
Tomb of Giuliano de' Medici 1526-33 Marble, 630 x 420 cm Sagrestia Nuova, San Lorenzo, Florence Michelangelo received the commission for the Medici Chapel in 1520 from the Medici Pope Leo X (1513-23). The Pope wanted to combine the tombs of his younger brother Giuliano, Duke of Nemours, and his nephew Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino, with those of the "Magnifici", Lorenzo and his brother Giuliano, who had been murdered in 1478; their tombs were then in the Old Sacristy of San Lorenzo. The plans for the chapel which we still have, shows us that the Pope allowed Michelangelo a great freedom in his task. Not much of this vast plan was in fact carried out, yet it is enough to give us an idea of what Michelangelo's overall conception must have been. Each of the Dukes' tombs is divided into two areas, and the border is well marked by a projecting cornice. In the lower part are the sarcophagi with the mortal remains of the Dukes, on which lie Twilight and Dawn, Night and Day as the symbol of the vanity of things. Above this temporal area, the nobility of the figures of the Dukes and the subtlety of the richly decorated architecture which surrounds them represent a higher sphere: the abode of the free and redeemed spirit