Italian Quattrocento


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Italian Quattrocento

  1. 1. Competition Panels of the Florence Baptistery <ul><li>Ghiberti, Sacrifice of Isaac (1401 -02) </li></ul><ul><li>Designed for the second set of Florence Cathedral Baptistery </li></ul><ul><li>Competition used the same number of figures, same scene and quotation from the Bible </li></ul><ul><li>Gothic, Sienese in design: curve to the body of Abraham, fluttering of Abraham’s drapery behind arm </li></ul><ul><li>Idealized forms (vs. Brunelleschi’s expressiveness) </li></ul><ul><li>Polished effect </li></ul><ul><li>Decorative lines </li></ul><ul><li>No particular focus </li></ul><ul><li>Classical figure of Isaac inspired by Roman art </li></ul><ul><li>Abraham’s face taken from Roman model of Jupiter </li></ul><ul><li>Graceful poses </li></ul><ul><li>Made in two pieces, thus less expensive </li></ul>
  2. 2. Competition Panels of the Florence Baptistery <ul><li>Brunelleschi, Sacrifice of Isaac </li></ul><ul><li>Commission given to Ghiberti after the success of the second set of doors </li></ul><ul><li>Doors use a more neutral and modern rectangular shape instead of more Gothic quatrefoil </li></ul><ul><li>Expansive and harmonious use of space </li></ul><ul><li>Elegant bodies </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of a precise spatial depth </li></ul><ul><li>One dense group of forms </li></ul><ul><li>Composition divided into two main tiers: upper and lower </li></ul><ul><li>Weighty figures </li></ul><ul><li>Great variety of poses </li></ul><ul><li>More dramatic, tense, sense of urgency </li></ul><ul><li>Youthful Isaac </li></ul><ul><li>Figures overlap boundaries of quatrefoil pattern </li></ul><ul><li>Figures inspired by Roman models </li></ul><ul><li>Made in eight pieces, much heavier than Ghiberti’s </li></ul>
  3. 3. Italian Quattrocento Architecture <ul><li>Brunelleschi, Dome of Florence Cathedral </li></ul><ul><li>Dome is raised on a high drum, meant to be seen from the outside more than the inside, unlike the Pantheon or the Hagia Sophia </li></ul><ul><li>Semi-pointed, eight-sided dome </li></ul><ul><li>Built with no centering devices </li></ul><ul><li>Really two domes, the interior does the structural work, and the exterior gives it a soaring quality </li></ul><ul><li>Extremely wide width of 140’ to vault </li></ul><ul><li>Octagonal lantern on top: 8 buttresses with supports at the angles, each having a Corinthian pilaster; each buttress pierced by a classicizing portal-like opening </li></ul>
  4. 4. Italian Quattrocento Architecture <ul><li>Brunelleschi, Santo Spirito, Florence </li></ul><ul><li>Early Christian basilica </li></ul><ul><li>Unfluted Corinthian columns </li></ul><ul><li>Flat coffered ceiling </li></ul><ul><li>Floor has square patterns that divide up the space mathematically </li></ul><ul><li>Added impost blocks for height </li></ul><ul><li>Width of nave equals height of nave arcade </li></ul><ul><li>Florentines thought geometric precision could decode the mysteries of the universe </li></ul><ul><li>Light, airy, open </li></ul>
  5. 5. Italian Quattrocento Architecture <ul><li>Michelozzo, Palazzo Medici, Florence </li></ul><ul><li>Three horizontal levels </li></ul><ul><li>1st story: rough cut, rusticated stone, Roman fortress like, used for shops and businesses; later the arches were filled in; fortitude of inhabitants implied </li></ul><ul><li>2nd story: smooth cut blocks, family quarters </li></ul><ul><li>3rd story: smooth surface </li></ul><ul><li>Heavy cornice to limit vision and imply sense of strength </li></ul><ul><li>Façade does not support building, working towards a curtain wall </li></ul><ul><li>Modern bank image comes from this building </li></ul>
  6. 6. Italian Quattrocento Architecture <ul><li>Alberti, Sant’Andrea, Mantua </li></ul><ul><li>Combination of Roman triumphal arch with antique temple front </li></ul><ul><li>Pairs of giant pilasters, topped by Corinthian capitals, support pediment </li></ul><ul><li>Large barrel vault that rises above the façade </li></ul><ul><li>Size of façade dictated by the small plaza in front of church: Alberti could not change width—bell tower on one side, the plaza on the other </li></ul><ul><li>Alberti sought to create identical proportions of width and height </li></ul><ul><li>“ Ombrellone” seems awkward, but it creates a powerful barrel vault inside building, largest since antiquity </li></ul>
  7. 7. Italian Quattrocento Sculpture <ul><li>Ghiberti, Gates of Paradise </li></ul><ul><li>Commission given to Ghiberti after the success of the second set of doors </li></ul><ul><li>Doors use a more neutral and modern rectangular shape instead of more Gothic quatrefoil </li></ul><ul><li>Expansive and harmonious use of space </li></ul><ul><li>Elegant bodies </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of a precise spatial depth </li></ul>
  8. 8. Italian Quattrocento Sculpture <ul><li>Donatello, Gattamelata </li></ul><ul><li>Cast in parts; triumph of bronze casting </li></ul><ul><li>Idealized heroic portrait of a resolute commander </li></ul><ul><li>Pulsating facial muscles, heavy arches brows </li></ul><ul><li>Swelling of horse’s veins </li></ul><ul><li>Sense of classical revival: cf. Marcus Aurelius </li></ul><ul><li>On parade </li></ul>
  9. 9. Italian Quattrocento Sculpture <ul><li>Donatello, Gattamelata </li></ul><ul><li>Cast in parts; triumph of bronze casting </li></ul><ul><li>Idealized heroic portrait of a resolute commander </li></ul><ul><li>Pulsating facial muscles, heavy arches brows </li></ul><ul><li>Swelling of horse’s veins </li></ul><ul><li>Sense of classical revival: cf. Marcus Aurelius </li></ul><ul><li>On parade </li></ul>
  10. 10. Italian Quattrocento Sculpture <ul><li>Donatello, Saint Mark </li></ul><ul><li>Commissioned by the Guild of Linen Weavers and Peddlers, suggested by pillow at base and ample drapery </li></ul><ul><li>Although in a Gothic niche, the statue is free standing </li></ul><ul><li>Contrapposto based on Roman art </li></ul><ul><li>Drapery falls directly down </li></ul><ul><li>Easy posture </li></ul><ul><li>Face has piercing eyes </li></ul><ul><li>Calculated how the sculpture would look from street level </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Donatello, David </li></ul><ul><li>First life size nude since antiquity </li></ul><ul><li>Subtle S curve of figure </li></ul><ul><li>In triumph after killing Goliath, whose head is at his feet </li></ul><ul><li>Black bronze has a shiny feminine quality </li></ul><ul><li>Epicene quality of pose and features </li></ul><ul><li>Standing self-assured, but not triumphant, as if in reverie </li></ul><ul><li>Young adolescent body </li></ul><ul><li>Laurel on foppish hat alludes to David’s powers as a poet </li></ul><ul><li>Nudity an allusion to David dancing nude in ecstasy at the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem </li></ul>
  12. 12. Italian Quattrocento Sculpture <ul><li>Donatello, Zuccone (Habbakuk) </li></ul><ul><li>Cf. Roman Republican art </li></ul><ul><li>Strong, rustic, not refined, nor idealized </li></ul><ul><li>Heavy drapery sweeps your eye diagonally to head </li></ul><ul><li>Fiery intensity of expression, meant to be seen by passersby in the cathedral square below </li></ul><ul><li>Living out in the wilderness, looks haggard but divinely inspired </li></ul><ul><li>Bald head carved roughly to enhance effect </li></ul>
  13. 13. Italian Quattrocento Painting <ul><li>Masaccio, Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden </li></ul><ul><li>Desolate world outside of Garden of Eden </li></ul><ul><li>Volumes are massive and simple </li></ul><ul><li>Monumental, sculptural figures inspired by Giotto </li></ul><ul><li>Dramatically cast shadows, also emphasizing weight and physicality; tragic intensity </li></ul><ul><li>Adam ignores his nudity, covers his face for shame </li></ul><ul><li>Eve’s profound cry of despair </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Masaccio, Holy Trinity </li></ul><ul><li>Triangular form, dominated by perspective architecture inspired by Brunelleschi </li></ul><ul><li>Christ is crucified and a member of the Trinity </li></ul><ul><li>Viewpoint of average person standing in front and looking up at the cross </li></ul><ul><li>Ancient Roman triumphal arch, round arch, pillars, pilasters </li></ul><ul><li>Flanking Trinity is Mary and John, then – on the next spatial plane – the two kneeling donors </li></ul><ul><li>Below is the tomb of a member of the donor’s family, with his skeleton </li></ul><ul><li>Inscription reads, “I once was what you are, and what I am, you will become” </li></ul>
  15. 15. Italian Quattrocento Painting <ul><li>Uccello, Battle of San Romano </li></ul><ul><li>Commemorates the victory of the Florentines over Sienese in 1432 </li></ul><ul><li>Dominated by a fascination for perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Extremely high horizon line allows for wealth of action and detail </li></ul><ul><li>Scale often appears random, however </li></ul><ul><li>Toy horses, more ceremonial than terrifying </li></ul><ul><li>Interest in metal patterns of the fallen men and lances, figures fall in bold foreshortening </li></ul><ul><li>Vanishing points pull the eye into space </li></ul><ul><li>Miraculously, the dead knights and their broken lances fall perfectly along the orthogonal lines leading to the vanishing point </li></ul>
  16. 16. Italian Quattrocento Painting <ul><li>Botticelli, Birth of Venus </li></ul><ul><li>Delicacy of line and surface ornament </li></ul><ul><li>Sharply drawn figures, focus on contours </li></ul><ul><li>Landscape flat and tapestry-like </li></ul><ul><li>Stylized V shaped waves </li></ul><ul><li>Little interest in perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Venus rises from a seashell, far away look in her eyes </li></ul><ul><li>Rose created at the same time as Venus, a symbol of love: it can be painful </li></ul><ul><li>Bloodless, weightless, idealized nude </li></ul><ul><li>Cf. Praxiteles, Aphrodite of Knidos </li></ul><ul><li>Zephyr and his love, Chloris, rush in to scatter roses before her </li></ul><ul><li>Handmaiden covers her </li></ul>
  17. 18. Italian Quattrocento Painting <ul><li>Castagno, Last Supper </li></ul><ul><li>Christ is blessing, but Judas already has his food, not sacred to him </li></ul><ul><li>Judas is diabolical, jutting beard, hooked nose, on other side of table </li></ul><ul><li>Inconsistent geometric shape of room: ceiling panels 16 by 14, stringcourses 12 across back and 6 per side </li></ul><ul><li>Ceiling circles are 33 ½ in the back (the age of Christ at his death) and 17 at the sides </li></ul><ul><li>Six panels on the sides, but six in the back also </li></ul><ul><li>Animated marble over Judas’ head and skeptical Peter’s head reflects mood </li></ul><ul><li>Rugged features of individuals </li></ul><ul><li>Lit from windows on right </li></ul><ul><li>Nearly every figure sits independently </li></ul>
  18. 19. Italian Quattrocento Painting <ul><li>Ghirlandaio, Birth of the Virgin </li></ul><ul><li>Saint Anne reclines in a palace room decorated with a classically inspired frieze </li></ul><ul><li>Midwives prepare for infant’s bath </li></ul><ul><li>Daughter of chapel’s patron of the work prominently shown in golden dress at center </li></ul><ul><li>Living people steal the show from the saints </li></ul><ul><li>Clear spatial arrangements </li></ul><ul><li>Large room divided by pilasters </li></ul><ul><li>Upper left corner: meeting of Joachim and Anna </li></ul>
  19. 20. Italian Quattrocento Painting <ul><li>Perugino, Christ Delivering the Keys of the Kingdom to Saint Peter </li></ul><ul><li>Figures lined up in a row </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on clarity, bright colors </li></ul><ul><li>Feeling of easy grace </li></ul><ul><li>Contemporaries in the painting </li></ul><ul><li>Shapely mantles </li></ul><ul><li>Weight placed on one foot, hip noticeable </li></ul><ul><li>Vast Renaissance plaza </li></ul><ul><li>Arch of Constantine, dome of Florence Cathedral in background </li></ul><ul><li>Catholic Church centered on Saint Peter: open space to highlight the key </li></ul><ul><li>Middle Left: Render to Caesar the things which are Caesar’s </li></ul><ul><li>Middle Right: Stoning of Christ </li></ul><ul><li>Located in the Sistine Chapel, the place where Popes are elected </li></ul>
  20. 22. Italian Quattrocento Painting <ul><li>Mantegna, Dead Christ </li></ul><ul><li>Uncharacteristic use of almost grisaille in contrast to his usual bold coloring </li></ul><ul><li>Emotionally charged </li></ul><ul><li>Bold foreshortening </li></ul><ul><li>Feet placed over the edge into our own space </li></ul><ul><li>Head enlarged to see it better; feet reduced to see body better </li></ul><ul><li>Wounds and dislocated shoulders of Christ prominently displayed </li></ul>
  21. 23. Italian Quattrocento Painting <ul><li>Mantegna, Room of the Newlyweds </li></ul><ul><li>Oculus: eight winged putti and a peacock </li></ul><ul><li>Women lean over balcony </li></ul><ul><li>Foreshortening and perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Walls: heavy curtain pulled back </li></ul><ul><li>Antique decorative elements around main scenes </li></ul><ul><li>Patrons are the Gonzagas, their colors red and white on their hosiery </li></ul><ul><li>Realism of Gonzaga bodies: hump back, double chins, protruding foreheads and jaws, limp and spindly arms and legs </li></ul><ul><li>Charming legend about the possible use by newlyweds on their first night: Cupids abound, with a peacock as a symbol of marital harmony </li></ul>
  22. 24. Italian Quattrocento Painting <ul><li>Piero, Brera Altarpiece </li></ul><ul><li>Light, open, clear space </li></ul><ul><li>Set within an actual Renaissance church interior </li></ul><ul><li>Crystalline, almost bleaching light </li></ul><ul><li>Roman architectural forms </li></ul><ul><li>Classical, quiet and a still quality </li></ul><ul><li>Deeply reverend patron </li></ul><ul><li>Egg as the Renaissance symbol for a perfectly centralized harmonious and symmetrical space </li></ul><ul><li>Mathematical proportion and balance </li></ul><ul><li>Barrel vault, cf. Alberti’s Sant’Andrea </li></ul><ul><li>Light comes in from left casting shadows on figures and vault </li></ul><ul><li>Armor-clad patron seen in profile on his knees in front </li></ul><ul><li>Pose requested by patron to hide disfigurement on the other side of his face: loss of right eye </li></ul>
  23. 25. Italian Quattrocento Art <ul><li>Verrocchio, David </li></ul><ul><li>Slenderness and angularity of the adolescent body </li></ul><ul><li>Jutting left elbow, slightly cocky aspect </li></ul><ul><li>Precise ornament </li></ul><ul><li>Leather jerkin and skirt classical inspired, reveals rather than conceals the young hero’s wiry anatomy </li></ul><ul><li>Pensive and gentle in victory </li></ul><ul><li>Lacks anatomical exaggeration </li></ul>
  24. 26. <ul><li>Pollaiuolo, Battle of the Ten Nudes </li></ul><ul><li>Humans as wild beasts </li></ul><ul><li>Dense vegetation </li></ul><ul><li>Meant to teach students about anatomy, in all its possible variety </li></ul><ul><li>Many figures are in reflected/flipped poses </li></ul><ul><li>Composition of intertwined figures in superimposed registers to indicate depth </li></ul><ul><li>Mass-produced works of art, spreading Pollaiuolo’s fame to Northern Europe </li></ul>
  25. 27. Italian Quattrocento Painting <ul><li>Signorelli, Damned Cast into Hell </li></ul><ul><li>Supreme representation of the nude in movement </li></ul><ul><li>First large scale painted treatment of the nude in Renaissance art </li></ul><ul><li>Heaven guarded by armored angels </li></ul><ul><li>Multicolored demons carrying female souls a suggestion of sexual threat </li></ul><ul><li>Demons with bat-like wings carry off the mortals </li></ul><ul><li>Demons rip off ears and sink their teeth into victims </li></ul><ul><li>Bizarre and lurid color of devils, some suggesting decaying flesh </li></ul><ul><li>Impenetrable tangle of demons and victims </li></ul><ul><li>Consuming desperation </li></ul>