IASblog

Notes from the Italian Art Society, promoting the study of the architecture and visual arts of Italy, from prehistory to the present day.
Caravaggio’s Denial of St. Peter commemorates the dramatic predawn Holy Friday event of the apostle’s denial of Jesus. Recounted in all four Gospels (Matthew 26:69–75; Mark 14:66–72; Luke 22:55–62; John 18:17–18, 25–27), Peter refused to acknowledge his discipleship, living up to Jesus’ prophecy that he would deny him three times prior to the cock’s crow. Filled with shame and remorse, Peter wept bitterly at the realization that Jesus had predicted his sin, which Peter had promised would never happen. The penitent Peter thus became a powerful symbol of Confession and Penance.
Caravaggio, The Denial of St. Peter, before 1613, oil canvas, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Herman and Lila Shickman, and Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1997.

Caravaggio’s Denial of St. Peter commemorates the dramatic predawn Holy Friday event of the apostle’s denial of Jesus. Recounted in all four Gospels (Matthew 26:69–75; Mark 14:66–72; Luke 22:55–62; John 18:17–18, 25–27), Peter refused to acknowledge his discipleship, living up to Jesus’ prophecy that he would deny him three times prior to the cock’s crow. Filled with shame and remorse, Peter wept bitterly at the realization that Jesus had predicted his sin, which Peter had promised would never happen. The penitent Peter thus became a powerful symbol of Confession and Penance.

Caravaggio, The Denial of St. Peter, before 1613, oil canvas, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Herman and Lila Shickman, and Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1997.

Today is Good Friday, the anniversary of Jesus’ death on the cross. After the Virgin and Child, the Crucifixion is the most common subject of Christian art, and numerous examples can be found in Italian painting, sculpture, and manuscripts. Whether as part of an iconic Crucifix or the focus of a narrative, the image of Jesus on the cross has been repeatedly reinterpreted by Italian artists to remind Christian viewers of Jesus’ sacrifice to absolve them of their sins. Complementary images include the Agony in the Garden, the Deposition, the Lamentation, and the Entombment. The centurion Longinus who pierced Jesus’ side was immortalized by Gianlorenzo Bernini as one of four monumental sculptures created to decorate the crossing of New St. Peter’s in Rome.

Coppo di Marcovaldo, Crucifix, after 1261, tempera on panel, Pinacoteca Civica, San Gimignano

Early Christian woodcarver, Crucifixion, ca. 430, wood, Santa Sabina, Rome

Early Christian sculptor, Passion Sarcophagus, detail, ca. 430, marble, Lateran Museum, Rome

Altichiero, Crucifixion, 1376-9, fresco, Basilica di Sant’Antonio, Padua

Fra Angelico, Crucifixion with Mourners and Sts Dominic and Thomas Aquinas (Cell 37), 1441-2, fresco, San Marco, Florence

Andrea Mantegna, Agony in the Garden, ca. 1459, tempera on panel, National Gallery, London

Rosso Fiorentino, Deposition, 1521, oil on panel, Cathedral, Volterra

Giotto, Lamentation, 1305, fresco, Scrovegni Chapel, Padua

Raphael, Entombment, 1507, oil on panel, Galleria Borghese, Rome

Gianlorenzo Bernini, Longinus, 1631-8, marble, St. Peter’s, Rome

Today is Holy, or Maundy, Thursday, when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet in an act of humility that is seen as a reminder of the cleansing waters of Baptism and a prefiguration of the purification brought by the Crucifixion. After this ritual cleansing, Jesus shared his final meal, or Last Supper, with his followers, predicting his death and instituting the Eucharist for the first time. While the Last Supper was often painted as a stand-alone image in Italian refectories (monastic dining rooms), the less common scene of foot washing more typically appears alongside Last Supper imagery in Passion cycles. 

Giotto, Christ Washing the Feet of His Apostles and Last Supper, ca. 1305, Arena Chapel, Padua

Duccio, Christ Washing the Feet of His Apostles and Last Supper, 1308-11, Maestà, Siena, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo

Andrea del Castagno, Last Supper, 1447, fresco, refectory, Sant’Apollonia, Florence

Leonardo da Vinci, Last Supper, 1495-98, mural, refectory, Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan

Giovanni Agostino da Lodi, Washing of the Feet, 1500, panel, Venice, Galleria dell’Accademia

Andrea del Sarto, Last Supper, 1520-25, fresco, Convent of San Salvi, Florence

Palma Giovane, Washing of the Feet, 1591-2, oil on canvas, San Giovanni in Bragora, Venice

Tintoretto, Last Supper, 1592-4, oil on canvas, choir, S, Giorgio Maggiore, Venice

artgalleryofontario:

Lamentation with Saints and a Donor, c. 1490di Giovanni, BartolommeoOil on canvasOverall: 163.8 x 191.7 cmPurchase, 1970© 2014 Art Gallery of Ontario

artgalleryofontario:

Lamentation with Saints and a Donor, c. 1490
di Giovanni, Bartolommeo
Oil on canvas
Overall: 163.8 x 191.7 cm
Purchase, 1970
© 2014 Art Gallery of Ontario

Filippo Brunelleschi died on this day in 1446 in Florence. Today recognized as the father of Early Renaissance architecture, Brunelleschi began his career as sculptor, famously losing the competition to create bronze doors for the Florentine Baptistry to Lorenzo Ghiberti. Despite this early setback, Brunelleschi would find great success in Florence as an architect, above all for his design to vault the great choir of the city’s new cathedral. Other important projects include the redesign of San Lorenzo and Santo Spirito and the entry loggia for the Ospedale degli Innocenti. Brunelleschi’s refined classicism, based on intense study in Rome, provided a new architectural vocabulary for Florence that would be repeated and reinvented throughout the Renaissance by numerous Italian architects.

Sacrifice of Isaac, 1401-2, gilded bronze, Bargello, Florence

Crucifix, 1412-13, polychromed wood, Santa Maria Novella, Florence

Cupola, 1418-36, Cathedral, Florence

San Lorenzo, views of old sacristy, nave, and aisle, 1421-40, Florence

Ospedale degli Innocenti, begun ca. 1419, Florence

Santo Spirito, 1434-82, Florence

Death Mask of Filippo Brunelleschi

Pastellist and painter Rosalba Carriera died on this day in 1757. Admitted to the Accademia di San Luca in Rome in 1705, Carriera was an exception to the common exclusion of women from professional artistic circles. Her acceptance to the academy as well as her successful career attest to her talent and perseverance. Carriera never married, which may have helped her to foster her professional endeavors. She is known for miniature portraits painted on ivory, decorative lids for snuff boxes, and larger pastel portraits, including her self-portrait included in the collection of artists’ self-portraits belonging to Grand Duke Cosimo III de’Medici in Florence.

Gustavus Hamilton, Second Viscount Boyne, in Masquerade Costume, 1730-31. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Purchase, George Delacorte Fund Gift, in memory of George T. Delacorte Jr., and Gwynne Andrews, Victor Wilbour Memorial, and Marquand Funds, 2002.22.

Self-Portrait, 1715. Florence: Galleria degli Uffizi.

Air, pastel on card, c. 1744. Dresden, Staatliche Kunstammlungen Dresden; photo credit: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY.

America, ca. 1730. Washington D.C.: National Museum of Women in the Arts: Purchased with funds donated by Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay.

(Source: italianartsociety)

Leonardo da Vinci was born on this day in 1452. The world-renowned polymath excelled as a painter, sculptor, architect, designer, theorist, engineer, and scientist, though he was often more interested in the design and exploratory phases of his work than bringing them to completion. Widely recognized as the father of the High Renaissance, even though he was of the same generation as Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-94), and Filippino Lippi (1457-1504), rather than Michelangelo (1475-1564) or Raphael (1483-1520). Though Leonardo famously didn’t complete a number of major commissions, those that he did are today some of the most recognizable images of the Italian Renaissance.

Drapery Study, 1470-84, brush and grey distemper on grey canvas, Musée du Louvre, Paris

Adoration of the Magi, 1481-82, oil on panel, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani (Lady with an Ermine), 1483-90, oil on wood, Czartoryski Museum, Cracow

Mona Lisa, 1503-5, oil on panel, Musée du Louvre, Paris

Last Supper, 1495-98, mural, refectory, Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan

Study of St Anne, Mary, the Christ Child and the young St John, 1501-06, lead pencil, pen and ink on paper, Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice

Vitruvian Man, 1492. pen, ink, watercolour and metalpoint on paper, Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice

Study for the Sforza monument, 1488-89, metalpoint on bluish prepared paper, Royal Library, Windsor

Genoese artist Bartolomeo Biscaino was baptized on this day in 1629. Trained first by his father, the landscape painter Giovanni Andrea Biscaino, and then by Valerio Castello, Biscaino excelled as a printmaker but also found success as a painter. He died young in 1657 of plague, and his career and artistic personality remain relatively unknown.

Reference: Federica Lamera. “Biscaino, Bartolomeo.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. <http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T009004>.

Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine, about 1655, red chalk heightened with white gouache on tan paper, Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 86.GB.6 

The Finding of Moses, c. 1655, etching on ivory laid paper, Art Institute of Chicago, Stanley Field Endowment, 1999.685

The Virgin Adoring the Infant Jesus, 1655, etching on paper, Art Institute of Chicago, J. B. Fair Fund, 1939.312

Samson and Delilah, by 1657, oil on canvas, location unknown

artgalleryofontario:

The Madonna and Child with Infant St. John and Children, 16th centurySarto, Andrea del(workshop of)Tempera and oil on wood panelOverall: 124.5 x 91.4 cmGift of Reuben Wells Leonard Estate, 1951© 2014 Art Gallery of Ontario

artgalleryofontario:

The Madonna and Child with Infant St. John and Children, 16th century
Sarto, Andrea del(workshop of)
Tempera and oil on wood panel
Overall: 124.5 x 91.4 cm
Gift of Reuben Wells Leonard Estate, 1951
© 2014 Art Gallery of Ontario