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Jan. 27th Notes.docx

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University of Toronto St. George

Jan. 27th Notes Monday, January 27, 2014 6:09 PM Envy and Slander Personified • Idea that competition brings the best out of artists (brunelleschi and alberti) • Varsari excerpt --> envy has the power to erase and undo .. Take over by envy are small and petty people o The lives of the artist, Andrea del… (slide) o Castagno beat up Veneziano, don't know where he found that story, no evidence o evidence on the artists doesn't support the story o Veneziano out lived Castagno by four years o But there is truth in the ugliness of envy o May have had a rivalry --> Veneziano is from Venice • From Vasari's Life of Botticelli --> picture has a lot of detail on the figures and the setting --> architectural background incrusted with narrative relief panels and statues --> lots of content and ornament o Picture belonged to Fabio Segni presented to Antonio Segni --> small passage on the frame?? About the importance of good judgment, to give meaning to the picture o The subject is a recreation of a lost picture from antiquity by ancient painter Apelles about idea of slander --> was a victim of slander, his rivals tried to sabotage him that he was part of a group trying to overthrow the king, almost killed for it --> the group was real and were arrested and found that he wasn't involved o Painted this picture as a gift to the king o Botticelli moistly connected to mythical paintings (birth of venus), he couldn't read, so he found about this painting in a different way o From right to left, figure of a prince/ruler, flanked on both sides by female figures of ignorance and suspicion --> leaning in and whispering in his ears (donkey ears) with lies and fooliness, turning him into an ass --> in front of him is envy, consumed by hate --> lady in blue is personification of slander, dragging the victim of slander --> other two women is personification of fraud with decite and conspiracy --> hooded lady is repentance, turning away from the ugly scene and towards the last female character which is a personification of truth, showing truth will reign eventually o Two figures with slander are braiding her hair with beautiful things, ribbons, flowers, pearls, making it beautiful --> shows how slander presents itself o Envy and jealously are ugly things, voice to jealous can be beautiful, power of persuasiveness of it, seductive nature of language and speech can mask and conceal ugly motives --> ornament although beautiful can be deceiving --> unwise, unjust ruler --> bad outcome for the victim if truth doesn't intervene ---> truth reveals or there will be unjust punishment --> lack of wisdom and judgment o Also the idea of the power of images --> visual beauty of images that can mask things that are immoral in their content, cautionary tale of how to look beyond the surfaces of appearances and listening o Very sophisticated and complex o How did he know about the subject --> there were written sources, Alberti's book on painting, a painting he said was a worth narrative, another book is by the Medici (names in reading) --> so he might have known about story through someone he knows in the Medici, could have made visual sense from the illustrations in the manuscript --> doesn't copy the images, made his own version o The audience is was geared towards --> possible that he made it and given as a gift to recreate a lost painting, another possibility is the subject was personal to him, a motive for him to make it o The Segni family would want to have this painting, they were an elite family who would have interest in this kind of recreation of images from antiquity, so commission for it makes sense --> circumstances for its creation is unclear o Idea of envy and jealously was a possibly and a real part of artistic life • More recreations of the same subject --> Mantegna (slide), did not see Botticelli's version of it, many difference o Botecelli shows truth as victorious and naked, (chaste Venus, pure love) shows the victim as an adult (other version shows the victim as a child, children are innocent, Botticelli diverts from it) o Both
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