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FAH337H1 (20)
Lecture

Envy and Slander: Personified

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Department
Art
Course
FAH337H1
Professor
Betsy Bennett Purvis
Semester
Winter

Description
midterm: - by this time next week the guidelines and instructions will be posted on BB. How reprehensible is the vice of envy, which should never exist in any- one, when found in a man of excellence, and how wicked and horrible a thing it is to seek under the guise of a feigned friendship to extinguish not only the fame and glory of another but his very life, I truly believe it to be impossible to express with words, for the wickedness of the act over- comes all power and force of speech, however eloquent. For this reason, without enlarging further on this subject, I will only say that in such men there dwells a spirit not merely inhuman and savage but wholly cruel and devilish, and so far removed from any sort of virtue that they are no longer men or even animals, and do not deserve to live. For even as emulation and rivalry, when men seek by honest endeavour to vanquish and surpass those greater than themselves in order to acquire glory and honour , are things worthy to be praised and to be held in esteem as necessary and useful to the world, so on the contrary, the wickedness of envy deserves a proportionately greater meed of blame and vituperation, when, being unable to endure the honour and esteem of others, it sets to work to deprive of life those whom it cannot despoil of glory as did the miserable Andrea del Castagno, who was truly great in painting. But even more notable for the rancour and envy that he bore towards other painters From Giorgio Vasari s Lives of Andrea del Castagno and DomenicoVeneziano - delves into thetheme of rivalry,exposing the dark underbelly of rivalry - visari states that envy can erase anything noteworthy that an artist could create for himself. the darkness can overshadow - shows to be a small and petty person at best - these people who give in to this, become brutes . (Andrea del Castagno) being blinded by envy of the praises that he heard given to the talent of Domenico (Veneziano) determined to remove him from his path. When Domenico, on his way home, came up to him, he crushed his lute and his stomach at one and the same time with certain pieces of lead, and then, thinking that he had not yet finished him off, beat him grievously on the head with the same weapons; and finally, leaving him on the ground, he returned to his room - renaissance psychopath (lol) - where he got this story no one knows; wedont find a record of thiscrime. the documents we do have about these artist, show that castagno outlived Veneziano by 4years and by the same mans hand [Botticelli], is a picture in the possession of Messer Fabio Segni in which there is painted the Calumny of Apelles.. Sandrohimself presented [it] to Antonio Segni. - small painting, but highly detailed; statues in niches, high detail in architecturalornament - what do we know about this painting? G oing back to the life of Botticelli - - presented this picture to Antonio (Fabio Segnis son). - the image was glossed in the frame with an epitaph that Antonio had put onto the back of the importance of good judgement. - - moralized reading of image - subject is calumny of Apelles - recreation of lost picture from antiquity, that was created by Apelles who took Calumny or Slander as his subject - the story is that Apelles created this picture in antiquity because he was avictim of slander; wasrumoured by his rivals that Apelles plotted toover through the king.conspiracy was real, and people were rounded up, but Apelles had nothing to do with it, which they realized, and he was let go - painted this for the king as ateaching moment on slander - picture was lost from antiquity and was known/discovered through verbal descriptions, carried on by well known authors, like Lucian. - something to be aware of: even when he wasworking with antiquesubject matter, Botticelli was functionallyilliterate. it was not him who was reading this stuff directly - - where would he have gotten his sources? - many written sources floating around, including Albertis writings, - and a copy of the writings of Lucian by Bartolomeo. - - he also did illustration of this scene. - subject matter: - - read from right to left - seated on platform is the figure of a prince or ruler;generic figure of authority. flanked on either side by personifications of ignorance andsuspicion as women figures. - - detail of how the price isshown: women are tugging on his ears,filling his head with all kinds of foolishness; depicted with donkeys ears; making an ass of himself - talking with a poorly dressed man who is the personification of envy; he is consumed by adisease being eaten inside out - attractive woman in white, is the personification of Calumny/slander, and has a man by the hair who isbegging for freedom; victim of slander - - what would happen to this victim iftruthdidntintervene - unjust punishment - other two women who are accompanying slander;fraud anddecete/conspiracy - - they are braidingbeautifulornaments (gold threads, pearls) into her hair to make her look beautiful - importantcomponentof how slander presents herself. - the beauty of rhetoric can really mask and conceal very ugly motives. - - although slander is very beautiful, it has the power to change anddeceive us - behind this figure we have thisandrogynous personification of repentance; covering her face in shame towards finalcharacter - final naked female, pointing up towards sky is the personification of truth; in the end truth will reign supreme, although in themeantime slander is a dangerous meaning. - speaks on two levels: - - personifies parts of spoken rhetoric - - portraying words - the seductive power of images - - ornamentation/visual beauty can mask immoral things - cautionarytale of how to look and listen tothings wisely. - fairly siffisticated way to deal with subject - why did he make this? - - Not sure if he made it for anyone; might have been a personalchallenge forhimself to see if he could do it - also was roumered for sodemy - maybe made itfirst for himself so that it was specifically commissioned for someone;presented to Segni according to vasari - Segni wereupper class,travelling in same circles as medici; would have been interested in this kind of image from antiquity; interested in the materialized version of a lost painting of antiquity for they traveled around humanist circles. - circumstances of the creation of this is not clear but there are many different theories of why hewould want to make this and why the Segni would want to have it, - problems of envy andjealousy may have been a reason - larger insights: - - - Mantegna, Calumney of Apelles, ca. 1504 - same characters - very likely that he never saw botticellis version; substantial differences in how he sees the characters - - figure type of botticellis truth is very similar to his Truth; only one to show her in this state of nakedness. venus as pure state; chaste love. - montagne; classic idea of truth; loral around head; - shows the victim of slander as a child, an innocent in montagnes work as well in the writings of lucian; botticelli diverts from this, - both truths have their finger pointing up, interjecting with truth - fraud anddeceit: both areornamental figures that can lead our thoughtsastray through beauty - - Girolamo Mocetto, Calumny of Apelles, 1506 - - pretty much copies Mantagnas drawing - changes setting to Venice; can see the sculpture from previous class - denounced artists for stealing their works,likesurer does - - Raphael, Calumney of Apelles, 1504-08 - - in some waysfollowing botticellis ideas; theme of envy - the truth is ver
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