March 03, 2014
FAH337 Rivalry and Imitation Week 9
Competition and the New Cult of the Artist in Rome
150608 Michelangelo leaves Florence goes to Rome.
Raphael, Portrait of Pope Julius II, ca. 1512/ Gustavo Tognetti,
reconstruction from 1899 of the appearance of the Sistine Chapel
Person behind commission was Pope Sixtus the 4 Uncle
of Julius the II dynastic familial connection. Sistine
Chapel major site of patronage he is eager to return to
and add his own mark to. Interested in Michelangelo
creating and carving his tomb. Brought Raphael to Rome
and Bramante to begin work on rebuilding Constantine
church old St. Peters. To launch project of St Peters we
see today. Suppose to be freestanding monument with
40 lifesized people originally planned to be in St Peters but ended up in a tiny church.
Out of five statues on the monument only one is by Michelangelo, thought this project
that he was obsessed with would seal his fate. Got a painting commission out of this
(fresco in Sistine chapel). Was trained originally in a painter’s workshop with Gerlandio.
Print is a reconstruction from similar structures that existed at that time that the ceiling of
the chapel when Michelangelo got the commission was decorated in a sumptuous way.
Field of blue ultramarine with gold stars. After noticing a large crack in 1504 in the vault
providing an occasion for repainting and modernization Michelangelo says Pope
originally had a plan for subject matter of 12 apostles Michelangelo thought it was a poor
subject. Supposedly pope said do whatever you feel is appropriate.
Michelangelo, Sistine Ceiling, general
view with vault frescos, 39x13.7 m., ca.
Vasari says Michelangelo “used no rule of
perspectives in foreshadowing, nor is there
any fixed point of view, but he
accommodated the compartments to the
figures rather than the figures to the
compartments. The frequent shifts in
orientation, level of illusion, and scale –
including, for example, nudes that appear
at once to sit gravely on pedestals and to
defy the gravity of the vault over our
heads, and that hold medallions bigger than the fictive marble figures below them makes
this extremely dense, dizzying and disorienting cuz theirs a lot going on and the way he
separated the images. Uses fictive painted architecture then in the main field creates
framework that is hard to tell what he envisioned. Painting on scaffolding bending over
backward while painting figures larger than he was. Studied male nudes to render female
ones, paint dripped on face. Rectilinear structure goes up and connects across or are we
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suppose to imagine curved barrel bolt cuz of perched figures? On ceilings central axis a
series of 9 narrative scenes shows events from the Book of Genesis narrative starts over
the altar with God separating light and darkness, creating the sun and moon, and
separating the sea and sky. They continue with a triad of scenes treating the creation of
Adam and Eve, their temptation and disobedience, and their exile from Paradise, and
conclude with three episodes representing the tragic and violent course of history after
the Fall of Man. The final scene shows the Drunkenness of Noah, mocked by one of his
sons, who will in turn be punished for his transgression. Scene of flood and Noah’s ark is
not in right place cuz it needs a large space so sacrifice of Noah is placed first. Giving us
prequel to Mosses? Idea of sacrifice. Eucharist and new covenant established in last three
Noah stories. Playing with connection of old and New Testament. Worked backwards in
The poses become more elaborate as they get closer to the altar wall. The colours become
less natural more brilliant more self consciously artificial and ornamental. Instead of
modeling by changing the tone of a given hue, Michelangelo now produces a sense of
light and shade by juxtaposing contrasting colours: a green turns red in the shadows, a red
becomes orange in the highlights.
Small narrative panels framed by ignudi with medallions featuring stories of the
Maccabees and Prophets and Sybils
Nude figures holding gilded bronze medallions that tell story of old testament. Flanking
that underneath are figures of Old Testament prophets and classical sibyls. Prophets and
sibyls not shown with scrolls instead their poses and gestures was enough to show the
importance of their prophecies.
Large narrative panels framed by fictive bronze statues and the ancestors of Christ
Flanked with bronze statues tucked over triangular shaped field, pictures of ancestors of
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Mammoth project completed in short 4year period, scaffolding done one half at a time so
chapel could remain functional. Technical difficulties with fresco painting leads us to
believe didn’t have much experience with it. Not familiar with some materials used in
fresco painting ex lime plaster which hardens wall and holds pigments mixed with river
sand filled with quartz. In Rome use volcanic rock ground up into powder as filler instead
of river sand interacts with water differently use different amount of plaster. Ran into
problems mold was growing on plaster, had to chip parts off that weren’t drying right.
Chunk of Sistine chapel fell during earthquake shows weak spot. Learning process for
him in terms of handling the material. Flat images, everything pushed up to surface,
shallow compositions, looks like relief carving painting with the mind of a sculpture
coloured relief. Middle panel when you stand at floor level you lose a lot of detail, largely
illegible didn’t think abt the distance viewers were looking at it from. Anatomy is the
focus instead of nature.
Use of colour, localized. Distinguishes him from Leonardo who thought about tonal unity
and blending colours and reflecting off of one another. Leonardo breaks away from what
his master did as a painter but Michelangelo stays very faithful to it using bright pure
Michelangelo, Fall and expulsion of Adam and Eve from Garden of Eden;
colori cangianti (=changeable colors)
Painting during second phase, thinking again like a sculpture figure are becoming
larger in scale, doing different things in colour shown in unusual body of the snake.
Using colour to actually model the figure.
Michelangelo, The Creation of Adam and Eve
Figures looser more free and accustomed to
working on a large scale and more dynamic. Here
Adam is echoed in Noah, the figure of fallen
mankind. Adam raises himself to consciousness,
receiving an animating energy from God’s right
hand (Gods other hand caresses a child, the future
The Creation of the Sun and Moon and the Creation of the Earth
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On one part god flies diagonal pushing two objects as separates them. Not interested in
landscape. Experimental god creates moon and turn around and moons us.
The Separation of Light from Dark
In early paintings patches are small as he moves along patches get larger relies
less on preparatory cartoons. By this fresco just winging it, inventive poses
makes it look effortless.
Prophets from first half to ceiling
Frontal figures. Static colours are localized.
Colours aren’t interacting with one another
to create a sense of 3 Dimensionality.
Zachariah furthest from the altar looks over
Figures get almost twice as large, poses
dynamic on right is a nice contrast. Leaning
back foreshortened figure turning and
looking up. On the left cloth turns from
yellow in highlights to green in shadows.
Green and purple on the right. The body of Jonah on the
right is the most technically difficult of the figures
recedes in space as the vault curves outward. He himself
looks up ecstatically at the image of God separating Light
and Darkness on the vault above.
Michelangelo, Delphic Sibyl and Libian Sibyl
Sophistication of figure poses themselves. In 4 years
learned a lot.
Delphic Sibyl her blond hair flutters in the air as she opens her
mouth to speak. The Libyan Sibyl exerts herself with her
massive book, her body a counterpoint of turning shoulders,
hips and knees.
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Uses lessons of classical sculpture in Rome. Excavation of Lacoon Greek sculpture and
Belvedere torso probably Heracles all that remains is torso. Michelangelo took muscular
torso and added arms and legs.
Michelangelo, the Prophet Isaiah / Raphael,
The prophet Isaiah, 151112, Rome,
In year 1509 Raphael lands in Rome home town in
Urbino like Bromante who helped Raphael get his foot
in the door with Julius to paint the Stanza rooms in the
Pope private suite apartments.
Stanza della Segnatura, Vatican Palace, commissioned by Julius II from
Raphael, 150811. But originally a team of artists, including Lotto,
Bramantino and Sodoma, worked for the Pope
Was suppose to be part of a team of artists who were going to work on painting three
different rooms. In Julius’ own day this space served as a papal library with books below
large frescoes. Raphael’s paintings on each wall, along with the corresponding vault
above, visualized the four major areas of learning represented: Theology, Philosophy,
Poetry, and Law. What was most radical about his scheme was its separation of the
allegorical figures from the portraits, so that the portraits now dominate the invention.
Must have been aware of Sistine Chapel ceiling since although conceive his ceiling as a
series of fictive mosaics, the arrangement of the compartments is close in conception to
the scheme of Michelangelo considered and then abandoned.
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Raphael, Disputation of the Holy Sacrament, 15089, Stanza della
Painting across from school of Athens. Painted from top to bott