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University of Toronto St. George
Betsy Purvis

Rivalry and Imitation – FAH 337 Monday, January 20, 2014 Lecture Three Competitive Spirit in Fifteenth-Century Rome: the Case of the Sistine Chapel Donatello, Equestrian Monument to Gattamelata (Erasmo de Narni), 1447-53, Padua, Piazza del Santo + Verrocchio, Equestrian Monument of Bartolomeo Colleoni, hight apx. 4m. (w/out base), 1481-95, Venice, Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo Both Florentine; Donatello the first to be called to the north for commissions Condottiere – mercenary soldier – a leading general of a merc army (Erasmo de Narni) Venice had to rely on buying an army – no standing army -He was hired and brought the city of Padua into the Venetian republic First monument for a merc in this way – competing w/ different types of historical precedence in military history Monuments (usually in Florence) for mercs were usually paid for by the city and were inexpensive -This monument was very expensive – bronze and huge ---Erasmo left money for this in his will – shows his aspirations of himself in terms of the legacy he wanted to leave The armor in this statue was mixed – modern gothic and classical roman armor -Ceremonial armor – not battle armor Grim expression on his face; holding a baton – symbol of leadership and direction Donatello looked back to antiquity – no one had been able to make an equestrian statue of bronze of this scale since antiquity Verrocchio – in the city of Venice proper Another merc soldier – also left money/instructions in his will for the commission -Both wanted the statues in the cathedrals – cities wary of this – they are outside now ---Conflict in values – symbolically inflating his status -----Venice was republican – Bartolomeo was full of military grandeur Facially – grim and austere/harsh/fierce; chest puffed out Challenge btwn the two artists for capturing the mind behind the face – psychology -Character statement – legend and history of the man Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ Equestrian Statue, 175 CE., Rome, Capitoline Museum + The Regisole of Pavia, 3rd century CE., (destroyed in the 18th century) + Horses of St. Mark’s, 101 CE, Venice, Marciano Museum (group of four) There were the 3 equestrian statues available from antiquity during Donatello’s time Bonino da Campione, Funeral Monument to Bernabo Visconti, 1363 + Monument to Candrande della Scala, 1320s, Verona These were not a concern to Donatello but to the patrons – has to do w/ the status being shown of the men in the statues Bonino and Cangrande came from noble backgrounds while Erasmo did not -Important in the concept – the emperor back from battle ---Status preconceived – noble/emperor instead of someone who worked for their position Both of these depicted in the chivalric tradition -Candrande shown in jousting armor instead of battle armor ---Much more light hearted than Bonino -----This man was always shown w/ a silly smile -------Great military ruler but nice and merciful Antonio Pollaiuolo’s proposal for the equestrian monument to Francesco Sforza, c. 1481-82 + Leonardo’s studies for the equestrian monument to Francesco Sforza, c. 1482-93 Never before had this type of figure been proposed – horse on hind legs -As if the man is charging – trampling his advisory Leonardo had taken the commission away from Pollaiuolo -Wrote to the Duke of Milan (patron) speaking of his technical capabilities Leonardo went back to Pollaiuolo’s winning design but even in the sketches you can see the better technical ability The closest it got to completion was a plaster horse model w/out a rider -Eventually destroyed by French troops Would have been 4-5 times bigger than life size Would look to antiquity but wanted to make the type/genre of equestrian monument their own Baccio Pontelli, (?), Sistine Chapel, 1477-81, Exterior View Sistine come from the name Sixtus IV Started building it in 1477; completed in 81 Chapel for ceremonial space for the Pope in which special masses w/ be held -Also the election of new popes Sistine Chapel, General View Dynastic space for Sixtus IV’s family The decoration is a basic church theology and shows the politics and religion of the space Julius II (Sixtus’s nephew) later commissioned Michelangelo to do the ceiling -This undid some of his uncles plan The Last Judgment added by a later pope Al about stamping their legacy Leonardo’s Sketch of the Hanged Pazzo Conspirator, Bernardo di Bandino Barconceli, 1497 + Bertoldo di Giovanni’s medal of the Pazzi Conapiracy, 1478 Medici’s of Florence had tried to assassinate the pope and his brother on Easter Day in the cathedral The attempt is show in the medal and each coin shows one of the brothers head along w/ the interior of the room and the attack The brother was killed while the pope barely escaped Leonardo’s sketch shows what happened to the co-conspirators – hanged Peacemaking to be done after this – the Medici’s send four artists to paint the inside of the Sistine Chapel Gustavo Tognetti, reconstruction drawing from 1899 of the appearance of the Sistine Chapel ca. 1483 Not much local talent in Rome at this time; all the power was in France (from the papacy’s time in Avignon – apx 1.5 centuries) -This brought economic disparity to Rome ---No money for art projects – why they needed Florentine talent -----Artists being used as diplomats Michelangelo destroyed a couple of the panels that the four artists had created The panels were from both the old and new testament Above that was a short history of the papacy (beside the windows) starting w; Jesus, then Peter, then the early Christian Popes The ceiling was painted blue (very expensive) with gold stars On the floor level below the panels, were illusionistic paintings made to look like tapestries The Life of Botticelli as told by Vasari Named Botticelli as the head of the group of artists However, the historical record tells us the situation was inherently rivalrous -It may have been hoped that by hiring a number of masters, the pope would see his chapel completed sooner rather than later -He undeniably created an extraordinary situation, introducing artistic rivalry to one of the most conspicuous sites in Christendom -But cooperation was necessary for completion ---A single contract was signed for all of them Not just the four of them – all the people from their work houses -Speed was of the essence CHECK ARTIST NAMES ON PPT Cosimo Rosselli, Adoration of the Golden Calf, south wall of Sistine Chapel, 1481-82 + Cosimo Rosselli, Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, north wall of Sistine Chapel, 1481-82 The artists had to work to coordinate their cycles Old Testament stories of the Life of Moses (South Wall) New Testament stories of the Life of Jesus (North Wall) -These stories playing off each other thematically Moses receives the 10 commandments; the Israelites worry about his absence many turn to a pagan religion w/ a false God; this shows the authority of law from God himself -How to worship; what not to worship -Also about the authority of Moses as the one worthy to convey God’s will Sermon on the Mount is a new set of laws for behaviour which became the foundation of Christian theology -From the word of God himself – laws conveyed from God to the faithful When the paintings are seen side-by-side, you can see that the horizon line is the same, similar central mount in the back, similar disposition of the crowds -This sort of cooperation probably wouldn’t have happened if they were pitted against each other Perugino GET INFO*** Fundamental traditions in the OT compared to baptism in the NT -Traditions of admission to the faith Botticelli, Punishment of Korah and the Sons of Aaron, ca 1481-2, Sistine Chapel + Perugino, The Charge to St. Peter, ca 1481-2, Sistine Chapel Bot – Israelites challenging Moses; young Joshua stepping in to defend him -Moses’ brother also challenged (was the head priest) God intervened to show the rebels who was in charge -They were blown away by the incense -The Earth was then opened up and swallowed the challengers In this case, Moses’ brother Aaron was being paired w/ St. Peter -Aaron shown wearing a pointy pope-like hat Peter as the second pope – successor to Jesus Luca Signorelli, Testament and Death of Moses, ca 1481-2, Sistine Chapel + Cosimo Rosselli, Last Super, 1482-3, Sistine Chapel Moses seated above the arc of the covenant Narrative story of the last supper but connecting to the covenant conveyed in the mass -Shows the pitchers that would old the wine, water, and a box that would hold the host ---The new covenant (See article about the dog in this painting) Michelangelo’s scenes from the Book of Genesis, Sistine Chapel ceiling, 1508-12 Commissioned by Julius II della Rovere Shows that the decoration of the chapel was multi-generational In his personal histories, Michelangelo says that he was allowed to paint basically whatever he wanted He used stories from the OT that were earlier than Moses – literally day one Rapheal – Cartoons for tapestries of the Acts of Sts. Peter and aul, 1515-16, for the Sistine Chapel Commissioned by Leo X de Medici Michelangelo, Last Judgment, 1537-41, altar wall of the Sistine Chapel Commissioned by Paul III Farnese Ri
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