FAH337 LECTURE 2 –January 13
Artistic competition in early fifteenth-Century Florence
Siena VS Florence / Siena Cathedral vs. Palazzo Pubblico
Long tradition of civic rivalry in Florence before the Renaissance and with other cities during the
late MiddleAges.Always wanting to outdo the other city. Florence won. Siena never recovered
from Black Death. Siena’s population was reduced to 20,000 people. Florence and Siena made
their money through banking and commerce. Medici could not have founded the cathedral.
Giovanni diAgostino, Siena’s Cathedral
Replaced an earlier building dating to the ninth century CE that was believed to have
stood on the site of a Roman temple dedicated to Minerva. Like the cathedrals elsewhere, it
reinforced myths about the town’s most ancient origins, one factor that motivated it's use of
Roman style columns and other classicizing motives. The cathedral stood at one of the regions
highest topographical points and loomed over the surrounding neighborhoods. The surfaces of
cathedrals, inside and out, displayed expensive marbles and other precious materials. The
cathedral itself was originally designed and completed between 1215 and 1263 on the site of an
earlier structure. It has the form of a Latin cross with a slightly projecting transept, a dome and a
bell tower. There are black and white marble stripes on the walls and columns. It has stained
class windows and mosaic floors. Inside there is a chapel of Saint John the Baptist. Scrolls,
allegorical figures and biblical scenes decorate areas around and above the doors.
Founded in 1296.Architecture for cathedral was “democratic”, streets
radiated outwards from it. Building was a place for general congregation,
and it’s wide nave allowed it to accommodate large gatherings. Designed
after a design by Arnolfo di Cambio. Communal involvement slowed
down the progress, seven decades after its beginning it was still possible
to consider newly proposed models for its most basic design. The plan of the cathedral repeated
the square that formed the crossing so as to generate a nave six units in length, a transept two
units wide; the dome was three units high. This matched the dimension of the Solomon’s Temple.
The reference to antiquity was to follow a set of divinely sanctioned proportions, as if the
cathedral were a realization of God’s own deign. The ratios were so important that a Flemish
composer Guillaume Dufay, incorporated them into a composition he wrote dedicated to the
building. The theme of prophecy had exceptional importance at Florence Cathedral, since John
the Baptist, the great prophet to whom the baptistery itself was dedicated, was also the city’s
Florence Baptistery (San Giovanni)
Commissioned by the Cloth Merchants Guild. Founded in the fourth century then
renovated in the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. Cathedral was important vehicle to show their
prominence. Took funds to beatify the city. Looks toward the river. Only one set of doors were
1 made by Andrea even though they wanted him to create all three. Bronze doors. Famine in
Florence halted decoration on baptistery in 1336 until 1401.
Standing architecture of this building had been consecrated in 1059, though the Florentines
believed it to be older, originating as an ancient pagan temple dedicated to the Roman god of
war, Mars. Arnolfo di Cambio had proposed an octagonal crossing for the cathedral, this
element of his design survived subsequent reconsiderations. Giotto and his successors insured
that the Campanile and the cathedral received a variegated skin of green and white marble facing
like that of the baptistery. Once of the oldest buildings in the city.
Andrea Pisano, South Doors of the Florence Baptistery, 1330-36
Most impressive feature of Baptistery exterior were the bronze doors that the
sculptor/architectAndrea Pisano had done for the east entrance showing scenes
from the life of John the Baptist. Were used for south instead, Ghiberti replaced
them with his own door dealing with the life of Christ. Ghiberti’s composition
closely follows Andreas both in the general arrangement of the panels and in their
internal elements. Ghiberti scaled his figures roughly consistent in size from frame to match
Andreas. Ghiberti kept architecture and other non-figural elements to a minimum, using only
what tradition or clarity required.
In 1401 the city’s luxury cloth importers (Calimala) (who had commissioned Pisano’s doors)
Florence’s most powerful guild held a competition for the production of a sequel to whatAndrea
has made.Artists had to produce a single panel that had to show the Sacrifice of Isaac, the
episode from Genesis wherein God commandsAbraham to kill his own son Isaac, and then he
intervenes at the last moment by allowing him to slaughter a ram instead. Participants had to
work with a frame of the same shape and size (a quatrefoil, or diamond with four projecting
lobes) Aspecific number of figures and background elements may have also been requirements
since the two remaining panels share similarities. Winning would guarantee a decade worth of
steady work while also promising maximum visibility for his products.
Lorenzo Ghiberti, Sacrifice of Isaac, 1401-1403, Florence, Bargello Museum
Ghiberti had trained in a typical late medieval workshop, the son and student of another
goldsmith. He wrote important early art-historical and theoretical texts and was an
innovative metalworker. Ghiberti made his scene as a single piece, attaching only Abraham’s
hand and a section of the rock. Thin and hollow at the back, his relief weighed less making it less
costly and easier for the installers to handle. Ghiberti adopted the Thorn Pullers delicate
anatomy for Isaac himself; the victim here charms the viewer in a way that Brunelleschi’s
screaming child doesn’t. References Roman Sarcophagus from 1 century CE depicting a battle
scene in his depiction of Isaac. Isn’t concerned with covering everything. Ghiberti creates special
illusion. Won competition. Less dramatic, instead here Isaac is depicted calm looking up at angel
as if he knew angel was going to come.
Where Brunelleschi’s secondary figures of animals and servants, with their vigorous and difficult
poses all jostle for our attention. Ghiberti produced a harmonious and easily legible composition
organized around the flowing curves.
2 Filippo Brunelleschi, Sacrifice of Isaac, 1401-1403, Florence, Bargello Museum
Designed individual characters in widely varying poses, then placing these in the
subfields suggested by the assigned shape: an angel in the upper left arc, a ram in the
projecting angle below that, servants at lower left and right. Isaac is set on an altar with a relief
carved on the side, Brunelleschi may have seen ancient stone altars and imagined their ritual
function, though here the device works also as a pedestal, making Isaac himself look like a
statue. The figure at the lower left preoccupied with the base of his foot references The Thorn
Puller in Rome, from the 1 century BCE, one of the most famous surviving sculptures
from the ancient world. Brunelleschi son of local notary entered the world of sculptor as an
outsider. Brunelleschi produced his relief by casting seven small objects, then soldering them
together. Fills entire surface. Heavier made of multiple pieces.
Brunelleschi’s biographer Antonio Manetti reported that the competition resulted in a draw, but
that Brunelleschi refused the option of working in collaboration with his rival. Ghiberti himself
reported that he had won the competition.
Ghiberti, Baptism of Christ, from the North Doors of the Florence Baptistery, ca. 1416-
Ghiberti was different from his predecessor because of his interest in figural movement. Christ’s
suavely curving body is symmetrically framed by sweeping arcs, formed to his right by Johns
elastically outstretched right arm and extended right leg. Posture and movement both enrich the
narrative and display a modern artfulness, learned in part from the study of what the figures in
ancient sculptures did. Many elements seem Gothic but there are echo’s of classical figures.
Ghiberti, Christ Among the Doctors from the north doors of the Florence
Ghiberti also set figures in different states of motion against one another, inviting the
viewer to compare them. Subtle drama of his story telling. Mary standing on the right, discovers
the 12 yr old Christ, who had been missing for 3 days, disputing with the Jewish elders in the
temple. Her commanding presence disrupts the symmetrical arrangement of Christ and his
interlocutors; as her gaze locks with Christ, she points to herself in a gesture of maternal
reproach to say “Why have you treated us like this”?
Ghiberti’s North Doors of the Florence Baptistery, 1416-19
Story of Christ’s life and death runs from left to right and from bottom to top. Beginning
from the bottom are the four Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) who had authored the
Gospels narrating Christ’s life, and four of the chief Church Fathers who had interpreted these.
The reason that each of the quatrefoils in the lower two rows were dedicated to a single figure
was to follow Andrea’s example. Ghiberti added vegetation around his panels and used leonine
motifs instead of human heads thatAndrea Pisano had used in his earlier doors
3 Lorenzo Ghiberti, East Doors of Baptistery (the “Gates of Paradise”), 1425-1452
North east corner, situated on street between the Cathedral and the Palazzo Vecchio (town
hall). First used to store grain given for free to the poor later churned to church. Commercial
showcase for different types of luxury products that the merchants of Florence were famous for.
Has tabernacle niches filled with sculpture, The structure of the building was ordered by
Florentine government in 1336 to accommodate the economic, civic and religious activities that
had developed in its piazza over the course of the previous century. Orsanmichele is a
contraction of Orto San Michele (the garden of St. Michael) the name of the piazza, which was
originally the site of a small Benedictine convent dedicated to the archangel St. Michael. Situated
in the heart of medieval Florence and close to the city’s two main marketplaces. Inside was a
tabernacle byAndrea Orcagna, which protected a miracle-working image of the Virgin and
Child, repainted by Bernardo Daddi, ca.1346-7. The building was damaged (by fire) in 1304,
their was a sever famine in 1328-29, 1333 the grain market was flooded. Was rebuilt in 1336
during a brief period of prosperity when Andreas Pisano’s bronze doors for the Baptistery in
1330 were built. Andrea Pisano was probably the one to rebuild Orsanmichele into a building,
which would house the communal granary and offices and residences of the city’s grain officials.
The commune put the silk guild in whichAndrea Pisano as a goldsmith was also a member in
charge of supervising progress. InApril 1339 the silk guild proposed that the 13 external pier
surfaces of the building be decorated with tabernacles containing either a panel painting, fresco,
or a sculpted figure of the patron saints of the city’s official political party, (the Parte Guelfa who
controlled its government) and its guilds. The tabernacles were financed by the building funds
derived from communal grain taxes. However each of the 13 guilds were responsible for the
costs of decorating the tabernacles. In 1344 Orsanmichele was chosen as the site to
commemorate St.Anne, upon whose feast day, the commune had liberated from the tyrant duke
of Athens, Walter of Brienne.
The sight of statues in niches linked Orsanmichele to the “campanile”, Giotto’s bell tower, the
one other building in Florence to be decorated this way. The first 2 tabernacles to be added to the
structure, those of the Wool Merchants’Guild and Silk Weaver’s Guild, had both been designed
byAndrea Pisano the artist responsible for both the south baptistery doors and sculptural
decorations on the campanile. 8 years after the Guelph Party and the major Florentine guilds had
agreed to decorate theirs piers with statuary only 4 had been completed; the Wool Merchants
guild, the Silk Weavers guild, the Doctors andApothecaries’Guild and the Judges and Notaries
Guild. In 1406 the Florentine city government said that guilds had to complete the tabernacles
meant for the spaces assigned to them within 10 years or give up the rights to decorate the
building at all.
4 Niccolo’Lamberti, St. Luke, 1406, for the Judges and Notaries’Guild
Luke holds the gospel he authored in his left hand and the pen he used to write it in his right; the
winged bull, the conventional companion that allows Luke to be distinguished from the other
Evangelists appeared as a relief at the bottom of the niche, looking up at the figure, while the
saints name ran across the plinth below. The lower corners of the niche were occupied by shields
with the six-pointed star that was the heraldic symbol of the Judges and Notaries Guild. Worked
with block that was too small and worried about wasting stone. Hasn’t thought about behavior of
cloth Nanni has. Luke’s drapery on his hips and breast looks like it has been folded over on itself
and then ironed flat. Luke is shoeless. Lamberti and Donatello used the base to show attributes
identifying their characters. The judges and notaries guild spent 100 florins in 1393 on trappings
to enclose and protect its tabernacle.
Nanni di Banco, St. Philip, Florence, Orsanmichele, ca. 1410-12 for the Shoemakers’
Niche combined pilaster and spiral columns at the sides, inlaid red marble, gold stars
behind and crowning pediment with flanking spires made it similar to that of St. Luke.
Exaggerated elongated upper arms so that its proportions only look correct when viewed from
below. The saint’s turned head and sharply incised eyes, rolled up slightly in their sockets,
suggest his own act of focused attention. Did not hesitate to cut away large sections of material
below both of Philips arms and around the shoulders and head, freeing the figures movements.
Drapery seems thicker than Luke’s. Philips cloth appears to fall naturally. Showing off his feet
Lorenzo Ghiberti’s, St John the Baptist, 1410
Same patron saint of baptistery of Florence and the entire city of Florence. Way to make
themselves the face of Florence. First guild to work in bronze. Looks like silk or wool
fabric. 10ft tall. First to be cast in one bronze piece since antiquity. Eyes and teeth have bits of
silver in them to project image of elegance.At the time the statue went up it would have been the
only over life-sized bronze statue in all of Florence thus announcing both the wealth and power
of the Wool Merchants Guild as a guild and the new prestige of Orsanmichele as a site. He
employed a method called the “lost wax technique” to make a hollow cast.After completing a
full-scale design in clay, he would have covered this with a thin coat of wax, reworking
details. Ghiberti and his assistant would have completed such details as the hair, beard,
and animal-hide tunic with small chisels.
Donatello, St. Mark, 1411-13, Florence Orsanmichele for the Linen and Weavers’Guild
Donatello was Ghiberti’s apprentice. In 1411 Donatello was still at work on a group of stone
figures that he had started 3 years earlier, including the life sized David, an over life-sized St.
John the Evangelist, and other statues for Florence cathedral. St Mark is similar to St Philip by
Nanni so one sculptor must of seen the others when they were working. Worked on a shallower
piece of marble than the one Nanni had, thus it didn’t allow Donatello to make the deep
5 excavations Nanni did in order to bring folds of drapery into prominent relief. Unfinished back
meant he though of it more as a relief than a round sculpture. Incised beard and fringe of
his garments almost like a drawing, cuts more in certain areas to create shadows. Stands
figure on a pillow the kind of product linen sellers would have been associated. Donatello
like Nanni seems to have drawn especially on Roman portrait sculpture, which combined a
sense of gravity with a concern for individualized likeness. Sculpture follows the model of St.
Like, placing the lion that identifies the Evangelist on a panel below the figure; this detail allows
him to add the pillow instead of nametag.
Nanni di Banco, Four Crowned Saints, Niche of the Stonecarvers and
Woodworkers’Guild, ca. 1413-14, Florence, Orsanmichele
Nanni himself belonged to this guild and was interested in making a strong
impression. Guild had a group of patron saints rather than a single protector; four
early Christian sculptors who had been drowned for refusing to produce an idol for
a pagan temple. The guild required Nanni to accommodate multiple figures in a
confined space, and it may also have asked him to reuse an existing sculpture in the
process the 2 from the left. This is the only statue to be finished from the back and
front and it stands out. The hand that appears on the rightmost figure does not
continue in an arm, though the viewer standing before the niche cannot see that this is the case.
The figures were made form 3 separate blocks of stone, the two on the right were carved from a
single piece. His approach allowed him to rotate the slabs to fit. To avoid an awkward central
space were all other statues were positioned, Nanni cut away that section of the floor, thus his
tabernacle is the only one to look like it had been conceived with an eye to the figure it would
contain. The fictive cloth that drapes the back walls further reinforces the compositional integrity
of figure and niche, gathering the statues into a unified group. Illustrates the labors in which the
guild members engaged: building a wall, carving a column, measuring a capital, and chiseling a
statue. Statue drew attention to the activities he and the people who paid him were most skilled:
turning stone into art.
Donatello, St George, 1415-18, for theArmorers’Guild, Florence
Donatello was the first to respond to St John the Baptist and Nanni’s four crowned saints
and its base relief by incorporating the idea into his sculpture. Space on bottom of niche
used for narrative scene showing the act St George was most famous for, slaying a dragon and
rescuing a princess. A loggia on the right and a cave to the left both diminish in perspective,
creating the effect of a deep, receding space. Princess looks like she is in an illusionistic world,
she appears to stand slightly behind the picture plane, even though the stone which she is made
of actually projects further forward in real space than the stone that represents the building
beside her. Squashed relief style. Shows sword and armor brought to a fight. Heroic and romantic
story. Young champion with skintight leather across his chest, has a long neck and an
expressively furrowed brow. Sculpture was later a model for later painters and sculptors to
follow if they wanted to idealize the man they portrayed. Drill marks on his head indicate he
used to be crowned with a victors wreath or helmet. The position of his left hand suggested he
originally held a bronze sword, thus advertising its guilds products. Mixed media sculpture that
skirted rules were only allowed to use marble for figure but cleverly included pieces that
showcases them as metalworkers. First time we see perspectival view in sculptures.
6 Donatello, St. Louis of Toulouse, ca. 1423, commissioned by the Guelf Party for the
east-side of Orsanmichele
Donatello’s first large work in bronze, only bronze at Orsanmichele that was completely
gilded. Cast in several pieces. Tallest and widest tabernacle housing only one statue.
Sculptor was removed before 1459 because the Guelf Party thought they should not be shown at
the same level as the captains of the guilds, so they sold their empty tabernacle and used the 150
florins for the completion of the ceiling and windows of its new audience hall. Eventually it was
placed on the façade of Santa Croce where it was visible by the early 16 century. Donatello
didn’t have a lot of experience casting bronze in a large scale. Composed of about 8 or 10 pieces
put together. More luxurious piece solid gilding. Covered in gold. Visually in competition with
Ghiberti in terms of material and beauty through expressivity.
Lorenzo Ghiberti, St Matthew, 1419-23,Arte del Cambio (Bankers’Guild),
Ghiberti’s second sculpture for building. Space had originally been assigned to Bakers
Guild but they didn’t have the money they gave the space to the Bankers Guild, which
were very wealthy and powerful. Made in bronze and portrayed with text he wrote in his
hand like Mark and Luke. Instead of having a relief below they limited themselves to a pair of
female figures, possibly sibyls, which originally stood in place of spires on the tabernacle.
Bankers more than any other profession in Florence were associated with precious metals. To
outdo St John Ghiberti was told to make Matthew as large or larger than John and cast it in no
more than two pieces
Verrocchio. Christ and St. Thomas, made for the Merchant’s Guild,
replaced Donatello’s St. Louis in the central niche on Via Calzaiuoli, 1467-1483
The Parte Guelfa low on money had sold off the tabernacle to the Merchant’s
Guild the body responsible for the city’s commercial law courts, and had taken
Donatello’s statue to the church of Santa Croce. Here Thomas pokes at the wounds
of Christ after he has risen, to verify that he is who he seems. Words are written both on
Thomas’s hem and Christ’s in response. Used ledge before niche. Figures are hollow behind to
save on metal. Seen by people walking between Cathedral and city hall.
7 FAH337 LECTURE 3 –January 20
Competitive spirit in fifteenth century Rome: the case of the Sistine Chapel
How to build the dome of the cathedral?
The crossing/ width span for the dome was well over 140 ft. in width larger than
pantheon. Largest dome until St. Peters. Had a competition to solve problem, form a
community and ask for submissions. Traditional scaffolding alone would of double the budget of
the dome. Brunelleschi came up with revolutionary building solution for problem of scaffolding
and physical structure of dome when proposed project ppl could not understand his ideas because
he wouldn’t give up all the information cuz then others could steal it. Lorenzo Ghiberti had
friends in high places for bronze doors and at Orsanmichele. Brunelleschi didn’t have that kind
of help and support so protective about ideas. Hollow the dome out, double shell dome that took
advantage of the fact of how very thick the wall of drum were so that they could put outer wall of
masonry that connected to the dome and an inner shell use the fact that it is an octagon using
each of the 8 corners as a rib breaks it down into 8 sections held together almost like an
umbrella. Instead of solid masonry uses stone to build series of lattice what’s left uses terracotta
bricks even lighter, specially molded ones, (molds later found in closet) builds in a set of spiral
stairs that move up around wider at base narrow at top, chain reinforcements as well as way to
get up to dome. Built scaffolding as he went along laying the bricks, assembled disassembled
assembled again, elevator shafts of scaffolding which moved along with progression of
construction. Even though Brunelleschi won the competition Ghiberti was put in a position of
command in the project, which pissed off Brunelleschi, so Brunelleschi pretends to be sick for a
week to see if Ghiberti will get anything done which he doesn’t. Brunelleschi makes Ghiberti
work on scaffolding and his section was terrible so finally he was cut out of the job but was still
getting paid. Statue of Brunelleschi placed in front of cathedral. Open space between the two
shells make room for the staircase
Donatelo, Equestrian Monument to Gattamelata (Erasmo de Narni), 1447-53,
Padua, Piazza del Santo
Bare foot. Serious look in his face opposed to the other one smiling. Bronze.
Gattamelata left money in his will to pay for this statue. Shows what kind of legacy he
wanted to leave. From medieval past and antiquity. Hybrid costume, some aspects are
contemporary gothic style armor, upper body can see classical motifs from classical roman
armor. Ceremonial armor. Holds baton used to direct soldiers behind him, gesture mirrors
Marcus Aurelius.Appropriating image of an ancient ruler found in antiquity.
Verrocchio, Equestrian Monument of Bartolomeo Colleoni height approx. 4 m.
(without base), 1481-95, Venice, Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo
Responsible for very imp battle he won for the venetians. Left money and instructions in his will
to build a monument and wanted them inside the cathedrals. Imperial dominancy didn’t sit well
8 with Venetian republic. Focal point in the face. Body becomes vehicle of expression, has his
chest pumped out like were about to see him charge into battle.
Monument to Cangrande della Scala, 1320s, Verona
Congrande is seen on his horse in jousting armor still idea of victorious warrior but
different. Shown with funny little smile. Heavily military invested ruler different way of
communicating sense of authority through his monument.
Bonino da Campione, Funeral Monument to Bernabo` Visconti, 1363
Bonino came from noble family. Crests of family on his armor. Chivalry
knight. Bonino is shown in battle armor.
Antonio Pollaiuolo, Sforza Equestrian Monument, drawing, 1481-1482
Neither Pollaiuolo nor Leonardo’s was created. Tramples adversary, loaded, victorious
Leonardo’s studies for the equestrian monument to
Francesco Sforza, c.1482-93
Leonardo takes that contract fromAntonio, by writing letter introduction to duke
explaining all the skills he knows. One in pen and ink similar to Marcus Aurelius
made large model of horse without person and was destroyed. Sculpture was supposed
to be 4 or 5 times life sized but never completed. When Leonardo lands competition has to
compete with his teacher Verrocchio and his monument in Venice and also competing with
antiquity. Rivalry and competition. Element of nature and studying it. Project became an
Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Tomb of Pope Sixtus IV, bronze, 1484-93,
(Pollaiuolo worked for Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, future Pope Julius II).
Inscription below the Pope’s feet: “To Pope Sixtus IV [1471-84] of the
9 Franciscan order Prince of all memory for his learning and greatest of spirit. He kept the Turks
away from Italy, increased papal authority, endowed Rome with churches, a bridge, forum, street,
opened the Vatican Library to the public, celebrated the Jubilee and freed Liguria from servitude.
Since he had given orders to be buried modestly and on the level ground, (nephew) Cardinal
Giuliano [Della Rovere, future Pope Julius II] erected this [tomb] to his uncle of blessed memory
with greater piety than expense.” Surrounding the recumbent figure of the Pope, and set on a
slightly lower level, are depictions of the 7 virtues (Charity, Hope, Prudence, Fortitude, Faith,
Temperance, and Justice). The concave base of the tomb is decorated with ten reliefs depicting
10 allegories of the liberal arts Philosophy, Theology, Rhetoric, Grammar,Arithmetic,Astrology,
Dialectic, Geometry, Music, and Perspective). According to a miscellaneous note of costs the
Sixtus tombAmounted to 5,000 ducats=cost for the purchase of the metals (copper and tin); fees
paid to Pollaiuolo who was paid 25 ducats as a monthly salary for 9 years. Complexity of tomb –
each peace had to be fused as a separate piece and then connected all together. Effigy of the pope
in the center, four coats of arms, series of personifications allegorical figures of cardinal virtues
manifestation of popes knowledge and ethical qualities. Pope was a fine theologian.
Florentine Painters in Rome: The Sistine Chapel Frescoes. Baccio
Pontelli, Sistine Chapel, 1477-81
Dynastic space built by pope sixtus the 4 . Julius the 2 brought in MichaelAngelo to do the
ceiling.Another pope adds last judgments and another adds the frescoes on the walls.
Sistine Chapel built 1479-81 btw St Peter’s basilica and the Vatican Palace. Meant to be court
chapel, one of its functions was to house conclave that gathered to elect a new pope. Used for
preaching, and sermons that celebrated feast days, saints and pope. Structures aim was to
promote identity of Rome as a New Jerusalem, and to proclaim the descent of the papacy,
through Christ and St peter, from Moses andAaron, the priestly rulers of the ancient Israelites.
Engineered by Baccio Pontelli. Design is plain fortified box imitated Florence Cathedral. Only
classical architectural element inside is a cornice that separates the windows from the murals
below and provides captions for them. Between windows Botticelli and his workshop painted a
series of portraits of sainted popes from St Peter onward, larger murals below show scenes from
life of Christ and Moses. The two narratives in the Sistine chapel run in parallel on opposite
walls; each incident from the life of Moses corresponds to a Gospel episode that simultaneously
repeats and overturns it.
Leonardo’s sketch of the hanged Pazzo conspirator, Baroncello, 1479 and
Giovanni’s medal of the Pazzi Conspiracy, 1478
Sixtus the 4 involved in assassination attempt against the Medici family. The Medici
had manipulated so much that they were like the ruling family of the city. Attempt on
life of the two brothers was on Easter day ambushed in cathedral. Medals show this.
Brothers at high altar (octagonal structure with their looming portrait heads. Juliano
was stabbed to death on stairs of high altar of cathedral, Lorenzo escaped.Allies of
the Medici came running to help. Some of the Pazzi managed to run and flee some
were hanged. Botticelli was responsible for painting portraits of those captured and
hung. Humiliation for families involved. Pope was indirectly involved gave the ok.
In around 1481 the new chapel for the pope was completed wanted it to be decorated. Rome for a
century and a half had been left in ruins basically cuz papacy was not in Rome. Moved papacy
from Rome to France. No ppl protecting Rome.
10 Gustavo Tognetti, reconstruction drawing from 1899 of the appearance of the Sistine
Chapel ca. 1483
4 artists Botticelli, Rosselli, Perugino and Luca Signorelli. Stories of Moses and life of Christ
above them are short history of papacy likely starting with image of Jesus, Peter next successor
then history of early Christian popes stemming from Christ and peter. Ceiling painted lapis lazuli
with stars. Created before Michelangelo’s creation on the building
Detail of Anacletus, Third Pope / Side wall of Sistine chapel showing three
registers with scenes from the Life of Moses left: Signorelli's LastActs and Death
of Moses; right: Botticelli's Punishment of Corah and the Sons ofAaron. Sixtus hoped that
by hiring a number of masters, he would see his chapel completed sooner rather than later.
Bottom was meant to look like tapestries.All of them signed up for one contract not four.
Cooperation as part of what they needed to do to get work done. Reason 4 were brought down
was more likely due to finishing the work quicker rather than competing. Finished them between
5-6 months. One side of the chapel displayed the life of Moses and the other side of the life of
Christ. One side of the Old Testament and the other side the New Testament.
Cosimo Rosselli, TheAdoration of the Golden Calf, 1481-82, south wall, Sistine
Moses receiving the 10 commandments from God on Mount Sinai. Legislator breaks the tablets
he has just received having descended from the mountain and witnessed the Israelites dancing
around a golden calf. Moses ppl are shown as contemporary Europeans have violated one of
Gods first laws “idolizing the calf” and so the top right corner shows their punishment. Subject
matter form Old Testament stories of life of Moses and New Testament life of Christ one wall
dedicated to mosses other to Christ. shows their punishment. While Moses has gone up others are
worried what’s going on he must have died so they turn to pagan religion to worship golden cow
representing a different god. Left side authority of god as a foil against outside bounds of Judaic
law on the right. painting abt authority of word of God and Mosses as figure chosen by God to
communicate Gods will through the 10 commandments. The sleeping youth is Joshua, who had
accompanied Moses on his climb. In the left half of the picture Moses and Joshua have returned
and Moses is showing the tablets to the people. In the adjacent scene he smashes them to the
ground, for he has discovered that in his absence the Israelites, spurred on byAaron, have been
worshipping the golden calf, depicted in the center. The idolaters are being put to death in the
background on the right. In the corresponding spot on the left side of the picture there are people
standing in front of their tents
Cosimo Rosselli, Christ’s
Sermon on the Mount, 1481-
82, Sistine Chapel
North wall. Corresponding
gospel picture to the adoration of
the golden calf. Critical
commentary on the
commandments Moses received.
Similar landscape from other
11 painting. Listeners kneel praying suggesting Christ occupies the role given not only to Moses but
also to the idol on the other wall. Seen from across the adoration of the golden calf. Institution of
the evangelical law by Christ (Christ is healing the leper in the bottom left) The twelve disciples
huddle close together behind Christ and to the right. Farther back we see them approaching with
Perugino, The Circumcision of
the Son of Moses, 1481, 82,
Faces Christ’s Sermon on the
Mount. Painted at same time.
Depicts a prefigurative moment
in the life of Moses that occurred
during his return to Egypt with
his wife Zipporah and family to
deliver the Israelites from
captivity. God had earlier
instituted the covenant of
circumcision, distinguishing the
Israelites from other people yet
Moses hadn’t performed this on his son. Confronted by an angel with a sword, Moses is saved by
his wife who does thethuty herself with a sharp stone. Event witnessed by a circle of men
distinguished by 15 century costume and strongly particularized facial features. Entertaining
scene; ape on back of a camel.Acartoon was used only for the bottom portion while the rest was
free hand. Institution of the Circumcision to distinguish the Israelites from other people The
painting shows Moses (dressing in yellow and green as in the other frescoes of the cycle) leaving
for Egypt, after he had been exiled from Midian. In the center, an angel asks him to circumcise
his 2 son Eliezer (scene on the right), as a sign of the alliance between Yahweh and the
Pietro Perugino, The Baptism of
Christ, 1481-82, Sistine Chapel
Moment in which divine nature of
Christ was first revealed (appears
in alignment with God the Father
and the dove of the Holy Spirit).
Historical figures from the Gospel,
a group of ppl in contemporary
Italian dress, along with one who is
dressed as a Byzantine Greek,
witness and discuss the new right
of purification and initiation.
12 Inclusion of a Greek signifies importance of consensus btw members of different religious
traditions. Upper body of Christ was painted by a different painter than the legs below the
loincloth. Institution of Baptism, the first of the sacraments; through Baptism, Christians are
cleansed from the original sin.
Scene follows a symmetrical pattern, typical of Perugino. In the center is the Jordan River
flowing towards the observer and reaching the feet of Jesus and John, who is baptizing the
former. Adove, symbol of the Holy Spirit, descends from the sky; it is sent by God. Landscape
includes a symbolic view of Rome, recognizable by a triumphal arch, the Coliseum and the
Botticelli, Punishment of Corah and
the Sons ofAaron, 1481-82, Sistine
Opposite The Charge to Peter. Rarely
depicted story of religious
transgression from the Book of
Numbers. Comprises 3 episodes and
reads from right to left, begins with
Corah inciting the Levites to rise up
and challenge Moses andAaron.
Moses responds by proposing that he
and Corah offer competing offerings
to God, to see how the Lord responds.
At the left, the earth opens and swallows the Levites, and Moses gesture indicates that it was
through him, with God’s backing, that they were cast down. The whole drama takes place in
front of a crumbling triumphal arch, a ruin that is itself a counter-image to Perugino’s perfect city
across the way. Inscription on arch- “no one can assume the honor unless he is called by God, as
Aaron was”. Two sons who did not challenge their father are raised. Punishments to those who
challenge gods ordain. Aaron dressed as a pope with papal tiara. On the right-hand side, the
revolt of the Jews against Moses is related, Moses portrayed as an old man with a long white
beard, clothed in a yellow robe and an olive-green cloak. Irritated by the various trials through
which their emigration from Egypt was putting them, the Jews demanded that Moses be
dismissed. They wanted a new leader, one who would take them back to Egypt, and they
threatened to stone Moses; however, Joshua placed himself protectively between them and
Moses. The fresco thus holds a warning that God's punishment will fall upon those who oppose
God's appointed leaders. This warning also contained a contemporary political reference through
the portrayal ofAaron in the fresco, depicted wearing the triple-ringed tiara of the Pope and thus
characterized as the papal predecessor. It was a warning to those questioning the ultimate
authority of the Pope over the Church. (CUT DOWN)
Perugino’s, The Charge to Peter, 1481-82,
In Sistine Chapel, Vatican.An icon of Renaissance utopian idealism in its sublime
symmetry and monumental architecture, illustrates Christ’s words from Matthew:
“You are Peter, the Rock, and on this rock I will build my church…I will give you the keys to the
kingdom of heaven.” Scene traditionally used to justify the authority of the popes as the
successors to Peter. Scene is staged against a centrally planned, domed church that looked like
13 the modern building in Italy, flanked by two triumphal arches. Jesus hands key to Peter.
Investment of authority. Moses typologically paired with Christ.Aaron paired with St. Peter.
Hand picked successor, second pope. Jesus is leader; Peter is first high priest in the same way
Luca Signorelli, Testament and Death of Moses, 1482-3, Sistine
In the bottom left Moses hands over his rod to Joshua, in the center he is
shown descending Mount Nebo with Joshua by his side and Moses dies
in the midst of his people, who lament over him in the top left. Fresco
depicts the last episodes in the life of Moses. On the right sits the 120
year-old Moses on a rise, holding his staff and with golden rays circling his head. He sings the
“Song of Moses” at God's command. At Moses's feet stands theArk of the Covenant, opened to
show the jar of manna inside and the two tablets of the law. In the left half of the picture Joshua
is appointed Moses's successor. Joshua kneels before Moses, who gives him his staff. In the
center of the background we see Moses being led by the angel of the Lord up Mount Nebo, from
which he will be able to look across to the Promised Land that by the will of God he will never
enter.At the foot of the mountain we see him again, turning toward the left. His death is depicted
in the background, where the children of Israel mourned him for 30 days.
Cosimo Rosselli, Last Supper, 1482-3,
Narrative story of last supper. Connection
of covenant, see foreground with pitcher
that would have water one that had wine
another object box used for… and a little
platter on which Eucharist would be served.
Mass and communion. This scene is not so
eventful as the other frescoes of the cycle,
but the highlighted chalice standing on the
table in front of Christ emphasizes the fact
that we are seeing the institution of the
sacrament of the Eucharist and, accordingly, a symbol of the New Covenant between God and
mankind. Three "window" paintings in the background show Christ Praying on the Mount of
Olives, theArrest of Christ and the Crucifixion. Alittle dog appears here standing on its hind
legs to the left and again in theAdoration of the Golden Calf burring its way out through the
lower frame of the fresco.
Leonardo, Last Supper, 1494-8, Milan, Santa Maria
In churches dining hall. Belonged to a cycle of decorations
including a Crucifixion on the opposite wall with a portrait
of Ludovico and his family.Above the scene of Christ and
his Apostles, Leonardo painted large images of the Sforza
family arms, giving its members a presence in that history