the northern and late renaissance

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  • Back to Italy ColorVENICE


  • GIORGIONETempestc. 1505Oil on canvas 82 x 73 cmp. 253

    *GIORGIONETempestc. 1505Oil on canvas, 82 x 73 cmGallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

    Meaning a rarified game for his immediate collectors, an uncrackable code for following generations.

  • Giorgione, Pastoral Concert, 1509


  • Titian, Bacchus and Ariadne, c. 1520TITIAN: COLOR & CANVAS


  • Titian,Venus of Urbino, 1538, Oil on canvas

    *In the Venus of Urbino of c. 1538, Titian's debt to Giorgione is clear. But Titian's nude is awake, consciously observing and being observed. The relation of the figure to the drapery has been reversed -- here the drapery is arranged in fluid rhythms, but Venus is a more active participant in the "seduction" of the observer than Giorgione's sleeping figure. Titian's Venus reclines in a contemporary Venetian interior on a bed that is parallel to the picture plane. A relatively symmetrical, rectangular room occupies the background, where two maids remove garments from a chest. The rich red of Venus' long flowing hair is characteristic of Titian, as are the yellow light and the gradual shading that enhance the fleshy texture of her body. The roses, which languidly drop from her hand, and the myrtle in the flowerpot on the windowsill are attributes of Venus. The dog, as in the Arnolfini Portrait, signifies both fidelity and erotic desire. Titian's Venus is clearly descended from the Giorgione; as we shall see, the pose recurs in Western art up to the present ( Adams, pp.299-300).

  • Giorgione1509, completed by Titian

    *Giorgione (Giorgio da Castelfranco) (c.1477-1510)Very little of [Giorgione's] life is documented, although he is believed to have studied with Giovanni Bellini. Few of his paintings survive. Nevertheless, he emerges as a distinct personality, who created a stylistic link between Bellini and Titian (Adams, p.296). Giorgione's Sleeping Venus of around 1509 was unfinished at his death and was completed by Titian, but the basic style is Giorgione's. He shows the woman as a metaphor of landscape, which is a recurring theme in Western iconography. The long, slow curve of the left leg repeats the contour of the hill above, while the shorter curves formed by the outlines of the left arm, breast, and shoulder echo the landscape as it approaches the horizon. Giorgione's Venus is perhaps dreaming; if so, her dream is erotic. This is made clear in the gesture of her left hand, as well as in the upraised right arm (in certain periods of Western art, an exposed armpit is associated with seduction). But the eroticism is also displaced onto the silver drapery, the folds and texture of which convey an energy that is absent from the calm pose and relaxed physiognomy of the nude (Adams, p.297).

  • Titian, Venus and Adonis, c. 1555, Oil on canvas

    *Ovid, in his Metamorphoses, relates the story of the goddess Venus vainly trying to restrain her lover, the mortal Adonis, from departing for the hunt. The mood of playful sensuality conceals the tragic irony that Adonis is destined to be killed during the hunt by a wild boar. Titian painted two versions of the compositionone in 1554 for Philip II of Spain (now in the Prado, Madrid), and the other shortly before 1570 for the Farnese family (lost). The present picture is a version of the second composition, and since cleaning (1976) can be seen to have been painted in great part by Titian.

  • Titian, The Concert, c. 1510, Oil on canvas


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  • Titian

    *The paintings of Tiziano Vecellio (Titian, in English) cover a wide range of subject matter, including portraits, religious, mythological, and allegorical scenes. Particularly impressive are his warm colors, deepened by many layers of glaze; his insight into the character of his figures; and his daring compositional arrangements. Compared with the paintings of his Roman and Florentine contemporaries, Titian's are softly textured and richly material (Adams, p.298).Pesaro Madonna In an important early picture, the Pesaro Madonna, painted for the Venetian church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Titian modified the pyramidal composition of Giovanni Bellini's San Giobbe Altarpiece. In contrast to the Bellini, Titian's Mary and Christ are off-center, high up on the base of a column, and the asymmetrical architecture is positioned at an oblique angle. Titian shows his patron (Jacopo Pesaro) in a devotional pose, kneeling before the Virgin and presented to her by Saint Peter. Prominently displayed on the step is Saint Peter's key; its diagonal plane, leading toward the Virgin, parallels that of Jacopo. The Virgin's position at the top of the steps alludes to her celestial role as Madonna della Scala (Madonna of the Stairs) and as the Stairway to Heaven. At the right, Saint Francis links the five kneeling Pesaro family members to Christ, suggesting that through his own route of identification with Christ salvation can be achieved. The members of the donor's family are motionless. All the other figures gesture energetically and occupy diagonal planes of space. The steps, surmounted by large columns cut off at the top, are thrust diagonally back into space. Infant angels appear on the cloud above. One seen from the rear holds the Cross. The back of his angel is juxtaposed with the infant Christ, turning playfully on Mary's lap and looking down at Saint Francis, who gazes up at him (Adams, pp.298-299).

  • Back to Italy Mannerism


  • Mannerism(from handout)Mannerism - Post-Renaissance, Pre-Baroque style of painting and sculpture in Italy

    characterized by elongated, distorted and exaggerated figures.

    Pictorial space often crowded, complex or confusing

    *Maniera Derived from the Italian maniera, meaning simply "style," mannerism is sometimes defined as the "stylish style" for its emphasis on self-conscious artifice over realistic depiction. The sixteenth-century artist and critic Vasari -- himself a mannerist -- believed that excellence in painting demanded refinement, richness of invention, and virtuoso technique, criteria that emphasized the artist's intellect. More important than his carefully recreated observation of nature was the artist's mental conception and its elaboration. This intellectual bias was, in part, a natural consequence of the artist's new status in society. No longer regarded as craftsmen, painters and sculptors took their place with scholars, poets, and humanists in a climate that fostered an appreciation for elegance, complexity, and even precocity. Mannerism's artificiality -- its bizarre, sometimes acid color, its illogical compression of space, the elongated proportions and exaggerated anatomy of figures in convoluted, serpentine poses -- frequently creates a feeling of anxiety. Works appear strange and unsettling, despite their superficial naturalism. Mannerism coincided with a period of upheaval that was torn by the Reformation, plague, and the devastating sack of Rome.

  • Parmagianino,Madonna with the Long Neck,1534-40Little guyand this column is for what???Quite a crowdKEY IMAGEp 252


  • Jacopo PontormoDescent from the Cross1525-2811 x 6.5 oil on wood

    p. 253

    *The Deposition can perhaps justly be described as the artist's masterpiece. The compositional idea is extravagant and totally unprecedented: an inextricable knot of figures and drapes that pivots around the bewildered youth in the foreground and culminates above in the two lightly hovering figures emerging from vague background. This complicated bunch of forms arranged in the shape of an upturned pyramid defies any attempt at a rational exploration or identification of planes. The compositional complexity is accompanied by a significant and probably deliberate ambiguity in the representation of the subject, which may be interpreted as halfway between the theme of the Deposition and that of the Piet or Lamentation over the Dead Christ. The painting appears to represent the moment in which the body of Christ, having been taken down from the cross, has just been removed from the mother's lap. The Virgin, visibly distraught, and perhaps on the point of fainting, still glazes longingly towards her Son, and gestures with her right arm in the same direction. In the centre of the painting, the moment of the separation is underlined by the subtle contact of Mary's legs with those of Christ, now freed from his Mother's last pathetic embrace. The twisted body of Christ is reminiscent of Michelangelo's Vatican Piet (1498). An intense spiritual participation in the grief of the event profoundly affects the expressions and attitudes of all the figures present, even that of the woman turned away from the onlooker, probably Mary Magdalene, who communicates her anguished psychological condition by reaching out sympathetically towards the swooning body of the Virgin. Some scholars have interpreted the two young figures holding up the deceased's body as angels in the act of drawing Christ away from the main group and leading him finally into the arms of his Father. The general direction of the movement is, in fact, a rising one, and is created by the ethereal quality of the weightless figures, and their slow, almost dance-like rhythm. The two presumed angelic presences, moreover, seem to be unaffected by the weight of the lifeless body, and the figure in the foreground appears to be in the act of raising himself up by lightly pressing down on the front part of his foot. The intricately connected group of figures, involved in a highly dramatic atmosphere, takes on the appearance of a rich frieze in the harmony of highly refined colour tones of pinks, blues and greens. The transparent shadows do not annul the colours, bu