For a warm up, we started with an ancient Greek sculpture of Diadoumenos, originaly cast in bronze: a Roman copy from 1st or 2nd century A.D. and a modern cast with only the feet and fragments in the shoulders from an ancient copy. Francis pointed out the enormous gap separating what appears at first glance to be identical sculptures. The Roman copy has life - movement and tactile values, which are absent in the modern cast figure. "The harmony in the proportions of the parts of the body and the overall movement of the body are clearly visible in the Roman copy, but inarticulate, as if they had been "smudged," in the modern cast. Consequently, what matters does not come across."
|Roman marble copy statue of Diadoumenos, 1st-2nd century A.D.|
|Modern cast of the Diadoumenos, copy of Greek bronze statue of ca. 430 B.C. by Polykleitos.|
|Detail of the modern cast of the Diadoumenos.|
Detail of the Roman copy of the Diadoumenos
|Francis Cunningham in the room with the early Italian Renaissance paintings.|
|Sasetta, Italian Sienese, active by 1423, dies 1450. The Journey of Magi. Tempera and gold on wood.|
|Giovanni di Paolo, Italian Sienese, 1398-1483. Madonna and Child with Saints. Tempera on wood, gold ground.|
The Greek and Roman sculptures still fresh in mind, Francis pointed out the movement in the figures and the linear paths the artist created throughout the painting.
|Giovanni di Paolo's Paradise.|
|Giovanni Bellini, Italian Venetian, active by 1459, died 1516. Madonna Adoring the Sleeping Child. Tempera on wood.|
|A later, Giovanni Bellini, Italian Venetian, active by 1459, died 1516. Madonna and Child. Oil on Wood.|
|Andrea Mantegna, Italian Paduan, born no later than 1430.The Adoration of the Shepherds. Tempera on canvas, transferred from wood.|
|Vittore Carpaccio, Italian Venetian, born about 1455, died 1523/26. The Meditation on the Passion.|
Oil and tempera on wood.
Domenico Ghirlandaio, Italian Florence, 1448/49-1494 Florence. Saint Christopher and the Infant Christ. Fresco.
From far away this has great energy, three-dimensional form and space.
|Perugino, Italian Umbrian, active by 1469, died 1523. The Resurrection. Tempera on Wood.|
|Francis Cunningham looking at Perugino.|
|Perugino, Italian Citta della Pieve, active by 1469-died 1523. Saint John the Baptist, Saint Lucy. Oil on wood.|
In contrast with the previous work, Perugino's Resurrection, and his admiration of its landscape space, Francis was critical of these figures. "They lack clarity of form and understanding of how one part of the body works with the others, in comparison to what we've already seen in the Diadoumenos sculpture and the Ghirlandaio fresco." This was also our transition to Luca Signorelli.
|Luca Signorelli, Italian Cortona, active 1470-died 1523. Cortona, Madona and Child. Oil and gold on wood.|
The decorative flatness of the figures in the background makes the Madonna and Child jump out. We powerfully respond to the plastic form.
|Fra Carnevale, Italian, active by 1445, died 1484, The Birth of the Virgin.|
|Raphael, Italian, Marchgian, 1483-1520, The Agony in the Garden.|
In contrast to the structured, angular architecture and the figures in Fra Carnevale this small work feels real in its softness and roundness and it feels somehow contemporary in its storytelling.
|Raphael, Italian 1483-1520, c.1504, Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints.|
|Bronzino, Italian, 1503-1572, Portrait of a Young Man.|
We made a chronological jump to this superb Bronzino, noting it as being a portrait of a historical man rather than a religious or mythical subject.
Finally, after Giovanni Bellini and Carpaccio, earlier, we returned to later Venetian painting: Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto. All three below are more opulent than anything we have seen in depicting mythological and religious stories. The Tintoretto is almost Baroque in the choreography of its composition.
|Titian, Italian Venetian, died 1576, Venus and Adonis.|
|Paulo Veronese, Italian Venetian, Mars and Venus United by Love.|
|Tintoretto, Italian Venetian, 1518-1594, The Miracle of Loaves and Fishes.|
|Paolo Veronese, Italian Venetian, 1528-1588, Saint Catherine of Alexandrian in Prison, ca.1590|
Like the above Tinoretto, which feels as though it could be an exquisite picnic in contemporary Venetian dress, this Veronese has a religious subject, a saint, but she can hardly pass for one. The figure feels like a contemporary (to Veronese) portrait commission, with the most gorgeous gown showing the subject's status.