Pietro Perugino : A Collection of 161 Paintings (HD) [High Renaissance]

Pietro Perugino : A Collection of 161 Paintings (HD) [High Renaissance]


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Pietro Perugino : A Collection of 161 Paintings (HD) [High Renaissance]

#Pietro #Perugino
Pietro Vannucci

- Born: 1446; Città della Pieve, Umbria, Italy
- Died: 1524; Fontignano, Umbria, Italy
- Nationality: Italian
- Art Movement: High Renaissance
- Painting School: Umbrian school
- Field: painting, fresco
- Teachers: Andrea del Verrochio
- Pupils: Raphael
- Friends and Co-workers: Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pietro_Perugino
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Pietro Perugino was an Italian Renaissance painter of the Umbrian school, who developed some of the qualities that found classic expression in the High Renaissance. Raphael was his most famous pupil.

He was born Pietro Vannucci in Città della Pieve, Umbria, the son of Cristoforo Maria Vannucci. His nickname characterizes him as from Perugia, the chief city of Umbria. Scholars continue to dispute the socioeconomic status of the Vannucci family. While certain academics maintain that Vannucci worked his way out of poverty, others argue that his family was among the wealthiest in the town. His exact date of birth is not known, but based on his age at death that was mentioned by Vasari and Giovanni Santi, it is believed that he was born between 1446 and 1452.

Pietro most likely began studying painting in local workshops in Perugia such as those of Bartolomeo Caporali or Fiorenzo di Lorenzo. The date of the first Florentine sojourn is unknown; some make it as early as 1466/1470, others push the date to 1479. According to Vasari, he was apprenticed to the workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio alongside Leonardo da Vinci, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Lorenzo di Credi, Filippino Lippi and others. Piero della Francesca is thought to have taught him perspective form. In 1472, he must have completed his apprenticeship since he was enrolled as a master in the Confraternity of St Luke. Pietro, although very talented, was not extremely enthusiastic about his work.

Perugino was one of the earliest Italian practitioners of oil painting. Some of his early works were extensive frescoes for the convent of the Ingessati fathers, destroyed during the Siege of Florence; he produced for them also many cartoons, which they executed with brilliant effect in stained glass. A good specimen of his early style in tempera is the tondo (circular picture) in the Musée du Louvre of the Virgin and Child Enthroned between Saints.

Vasari is the main source stating that Perugino had very little religion and openly doubted the soul's immortality. Perugino in 1494 painted his own portrait, now in the Uffizi Gallery, and into it, he introduced a scroll lettered Timete Deum. That an open disbeliever should inscribe himself with Timete Deum seems odd. The portrait in question shows a plump face, with small dark eyes, a short but well-cut nose, and sensuous lips; the neck is thick, the hair bushy and frizzled, and the general air imposing. The later portrait in the Cambio of Perugia shows the same face with traces of added years. Perugino died with considerable property, leaving three sons.

Among his pupils were Raphael, upon whose early work Perugino's influence is most noticeable, Pompeo Cocchi, Eusebio da San Giorgio, Mariano di Eusterio,and Giovanni di Pietro (lo Spagna).

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BAROQUE [Post Renaissance Art] : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOZVqusZxS_TFGVWRL6nG5V3C9j3h5xnp

HIGH RENAISSANCE [Renaissance Art]: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOZVqusZxS_TAW8yBAWDSpPeV-B4EUnUe

EARLY RENAISSANCE [RENAISSANCE ARTS] : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOZVqusZxS_Rl5u1xeWi3_hNWVbd99rp8

PROTO RENAISSANCE [Renaissance Art] : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOZVqusZxS_R6P61q7DOnuZgGGsqw-tN3

Medieval Art : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOZVqusZxS_T7YNe7cv7fLpg6Hej3NiSh

SKETCHES AND DRAWINGS COLLECTION : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOZVqusZxS_TXdJM33uf-2MEhuiAEd-Op

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Pietro Perugino : A Collection of 161 Paintings (HD) [High Renaissance] - History

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Full issue online at https://masterdrawings.advanced-pub.com/Vizion5/viewer.aspx?id=3&pageId=1 . more Full issue online at
https://masterdrawings.advanced-pub.com/Vizion5/viewer.aspx?id=3&pageId=1

> Review of the catalogue of Italian Renaissance drawings at The Morgan Library and Museum -- published in 2019 in conjunction with the exhibition 'Invention and Design: Early Italian Drawings' --, with some considerations on early Norther Italian draftsmen (Francesco Squarcione, Bartolomeo Montagna, Giovanni Agostino da Lodi, Romanino, Carpaccio), Raphael, Bronzino and Alessandro Allori.


This sheet was probably once part of a sketchbook carried by the artist Raphael on a 1508 journey between Florence and Rome.

This drawing is from Raphael’s "pink sketchbook," comprised of ten sheets of roughly equal size that each portray variations of a mother and child. Today, six of the drawings at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille two are at the British Museum one is in a private collection and one is in Cleveland. The small format of the sheets would have enabled the artist to carry the notebook as he traveled from Florence to Rome in 1508. Raphael used metalpoint, a technique popular in 15th- and early 16th-century Italy on a pink prepared surface. The pose of the infant's head in the drawing was based on that of the Christ child in Leonardo da Vinci's Benois Madonna, then in a private collection in Florence, with changes—such as the uplifted eyes and open mouth—made by Raphael. The curving back of the female nude is echoed in the roundness of the child's head. The three sketches of a reclining infant at the bottom of the sheet are freely handled and improvisational, relaying the child's squirming, continuous movement with repeated contour lines.


The Key Elements of Italian Renaissance Art

AGESANDER, POLYDORUS, and ATHENODORUS (1st Century B.C.)
Laocoön and his Sons, circa 42-20 B.C. (marble)

D uring the 14th century many Italians believed that the barbarous cultures of the Dark and Early Middle Ages had discarded the high artistic standards set by the ancient Romans and Greeks. Therefore, in order to restore these lost ideals, it was necessary for art to retrace its steps to find a new path to progress. This quest led to a revival of certain artistic principles from the classical era which were merged with contemporary ideas to form the key elements of art during the Italian Renaissance. Among the most important of these were:

Naturalism: A search for the perfection of form that was inspired by the naturalism of Classical sculpture.

Humanism: The influence of the philosophy of Classical humanism which is revealed in the gradual shift from religious to secular subject matter in art.

Perspective Drawing: The development of perspective drawing as the standard means of organizing the spatial depth of a picture.

New Media and Techniques: The development of new media and techniques which were essential to achieve a greater naturalism in art.

The development of Italian Renaissance art can be broken down into four distinct stages - the Proto Renaissance, the Early Renaissance, the High Renaissance and the Venetian Renaissance.


Provenance

Reputedly in the chapel of the Casa Pucci, Florence purchased by Henry Tresham (1756-1814) for Lord Cawdor (1753-1821) between 1775 - 1789 his sale, Skinner and Dyke, 6 June 1800, lot 27 anonymous sale (probably Colonel Matthew Smith), Christie's, 12 May 1804, lot 41, probably bought in sale Colonel Matthew Smith collection, Christie's, 1 May 1812, lot 52, bought in purchased as a Filippino Lippi at an unknown date by Margaret Greville (1863-1942) from Robert Langton Douglas (1864 - 1951), through Tancred Borenius (1885 - 1948). Bequeathed in 1942 by Margaret Helen Greville DBE (1863-1942) to the National Trust, along with the Polesden Lacey Estate in memory of her father William McEwan MP (1827-1913). [The probate inventory of January 1943 shows this item on the record for Polesden Lacey pictures, drawings etc., stored in the safe, page 175.]


Contents

While known as the location of Papal conclaves, the primary function of the Sistine Chapel is as the chapel of the Papal Chapel (Cappella Pontificia), one of the two bodies of the Papal household, called until 1968 the Papal Court (Pontificalis Aula). At the time of Pope Sixtus IV in the late 15th century, the Papal Chapel comprised about 200 people, including clerics, officials of the Vatican and distinguished laity. There were 50 occasions during the year on which it was prescribed by the Papal Calendar that the whole Papal Chapel should meet. [8] Of these 50 occasions, 35 were masses, of which 8 were held in Basilicas, in general St. Peter's, and were attended by large congregations. These included the Christmas Day and Easter masses, at which the Pope himself was the celebrant. The other 27 masses could be held in a smaller, less public space, for which the Cappella Maggiore was used before it was rebuilt on the same site as the Sistine Chapel.

The Cappella Maggiore derived its name, the Greater Chapel, from the fact that there was another chapel also in use by the Pope and his retinue for daily worship. At the time of Pope Sixtus IV, this was the Chapel of Pope Nicholas V, which had been decorated by Fra Angelico. The Cappella Maggiore is recorded as existing in 1368. According to a communication from Andreas of Trebizond to Pope Sixtus IV, by the time of its demolition to make way for the present chapel, the Cappella Maggiore was in a ruinous state with its walls leaning. [9]

The present chapel, on the site of the Cappella Maggiore, was designed by Baccio Pontelli for Pope Sixtus IV, for whom it is named, and built under the supervision of Giovannino de Dolci between 1473 and 1481. [1] The proportions of the present chapel appear to closely follow those of the original. After its completion, the chapel was decorated with frescoes by a number of the most famous artists of the High Renaissance, including Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Pietro Perugino, and Michelangelo. [9]

The first mass in the Sistine Chapel was celebrated on 15 August 1483, the Feast of the Assumption, at which ceremony the chapel was consecrated and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. [10]

The Sistine Chapel has maintained its function to the present day and continues to host the important services of the Papal Calendar, unless the Pope is travelling. There is a permanent choir, the Sistine Chapel Choir, for whom much original music has been written, the most famous piece being Gregorio Allegri's Miserere. [11]

Papal conclave Edit

One of the functions of the Sistine Chapel is as a venue for the election of each successive pope in a conclave of the College of Cardinals. On the occasion of a conclave, a chimney is installed in the roof of the chapel, from which smoke arises as a signal. If white smoke, which is created by burning the ballots of the election, appears, a new Pope has been elected. If no candidate receives the required two-thirds vote, the cardinals send up black smoke—created by burning the ballots along with wet straw and chemical additives—it means that no successful election has yet occurred. [12]

The first papal conclave to be held on the Sistine Chapel was the conclave of 1492, which took place from 6 to 11 August of the same year and in which Pope Alexander VI, also known as Rodrigo Borja, was elected.

The conclave also provided for the cardinals a space in which they could hear mass, and in which they could eat, sleep, and pass time attended by servants. From 1455, conclaves have been held in the Vatican until the Great Schism, they were held in the Dominican convent of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. [13] Since 1996, John Paul II's Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici gregis requires the cardinals to be lodged in the Domus Sanctae Marthae during a papal conclave, but to continue to vote in the Sistine Chapel. [14]

Canopies for each cardinal-elector were once used during conclaves—a sign of equal dignity. After the new Pope accepts his election, he would give his new name at this time, the other Cardinals would tug on a rope attached to their seats to lower their canopies. Until reforms instituted by Saint Pius X, the canopies were of different colours to designate which Cardinals had been appointed by which Pope. Paul VI abolished the canopies altogether, since, under his papacy, the population of the College of Cardinals had increased so much to the point that they would need to be seated in rows of two against the walls, making the canopies obstruct the view of the cardinals in the back row. In the wake of a conclave taking place to preserve the integrity of the marble floor on the Sistine Chapel, carpenters install a slightly elevated wooden floor alongside a wooden ramp in the entrance for those Cardinals who for one reason or another need to be transported in a wheelchair.

Structure Edit

The chapel is a high rectangular building, for which absolute measurements are hard to ascertain, as available measurements are for the interior: 40.9 metres (134 ft) long by 13.4 metres (44 ft) wide.

Its exterior is unadorned by architectural or decorative details, as is common in many Italian churches of the Medieval and Renaissance eras. It has no exterior façade or exterior processional doorways, as the ingress has always been from internal rooms within the Apostolic Palace (Papal Palace), and the exterior can be seen only from nearby windows and light-wells in the palace. Subsidence and cracking of masonry such as must also have affected the Cappella Maggiore has necessitated the building of very large buttresses to brace the exterior walls. The accretion of other buildings has further altered the exterior appearance of the chapel.

The building is divided into three stories of which the lowest is a very tall basement level with several utilitarian windows and a doorway giving onto the exterior court. Internally, the basement is robustly vaulted to support the chapel. Above is the main space, the Sistine Chapel, the vaulted ceiling rising to 20.7 metres (68 ft). The building had six tall arched windows down each side and two at either end, several of which have been blocked. Above the vault is a third story with wardrooms for guards. At this level, an open projecting gangway was constructed, which encircled the building supported on an arcade springing from the walls. The gangway has been roofed as it was a continual source of water leaking in to the vault of the chapel.

Interior of the Sistine Chapel Edit

The general proportions of the chapel use the length as the unit of measurement. This has been divided by three to get the width and by two to get the height. Maintaining the ratio, there were six windows down each side and two at either end. Defined proportions were a feature of Renaissance architecture and reflected the growing interest in the Classical heritage of Rome.

The ceiling of the chapel is a flattened barrel vault springing from a course that encircles the walls at the level of the springing of the window arches. This barrel vault is cut transversely by smaller vaults over each window, which divide the barrel vault at its lowest level into a series of large pendentives rising from shallow pilasters between each window. The barrel vault was originally painted brilliant-blue and dotted with gold stars, to the design of Piermatteo Lauro de' Manfredi da Amelia. [9] The pavement is in opus alexandrinum, a decorative style using marble and coloured stone in a pattern that reflects the earlier proportion in the division of the interior and also marks the processional way from the main door, used by the Pope on important occasions such as Palm Sunday.

A screen or transenna in marble by Mino da Fiesole, Andrea Bregno, and Giovanni Dalmata divides the chapel into two parts. [15] Originally these made equal space for the members of the Papal Chapel within the sanctuary near the altar and the pilgrims and townsfolk without. However, with growth in the number of those attending the Pope, the screen was moved giving a reduced area for the faithful laity. The transenna is surmounted by a row of ornate candlesticks, once gilt, and has a wooden door, where once there was an ornate door of gilded wrought iron. The sculptors of the transenna also provided the cantoria or projecting choir gallery.

History Edit

The first stage in the decoration of the Sistine Chapel was the painting of the ceiling in blue, studded with gilt stars, [9] and with decorative borders around the architectural details of the pendentives. This was entirely replaced when Michelangelo came to work on the ceiling in 1508.

Of the present scheme of frescos, the earliest part is that of the side walls. They are divided into three main tiers. The central tier of the walls has two cycles of paintings, which complement each other, The Life of Moses and The Life of Christ. They were commissioned in 1480 by Pope Sixtus IV and executed by Domenico Ghirlandaio, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Cosimo Rosselli and their workshops. They originally ran all round the walls, but have since been replaced on both end walls.

The project was perhaps supervised by Perugino, who arrived at the chapel prior to the Florentines. It is probable that the commission of Ghirlandaio, Botticelli and Roselli was part of a reconciliation project between Lorenzo de' Medici, the de facto ruler of Florence, and Pope Sixtus IV. The Florentines started to work in the Sistine Chapel in the spring of 1481.

Beneath the cycles of The Life of Moses and The Life of Christ, the lower level of the walls is decorated with frescoed hangings in silver and gold. Above the narrative frescos, the upper tier is divided into two zones. At the lower level of the windows is a Gallery of Popes painted at the same time as the Lives. Around the arched tops of the windows are areas known as the lunettes which contain the Ancestors of Christ, painted by Michelangelo as part of the scheme for the ceiling.

The ceiling was commissioned by Pope Julius II and painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512. The commission was originally to paint the twelve apostles on the triangular pendentives which support the vault however, Michelangelo demanded a free hand in the pictorial content of the scheme. He painted a series of nine pictures showing God's Creation of the World, God's Relationship with Mankind, and Mankind's Fall from God's Grace. On the large pendentives he painted twelve Biblical and Classical men and women who prophesied that God would send Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind, and around the upper parts of the windows, the Ancestors of Christ.

In 1515, Raphael was commissioned by Pope Leo X to design a series of ten tapestries to hang around the lower tier of the walls. [16] The tapestries depict events from the Life of St. Peter and the Life of St. Paul, the founders of the Christian Church in Rome, as described in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. Work began in mid-1515. Due to their large size, manufacture of the hangings was carried out in Brussels, and took four years under the hands of the weavers in the shop of Pieter van Aelst. [17] Raphael's tapestries were looted during the Sack of Rome in 1527 and were either burnt for their precious metal content or were scattered around Europe. In the late 20th century, a set was reassembled from several further sets that had been made after the first set, and displayed again in the Sistine Chapel in 1983. The tapestries continue in use at occasional ceremonies of particular importance. The full-size preparatory cartoons for seven of the ten tapestries are known as the Raphael Cartoons and are in London. [18]

At this point, the decorative scheme displayed a consistent iconographical pattern. The tier of Popes, which, in the scheme intended by Pope Julius, would have appeared immediately below the Twelve Apostles, would have emphasised the apostolic succession. It has been argued that the present scheme shows the two Biblical Testaments merged in order to reveal the Old predicting and framing the New, synthesizing, the logic of the Christian Bible. [19]

This was disrupted by a further commission to Michelangelo to decorate the wall above the altar with The Last Judgment, 1537–1541. The painting of this scene necessitated the obliteration of two episodes from the Lives, the Nativity of Jesus and the Finding of Moses several of the Popes and two sets of Ancestors.


Breaking the silence: the poor Clares and the visual arts in fifteenth-century Italy.

As Dante and Beatrice begin their ascent to the Empyrean in canto 3 of the Paradiso, they alight on the moon where they encounter pale spirits, not mere reflections but "true substances . assigned [there] for inconstancy to holy vows" (Dante, 29-31).(1) Encouraged by Beatrice, Dante asks an eager soul identified as Piccarda Donati, a Poor Clare abducted from a Florentine convent by her brother and coerced into a politically expedient marriage, "through what warp she had not entirely passed the shuttle of her vow" (Dante, 95-96). Like the followers of Saint Clare who "go cloaked and veiled on earth," she replies, "as a girl, I fled the world to walk the way she walked and closed myself into her habit, pledged to her sisterhood till my last day" (Dante, 98-99, 103-05). Disheartened by her family's actions, Piccarda expired eight days after her unwanted nuptials.

Dante clearly expected his tale of breached cloister and broken vows to be understood as a failure of will, for the doubts he expressed concerning the justice of punishing those who were forced against their desire usher in his discourse on free will in the next canto. Nonetheless, for modern readers both Dante's exemplum and his choice of language also elucidate the pervasiveness of traditional attitudes that viewed the female gender as weak by nature. Dante locates the inconstant souls on the moon, the lowest of the celestial spheres and a secondary planet visible only by virtue of the reflected light of the sun, and he singles out a monastic woman who has slighted her vows, not because she is intrinsically evil but because she exemplifies inherently passive beings who submit to a stronger force regardless of its sinfulness. While the families actually break the sanctity of the cloister in his poem, it is Suor Constantia, as Piccarda was called in the convent, who pays an eternal price for her frailty of will.(2)

Piccarda's voice is of course Dante's, yet until recently our notions about nuns in early modern Italy were largely formed by such fiction. As contemporary literary and historical studies have revealed, monastic women were in fact not silent. They conversed among themselves and with others - laypersons as well as ecclesiastics - in letters, histories, devotional tracts, prayers, and sonnets. The role of the visual arts as vehicles of communication for nuns has been less explored, however.(3) This article argues for the cogency of the arts to religious women in Renaissance Italy by examining the patronage, production, and response to works of art made for three fifteenth-century convents of Piccarda's order, the female Franciscans.

Bright illuminations on the calendar pages in a breviary decorated by Sano di Pietro in the 1470s for the Poor Clares at Santa Chiara in Siena provide a glimpse of women whose contemplative lives usually included as much labor as prayer.(4) Saint Clare's monastic rule required the nuns to work indeed, their survival as a community committed to the practice of corporate as well as personal poverty depended on their labor to supplement the alms donated to the convent.(5) As Dante's choice of words to question Piccarda implies, the nuns wove and embroidered ecclesiastical vestments and altar cloths thus the sister who pauses to watch the falling snow on the right of Sano's illumination for January appropriately holds a distaff [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 1 OMITTED]. Most convents of Clarisse owned land that was cultivated with grains, olives, and grapes and worked by unprofessed lay sisters, tenants, and outside workers who were hired to perform specialized or heavy tasks and labor intensive jobs that needed extra hands, as illustrated on Sano's page for March [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 2 OMITTED].(6)

The representation for March reveals that the recipients of the breviary were Observant Poor Clares, for the painted nuns wear the coarse black veils legislated by the reformers in 1460. Their community would have observed the vow of strict communal poverty as it had been outlined by Saints Francis and Clare and then revived in the early Quattrocento by such Observant reformers as Saint Bernardino of Siena, who strove to reinstate the original Franciscan spirit that they believed had been abandoned by the order. Nevertheless, Sano's diminutive Clarisse kneel before a shining gold crucifix placed on an altar covered with expensive red and gold brocade and embroidered silk or linen cloth. The contradiction between belief and practice this illustrates, and for that matter implicit in the very existence of the ornate breviary, makes one wonder whether the Poor Clares were in fact guilty of inconstancy - not to vows of chastity and obedience as in Dante's verse - but to the vow of poverty at the heart of Franciscan spirituality.

A memoriale written by the nuns of Santa Maria di Monteluce at Perugia in order to preserve their history for future sisters, clarifies the system of artistic patronage in fifteenth-century houses of Observant Poor Clares. For in addition to the investitures and deaths of sisters, noteworthy visits from popes and cardinals, and the granting of indulgences, this chronicle records the reception of gifts and legacies, the production of the scriptorium, and the initiation and completion of building projects from the time of the nuns' vote to adopt the Observant rule in 1448 until the eighteenth-century suppression of the convent.(7)

The Perugian nuns worshipped in one of the oldest of the Poor Clares' establishments. Consecrated in 1253, Santa Maria di Monteluce retains the basic plan of most Umbrian medieval churches with an aisleless nave despite several renovations and its current status as a hospital church [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 3 OMITTED].(8) The plain stone facade and the separate nun's choir behind the altar were constructed during an extensive building campaign at mid-fifteenth century, while much of the lavish interior decoration dates to a major remodeling in the late Baroque.(9) According to the memoriale, the fifteenth-century abbesses instigated most of the architectural and decorative projects, chose the builders and artists, and supervised the refurbishing of the premises, which was necessitated in part by the reform itself and in part by the ensuing growth of the community.(10) Benefices such as tithes and rents paid for construction, whereas legacies from individuals were expended on commissions for sculpture, paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and costly liturgical objects. A bequest from the mother of Sisters Eufrasia and Battista Alfani permitted the nuns to order a marble tabernacle by the Florentine Francesco di Simone Ferrucci, who installed it on the Altar of the Sacrament in 1483 [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 4 OMITTED].(11) Lay donors also provided finished works of art that included paintings such as a Madonna and Child with Angels by Bartolommeo Caporali of c. 1465, as well as silk and brocade canopies, altar cloths and clerical vestments (often worked in gold and silver thread), manuscripts, and other expensive ecclesiastical items listed in numerous entries throughout the chronicle.(12) Predictably, the most consistent benefactors were the nuns' families, which were aristocratic or wealthy Perugian clans such as the Alfani, the Oddi, and the Baglioni.(13) Money provided at the investiture of novices - generally not from the giovani or young virgins whose "dowry" supported their lifetime needs, but from entering widows who needed to dispose of property - purchased works of art, as did investiture money that remained after a nun died.(14) In fact, a bequest from one of these widows paid for the most famous endowment at Monteluce [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 5 OMITTED].

On 29 December 1505 the Abbess Battista Alfani recorded that the convent had ordered a painting of the Assumption of the Virgin, a subject appropriate to their church, for the high altar. The nuns selected the artist Raphael of Urbino based on the advice of citizens and their spiritual fathers, and they paid him thirty gold ducats on account from alms that Suor Illuminata de Perinello had bequeathed "to spend on things of the church."(15) We know from the extant contract that the painting was to resemble Ghirlandaio's Assumption in the Franciscan friars' San Girolamo at Narni, and from a second contract of 1516 that the nuns themselves had approved Raphael's drawing for the work.(16) Still incomplete when Raphael died in 1520, the altarpiece was finished by Giulio Romano and Gian Francesco Penni and finally delivered to Monteluce in 1525.(17) As Abbess Battista noted, the Assumption was ordered specifically for the "altare maggiore de la chiesia de fuore" and its theme was selected for its pertinence to Monteluce: not only was the complex dedicated to Mary, but the feast of her Assumption on 15 August was honored with a special indulgence for visits to the church and marked by a solemn public procession and the singing of High Mass and Vespers.(18) Such specificity was not unusual because the abbesses carefully distinguished between commissions for the public church, the chiesia de fuore, and the inner church or nun's choir, the chiesia nostra dentro, throughout the chronicle. For example, the vaulting of the former occurs in 1470-72, whereas the latter had already been vaulted in 1449-51.(19) The Poor Clares ordered art of high quality for the external church: brass candlesticks crafted in Venice brocade and silk cloths and marble sculpture imported from Florence and paintings created by prominent or promising Urnbrian artists.(20) Furnishings for the sisters' church were to the contrary mostly utilitarian and sometimes even second hand, as when a new armadio was made for the outer church in 1504-05 and the old one was moved to the nun's choir.(21)

Reading through the cronaca of Monteluce provides a sense for the day-to-day aspects of artistic patronage in a religious house: the funding, the choice of artists, and the time and planning involved in artistic commissions. With the exception of a legacy whose terms requested the making of a relief of the Madonna and Child for the altar of the infirmary to provide comfort for the sick and dying nuns, the chronicle does not suggest the personal significance of art for the Poor Clares.(22) To understand their private attitudes toward art and devotions during the Quattrocento, we must turn to the writings and paintings created by the abbess at another Franciscan Observant convent, the Corpus Domini at Bologna.

As a paradoxical combination of pragmatic abbess, inspired musician, and devout painter, as well as a passionate mystic and a visionary writer whose works were read by the Clarisse throughout Italy, Saint Catherine Vigri was a principal figure in the renaissance of the Poor Clares during the fifteenth-century reform era. Saint Catherine actually passed most of her life at Ferrara, where her father was employed at the court of Niccolo d'Este and where she served as a lady-in-waiting to Niccolo's daughter Margarita. There is no evidence of her religious vocation until after Margarita's marriage in the late 1420s when the saint entered the Corpus Domini, a Ferrarese convent that was in the process of becoming a house of Observant Poor Clares. In 1456 Saint Catherine was sent to found a convent at Bologna, also called the Corpus Domini, where she served as abbess until her death in 1463.(23)

Best known among Saint Catherine's writings is Le Sette Armi Spirituali, which she composed mainly between 1438 and 1456 as a training manual for the novices at Ferrara.(24) Saint Catherine employs methods of narration and dialogue in her treatise that are typical of spiritual exercises in this period: she lists the seven spiritual weapons for combating Satan, explains their necessity, and explicates their benefits.(25) Her text includes the reminiscences of an unnamed, but obviously autobiographical "religious" who counter-poses accounts of clever demonic apparizioni that tempted her into sins of pride and disobedience with divine visitazioni that rewarded her humility and obedience.(26) Near the end of the book, Saint Catherine recalls that when she was beset by terrible doubts concerning the divine presence in the Eucharist, she was blessed with a visitation from Christ who personally clarified transubstantiation for her. From that moment the saint not only craved the spiritual nourishment of communion, but she also made the Incarnation the centerpiece of her writing and painting.(27)

According to Lo Specchio di Illuminazione, a biography of the abbess by her life-long friend Suor Illuminata Bembo, Saint Catherine believed that the only suitable subject for prayers, readings, and art was Christ and she opposed profuse religious ornamentation: "What can flowers and branches do there? Would not Jesus Christ be better in the initial letters [of texts] as he is in prayers and lessons? What sentiment is derived from these boughs if not a wandering of the mind? But Christ Jesus is a sweet and gentle memory."(28) Saint Catherine gave visible expression to her beliefs when she illuminated her breviary with the heads of Christ, the Blessed Virgin and saints in the historiated capitals, and tiny figures of the swaddled, nimbused, and sometimes blessing Infant Christ drawn either in the initials or in the margins on several pages.(29) Tender versions of the Madonna and Child or Christ as the Savior are characteristic subjects for her paintings. In her Redeemer, still at the Corpus Domini, Christ is the Incarnate Word [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 6 OMITTED]. The shining aureole and the gold-starred and collared white dalmatic celebrate the transcendence of the pale blond Jesus whose wisdom enlightens an infinite blue space. Inscribed with "In me omnis gratis/in me omnis [spes] vite et veritatis/In me omnis spes vite et virtutis," the Redeemer's book and the colorful Annunciation enclosed in roundels above his head connect the Divine Word and its moment of Incarnation the-matically and spatially in the foreground plane.(30) Saint Catherine's imagery here, the frontal, three-quarter length, blessing Redeemer derived from icons of the Pantocrator, and her medium, the rich hues and delicate brushwork of tempera and gold on paper of manuscript illuminations, conflates a genre associated with meditation on the invisible divine essence with one whose visible juxtaposition of text and image inspire intimate reading and study. Edifying and didactic at once, the form and content of her art thus evokes a unified veneration and visualization of the Word.

Yet neither Saint Catherine's writings nor her paintings attempt to reproduce her visions, for she explains that like faith itself, the divine presence - described most often as dolce e soave (sweet and gentle) - cannot be expressed in words or even imagined.(31) According to Suor Illuminata, the saint paused to pray Christ's name with arms outstretched like the Crucified whenever she wrote and painted, and she often wept so copiously over his sufferings that the work had to be taken from her to prevent its ruin.(32) On the breviary page dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Catherine's annotations and drawings accompanying the prescribed text for the feast manifest this process [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 7 OMITTED].(33) Her repetition of "Caterina" four times seems to chant the prayer behind the letters, and her portrayal of the crowned virgin-martyr as a Renaissance lady in the capital letter D of Deus implies identification as well as emulation of her patron saint, whose holiness is further praised in an annotation penned at the end of the text: "O Catherine most prudent virgin and most faithful martyr, pray for me. Most happy spouse of Christ. Thank God amen. Christ my Christ."(34) Like the interlacing of words and pictures on this page, Saint Catherine's melding of process and product into a single devotional act marries the active and the contemplative.

Saint Catherine's pictures verify religious truths insofar as they substantiate the Incarnation, the doctrine she first doubted and then wholeheartedly endorsed. In so doing, her paintings become additional spiritual weapons that clarify troubling Christian tenets by converting her epiphanies into visible guides for others. Most interesting is that by making revelation perceptible, Saint Catherine's paintings invert the customary three-tiered ascent of meditative practice whereby one moves from the material to the mental and finally to the spiritual state.

Built for a community of Clarisse established by Marietta degli Albizzi in c. 1450, the late Quattrocento Florentine church of Santa Chiara Novella once gave public expression to the same kind of spirituality that informs Saint Catherine's private writings. According to Richa's eighteenth-century description, one entered the church designed by Giuliano da Sangallo and looked down the nave through a line of Corinthian columns to the main altar, which was sheltered inside a magnificent apse [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 8 OMITTED]. Corinthian pilasters separated the colorful cappella maggiore, which was ringed by a blue, white, yellow, and gray terracotta frieze made in the shop of Andrea della Robbia, from the nave. Curved windows set high into the left-hand wall of the building admitted light, and the wall shared with the convent on the right may have been pierced at about the same height by grillwork through which the sequestered nuns could view the services.(35)

Leonardo del Tasso's massive white, black, and red marble al-tarpiece from the 1490s is appropriately Eucharistic [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 9 OMITTED]. From Saints Clare and Francis in their niches to the angels at the summit, all the glances and gestures focus on a white tabernacle that floats in a black marble field on which the instruments of Christ's Passion are etched in gold leaf.(36) A glazed opening surrounded by shimmering rays, possibly for display of the Host, calls to mind Saint Bernardino's monogram of the name of Christ (IHS), which together with cherubs and the sacrificial lamb constitute the decorative frieze encircling the chapel. The empty cross at the top of the tabernacle and the eagle alluding to the Gospel of John supporting the structure indicate that this elegantly carved "tempietto" houses the Word made Flesh.

Transubstantiation also underlies the imagery of the two side altars that formerly occupied the right wall of the nave. The lunettes of the Assumption and the Resurrection modeled by Andrea della Robbia were placed respectively over a Nativity scene painted by Lorenzo di Credi and a Lamentation by Pietro Perugino to form a Redemption cycle that celebrated the defeat of Satan through Mary's sinless bearing of the Savior as well as Christ's victory over death [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURES 10 and 11 OMITTED].(37) The paintings of Christ's humble birth and his humiliating death are obviously complementary. Lorenzo's Child rests on the miraculously flowering earth against a bundle of hay covered by his mother's blue veil, as described in the popular Meditations on the Life of Christ, which was originally written for a community of Poor Clares in the thirteenth century.(38) Joseph stands quietly pondering the event on the right while his visual counterpart, the shepherd whose gaze extends beyond the frame at the left, foretells the Infant's predestined sacrifice. To emphasize the point further, one of the angels conversing in the background before Giuliano da Sangallo's architecture, which supports the stable, motions heavenward to clarify the source of the New Era of Grace.

While serene contemplation and wistful wonder characterize the Adoration of the Shepherds, a mood of silent meditation and measured grief permeates Perugino's Lamentation [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 11 OMITTED]. Christ's pale, pitifully stiffening body rests on a white shroud in a slightly elevated position that resembles the pose of Lorenzo's Infant. The sharp-edged stone of unction replaces the rounded straw bolster of the Adoration, and although Mary tenderly grasps her Son's arm, his other limb dangles lifelessly above the crown of thorns lying on now barren ground. Attention centers on Christ, except for Joseph of Arimathea who engages the observer's notice at the left as if to respond pictorially to the shepherd's prophecy in Lorenzo's painting. Only the murmured conversation behind the youth at the right of the Lamentation, like the angelic dialogue in the rear of the infancy story, breaks the heavy silence and animates the hushed stillness of bereavement.

The inversion of expectations is particularly poignant in the paintings for Santa Chiara Novella. Lorenzo's Adoration of the Shepherds evinces a visual melancholy at odds with the joy of scriptural accounts, for his Infant lies isolated, neither warmly cuddled nor protectively embraced by his mother. Perugino's Lamentation, on the contrary, affects by its unusual restraint. Few marks of Christ's physical torture appear: the cross is barely discernible in the left background and the Messiah's wounds are discretely represented. A surprising physical tenderness toward the dead Savior, who is gently enclosed and touched consolingly by his mother and weeping followers, pervades the painting, and such nuanced gestures as one of the Marys caressing Christ's head at the point where it was crowned by thorns, reiterate the notion of sorrow grounded in loss. Reciprocity of gesture in the Adoration of the Shepherds and the Lamentation, whereby the hands raised in wonder by Lorenzo's bowing shepherd and angels become a compelling sign of Mary Magdalen's anguish in Perugino's work, underscores the inherent mystery of Christ's Incarnation.

Individually, Lorenzo di Credi's Adoration of the Shepherds and Perugino's Lamentation are affecting. When visualized side by side and beneath Andrea della Robbia's delicately carved Assumption and Resurrection, near Leonardo del Tasso's elegant altarpiece, and enclosed within Giuliano da Sangallo's harmonious edifice, the pathos of the ensemble is almost palpable. Entrancing coloristic effects, whether the cool pastels of the reliefs or the resonant hues of the paintings, and subtle plays of light illuminating the refined sculptural surfaces and highlighting precious gilding, would have transformed the fifteenth-century interior of Santa Chiara Novella into a gentle, serene space. Despite differences of medium, all the works from Santa Chiara share a particular kind of soothing beauty, which is often described as soave or mistica in Italian, adjectives like those that Saint Catherine used to convey spiritual essence. When utilized to interpret religious events, this type of beauty creates a contrapposto of form and meaning - the pleasurable perception of the beautifully-adorned material environment counterpoised with cognitive awareness of the religious message - that engenders a powerful spiritual response. And as Saint Catherine required, the visual imagery was not merely didactic but also edifying. Rather than promoting intellectual or analytical inquiry into the mysteries of faith, here "beauty" activates the senses which, in turn, inspire emotions that encourage beholders to feel the ineffable.

Despite commissioning and occasionally producing art themselves, the fifteenth-century Poor Glares were constant to their vow of poverty. The women's piety assumed the visible form of precious materials whose richness highlights rather than conflicts with their vows. As the legacies destined to embellish the outer church at Monteluce and the thoughtful decoration of the public space at Santa Chiara Novella indicate, the nuns were the caretakers and ideators but not the possessors nor in most instances even the observers of these works. For walled within the cloister and attending services in their private choir, the Poor Clares were as pointedly excluded from their churches as they were from society at large.(39) Like their intercessory prayers, the nuns' public churches attempted to mediate the vast distance between humanity and deity that is the purpose of spirituality. Though the Poor Clares, in the words of their foundress, abandoned "the things of time for those of eternity," their art made their spirit quietly and profoundly felt.(40)

1 The citations from the Paradiso are taken from Dante Alighieri, The Paradiso, trans. by John Ciardi, New York, 1970.

2 For a sixteenth-century interpretation of Piccarda's abduction that refutes Dante's view of her inconstancy, see Fra Mariano, 204-07, who gives her religious name in order to counter Dante's assertions, 204. Transgressing monastic vows for the purpose of marriage also informs hagiographical writings, such as Thomas of Celano's vivid anecdote of family opposition to the adolescent Clare's vocation in his Legenda Sanctae Clarae. Yet in his account Clare's steadfast faith is victorious: her relatives retreat when she unveils her tonsured head as proof of her resolve, whereupon she founds the first house of Franciscan nuns at Assisi. For this legend ordered by the pope at the time of Clare's canonization in 1255, see the English translation in Brady, 17-61. Dante's placement of Piccarda and the inconstant souls on the moon probably stems from the linkage between inconstancy and the moon in medieval astrology. (I am grateful to Sheila Rabin at the Renaissance Society office for this information.)

3 Writings by religious women in early modern Italy have received much attention in recent years. For comprehensive bibliographies that include fifteenth-century monastic women, see Stuard and Simons, and especially Bynum, which has become a standard reference for studies of religious women. For Franciscan nuns, see Varano (whose spiritual autobiography and treatise on the Mental Sorrows of Christ are also available in English translations by Joseph Berrigan [Saskatoon, 1986]), and the writings by Saint Catherine of Bologna and Illuminata Bembo cited below. For Italian nuns and art, see Barzman Bruzelius Dunn Rigaux and Gilbert, 1984. (I am grateful to the anonymous reader for this last reference.)

4 The breviary (Siena, Biblioteca Comunale, Ms. X.IV.2) was donated to the convent by the Castellani family, whose stemma, as well as that of Cardinal Riccardo Petroni, the founder of Santa Chiara at Siena appears on fol. 7 (left and right, respectively). For the identification of these arms and additional information about the manuscript, see Garosi, 23-28.

5 The Second Order of Franciscans, called Poor Clares or Clarisse in honor of their foundress, was characterized by its strict clausura, severe asceticism, and humble Christlike poverty as detailed in Saint Clare's monastic rule. For a brief history of the Poor Clares, see Moorman, 32-39, 205-15, 406-16. Similar difficulties in justifying the use of art among male Franciscans are apparent as early as 1260 when the Minister General Saint Bonaventure issued guidelines for the building of Franciscan churches. For the issue of poverty and art at the friars' Santa Croce in Florence, see Goffen, 1-11.

6 The workers engaged in tending plants (February), harvesting grain (July), constructing wine casks and making wine (August and September), and slaughtering hogs (December) should be viewed in light of long-standing iconographical and visual conventions for the labors of the months. Reproductions of Sano's calendar pages can be found in Galliard, figs. 16-19.

7 In his introduction, Nicolini describes the original volume that he discovered at the Monastero di Monteluce in Sant' Erminio at Perugia see Memoriale, xiv-xv. Suor Battista Alfani states that her sources were the books and papers stored at the convent and the memory of older sisters (ibid., 1-3).

8 The complex is now the Ospedale Regionale e Policlinico. For the fifteenth-century appearance of the convent, see the early sixteenth-century Misericordia reproduced in Memoriale, fig. 21, and for the standard structure of Umbrian churches, see Pardi.

9 The roof of the nun's choir at Monteluce was vaulted and the position of the main altar was changed in 1449-51: "Item, al tempio de l'offitio suo fu fatta la volta alla chiesia nostra dentro, che prima stavamo socto el tecto et fu facto el choro da quella parte de sopra, dove era allora l'altare et lo altare fu revoltato da questa altra parte, dove sta al presente" (Memoriale, 13). These renovations, which were probably made to accommodate the choir in an enclosed space behind the high altar, recall similar alterations at the original Clarissan complex of San Damiano see Bigaroni, 45-97. The choir in female monastic churches could not be located before the high altar as in most male churches without compromising the women's clausura nun's choirs usually took the form of a gallery situated above the entrance, as at the Donnaregina in Naples (begun after 1297), or as a separate space behind or contiguous to the altar area, as at Assisi in San Damiano (occupied by the Clares c. 1212-60) and in Santa Chiara (consecrated 1265). The problem of determining the site of the nun's choir at Santa Chiara in Assisi is addressed in Casolini, who argues that it was on the south side of the nave, in a space now occupied by the Chapels of the Sacrament and the Crucifix. Bruzelius, 86-88, states that the choir behind the altar at Santa Chiara in Naples is the earliest of this type (completed 1340) and considers the implications of choir placement for the nuns' religious rituals Meier does not discuss the choir.

10 For instance, building a communal dormitory to replace single cells was mandated by the adoption of Saint Clare's rule, see Memoriale, 9. There were only sixteen sisters in 1448 (ibid., 1) twenty-three Clarisse came from Santa Lucia at Foligno to oversee the reforms (ibid., 9-10) and by 1483 there were at least sixty nuns (the limitation of bocche was raised to seventy in order to accommodate eight novices, ibid., 39-40).

11 Their mother gave money "che se devesse espendere in cose de sacrestia, secondo che piacesse ad esse suoi figliole." The cost of the tabernacle exceeded the bequest the difference was made up by the nuns' brothers see ibid., 39. For additional information about the sculptor Ferrucci, see Schrader.

12 The painting given by Fioravante dai Matti in 1465 (Memoriale, 29) is probably Caporali's Madonna and Child with Angels, now in the National Gallery of Umbria at Perugia. For provenance and reproductions, see Todini, 1:51. Among other works cited in the chronicle are: a Crucifixion made for above the grillwork in c. 1449-51 a fresco of the Crucifixion ordered in 1491 (see below, n. 14) and two quadrecti of Saints Francis and Bernardino de Feltre given in c. 1499-1500, at about the same time that a wooden Crucifix was purchased (ibid., 13, 68).

13 For example, the tabernacle by Ferrucci was paid for by a legacy from the Alfani family see ibid., 39.

14 Money left by Abbess Eufrasia Alfani was expended for Fiorenzo di Lorenzo's fresco of the Crucifixion with Saints Clare and Francis for the head of the refectory see ibid., 52. Fifteenth- and sixteenth-century documents from Santa Chiara Novella indicate that a "dowry" or some sort of investment in a public monte to fund a sister's residence in the convent was also typical in Florence (Florence, Archivio di Stato, Con-venti Soppressi, 94, filza 64).

15 Memoriale, 85-86: "da spendere in cose de chiesia." The chronicle and contracts were first published in Gnoli, 133- 54. For more recent information on Raphael's pala, see Shearman and Mancinelli. I am grateful to Alessandro Nova for calling my attention to the last two references.

16 For the contracts with Raphael and other artists and craftsmen, see Gnoli, 146-54.

17 Memoriale, 127 (and 136 for completion of the setting for this altarpiece).

18 For the special indulgence, see ibid., 85, 97, and 107. For the previous dedication of the church to the Annunciation rather than the Assumption, see Hohler, 167.

19 For the vaulting of "chiesia nostra dentro" and for "la volta sopra lo altare grande della chiesia da fore," see Memoriale, 13, 32.

20 The brass candlesticks were purchased from the sale of two rings left for that purpose by Isabectha delli Oddi of Perugia see ibid., 68.

21 Ibid., 76-77. The Franciscan tertiaries at Sant'Antonio in Perugia also commissioned altarpieces for their external and internal churches from Piero della Francesca and Raphael, respectively. For Piero's pala, see Battisti, 1:420-36 Lightbown, 218-27 and Garibaldi, 19-44 and for Raphael's painting, see Zeri and Gardner, 72-78.

23 For the most recent biography of Saint Catherine and a detailed account of the difficult transformation of the former house of tertiaries into an Observant Clarisse convent, see Vigri-Foletti, 1-76.

24 She carried the treatise to Bologna where its existence remained a secret until her deathbed confession, when she asked her confessor to have the sisters at Bologna make a copy for the nuns in her old convent at Ferrara. For a thoughtful assessment of Saint Catherine and a carefully annotated edition of her treatise, see Vigri-Foletti, 16-76 and 115-161. According to Foletti, numerous copies of Le Sette Armi Spirituali were made at Saint Catherine's death in 1463 and the first printed edition appeared in 1475. Archival research by Spano Martinelli has revealed an unusually rich assortment of theological holdings in the library of the Bolognese convent, which implies that the community thrived because of Saint Catherine's intellectual as well as spiritual leadership see Spano Martinelli, 1971 and 1986.

25 For a discussion of the seven spiritual weapons (diligence, diffidence toward one's own strength, confidence in God, as well as never forgetting the Passion of Christ, one's own mortality, God's glory, and the authority of Scripture), see Vigri-Foletti, 78-81.

26 It is worth noting the distinction that Saint Catherine makes between apparizioni, which imply something ephemeral, and visitazioni, suggestive of something experienced more tangibly.

27 Though a special devotion to the Christ Child among the Clarisse dates back to Saint Clare herself, the Incarnation dominates Catherine's work to an unprecedented degree. For Saint Catherine's poetry and songs, see the Specchio di Illuminazione.

28 I am grateful to the anonymous reader for suggestions about my translation of this passage, which reads: "Che li fa quello fiorire e ffrasche? Non sea meglio Gesu o Cristo nelli capiversi como he delle orazione e lectione? Che sentimento si po trare de quelle frasche se non vagatione di mente? Ma Cristo Gesu e uno dolce e suave aricordo." (Specchio de illuminatione, fol. 41 see Vigri-Foletti, 7, for the context of this quotation). Saint Antonine of Florence was also concerned with religious imagery that seemed designed to please the eye rather than to inspire devotion. For the saint's opinions, see Gilbert, 1959.

29 For further information and illustrations of Saint Catherine's breviary, see Nunez, 732-47 and della Lega, 41-70.

30 Saint Catherine's text is a version of "In me is all the grace of the way and of the truth: in me is all hope of life and of virtue" (Eccles. 24:25). The inscription is transcribed in della Lega, 81.

31 For an example of the saint's usage of dolce e soave in her treatise, see Vigri-Foletti, 129-30 and above n. 28.

33 On fol. 465, see Nunez, 746.

34 "O Caterina, virgo prudentissima et martira fidelissima ora pro me. sponsa xpi felicissima. deo gratias amen. xps meus xps" (Nunez, 746).

35 Richa, 78-86. The living quarters of Santa Chiara Novella were renovated in 1468, but construction of the church, whose design is attributed to Giuliano da Sangallo, was not begun until after 1494, when Jacopo di Ottavio di Bongianni di Mino purchased burial rights to the entire church for his family. For documentation of Bongianni's bequest and his enduring interest in the convent, see Kent, 534-41, and for the attribution to Sangallo and a reconstruction of the plan of the church, see Marchini, 34-38. Marchini's plan suggests the nun's choir was located above the entrance (as it still is at San Felice in Piazza, Florence) arguably, the church would also have included a private grille-enclosed area (as at Santa Chiara, Assisi and at San Cosimato, Rome) so that old or sick nuns could participate in services from inside the convent. For a succinct history of Santa Chiara Novella, archival references, and a discussion of the cappella maggiore, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, see Pope-Hennessy, 177-79 (tabernacle, 128-29, altarpiece, 177-79, and frieze, 227-28).

36 Pope-Hennessy, 128-29, attributes the tabernacle to the shop of Antonio Rossellino in the early 1470s. The angels carrying a wreath-enclosed chalice in the predella provide a clever visual parallel to the two doves drinking from a chalice on the bases, a motif taken from the stemma of Jacopo Bongianni who planned to be buried before the altar.

37 Richa, 84, located Lorenzo di Credi's Adoration of the Shepherds and della Robbia's Assumption on the first altar at the right and Perugino's Lamentation with the Resurrection on the second, and he assigned the reliefs to Luca della Robbia. For a more convincing attribution to the shop of Andrea and for reproductions of the lunettes now in the portico of the Florentine Accademia, see Marquand, 218-23, figs. 271, 276. Regoli, 147-48, dates the Adoration of the Shepherds (Florence, Uffizi, no. 8399, panel, 2.24 x 1.96 m) before Albertinelli's mention of it in 1510. In addition to a visual dependence on Perugino's Lamentation of 1495, Kent's documentation of Bongianni's visit to Lorenzo's workshop in 1496 and his testament of 1497 (540-41) indicate that the Adoration of the Shepherds was still underway. For Perugino's Lamentation (Florence, Galleria Palatina, no. 164, panel, 2.20 x 1.95 m), signed and dated 1495, see Scarpellini, 40, 89.

38 For a history of this book, Meditations, xxi-xxiii, and for the Nativity, 33.

39 Their rule apparently forbade entering the external church. For instance, only the nun charged with decorating the altar at Monteluce could enter the outside church see Memoriale, 320.

40 See Saint Clare's first letter to Saint Agnes of Prague in Brady, 88-90.

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Todini, Filippo. La Pittura Umbra dal Duecento al Primo Quattrocento. 2 vols. Milan, 1989.

Varano, Battista da. Le Opere Spirituali. Ed. Giacomo Boccanera. Iesi, 1958.

Vigri, Saint Catherine. Le Sette Armi Spirituali. Ed. Cecilia Foletti. Padua, 1985.

Zeri, Federico, and Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: Sienese and Central Italian Schools. New York, 1980.


Architecture

Structure

The chapel is a high rectangular building, for which absolute measurements are hard to ascertain, as available measurements are for the interior: 40.9 metres (134 ft) long by 13.4 metres (44 ft) wide, the dimensions of the Temple of Solomon, as given in the Old Testament. [15]

Its exterior is unadorned by architectural or decorative details, as is common in many Italian churches of the Medieval and Renaissance eras. It has no exterior façade or exterior processional doorways, as the ingress has always been from internal rooms within the Apostolic Palace (Papal Palace), and the exterior can be seen only from nearby windows and light-wells in the palace. Subsidence and cracking of masonry such as must also have affected the Cappella Maggiore has necessitated the building of very large buttresses to brace the exterior walls. The accretion of other buildings has further altered the exterior appearance of the Chapel.

The building is divided into three stories of which the lowest is a very tall basement level with several utilitarian windows and a doorway giving onto the exterior court. Internally, the basement is robustly vaulted to support the chapel. Above is the main space, the Sistine Chapel, the vaulted ceiling rising to 20.7 metres (68 ft). The building had six tall arched windows down each side and two at either end, several of which have been blocked. Above the vault is a third story with wardrooms for guards. At this level, an open projecting gangway was constructed, which encircled the building supported on an arcade springing from the walls. The gangway has been roofed as it was a continual source of water leaking in to the vault of the Chapel.

Interior of the Sistine Chapel

The general proportions of the chapel use the length as the unit of measurement. This has been divided by three to get the width and by two to get the height. Maintaining the ratio, there were six windows down each side and two at either end. Defined proportions were a feature of Renaissance architecture and reflected the growing interest in the Classical heritage of Rome.

The ceiling of the chapel is a flattened barrel vault springing from a course that encircles the walls at the level of the springing of the window arches. This barrel vault is cut transversely by smaller vaults over each window, which divide the barrel vault at its lowest level into a series of large pendentives rising from shallow pilasters between each window. The barrel vault was originally painted brilliant-blue and dotted with gold stars, to the design of Piermatteo Lauro de&rsquo Manfredi da Amelia. [9] The pavement is in opus alexandrinum, a decorative style using marble and coloured stone in a pattern that reflects the earlier proportion in the division of the interior and also marks the processional way from the main door, used by the Pope on important occasions such as Palm Sunday.

A screen or transenna in marble by Mino da Fiesole, Andrea Bregno, and Giovanni Dalmata divides the chapel into two parts. [16] Originally these made equal space for the members of the Papal Chapel within the sanctuary near the altar and the pilgrims and townsfolk without. However, with growth in the number of those attending the Pope, the screen was moved giving a reduced area for the faithful laity. The transenna is surmounted by a row of ornate candlesticks, once gilt, and has a wooden door, where once there was an ornate door of gilded wrought iron. The sculptors of the transenna also provided the cantoria or projecting choir gallery.


Public display

The Cartoons were taken out of storage at Hampton Court Palace in 1697 so that copies could be made. It was at this time that the strips were reassembled in the first recorded restoration, which was carried out by Parry Walton (died 1699), the Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, and the painter Henry Cooke (1642 – 1700). In 1698, William III commissioned the architect Sir Christopher Wren (1632 – 1723) to create a special gallery at Hampton Court to host the Cartoons, which were finally put on public display – though limited to the court and privileged visitors. As part of the display, the Cartoons were raised above head height, had green silk curtains attached to them to protect their colours from fading from the light, and a fire was kept lit throughout the winter months to reduce the humidity of the room.

This new presentation was recorded in an engraving by the Frenchman Simon Gribelin (1661 – 1733) in 1707 and prompted a series of copies and engraved reproductions, The Seven Famous Cartons [sic] of Raphael Urbin, printed by Simon Gribelin II, 1720, London. Museum no. DYCE.2504. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London Christ's Charge to Peter by Nicholas Dorigny, 1719, London. Museum no. 20284. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Cartoons were later moved between Buckingham House (1763), Windsor (1787 – 88) and back to Hampton Court (1804). Between 1817 and 1819, they were exhibited at the British Institution, whilst the Cartoon The Charge to Peter went to Somerset House, on loan to the Royal Academy for copying, in 1823.


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  • Hartt's words send the reader back for another, closer look at each piece of art.
  • Shows how it fulfilled specific needs on the part of artist and patron, and how its meaning was intended to be interpreted.
  • Recognizes that location was an important consideration in the design of Rennaisance works of art
  • Helps students to grasp the shape of the Renaissance period as a whole.
  • Gives students an understanding of individual accomplishments as well as the larger picture.
  • Places Renaissance art in the context of the larger social, religious, and political milieu of the day.
  • Demonstrates the ongoing importance of studying these timeless works.
  • Provides students with a sense of the work of art as an object with its own history.
  • Assures student understanding while preserving Professor Hartt's distinctive voice.
  • Enhances students understanding by applying vocabulary to specific objects.
  • Allows students to pursue additional study in areas of interest.

New to This Edition

There are more color illustrations, with a special emphasis on showing architecture and architectural models in color. The portrait medals are all reproduced to scale (see figs. 6.2—6.3, 10.2—10.3, 12.4—12.5, 15.6—15.7, 15.29, 17.2, 17.11). The text has been rewritten for greater clarity, but always with an eye to preserving the evocative and compelling voice of the book’s original author. Additional selections from primary sources have been added: Vespasiano da Bisticci’s description of Duke Federico da Montefeltro’s library at Urbino, Giovanni Rucellai’s comments on the satisfaction he gained from the works of architecture he commissioned, and Vasari’s description of how Raphael engaged Marcantonio Raimondi to produce engravings after his drawings and paintings. Some chapters have been retitled to reflect their content more accurately. A greater diversity of media is evident with the addition of more drawings and prints, as well as examples of porcelain, stained glass, and blown glass. The exploration of iconographic themes is expanded with the addition of several portraits and a new representation of the David and Goliath theme. A new section on “Locating Renaissance Works of Art” (p. 715) will help teachers, students, and travelers locate works from the period in American and European museums.

1Prelude: Italy and Italian Art

New additions in this chapter include an ancient Roman relief that was known during the Renaissance, a print showing artists and an artist’s workshop, and one of the drawings that Vasari included in his personal collection. A new section discusses techniques of printmaking during this period.

2Duecento Art in Tuscany and Rome

The plans of the major churches in this chapter have been expanded to include their respective monastic complexes, with numbers indicating the location of artworks illustrated in the book.

3Florentine Art of the Early Trecento

This chapter offers an expansive discussion of Giotto’s Arena Chapel frescoes and discusses his influence on later Trecento painters.

4Sienese Art of the Early Trecento

Duccio and his followers are here covered in detail. The iconographic diagrams for Duccio’s Maestà are simplified and shown in black and white to make the numbering clear, while the placement of the reconstructions on facing pages adds clarity to the discussion.

5Later Gothic Art in Tuscany and Northern Italy

Several additions enrich this chapter, including a color view of Orcagna’s Assumption relief at Orsanmichele. A new medium is emphasized by the addition of the stainedglass rose window at Santa Maria Novella. Also new to this edition is the discussion of how medieval geometry and proportional systems provided a basis for Italian Gothic architecture, as demonstrated in the diagram of the proportional scheme planned for Milan Cathedral.

6The Renaissance Begins: Architecture

The developments that took place in Florentine art during the Quattrocento had a widespread influence and are the subject of this and the next seven chapters. This chapter includes photographs of a reconstructed model and a diagram of one of Brunelleschi’s devices for displaying perspective and clarifies the construction and engineering of Brunelleschi’s dome for Florence Cathedral through new illustrations that include the herringbone brickwork, a model of the dome, and a reconstruction drawing of two of the machines Brunelleschi invented to aid construction combined with a section that shows the wooden and stone chains and other details. Brunelleschi’s use of proportion is made evident in a section of his revolutionary San Lorenzo sacristy. A view of the Medici Palace today and reconstructed ground plans increase our understanding of the original structure.

7Transitions in Tuscan Sculpture

The text in this chapter has been tightened and focused to emphasize the innovations made by Ghiberti, Donatello, Nanni di Banco, and Jacopo della Quercia.

8Transitions in Florentine Painting

The visual culture of the period included inexpensive, mass-produced devotional works. One of the rare surviving examples, a print known as the Madonna del Fuoco, has been added to this chapter.

9The Heritage of Masaccio: Fra Angelico and Fra Filippo Lippi

To emphasize the importance of Masaccio’s innovations in painting, this chapter focuses on two painters who accepted the new style and then transformed it. An important feature in this chapter is a digital reconstruction of the framing for Angelico’s San Marco altarpiece.

10Florentine Architecture and Sculpture, c. 1430—55

This chapter continues the discussion of works by Alberti, Ghiberti, and Donatello, among others.

11Florentine Painting at Mid-Century

This chapter demonstrates how the styles of Castagno, Uccello, Domenico Veneziano, and Piero della Francesca reference and expand upon the innovations of Masaccio.

12Art in Florence Under the Medici I

New illustrations include a broad view of the front of one of Donatello’s San Lorenzo pulpits and a more panoramic view of the interior of Santa Maria delle Carceri in Prato.

13Art in Florence Under the Medici II

This chapter brings the Florentine Quattrocento to a close with works by Pollaiuolo, Verrochio, Botticelli, Filippino Lippi, and Ghirlandaio. Verrocchio’s Equestrian Monument of Bartolommeo Colleoni is illustrated after cleaning. The works of Piero di Cosimo have been moved here.

14The Renaissance in Central Italy

To expand our understanding of the impact of the Renaissance in Siena, two works by Neroccio de’ Landi have been added: a female portrait, reproduced with its original frame, and his representation of a woman from ancient history, Claudia Quinta–part of a series of famous men and women. A new view of Luciano Laurana’s courtyard at the Palazzo Ducale, Urbino, demonstrates the innovations of this important architectural monument. Art in Naples receives more attention with the inclusion of Alfonso of Aragon’s triumphal arch at the Castel Nuovo. The works of Signorelli have been moved to this chapter.

15Gothic and Renaissance in Venice and Northern Italy

The reworking of this chapter has been extensive, with additions that include the Gothic palace known as the Cad’Oro in Venice, a print of a mythological subject by Mantegna, an Italian textile of the period, a printed book with painted decoration, and three new Venetian sculptures, one of which is the tomb of a doge.

16The Origins of the High Renaissance

Additional works by Leonardo and Michelangelo enrich this chapter. A detail of the areas Leonardo painted on Verrocchio’s Baptism establishes the revolutionary nature of his style from an early age. The treatment of the Last Supper is expanded by the addition of a preparatory drawing and a print after the fresco that shows details now lost because of the work’s condition. New illustrations of Leonardo’s Burlington House Cartoon and a drawing by Michelangelo for the Battle of Cascina bring us into intimate contact with the artists. Michelangelo’s St. Matthew for the Duomo in Florence has been added to demonstrate his earliest use of the figura serpentinata.

17The High Renaissance in Rome

Additions to this chapter include an illustration that clarifies Bramante’s design for the Belvedere Palace, Michelangelo’s spandrel of David and Goliath in the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s cartoon for the School of Athens, and Sebastiano del Piombo’s Raising of Lazarus.

18New Developments c. 1520—50

Because the term “Mannerism” has become so inclusive as to be almost meaningless, in this edition the term is avoided. “Florentine court style” is used instead to define the characteristics of the new style that developed in Florence after the High Renaissance. During the sixteenth century, prints, a relatively inexpensive medium, became a popular means by which monuments and styles were circulated in Europe. New additions in this chapter include a chiaroscuro woodblock print after a design by Parmigianino and one of the artists’ portraits that illustrated Vasari’s Lives.

19High and Late Renaissance in Venice and on the Mainland

A world map published in Venice in 1511 emphasizes the new global understanding that emerged from exploration and trade at this time, while a glass Nef exemplifies Venetian glass production. Three additional north Italian portraits expand our understanding of the new roles being played by portraiture in Renaissance society, while each emphasizes the luxury textiles that were a part of Italian commercial success during the Renaissance.

20The Late Sixteenth Century

New works in this chapter demonstrate the variety of Italian art at this time and reveal how Renaissance developments laid the groundwork for seventeenth-century art. They include Giambologna’s Mercury, Arcimboldo’s Fire, the church of Il Gesù in Rome, a portrait by Fede Galizia, and Caravaggio’s Madonna di Loreto. To demonstrate the impact of global trade on the Renaissance, an example of porcelain inspired by Chinese models has been added.


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