Giacobbe Giusti, Leonardo da Vinci Mona Lisa

Giacobbe Giusti, Leonardo da Vinci Mona Lisa

See adjacent text.

 

 

Mona Lisa

This article is about the painting. For other uses, see Mona Lisa (disambiguation).
Mona Lisa
Italian: La Gioconda, French: La Joconde

 

See adjacent text.
Artist Leonardo da Vinci
Year c. 1503–06, perhaps continuing until c. 1517
Type Oil
Medium Populus
Subject Possibly Lisa Gherardini
Dimensions 77 cm × 53 cm (30 in × 21 in)
Location Musée du Louvre, Paris

The Mona Lisa (/ˌmnə ˈlsə/; Italian: Monna Lisa [ˈmɔnna ˈliːza] or La Gioconda [la dʒoˈkonda], French: La Joconde [la ʒɔkɔ̃d]) is a half-length portrait of a woman by the Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci, which has been acclaimed as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world”.[1]

The painting, thought to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, is in oil on a white Lombardy poplar panel, and is believed to have been painted between 1503 and 1506. Leonardo may have continued working on it as late as 1517. It was acquired by King Francis I of France and is now the property of the French Republic, on permanent display at the Louvre Museum in Paris since 1797.[2]

The subject’s expression, which is frequently described as enigmatic,[3] the monumentality of the composition, the subtle modelling of forms, and the atmospheric illusionism were novel qualities that have contributed to the continuing fascination and study of the work.[4]

Title and subject

Main article: Lisa del Giocondo

The title of the painting, which is known in English as Mona Lisa, comes from a description by Renaissance art historian Giorgio Vasari, who wrote “Leonardo undertook to paint, for Francesco del Giocondo, the portrait of Mona Lisa, his wife.”[5][6] Mona in Italian is a polite form of address originating as ma donna – similar to Ma’am, Madam, or my lady in English. This became madonna, and its contraction mona. The title of the painting, though traditionally spelled “Mona” (as used by Vasari[5]), is also commonly spelled in modern Italian as Monna Lisa (“mona” being a vulgarity in some Italian dialects) but this is rare in English.[citation needed]

Vasari’s account of the Mona Lisa comes from his biography of Leonardo published in 1550, 31 years after the artist’s death. It has long been the best-known source of information on the provenance of the work and identity of the sitter. Leonardo’s assistant Salaì, at his death in 1525, owned a portrait which in his personal papers was named la Gioconda, a painting bequeathed to him by Leonardo.

That Leonardo painted such a work, and its date, were confirmed in 2005 when a scholar at Heidelberg University discovered a marginal note in a 1477 printing of a volume written by the ancient Roman philosopher Cicero. Dated October 1503, the note was written by Leonardo’s contemporary Agostino Vespucci. This note likens Leonardo to renowned Greek painter Apelles, who is mentioned in the text, and states that Leonardo was at that time working on a painting of Lisa del Giocondo.[7]

A margin note by Agostino Vespucci (visible at right) discovered in a book at Heidelberg University. Dated 1503, it states that Leonardo was working on a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo.

The model, Lisa del Giocondo,[8][9] was a member of the Gherardini family of Florence and Tuscany, and the wife of wealthy Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo.[10] The painting is thought to have been commissioned for their new home, and to celebrate the birth of their second son, Andrea.[11] The Italian name for the painting, La Gioconda, means “jocund” (“happy” or “jovial”) or, literally, “the jocund one”, a pun on the feminine form of Lisa’s married name, “Giocondo”.[10][12] In French, the title La Joconde has the same meaning.

Before that discovery, scholars had developed several alternative views as to the subject of the painting. Some argued that Lisa del Giocondo was the subject of a different portrait, identifying at least four other paintings as the Mona Lisa referred to by Vasari.[13][14] Several other women have been proposed as the subject of the painting.[15] Isabella of Aragon,[16] Cecilia Gallerani,[17] Costanza d’Avalos, Duchess of Francavilla,[15] Isabella d’Este, Pacifica Brandano or Brandino, Isabela Gualanda, Caterina Sforza—even Salaì and Leonardo himself—are all among the list of posited models portrayed in the painting.[18][19] The consensus of art historians in the 21st century maintains the long-held traditional opinion, that the painting depicts Lisa del Giocondo.[7]

History

Main article: Leonardo da Vinci

Presumed self-portrait by Leonardo da Vinci, executed in red chalk sometime between 1512 and 1515

Leonardo da Vinci began painting the Mona Lisa in 1503 or 1504 in Florence, Italy.[20] Although the Louvre states that it was “doubtless painted between 1503 and 1506”,[4] the art historian Martin Kemp says there are some difficulties in confirming the actual dates with certainty.[10] According to Leonardo’s contemporary, Giorgio Vasari, “after he had lingered over it four years, [he] left it unfinished”.[6] Leonardo, later in his life, is said to have regretted “never having completed a single work”.[21]

In 1516, Leonardo was invited by King François I to work at the Clos Lucé near the king’s castle in Amboise. It is believed that he took the Mona Lisa with him and continued to work after he moved to France.[18] Art historian Carmen C. Bambach has concluded that da Vinci probably continued refining the work until 1516 or 1517.[22]

Upon his death, the painting was inherited with other works by his pupil and assistant Salaì.[10] Francis I bought the painting for 4,000 écus and kept it at Palace of Fontainebleau, where it remained until Louis XIV moved the painting to the Palace of Versailles. After the French Revolution, it was moved to the Louvre, but spent a brief period in the bedroom of Napoleon in the Tuileries Palace.

During the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71) it was moved from the Louvre to the Brest Arsenal.[23] During World War II, the painting was again removed from the Louvre and taken safely, first to Château d’Amboise, then to the Loc-Dieu Abbey and Château de Chambord, then finally to the Ingres Museum in Montauban.

In December 2015, it was reported that French scientist Pascal Cotte had found a hidden portrait underneath the surface of the painting using reflective light technology.[24] The portrait is an underlying image of a model looking off to the side.[25] Having been given access to the painting by Louvre in 2004, Cotte spent ten years using layer amplification methods to study the painting.[24] According to Cotte, the underlying image is Leonardo’s original Mona Lisa.[24][26]

Theft and vandalism

“La Joconde est Retrouvée” (“Mona Lisa is Found”), Le Petit Parisien, 13 December 1913

Vacant wall in the Salon Carré, Louvre after the painting was stolen in 1911

On 21 August 1911, the painting was stolen from the Louvre.[27] The next day, painter Louis Béroud walked into the museum and went to the Salon Carré where the Mona Lisa had been on display for five years, only to find four iron pegs on the wall. Béroud contacted the head of the guards, who thought the painting was being photographed for promotional purposes. A few hours later, Béroud checked back with the Section Chief of the Louvre who confirmed that the Mona Lisa was not with the photographers. The Louvre was closed for an entire week during the investigation.

The Mona Lisa on display in the Uffizi Gallery, in Florence, 1913. Museum director Giovanni Poggi (right) inspects the painting.

French poet Guillaume Apollinaire, who had once called for the Louvre to be “burnt down”, came under suspicion and was arrested and imprisoned. Apollinaire implicated his friend Pablo Picasso, who was brought in for questioning. Both were later exonerated.[28][29] Two years later the thief was found. Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia had stolen the Mona Lisa by entering the building during regular hours, hiding in a broom closet, and walking out with it hidden under his coat after the museum had closed.[12] Peruggia was an Italian patriot who believed da Vinci’s painting should have been returned for display in an Italian museum. Peruggia may have also been motivated by a friend whose copies of the original would significantly rise in value after the painting’s theft. A later account suggested Eduardo de Valfierno had been the mastermind of the theft and had commissioned forger Yves Chaudron to create six copies of the painting to sell in the U.S. while the location of the original was unclear.[30] However, the original painting remained in Europe. After having kept the Mona Lisa in his apartment for two years, Peruggia grew impatient and was caught when he attempted to sell it to directors of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. It was exhibited in the Uffizi Gallery for over two weeks and returned to the Louvre on 4 January 1914.[31] Peruggia served six months in prison for the crime and was hailed for his patriotism in Italy.[29] Before its theft, the Mona Lisa was not widely known outside the art world. It was not until the 1860s that some critics, a thin slice of the French intelligentsia, began to hail it as a masterwork of Renaissance painting.[32]

In 1956, part of the painting was damaged when a vandal threw acid at it.[33] On 30 December of that year, a speck of pigment near the left elbow was damaged when a rock was thrown at the painting, which was later restored.[34]

The use of bulletproof glass has shielded the Mona Lisa from subsequent attacks. In April 1974, a woman, upset by the museum’s policy for disabled people, sprayed red paint at it while it was being displayed at the Tokyo National Museum.[35] On 2 August 2009, a Russian woman, distraught over being denied French citizenship, threw a ceramic teacup purchased at the Louvre; the vessel shattered against the glass enclosure.[36][37] In both cases, the painting was undamaged.

Aesthetics

Detail of the background (right side)

The Mona Lisa bears a strong resemblance to many Renaissance depictions of the Virgin Mary, who was at that time seen as an ideal for womanhood.[38]

The depiction of the sitter in three-quarter profile is similar to late 15th-century works by Lorenzo di Credi and Agnolo di Domenico del Mazziere.[38] Zöllner notes that the sitter’s general position can be traced back to Flemish models and that “in particular the vertical slices of columns at both sides of the panel had precedents in Flemish portraiture.”[39] Woods-Marsden cites Hans Memling’s portrait of Benededetto Portinari (1487) or Italian imitations such as Sebastiano Mainardi’s pendant portraits for the use of a loggia, which has the effect of mediating between the sitter and the distant landscape, a feature missing from Leonardo’s earlier portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci.[40]

The woman sits markedly upright in a “pozzetto” armchair with her arms folded, a sign of her reserved posture. Her gaze is fixed on the observer. The woman appears alive to an unusual extent, which Leonardo achieved by his method of not drawing outlines (sfumato). The soft blending creates an ambiguous mood “mainly in two features: the corners of the mouth, and the corners of the eyes”.[41]

Detail of Lisa’s hands, her right hand resting on her left. Leonardo chose this gesture rather than a wedding ring to depict Lisa as a virtuous woman and faithful wife.[42]

The painting was one of the first portraits to depict the sitter in front of an imaginary landscape, and Leonardo was one of the first painters to use aerial perspective.[43] The enigmatic woman is portrayed seated in what appears to be an open loggia with dark pillar bases on either side. Behind her, a vast landscape recedes to icy mountains. Winding paths and a distant bridge give only the slightest indications of human presence. Leonardo has chosen to place the horizon line not at the neck, as he did with Ginevra de’ Benci, but on a level with the eyes, thus linking the figure with the landscape and emphasizing the mysterious nature of the painting.[40]

Mona Lisa has no clearly visible eyebrows or eyelashes. Some researchers claim that it was common at this time for genteel women to pluck these hairs, as they were considered unsightly.[44][45] In 2007, French engineer Pascal Cotte announced that his ultra-high resolution scans of the painting provide evidence that Mona Lisa was originally painted with eyelashes and with visible eyebrows, but that these had gradually disappeared over time, perhaps as a result of overcleaning.[46] Cotte discovered the painting had been reworked several times, with changes made to the size of the Mona Lisa’s face and the direction of her gaze. He also found that in one layer the subject was depicted wearing numerous hairpins and a headdress adorned with pearls which was later scrubbed out and overpainted.[47]

There has been much speculation regarding the painting’s model and landscape. For example, Leonardo probably painted his model faithfully since her beauty is not seen as being among the best, “even when measured by late quattrocento (15th century) or even twenty-first century standards.”[48] Some art historians in Eastern art, such as Yukio Yashiro, argue that the landscape in the background of the picture was influenced by Chinese paintings,[49] but this thesis has been contested for lack of clear evidence.[49]

Research in 2008 by a geomorphology professor at Urbino University and an artist-photographer revealed likenesses of Mona Lisas landscapes to some views in the Montefeltro region in the Italian provinces of Pesaro, Urbino and Rimini.[50][51]

Conservation

The Mona Lisa has survived for more than 500 years, and an international commission convened in 1952 noted that “the picture is in a remarkable state of preservation.”[52] This is partly due to a variety of conservation treatments the painting has undergone. A detailed analysis in 1933 by Madame de Gironde revealed that earlier restorers had “acted with a great deal of restraint.”[52] Nevertheless, applications of varnish made to the painting had darkened even by the end of the 16th century, and an aggressive 1809 cleaning and revarnishing removed some of the uppermost portion of the paint layer, resulting in a washed-out appearance to the face of the figure. Despite the treatments, the Mona Lisa has been well cared for throughout its history, and although the panel’s warping caused the curators “some worry”,[53] the 2004–05 conservation team was optimistic about the future of the work.[52]

Poplar panel

At some point, the Mona Lisa was removed from its original frame. The unconstrained poplar panel warped freely with changes in humidity, and as a result, a crack developed near the top of the panel, extending down to the hairline of the figure. In the mid-18th century to early 19th century, two butterfly-shaped walnut braces were inserted into the back of the panel to a depth of about one third the thickness of the panel. This intervention was skilfully executed, and successfully stabilized the crack. Sometime between 1888 and 1905, or perhaps during the picture’s theft, the upper brace fell out. A later restorer glued and lined the resulting socket and crack with cloth.[citation needed]

The picture is kept under strict, climate-controlled conditions in its bulletproof glass case. The humidity is maintained at 50% ±10%, and the temperature is maintained between 18 and 21 °C. To compensate for fluctuations in relative humidity, the case is supplemented with a bed of silica gel treated to provide 55% relative humidity.[52]

Frame

Because the Mona Lisa’s poplar support expands and contracts with changes in humidity, the picture has experienced some warping. In response to warping and swelling experienced during its storage during World War II, and to prepare the picture for an exhibit to honour the anniversary of Leonardo’s 500th birthday, the Mona Lisa was fitted in 1951 with a flexible oak frame with beech crosspieces. This flexible frame, which is used in addition to the decorative frame described below, exerts pressure on the panel to keep it from warping further. In 1970, the beech crosspieces were switched to maple after it was found that the beechwood had been infested with insects. In 2004–05, a conservation and study team replaced the maple crosspieces with sycamore ones, and an additional metal crosspiece was added for scientific measurement of the panel’s warp.[citation needed]

The Mona Lisa has had many different decorative frames in its history, owing to changes in taste over the centuries. In 1909, the Comtesse de Béhague gave the portrait its current frame,[54] a Renaissance-era work consistent with the historical period of the Mona Lisa. The edges of the painting have been trimmed at least once in its history to fit the picture into various frames, but no part of the original paint layer has been trimmed.[52]

Cleaning and touch-up

The first and most extensive recorded cleaning, revarnishing, and touch-up of the Mona Lisa was an 1809 wash and revarnishing undertaken by Jean-Marie Hooghstoel, who was responsible for restoration of paintings for the galleries of the Musée Napoléon. The work involved cleaning with spirits, touch-up of colour, and revarnishing the painting. In 1906, Louvre restorer Eugène Denizard performed watercolour retouches on areas of the paint layer disturbed by the crack in the panel. Denizard also retouched the edges of the picture with varnish, to mask areas that had been covered initially by an older frame. In 1913, when the painting was recovered after its theft, Denizard was again called upon to work on the Mona Lisa. Denizard was directed to clean the picture without solvent, and to lightly touch up several scratches to the painting with watercolour. In 1952, the varnish layer over the background in the painting was evened out. After the second 1956 attack, restorer Jean-Gabriel Goulinat was directed to touch up the damage to Mona Lisa’s left elbow with watercolour.[52]

In 1977, a new insect infestation was discovered in the back of the panel as a result of crosspieces installed to keep the painting from warping. This was treated on the spot with carbon tetrachloride, and later with an ethylene oxide treatment. In 1985, the spot was again treated with carbon tetrachloride as a preventive measure.[52]

Display

Mona Lisa behind bulletproof glass at the Louvre Museum

On 6 April 2005—following a period of curatorial maintenance, recording, and analysis—the painting was moved to a new location within the museum’s Salle des États. It is displayed in a purpose-built, climate-controlled enclosure behind bulletproof glass.[55] Since 2005 the painting has been illuminated by an LED lamp, and in 2013 a new 20 watt LED lamp was installed, specially designed for this painting. The lamp has a Colour Rendering Index up to 98, and minimizes infrared and ultraviolet radiation which could otherwise degrade the painting.[56] The renovation of the gallery where the painting now resides was financed by the Japanese broadcaster Nippon Television.[57] About 6 million people view the painting at the Louvre each year.[18]

Fame

2014: Mona Lisa is among the greatest attractions in the Louvre

Today the Mona Lisa is considered the most famous painting in the world, but until the 20th century it was one among many highly regarded artworks.[58] Once part of King Francis I of France‘s collection, the Mona Lisa was among the very first artworks to be exhibited in Louvre, which became a national museum after the French Revolution. From the 19th century Leonardo began to be revered as a genius and the painting’s popularity grew from the mid-19th century when French intelligentsia developed a theme that it was somehow mysterious and a representation of the femme fatal.[59] In 1878, the Baedeker guide called it “the most celebrated work of Leonardo in the Louvre”.[60] but it was known more by the intellectual elite than the general public.

US President John F. Kennedy, Madeleine Malraux, André Malraux, Jacqueline Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson at the unveiling of the Mona Lisa at the National Gallery of Art during its visit to Washington D.C., 8 January 1963

The 1911 theft and the subsequent return was reported worldwide, leading to a massive increase in public recognition of the painting. During the 20th century it was an object for mass reproduction, merchandising, lampooning and speculation, and was claimed to have been reproduced in “300 paintings and 2,000 advertisements”.[60]

From December 1962 to March 1963, the French government lent it to the United States to be displayed in New York City and Washington, D.C.[61] It was shipped on the new liner SS France. In New York an estimated 1.7 million people queued “in order to cast a glance at the Mona Lisa for 20 seconds or so.”[60] In 1974, the painting was exhibited in Tokyo and Moscow.[62]

In 2014, 9.3 million people visited the Louvre,[63] Former director Henri Loyrette reckoned that “80 percent of the people only want to see the Mona Lisa.”[64]

Value

Before the 1962–63 tour, the painting was assessed for insurance at $100 million. The insurance was not bought. Instead, more was spent on security.[65] Adjusted for inflation using the US Consumer Price Index, $100 million in 1962 is around US$782 million in 2015[66] making it, in practice, by far the most valued painting in the world.

In 2014 a France 24 article suggested that the painting could be sold to help ease the national debt, although it was noted that the Mona Lisa and other such art works were prohibited from being sold due to French heritage law, which states that “Collections held in museums that belong to public bodies are considered public property and cannot be otherwise.”[67]

Raphael’s Young Woman with Unicorn, (c. 1506)
Raphael’s Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione (c. 1514–15)
Le rire (The Laugh) by Eugène Bataille, or Sapeck (1883)

Legacy

Before its completion the Mona Lisa had already begun to influence contemporary Florentine painting. Raphael, who had been to Leonardo’s workshop several times, promptly used elements of the portrait’s composition and format in several of his works, such as Young Woman with Unicorn (c. 1506[68]), and Portrait of Maddalena Doni (c. 1506). Celebrated later paintings by Raphael, La velata (1515–16) and Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione (c. 1514–15), continued to borrow from Leonardo’s painting. Zollner states that “None of Leonardo’s works would exert more influence upon the evolution of the genre than the Mona Lisa. It became the definitive example of the Renaissance portrait and perhaps for this reason is seen not jut as the likeness of a real person, but also as the embodiment of an ideal.”[69]

Early commentators such as Vasari and André Félibien praised the picture for its realism, but by the Victorian era writers began to regard the Mona Lisa as imbued with a sense of mystery and romance. In 1859 Théophile Gautier wrote that the Mona Lisa was a “sphinx of beauty who smiles so mysteriously” and that “Beneath the form expressed one feels a thought that is vague, infinite, inexpressible. One is moved, troubled … repressed desires, hopes that drive one to despair, stir painfully.” Walter Pater‘s famous essay of 1869 described the sitter as “older than the rocks among which she sits; like the vampire, she has been dead many times, and learned the secrets of the grave; and has been a diver in the deep seas, and keeps their fallen day about her.”[70] By the early 20th century some critics started to feel the painting had become a repository for subjective exegeses and theories,[71] and upon the paintings theft in 1911, Renaissance historian Bernard Berenson admitted that it had “simply become an incubus, and I was glad to be rid of her.”[71][72]

The avant-garde art world has made note of the undeniable fact of the Mona Lisas popularity. Because of the painting’s overwhelming stature, Dadaists and Surrealists often produce modifications and caricatures. Already in 1883, Le rire, an image of a Mona Lisa smoking a pipe, by Sapeck (Eugène Bataille), was shown at the “Incoherents” show in Paris. In 1919, Marcel Duchamp, one of the most influential modern artists, created L.H.O.O.Q., a Mona Lisa parody made by adorning a cheap reproduction with a moustache and goatee. Duchamp added an inscription, which when read out loud in French sounds like “Elle a chaud au cul” meaning: “she has a hot ass”, implying the woman in the painting is in a state of sexual excitement and intended as a Freudian joke.[73] According to Rhonda R. Shearer, the apparent reproduction is in fact a copy partly modelled on Duchamp’s own face.[74]

Salvador Dalí, famous for his surrealist work, painted Self portrait as Mona Lisa in 1954.[75] In 1963 following the painting’s visit to the United States, Andy Warhol created serigraph prints of multiple Mona Lisas called Thirty are Better than One, like his works of Marilyn Monroe (Twenty-five Coloured Marilyns, 1962), Elvis Presley (1964) and Campbell’s soup (1961–62).[76] The Mona Lisa continues to inspire artists around the world. A French urban artist known pseudonymously as Invader has created versions on city walls in Paris and Tokyo using his trademark mosaic style.[77] A collection of Mona Lisa parodies may be found on YouTube.[78] A 2014 New Yorker magazine cartoon parodies the supposed enigma of the Mona Lisa smile in an animation showing progressively maniacal smiles.

Early copies

Prado Museum La Gioconda

A version of Mona Lisa known as Mujer de mano de Leonardo Abince (“Leonardo da Vinci’s handy-woman”) held in Madrid’s Museo del Prado was for centuries considered to be a work by Leonardo. However, since its restoration in 2012 it is considered to have been executed by one of Leonardo’s pupils in his studio at the same time as Mona Lisa was being painted.[79] Their conclusion, based on analysis obtained after the picture underwent extensive restoration, that the painting is probably by Salaì (1480-1524) or by Melzi (1493-1572). This has been called into question by others.[80]

The restored painting is from a slightly different perspective than the original Mona Lisa, leading to the speculation that it is part of the world’s first stereoscopic pair.[81][82][83]

Isleworth Mona Lisa

Main article: Isleworth Mona Lisa

A version of the Mona Lisa known as the Isleworth Mona Lisa was first bought by an English nobleman in 1778 and was rediscovered in 1913 by Hugh Blaker, an art connoisseur. The painting was presented to the media in 2012 by the Mona Lisa Foundation.[84] The owners claim that Leonardo contributed to the painting, a theory that Leonardo experts such as Zöllner and Kemp deny has any substance.[85]

 

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Giacobbe Giusti, Piero Cavallini: Crocifissione

Giacobbe Giusti, Piero Cavallini: Crocifissione

 

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Giacobbe Giusti: Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World

Giacobbe Giusti:  Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World

POWER15

 

Rare Bronze Sculptures from Hellenistic Period on View at National Gallery of Art, Washington, December 13, 2015–March 20, 2016

Unknown Artist (Hellenistic Bronze) Athlete "Ephesian Apoxyomenos", AD 1- 90 bronze and copper Kunsthistorisches Museum, Antikensammlung, Vienna

Unknown Artist (Hellenistic Bronze)
Athlete “Ephesian Apoxyomenos”, AD 1- 90
bronze and copper
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Antikensammlung, Vienna

Washington, DC—An unprecedented exhibition of some 50 rare bronze sculptures and related works from the Hellenistic period will be on view at the National Gallery of Art from December 13, 2015, through March 20, 2016. Previously at the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World showcases bronze sculptures that are remarkably lifelike, often enhanced by copper eyelashes and lips and colored glass or stone eyes. Of the many thousands of bronze statues created in the Hellenistic period, only a small fraction is preserved. This exhibition is the first to gather together so many of the finest surviving bronzes from museums in Europe, North Africa, and the United States.

“We are delighted to present visitors with this rare opportunity to see these dazzling works up close,” said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art, Washington. “We are grateful to the lenders—museums in Austria, Denmark, France, Georgia, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Spain, Tunisia, the United States, and the Vatican—as well as Bank of America for their generous support.”

During the Hellenistic period—generally from the late fourth century BC to the first century AD—the art and culture of Greece spread throughout the Mediterranean and lands once conquered by Alexander the Great. Through the medium of bronze, artists were able to capture the dynamic realism, expression, and detail that characterize the new artistic goals of the era.

“The works from the Power and Pathos exhibition represent a turning point in artistic innovation during one of the most culturally vibrant periods in world history,” said Rena De Sisto, global arts and culture executive, Bank of America. “We’re thrilled to be the National Tour Sponsor and to help bring this important collection to D.C. in hopes to inspire curiosity and wonder.”

Exhibition Organization and Support

The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, in collaboration with the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana.

Bank of America is the national sponsor of this touring exhibition.

The exhibition is also made possible through a generous gift from an anonymous donor. The Marshall B. Coyne Foundation has provided additional support through the Fund for the International Exchange of Art. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Exhibition Highlights

Power and Pathos brings together the most significant examples of Hellenistic bronze sculpture to highlight their varying styles, techniques, contexts, functions, and histories. The conquests of Alexander the Great (ruled 336–323 BC) created one of the largest empires in history and ushered in the Hellenistic period, which ended with the rise of the Roman Empire. For some 300 years after Alexander’s death, the medium of bronze drove artistic experimentation and innovation. Bronze—surpassing marble with its tensile strength, reflective surface, and ability to hold the finest detail—was used for dynamic poses, dazzling displays of the nude body, and vivid expressions of age and character.

“Realistic portraiture as we know it today, with an emphasis on individuality and expression, originated in the Hellenistic period,” said exhibition curator Kenneth Lapatin.  Jens M. Daehner, co-curator, added, “Along with images of gods, heroes, and athletes, sculptors introduced new subjects and portrayed people at all stages of life, from infancy to old age.” Both Daehner and Lapatin are associate curators in the department of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

A widespread ancient phenomenon, Hellenistic art is found not only throughout the Mediterranean, but also in regions far away, such as Thrace in the Balkans, ancient Colchis (in the Republic of Georgia), and the southern Arabian Peninsula. Through several thematic sections, the exhibition emphasizes the unique role of bronze both as a medium of prestige and artistic innovation and as a material exceptionally suited for reproduction. The exhibition is divided into sections as follows:

Introduction: The Rarity of Bronzes: Large-scale bronze statues have rarely survived from antiquity, as most were melted down so that their valuable metal could be reused. Rows of empty stone pedestals can still be seen at ancient sites. Lysippos of Sikyon (c. 390–305 BC), the favorite sculptor of Alexander the Great, created 1,500 works in bronze, according to Pliny the Elder. None survive; their existence is known partly from later copies and statue bases inscribed with the artist’s name, such as the one on view at the beginning of the exhibition. Many bronzes known today have been preserved only because they were accidentally buried or lost at sea, then recovered centuries later by archaeologists, divers, and fishermen.

Alexander and His Successors: Lysippos is credited with creating the image of Alexander the Great that artists have perpetuated through the centuries: a man of vigor, fit and lithe, clean-shaven, with long, windswept hair. The statuette Alexander the Great on Horseback, in bronze with silver and copper inlays, may be a small-scale version of a lost monumental sculpture that Lysippos created to commemorate Alexander’s victory over the Persians in 334 BC. Portraits of Alexander provided the models that his successors would emulate, resulting in the distinctive genre of ruler portraiture that emerged in the Hellenistic period.

Rulers and Citizens/Likeness and Expression: Realistic features and depictions of emotional states are hallmarks of Hellenistic sculpture. Individualized portraits superseded the largely idealized types of earlier periods. Hellenistic portraits emphasize pathos—lived experience—appealing to viewers’ emotions by conveying an individual’s state of mind or experience of life through facial expression or gestures. Citizens and benefactors honored with statues were shown clothed, while rulers were portrayed nude or in armor, sometimes on horseback. Nudity, traditionally reserved for images of athletes, heroes, and gods, became an artistic attribute of Hellenistic rulers or military leaders.

Bodies Real and Ideal: Hellenistic sculptors continued to create idealized figures, but with a new interest in realistic detail and movement, as seen in the Boy Runner, a statue of a boy athlete shown only at the National Gallery of Art.  Many artists took inspiration from Lysippos, often considered the most important artist of the Hellenistic period. He specialized in athletic figures in their prime, emphasizing their muscles and rendering their hair disheveled from sweat and exercise. Lysippos also introduced new, elongated proportions and smaller heads, making his figures appear taller and more graceful than those of the Classical period.

Apoxyomenos and the Art of Replication: The process of casting bronze statues in reusable molds encouraged the production of multiple copies of the same statue. The image of an athlete known as an Apoxyomenos (“scraper”) appears in two bronze versions: a full-length statue excavated at Ephesos in present-day Turkey (on loan from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria) and a bronze head known since the 16th century (now in Fort Worth, Texas), which once formed part of a comparable statue. Athletes competed nude, their bodies coated in oil; after exercising, they scraped themselves clean with a strigil, a curved implement that removed the oil and accumulated dust and grime.

Images of the Divine: The expressive capabilities of bronze and the dynamic styles of Hellenistic sculpture were adapted to representations of divine beings. Their images became less ideal and more realistic or “human.” The statuette Weary Herakles, for example, shows the hero fatigued rather than triumphant after completing the labors that earned him immortality. The love-god Eros, formerly shown as an elegant adolescent, is transformed into a pudgy baby, inspiring Roman images of the god Cupid and putti of the Italian Renaissance. In the Hellenistic era, deities became more accessible, now thought of as living beings with changing physical and emotional states.

Styles of the Past/Roman Collectors and Greek Art: A high regard for history characterizes the Hellenistic period. Artists created statues and statuettes in styles from both the recent and distant past. Statues of Apollo on view echo the stiff frontal figures of youths known as kouroi that were dedicated in Greek sanctuaries and cemeteries throughout the sixth century BC. In contrast, a bust of the Doryphoros (Spear Bearer) copies a work by Polykleitos, one of the most famous classical sculptors of the fifth century BC.  Most of the sculptures in this section adorned the villas and gardens of prominent Romans who eagerly collected Greek works of art, including the famouse statuette known as the Dancing Faun (Pan), found in the atrium of the House of the Faun in Pompeii, another work shown only in Washington.

From the Hellenistic to the Augustan Era: The Augustan era saw a renewed interest in the idealized styles of Classical Greece. Augustus, the first Roman emperor (ruled 27 BC–AD 14), favored the Classical style for much of his official art to associate his reign with the golden age of fifth-century Athens under Pericles. The sculpture of a boy wearing a himation, a large rectangle of cloth wrapped around the waist, and the nude statue of a youth known as the Idolino (“little idol”), exemplify this trend.

Film and Audio Tour

A film produced by the Gallery in conjunction with the exhibition and made possible by the HRH Foundation provides an overview of art of the Hellenistic period. Narrated by actor Liev Schreiber, the film includes new footage of the ancient sites of Delphi, Corinth, and Olympia, which once were crowded with bronze statues.

For the first time, the Gallery is offering a free audio tour that visitors can download to their mobile devices. Narrated by Earl A. Powell III, the tour includes commentary from exhibition curators Jens M. Daehner and Kenneth Lapatin, and bronze specialist Carol C. Mattusch of George Mason University.

Curators and Catalog

The exhibition curators are Jens M. Daehner and Kenneth Lapatin, both associate curators in the department of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Susan M. Arensberg, head of the department of exhibition programs, is the coordinating curator for the National Gallery of Art.

Published by the J. Paul Getty Museum, the fully illustrated scholarly catalog is the first comprehensive volume on Hellenistic bronze statuary. It includes groundbreaking archaeological, art-historical, and scientific essays offering new approaches to understanding ancient production of these remarkable works of art. The 368-page hardcover catalog is currently available. To order, please visit http://shop.nga.gov/; call (800) 697-9350 or (202) 842-6002; fax (202) 789-3047; or e-mail mailorder@nga.gov.

General Information

The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden are at all times free to the public. They are located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, and are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Gallery is closed on December 25 and January 1. With the exception of the atrium and library, the galleries in the East Building will remain closed until late fall 2016 for Master Facilities Plan and renovations. For information call (202) 737-4215 or visit the Gallery’s Web site at www.nga.gov. Follow the Gallery on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NationalGalleryofArt, Twitter at www.twitter.com/ngadc, and Instagram at http://instagram.com/ngadc.

Visitors will be asked to present all carried items for inspection upon entering. Checkrooms are free of charge and located at each entrance. Luggage and other oversized bags must be presented at the 4th Street entrances to the East or West Building to permit x-ray screening and must be deposited in the checkrooms at those entrances. For the safety of visitors and the works of art, nothing may be carried into the Gallery on a visitor’s back. Any bag or other items that cannot be carried reasonably and safely in some other manner must be left in the checkrooms. Items larger than 17 by 26 inches cannot be accepted by the Gallery or its checkrooms.

For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
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Giacobbe Giusti, Isleworth Mona Lisa

Giacobbe Giusti, Isleworth Mona Lisa

 


The Isleworth Mona Lisa is a painting of the same subject as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Though insufficiently examined, the painting is claimed by some to be partly an original work of Leonardo dating from the early 16th century.[1]

Background

Shortly before World War I, English art collector Hugh Blaker discovered the painting in the home of a Somerset nobleman in whose family it had been for nearly 100 years. This discovery led to the conjecture that Leonardo painted two portraits of Lisa del Giocondo: the famous one in The Louvre and the one discovered by Blaker, who bought the painting and took it to his studio in Isleworth, London, from which it takes its name.[2][3]

According to Leonardo’s early biographer Giorgio Vasari, Leonardo had started to paint Mona Lisa in 1503, but “left it unfinished”. However, a fully finished painting of a “certain Florentine lady” surfaced again in 1517, shortly before Leonardo’s death and in his private possession. The latter painting almost certainly is the same that now hangs in the Louvre.[4] Based on this contradiction, supporters of the authenticity of the Isleworth Mona Lisa[who?] claim it is the unfinished Mona Lisa, made at least partially by Leonardo, and the Louvre Mona Lisa a later version of it, made by Leonardo for his own use.[citation needed]

Also, according to Henry F. Pulitzer in his book Where is the Mona Lisa? (1960), Gian Paolo Lomazzo, an art historian, refers in his Trattato dell’arte della Pittura Scultura ed Architettura (1584), to “della Gioconda, e di Mona Lisa (the Gioconda, and the Mona Lisa)”.[5] La Gioconda is sometimes used as an alternative title of the Mona Lisa hanging in the Louvre; the reference implies that these were, in fact, two separate paintings. Pulitzer reproduces the critical page from Lomazzo’s tract in his own book.[6]

Description

The Isleworth Mona Lisa is wider than the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, having columns on either side which also appear in some other versions. The Louvre painting merely has the projecting bases of columns on either side, suggesting that the picture was originally framed by columns but was trimmed. However, experts who examined the Mona Lisa in 2004–2005 stated that the original painting had not been trimmed.[7]

The figure of the Isleworth Mona Lisa closely resembles that of the Mona Lisa, being identically composed and lit. However, the face of the Isleworth Mona Lisa appears younger, leading to speculation that it is an earlier version by the artist. According to Pulitzer, multiple art experts agreed that the neck of the Isleworth Mona Lisa is inferior to the necks of other Leonardo subjects. Furthermore, the background in the Isleworth painting is considerably less detailed than the background in the Louvre painting. For these reasons, several people Pulitzer consulted believed that the hands and face of the portrait were done by Leonardo, but the rest may have been finished by another or others.

Authenticity

Raphael’s drawing, based on the Mona Lisa
The authenticity of the Isleworth Mona Lisa is widely disputed in the art community. Sceptics argue that as Henry F. Pulitzer himself owned the painting in question, a conflict of interest is present. His Where is the Mona Lisa? was published by the Pulitzer Press, a publisher he owned. Pulitzer notes in the book’s introduction that he made a number of sacrifices in order to acquire the painting, including the selling of “a house with all its contents”.[8]

Pulitzer argues in his book that Leonardo’s contemporary Raphael made a sketch of this painting, probably from memory, after seeing it in Leonardo’s studio in 1504 (the sketch is reproduced in Pulitzer’s book; the book says that this sketch is at the Louvre). The Raphael sketch includes the two Greek columns that are found not in the Louvre’s Mona Lisa, but are found in the painting bought by Blaker. Pulitzer presents a few pages of art expert testimonials in his book; some of these experts seemed to believe that Leonardo was the painter, others felt the artist was somebody who worked in Leonardo’s studio, and still others suggested that other artists may have done it. Supporters of the authenticity of the Isleworth Mona Lisa include art collector John Eyre, who argued that the bust, face, and hands are autographed.[9]

Pulitzer also presents laboratory evidence (light to dark ratios across the canvas, X-rays, etc.) that his painting is a Leonardo. However, specific detail on the manner in which these studies were carried out, and by whom, is not provided. He writes: “I have no intention of cluttering up this book with too many technicalities and wish to make this chapter brief”. No independent reports on the painting are cited in his text; he uses the pronoun “we” to refer to the team that conducted the research. As his own Pulitzer Press then published these results, there is a lack of outside corroboration for his claims. A documentary aired by PBS[10] gives the names of the persons doing the scientific studies.[11]

Hidden in a Swiss bank vault for 40 years, this version of the Mona Lisa was unveiled to the public on 27 September 2012,[12] but Professor Martin Kemp of Oxford University immediately raised doubts about the painting’s status.[13]

In October 2013, Jean Pierre Isbouts published a book titled The Mona Lisa Myth[14] examining the history and events behind the Louvre and Isleworth paintings. A companion film was released in March 2014.[15] In July 2014, “The Mona Lisa Mystery” premiered on the PBS television station’s series, Secrets of the Dead. This documentary investigated, at length, the authenticity of the Isleworth painting.[10]

Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa

Raphael’s drawing, based on the Mona Lisa

Giacobbe Giusti, Leonardo da Vinci

Giacobbe Giusti, Leonardo da Vinci

Portrait of a Young Fiancée

A young woman in profile, looking to the left.

Portrait of a Young Fiancée

Artist controversially attributed to Leonardo da Vinci
Year 1495-6[note 1]
Type Trois crayons (black, red and white chalk), heightened with pen and ink on vellum, laid on oak panel
Subject Bianca Sforza[note 2]
Dimensions 33 cm × 23.9 cm (13 in × 9.4 in)
Condition Restored
Owner Private collection

 

Portrait of a Young Fiancée, also called La Bella Principessa (English: “The Beautiful Princess”), is a portrait in coloured chalks and ink, on vellum, of a young lady in fashionable costume and hairstyle of a Milanese of the 1490s.[1] Sold at auction in 1998 as an early 19th-century German work, some experts have since attributed it to Leonardo da Vinci. In 2010 one of those experts, Martin Kemp, made it the subject of his book La Bella Principessa. The Profile Portrait of a Milanese Woman – The Story of the New Masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci.[2] Evidence discovered in 2011 accounting for its provenance has strengthened the case for it being by Leonardo.[3]

The attribution to Leonardo da Vinci has been disputed.[4] Most of those who disagree with the attribution to Leonardo believe the portrait is by an early 19th-century German artist imitating the style of the Italian Renaissance, although recent radiocarbon dating tests show a much earlier date for the vellum. The current owner purchased the portrait in 2007.

Description

The portrait is a mixed media drawing in pen and brown ink and bodycolour, over red, black and white chalk, on vellum, 33 by 23.9 centimetres (10 by 9 in)[5] which has been laid down on an oak board.[2] There are three stitch holes in the left-hand margin of the vellum, indicating that the leaf was once in a bound volume.[2] It represents a girl in her early teens, depicted in profile, the usual way in which Italian artists of the 15th century created enduring portraits. The girl’s dress and hairstyle indicate that she was a member of the court of Milan, during the 1490s.[1] If it is a Renaissance work, it would have been executed in the 1490s.[1]

Provenance

If the drawing is originally a Leonardo illustration for the present-day Warsaw copy of the Sforziad, its history is the same as that of the book until the drawing was cut out from the volume.[6] The book is known to have been rebound at the turn of the 18 and 19th century.[7][8]

The modern provenance of the drawing is known only from 1955 and is documented only from 1998.[9] According to a lawsuit brought by Jeanne Marchig against Christie’s after the drawing’s re-attribution to Leonardo, the drawing belonged to her husband Giannino Marchig, an art restorer, when they married in 1955. Jeanne Marchig became the owner of the drawing in 1983, following Mr Marchig’s death.[10]

The work was included in a sale at Christie’s in New York on January 1, 1998, catalogued as Young Girl in Profile in Renaissance Dress, and described as “German School, early 19th Century”.[9] The seller was Jeanne Marchig.[2] It was sold to a New York art dealer for $21,850[2] (including buyer’s premium).[9] who sold it on for a similar amount in 2007.[4]

Lumière Technology in Paris performed a multi-spectral digital scan of the work,[11] and in 2009 the spectral images were analysed by Peter Paul Biro, a forensic art examiner who discovered a fingerprint which he said was “highly comparable” to a fingerprint on Leonardo’s unfinished St. Jerome in the Wilderness.[4][12]

The drawing was shown in an exhibition called And there was Light in Eriksberg, Gothenburg in Sweden,[13] and was estimated by various newspaper reports to be worth more than $160 million.[14][15][16][17][18][19]

Reflecting the subject of an Italian woman of high nobility, Kemp named the portrait La Bella Principessa, although Sforza ladies were not princesses.[1]

The drawing is currently being shown at Urbino, Salone del Trono Palazzo Ducale from December 6, 2014 through January 18, 2015 and will be shown in Milan from April 23, 2015, through October 31, 2015. The showings are being sponsored by the publisher Scripta Maneant, Municipality of Urbino and the Superintendence for the Historical Patrimony, Artistic and Etnantropological Heritage of Marche.[citation needed]

Attribution to Leonardo

A portrait by Alessandro Araldi showing a similar hairstyle

Detail of the upper left corner, revealing a fingerprint which has been suggested as being similar to one of Leonardo’s.

A page of La Sforziada from the National Library of Poland (Biblioteka Narodowa) in Warsaw
The first study of the drawing was published by Cristina Geddo.[20] Geddo attributes this work to Leonardo based not only on stylistic considerations, extremely high quality and left-handed hatching, but also on the evidence of the combination of black, white and red chalks (the trois crayons technique). Leonardo was the first artist in Italy to use pastels, a drawing technique he had learned from the French artist Jean Perréal whom he met in Milan at the end of the fifteenth century. Leonardo acknowledges his debt to Perréal in the Codex Atlanticus. Geddo also points out that the “coazzone” of the sitter’s hairstyle was fashionable during the same period.

Expert opinions

A number of Leonardo experts and art historians have concurred with the attribution to Leonardo, including:
Martin Kemp, Emeritus Research Professor in the History of Art at the University of Oxford[1]
Carlo Pedretti, professor emeritus of art history and Armand Hammer Chair in Leonardo Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles[21]
Nicholas Turner, former curator at the British Museum and the J. Paul Getty Museum[5]
Alessandro Vezzosi, the director of the Museo Ideale Leonardo da Vinci in Vinci, Italy [22]
Cristina Geddo, an expert on Milanese Leonardesques and Giampietrino,[23]
Justin Kirkus, Boston University specialist in Italian Renaissance
Mina Gregori, professor emerita at the University of Florence.[4][23][24]
Edward Wright, Emeritus Professor of Art History at the University of South Florida, specialist in Italian Renaissance iconography[citation needed]

Analysis

In 2010, after a two-year study of the picture, Kemp published his findings and conclusions in a book, La Bella Principessa. The Profile Portrait of a Milanese Woman.[1] Kemp describes the work as “a portrait of a young lady on the cusp of maturity [which] shows her with the fashionable costume and hairstyle of a Milanese court lady in the 1490s”. By process of elimination involving the inner group of young Sforza women, Kemp concluded that she is probably Bianca Sforza, the illegitimate (but later legitimized) daughter of Ludovico Sforza (“Il Moro”), duke of Milan. In 1496, when Bianca was no more than 13, she was married to Galeazzo Sanseverino, captain of the duke’s Milanese forces. Galeazzo was a patron of Leonardo. Bianca was dead within months of her marriage, having suffered from a stomach complaint (possibly an ectopic pregnancy). Kemp pointed out that Milanese ladies were often the dedicatees of volumes of poetry on vellum, and that such a portrait of a “beloved lady” would have made a suitable title page or main illustration for a set of verses produced on the occasion of her marriage or death.[1]

The physical and scientific evidence from multispectral analysis and study of the painting, as described by Kemp,[1] may be summarized as follows:
The technique of the portrait is black, red and white chalks (trois crayons, a French medium), with pen and ink.
The drawing and hatching was carried out entirely by a left-handed artist, as Leonardo is known to have been.
There are significant pentimenti throughout.
The portrait is characterized by particularly subtle details, such as the relief of the ear hinted at below the hair, and the amber of the sitter’s iris.
There are strong stylistic parallels with the Windsor silverpoint drawing of A Woman in Profile, which, like other head studies by Leonardo, features comparable delicate pentimenti to the profile.
The members of the Sforza family were always portrayed in profile, whereas Ludovico’s mistresses were not.
The proportions of the head and face reflect the rules that Leonardo articulated in his notebooks.
The interlace or knotwork ornament in the costume and caul corresponds to patterns that Leonardo explored in other works and in the logo designs for his Academy.
The portrait was executed on vellum—unknown in the surviving work of Leonardo—though we know from his writings that he was interested in the French technique of dry colouring on parchment (vellum). He specifically noted that he should ask the French artist, Jean Perréal, who was in Milan in 1494 and perhaps on other occasions, about the method of colouring in dry chalks.
The format of the vellum support is that of a √2 rectangle, a format used for several of his portraits.
The vellum sheet was cut from a codex, probably a volume of poetry of the kind presented to mark major events in the Sforza women’s lives.
The vellum bears a fingerprint near the upper left edge, which features a distinctive “island” ridge and closely matches a fingerprint in the unfinished St Jerome by Leonardo. It also includes a palmprint in the chalk pigment on the neck of the sitter, which is characteristic of Leonardo’s technique.
The green of the sitter’s costume was obtained with a simple diffusion of black chalk applied on top of the yellowish tone of the vellum support.
The nuances of the flesh tints were also achieved by exploiting the tone of the vellum and allowing it to show through the transparent media.
There are noteworthy similarities between this work and the portrait of Cecilia Gallerani, including the handling of the eyes, the modelling of flesh tones using the palm of the hand, the intricacy of the patterns of the knotwork ornament and the treatment of the contours.
The now somewhat pale original hatching in pen and ink was retouched in ink in a later restoration, which is far less fluid, precise and rhythmic.
There have been some re-touchings over the years, most extensively in the costume and headdress, but the restoration has not affected the expression and physiognomy of the face to a significant degree, and has not seriously affected the overall impact of the portrait.[1]

Warsaw edition of the Sforziada

In 2011, Kemp and Pascal Cotte reported that there was evidence that the drawing had once been part of a copy in the National Library of Poland in Warsaw of the Sforziada.[25] This is a printed book with hand-illuminated additions containing a long propagandistic poem in praise of Ludovico Sforza, the ruler of Milan and patron of Leonardo da Vinci, and recounting the career of Ludovico Sforza’s father Francesco and his family. The Warsaw copy, printed on vellum with added illumination, was given to Galeazzo Sanseverino, a military commander under Ludovico Sforza, on his marriage to Bianca Sforza in 1496.[3] Kemp and Cotte identified a sheet in this volume from which they believe the drawing was cut. The cut edge of the sheet itself is concealed by the binding, but Kemp and Cotte say that, although “the dimensions and precise locations of the holes in the portrait cannot be obtained with precision”, the three holes on the left-hand side of the drawing can be aligned with three of the five stitch holes in the sheets in the book.[2][26]

The association with the Sforziada suggests that the drawing is a portrait of Bianca Sforza, who was the daughter of Ludovico Sforza and his mistress Bernardina de Corradis. At the time of the portrait she was around thirteen years old. Leonardo painted three other portraits associated with the family or court of Ludovico Sforza.

Disagreement with attribution to Leonardo

The attribution to Leonardo has been challenged by a number of scholars;[4][24][27] however, much of the criticism predates the suggestion of its origin in the copy of the Sforziada now in Warsaw. Many of the theories of alternative authorship which have been put forward by sceptics, as well as the identification provided by Christie’s auction house, are incompatible with the picture originating from this source.[citation needed]

Among the reasons for doubting its authorship are the lack of provenance prior to the 20th century – unusual given Leonardo’s renown dating from his own lifetime, as well as the fame of the purported subject’s family[27] – and the fact that it was on vellum. Leonardo did not use vellum for any of his 4,000 surviving drawings,[27] and old sheets of it are easily acquired by forgers.[4] Leonardo scholar Pietro C. Marani discounts the significance of the drawing being made by a left-handed artist, noting that imitators of Leonardo’s work have emulated this characteristic in the past.[27] Marani is also troubled by use of vellum, “monotonous” detail, use of colored pigments in specific areas, firmness of touch and lack of craquelure.[27] A museum director who wished to remain anonymous believes the drawing is “a screaming 20th-century fake”, and finds the damages and repair to the drawing suspicious.[27] The work was not requested for inclusion in the 2011–12 exhibition at the National Gallery in London, which specifically covered Leonardo’s period in Milan; Nicholas Penny, director of the National Gallery, said simply “We have not asked to borrow it.”[27]

Drawing of a woman by Leonardo. A stylistic similarity has been noted between this drawing and the Young Fiancée.[22]

Drawing by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld which has been suggested as depicting the same female model

Klaus Albrecht Schröder, director of the Albertina, Vienna, said “No one is convinced it is a Leonardo,” and David Ekserdjian, a scholar of 16th-century Italian drawings, wrote that he suspects the work is a “counterfeit”.[4] Neither Carmen Bambach of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the primary scholars of Leonardo’s drawings, nor Everett Fahy, her colleague at the Metropolitan, accepts the attribution to Leonardo.[4][27]

Several forensic experts on fingerprints have discounted Biro’s conclusions, finding the partial fingerprint taken from the drawing too poorly detailed to offer conclusive evidence.[4] Biro’s description of the print as being “highly comparable” to a known fingerprint of Leonardo’s has similarly been discounted by fingerprint examiners as being too vague an assessment to establish authorship.[4] When asked if he may have been mistaken to suggest that the fingerprint was Leonardo’s, Biro answered “It’s possible. Yes.”[4]

Noting the lack of mention of dissenting opinion in Kemp’s publication, Richard Dorment wrote in the Telegraph: “Although purporting to be a work of scholarship, his book has none of the balanced analysis you would expect from such an acclaimed historian. For La Bella Principessa, as he called the girl in the study, is not art history – it is advocacy.”[27]

Fred R. Kline, an independent art historian known for discoveries of lost art by the Nazarene Brotherhood,[28] a group of German painters working in Rome during the early 19th century who revived the styles and subjects of the Italian Renaissance,[28] proposed one of the Nazarenes, Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794–1872), as the creator of the drawing.[29] Kline suggests that a drawing on vellum by Schnorr, Half-nude Female, in the collection of the Kunsthalle Mannheim in Germany,[30] as well as two other drawings on vellum by the same artist, may be related. Kline suggests that La Bella Principessa depicts the same model who appears in the Mannheim drawing, but an idealized version of her in the manner of a Renaissance engagement portrait.

Comparative material-testing of the vellum supports of the Mannheim Schnorr and “La Bella Principessa” were anticipated to occur in the New York federal court lawsuit Marchig v. Christie’s, brought in May 2010 by the original owner of “La Bella Principessa”, who accused Christie’s of breach of fiduciary duty, negligent misrepresentation and other damages. However, the court dismissed the suit on the ground that the claims were brought years too late, and thus the merits of the suit were never addressed. The district court decision was upheld on appeal.[31]

Disagreements with the attribution to Leonardo were made before the discovery of the missing page in the Warsaw Sforziada book. No alternative attribution has been accepted by Kemp or his research group. No comparative scientific analysis has been made of the vellum supports in question: the Warsaw Sforziada book, the Mannheim Schnorr (an alternate attribution), and “La Bella Principessa”. Independent analysis of the vellum could possibly provide the conclusive evidence that may support or disqualify Leonardo’s or Schnorr’s authorship.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portrait_of_a_Young_Fianc%C3%A9e

http://www.giacobbegiusti.com

Giacobbe Giusti, Giotto, Gemäldegalerie Berlin

Giacobbe Giusti, Giotto, Gemäldegalerie Berlin

Giotto: Marientod und Kreuzigung

Die Grablegung Mariae (Marientod) von Giotto, etwa aus dem Jahr 1310. Das Bild wurde 1914 vom Kaiser-Friedrich-Museums-Verein erworben.


Giotto: Marientod

Eine Galerie mit 14 Bildern (2013)

 http://guelcker.de/2598/giotto-marientod-gemaeldegalerie-berlin

 

Giacobbe Giusti, Giotto, Gemäldegalerie Berlin

Giacobbe Giusti, Botticelli in Berlin

Giacobbe Giusti, Botticelli in Berlin

Raczynski Tondo
Description:

Sandro Botticelli (Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi) (1445 – 1510)
Raczynski Tondo
Tempera on panel, about 1481-1483
207 x 148 cm
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemaldegalerie, Berlin, Germany

Exhibitions

The Botticelli Renaissance

from: 24.09.2015 to: 24.01.2016
Gemäldegalerie

http://www.smb.museum/en/exhibitions/detail/the-botticelli-renaissance.html

http://www.giacobbegiusti.com