Dictionary of Art and Artists



 

 


History of

Architecture and Sculpture

 
 

 

 
 

 
 

CONTENTS:

 
 

PART ONE
THE ANCIENT WORLD
PREHISTORIC ART
EGYPTIAN ART

ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN ART
AEGEAN ART
GREEK ART
ETRUSCAN ART
ROMAN ART
EARLY CHRISTIAN AND BYZANTINE ART

PART TWO
THE MIDDLE AGES
EARLY MEDIEVAL ART
ROMANESQUE ART
GOTHIC ART

PART THREE
THE RENAISSANCE THROUGH THE ROCOCO
LATE GOTHIC
THE EARLY RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
THE HIGH RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
MANNERISM AND OTHER TRENDS
THE RENAISSANCE IN THE NORTH
THE BAROQUE IN ITALY AND SPAIN
THE BAROQUE IN FLANDERS AND HOLLAND
THE BAROQUE
THE ROCOCO

PART FOUR
THE MODERN WORLD
NEOCLASSICISM AND ROMANTICISM
REALISM AND IMPRESSIONISM
POST-IMPRESSIONISM, SYMBOLISM, AND ART NOUVEAU

PART FIVE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY
TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCULPTURE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURE


INDEX
FIGURES
 

 
 

 

CHAPTER TWO
 

THE EARLY RENAISSANCE IN ITALY


SCULPTURE - Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

ARCHITECTURE - Part 1, Part 2

PAINTING - Part 1

ARCHITECTURE - Part 1

SCULPTURE - 1,
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

PAINTING - Part 1
 
 


Sculpture




SCIENTIFIC PERSPECTIVE.

This architecture, with its round arches, its fluted columns and pilasters, is not Gothic at all, but reflects the new style launched by Filippo Brunelleschi, whose architectural achievements will occupy us soon. Although it is not certain, Brunelleschi probably also invented linear, or scientific, perspective, and The Feast of Herod is seemingly the earliest surviving example of a picture space constructed by this method. The system is a geometric procedure for projecting space onto a plane, analogous to the way the lens of a photographic camera projects a perspective image on the film. Its central feature is the vanishing point, toward which any set of parallel lines will seem to converge. If these lines are perpendicular to the picture plane, their vanishing point will be on the horizon, corresponding exactly to the position of the beholder's eye. Brunelleschi's discovery in itself was scientific rather than artistic, but it immediately became highly important to Early Renaissance artists because, unlike the perspective practices of the past, it was objective, precise, and rational. In fact, it soon became an argument for upgrading the fine arts into the liberal arts.

While empirical methods could also yield striking results, scientific perspective made it possible now to represent three-dimensional space on a flat surface in such a way that all the distances remained measurable. This meant, in turn, that by reversing the procedure the plan could be derived from the perspective picture of a building. On the other hand, the scientific implications of the new perspective demanded that it be consistently applied, a requirement that artists could not always live up to, for practical as well as aesthetic reasons. Since the method presupposes that the beholder's eye occupies a fixed point in space, a perspective picture automatically tells us where we must stand to see it properly. Thus the artist who knows in advance that his work will be seen from above or below, rather than at ordinary eye level, ought to make his perspective construction correspond to these conditions. If, however, these are so abnormal that he must foreshorten his entire design to an extreme degree, he may disregard them and assume instead an ideal beholder, normally located. Such is the case in The Feast of Herod. Our eye should be on a line perpendicular to the center of the panel, but in the Baptistery we must crouch low to see it correctly, as the basin to which our relief is attached is only a few feet high.



GHIBERTI. (see also: GOTHIC ART - SCULPTURE - Part 11  - Lorenzo Ghiberti)

see also collection: Lorenzo Ghiberti

At the same time that Donatello designed The Feast of Herod, Ghiberti was commissioned to do a second pair of bronze doors for the Baptistery in Florence. This set (fig.
574), so beautiful that they were soon dubbed the "Gates of Paradise," is decorated with ten large reliefs in square frames (not 28 small panels in quatrefoil frames, as on the earlier doors). They show the artist's successful conversion, under the influence of Donatello and the other pioneers of the new style, to the Early Renaissance point of view. The only lingering elements of the Gothic style are to be found in the figures, whose gentle and graceful classicism still reminds us of the International Style. The hint of spatial depth we saw in The Sacrifice of Isaac (fig. 508) has grown in The Story of Jacob and Esau (fig. 575) into a complete setting for the figures that goes back as far as the eye can reach. We can imagine the figures leaving the scene, for the deep, continuous space of this "pictorial relief" in no way depends on their presence. Ghiberti's spacious hall is a fine example of Early Renaissance architectural design reflecting the mature art of Brunelleschi. Because The Story of Jacob and Esau is about a decade later than The Feast of Herod by Donatello, its perspective construction is more easy and assured. In the meantime, Brunelleschi's discovery had been formulated in writing by Leone Battista Alberti, the author of the first Renaissance treatise on painting and later an important architect in his own right.


574. LORENZO GHIBERTI. "Gates of Paradise," the east doors of the Baptistery of S. Giovanni, Florence, ń. 1435.
Gilt bronze, height 15' (4.57 m)
575. LORENZO GHIBLRT1. The Story of Jacob and Esau, panel of the "Gates of Paradise." ń. 1435.
Gilt bronze, 31 1/4" (79.5 cm) square. Baptistery of S. Giovanni, Florence



JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA.


Outside Florence, the only major sculptor at that time was Jacopo della Quercia of Siena (c.
1374-1438). Like Ghiberti, he changed his style from Gothic to Early Renaissance in mid-career, mainly through contact with Donatello. Had he grown up in Florence, he might have been one of the great leaders of the new movement from the start, but his forcefully individual art remained outside the main trend. It had no effect on Florentine art until the very end of the century, when the young Michelangelo fell under its spell.

Michelangelo's admiration was aroused by the scenes from Genesis framing the main portal of the church of S. Petronio in Bologna, among them The Creation of Adam (fig. 576). The relief modeling of these panels is conservativeJacopo had little interest in pictorial depthbut the figures are daring and profoundly impressive. Adam slowly rising from the ground, as a statue brought to life might rise from its mold, recaptures the heroic beauty of a classical athlete. Here the nude body once again expresses the dignity and power of the individual as it did in classical antiquity. We sense that Jacopo's Adam has not been freed from Original Sin. He contains a hint of incipient conflict as he faces the Lord, and he will surely fall, but in pride of spirit rather than as a hapless victim of the Evil One.

It is instructive to compare Jacopo's Adam with the work that probably inspired it, an Adam in Paradise from an Early Christian ivory diptych (fig. 577). The latter figure represents a classicizing trend around 400 A.D. (compare fig. 316), a final attempt to preserve the Greek ideal of physical beauty within a Christian context. Adam appears as the Perfect Man, divinely appointed to "have dominion . . . over every living thing," but the classic form has already become a formula, a mere shell. The classical nude entered the tradition of medieval art in this desiccated condition.



576. JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA. The Creation of Adam. 1425-35. Istrian stone, 99 x 92 cm (with frame). San Petronio, Bologna

5
77. Adam in Paradise,
detail of an ivory diptych, ń. 400 A.D. Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence


Whenever we meet the unclothed body, from
800 to 1400, we may be sure that it is derived, directly or indirectly, from a classical source, no matter how unlikely this may seem (as in fig. 397). We may also be sure, except for a few special cases, that such nudity has a moral significance, whether negative (Adam and Eve, or sinners in Hell) or positive (the nudity of the Christ of the Passion, of saints being martyred or mortifying the flesh, of Fortitude in the guise of Hercules). Finally, medieval nudes, even the most accomplished, are devoid of that sensual appeal that we take for granted in every nude of classical antiquity. It was purposely avoided rather than unattainable, for to the medieval mind the physical beauty of the ancient "idols," especially nude statues, embodied the insidious attraction of paganism.

The fifteenth century rediscovered the sensuous beauty of the unclothed body, but by way of two separate paths. The Adam and Eve of Jan van Eyck (fig. 544), like the nudes of Bosch (fig. 553), have no precedent in either ancient or medieval art. Indeed, they are not "nude," but "naked." These are people whose normal state is to be dressed but who, for specific reasons, appear stripped of their clothing. Jacopo's Adam, on the other hand, is clearly nude, in the full classical sense.
 

 


Jacopo della Quercia
 

Jacopo della Quercia, (born c. 1374, Siena [Italy]—died Oct. 20, 1438, Bologna, Papal States), one of the most original Italian sculptors of the early 15th century. His innovative work influenced Italian artists such as Francesco di Giorgio, Niccolò dell’Arca, and Michelangelo.

Jacopo della Quercia came from a family of craftsman; his father, Piero d’Angelo, was also a sculptor, and his brother Priamo was a painter. In 1401 he participated in the competition for the bronze doors of the baptistery in Florence, which was won by Lorenzo Ghiberti. About 1406 Jacopo carved the tomb of Ilaria del Carretto in the Cathedral of Lucca. The effigy and sarcophagus alone survive. In 1408, at Ferrara, he made the statue of the Virgin and Child, which still exists in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, and a year later he received the commission for the Fonte Gaia in the Piazza del Campo at Siena, now replaced by a copy; the original is in the loggia of the town hall. The scheme of this celebrated and highly original fountain seems to have been repeatedly modified, the most effective work being done between 1414 and 1419. At the same time, Jacopo was working on the statue of an apostle for the exterior of the cathedral at Lucca, the Trenta altar for the Church of San Frediano in Lucca, and tomb slabs for Lorenzo Trenta and his wife.

In 1417 he undertook the creation of two gilt bronze reliefs for the baptismal font in San Giovanni in Siena. Being a dilatory artist, he completed only the Zacharias in the Temple, the second being assigned to Donatello. Jacopo’s main work is the sculpture around the portal of San Petronio at Bologna. The 10 scenes from Genesis, including The Creation of Eve, 5 scenes from the early life of Christ, the reliefs of prophets, and the statues of the Virgin and Child with Saints Petronius and Ambrose give a sense of depth often seen in the paintings of Masaccio.

In 1435 Jacopo was appointed superintending architect of Siena Cathedral, for which he was employed on the decoration (unfinished) of the Cappella Casini. His innovative sculptural style found no immediate followers in Siena, Bologna, or Lucca, but it later became a profound influence on Michelangelo.

Encyclopædia Britannica
 

 



JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA. Left side of the  Fonte Gaia (Fountain of Joy), piazza del Campo, Siena. , with Creation of Adam.



JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA. Middle section of the  Fonte Gaia (Fountain of Joy), piazza del Campo, Siena.



JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA. Right side of the Fonte Gaia (Fountain of Joy), piazza del Campo, Siena.




JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA. Panel of the Fonte Gaia (Fountain of Joy)




JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA. Acca Larentia. 1414-19. Marble, height: 162 cm. Palazzo Pubblico, Siena



JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA.
Rhea Sylvia. 1414-19
Marble, height: 160 cm
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena



JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA. Hope. 1414-19. Marble. Palazzo Pubblico, Siena
JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA. Virtue. 1414-19. Marble, height: 135 cm. Palazzo Pubblico, Siena



JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA. Annunciation: the Angel. 1421-26. Painted wood, height: 175 cm. Collegiata, San Gimignano
JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA. Annunciation: the Virgin. 1421-26. Painted wood, height: 175 cm. Collegiata, San Gimignano



JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA. Baptismal font. c. 1417. Marble, gilded bronze, and cloured enamel. Baptistry, Siena



JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA. Zacharias in the Temple. 1428-30. Gilt bronze relief, 60 x 60 cm cm. Baptistry, Siena



JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA. Madonna (Silvestri Madonna). 1406.
Marble, height: 210 cm. Cathedral, Ferrara




JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA. Madonna of humility, marble,
dated to c. 1400, in the National Gallery of Art



JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA. Madonna col Bambino

 
 

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