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«Artifex specialis»: per una lettura critica della figura di Matthew Paris attraverso le fonti
The present work focuses on Matthew Paris, XIII century chronicler and artist of the Benedictine abbey of Saint Albans, in the attempt to better define the still problematic role of the monk in relation to his cultural and social context. Most of what is known about him, given the substantial lack of biographical information, is accounted for by later chronicler Thomas of Walsingham, whose reliability, though, has been heavily questioned, at least for what concerns Matthew Paris’s actual artistic skills; this work states that Walsingham’s words have been read with an excessively biased, partial or naive approach.
Here a careful examination of written sources is proposed, especially of chronicles written by Matthew Paris himself, in order to establish in a more objective way his competence, his possible training as an artist in general, and as a goldsmith in particular.
Grixopolo e i dipinti del Palazzo della Ragione di Mantova
Still extant in Mantua’s Palazzo della Ragione (mid. XIII century) are some extensive parts of the pictorial programme that decorated the hall, once used to host civic councils and the court of justice. Traditionally considered to have been concluded in two distinct and distant phases of work, the paintings were actually carried out in a single and unitary intervention intended to decorate the walls and to adorn them with a cycle of courtly nature and with religious scenes. Among these, there is a Final Judgement that stands out as an exception in Lombard civic painting scenario, since it bears – only case known – the artist’s signature. The painter is Grixopolo, maybe born in Parma and attested in Mantua in 1252, where he probably carried out the task of decorating the hall by himself. Few years later the artist returned to the palace, modifying his own work, as it is indirectly shown by several stylistic features and, moreover, by a second, even more unusual, signature. The article aims at describing the decoration programme of the hall, by delineating the several phases of execution and their chronology, thus determining the specific contribution of Grixopolo.
Maria Ludovica Rosati
«In qual modo si contraffà il velluto, o panno di lana, e così la seta, in muro e in tavola»:
stoffe preziose e tessuti serici nell’opera di Simone Martini
The phenomenon of representing silk fabrics in late Middle Ages paintings is approached through the works of Simone Martini, an artist who first knew how to answer to the fourteenth-century society’s new taste for exoticism, as he introduced several textile pattern of eastern origin or ‘oriental’ inspiration into his repertoire. Simone’s care for the textile medium shows even in his rendering of the humblest everyday contemporary cloths, as well as of single luxury objects recognizable as definite hand-made goods.
The corpus of the artist’s textiles is classified according to typologies, referring to the real models he was likely to be acquainted with, the forms of ri-elaboration and the different techniques of execution developed to render the various effects of fabrics. Moreover Simone’s repertoire is analyzed through the exchange of solutions between ateliers, the contexts of use and visual and cultural perception of the textile medium.
Le due firme del pittore pistoiese Antonio di Vita
A study of Antonio Vite, a Pistoiese painter recorded as active during the last quarter of the fourteenth century mainly in Pistoia, but also in Florence, Prato, Pescia and Pisa. The author’s research starts with a study of a signature left by the painter at the bottom of the fragmentary fresco cycle in the apse of the church of San Francesco in Pescia. Thanks to previously unknown archival sources it is now possible to add to this finding a detailed account of a second signature, once inscribed, together with a date and the name of the patron, in a lost fresco cycle painted in the chapter house of the Pisan church of San Nicola.
Nuove acquisizioni sulla bottega ‘dei Tondi’: un documento e alcuni smalti
This essay presents an arbitration award document (1351) regarding Giacomo di Guerrino di Tondo and Giacomo di Tondo di Guerrino, respectively brother and son of Tondino (or Tondo) di Guerrino, a famous goldsmith active in Siena. The award attests that uncle and nephew operated in the same workshop. An analysis of the subscription on the reliquary of St. Lucy in Toledo, signed by Andrea di Petruccio and Giacomo di Tondino, realized in the workshop ‘dei Tondi’ during the shared administration of uncle and nephew, is also proposed. The enamel decorations are, moreover, akin to those in the chalice of San Secondo in Ávila, signed just by Andrea. The paper suggests to identify Giacomo di Tondo (or Tondino) with the homonym goldsmith who signed the reliquary in Rome, the chalice in London, who’s the artist of the Crucifix in Siena. Finally, six still unpublished plaquettes are added to the corpus of Tondino di Guerrino, Giacomo’s father. In the appendix, all the known documents regarding the family ‘dei Tondi’ are published.
«Nicolò di Giovanni da Siena à fatto questo libro di sua propia mano e di sua spontana volontà»:
note su due manoscritti illustrati senesi del Quattrocento e le loro sottoscrizioni.
This work is intended to introduce the figure of a non professional copyist and illustrator, Niccolò di Giovanni di Francesco di Ventura, who lived in Siena during the first half of the fifteenth century. His work and his interests as a reader and an amateur 'artist' will be shown through the analysis of two manuscripts he wrote and illustrated, both kept at the Biblioteca Comunale degli Intronati in Siena: ms. I.VII.12, a copy of Filippo Ceffi's Italian translation of Guido delle Colonne's Historia destructionis Troiae, and ms. A.IV.5, which contains a very famous narrative of the Montaperti battle in 1260. The main focus is on the long and elaborated colophons Niccolò has left on both books, declaring his name and the date in which his work was completed; these 'signatures' give much information about the importance that producing books of a certain value had to Niccolò, although he was actually neither a copyist nor an artist.
Artistes de cour en France autour de 1400: institutions, formules et réalités
In a seminal book published in 1985, Martin Warnke suggested that late medieval and early modern courts played a pivotal role in shaping the modern notion of art and of the dignity of artists. Stimulated by this provocative contribution, scholars have recently argued that this statement needs to be qualified. Focussing on French courts around 1400, this paper aims to emphasize the complexity and variety of possible situations, drawing attention first to the institutional constraints that affected court artists. Secondly, it also stresses the formulaic nature of court documents, whose reliability as evidence of a close, intimate relationship between princes and artists has been overestimated. Thirdly, it reminds that courts were not a separate world, and that possibility or absence of interaction with towns was crucial for artists to negotiate their status.
La campana civica: tra signum, simbolo e celebrazione visiva
This article focuses on epigraphy and heraldry on bells as a mirror of the civic authorities will of self-representation and celebration. The first part examines, from an historical point of view, the origins and the achievement of the use of civic bells in the Middle Ages and later on in the modern age: they really became instruments of the power and were the basic signals to regulate both the administrative activities and the daily ones. Passages from chronicles, literary works and statutes help to understand their importance in the past. The second part gathers in examples of civic and ecclesiastical bells on which public (but also private) purchasers wanted to be remembered and celebrated through images and inscriptions. The bells taken into consideration date back to the 13th, the 14th and the 15th century, with few 16th century examples to show how this use crossed the time.
Giorgio Vasari, Giovanni Battista Adriani e la stesura della seconda edizione delle Vite.
Ragioni e nuove evidenze della loro collaborazione
The publication of the second edition of the Lives, (Florence 1568), has enabled Vasari to significantly expand the text, by increasing the biographies’ number and by extending the chronological field. From this point of view the Lettera a Giorgio Vasari by Giovanni Battista Adriani (Florence, 1511-1579) is certainly important, because the text is inserted in the Giunti edition to draw a quick profile of the ancient art, Greek and Roman.
Through the analysis of the unpublished manuscript of the Lettera, this paper will focus its attention on the collaboration between Vasari and Adriani, particularly in order to emphasize the great interest of a text that has not yet received the attention it deserves for its significance in the transmission of classical culture by means of a learned reworking of the ancient sources known by the author, in primis Pliny.
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