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Opera Nomina HistoriaNumero 1 - 2009

Maria Monica Donato
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Forme e significati della ‘firma’ d’artista. Contributi sul Medioevo, fra premesse classiche e prospettive moderne, a cura di Maria Monica Donato

Maria Monica Donato
Linee di lettura
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Fabio Guidetti
«Quo nemo insolentius». La ‘superbia’ di Parrasio e l’autoaffermazione dell’artista nella Grecia classica

Through the analysis of three epigrams attributed to Parrhasius, as well as of further information about this artist found in later authors (Pliny, Athenaeus, Aelian), the paper tries to reassess the extent of artistic self-representation in classical Greece. The author argues that the epigrams are not a literary falsification: in fact, they fit perfectly into the artistic and philosophical debate of the late 5th cent. BC. Along with other documents preserved in literary sources, the epigrams shed light on the effort made by Greek artists in order to achieve a new social status, better than that of simple ‘manual workers’: Parrhasius represents himself as a refined, educated man, in short as an intellectual; he praises his own achievements in the art of painting, due to a mix of inborn faculties and divine inspiration. The effort of Parrhasius was common to many classical artists, but in the end it proved largely uneffective because of the later predominance of Plato's negative view of art.

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Giulia Bordi
Un pictor, un magister e un’iscrizione ‘enigmatica’ nella chiesa inferiore di San Saba a Roma nella prima metà del X secolo

The essay analyses the dado decoration of the lower church of San Saba on the Piccolo Aventino, where the names of two artists − Sergius pictor and Martinus monachus et magister − and a rather puzzling inscription are preserved. While Sergius wrote his name and profession in the form of an anagram, Martinus monachus is depicted in work clothes with all the tools of his trade. Next to them is a panel containing an inscription with acronyms and tautograms challenging the reader to solve a puzzle that seems to relate to a prophecy concerning the downfall of Rome.
Using the surviving frescoes as the point of departure, the article proposes a hypothesis for the reconstruction and interpretation of the decoration of the chapel situated in the north-west corner of the church. It is suggested that the chapel was erected in the first half of the 10th century to celebrate the transition of the monastery from a Greek to a Benedictine community.

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Maria Lidova
The artist’s signature in Byzantium. Six icons by Ioannes Tohabi in Sinai monastery (11th-12th century)

In questo articolo viene preso in esame un complesso di sei icone conservate presso il monastero di Santa Caterina sul monte Sinai, in Egitto. Quattro dei pannelli sono icone calendariali. La quinta raffigura il Giudizio universale, mentre l’ultima presenta una combinazione unica di cinque immagini miracolose della Vergine e di un ciclo narrativo con Scene della vita di Cristo. Per le tavole sono state avanzate diverse proposte di datazione, dal tardo XI secolo al primo XII secolo.
Una breve iscrizione in georgiano posta sotto il trono del Redentore nella scena del Giudizio universale menziona il prete Ioannes Tohabi come committente dell’opera. Il nome Ioannes compare altresì in quattro lunghi epigrammi composti in un greco raffinato e distribuiti sul tergo delle icone. Queste iscrizioni indicano chiaramente che Ioannes fu anche il pittore dell’opera – esecutore materiale e responsabile delle sue peculiarità iconografiche.
L’articolo si concentra sull’analisi delle preghiere in versi, in quanto esse costituiscono un caso straordinario di ‘firma’ da parte di un pittore, tale da occupare un posto rilevante nel dibattito sul ruolo dell’artista nel mondo bizantino.

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Chiara Bernazzani
Le firme dei magistri campanarum nel Medioevo. Un’indagine fra Parma e Piacenza

In this article I examine thoroughly a group of medieval bells, existing or documented by scholarly sources, cast for some churches in Parma and Piacenza dioceses, on which bell-founders left their names. The presence of signatures allows us to improve our understanding of the professional relationships and exchanges of knowledge between these magistri. The bell-casters reveal a great awareness of their profession and their signatures testify to the frequent movement across areas, near or remote. Almost all the bells I take into consideration date back to the 13th and 14th centuries. Some 15th-century examples have been included for their importance in Parma and Piacenza ancient bell-founding milieu. My research also involved the area of Pontremoli, a small but important town situated between Emilia Romagna and Tuscany, along the Francigena. Bell-founders from Parma cast their bells in Pontremoli as well as bronze artifices from Pontremoli worked for Parma and Piacenza countryside churches.

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Ettore Napione
I confini di Giovanni di Rigino, notaio e scultore. Autopromozione di un artista nella Verona del Trecento

Giovanni di Rigino, scultpor born in Verona, is well-know in the artistic literature under the name of Maestro dell’arca di Mastino II della Scala, an identification proposed by Gian Lorenzo Mellini in 1971.
The critical reasons of this attribution are now untenable, but the «magister lapidum», as stated in some documents, remains an interesting figure, for being a notary and also an industrious man with important acquaintances. Maybe he was mainly a marble contractor with several duties, ranging from stone quarrying to its decoration.
Giovanni ordered a self-celebratory aedicule-capital with votive images (built in front of San Pietro in Carnario church) that was accompanied by an undated explanatory inscription. This capital, together with two statues signed in 1389 and 1392, is the starting point for the reconstruction of the catalogue of this provincial artist, updated with the court taste typical of the end of the fourteenth century.

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Elisabetta Cioni
Un calice inedito firmato da Goro di ser Neroccio per la chiesa di San Francesco a Borgo Sansepolcro
Appendice: Le firme di Goro di ser Neroccio, di Stefano Riccioni

Presented in this article is a calyx dated 1415 and signed by the goldsmith Goro di ser Neroccio, born in Siena on March 26, 1386; for this reason it can be ascribed to the early phase of the artist’s career. The piece, currently in a private collection, previously resided in the Debruge-Duménil collection and to date the only known picture of it was the one published by Maddalena Trionfi Honorati in 1967.
We give first a quick documentary résumé on Goro and then a detailed description of the piece. Because of the iconography of the piece, that displays on the knot enamelled images of saint Francis of Assisi, saint Anthony of Padua, saint Elisabeth of Hungary, saint Louis of Toulouse, the blessed Ranieri Rasini and saint Margaret of Cortona, we can hypothesize that it was originally meant for a Franciscan settino and more specifically, as the presence of the blessed Ranieri suggests, we can infer that it was made for the church of San Francesco in Sansepolcro. In 1437, for the same church, the Sienese painter Giovanni di Stefano (known as ‘il Sassetta’) was commissioned to paint an elaborate altarpiece, completed only in 1444, which showed another image of Ranieri.
The calyx is examined within the context of the coeval artistic production, with specific reference both to the field of goldsmith’s art and of painting: this comparison highlights the close resemblance existing between the enamelled images and the work of Benedetto di Bindo, who was painting close to the same period.

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Giampaolo Ermini
La firma originale dell’Alunno sul polittico di Cagli e una probabile retrodatazione

The polyptych by Niccolò di Liberatore, known as ‘l’Alunno’, painted for Cagli and currently held in the Pinacoteca di Brera, bears the painter’s signature and the date 1465. Nevertheless, at a closer look, signs of a previous inscription are visible under the surface, which allow us to conclude that the actual signature must be a remake. In the article we publish both subscriptions, highlighting affinities and differences.
Because of the wanting state of the date as it appears in the original version and because of documentary evidences of the end of the 16th century, we can legitimately question 1465 as the actual date and hypothesize that the painting was originally dated 1461.

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Takuma Ito
Sottoscrizioni nelle vetrate toscane del Trecento e del Quattrocento

This paper examines the signatures in the Tuscan stained glass windows produced between the 14th and the beginning of the 16th centuries. In the earliest phase of the development of stained glass windows in Italy, most of the glass workers probably came from transalpine countries; it was only in a later phase that the importance of local workers increased.
All of the signatures here studied are of local glass workers, except the one by a Florentine painter Mariotto di Nardo in the window of the church of San Domenico in Perugia. In the last section, I specifically examine the windows from the church of Santo Stefano in Prato, one of which was signed by fra’ Paolo di Mariotto da Gambassi.
The purpose of this paper is also to provide some clues to recent controversial issues around the collaboration between the painters and the stained glass workers.

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Stefano Rinaldi
Marcantonio Raimondi e la firma di Dürer. Alle origini della ‘stampa di riproduzione’?

This paper takes as its starting point a famous passage in Vasari’s Life of Marcantonio Raimondi, which describes a dispute between Dürer and the Bolognese engraver over his copies of the Life of the Virgin. According to the biographer, the ruling of the Venetian authorities stated that Marcantonio could continue to sell his prints on the condition that he first removed Dürer’s monogram. From this biographical anecdote the paper will take into consideration the importance attributed by Dürer to his own signature and the theoretical reasons which shaped his point of view, as well as the significance of his monogram in the context of Venetian publishing. Finally, the paper will examine the importance of Marcantonio’s role in the development of reproduction printing as clearly distinct from that of inventor, taking into account the potential importance of the Life of the Virgin in the establishment of this practice.

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© 2009 Opera · Nomina · Historiae | Direttore responsabile: Maria Monica Donato
Credits | Autorizzazione del Tribunale di Pisa n. 15/09 del 18/09/09 - ISSN 2036-8755