The Triumph of the City
 









The High Renaissance
 
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Mannerism
 



(Renaissance  Art Map)




 





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Bronzino



 

 
Agnolo Bronzino

born November 17, 1503, Monticelli, duchy of Milan [Italy]
died November 23, 1572, Florence


original name Agnolo , or Agniolo, Di Cosimo Florentine painter whose polished and elegant portraits are outstanding examples of the Mannerist style. These works are classic embodiments of the courtly ideal under the Medici dukes of the mid-16th century; they influenced European court portraiture for the next century.

Bronzino was greatly influenced by the work of his teacher, the Florentine painter Jacopo da Pontormo. Bronzino adapted his master's eccentric, expressive style (early Mannerism) to create a brilliant, precisely linear style of his own that was also partly influenced by Michelangelo and the late works of Raphael. Bronzino served as the court painter to Cosimo I, duke of Florence, from 1539 until his death. His portraits, such as “Portrait of Eleanor of Toledo with Her Son Giovanni” (Uffizi, Florence), are preeminent examples of Mannerist portraiture: emotionally inexpressive, reserved, and noncommittal, yet arrestingly elegant and decorative. Bronzino's great technical proficiency and his stylized rounding of sinuous anatomical forms are also notable. He also painted sacred and allegorical works of distinction, suchas “The Allegory of Luxury,” or “Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time” (c. 1546; National Gallery, London), which reveals his love of complex symbolism, contrived poses, and clear, brilliant colours.

        

 

          

                                  
          

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Bronzino


Agnolo Bronzino:

    

Laura Battiferri



  

Laura Battiferri
1555-60
Oil on canvas, 83 x 60 cm
Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

   


Laura Battiferri (detail)

Agnolo Bronzino's Laura Battiferri is one of the most fascinating Italian Renaissance portraits of women.Reverting in deliberately archaistic manner to a prototype found in the early quattrocento, the artist has portrayed the sitter in profile view, a pose reminiscent of the medal portrait. The upper part of her body with the small head is disproportionately elongated, emphasising the projection of her strikingly large, slightly hooked nose. Laura Battiferri is wearing a transparent veil, which hangs down from the shell-shaped, calotte-style bonnet covering her tightly combed-back hair onto her goffered shawl and puffed sleeves. While pride - or is it modesty? -makes her avoid eye-contact with the spectator, a gesture which lends her something of the majesty of a high-priestess, the painting is certainly not devoid of gestures "ad spectatorem". The mannered spread of the slender fingers of her left hand marks a place in an open book of Petrarch's sonnets to Laura, with whom the lady in the portrait evidently identifies. According to Petrarch, Laura is an "unapproachable, unattainable beauty... as chaste as the adored mistress of a troubadour, as modest and devout as a 'Stilnovismo Beatrice'". "Laura's personality is even more elusive than her external appearance. She remains the incarnation of chaste and noble beauty."
Laura Battiferri (1523-158?) was born at Urbino, the natural daughter of Giovanni Antonio Battiferri, who later legitimated her. Widowed at an early age, Laura married her second husband, the Florentine sculptor Bartolommeo Ammanati, in 155C. at the age of twenty-seven. The marriage remained childless, Laura referring to herself as a "barren tree". Her poetry found many contemporary admirers. The Spanish court had her literary works translated into Spanish. Important writers and artists, notably Torquato Tasso and Benevenuto Cellini, sought her company.
Laura Battiferri, a supporter of the Jesuitical Counter-Reformation, was reputed to have been a devout Catholic. Her great popularity at the Spanish court confirms this. The demure severity of her pose and dress may reflect the increased rigidity of Catholic ethical norms since the Council of Trent (1545-1563).

Norbert Schneider

 

 


Laura Battiferri
(detail)

Laura Battiferi's fingers mark a place in an open book of Petrarch's sonnets to Laura
  

 

 

 

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Bronzino


Agnolo Bronzino:

  

Portrait of Ugolino Martelli

 

 


Ugolino Martelli
c. 1535
Oil on wood, 102 x 85 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin
 

Ugolino Martelli (detail)

The statue of David was a symbol of patriotic loyalty to Florence. Its presence in the portrait documents the period's waxing sense of Italian nationhood.
 

Agnolo Bronzino is considered the master of Florentine Mannerism. Held in high esteem by his aristocratic patrons, his portraits bestowed on the sitter an air of confident reserve and dignified elegance. Although his portrait of Ugolino Martelli (1519-1592), now in Berlin, is cool and polished in style, Bronzino transcends mere outward appearances to reveal an introverted, intellectual quality in the features of this young humanist scholar. The sitter must have been about twenty years old at the time; evidently, he wished to present himself as somewhat older and deserving of respect: a "puer senex", as it were. Martelli is sitting and gazing contemplatively to one side, his black, silken gown buttoned to the neck, and a black beret on his small oval head. He is apparently thinking about a passage in the book lying open on the table. It is the ninth book of the "Iliad", Homer's epic on the Trojan War. The sequel, as it were, in Latin literature was Virgil's "Aeneid". This is apparently one of Martelli's favourite books, as the inscription MARO (= Virgil) on the book on the left shows. His left hand is supported by a book by Pietro Bembo (1470-1547), whom Martelli's contemporaries would have considered the most erudite of humanist scholars. Baldassare Castiglione gave a prominent place to this Petrarch scholar, poet and philosopher in his treatise "II libro del Cortegiano" (Book IV), describing Bembo as the very paragon of courtly scholarship. Bembo was made a cardinal in 1539. Perhaps his appointment provided Martelli, who later became Bishop of Grandeves in the south of France, with an opportunity to seek Bembo's patronage as a follower of his Neoplatonic doctrine; the attribute of the book undoubtedly represents an act of homage. Thus the year of Bembo's elevation to the rank of cardinal may help us date the portrait, since the artist himself has left only his signature.
In some of Bronzino's portraits, and those of other Mannerist painters, it is quite common to find the sitter posed before an abruptly receding architectural background. Martelli, too, is posed before the inner court of a palace built by Do-menico d'Agnolo, with walls reminiscent of the Biblioteca Laurenziana. Standing against the back wall is a statue of David. Once attributed to Donatello, but probably the work of Bernadino Rosselino, it is now in the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
Just as the "Iliad" and the "Aeneid" were both still considered by Renaissance humanists as literary links to ancient Rome (and thereby to Italy's early history), so the prominent position given to the statue of David in Martelli's "intellectual setting" underscores its function as a symbol of the young humanist's patriotic loyalty towards his native town of Florence. The portrait thus documents the waxing sense of Italian nationhood of the period, described, too, by Francesco Guicciardini and Niccolo Machiavelli in their books on the history of Florence. Pietro Bembo's work "Prose della volgar lingua" (1525) gave support to this movement, encouraging Italian authors to use their own language rather than Latin.

Norbert Schneider

 
 
 


 

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Bronzino


Agnolo Bronzino:



Andrea Doria as Neptune


 






 





 

 

 

 

 






 

 





Portrait of Andrea Doria
as Neptune
(detail)

Portrait of Andrea Doria as Neptune
1550-55
Oil on canvas, 115 x 53 cm
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
  
 

This portrait heroises and idealises the Genuese admiral and statesman Andrea Doria (1466/68-1560), showing him as Neptune. Standing before a ship's mast on which his name is carved in gold letters, Doria carries a trident in his sinewy right hand, while in his left he holds part of a sail that hangs down from the top right of the picture - gathering it into a kind of loincloth which barely covers his genitals.
John Pope-Hennessy has suggested the portrait may have been painted to commemorate Andrea Doria's occupation of Tunis in 1535. A medal by Leone Leoni, also showing Doria as Neptune, places him in a more narrative context, whereas Agnolo Bronzino's allegorical figure is reminiscent of the statuesque plasticity of a Michelangelo. The portrait has an official character. It represents the appropriate form of idealisation for a condottiere who, a member of Pope Innocence VII's personal body-guard, worked his way to the top of the social ladder in the service of various Italian princes: in other words, a state portrait. During the internecine disputes between Charles V and Francis I, Andrea Doria initially served the French king; swapping his allegiance to the German Emperor, he finally, following the liberation of Genoa, became a dictator of this republican city-state.
Doria's wish to give himself mythological stature is not perhaps the most surprising aspect of this portrait; even more conspicuous is his self-conscious exhibition of nudity, his apparent obsession with virility. Vitality and aggressive, warlike behaviour, springing from instinctual, libidinous drives, are shown here as the only route to power. Nudity was not unusual for a mythological subject, but the fact that Doria wished to portray his body in this way shows that he was not interested in displaying the external trappings of a power based on dynastic tradition, but in demonstrating a power which derived its natural legitimacy from a new ethics of achievement, and its supremacy from reserves of determination and physical strength which were the exclusive domain of the powerful individual.

Norbert Schneider

   
 

 


Portrait of Andrea Doria as Neptune (detail)
 


Leone Leoni
The Triumph of Andrea Doria
1541

 


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Bronzino

 

 

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