Giorgione da Castelfranco (and/or Titian) – Pastoral Symphony

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Art History Lecture 7
Giorgione da Castelfranco (and/or Titian) – Pastoral Symphony

Oil on canvas.

Venetian style

Style reflected in art is like the environment, Venice uses landscape

In Rome and Florence, many fresco paintings – fresco paintings not suitable for Venice

Oil on canvas is primary medium in Venice, canvas is light, oil is easily manipulated

  • Nude figures – usually biblical and mythological, However here the subject of the work is not

  • The two men in the middle are focal point – one is fancifully dressed and the other is a shepherd, both playing music

  • Muses from classical antiquity – were inspiration - idea of Well of Inspiration

  • Little poems – more evocative than illustrative – paintings about mood, ideas, and idealized landscape.

  • These paintings were highly sought after

  • Envelope of air around the figures, not precisely drawn, softening of form like Leonardo – Giorgione was thought to admire Leonardo

  • A Venetian artist who deserves much of the credit for developing poetic manner of painting – poesia. The artist so eloquently evoked the pastoral mood. The sheperd symbolizes the poet; the pipes and lute symbolize his poetry. The two somen accompanying the young men may be thought of as their invisible inspiration, their muses. Voluptuous bodies of women became standard in Venetian art.

Giorgione da Castelfranco – The Tempest

Oil on canvas

  • Lush landscape, softening of form

  • Not called the Tempest until later. Interpretations vary – mythological or historical

  • Gypsy and a soldier – not clear, holding a staff dressed in contemporary German clothes

  • The male figure used to be another naked women – may show how Giorgione was more non-subject focused, becomes intellectual object – maybe a new social function for art. The flexibility in subject has led many to believe that no definitive narrative exists, which is appropriate for a Venetian poetic rendering. .

  • Adam and Eve was the best interpretation – after the fall, Eve with Cain

  • Manifests the same interest in the poetic qualities of the natural landscape inhabited by humans

Titian – Madonna of the Pesaro Family

Santa Maria dei Frari, Venice Italy. Oil on Canvas

Pupil of Giorgione, lived a very long time, prolific and complicated career

  • Altarpiece for public setting. Architecture in the picture matches the real architectural frame, shows he sets this for particular location

  • Celebrating military victory – left hand side, him kneeling in prayer in pure profile. Pesaro, bushop of Paphos in Cyprus and commander of the papal fleet, had led a successful expedition against the Turks during the Venetian-Turkish war and commissioned this painting in gratitude

  • A soldier(St George) behind the commander carries a banner with the escutcheons (shields with coat of arms) of Pope Alexander VI and of Pesaro). Behind him is a turbaned Turk, a prisoner of war of the Christian forces. Saint Peter appears on the steps of the throne, and St Francis introduces other Pesaro family members (all mall – Italian depictions of donors in this era typically excluded women and children)

  • Places figures on steep diagonal. Viewer’s attention is drawn to Madonna with the perspective lines, the inclination of the figures, and the directional lines of gaze and gesture. How the painting works from the front – Mary is practically in the central axis though moved to another side, turns everything off axis.

  • Will work well when walking in and viewing the painting on one’s left because of the stairs and poses of figures. Design built on movement rather than rest. Entwined the human scene with the heavenly.

  • Picture works in hierarchy,

    • bottom level is patrons – closest to us

    • Saints

    • Mary

    • Heavenly realm

Titian – Venus of Urbino

Oil on canvas

  • The modest Venus who covers herself, Venus is associated with flowers – roses

  • Owned by young duke, future duke of Urbino, no evidence suggests that the duke intened the commission as anything more than a female nude for his private enjoyment.

  • Central axis divides picture, forces you to be intimate with Venus, purpose is for close viewing,

  • On other side, perspectival view, contemporary Venetian home. Two servents bend over a chest searching for garments in cassones. Wooden chests (cassones) – wedding chests, she brings her dowry clothing and jewelry

  • Must be studied carefully to see subtlety of color planning. ( Deep reds play role as guage of distance. Titian used color not simply for tinting preexisting forms but also to organize his placement of forms.

  • Not just a private picture, was thought to be a courtesan (prostitute)

  • May have marital context – sleeping dog strengthens intimacy of painting

  • The hand is not covering like expected, passive hand

  • Arranged marriage – about fertility, female orgasm was critical to conception

  • The picture was erotic – meant as a painting for the young bride,

Two ways to categorize form

Disegno vs. Colorito – Michaelangelo and Raphael vs Titian

  • Disegno - Drawing or design

  • Colorito – use of light and color, mood

Michelangelo’s vision of the Pope’s tomb – Tomb of Pope Julius II

  • Saints or prophets are in the middle level

  • Hierarchy, angels holding up Pope who is highest and closest to God

  • Angels represent relation of heaven and earth, Pope is dead but is going to Heaven

  • The pope without moral flesh – who is divine

  • Lower level – slaves…

Michelangelo Buonarroti – Bound Slave (on lowest level of tomb)


  • Symbolic ties – slaves are bound by their own bodies.Contrapasto – extreme, the image of frantic but impotent struggle. Based art on his conviction that whatever can be said greatly through sculpture and painting must be said through the human figure.

  • In comparison with David, creasing interest in musculature – exaggerative expressive device

  • Unfinished work, began to leave artistic signatures, and how artists show you the path of their brushes and toolmarks, people become interested in the art process and the artist

  • Creating a figure that has an interest in multiple directions – to be placed on corner of tomb

  • Michelangelo created figures that do not so much represent an abstract concept, as in medieval allegory, but embody powerful emotional states associated with oppression

Final work – not finished or done by Michelangelo? Said in book he does.

  • The figure of Moses was the only figure left from original plan

  • Tomb does not end up in St Peters as pope envisioned – instead in San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome

  • Thinks of Donatello’s St. John, makes statue work from below

  • Minimal treatment of drapery on upper part of body, massive drapery on bottom half

  • Moses – reacting with environment, maybe to spectator,

    • Has horns


Original design called for freestanding 2-story structure with 28 statues which Julius II intended to locate in Saint Peter’s. Michelangelo was forced to reduce the scale of the project until the final contract specified a simple wall tomb with ewer than 1/3 of the figures. It was placed in San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome, where Julius II had served as a cardinal. It is meant to be seen from below and to be balanced with seven other massive forms related to it in spirit. The horns that appear on Moses’s head were a sculptural convention in Christian art and helped Renaissance viewers identify Moses. To find such pent-up energy, both emotional and physical - from Hellenistic statuary.
New Sacristy/Medici Chapel, San Lorenzo

Asked to make a tomb for 4 people , both the architect and artist of sculptures

The double tomb is not there

Contributes 7 sculptures, were originally supposed to be paintings

Michelangelo Buonarroti – Tomb of Guiliano de Medici

  • Top level – Guiliano shown alive apotheosis over death, looks like Moses – active pose, wearing armor shown as military man, leather bodice fitted to the body so it looks like muscles underneath, elongated neck and smaller proportion of the head

  • Two people on the bottom – Night on the left, owl and a mask under her arm that symbolizes nightmares, lunar diagram in her hair, and her foot is on lots of poppies,

    • iconographic

  • None of the other figures have attributes.

  • Big critique is that it does not look like Guiliano, the idea he was embodying, rather than actual likeness, which didn’t really matter to him. – consistent with Michelangelo’s interests – throughout his career he demonstrated less concern for facial features and expressions than for the overall human form.

Clement VII – Florentine pope

Michelangelo called to paint on back wall

  • Was commissioned to build a funerary chapel. Personification of night and day allude not to humanity’s pain but to the life cycle and the passage of time leading ultimately to death. Sculptures of Lorenzo and Giuliano appear in niches across from each other . They represent the two ideal human type s- contemplative man(lorenzo) and the active man (Guiliano).

  • Michelangelo finished neither tomb. Can be interpreted as the soul’s ascent through the levels of the Neoplatonic universe. Two statues on sarcophagi would symbolize the realm of time – the specifically human world of the cycles. Humanity’s state in this world of time was considered one of pain and anxiety, frustration, and exhaustion. – how the bodies are thus illustrated. Both exhibit anguished twisting of the body’s masses in contrary direction known as figura serpentinata. – staple in Michelangelo’s art.

  • Guiliano sits clad in the armor of a Roman emperor holding a baton and looking toward statue of the Virgin at one end of the Chape.

  • Lorenzo appears wrapped in thought, his face in deep shadow.

  • Together they symbolize the two ways human beings might achieve union with God – through meditation or through the active life fashioned after that of Christ.

Michelangelo Buonarroti – Last Judgment

Fresco on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel, Vatican city, Rome, Italy.

No architecture – paints as one massive scene

Scenes of the end of the world

  • Christ on the central axis, damning the damned

  • Bodies rising up from the dead who are awakening because of the angels blowing trumpet horns

  • Division into saved and damned – damned are on the left, saved are on the right of Christ

  • Radical for a lot of reasons – not your usual court of heaven

  • All of the figures are oversized muscular nudes

  • St Peter is holding keys out to Christ who is on the central axis and larger in scale

  • Pieces of drapery are added onto the scene

  • Last Judgments are usually static – his whole attention is on the damned, crosses his arm, a cosmic circular event, figures sunken on the right and rising up on the left

  • Christ is based on Apollo – framed by the sun

  • St. Bartholomew is skinned alive – but really Michelangelo’s skin, Michelangelo was very concerned about his own soul.

  • Menos has snake all over him – figure from Dante

Michelangelo Buonarroti – plan for Saint Peter’s

Vatican City, Rome

  • Argue over centralized plan or not

  • Long nave?, or should they keep Bramante’s idea of keeping it as a centralized church

  • 2 dueling ideas of the Renaissance - Christian culture – and heavy antique influence

  • very simplified interior– turns attention instead towards the dome

  • was interested in the pointed dome of Brunelleschi

  • changes it from originally pointed to hemispherical, maintains the perfectly round place – canopy to heaven

  • not Gothic which was characterized with soaring heights

  • the pointed dome becomes the better choice – structurally and visibly

  • uses monumental flat pilasters –Corinthian columns like Alberti


His last project for Pope Paul III

Michelango praised but modified Bramante’s original plan and recognized the strength of initial design. He reduces the central component from a number of interlocking rosses to a compact domed Greek cross inscribed in a square and fronted with a double columned portico. Without destroying the centralizing features of Bramante’s plan, converted into massive, cohesive unity. Michelangelo’s treatment of the building’s exterior further reveals his interest in creating a unified and cohesive design. Michelangelo based building on conviction that architecture is one with the organic beauty of the human form.

The domed west end is not as Michelangelo intended it. He went from dome with ogival section (raised silhousette) like that of Florence Cathedral. His final version he decided on a hemispheric dome to temper the verticality of the design o fthe lower stories and to establish a balance between dynamic and static elements. However when Giacomo della Porta executed dome after Michelangelo’s death, he restored the earlier high design. – probably for greater stability and ease of construction.
1500-1520 High Renaissance

1520-1600 Mannerism and Late Renaissance

Followers of Michelangelo

Jacopo da Pontormo Descent from the Cross –

Cappori Chapel, Santa Felicita, Florence

  • Mannerism – phenomenon, means in the manner of feeding of other artists work and other art objects and rethinks it. Exhibits all the stylistic features, characteristic of Mannerism’s early phase in painting.Certain elegance

  • Rotates conventional figural groups along vertical axis.

  • Incredibly colorful – high keyed colors, bright pastels, and not a lot of attention to musculature. Instead of showing light and dark, he changes color – no chiaroscuro

  • Long bodies, very small head, more interest in limbs instead of core body

  • There is no cross, anti-naturalistic choices

  • Middle of composition is a void, instead 2 sides of side axis

  • Artist is purposely trying to be odd, figure in the foreground is depicted impossibly

  • In contrast with High Renaissance artists, who had concentrated their masses in the center of the painting, Pontormo here leaves a void. This accentuates the grouping of hands that fill that hole, calling attention to the void – symbolic of loss and grief. It is a departure from the balanced, harmoniously structured compositions of the earlier Renaissance.

Parmigianino – Madonna with Long Neck

Oil on wood

  • Correggio’s pupil

  • Excessively long features of woman, ‘hyperelegant’, established principal aim of Mannerism. Sinuosity and elongation are all marks of the aristocratic, sumptuously courtly taste of a later phase of Mannerism.

  • Takes its subject from a simili in medieval hymns that compared th eVirgin’s neck to a great ivory tower of column.

  • makes you think about Titian, Columns that don’t hold anything up

  • Divine figure – saint or prophet

  • Foot of Saint Francis that is never finished

Bronzino – Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time

Oil on wood.

  • Bronzino is a Medici artist, Student of Parmigianino

  • Also manifests all pints made thus far about Mannerist composition.

  • Example of Mannerism in a secular way, do not know purpose of painting. Demonstrates Mannerist’s fondness for extremely learned and intricate allegories that often had lascivious undertones, a shift from the simple and monumental statements and forms of the High Renaissance.

  • The meaning is unclear as in many Mannerism paintings – Father time in the background who is pulling the blue curtain, has hourglass on his shoulder.

  • Folly has rose petals

  • Warning about the dangers of blood, ‘beauty disarms love’

  • The picture seems to suggest that love is accompanied by envy and plagued by inconstancy is foolish and lovers will discover its folly in time. Insconstancy – body of a serpent honeycomb, something behind her back that is sharp. Envy – syphilis, discolored skin loss of hair and teeth, reference to venereal disease

  • The masks, a favorite device of the Mannerists, symbolize deceit.

  • Of special interest are the heads, hands, and feet, for the Mannerists considered the extremities the carriers of grace, and the clever depiction of them as evidence of artistic skill.

Giovanni Da Bologna – Seduction of the Sabine Women

  • Loggia dei Lanzi, Piazza della Signoria, Florence. Marble

  • Old Sabine man, Roman warrior gets the woman from him. Romans abducted wives for themselves from their neighbors the Sabines.

  • Exemplifies Mannerist principles of figure composition. . Spirals around its own axis in 3D.

  • All nude in the tradition of ancient statues portraying mythological figures

  • To fully appreciate the sculpture, the viewer must walk around it. Open spaces that pass through masses. physical participation to understand it

  • This sculpture was the first large-scale group since classical antiquity designed to be seen from multiple viewpoints in contrast to Pollaiulo’s group which the artist intended to be seen from one angle.

Tintoretto – Last Supper

Chancel, San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice. Oil on canvas

  • Painted for the interior of Andrea Palladio’s church of San Giorgio Maggiore, the figures appear in a dark interior illuminated by a single light in the upper left of the image. Keeping with Counter-Reformation ideals and the Catholic Church’s belief in the didactic nature of religious art

  • Last Supper incorporates many Mannerist devices includes imbalanced composition and visual complexity. Leonardo’s composition, balanced and symmetrical, parallels the picture plane in a geometrically organized and closed space with Christ as perspectival focus. In Tintoretto’s painting, Christ is above and beyond the converging perspective lines, creating depth and motion. It is not parallel to the picture plain. The viewer locates Tintoretto’s Christ via the light flaring, beaconlike.

  • Last Supper - orthogonal where vanishing point is in the far distant back right

  • Many people – servants and beggars

  • He painted how he imagined it, artist who is testing the bounds of what was considered legitimate for religious paintings

  • The contrast of the two reflects the direction Renaissance painting took in the 16th century, as it moved away from architectonic clarity of space and neutral lighting toward the dynamic perspectives and dramatic chiaroscuro of the coming Baroque.


In 16th century in Italy is often referred to as the High Renaissance because artists developed further many of the ideas that occupied earlier painters, sculptors, and architects, Interest in classical cultures, which was cultivated by the humanists of earlier centuries became a mainstay of High Renaissance art. Religious art seemed to have a particular urgency; in the interest of promoting Counter Reformation ideals, the Catholic Church emphasized the didactic value of art in reestablishing the prominence of the Church. The 16th century also saw the development of Mannerism, which contrasted with the rationality pervading much of High Renaissance art and architecture and paved the way for the complexity of the Baroque in 17th-century Italy.

Chapter 23

The Age of Reformation

16th Century Art in Northern Europe and Spain
Time of great religious crisis that hinged on corruption of Catholic church

Many Holding posts that they should not have

Protestant idea was to remove hierarchy of the church and to return to what was outlined in Scripture.
Lucas Cranach The Elder – Allegory of Law and Grace


  • Broadsheet, well in the purchasing power to the average working person

  • Not for admiration, for relay of information

  • Brilliant piece of propaganda – makes the difference between Catholics and Protestants

  • Adam and Eve, Last Judgement, Old Testament prophets on Catholic side – stress punishment

  • Pastoral landscape with Moses, Christ on the Cross, Christ’s Resurrection saves everyone on Protestants – stress salvation

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