Monday, April 6, 2015

'Renaissance Splendors of the Northern Italian Courts' at the Getty

Everyone has heard of the Renaissance. For most, this means Florence and Rome, the art of Michelangelo and Leonardo. But the art of the Renaissance was equally present in the courts that spread across Northern Italy - Mantua, Padua, Sienna, Urbino, Milan, Ferrara. These were some of the most wealthy and sophisticated courts in Europe. Rulers and wealthy patrons commissioned artists to create works that exhausted both the patron and the city of origin. Some of the most brilliantly and elegantly illuminated manuscripts emerged from this courtly context.

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The Coronation of the Virgin. Fabriano, about 1420. Artist: Gentile da Fabriano. Tempera and gold leaf on panel. Fabriano likely painted this work for a Franciscan church in his native Fabriano, where the local lord—following the example of rulers at the courts of Venice, Brescia, and Foligno—contracted this highly sought-after artist to execute various works.
Madonna of the Quail. Verona, about 1420. Artist: Pisanello. Tempera and gold leaf on panel. In his early career, Pisanello studied and worked closely with the painter Gentile da Fabriano. Both artists rendered surfaces with elegant patterning and precision, especially evident here in Pisanello's punched and tooled gold background, the Virgin Mary's brocaded garment, and the many carefully painted details from the natural world. Pisanello was held on retainer by the Gonzaga family in Mantua.

 Saint Bellinus celebrating Mass

 The Annunciation. Initial D: The Virgin and Child. Ferrara, about 1469. Artists: Taddeo Crivelli and Guglielmo Giraldi. Ms. Ludwig IX 13, fols. 3v–4. In an intimate domestic setting at left, painted by Taddeo Crivelli, the Virgin Mary appears poised upon learning from the angel Gabriel that she is with child. At right, painted by Guglielmo Giraldi, Mary tenderly holds the infant Jesus. The Latin mottoes and coat of arms through the manuscript reveal that the book was commissioned for Andrea Gualengo, courtier and diplomat, and his wife, Orsina d'Este, daughter of the ruling family of Ferrara. This devotional book was likely given to the couple when they married. Over the course of several decades, Crivelli and Giraldi illuminated numerous manuscripts at the Este court. Their use of jewel-like colors and golden pen flourishes are hallmarks of Ferrarese painting.

All Saints. Guglielmo Giraldi, MS Ludwig IX 13, fol 159v

 Saint Gretory, Crivelli, MS Ludwig IX 13, Fol 172v

 Saint Catherine of Alexandria. Taddeo Crivelli. Ms. Ludwig IX 13, fol. 187v

Initial D. The calling of Saints Peter and Andrew

Christ in Majesty with the symbols of the Four Evangelists. Milan. 1400. Anovelo da Imbonate. Archivio e Biblioteca Capitolare di Sant’Ambrogio, Milan. This missal, a manuscript containing the texts used during the celebration of the Mass, bears the signature of Milanese illuminator Anovelo da Imbonate beneath the stunning, pattern-filled image of Christ enthroned in heaven: HOC DE IMBONATE OPUS FECIT ANOVELUS. The coat of arms of Gian Galeazzo Visconti (reigned 1395–1402) appears in the lower margin, thereby commemorating him and his family as the patrons of this book, which was used at a church dedicated to Milan’s patron saint, Ambrose.

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