Andrea del Castagno To Antiquarianism (Renaissance and Reformation)

Andrea del Castagno

(1417/19-1457) Italian painter Castagno, so named after his birthplace, was an important innovator like masaccio before him; he introduced a rugged vitality into Florentine painting. Most of Castagno’s few surviving paintings and documented lost works are frescoes, including his earliest known commission, the effigies of hanged criminals for the facade of the Bargello (then the communal prison) in Florence in 1440 (now lost). Castagno’s serious and heroic figures and interest in movement are already apparent in his earliest frescoes at the chapel of San Tarasio at San Zaccaria, Venice (1442, in collaboration with the little-known Francesco da Faenza). His Last Supper with Scenes of the Passion, which fills the end wall of the refectory at Sant’ Apollonia, Florence (1440s), is painted in an unusually dark and rich palette and reveals his skill in difficult perspective effects (for which he was praised by Cristoforo landino in 1481), his taste for moments of intense drama, and his involvement in the antiquarianism of the early Renaissance in Florence. The Trinity Adored by St. Jerome and Two Female Saints (c. 1454; SS. Annunziata, Florence), a penitential subject, combines a mood of grave intensity with dramatic foreshortening, qualities also noted in Castagno’s moving and tragic Lamentation, a design for a stained glass rondel in the drum of the dome of Florence cathedral (1440), in a program that includes designs by donatello, ghiberti, and uccello.

Castagno’s work in Rome for Pope Nicholas V in 1454 has been identified as a much restored architectural decoration in the Biblioteca Graeca of the Vatican palace. Landino also praised Castagno for a technique full of spontaneity and liveliness and his ability to create figures which express movement; these traits are best seen in the Victorious David (c. 1450; National Gallery, Washington), one of the few surviving Quattrocento parade shields, and the equestrian monument for Niccolo da Tolentino (fresco, 1455-56; Florence cathedral), which is a pendant and a foil for Uccello’s Sir John Hawkwood. The Famous Men and Women frescoes from the Villa Carducci (c. 1450; now Uffizi, with fragments in situ) are among the most important surviving Quattrocento secular decorations; Castagno and his patron abandoned well-established iconographic prototypes to introduce Florentine literary figures (Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio) and Florentine military leaders (Niccola Acciaiuoli, Farinata degli Uberti, and Pippo Spano) into the company of heroic women from antiquity (Esther, the Cumaean Sybil, and Queen To-myris). These impressive sculpturesque figures in illu-sionistic niches reveal Castagno’s sources, for in monumentality and boldly massed drapery they recall Masaccio, while in the lucid, sharp outlines, vigorous drapery patterns, and even in pose they convey the impact of the sculpture of Donatello. They offer an appreciation of human dignity and accomplishment that is central to an understanding of Renaissance attitudes.

Andrea del Sarto

(1486-1530) Italian painter Andrea d’Agnolo di Francesco was born in Florence, the son of a tailor (hence "del Sarto"). At the age of seven he was apprenticed to a goldsmith, shortly thereafter to a Florentine painter Gian Barile (otherwise unknown), and finally to the eccentric but technically brilliant master piero di cosimo. Internal stylistic evidence suggests that he may have spent time with Raffaellino del Garbo (c. 1466-c. 1524), a painter also known for technical proficiency, although not for innovation. vasari reports that like many young artists Andrea drew from cartoons by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, thus absorbing the achievements of the leading artists of the High Renaissance. In style and temperament his leaning was to Leonardo. By about 1506 he had taken a studio near the Piazza del Grano with franciabigio, a pupil of al-bertinelli, the latter a partner of Fra Bartolommeo. The early interest in Leonardo and the connection to Fra Bar-tolommeo through Franciabigio reinforced Andrea’s interest in classic compositional solutions, modulated tonal harmonies, and sfumato, as shown in The Marriage of St. Catherine (1512-13; Dresden). He befriended the young sculptor Jacopo sansovino, pupil of Andrea Contucci (called Sansovino), and he and Franciabigio moved into a new studio near the SS. Annunziata which they shared with Jacopo. The two painters soon received commissions for frescoes for the entrance courtyard of the Annunziata (1509-14; Birth of the Virgin, Arrival of the Magi, scenes from the life of St. Filippo Benizzi) and for the little cloister of the Confraternity of the Scalzo (1511-26; scenes from the life of John the Baptist).

Andrea was influenced as much by the sculpture of the two Sansovinos as by the painters of his generation. The figures of Christ and John the Baptist and of Justice in the Scalzo grisaille murals are quoted directly from identical figures by Andrea Sansovino; Jacopo Sansovino made models for figures which appeared in Andrea del Sarto’s paintings, for instance, the Madonna and the St. John in the Madonna of the Harpies (1517; Uffizi, Florence). The painter collaborated with Jacopo on the design and decoration of the mock facade for the Florentine Duomo, one of the elaborate temporary ornaments commissioned for the state visit of Pope Leo X to Florence in 1515. He also worked on stage sets with one of his assistants, Bastiano (Aristotile) da sangallo, a member of the prominent family of architects. These contacts with sculptors and architects help to explain Andrea’s highly developed sense of volume and perspective in his figures and architecture. His figures display an earthbound naturalism in their breadth and volume, yet they exude grace and sensitivity. In 1516 he married the widow Lucrezia, whose features served as the model for his broad-faced Madonnas.

By 1509, with Leonardo in Milan, Michelangelo and Raphael in Rome, and Fra Bartolommeo visiting Venice, Andrea took his place as the premier painter in Florence. Gestures, poses, and compositional groupings in his paintings represent a continual dialogue with his distinguished contemporaries, translated into a pictorial language distinctly his own. Tender blues, delicate violets, and rose tints applied in soft brushwork but with a supreme understanding of form are the pictorial counterpart of the psychological balance between emotion and restraint in his figures (see Plate I).

Andrea worked almost his entire career in Florence. He traveled to France by invitation of Francis I in spring 1518, returning to Florence by summer the following year. His interest in Leonardo was renewed by the presence of that great master at the French court, while two new paintings that he saw there, the St. Michael and the Holy Family of Francis I (both Louvre, Paris), presented a point of contact with Raphael’s mature Roman style, as witness Andrea’s Caritas (1518; Louvre) and Pietd (1524; Palazzo Pitti, Florence). Among Andrea’s pupils and assistants are to be counted the leaders of the next generation of Florentine artists. His use of unconventional effects of color and light were signals picked up by these young painters, particularly the great "mannerists" pontormo and rosso fiorentino, as well as Vasari and salviati. Andrea weathered the siege of Florence (1529-30) but died at the end of September 1530 in the plague that followed it.

Andreoli, Giorgio (Maestro Giorgio)

(c. 1470-1553) Italian potter

He was born at Intra on Lake Maggiore into a family from Pavia, but is famous for his association with the majolica works of Gubbio, where he was based from 1498. He held a monopoly in a distinctive ruby glaze, which is one of the most characteristic products of the Gubbio potteries.

Andrewes, Lancelot

(1555-1626) English preacher and theologian

The son of a London merchant, Andrewes received an academic education. After taking holy orders (1580) he rose steadily in the Church through his learning (he is reported to have mastered 15 languages) and his exceptional qualities as a preacher. Under James I, at whose court he regularly preached on Church feast days, he became succesively bishop of Chichester (1605), of Ely (1609), and of Winchester (1619). He played a prominent role in the Hampton Court Conference (1604) at which it was decided to produce a new English version of the Bible; when the Authorized (King James) Version was published (1611), Andrewes’s name headed the list of translators. Apart from a controversy with Cardinal robert bel-larmine concerning the oath of allegiance imposed after the Gunpowder Plot (1605), Andrewes published little in his lifetime, and his two most famous works, Ninety-six Sermons (1629) and Preces Privatae ("Private Prayers"; 1648), were collected posthumously. Nonetheless, he had a formative influence upon Anglican theology and was renowned for his personal integrity as much as for his theological scholarship.

Anerio, Felice

(c. 1560-1614) Italian composer As a boy Anerio sang in the choirs of several major Roman institutions, and his first known composition is music for a Passion play (1582). He was maestro di cappella of the English College in Rome (1584-85) and maestro of the Vertuosa Compagnia dei Musici di Roma, a society founded (1584) by leading Roman musicians. In 1594 Anerio succeeded palestrina as composer to the papal choir. He was also appointed maestro di cappella to Duke Altaemps.

Most of Anerio’s earlier works are secular (madrigals and canzonettes); his sacred works were written largely during his period as papal composer. His Masses, psalms, responsories, and motets are strongly influenced by Palestrina’s style, but use some more progressive devices such as frequent word repetitions to stress parts of the text. While Felice Anerio’s roots lay firmly in the Palest-rina tradition, his brother, Giovanni Francesco (15671630), wrote in a distinctly baroque style and concentrated on the small-scale motet with continuo.

Angela Merici, St.

(1474-1540) Italian religious, founder of the Ursulines

She spent most of her life at Brescia, where she taught young girls and cared for ill and needy women. On a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (1524-25) she was smitten with temporary blindness. Urged by visions, she founded (1535) a religious community for women at Brescia which she called after St. Ursula (see ursulines) and of which she became superior in 1537. She was canonized in 1807.

Angeli, Pietro Angelo (Pier Angelo Bargeo)

(1517-1596) Italian humanist poet

His alternative name derives from his birthplace of Barga, near Lucca. Siriade (1591), a Latin epic on the crusader conquest of Jerusalem, was drawn upon by tasso for the Gerusalemme conquistata (see gerusalemme liberata). Besides his Latin verse, Angeli also wrote pastoral poetry in Italian (Poesie amorose, 1589) and translated Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex into the vernacular.

Angelico, Fra

(c. 1395/1400-1455) Italian painter Fra Angelico, who was born at Vicchio di Mugello, northeast of Florence, was known to his contemporaries by the secular name Guido di Piero and by the religious name Fra Giovanni da Fiesole. Vasari placed his birth about 1387, but reconsideration of documents points to a more likely date of about 1395/1400. The difference of a decade helps correct the older view of Fra Angelico as a painter in the trecento tradition, and instead places him in the vanguard of artists working in the third and fourth decades of the quattrocento.

He may have been trained by the miniaturist Battista di Biagio Sanguigni and by the painter Ambrogio di Baldese. A payment recorded to "Guido di Piero" in 1418 is evidence that the young artist was then still a layman; in 1423 his name appears as "Frate Giovanni di San Domenico di Fiesole". Thus he joined the Dominican Order at its house of San Domenico in Fiesole between 1418 and 1423, perhaps inspired by the preaching of the Dominican Fra Manfredi da Vercelli.

As a friar Angelico continued painting, operating a workshop at San Domenico until about 1440, then transferring it to San Marco in Florence, as fresco decoration of that convent was under way. Historical evidence indicates that Angelico was highly regarded in his lifetime both as an intellect and as a painter. Administrative capabilities led to his appointment as substitute vicario at San Domenico in 1435, and as sindicho at San Marco in 1443. Tradition has it that Pope Eugenius IV, rejecting a number of distinguished candidates for the vacant archbishopric of Florence, offered it to Angelico, but that the artist was instrumental in securing the appointment of Fra (later St) antonino to that position in 1446. In a lost epitaph for his tomb in Sta. Maria sopra Minerva, Rome, Angelico was celebrated as "…consummate painter, who had no equal in his art"; in a poem by the 16th-century painter Giovanni Santi, the father of Raphael, he is mentioned alongside Fra Filippo Lippi and Domenico Veneziano as "Giovan da Fiesole frate al ben ardente."

Establishing a chronology for Angelico’s oeuvre poses problems of connoisseurship and dating, particularly for his earliest period. Notable among the early works are the Annunciation (1428-32; Museo Diocesano, Cortona) and the Linaiuoli tabernacle (1433-35; Museo di San Marco, Florence), in which Angelico demonstrated an interest in the new manner of Masaccio and Ghiberti. He employed skillful perspective and spatial continuity and contributed advances in the depiction of natural phenomena. The period 1438-45 is dominated by a commission from the church and convent of San Marco for the altarpiece of the cappella maggiore and for the fresco decoration of the public quarters and private cells of the convent. The design and concept, linking the group of 54 frescoes, are An-gelico’s, though the work is largely that of assistants. The meditative clarity, simplicity, and order reflect miche-lozzo’s architectural schemes, emphasizing, through economy of detail, the didactic and doctrinal gestures of the saints and biblical figures represented. In contrast, the San Marco altarpiece is rich in sumptuous textiles and architectural devices used to project and delimit an original perspective scheme. In the Deposition (Museo di San Marco), a frieze of foreground figures gives way to a panoramic landscape, bathed in a light which renders spatial coherence to the composition.

Angelico was called to Rome in 1445. It was during this Roman sojourn that he probably frescoed the private chapel of Pope Nicholas V in the Vatican with scenes from the lives of St. Stephen and St. Lawrence; in these the figures and architecture take on a new volume and gravity. In 1449 he was elected prior of his convent.

Angelico’s reputation and (certainly) his nickname depend on the appeal of precious images of the Madonna and Child framed in a glory of angels, delicately painted in enamel-like colors on a gold ground. But it is the power to translate the quality of the miniaturist’s art into the scale and vocabulary of the modern mode which distinguishes him. The result is an edifying and pious pictorial language, brilliant in the balance struck between celestial vision and the laws of nature.

Anguisciola, Sophonisba

(1527-c. 1623) Italian painter A native of Cremona, Sophonisba was the daughter of a Piedmontese nobleman and one of the first Italian women to become an artist. She was a pupil of Bernardino campi and became a noted portrait painter in the mannerist style, executing several self-portraits and depictions of prominent figures in society. Her best works include a family group portrait of her sisters playing chess (Museum Nar-odowe, Pozna[, Poland). She moved to Madrid in 1559 and also worked in Sicily, only returning to Italy late in her life.

Anjou, houses of

Three French dynasties whose power was initially based on the lower Loire region of France. The first house of Anjou lasted from the ninth century until it lost its territories to the French crown in the early 13th century; it also ruled England from 1154 to 1157. The second was founded in 1246 by Charles, brother of Louis IX of France and later king of Naples and Sicily. One line of his descendants ruled Naples, another Hungary. When Philip of Valois succeeded to the French throne in 1328, Anjou, which he had inherited from his mother, was reunited to the French crown. In 1351 the third house of Anjou was founded when John II of France invested his younger son Louis with Anjou. Joanna I of Naples promised Naples to Louis in 1379 and in the 15th century the later Angevins spent much of their time fruitlessly pursuing their claim to Naples. In 1480 rene i, the last male heir, died, and Angevin claims to Naples, Sicily, Hungary, and Jerusalem passed to the French crown. See family tree overleaf.

Antico (Pier Jacopo di Antonio Alari Bonacolsi)

(c. 1460-1528) Italian sculptor, bronze-founder, and medalist

Born in Mantua and trained as a goldsmith, he had received his nickname by 1479 (when he used it to sign two medals) owing to his knowledge of antiquity, interest in archaeology, and brilliance at recreating in bronze statuettes some of the fragmentary masterpieces of Greco-Roman sculpture (e.g. the Apollo Belvedere, Venus, Meleager, and Hercules and Antaeus). He worked for various members of the gonzaga family in and around Mantua, notably for Isabella d'Este, and visited Rome twice in the 1490s. His style is a sculptural counterpart to man-tegna's in painting, emphasizing the smooth, rotund forms of the human body and contrasting their polished surfaces with intricately chiseled details in the hair, drapery, and accoutrements, which are often gilded, while the eyes are sometimes inlaid in silver, as in the bronze bust of a young man in the J. Paul Getty Museum (c. 1520).


Although springing initially from a desire to recover the manuscripts of classical texts, the antiquarian impulse that spread throughout Europe during the Renaissance came to include the collection and study of coins (see numismatics), architectural fragments, and many other artefacts from the past. Discovering what these objects meant to collectors provides an insight into their views of history and time, art and humanity. When Pliny the Elder (23-79 ce) commented on ancient marvels he paid most attention to those that were especially large, costly, or created by famous men. By contrast, Renaissance historiography led scholars to look systematically at the achievements of past civilizations, and to compare them with those of their own era. petrarch, one of the earliest collectors of manuscripts and coins, saw the classical age as the highest point of civilization, followed by a thousand-year downward spiral until the beginnings of a revival in his own day. In the 15th century ghiberti adapted this model to accord with the emerging ideology of humanism, in which man is the measure of all things. vasari likewise drew close parallels between the flowering of antiquity and his own day. His The Lives of the Artists (1550, 1568) also called for careful judgments to be made in the attribution of works to individuals.

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