Pierre – Auguste Renoir è stato un pittore francese uno tra i massimi esponenti dell’impressionismo.
Pierre -Auguste Renoir,1910
I suoi dipinti sono notevoli per la loro luce vibrante e il colore saturo, che spesso mettono a fuoco persone riprese in situazioni intimistiche. Il nudo femminile è uno dei soggetti primari.Nel caratteristico stile impressionista, Renoir ha suggerito i particolari di una scena con liberi e veloci tocchi di colore, di modo che le sue figure si fondano morbidamente tra di loro e con lo sfondo.
Ma dietro la pennellata di Pierre-Auguste Renoir, tra i pittori simbolo della corrente impressionista di fine Ottocento, si nascondeva un triste segreto: l‘artrite reumatoide. Una malattia invalidante allora ‘priva’ di terapia, che per oltre vent’anni deformò gravemente le mani, le braccia e le spalle dell’artista. ‘Regalandogli’ in cambio uno stile inconfondibile, fatto di macchie di pittura stese con colpi corti e rapidi.
In 1898, despite warnings of possible assassination attempts, the sixty-year-old Elisabeth traveled incognito to Geneva, Switzerland, although someone from the Hôtel Beau-Rivage revealed that the Empress of Austria was their guest.
At 1:35 p.m. on Saturday 10 September 1898, Elisabeth and Countess Irma Sztáray de Sztára et Nagymihály, her lady-in-waiting, left the hotel on the shore of Lake Geneva on foot to catch the steamship Genève for Montreux. Since the empress “did not like processions,” her servants had already been ordered to leave by train for neighboring Territet.
They were walking along the promenade when the 25-year-old Italian anarchistLuigi Lucheni approached them, attempting to peer underneath the empress’s parasol. According to Sztáray, as the ship’s bell announced the departure, Lucheni seemed to stumble and made a movement with his hand as if he wanted to maintain his balance. In reality, in an act of “propaganda of the deed”, he had stabbed Elisabeth with a sharpened needle file that was 4 inches (100 mm) long (used to file the eyes of industrial needles) that he had inserted into a wooden handle.
Lucheni originally planned to kill the Duke of Orléans; but the Pretender to France’s throne had left Geneva earlier for the Valais. Failing to find him, the assassin selected Elisabeth when a Geneva newspaper revealed that the elegant woman traveling under the pseudonym of “Countess of Hohenembs” was the Empress Elisabeth of Austria.
I am an anarchist by conviction…I came to Geneva to kill a sovereign, with object of giving an example to those who suffer and those who do nothing to improve their social position; it did not matter to me who the sovereign was whom I should kill…It was not a woman I struck, but an Empress; it was a crown that I had in view.
After Lucheni struck her, the empress collapsed. A coach driver helped her to her feet and alerted the Austrian concierge of the Beau-Rivage, a man named Planner, who had been watching the empress’s progress toward the Genève. The two women walked roughly 100 yards (91 m) to the gangway and boarded, at which point Sztáray relaxed her hold on Elisabeth’s arm. The empress then lost consciousness and collapsed next to her. Sztáray called for a doctor, but only a former nurse, a fellow passenger, was available. The boat’s captain, Captain Roux, was ignorant of Elisabeth’s identity and since it was very hot on deck, advised the countess to disembark and take her companion back to her hotel. Meanwhile, the boat was already sailing out of the harbor. Three men carried Elisabeth to the top deck and laid her on a bench. Sztáray opened her gown, cut Elisabeth’s corset laces so she could breathe. Elisabeth revived somewhat and Sztáray asked her if she was in pain, and she replied, “No”. She then asked, “What has happened?”and lost consciousness again.
Countess Sztáray noticed a small brown stain above the empress’s left breast. Alarmed that Elisabeth had not recovered consciousness, she informed the captain of her identity, and the boat turned back to Geneva. Elisabeth was carried back to the Hotel Beau-Rivage by six sailors on a stretcher improvised from a sail, cushions and two oars. Fanny Mayer, the wife of the hotel director, a visiting nurse, and the countess undressed Elisabeth and removed her shoes, when Sztáray noticed a few small drops of blood and a small wound. When they then removed her from the stretcher to the bed she was clearly dead; Frau Mayer believed the two audible breaths she heard the Empress take as she was brought into the room were her last. Two doctors, Dr. Golay and Dr. Mayer arrived, along with a priest, who was too late to grant her absolution. Mayer incised the artery of her left arm to ascertain death, and found no blood. She was pronounced dead at 2:10 p.m. Everyone knelt down and prayed for the repose of her soul, and Countess Sztáray closed Elisabeth’s eyes and joined her hands.No matter how reluctant or resentful she was of the title, Elisabeth had been the Empress of Austria for 44 years.
When Franz Joseph received the telegram informing him of Elisabeth’s death, his first fear was that she had committed suicide. It was only when a third message arrived, detailing the assassination, that he was relieved of that notion. The telegram asked permission to perform an autopsy, and answer was that whatever procedures were prescribed by Swiss Law should be adhered to.
The autopsy was performed the next day by Golay, who discovered that the weapon, which had not yet been found, had penetrated 3.33 inches (85 mm) into Elisabeth’s thorax, fractured the fourth rib, pierced the lung and pericardium, and penetrated the heart from the top before coming out the base of the left ventricle. Because of the sharpness and thinness of the file the wound was very narrow and, due to pressure from Elisabeth’s extremely tight corseting, the hemorrhage of blood into the pericardial sac around the heart was slowed to mere drops. Until this sac filled, the beating of her heart was not impeded, which is why Elisabeth had been able to walk from the site of the assault and up the boat’s boarding ramp. Had the weapon not been removed, she would have lived a while longer, as it would have acted like a plug to stop the bleeding.
Golay photographed the wound, but turned the photograph over to the Swiss Procurator-General, who had it destroyed, on the orders of Franz Joseph, along with the autopsy instruments.
As Geneva shuttered itself in mourning, Elisabeth’s body was placed in a triple coffin: two inner ones of lead, the third exterior one in bronze, reposing on lion claws. On Tuesday, before the coffins were sealed, Franz Joseph’s official representatives arrived to identify the body. The coffin was fitted with two glass panels, covered with doors, which could be slid back to allow her face to be seen.
On Wednesday morning, Elisabeth’s body was carried back to Vienna aboard a funeral train. The inscription on her coffin read, “Elisabeth, Empress of Austria”. The Hungarians were outraged and the words, “and Queen of Hungary” were hastily added. The entire Austro-Hungarian Empire was in deep mourning; 82 sovereigns and high-ranking nobles followed her funeral cortege on the morning of 17 September to the tomb in the Church of the Capuchins.
Primavera also known as Allegory of Spring, is a tempera panel painting by Italian Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli. Painted ca. 1482, the painting is described in Culture & Values (2009) as “one of the most popular paintings in Western art“.It is also, according to Botticelli, Primavera (1998), “one of the most written about, and most controversial paintings in the world.”
Most critics agree that the painting, depicting a group of mythological figures in a garden, is allegorical for the lush growth of Spring. Other meanings have also been explored. Among them, the work is sometimes cited as illustrating the ideal of Neoplatonic love. The painting itself carries no title and was first called La Primavera by the art historian Giorgio Vasari who saw it at Villa Castello, just outside Florence, in 1550.
The history of the painting is not certainly known, though it seems to have been commissioned by one of the Medici family. It contains references to the Roman poets Ovid and Lucretius, and may also reference a poem by Poliziano. Since 1919 the painting has been part of the collection of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.
The painting features six female figures and two male, along with a blindfolded putto, in an orange grove. To the right of the painting, a flower-crowned female figure stands in a floral-patterned dress scattering flowers, collected in the folds of her gown.
Her nearest companion, a woman in diaphanous white, is being seized by a winged male from above. His cheeks are puffed, his expression intent, and his unnatural complexion separates him from the rest of the figures. The trees around him blow in the direction of his entry, as does the skirt of the woman he is seizing. The drapery of her companion blows in the other direction.
Next to this woman is another woman wearing a flowery designed dress that drapes over her body. She has a slight smile on her face while stepping towards the viewer and holding a grouping of flowers in her dress. The flowers on her dress and in her hand consist of pinks, reds and whites accompanied by the greens of the leaves.
Clustered on the left, a group of three females also in diaphanous white, join hands in a dance, while a red-draped youth with a sword and a helmet near them raises a wooden rod towards some wispy gray clouds. Two of the women wear prominent necklaces. The flying cherub has an arrow nocked to loose, directed towards the dancing girls. Central and somewhat isolated from the other figures stands a red-draped woman in blue. Like the flower-gatherer, she returns the viewer’s gaze. The trees behind her form a broken arch to draw the eye.
The pastoral scenery is elaborate. Botticelli (2002) indicates there are 500 identified plant species depicted in the painting, with about 190 different flowers.Botticelli. Primavera (1998) says that of the 190 different species of flowers depicted, at least 130 have been specifically named.
The overall appearance of the painting is similar to Flemish tapestries that were popular at the time.
Various interpretations of the figures have been set forth, but it is generally agreed that at least at one level the painting is, as characterized by Cunningham and Reich (2009), “an elaborate mythological allegory of the burgeoning fertility of the world.” Elena Capretti in Botticelli (2002) suggests that the typical interpretation is thus:
The reading of the picture is from right to left: Zephyrus, the biting wind of March, kidnaps and possesses the nymph Chloris, whom he later marries and transforms into a deity; she becomes the goddess of Spring, eternal bearer of life, and is scattering roses on the ground.
This is a tale from the fifth book of Ovid’s Fasti in which the wood nymph Chloris’s naked charms attracted the first wind of Spring, Zephyr. Zephyr pursued her and as she was ravished, flowers sprang from her mouth and she became transformed into Flora, goddess of flowers. In Ovid’s work the reader is told ‘till then the earth had been but of one colour’. From Chloris’ name the colour may be guessed to have been green – the Greek word for green is khloros, the root of words like chlorophyll – and may be why Botticeli painted Zephyr in shades of bluish-green.
Venus presides over the garden – an orange grove (a Medici symbol).She stands in front of the dark leaves of a myrtle bush. According to Hesiod, Venus had been born of the sea after the semen of Uranus had fallen upon the waters. Coming ashore in a shell she had clothed her nakedness in myrtle, and so the plant became sacred to her.The Graces accompanying her (and targeted by Cupid) bear jewels in the colors of the Medici family, while Mercury’s caduceus keeps the garden safe from threatening clouds.
The basic identifications of characters is widely embraced, but other names are sometimes used for the females on the right. According to Botticelli (1901), the woman in the flowered dress is Primavera (a personification of Spring) whose companion is Flora.The male figure is generally accepted as Mercury but has been identified as Mars by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker of SmARThistory.
In addition to its overt meaning, the painting has been interpreted as an illustration of the ideal of Neoplatonic love popularized among the Medicis and their followers by Marsilio Ficino.
The Neoplatonic philosophers saw Venus as ruling over both earthly and divine love and argued that she was the classical equivalent of the Virgin Mary; this is alluded to by the way she is framed in an altar-like setting that is similar to contemporary images of the Virgin Mary.
In this interpretation, as set out in Sandro Botticelli, 1444/45-1510 (2000), the earthy carnal love represented by Zephyrus to the right is renounced by the central figure of the Graces, who has turned her back to the scene, unconcerned by the threat represented to her by Cupid. Her focus is on Mercury, who himself gazes beyond the canvas at what Deimling asserts hung as the companion piece to Primavera: Pallas and the Centaur, in which “love oriented towards knowledge” (embodied by Pallas Athena) proves triumphant over lust (symbolized by the centaur). It is, on the other hand, possible that, rather than her having renounced carnal love, the intense emotional expression with which she gazes at Mercury is one of dawning love, proleptic of the receipt of Cupid’s arrow which appears to be aimed particularly at her; which emotion is being recognised, with an expression at once sympathetic, quizzical and apprehensive, by the sister immediately to her left.
The recent discovery of a disguised message (in the floral pattern on the gown of Flora to which Chloris is drawing Zephyr’s attention, see detail below) and related evidence, indicates that the subject matter of La Primavera is set in the context of the Pagan Renaissance Revival championed by Marsilio Ficino, Florence’s foremost philosopher. He was the friend, mentor and tutor of the young Medici owner of the painting, in whom he sought to instill the Platonic philosophy he was introducing to Europe at the time. Ficino’s Platonic teaching held that man possessed a spark of divinity, which contrasted with the medieval view of man’s guilt and culpability.
is frequently suggested that Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco is the model for Mercury in the portrait, and his bride Semirande represented as Flora (or Venus).It has also been proposed that the model for Venus was Simonetta Vespucci, wife of Marco Vespucci and perhaps the mistress of Giuliano de’ Medici (who is also sometimes said to have been the model for Mercury).
The painting overall was inspired by a description the Roman poet Ovid wrote of the arrival of Spring (Fasti, Book 5, May 2), though the specifics may have been derived from a poem by Poliziano. As Poliziano’s poem, “Rusticus”, was published in 1483 and the painting is generally held to have been completed around 1482, some scholars have argued that the influence was reversed.
Another inspiration for the painting seems to have been the Lucretius poem “De rerum natura”, which includes the lines, “Spring-time and Venus come, and Venus’ boy, / The winged harbinger, steps on before, / And hard on Zephyr’s foot-prints Mother Flora, / Sprinkling the ways before them, filleth all / With colors and with odors excellent.”
Whatever the truth of its origin and inspiration, the painting was inventoried in the collection of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici in 1499.Since 1919, it has hung in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. During the Italian campaign of World War Two, the picture was moved to Montegufoni Castle about ten miles south west of Florence to protect it from wartime bombing.
It was returned to the Uffizi Gallery where it remains to the present day.In 1982, the painting was restored. The work has darkened considerably over the course of time.
On June 28, the 18-year-old Queen Victoria was crowned as monarch of the United Kingdom and Ireland in London’s Westminster Abbey. Some 400,000 visitors flocked to the city to witness the historic event, riding a worldwide wave of popular enthusiasm for the young queen. She would rule until her death in 1901, becoming the longest reigning monarch in British history. At the time Victoria took the throne, the role that Buckingham Palace’s chief resident should play in British politics had become unclear, and the ongoing existence of the monarchy was by no means certain. Victoria’s rule would change that–during her long reign, Britain made its transition to a constitutional monarchy, even as Victoria’s influence on British society ensured the continuance of the crown itself. One hundred and seventy-five years after her coronation, explore a few facts about the queen who lent her name to an era.
1.She was barely five feet tall.
Queen Victoria’s outspoken nature and imposing reputation belied her tiny stature–the monarch was no more than five feet tall. In her later years, she also grew to an impressive girth. Some accounts claim she had a 50-inch waist by the end of her life, a conclusion supported by the impressive size of a nightgown and pair of bloomers (underwear) belonging to Victoria that were auctioned off in 2009.
2.She proposed to her husband, Prince Albert, and not vice versa.
Victoria first met her future husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, when she was 16. He was her first cousin, the son of her mother’s brother; their mutual uncle, the ambitious Leopold, engineered the meeting with the idea that the two should marry. Victoria enjoyed Albert’s company from the beginning, and with Leopold’s encouragement she proposed to Albert (as she was the queen, he could not propose to her) on October 15, 1839, five days after he arrived at Windsor on a trip to the English court. They were married the following year. Their marriage was passionate — she wrote in her diary that “Without him everything loses its interest” — and produced nine children. On the other hand, Victoria was notoriously disenchanted by pregnancy and childbirth, calling it the “shadow-side of marriage.”
3.She was raised by a single mother, and later became a single mother herself.
Victoria was the only child of Edward, duke of Kent, the fourth son of King George III. Her father died of pneumonia in 1820, when Victoria was less than a year old, and she was raised primarily at Kensington Palace, where she lived with her mother, the German-born Victoria Saxe-Saalfield-Coburg, duchess of Kent. Third in line for the throne (after the duke of York, who died in 1827, and the duke of Clarence, third son of George III, who would become William IV), the future queen became estranged from her mother, who was driven by the influence of her advisor Sir John Conroy to isolate the young Victoria from her contemporaries as well as her father’s family. Instead, Victoria relied on the counsel of her beloved uncle Leopold, as well as her governess Louise (afterward the Baroness) Lehzen, a native of Coburg. When she became queen and moved to Buckingham Palace, Victoria exiled her mother to a distant set of apartments and fired Conroy. After Albert’s untimely death from typhoid fever in 1861, Victoria descended into depression, and even after her recovery she would remain in mourning for the rest of her life.
4.Queen Victoria was the first known carrier of hemophilia, an affliction that would become known as the “Royal disease.”
Hemophilia, a blood clotting disorder caused by a mutation on the X chromosome, can be passed along the maternal line within families; men are more likely to develop it, while women are usually carriers. Sufferers can bleed excessively, since their blood does not properly coagulate, leading to extreme pain and even death. Victoria’s son Leopold, Duke of Albany, died from blood loss after he slipped and fell; her grandson Friedrich bled to death at age 2, while two other grandsons, Leopold and Maurice, died of the affliction in their early 30s. As Victoria’s descendants married into royal families throughout the Europe, the disease spread from Britain to the nobility of Germany, Russia and Spain. Recent research involving DNA analysis on the bones of the last Russian royal family, the Romanovs (who were executed in 1918 after the Bolshevik Revolution) revealed that Victoria’s descendants suffered from a subtype of the disorder, hemophilia B, which is far less common than hemophilia A and now appears to be extinct in the European royal lines.
6.At least six serious assassination attempts were made against Victoria during her reign — most of which while she was riding in a carriage.
In 1840, an 18-year-old named Edward Oxford fired two shots at the young queen’s carriage while she was riding in London. Accused of high treason, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Another would-be assassin, John Francis, made not one but two attempts to shoot the queen in her carriage in 1842. That same year, young John William Bean tried to fire a gun loaded with paper and tobacco at the queen, but the charge was insufficient. Two more carriage attacks came in 1849 and 1850–the first by “angry Irishman” William Hamilton and the second by ex-Army officer Robert Pate, who hit the queen with his cane. Finally, in March 1882, a disgruntled Scottish poet named Roderick Maclean shot at Victoria with a pistol while her carriage was leaving the Windsor train station. It was supposedly Maclean’s eighth attempt to assassinate the queen; he was also found to be insane, and sentenced to life in an asylum. In the wake of an assassination attempt, Victoria’s popularity usually soared among the British public.
The sack-back gown or robe à la française was a women’s fashion of the 18th century.At the beginning of the century, the sack-back gown was a very informal style of dress.
At its most informal, it was unfitted both front and back and called a sacque, contouche, or robe battante. By the 1770s the sack-back gown was second only to court dress in its formality.
This style of gown had fabric at the back arranged in box pleatswhich fell loose from the shoulder to the floor with a slight train. In front, the gown was open, showing off a decorative stomacher and petticoat. It would have been worn with a wide square hoop or panniers under the petticoat.Scalloped ruffles often trimmed elbow-length sleeves, which were worn with separate frills called engageantes.
The casaquin (popularly known from the 1740s onwards as a pet-en-l’air) was an abbreviated version of the robe à la française worn as a jacket for informal wear with a matching or contrasting petticoat.The skirt of the casaquin was knee-length but gradually shortened until by the 1780s it resembled a peplum.
Woven linen pet-en-l’air with sack back, worn with a matching petticoat. France or England, c.1770s. LACMA M.67.8.74
The loose box pleats which are a feature of this style are sometimes called Watteau pleats from their appearance in the paintings of Antoine Watteau.The various Watteau terms, such as Watteau pleat, Watteau back, Watteau gown etc., date from the mid-19th century rather than reflecting authentic 18th century terminology, and normally describe 19th and 20th century revivals of the sack-back.
A popular story, traced back to the correspondence of Élisabeth Charlotte d’Orléans, Duchess d’Orléans, is that the earliest form of the sack-back gown, the robe battante, was invented as maternity clothing in the 1670s by Louis XIV‘s mistress to conceal her clandestine pregnancies.
However, people would comment: “Madame de Montespan has put on her robe battante, therefore she must be pregnant.” A similar story is associated with Marie Louise Élisabeth d’Orléans, Duchess of Berry, who during the French Regency of 1715-1723 was known for wearing this style of gown which showcased her bosom and face whilst, as with Madame de Montespan, disguising illicit pregnancies.
It is a 5.17-metre (17.0 ft) marble statue of a standing male nude. The statue represents the Biblical hero David, a favoured subject in the art of Florence. Originally commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roofline of the east end of Florence Cathedral, the statue was placed instead in a public square, outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence, where it was unveiled on 8 September 1504.
The history of the statue begins before Michelangelo‘s work on it from 1501 to 1504.
Prior to Michelangelo’s involvement, the Overseers of the Office of Works of Florence Cathedral, consisting mostly of members of the influential woolen cloth guild, the Arte della Lana, had plans to commission a series of twelve large Old Testament sculptures for the buttresses of the cathedral.
In 1410 Donatello made the first of the statues, a figure of Joshua in terracotta. A figure of Hercules, also in terracotta, was commissioned from the Florentine sculptor Agostino di Duccio in 1463 and was made perhaps under Donatello’s direction. Eager to continue their project, in 1464, the Operai contracted Agostino to create a sculpture of David. A block of marble was provided from a quarry inCarrara, a town in the Apuan Alps in northern Tuscany. Agostino only got as far as beginning to shape the legs, feet and the torso, roughing out some drapery and probably gouging a hole between the legs. His association with the project ceased, for reasons unknown, with the death of Donatello in 1466, and ten years later Antonio Rossellino was commissioned to take up where Agostino had left off.
Rossellino’s contract was terminated soon thereafter, and the block of marble remained neglected for 25 years, all the while exposed to the elements in the yard of the cathedral workshop. This was of great concern to the Opera authorities, as such a large piece of marble was not only costly but represented a large amount of labour and difficulty in its transportation to Florence. In 1500, an inventory of the cathedral workshops described the piece as “a certain figure of marble called David, badly blocked out and supine.”
A year later, documents showed that the Operai were determined to find an artist who could take this large piece of marble and turn it into a finished work of art. They ordered the block of stone, which they called The Giant, “raised on its feet” so that a master experienced in this kind of work might examine it and express an opinion. Though Leonardo da Vinci and others were consulted, it was Michelangelo, only 26 years old, who convinced the Operai that he deserved the commission. On 16 August 1501, Michelangelo was given the official contract to undertake this challenging new task.He began carving the statue early in the morning on 13 September, a month after he was awarded the contract. He would work on the massive statue for more than two years.
On 25 January 1504, when the sculpture was nearing completion, Florentine authorities had to acknowledge there would be little possibility of raising the more than 6-ton statue to the roof of the cathedral.They convened a committee of 30 Florentine citizens that comprised many artists, including Leonardo da Vinci and Sandro Botticelli, to decide on an appropriate site for David.
While nine different locations for the statue were discussed, the majority of members seem to have been closely split between two sites. One group, led by Giuliano da Sangallo and supported by da Vinci and Piero di Cosimo, among others, believed that, due to the imperfections in the marble, the sculpture should be placed under the roof of the Loggia dei Lanzi on Piazza della Signoria; the other group thought it should stand at the entrance to the Palazzo della Signoria, the city’s town hall (now known as Palazzo Vecchio). Another opinion, supported by Botticelli, was that the sculpture should be situated on or near the cathedral. In June 1504, David was installed next to the entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio, replacing Donatello’s bronze sculpture of Judith and Holofernes, which embodied a comparable theme of heroic resistance. It took four days to move the statue the half mile from Michelangelo’s workshop into the Piazza della Signoria. Later that summer the sling and tree-stump support were gilded, and the figure was given a gilded loin-garland.
In 1873 the statue of David was removed from the piazza, to protect it from damage, and displayed in the Accademia Gallery, Florence, where it attracts many visitors. A replica was placed in the Piazza della Signoria in 1910.
In 1991, a man attacked the statue with a hammer he had concealed beneath his jacket; in the process of damaging the toes of the left foot, he was restrained.
On 12 November 2010, a fiberglass replica of the David was installed on the roofline of Florence Cathedral, for one day only. Photographs of the installation reveal the statue the way the Operai who commissioned the work originally expected it to be seen.
In 2010, a dispute over the ownership of David arose when, based on a legal review of historical documents, the Italian Culture Ministry claimed ownership of the statue in opposition to the city of Florence, where it has always been located. Florence disputes the state claim.