Primavera (painting) Sandro Botticelli.

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.

 

Composition.

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.

File:Primavera 03.jpg
Venus standing in her arch

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.

 

Themes.

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 Image result for flora in the spring botticelliused 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;[9] 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.

 

History.

The origin of the painting is somewhat unclear. It may have been created in response to a request in 1477 of Lorenzo de’ Medici,or it may have been commissioned somewhat later by Lorenzo or his cousin Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici.[22][23] One theory suggests Lorenzo commissioned the portrait to celebrate the birth of his nephew Giulio di Giuliano de’ Medici (who would one day become Pope), but changed his mind after the assassination of Giulo’s father, his brother Giuliano, having it instead completed as a wedding gift for Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici, who married in 1482.

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.

Annunci

Sack-back gown

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.

 

 

 

David (Michelangelo)

David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created between 1501 and 1504 by 'David' by Michelangelo JBU0001.JPGMichelangelo.

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.

Commission

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.

Placement

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.

 

Later history

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.

 

Muse of Artists –Jeanne Hébuterne

Jeanne Hébuterne (6 April 1898 – 25 January 1920) was a French artist, best known as the frequent subject and common-law wife of the artist Amedeo Modigliani.

She was born in Meaux, Seine-et-Marne to a Roman Catholic family. Her father, Achille Casimir Hébuterne, worked at Le Bon Marché department store.

A beautiful girl, she was introduced to the artistic community in Montparnasse by her brother André Hébuterne who wanted to become a painter. She met several of the then-starving artists and modelled for Tsuguharu Foujita.

However, wanting to pursue a career in the arts, and with a talent for drawing, she chose to study at the Académie Colarossi. It was there in the spring of 1917 that Jeanne Hébuterne was introduced to Amedeo Modigliani by the sculptor Chana Orloff (1888–1968) who came with many other artists to take advantage of the Academy’s live models. Jeanne began an affair with the charismatic artist, and the two fell deeply in love. She soon moved in with him, despite strong objection from her parents.

Described by the writer Charles-Albert Cingria (fr) (1883–1954) as gentle, shy, quiet, andJeanne Hebuterne seated.jpg delicate, Jeanne Hébuterne became a principal subject for Modigliani’s art. In the fall of 1918, the couple moved to the warmer climate of Nice on the French Riviera where Modigliani’s agent hoped he might raise his profile by selling some of his works to the wealthy art connoisseurs who wintered there. While they were in Nice, their daughter was born on 29 November. The following spring, they returned to Paris and Jeanne became pregnant again. By this time, Modigliani was suffering from tuberculous meningitis and his health, made worse by complications brought on by substance abuse, was deteriorating badly.

On 24 January 1920 Amedeo Modigliani died. Jeanne Hébuterne’s family brought her to their home but Jeanne, totally distraught, threw herself out of the fifth-floor apartment window the day after Modigliani’s death, killing herself and her unborn child.[3][5] Her family, who blamed her demise on Modigliani, interred her in the Cimetière de Bagneux. Nearly ten years later, the Hébuterne family finally relented and allowed her remains to be transferred to Père Lachaise Cemetery to rest beside Modigliani. Her epitaph reads: “Devoted companion to the extreme sacrifice.”

Their orphaned daughter, Jeanne Modigliani (1918–84), was adopted by her father’s sister in Florence, Italy. She grew up knowing virtually nothing of her parents and as an adult began researching their lives. In 1958, she wrote a biography of her father that was published in the English language in the United States as Modigliani: Man and Myth.

 

George S. Stuart Dolls

George Stuart (born 1929) is an American sculptor, raconteur and historian. He has traveled the United States presenting historical monologues about the last four centuries in the Americas, Europe, Russia and China. Stuartprofileleft.jpg

He has created more than 400 “Historical Figures” in groups to complement his performances.

The groups include, American Revolutionary and Civil Wars (Samuel Adams to Abraham Lincoln), English Monarchies (Henry VII to Edward VII), Bourbon Dynasty (Henry IV to Charles X), Czarist Russia (Ivan IV to Joseph Stalin) Manchu Dynasty (Nurhachi to Mao Tse-Tung, Renaissance & Reformation (various rulers and clergy), Conquest of the Americas (Columbus to John Fremont), Really Awful People (history’s infamous), Warriors of the Ages, Germanic Myth & Legend (northern pantheon) and his earliest works. Stuart’s favorite figurine is that of Lincoln, which he describes as “…the most enjoyable thing I ever did. Truly compelling.”

Early Work.

 

Historical Figures of Italy

http://www.galleryhistoricalfigures.com/

Muse of Artists – Helena Fourment Rubens

Helena Fourment or Hélène Fourment (11 April 1614 – 15 July 1673) was the second wife of Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens. She was the subject of a few portraits by Rubens, and also modeled for other religious and mythological paintings.

Hélène Fourment was the daughter of Daniël Fourment, an Antwerp silk merchant, and Clara Stappaerts.

Hélène Fourment married Rubens on 6 December 1630, when she was 16 years old and he was aged 53. His first wife, Isabella Brant, had died in 1626. Hélène’s brother Daniël Fourment the younger was married to Clara Brant, the sister of Isabella. Daniël Fourment the elder was an art lover and possessed works by Rubens and Jacob Jordaens, and works by Italian masters; he also commissioned from Rubens a series of tapestries depicting the life of Achilles.

Rubens and Hélène Fourment had five children:

  • Clara-Joanna, baptized 18 January 1632; she married Phlips van Parys, knight
  • Franciscus, baptized 12 July 1633; he married Susanna-Gratiana Charles
  • Isabella-Helena, baptized 3 May 1635
  • Peter Paul, baptized 1 March 1637, became a priest
  • Constantia-Albertina, baptized 3 February 1641; became a nun

After the death of Rubens, Helena started a relationship with Jan-Baptist van Brouchoven, assessor and alderman of Antwerp, who later became Count of Bergeyk.On 9 October 1644 their son Jan van Brouchoven, the later second Count of Bergeyk and one of the most important politicians in the Southern Netherlands of his time, was born, and Helena and Jan-Baptist married in 1645. They had five further children together.

Hélène Fourment was said to be very beautiful, amongst others by the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Austria, then Governor of the Netherlands, stating that she was “undoubtedly the most beautiful one may see here”,and by the poet Jan Caspar Gevaerts, a friend of Rubens, who praised “Helen of Antwerp, who far surpasses Helen of Troy”.

 

Bella Rosenfeld Chagall (1895-1944)

chagall010Bella was born in Vitebsk, White Russia, the youngest of eight children of Shmuel Noah and Alta Rosenfeld.

Her parents, owners of a successful jewelry business, were members of the ḥasidic community and conducted their family life according to Jewish tradition. However, they also sought out secular education and opportunities for their children. Chagall, who was educated in Russian language schools, became a student in the Faculty of Letters at the University of Moscow in her teens; she was particularly interested in theater and art, and as a university student, she contributed articles to a Moscow newspaper.

In 1909, while visiting friends in St. Petersburg, she met Marc Chagall; their attraction was instantaneous and they were soon engaged.chagall-e-bella-Although both were from Vitebsk, their social worlds were far apart and the Rosenfelds were unhappy with the engagement.

The couple finally married in 1915 and their only child, Ida, was born the next year. In 1922, Marc Chagall moved his family to France. Bella was a constant subject in her husband’s art, often represented as a beloved bride. The Chagalls fled to the United States following the outbreak of World War II, arriving in New York in 1941.

Bella Chagall died in 1944 in the United States, apparently of a viral infection. Bella Chagall’s literary work included the editing and translation of her husband’s 1922 autobiography from Russian into French (Ma Vie, 1931; Eng. trans., My Life, 1960).

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Marc Chagall with Bella Rosenfeld, 1934

Her major work, Burning Lights (Brenendike Likht), written in Yiddish in France in 1939, was published posthumously in English in 1946. Chagall said that her visits to Jewish communities in Palestine in 1931 and Vilna in 1935 prompted her to write in Yiddish, her “faltering mother tongue.” In Burning Lights, Chagall arranges her reminiscences according to the calendar and observances of the Jewish year. Writing in the voice of her childhood self, Basha, she places female experience at the center of her luminous narrative.

Chagall’s selective portrait of her well-to-do urban family, living among and employing gentiles, successful in business, religiously active, and communally philanthropic, contrasts with contemporaneous depictions of the contained and impoverished Jewish life of the East European shtetl.

A great part of the genius of Brenendike Likht is Chagall’s ability to convey simultaneously the timelessness of traditional Jewish life and a dark foreboding prompted by the existential reality of East European Jewry in the 1930s. A second posthumous autobiographical volume, First Encounter, was published in 1983.