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Renaissance? Perceptions of Continuity and Discontinuity in Europe, c.1300–c.1550
 9789004183346, 2010028421

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Renaissance? Perceptions of Continuity and Discontinuity in Europe, c.1300–c.1550

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Renaissance? Perceptions of Continuity and Discontinuity in Europe, c.1300–c.1550 Edited by

Alexander Lee Pit Péporté Harry Schnitker

LEIDEN • BOSTON 2010

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On the cover: Albrecht Dürer, Feast of the Rose Garlands © National Gallery in Prague. This book is printed on acid-free paper. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Renaissance? : perceptions of continuity and discontinuity in Europe, c.1300–c.1550 / edited by Alexander Lee, Pit Péporté, Harry Schnitker. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-90-04-18334-6 1. Renaissance. 2. Continuity—Social aspects—Europe—History. 3. Perception— Social aspects—Europe—History. 4. Europe—Civilization—Classical influences 5. Europe—Intellectual life. 6. Arts, Renaissance. 7. Europe—Geography. 8. Europe—Social conditions. I. Lee, Alexander. II. Péporté, Pit. III. Schnitker, Harry. IV. Title. CB361.R46 2010 940.2’1—dc22 2010028421

ISBN 978 90 04 18334 6 Copyright 2010 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints Brill, Hotei Publishing, IDC Publishers, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers and VSP. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Koninklijke Brill NV provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910, Danvers, MA 01923, USA. Fees are subject to change. printed in the netherlands

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Dedicated to the memory of John Higgitt, late Reader in the History of Art, University of Edinburgh

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CONTENTS List of Illustrations ............................................................................ Acknowledgements ............................................................................ List of Contributors ...........................................................................

xi xv xvii

General Introduction ........................................................................ Stephen Bowd

1

PART ONE

THE RENAISSANCE AND THE CLASSICAL TRADITION Introduction: Veteris vestigia flammae? The ‘Rebirths’ of Antiquity .................................................................................... Luke Houghton

17

The Renaissance and the Middle Ages: Chronologies, Ideologies, Geographies ................................................................ Robert Black

27

Shakespeare and the ‘Tragedy’ of the Renaissance ...................... Robin Kirkpatrick

45

‘Humanitas Renata’ ........................................................................... Robin Sowerby

67

Machiavelli’s Appreciation of Greek Antiquity and the Ideal of ‘Renaissance’ .............................................................................. George Steiris

81

PART TWO

THE RENAISSANCE AND THE ARTS Introduction: Seeing is Believing? The Renaissance and the Arts ............................................................................................ Alexander Lee

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Vasari’s Rinascita: History, Anthropology or Art Criticism? ...... Matteo Burioni

115

The State of the Art ........................................................................... Rob C. Wegman

129

Brunelleschi’s Perspective Panels. Rupture and Continuity in the History of the Image .............................................................. Johannes Grave

161

Panofsky: Linear Perspective and Perspectives of Modernity ..... Rhys W. Roark

181

Michelangelo’s Mythologies ............................................................. Maria Ruvoldt

207

The Byzantine Influence on the Introduction of the Third Dimension and the Formation of Renaissance Art ................. Diotima Liantini

225

PART THREE

A WIDER RENAISSANCE? Introduction: A Wider Renaissance? ............................................. Alexander Lee

247

Northern Renaissance? Burgundy and Netherlandish Art in Fifteenth-Century Europe ............................................................ Hanno Wijsman

269

Forgotten Paths to ‘Another’ Renaissance: Prague and Bohemia, c.1400 ............................................................................. Klára Benešovská

289

A New World of the Mind? Renaissance Self-Perception and the Invention of Printing ............................................................. Andrew Pettegree

311

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The ‘Invention’ of Dürer as a Renaissance Artist ........................ Jeffrey Chipps Smith

331

Notes on the History of Renaissance Scholarship in Central Europe: Białostocki, Schlosser and Panofsky ........................... Ingrid Ciulisová

349

Index ....................................................................................................

359

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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 1. Johannes Ockeghem, Missa Ecce ancilla Domini (c.1470), Credo, bars 34–49 ....................................................................... 2. Guillaume Dufay, excerpt from Credo (1420s) ..................... 3. The Bapistery, San Giovanni, Florence ................................... 4. Brunelleschi’s peep-hole and mirror system for viewing his perspective demonstration of the Florentine Baptistery ..................................................................................... 5. Filippino Lippi, St. Philip Driving the Dragon from the Temple of Hieropolis, c.1493–95. Florence, S. Maria Novella, Cappella Strozzi .......................................................... 6. Domenico Veneziano, Madonna with Saints (Pala di S. Lucia), c.1445–47. Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi ............. 7. Unknown Master, Ideal City, c.1470. Berlin, Gemäldegalerie ............................................................................ 8. Visual Angles: Renaissance linear perspective vs. antique angle perspective .......................................................... 9. Abraham Receiving the Three Angels and The Sacrifice of Isaac, 548 ad, Ravenna, San Vitale ..................... 10. Antique perspective “fishbone” or “herringbone” construction based on the visual angle axiom ...................... 11. Roman wall painting from Boscoreale showing the fishbone or herringbone construction of angled perspective ................................................................................... 12. Italian Renaissance linear perspective: disregarding of the antique angle axiom ....................................................... 13. Last Supper, c.1250. Naumburg Cathedral ............................. 14. Michelangelo, The Rape of Ganymede, c.1533 (Vico). Cambridge MA, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Gifts for Special Uses Fund ............................ 15. Michelangelo, Bacchus, c.1496–7. Florence, Museo Nazionale del Bargello ............................................................... 16. Apollonios of Athens, The Belvedere Torso, 1st century bc. Vatican City, Museo Pio Clementino, Vatican Museums ....................................................................... 17. Michelangelo, The separation of light from darkness (detail). Vatican City, Sistine Chapel ......................................

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list of illustrations

18. Giovanni Bellini, The Feast of the Gods, 1514–29. Washington DC, National Gallery of Art, Widener Collection, 1942.9.1 .................................................................... 19. Titian, The Worship of Venus, c.1518. Madrid, Museo del Prado. Photo ............................................................ 20. After Michelangelo, Leda and the Swan, sixteenth century. London, National Gallery .......................................... 21. The Betrayal of Christ. Ravenna, S. Apollinare Nuovo ........ 22. Head of Christ. Strasbourg, Musée de l’Œuvre Notre Dame de Strasbourg ................................................................... 23. Christ in Majesty (detail). Sant Climent de Taüll (Institut Amatller d’Art Hispanic) ........................................... 24. Christ Panocrator. Athens, the Monastic Church of Daphni .......................................................................................... 25. Cimabue, Madonna Enthroned. Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi .................................................................................... 26. Giotto, Madonna Enthroned (Ognissanti Madonna). Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi ................................................... 27. Manuel Panselinos, Madonna Enthroned. Mount Athos, Monastery of Protato .................................................... 28. Lamentation of Christ. Nerezi, Monastery of St. Paneleimon .................................................................................. 29. Giotto, Lamentation of Christ. Assisi, Basilica di S. Francesco, Upper Church ..................................................... 30. Giotto, Lamentation of Christ. Padua, Arena Chapel .......... 31. Masaccio, Madonna Enthroned. London, National Gallery .......................................................................................... 32. Bohemian Reliquary Cross. Prague, Metropolitní kapitula u sv. Víta ....................................................................... 33. Jan Kozel and Michael Peterle of Annaberg, Panorama of Prague, detail showing Charles Bridge and the Old Town, 1562 ........................................................... 34. Director fabricae Wenceslas Radec, c.1380. Prague, St. Vitus’ Cathedral, triforium .................................................. 35. Sequence showing the donation of relics, detail of Charles IV. Karlstein, Chapel of Our Lady ............................ 36. Reliquary cross showing the donation of the relic of Christ’s loincloth by Pope Urban V in Rome in 1368, detail of Charles IV and Urban V. Prague, Metropolitní kapitula u sv. Víta ...............................................

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37. Martin and George of Cluj, St. George killing the Dragon, 1373. Prague, Collections of Prague Castle ............................ 38. Virgin and Child (detail), c.1380–93. Prague, Altenmarkt in Pongau, Pfarrgemeinde ................................... 39. King Wenceslas trapped inside the letter ‘W’. Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, cod. lat. 2759, fol. 38r .......................................................................................... 40. Vault of the chapel in Wenceslas’ residence Vlašský dvůr at Kutná Hora, around 1400. Kutná Hora ................... 41. William Bell Scott, Albrecht Dürer on the Balcony of His House, 1854, oil on canvas. Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland ..................................................................... 42. Albrecht Dürer, All Saints (Landauer) Altarpiece, 1509–11, oil on panel and wooden frame. Painting: Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum. Frame: Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum ....................... 43. Albrecht Dürer, All Saints (Landauer) Altarpiece, detail of self-portrait, 1509–11 ................................................. 44. Carl Gehrts, Art of the Renaissance, 1187, oil on canvas. Düsseldorf, Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf im Ehrenhof ........... 45. Statue of Albrect Dürer, stone, completed before 1891 after a plan by Gottfried Semper. Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, balustrade of the Maria Theresien Platz (or main) façade ............................................. 46. Albrecht Dürer, Knight, Death, and the Devil, 1513, engraving. Berlin, Staatliche Museen ......................................

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335 336 340

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The present volume is the result of a conference held at the University of Edinburgh between 31 August and 1 September 2007, and has benefited enormously from the kindness and generosity of a wide range of people. Of these, the editors would like to express their greatest thanks to the honorary chairpersons of the original conference, Prof. Judith Green and Dr. Stephen Bowd. For their unfailing support, helpful advice and boundless encouragement, we are profoundly grateful. Heartfelt thanks are also due to the administrative staff in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh for their kind assistance with so many matters over the months. Both conference and publication have been assisted greatly by financial assistance from a number of sources, and the editors would like to thank the following organisations for their support: the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Blackwell, Brill, the British Academy, the Embassy of the Czech Republic, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, the Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies Programme at the University of Edinburgh, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Society for Renaissance Studies. In preparing this volume, the editors have been extremely fortunate to work with Boris van Gool and Rosanna Woensdregt at Brill: their patience, help and forbearance have been truly marvellous and we should like to thank them very deeply.

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LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS Klára Benešovská, Institute of Art History, Czech Academy of Sciences Robert Black, University of Leeds Stephen Bowd, University of Edinburgh Matteo Burioni, Ludwig-MaximilianUniversität, Munich Ingrid Ciulisová, Institute of Art History, Slovak Academy of Sciences Johannes Grave, Centre Allemand d’Histoire de l’Art, Paris Luke Houghton, University of Glasgow Robin Kirkpatrick, University of Cambridge Alexander Lee, University of Warwick & University of Luxembourg Diotima Liantini, University of Athens

Pit Péporté, University of Luxembourg Andrew Pettegree, University of St. Andrews Rhys W. Roark, University of Central Oklahoma Maria Ruvoldt, Fordham University Harry Schnitker, Maryvale Institute, Birmingham Jeffrey Chipps Smith, University of Texas at Austin Robin Sowerby, University of Stirling George Steiris, University of Athens Rob C. Wegman, Princeton University Hanno Wijsman, Leiden University

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GENERAL INTRODUCTION Stephen Bowd The ‘Renaissance’ has proved a remarkably durable concept and despite the pronouncements of some Renaissance scholars it shows no sign of disappearing from the titles and contents of a huge number of books, journals, articles, conferences, seminars, or course syllabi.1 Nor have the large and growing centres, networks, organisations and individuals concerned with promoting the Renaissance seriously questioned the appropriateness of the term in their titles or ‘mission statements’ although they have, in the English-speaking world at least, occasionally co-opted the term ‘early modern’ to satisfy political or scholarly differences and demands.2 Both ‘Renaissance’ and ‘early modern’ contain implicit or explicit teleological assumptions about the transition from the ‘medieval’ to ‘modern’ worlds which have a venerable lineage. It is well known that in his highly influential work The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy: an essay (1860) the Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt (1818–97) located the origins of ‘the modern political spirit’ in the Italian republics and courts which arose in the period after c.1300. Moreover, Burckhardt’s analysis of the ‘development of the individual’ and the ‘discovery of world and of man’ in the same book seems to have been predicated on a modernising teleology in which the autonomous individual was increasingly conscious of his personal abilities and confident of his place in the wider world.3 All of these assumptions have come under attack from different quarters during the last William J. Bouwsma, ‘The Renaissance and the Drama of Western History’, in Bouwsma, A Usable Past: essays in European cultural history (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1990), 348–65. This was originally published (with the same title) in the American Historical Review 84 (Feb. 1979): 1–15. 2 The recent publication of volumes in the series Il Rinascimento italiano (Angelo Colla editore) notwithstanding my impression is that Italian scholars have used the terms ‘quattrocento’ and ‘cinquecento’ more frequently than the label ‘Rinascimento’. As Marco Gentile has recently remarked the latter term is considered inaccurate and pretentious by many Italian scholars: ‘Guelfi, ghibellini, Rinascimento. Nota introduttiva’, in Guelfi e ghibellini nell’Italia del Rinascimento, ed. Marco Gentile (Rome, 2005), vii–viii. 3 Jacob Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy: an essay, trans. L. Goldscheider, 4th rev. ed. (London, 1951), 2, pt. II. 1

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seventy years as modernity itself has experienced a ‘crisis’, but the terrain mapped out by Burkhardt is still the most familiar, flexible and enduring one available to both the scholar and the ‘lay’ reader. However, durability and flexibility, as well as periodic and ‘complete regeneration’ or rebirth,4 are the chief characteristics of myth. A great deal of the discussion of the Renaissance, by no means all of it hostile, has revolved around its mythic status in European historical thought and particularly the extent to which it can be taken as an ‘entirely new beginning’ in European culture.5 This is a myth with very deep roots. In 1338 the Tuscan-born poet and scholar Francesco Petrarch (1304–74) appealed to the mythic language of the classical Roman poet Virgil in an address to his epic Africa: But if you [i.e. the poem], as is the hope and desire of my mind, will long live after me, better ages are in store. The sleep of forgetfulness will not continue in all the years to come. Once the darkness has been broken, our descendants will perhaps be able to return to the pure, pristine radiance.6

Petrarch’s conception of the ‘dark ages’ or ‘shadows’ that stood between his own time and the world of Virgilian Rome drew on classical myth and history but it was also a conception shaped by Christian eschatology and ecclesiology.7 The durability of this idea was again evident in 1553 when the French naturalist Pierre Belon (1517–64) observed that his patron Cardinal Tournon had roused the slumbering spirits of men from their accustomed ignorance and had begun to chase away the shadows in which they had lived for so long. Like new plants brought to life by the warmth of spring sunshine after the winter men might through the application of ‘bonnes disciplines’ give

Mircea Eliade, ‘The Myths of the Modern World’, in his Myths, Dreams and Mysteries: the encounter between contemporary faiths and archaic realities, trans. Philip Mairet (London, 1960), 28. 5 Ibid. 6 Quoted in Ernst H. Gombrich, ‘The Renaissance—Period or Movement?’, in Renaissance Thought, ed. Robert Black (London and New York, 2001), 24. Originally published (with the same title) in Arthur G. Dickens et al., Background to the English Renaissance. Introductory Lectures (London, 1974), 9–30. 7 Theodor E. Mommsen, ‘Petrarch’s Conception of the “Dark Ages” ’, in The Italian Renaissance: the essential readings, ed. Paula Findlen (Oxford, 2002), 219–36. Originally published (with the same title) in Speculum 17 (1942): 226–42; Robert Black, ‘The Donation of Constantine: a new source for the concept of the Renaissance?’, in Language and Images of Renaissance Italy, ed. Alison Brown (Oxford, 1995), 51–85. 4

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rise to a happy and desirable ‘renaissance’.8 Similar claims about a ‘new art’ of music and literature were made in Italy, France, and the Low Countries after c.1300, as the writers of many of the papers published in this volume point out.9 Many of these claims have formed the basis for the canonical writings on the Renaissance produced since the nineteenth century. However, there has been a decreasing willingness to accept such self-congratulation as reliable evidence for the existence of a ‘Renaissance’ period or movement as an objective historical fact. At the same time there has been an increased tendency to treat these words as subjective impressions conditioned by purely local concerns rather than as views with universal application. Questions of Renaissance ‘self-definition’ or ‘self-deception’ were confidently addressed by the German art historian Erwin Panofsky (1892–1968) when he gave his lectures on ‘The Renaissance Problem in the History of Art’ at a series of seminars organised by the University of Uppsala in 1952.10 For Panofsky, the revival of ancient learning and antique forms—which stood at the heart of many contemporary and more recent claims about the new age or Renaissance—was of a very different quality from the renovatio of Antiquity in the eighthcentury Carolingian empire or the ‘renascence’ of the twelfth century. The men and women of these latter ages were too close to Antiquity to achieve the sustained and creative ‘passionate nostalgia’ which neutralised the classical world as a ‘possession and a menace’ from c.1300 onwards.11 Thus, medieval scholars and artists were happy to use Latin script or classical motifs when it served their administrative or stylistic purposes but their familiarity with the ancient world led them to feel confident—or cowed—enough to marry the antique to the non-classical, and especially Christian, concerns of their own age. This ‘principal of disjunction’ by which Greek and Trojan heroes and heroines were depicted in medieval armour or dress and by which Aristotle was Christianised eventually gave way to a more ‘objective’ eye which recognised the otherness of the ancient world and emphasised individual Quoted in Lynn Thorndike, ‘Renaissance or Prerenaissance?’, Journal of the History of Ideas 4 (1943): 65–74, here 68. 9 For example, see the essays by Hanno Wijsman and Rob C. Wegman in this volume. 10 Subsequently published as Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art, 2 vols in 1 (Stockholm, 1960). I quote from the title of the first chapter of this book. Some of his arguments originally appeared in his ‘Renaissance and Renascences’, The Kenyon Review 6 (1944): 201–36. 11 E. Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences, 113. 8

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innovation and departures from medieval tradition. In artistic terms, according to Panofsky, the use of a focused perspective ‘permitted a total and rationalized view’ of space.12 In a similar fashion the humanists of the Renaissance studied Latin and Greek, as well as Hebrew and other ancient languages, with the understanding that Ciceronian Latin and Aristotelian Greek signified a lost world whose values they nevertheless yearned to emulate and whose world they aimed to study and reconstruct. As Panofsky explained in an electrifying and haunting pair of images: ‘The Middle Ages had left antiquity unburied and alternatively galvanized and exorcised its corpse. The Renaissance stood weeping at its grave and tried to resurrect its soul.’13 This ‘resurrected soul’ was abstract and elusive and largely on that account it was also ‘persuasive’. However, for all its evanescence the spirit of the Renaissance in Panofsky’s account pervaded the modern world in some surprisingly concrete or practical forms: In the Middle Ages there was in relation to the Antique a cyclical succession of assimilative and non-assimilative stages. Since the Renaissance the Antique has been constantly with us, whether we like it or not. It lives in our mathematics and natural sciences. It has built our theatres and cinemas as opposed to the medieval mystery stage. It haunts the speech of our cab-driver—not to mention the motor mechanic or radio expert—as opposed to that of the mediaeval peasant.14

A confidence in the human ability to describe a period of time or space from a fixed point with a good measure of objective understanding was therefore one of the most important and enduring legacies of the Renaissance for Panofsky.15 In some measure the ‘essence’ of the Renaissance lay in the tension between the ‘estrangement’ from the past on the one hand which fostered this objectivity, and on the other a ‘sense of affinity’ which simultaneously fuelled a ‘nostalgic vision’

Ibid., 108. Ibid., 113. 14 Ibid., 108. On the educational legacy of the Renaissance see John O’Malley, ‘Paul Grendler and the triumph of the Renaissance: a reminiscence and some thoughts’, in The Renaissance in the Streets, Schools, and Studies: essays in honour of Paul F. Grendler, ed. Konrad Eisenbichler and Nicholas Terpstra (Toronto, 2008), 323–43. 15 Erwin Panofsky, ‘Die Perspektive als symbolische Form’, Vorträge der Bibliothek Warburg 1924/25 (Leipzig, 1927): 258–330; Panofsky, Perspective as Symbolic Form, trans. Christopher S. Wood (New York, 1991). 12 13

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of the past.16 Panofsky’s periodisation itself thus had its origins in the Renaissance sense of time and history. Moreover, his claims about the Renaissance were made with a quasi-scientific confidence in the objective viewpoint and with some claim to mathematical and scientific understanding.17 Panofsky did not simply accept at face value what the men and women of the Renaissance claimed about their period, but identified the birth of a wholly new way of looking at time and space. In this way the distinctive ‘physiognomy’ of an age could be recognised and studied even if Panofsky was careful to disclaim any wish to elevate any ‘megaperiod’ such as the ‘Renaissance’ to the level of an ‘explanatory principle’.18 Despite the protests of medievalists and historians of philosophy who questioned the claims of Panofsky and others about the existence of distinctive and enduringly ‘Renaissance’ values or the scholarly tendency to identify distinct ‘ages’ the idea of the Renaissance as a new period and as a movement continued to flourish in the decades after the publication of Panofsky’s lectures.19 For example, in a popular synoptic history of the Italian Renaissance first published in 1961, Denys Hay (1915–94), Professor of Medieval History at the University of Edinburgh, expressed his belief that a synthetic account of the ‘style of living’ both of the Renaissance in Italy and Italy during the Renaissance was not impossible nor ‘uncalled for’.20 Indeed, he based his modest confidence in the survey he presented in 1961 on a belief that the influential synthetic interpretation of Jacob Burckhardt was not only still valid, albeit with some modifications, but ready for refinement rather than wholesale reform. As Hay asserted: ‘we are detached from the Renaissance, as nineteenth-century scholars were not, [and]

E. Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences, 210. Panofsky’s comments about the ‘spatio-temporal structure’ in the ‘world of history’ summon up the age of Einstein. E. Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences, 3, n. 2. It may be no coincidence that Panofsky was a friend of the Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli (1900–58) who wrote a standard work on the theory of relativity. 18 E. Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences, 4, 3 (quoting George Boas, see below n. 19). 19 Ernst Cassirer, Francis R. Johnson, Paul Oskar Kristeller, Dean P. Lockwood and Lynn Thorndike, ‘Some Remarks on the Question of the Originality of the Renaissance’, Journal of the History of Ideas 4 (1943): 49–74; George Boas, ‘Historical Periods’, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 11 (1953): 248–54. 20 Denys Hay, The Italian Renaissance in its Historical Background (Cambridge, 1966), 5. 16 17

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we can . . . begin to judge it more surely’.21 Denys Hay’s arguments for the distinctiveness of the Renaissance as period and a movement were made with an appreciation of the achievements of the Middle Ages and with some effort to avoid making the Renaissance the ‘herald’ of the modern age. The following question posed by Hay, and answered by Panofsky above (although it is not clear whether Hay knew of his lectures in 1961),22 hints at Hay’s underlying preoccupations: What has the Renaissance contributed to the railway engine, the aeroplane, mass education and the ideal of popular government? We live in a world where Latin letters are remote from our present anxieties and pleasures, where even our art and architecture have left the norms set up in the sixteenth century. Beyond that, we live, for better and for worse, in one world: Africa, Asia, the Americas are daily present, politically and economically and culturally, in our Europe; as Europe is present elsewhere . . . This modern world emerged out of its predecessor.23

Hay’s rather conservative ambivalence about the modern world here seems to echo Burckhardt’s own unease with aspects of economic and social modernity and nationalism in his own time.24 Equally, Hay’s discussion of political centralisation, the rise of the merchant and the growth of lay concerns during the Renaissance reveal an underlying thesis which is in fact not so very far removed from that elaborated by Burkhardt almost exactly a century earlier. The political and social shocks of the 1960s were certainly more keenly felt in North America than in Hay’s Edinburgh where a grey Presbyterian consensus was the rule.25 Conscious that ‘modernity’ itself was a concept in a state of flux, if not crisis, and that the myth of the Renaissance as the birthplace of the modern world was under threat, William Bouwsma (1923–2004) circled his wagons as president of the American Historical Society and in 1978 declared that

Ibid., xi. Panofsky’s book is not included in the bibliography of the unrevised 1966 edition of Hay’s survey. 23 D. Hay, Italian Renaissance, 14. 24 Lionel Gossman, Basel in the Age of Burkhardt: a study in unseasonable ideas (Chicago, 2000). 25 Paul F. Grendler, The European Renaissance in American Life (Westport, CT, 2006); Anthony Molho, ‘The Italian Renaissance: Made in the USA’, in Imagine Histories: American historians interpret the past, ed. Anthony Molho and Gordon S. Wood (Princeton, 1998), 263–94. 21 22

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the venerable Renaissance label has become little more than an administrative convenience, a kind of blanket under which we huddle together less out of mutual attraction than because, for certain purposes, we have nowhere else to go.26

Like the myth of Venice, about which Bouwsma knew a great deal,27 the sustaining ‘myths’ of the Renaissance had become threadbare or unproductive. Bouwsma further observed that historians were compensating for the Renaissance myth’s gradual loss of appeal with an array of ‘scientific’ social studies of cities, neighbourhoods and relationships in Italy after c.1300. These studies stripped Renaissance man bare and asked what the Renaissance meant to women and others largely excluded from earlier accounts.28 The artist as hero, or even the ‘hero as artist’,29 has become an embarrassing presence at the Renaissance feast although he—and it is still most often a man—continues to grip the popular imagination.30 This reflects the fact that in the three decades since Bouwsma issued his gloomy pronouncement the individual has had no small part to play in many aspects of western life, not least in the political arena. The new historicist school has placed the performative and anxiously ‘self-fashioning’ individual in the foreground of consciousness about the Renaissance.31 Both the fascination for the individual and a more sceptical approach to Renaissance myths are apparent, for example, in a recent study written by John Martin. Martin, who previously delved into the unorthodox beliefs and practices of Venetian artisans, shows W. J. Bouwsma, ‘The Renaissance and the Drama’, 350. William J. Bouwsma, Venice and the Defense of Republican Liberty: Renaissance values in the age of the Counter-Reformation (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1968. pbk ed., 1984). On the myth of Venice see James S. Grubb, ‘When Myths Lose their Power: four decades of Venetian historiography’, Journal of Modern History 58 (1986): 43–94; and Claudio Povolo, ‘The Creation of Venetian Historiography’, in Venice Reconsidered: the history and civilization of an Italian city-state, 1297–1797, ed. John Martin and Dennis Romano (Baltimore and London, 2000), 491–519. 28 For example, see Ronald F. E. Weissman, Ritual Brotherhood in Renaissance Florence (New York and London, 1982). 29 To cite the title of Episode 5 of the highly successful 1969 BBC television series: ‘Civilisation: a personal view by Lord Clark’. 30 The most frequently accessed article in the journal Renaissance Studies in 2007 was Monica Azzolini, ‘In Praise of Art: text and context of Leonardo’s Paragone and its critique of the arts and sciences’, Renaissance Studies, 19/4 (2005): 487–510. Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince (c.1513) is almost certainly the most widely read work of the Renaissance today. 31 Stephen Greenblatt, Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare (Chicago, 1980). 26 27

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how the ‘myths’ of Renaissance individualism obscure the variety of ways in which Renaissance men and women struggled to resolve the problem of the relation of their ‘inner experience’ to their ‘experience in the world’.32 Martin argues that this resolution took place in the production of what he labels ‘social’, ‘prudential’, ‘performative’, ‘porous’ or ‘sincere’ selves. Martin further suggests that the assertion of ‘self ’ in the Renaissance was also complicated by growing religious doubt and the pressing need to act prudently or to find a social role which offered some resolution of inner doubts. In place of man’s confidence in his divine similitude there arose ‘an increasingly complex dilemma of not knowing if those whom one addressed would ever understand one’s deepest feelings, concerns, or hopes.’33 Where once the boundaries between men and women had been ‘porous’, by the end of the sixteenth century men and women stood increasingly alone and were forced to rely on the new concept of ‘sincerity’, demonstrated in feeling and emotion, to create closer bonds. John Martin’s reflections on identity do not fundamentally undermine ‘the world-historical significance of the Renaissance as a movement’ of men and women engaging with Antiquity through their reading of its texts in new ways. Furthermore, he asserts that the idea of the Renaissance is an ‘invention’ which is still relevant to contemporaries.34 As Kenneth Gouwens has recently noted, the study of humanist reading practices after the ‘cognitive turn’ has opened a rich new seam of work for Renaissance scholars to explore.35 In particular, Gouwens has explored literary efforts to invent the idea of the Renaissance and he has argued that the humanists of the early sixteenth century responded to the crises of the French descent into Italy in 1494 and subsequent sacks and ‘reified’ the ‘Renaissance’ by ‘encapsulating [it] . . . conceptually and articulating a sense of distance from the recent past . . . much as Petrarch had initiated the humanists’ reification of antiquity.’36 In this way Gouwens invites a fresh interpretation of a generation of early sixteenth-century humanists who have often been dismissed as the authors of dry, technical, or insincere works and he John Martin, Myths of Renaissance Individualism (Basingstoke, 2004). Ibid., 117. 34 John Jeffries Martin, ‘The Renaissance: a world in motion’, in his The Renaissance World (London, 2007), 24. 35 Kenneth Gouwens, ‘Perceiving the Past: Renaissance humanism after the “cognitive turn” ’, American Historical Review 103 (1998): 55–82. 36 Ibid., 78. 32 33

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does usefully suggest how the ‘totality of the humanist encounter with antiquity’ can include the study of ‘less edifying texts’.37 The study of such encounters has therefore extended the terrain over which historians may debate the nature of the Renaissance. There may now be a ‘lost Italian Renaissance’ or even ‘Renaissances’ but the core of the beliefs which make up our interpretation of the Renaissance, as the essays in this volume demonstrate, remains strong enough to endure for some time to come.38 The papers which follow address the question of how historians from a wide variety of sub-disciplines should ‘read the Renaissance’ into the art, sculpture, literature, and music of Europe between c.1300 and c.1550.39 In doing so, many of the contributors suggest how the ‘Renaissance’ can be used as an elastic term subject to variations in ‘chronologies, ideologies, [and] geographies.’ Robert Black, whose sub-title I have just quoted, argues that ‘during the Renaissance, social, political and cultural developments were far too diffuse and complex to admit of such simplistic harmonisation as is suggested by Burckhardt’. His study focuses instead on the plurality of medieval educational theory and practice north and south of the Alps—especially as it relates to the revival of pagan Antiquity which has usually been taken to mark the core of the ‘Renaissance’. Like Black, Robin Sowerby explores the very different paths taken by humanist scholars within ‘the more general movement to classical Latin’. He also addresses the relative neglect by these humanists of some important aspects of Greek literature such as the works of Homer. It is clear from George Steiris’s contribution how Niccolò Machiavelli’s (1469–1527) appreciation of Greek Antiquity was circumscribed and moulded by his desire for a revival of arms not arts in sixteenth-century Italy, while Petrarch’s encounters with Cicero—as Black suggests—were shaped by his ecclesiology. By bringing pressing contemporary fears and concerns into focus through an examination of the French printing press, Andrew Pettegree explores the notion of the Renaissance as a period or movement of ‘progress’. He warns against ‘any easy doctrine of Renaissance progress’ in medical arts and counsels close attention to the humanist Ibid., 57. Christopher S. Celenza, The Lost Italian Renaissance: humanists, historians, and Latin’s legacy (Baltimore and London, 2004); Richard Mackenney, Renaissances: the cultures of Italy, c.1300–c.1600 (Houndmills, 2005). 39 I use Rob Wegman’s expression here. 37 38

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notion of progress as a recovery of the wisdom of the ancients. In a similar fashion, Rob Wegman, in discussing music, the Renaissance and Panofsky’s work argues that the claims of fifteenth-century music theorists like Johannes Tinctoris (c.1435–1511) have been distorted to fit in with a view of a ‘Renaissance’ in the arts which encompassed music. He notes that the musical achievement of Antiquity could hardly have played a significant role in such a Renaissance and that in fact there were no fundamental shifts in music between c.1300 and c.1600. Instead, he discusses how assertions about the ‘novae artis’ in music must be read as part of a rebuttal of late medieval eschatological fears in which stylistic changes in fashion and music played a key role. Of course, Wegman’s contribution takes the discussion of the Renaissance to the work Johann Huizinga (1872–1945) whose ‘waning’ or ‘autumn’ of the Middle Ages was marked by such apocalyptic fears as well as by an increasing stylistic sophistication in art, literature and sculpture. Huizinga’s admiration for Burckhardt did not prevent him rejecting the latter’s general thesis as it applied to France and the Low Countries, as Hanno Wijsman explains in his paper. Wijsman’s discussion of the Renaissance in Burgundy, like Ingrid Ciulisová’s consideration of Renaissance scholarship in central Europe since c.1890 and Jeffrey Chipps Smith’s exploration of the ‘invention’ of Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) as a Renaissance artist, highlight the way in which national identity and politics have been instrumental in creating a modern view of the Renaissance and of imbuing that concept with great power and resonance. Wijsman questions recent scholarship on the ‘Burgundian mode’ in the Renaissance, which was the result of extensive contact with Italy, and he suggests that the ‘new arts’ in Burgundy were only affected by Italian models tangentially, and that they rather served more local concerns. Klára Benešovská’s study of the art and humanism of the courts of Charles IV and Wenceslas IV in Prague also assesses the Italianate influence critically and offers striking evidence for the impact of local religious traditions and concerns. She suggests that the path taken by the Bohemian rulers may be understood as an ‘autumn’ of the Middle Ages or as the beginning of a ‘transalpine Renaissance’ cut short by religious turbulence. Ingrid Ciulisová shows how central European scholars tackled the problem of Italian influence when writing about the arts in their own nations during c.1400–c.1600. It is clear that some historians were content to propose alternative chronologies which obviated the need to show an Italianate influence and which undermined the axiomatic

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nature of the Renaissance division of medieval and modern. After the Second World War, she suggests that some art historians asserted core ‘humanist’ values as a counterpoint to communism. She points out how for Panofsky the study of the Neoplatonic philosophers played an ‘essential role’ in defence of humane values during Fascism and Communism. She quotes Panofsky: Philosophical and psychological theories, historical doctrines and all sorts of speculations and discoveries, have changed, and keep changing the lives of countless millions. Even he who merely transmits knowledge or learning participates, in his modest way in the process of shaping reality—of which fact the enemies of humanism and perhaps more keenly aware that its friends.40

Panofsky, the author of an essay on ‘Albrecht Dürer and Classical Antiquity’ in 1922, was well aware of the political and nationalist uses of Dürer in National Socialist Germany which are mentioned in Chipps Smith’s essay. Here we see German art historians responding to Burckhardt’s Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy within a few years of its appearance in order to promote the idea that Dürer introduced the Renaissance to Germany not simply as a conduit for Italian ideas, but also as a result of his own genius. ‘Genius’ was of course central to Giorgio Vasari’s (1511–74) Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects (1550, enlarged 1568) which shaped Italian art history for more than three centuries. Vasari outlined the growing status of the arts and artists after c.1300, the increasing engagement with the antique, and more particularly the creation of the illusion of space and depth in painting. Matteo Burioni explores Vasari’s biographical approach and by addressing the ways in which Vasari differentiated between the natural and artistic ‘vita’ of artists and highlighted the latter he shows how Vasari constructed a grand progressive narrative for art. Furthermore, Vasari’s reference in one instance to the ‘progresso della sua rinascita’ demonstrates how cyclical and linear models of history were combined for while ‘art is invariable, style has a history’. Johannes Grave and Rhys Roark explore the fundamental significance of perspective to the modern understanding of the Renaissance achievement in their contributions to this volume. In particular, both of them engage with Panofsky’s work on perspective either as a starting-point for a discussion of the contribution Erwin Panofsky: Meaning in the Visual Arts. Papers in and on Art History (Garden City, 1955), 23. 40

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of Filippo Brunelleschi’s (1377–1446) perspective panels, or or as the basis for an extended meditation on Panofsky. Both contributions modify some of Panofsky’s particular claims: Grave highlights the divergence between Brunelleschian intentions and subsequent artistic adaptations of perspectival illusion while Roark explores the historicity of Panofskian claims of an objective perspective in Renaissance art. In this latter respect, national political preoccupations are once again brought to light. At the climax of Vasari’s Lives stands the achievement of the sculptor, artist, architect, poet and engineer Michelangelo Buonarotti (1475–1564). Maria Ruvoldt outlines the ways in which Michelangelo’s engagement with the antique world began in the Florentine setting as a form of ‘visual humanism’ and was transformed in courtly Ferrara into a more playful and pleasurable mode before taking on more sombre and threatening form in his drawings on paper of the ascending Ganymede, plummeting Phaeton, and supine Tityus. Ruvoldt argues that Michelangelo’s marriage of antique subject matter with ‘a thoroughly modern medium’ in this way represents a determination to use ancient models as a ‘foundation on which to build a truly modern art’. Ruvoldt seems to imply that Michelangelo’s psychological complexity may speak to ‘modern’ preoccupations, although as she rightly notes the themes of ‘religious devotion and redemption’ in later works are very firmly rooted in ‘the atmosphere of post-Reformation Rome’ and are in a language which may be generally less appealing to the modern world than that of myth. At the end of the Renaissance—chronologically speaking—or even as a point of culmination and crisis, stands William Shakespeare (1564–1616) whose English ‘genius’ was elaborated and embellished at around the same time as that of the Renaissance.41 Robin Kirkpatrick judges Shakespeare’s Othello (c.1603) to be ‘the true tragedy of the Renaissance’. The tragedy which Shakespeare evokes arises from his exploration and exposure of the Renaissance myth of human beings living most truly in a civic relationship and the detachment with which, like Michelangelo, he appraises human excellence and the ‘fragile particulars’ of humanity. In Othello ‘humanity . . . is left alone to make, unmake and re-create itself by living through the consequences of its own actions’. The distance between London and Rome, Venice, or Verona perhaps lent force to mystification and disenchantment 41

Jonathan Bate, The Genius of Shakespeare (London, 1997), ch. 6.

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with the Renaissance: in Cymbeline (c.1611) Iachimo is an ‘Italian fiend whose Italian brain has worked its wiles in “duller Britain”.’ The verbal seductions (and absurdities) of the Renaissance are suggested by one key-hole view of Cressida: ‘There’s language in her eye, her cheek, her lips./Nay her foot speaks.’42 Finally, the limits of the Renaissance passion for words are suggested in Love’s Labour’s Lost (c.1595) where Rosaline deflates the verbal posturing which has marked the play and hopelessly demands that her lover: ‘Visit the speechless sick and still converse/With groaning wretches; and your task shall be,/With all the fierce endeavour of your wit/To enforce the pained impotent to smile’ (V. ii, 837–40). Language, like the Renaissance itself, is vital, productive, and highly varied, but it will sometimes fall under the weight of our expectations.

42

Troilus and Cressida, IV. vi, 55.

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PART ONE

THE RENAISSANCE AND THE CLASSICAL TRADITION

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INTRODUCTION: VETERIS VESTIGIA FLAMMAE? THE ‘REBIRTHS’ OF ANTIQUITY Luke Houghton From the fourteenth through the sixteenth century . . . and from one end of Europe to the other, the men of the Renaissance were convinced that the period in which they lived was a ‘new age’ as sharply different from the mediaeval past as the mediaeval past had been from classical antiquity and marked by a concerted effort to revive the culture of the latter. The only question is whether they were right or wrong.1

Any investigation into whether or not there was a Renaissance in western culture between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries must sooner or later confront the issue of what exactly was supposed to have been ‘reborn’. Attempts to define the phenomenon have tended to be generous in scope: Walter Pater, for instance, observed in 1872 that ‘[t]he word Renaissance indeed is now generally used to denote not merely the revival of classical Antiquity which took place in the fifteenth century, and to which the word was first applied, but a whole complex movement, of which that revival of classical Antiquity was but one element or symptom’2—but, as Pater’s summary illustrates, even the broadest formulations rarely lose sight of the common denominator of a renewed interest in and engagement with the culture of the classical past.3 This tendency is generally seen as a symptom or constituent of a wider movement rather than its essence:4 it cannot account,

Erwin Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art (Stockholm, 1960), 36. Walter H. Pater, Studies in the History of the Renaissance (London, 1873), 2 (quotation from opening essay, dated 1872 in later editions). 3 Note especially the title of Georg Voigt’s influential Die Wiederbelebung des classischen Altertums, oder das erste Jahrhundert des Humanismus, 2 vols. (Berlin, 1859), of which Wallace K. Ferguson, The Renaissance in Historical Thought. Five Centuries of Interpretation (Cambridge, MA, 1948), 160, comments ‘the effect of his work as a whole was to identify the rebirth of antiquity indissolubly with the Renaissance as the dominant characteristic of its culture.’ 4 For Jacob Burckhardt, ‘though the essence of the phenomena might still have been the same without the classical revival, it is only with and through this revival that they are actually manifested to us’: The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, 1 2

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as Panofsky demonstrates,5 for the initial turn to naturalism in art, and it was only later that such naturalism came to be attributed to antique painting, in order to bring the parallel narratives of the rebirth of art and literature into line. But whilst it is possible to exaggerate the effects of enthusiasm for Antiquity on the Renaissance psyche (few historians today would talk of ‘[a] new, almost dithyrambic worship of all things ancient’, or even ‘a brand of classicism characterized by a single-minded if not militant dedication to antiquity such as had been unknown to earlier centuries’6), the view of these centuries as a period of revival substantially rooted in both the literal and the imaginative rediscovery of classical Antiquity has proved hard to shake off. That this should be so is not perhaps surprising, in view of the repeated use of imagery relating to rebirth, renewal, revival and restoration on the part of the humanists themselves, from the interpretations of Purgatorio 1.7 (‘Ma qui la morta poesì risurga’) offered by early commentators on Dante, and Petrarch’s portrayal of human history between the decline of Rome and his own day as tenebrae,7 to the various stages of rinascita in the visual arts traced by Vasari (on which see the contribution here by Matteo Burioni).8 It is worth asking, however, to what extent those who resorted to this language actually believed their own claim of cultural ‘rebirth’, and how far we in turn should believe them. The first of these questions, like most issues of authorial sincerity or personal belief in a literary or artistic source, is not necessarily easy to answer. For Panofsky, quoting John 3:3 (‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’), the very choice of language with religious connotations was sufficient guarantee that trans. S. G. C. Middlemore (Harmondsworth, 1990; first trans. 1878), 120; originally Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien (Basle, 1860). 5 E. Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences, 18–21. 6 Hans Baron, The Crisis of the Early Italian Renaissance, 2nd ed. (Princeton, 1966), 3–4. 7 See Theodor E. Mommsen’s classic article ‘Petrarch’s Conception of the “Dark Ages”’, Speculum 17 (1942): 226–42; also E. Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences, 10–11. For earlier uses of such imagery, see however Robert Black, ‘The Donation of Constantine: A New Source for the Concept of the Renaissance?’, in Languages and Images of Renaissance Italy, ed. Alison Brown (Oxford, 1995), 51–85 (esp. 67–9, 83–5 for a critique of Mommsen). 8 On the contemporary use of these metaphors, see especially Martin L. McLaughlin, ‘Humanist concepts of Renaissance and Middle Ages in the tre- and quattrocento’, Renaissance Studies 2 (1988): 131–42; Berthold L. Ullman, Studies in the Italian Renaissance, 2nd ed. (Rome, 1973), 11–26; W. K. Ferguson, The Renaissance in Historical Thought, 2–3 (with earlier bibliography, 2, n. 2), 28, 30–1, 65–7; R. Black, ‘The Donation of Constantine’, 51–3 with 51 n. 1.

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‘[t]he Renaissance man’s sense of ‘metamorphosis’ . . . was more than even a change of heart: it may be described as an experience intellectual and emotional in content but almost religious in character . . . they experienced a sense of regeneration too radical and intense to be expressed in any other language than that of Scripture.’9 It might, however, be argued that the biblical imagery of resurrection and illumination was so profoundly embedded in the cultural and conceptual vocabulary of the time that it was almost inevitable that such a thesis should be formulated in these terms, irrespective of the seriousness with which its sponsors subscribed to the underlying concept. Moreover, despite the popularity of metaphors of rebirth and regeneration, these were by no means the only images employed to convey the idea of a cultural revival: it might equally be characterised, for instance, as an unearthing or excavation of the past—a figure not always easy to distinguish from the imagery of death and necromancy, given that the material culture of antiquity had to a large extent suffered physical as well as metaphorical ‘burial’.10 It might be represented as a kind of recuperative ventriloquism, a restoration of voice to an ancient author long silent: when Petrarch’s Ennius opens his speech in the ninth book of the Africa with words modelled on a phrase from Ennius’ own poetry (Africa 9.24), known to Petrarch from Servius’ comment on an imitation in Virgil, it is difficult not to see a deeper significance in Scipio’s earlier question to the poet ‘Numquamne silentia rumpes?’ (Africa 9.13, ‘will you never break your silence?’).11 The trope goes back to Dante, who had introduced Virgil in the first canto of his Inferno as ‘chi per lungo silenzio parea fioco’ (Inf. 1.63, ‘one who through long silence appeared hoarse’), a phrase immediately picked up on by Dante’s commentators as a claim to be restoring a voice to

E. Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences, 37–8. Malcolm Bull, The Mirror of the Gods. Classical Mythology in Renaissance Art (London, 2005), 5 (and see also ibid., 1–5 on the ‘shipwreck’ of antiquity). cf. Leonard Barkan, Unearthing the Past: Archaeology and Aesthetics in the Making of Renaissance Culture (New Haven and London, 1999); David Galbraith, ‘Petrarch and the Broken City’, in Antiquity and its Interpreters, ed. Alina Payne, Ann Kuttner and Rebekah Smick (Cambridge, 2000), 17–26; Thomas M. Greene, The Light in Troy. Imitation and Discovery in Renaissance Poetry (New Haven and London, 1982), esp. 92–3. 11 See Luke B. T. Houghton, ‘A Letter from Petrarch’, in Ennius perennis: The Annals and Beyond, ed. William Fitzgerald and Emily Gowers (Cambridge, 2007), 145–58 at 157. 9

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the Roman poet after long centuries of neglect.12 The rediscovery of a previously missing classical text might be depicted as a return from exile, as in Benvenuto Campesani’s famous epigram (c.1303–7) on the return of Catullus to Verona, which combines an early example of the metaphor of ‘resurrection’ (announcing itself as ‘versus . . . de resurrectione Catulli poete Veronensis’) with a proclamation of the ancient poet’s homecoming: ‘Ad patriam venio longis a finibus exul: | causa mei reditus compatriota fuit . . . ’ (1–2, ‘As an exile I come to my homeland from far-off regions: the cause of my return was a fellowcountryman’13). Later, Petrarch was to claim of himself that he would restore the ancient Muses on Helicon following their long period of exile (Africa 9.229–31: ‘Ille diu profugas revocabit carmine Musas | tempus in extremum, veteresque Elicone Sorores | restituet . . .’).14 But if the quasi-religious commitment of the humanists to their restoration of Antiquity remains questionable, the fact of their recourse to the terminology of rebirth and revival requires explanation. In his opening chapter, Panofsky offers two opposed possibilities, ‘self-definition or self-delusion’; but, in fact, the situation is rather more complicated than this polarity would seem to suggest—for self-definition is rarely an objective exercise, and can all too easily overlap with (and even shade into) self-promotion. So when the commentators of the ‘Renaissance’ picture the ‘age’ immediately preceding their own as a slough of darkness and barbarism, how far is this assessment the expression of a disinterested historical theory, and how far is it a derogatory caricature serving the competitive ends of self-assertive rhetoric? That is not to say that Leonardo Bruni, Lorenzo Valla and others could not have believed what they said about literary and artistic renewal and Robert Hollander, Il Virgilio dantesco: tragedia nella ‘Commedia’ (Florence, 1983), 23–79; see also Giorgio Brugnoli, ‘Chi per lungo silenzio parea fioco’, in Letterature comparate, problemi e metodo: Studi in onore di Ettore Paratore, 4 vols. (Bologna, 1981), vol. 3, 1169–82, esp. 1170–2. 13 On this epigram, see Julia Haig Gaisser, Catullus and his Renaissance Readers (Oxford, 1993), 18, 26–8. Note too the further appearance of biblical imagery here in the final line of the epigram, with its reference to the poet’s papirus having been hid under a bushel (6: for sub modio cf. Matt. 5:15). On this line, with the double meaning of papirus as ‘paper’/ ‘light’, see Otto Skutsch, ‘The Book under the Bushel’, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 17 (1970): 148. 14 See also Boccaccio’s Life of Dante, where he talks of ‘[i]l ritorno delle Muse, sbandite d’Italia’, and especially the passage from a letter of Guarino quoted by M. L. McLaughlin, ‘Humanist concepts of renaissance’, 137, on the ‘exile’ and ‘rebirth’ of Cicero’s rediscovered Orator; further examples in B. L. Ullman, Studies in the Italian Renaissance, 12, 14, 15–6 (and ibid., 18–9, 24–5 on the Renaissance as ‘reawakening’). 12

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the revival of Antiquity (they may or may not have done; as I have said, such issues of belief are not easy to resolve), merely that they had a motive to emphasise their distance from the tastes and practices of their immediate predecessors, whatever their own intellectual or spiritual investment in the concept of a ‘Renaissance’. Panofsky condemns in passing Krey’s view ‘that the humanists of the Renaissance attempted to “sell” their scholarship as something new only because “the so-called novelty of their wares enhanced their value in the eyes of some” ’;15 but in a less cynical formulation the point deserves some attention. At what stage does ‘rebirth’ become a cliché of self-justification and panegyric, applied either to promote one’s own projects or to celebrate and/or elicit the generosity and accomplishments of a patron, in the same way that the dawn of the Golden Age was hailed at the accession of new fewer than sixteen Roman emperors?16 Given the extraordinary profusion and tenacity of such metaphors in subsequent historical writing, it might be only a minor exaggeration to suggest that one of the chief legacies of the Renaissance was the notion of cultural ‘rebirth’ itself. Gombrich’s definition of propaganda (to be found, not perhaps coincidentally, in his article on imagery of the Golden Age in the Renaissance) as ‘the art of imposing a pattern on reality, and to impose it so successfully that the victim can no longer conceive it in different terms’17 looks uncannily like a summary of the fortunes of the concept of a Renaissance in later historical thought. ‘Propaganda’ may imply too systematic a process, but the success of this interpretative pattern (at least until well into the last century) cannot be denied. It has been well remarked that ‘pronouncements about the aims of humanists tend to reflect at best the more sweeping of the pronouncements that they made themselves. In

E. Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences, 36, quoting August Charles Krey, ‘History and the Humanities’, in The Meaning of the Humanities: Five Essays, ed. Theodore Meyer Greene (Princeton, 1938). B. L. Ullman, Studies in the Italian Renaissance, 19, likewise rejects the idea that ‘the notion was artificially fostered by the drum beating of the humanists’. 16 See Bodo Gatz, Weltalter, goldene Zeit und sinnverwandte Vorstellungen (Hildesheim, 1967), 138–9. On the use of precisely this metaphor in the circle of that pre-eminent Renaissance patron Cosimo de’ Medici, and its implications for the historiography of the period, see Ernst H. Gombrich, ‘Renaissance and Golden Age’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 24 (1961): 306–9; in general, Harry Levin, The Myth of the Golden Age in the Renaissance (Bloomington, 1969); M. L. McLaughlin, ‘Humanist concepts of Renaissance’, 134, 141. 17 E. H. Gombrich, ‘Renaissance and Golden Age’, 307. 15

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their turn, many of these have a certain artificiality, especially if they occur in prefaces or other places where tradition obliged writers to justify their activities.’18 A glance at the language used by Gilbert Highet, for example (‘the victory of barbarism . . . a long and almost death-like sleep . . . the darkness of nearly a thousand years . . . the real dawn . . . the rebirth of classical civilization’), is enough to confirm the truth of the first of these statements.19 But recognition of this historiographical tendency need not negate the concept behind it—Denys Hay, whose survey The Italian Renaissance in its historical background announces at the very outset its acceptance of the idea of a Renaissance, maintains also that ‘[i]t is no longer possible to talk, as humanists did, of medieval darkness and obscurantism’20—though it should warn us against uncritical recycling of past generalisations. What, then, are the questions to be asked in approaching what Aby Warburg called ‘das Nachleben der Antike’ in the ‘period’ 1300–1550? No-one now disputes that there were earlier flowerings of classical inspiration, in particular during the ‘Carolingian Renaissance’, the ‘Renaissance of the twelfth century’, and among the Paduan ‘prehumanists’ of the fourteenth century;21 but in what respects, or to what degree (if any) do they differ from the Renaissance, as that term has traditionally been used? Panofsky famously attempted to establish a distinction between the grand, enduring ‘renaissance’ and earlier,

Michael D. Reeve, ‘Classical Scholarship’, in The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism, ed. Jill Kraye (Cambridge, 1996), 20–46 at 25. 19 Quotations from Gilbert Highet, The Classical Tradition. Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature (Oxford, 1949), 81; this first paragraph offers a remarkably dense agglomeration of such traditional expressions. 20 Denys Hay, The Italian Renaissance in its historical background, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, 1977), 1–2, 14. Hay’s remark signals his awareness of the earlier twentiethcentury ‘revolt of the medievalists’, on which see especially W. K. Ferguson, The Renaissance in Historical Thought, 329–85; Lynn Thorndike, ‘Renaissance or Prenaissance?’, Journal of the History of Ideas 4 (1943): 65–74; and most recently Leidulf Melve, ‘ “The revolt of the medievalists”. Directions in recent research on the twelfthcentury renaissance’, Journal of Medieval History 32 (2006): 231–52. 21 See Nicholas Mann, ‘The origins of humanism’, in The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism (see note 18), 1–19 at 1–8 (with further bibliography on the twelfth century, 17 n. 3); B. L. Ullman, Studies in the Italian Renaissance, 27–40; R. R. Bolgar, The Classical Heritage and its Beneficiaries (Cambridge, 1954). On the ‘pre-humanists’, Ronald G. Witt, ‘In the Footsteps of the Ancients’: The Origins of Humanism from Lovato to Bruni (Leiden, 2000); Giuseppe Billanovich, I primi umanisti e le tradizioni dei classici Latini (Fribourg, 1953); Roberto Weiss, The Renaissance Discovery of Classical Antiquity, 2nd ed. (Oxford, 1988), 16–29; D. Hay, The Italian Renaissance, 70–7. 18

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smaller ‘renascences’, a theory addressed—and challenged—by many contributors to this volume. Was engagement with the literature, art and architecture of classical Antiquity from Petrarch onwards identifiably different in character or extent from that of preceding centuries? If so, did such differences spring from a changing approach to the study of antique culture, from the availability of a greater number and broader range of classical texts than previously known,22 particularly after the reintroduction of Greek scholarship to Western Europe (see the essays here by George Steiris and Robin Sowerby)23—or from both? Do these centuries witness a development in techniques of scholarly analysis of texts and artefacts, pointing the way towards more ‘modern’ principles of philology and reconstruction?24 What are the implications of the term studia humanitatis, and what was understood by such expressions at the time?25 To what extent was the perceived ‘paganism’ of Antiquity a spur or a stumbling-block to advocates of its revival in a Christian era (see Robin Sowerby’s discussion of passages

22 Remigio Sabbadini, Le scoperte dei codici Latini e Greci ne’ secoli XIV e XV, 2 vols. (Florence, 1905–14; repr. ed. Eugenio Garin, 1996) remains fundamental; see also Michael D. Reeve, ‘The rediscovery of classical texts in the Renaissance’, in Itinerari dei testi antichi. Esperienze a confronto, ed. Oronzo Pecere (Rome, 1991), 115–57; more generally, L. D. Reynolds and N. G. Wilson, Scribes and Scholars. A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature, 3rd ed. (Oxford, 1991). 23 See N. G. Wilson, From Byzantium to Italy: Greek Studies in the Italian Renaissance (London, 1992); Federica Ciccolella, Donati Graeci: Learning Greek in the Renaissance (Leiden, 2008); M. D. Reeve, ‘Classical Scholarship’, 32–6; as he notes, however, ‘[a]t no time had it [Greek] been completely absent’, 32. For the Middle Ages see Walter Berschin, Greek Letters and the Latin Middle Ages. From Jerome to Nicholas of Cusa, trans. Jerold. C. Frakes (Washington, 1988). 24 See e.g. M. D. Reeve, ‘Classical Scholarship’; Nicholas Mann and Birger Munk Olsen, eds., Medieval and Renaissance Scholarship (Leiden, 1996); Anthony Grafton, ‘Quattrocento Humanism and Classical Scholarship’ in Renaissance Humanism. Foundations, Forms, and Legacy, ed. Albert Rabil, Jr., 3 vols. (Philadelphia, 1988), vol. 3, 23–66; Rudolf Pfeiffer, History of Classical Scholarship from 1300 to 1850 (Oxford, 1976); John Edwin Sandys, A History of Classical Scholarship, 3 vols., 3rd ed. (Cambridge, 1921), vol. 2, passim. 25 Benjamin G. Kohl, ‘The Changing Concept of the Studia Humanitatis in the Early Renaissance’, Renaissance Studies 6 (1992): 185–209; Erik Petersen, ‘“The Communication of the Dead”: Notes on the studia humanitatis and the nature of humanist philology’, in The Uses of Greek and Latin: Historical Essays, ed. A. C. Dionisotti, Anthony Grafton and Jill Kraye (London, 1988), 57–69; Paul Oskar Kristeller, Renaissance Thought and its Sources, ed. Michael Mooney (New York, 1979), 21–32; Charles G. Nauert, Jr., Humanism and the Culture of Renaissance Europe, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, 2006), esp. 8–13; R. Pfeiffer, History of Classical Scholarship, 15–17.

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from Jerome, Petrarch and Erasmus)?26 Is the treatment of classical material over this extended period sufficiently homogeneous or interrelated to allow us to identify the ‘Renaissance’ as a separable historical entity in this respect (see Robert Black’s remarks here, especially his conclusion)? Can we see regional variations or exceptions informed by particular national emphases and prejudices (for one example, see Robin Kirkpatrick’s chapter on Shakespeare)?27 These are large questions, and the papers in this section do not claim to provide comprehensive or definitive answers to any of them;28 rather, each one offers a means of approach to some of the broader issues involved in the complex and varied responses to Antiquity on the part of its would-be revivers. One important strand in these creative negotiations with the classical tradition can be seen in the fortunes of the phrase ‘veteris vestigia flammae’ (‘traces of the old flame’) itself: first coined by Virgil, the expression as it appears at Aeneid 4.23 signals Dido’s consciousness of the re-awakening of the ‘old flame’ of passion in her by Aeneas. Even here it may already point back, in an act of self-conscious literary affiliation,29 to the ‘old flame’ of Medea’s love in the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, on whose lovelorn heroine Virgil’s Dido is modelled.30 The words may or may not have provided a template for the expression ‘veterum vestigia vatum’ (‘traces of the old bards’), used by the pre-Renaissance humanist Lovato Lovati to characterise his engagement with the ancient poetic tradition (another possible

26 See also, for example, Joscelyn Godwin, The Pagan Dream of the Renaissance (London, 2002); M. Bull, The Mirror of the Gods, 380–7. 27 Sources for Northern Europe collected in Kenneth R. Bartlett and Margaret Mc Glynn, eds., Humanism and the Northern Renaissance (Toronto, 2000); for discussion see e.g. A. Rabil, Renaissance Humanism, vol. 2, passim; C. G. Nauert, Humanism and the Culture of Renaissance Europe, 102–31; D. Hay, The Italian Renaissance, 185–210. 28 On the resources now available to tackle these questions, see Julia Haig Gaisser, ‘The Reception of Classical Texts in the Renaissance’, in The Italian Renaissance in the Twentieth Century, ed. Allen J. Grieco, Michael Rocke and Fiorella Gioffredi Superbi (Florence, 2002), 387–400. 29 Note that Statius would later use vestigia as a metaphor for literary succession from Virgil himself (Thebaid 12.816–17: ‘nec tu divinam Aeneida tempta, | sed longe sequere et vestigia semper adora’). 30 See Servius’ rather heavy-handed comment in his introduction to Aeneid IV: Apollonius Argonautica scripsit et in tertio inducit amantem Medeam: inde totus hic liber translatus est.

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source is Horace, Epist. 2.2.80, ‘contracta sequi vestigia vatum’);31 but their presence is unmistakeable when, in canto 30 of the Purgatorio, Dante senses the approach of his old love Beatrice and remarks ‘conosco i segni dell’antica fiamma’ (Purg. 30.48; see also 30.34–9, ‘lo spirito mio . . . d’antico amor sentì la gran potenza’).32 The line is addressed to Dante’s escort, Virgil, but the ‘antica fiamma’ itself is his new guide, Beatrice; as soon as he has uttered these words the protagonist finds that Virgil has disappeared. Presumably, the verbal reminiscence of Dido serves primarily to highlight the contrast between Virgil’s Carthaginian queen and Dante’s celestial donna. Yet there is surely also an implicit paradox in the revelation of Virgil’s disappearance after Dante’s remark that he recognises the ‘signs of the ancient flame’, especially in a canto where Dante has earlier incorporated half a line from the Aeneid in the original Latin (Aen. 6.883 ~ Purg. 30.21), and where this (almost) direct translation of Dido’s confession is followed two words later by the name Virgilio.33 In view of this implicit acknowledgement of the ‘traces’ of Dante’s ancient literary exemplar, it is hard to resist the suggestion of a programmatic subtext when the speaker of one of Pontano’s Hendecasyllabi, modelled on the antique metre of Catullus,34 proclaims (ostensibly to his aged wife) ‘antiquas volo suscitare flammas’ (Hend. 1.13.10, ‘I want to revive the ancient flames’—i.e. the love poetry of antiquity?). In its starkest distillation, then, the dilemma faced by the student of the Renaissance falls between two equally Virgilian poles: does the vaunted revival of classical Antiquity represent a genuine recovery and rekindling of the “ancient flame” distinguishable from any other See Guido Billanovich, ‘ “Veterum vestigia vatum” nei carmi dei preumanisti padovani’, Italia medioevale e umanistica 1 (1958): 155–243; R. Witt, ‘In the Footsteps of the Ancients’, 53–4; for earlier examples of vestigia veterum, Ernst Robert Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, trans. Willard R. Trask (London, 1953), 254 n. 21. 32 For discussion of this Virgilian allusion, see especially Peter S. Hawkins, Dante’s Testaments. Essays in Scriptural Imagination (Stanford, 1999), 125–42; also Kevin Brownlee, ‘Dante, Beatrice, and the Two Departures from Dido’, MLN 108 (1993): 1–14, esp. 4–5. 33 Note however Hawkins’ interpretation (Dante’s Testaments, 135–42) of Dante’s use of segni in place of Virgil’s vestigia as ‘a disavowal of the master’s poetic authority at the very moment when the pilgrim turns around to Virgil with the poignant and affectionate offering of one of his own lines’ (136). 34 See Giovanni Gioviano Pontano, Baiae. I Tatti Renaissance Library, trans. Rodney G. Dennis (Cambridge, MA, 2006); J. H. Gaisser, Catullus and his Renaissance Readers, 226–8; Thomas Baier, ed., Pontano und Catull (Tübingen, 2003). 31

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passing spark, or is the continuing presence of this paradigm in the historical record merely the residue of a lingering falsehood that still lurks beneath the glittering surface of the Golden Age—veteris vestigia flammae (Aeneid 4.23), or priscae vestigia fraudis (Eclogue 4.31)?

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THE RENAISSANCE AND THE MIDDLE AGES: CHRONOLOGIES, IDEOLOGIES, GEOGRAPHIES Robert Black In the course of the Renaissance’s long historiography, the most influential work has doubtless been Jacob Burckhardt’s The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy. Burckhardt’s fundamental assumption was that the Renaissance constituted a new and distinct period in the history of culture. His aim was to portray the epoch not in terms of detailed narrative but rather topically, to depict the period’s mentality, to delineate the spirit of the age: his purpose was to discover the common features of the Renaissance, what was typical of its culture. Burckhardt’s attempt to portray the Renaissance as a homogeneous period, although powerfully compelling, has been repeatedly criticised, particularly for over-simplifying and distorting historical evidence. It has become obvious that, during the Renaissance, social, political and cultural developments were far too diffuse and complex to admit of such simplistic harmonisation as is suggested by Burckhardt. If the Renaissance was not a period of history in the Burckhardtian sense, then perhaps, as Ernst Gombrich has suggested, it was a movement.1 The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines a movement as ‘a series of actions and endeavours by a body of persons, tending more or less continuously towards some special end’. It could be argued that the ‘special end’ of the Renaissance was the revival of classical learning, which was thought to have been eclipsed during the barbarous Middle Ages. Movements work ‘continuously’ towards their ends; in other words one follower converts his contemporaries and so on. It could be suggested that Petrarch, the first great Renaissance man, communicated to contemporaries such as Boccaccio his enthusiasm for the classical revival and together they handed on the torch to the next generation in the person of Coluccio Salutati, who in turn inspired younger men such as Niccolò Niccoli, Leonardo Bruni and Poggio Ernst Gombrich, In Search of Cultural History (Oxford, 1969); ‘The Renaissance— period or movement?’, in Background to the English Renaissance. Introductory Lectures, ed. Arthur G. Dickens et al. (London, 1974), 9–30. 1

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Bracciolini. Most important, movements are the work of a ‘body of persons’, and the protagonists of the Renaissance soon acquired a special name: humanists, who were, in contemporary parlance, not lovers of humanity or devotees of man rather than God but simply teachers or students of the humanities (known from the fourteenth century as the studia humanitatis), or, in modern terms, the classics. Gombrich was famously anti-Burckhardtian and anti-Hegelian (he brilliantly identified Hegel’s spirit of the age as the source of Burckhardt’s renowned dictum, ‘Every period of civilization which forms a complete and consistent whole manifests itself not only in political life, in religion, art and science, but also sets its characteristic stamp on social life’),2 and yet Gombrich’s definition retains one essential Burckhardtian feature: its tendency to homogenise. To interpret the Renaissance as a movement is to highlight its coherence. This is clear, for example, in an excellent short treatment of the Renaissance by Peter Burke, first published in 1987: In this essay, the Renaissance has been defined rather more narrowly than it was by Burckhardt. It has been considered, to use Gombrich’s useful distinction, as a ‘movement’ rather than as a ‘period’. Even as a movement, it has been circumscribed fairly tightly, with an emphasis . . . on the attempt to revive antiquity, rather than on the other kinds of cultural change to which Burckhardt and many other historians have drawn attention.3

It would be unfair to suggest that Burke overlooks the movement’s diversity: ‘the revival of antiquity did not have the same meaning for every social group. It meant something different in Florence, Rome, Venice and so on.’4 Nevertheless, portraying the Renaissance as a movement inevitably involves accenting similarity rather than difference: like a Burckhardtian period with its characteristic spirit of the age, a movement—to be recognisable—has to have some kind of coherence. Indeed, for Burke, the Renaissance ceased to exist when the movement disintegrated: End is too sharp, too decisive a word. A better term, because it is a more precise one, might be ‘disintegration’. The point is that what began as a movement of a few people with clear aims gradually lost its unity as it

2 3 4

E. Gombrich, In search. Peter Burke, The Renaissance (London, 1987), 59. Ibid., 25.

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spread, so that in the course of time it becomes more and more difficult to decide who or what belongs to it.5

In this paper, I should like to take a different approach to the Renaissance, exploring differences rather than uniformities. In particular I want to offer a few examples of significant divergences in chronology, ideology and geography as the Renaissance developed from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century. To begin with chronology, what were the Middle Ages that the humanists rejected? It is well known that architects such as Brunelleschi and Alberti did not reject medieval precedents wholesale, preferring Romanesque to Gothic; similarly, the creator of humanist script, Poggio Bracciolini, looked to the Caroline handwriting characteristic of the twelfth and earlier centuries, discarding several features of the Gothic script that had become prevalent in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. For such innovators, there were in fact at least two Middle Ages: a more recent and less sympathetic Gothic period, and a more remote (and yet not ancient) Romanesque or Caroline epoch, which they regarded as more genuinely antique. It is interesting to note the same medieval plurality in the history of education. Medieval schools were no more uniform than medieval architecture or script. In Italy during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Latin education had culminated in the direct study of the classical Roman poets (Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Juvenal, Persius) and prose writers (Cicero, Sallust).6 This was an arduous and lengthy curriculum, primarily suited to ecclesiastical grammar schools. Before the thirteenth century, medieval Italian school education had been dominated by the Church: the Italian lay aristocracy often achieved a notable degree of literacy, acquired, however, under ecclesiastical auspices. Skills for earning a living provided by formal school instruction did not preoccupy the educated classes—either the clergy or the nobility. This clerical monopoly over school education waned rapidly in the thirteenth century. The triumph of the communes brought in its wake the dominance of lay society with its civic and commercial aims and values. Parents were no longer willing to put up with the long and slow

Ibid., 49. Robert Black, Humanism and Education in Medieval and Renaissance Italy. Tradition and Innovation in Latin Schools from the Twelfth to the Fifteenth Century (Cambridge, 2001), ch. 4. 5 6

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approach to latinity offered by ecclesiastical schools. Pupils now had to be prepared for entry into the professional and business worlds. Rapid results were increasingly delivered by private lay teachers, who would displace clerical masters by the end of the thirteenth century.7 These new lay schools quickly developed a new, streamlined curriculum in which the Latin classics were sidelined. In their place, more simplified literary texts by early Christian poets such as Prudentius or Prosper of Aquitaine, or late ancient pagan schoolbooks, such as pseudo-Cato’s Distichs or Baebius Italicus’s Ilias Latina, or medieval works such as Henry of Settimello’s Elegy, Cartula or Physiologus were preferred.8 Eleventh- and twelfth-century schools had minimized the use of theoretical textbooks, using what is now known as total immersion to teach Latin composition; in the thirteenth century, theoretical manuals now proliferated to teach Latin composition more rapidly. These included famous verse grammars by Alexander of Villedieu and Evrard of Béthune, as well as prose manuals by Pietro da Isolella da Cremona and Bene da Firenze. The result was that a whole battery of mainly nonclassical textbooks formed the substance of Latin school education during the thirteenth century.9 These were the textbooks lambasted by humanist educational reformers such as Petrarch, Guarino Veronese, Gasparo da Verona, Giorgio Valagussa, Valla, Alberti and Matteo Palmieri.10 In fact, as far as the literary syllabus is concerned, what the humanist educators actually accomplished was to reinstate the Latin classics to the position they had occupied at the summit of the curriculum during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The contrast between twelfth- and thirteenth-century Italian culture was wide-ranging. A striking literary text written in twelfth-century Italy is Henry of Settimello’s famous Elegy, the most significant piece of classicising Latin poetry composed in Italy before Lovati and the emergence of Paduan humanism. It shows the direct influence both of Ovid’s poetry of exile and of Boethius’s Consolation. Echoes of Virgil and Horace are evident too and, while biblical allusions are rare, there are numerous references to the classical world. Indeed, Henry’s stoic

Robert Black, Education and Society in Florentine Tuscany. Teachers, Pupils and Schools, c.1250–1500 (Leiden, 2007), ch. 3. 8 R. Black, Humanism and Education, ch. 4. 9 Ibid., ch. 3. 10 Eugenio Garin, Il pensiero pedagogico dello umanesimo (Florence, 1958), 91–2, 103–4. 7

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philosophy is possibly stimulated by Seneca.11 Powerfully suggestive of the anti-classical revolution launched in the thirteenth century, on the other hand, are the polemics of the eminent Bolognese professor of rhetoric, Boncompagno da Signa (c.1165–c.1240). Boncompagno declared that he had never imitated Cicero nor ever indeed lectured on him, and rejected his predecessors’ methods of teaching the ars dictaminis, accusing them of too much reliance on the ancients. Of the traditional five parts of the letter, he argued, only three were actually essential; if this was against the doctrine of the ancients, then their teachings had been useless and damaging. He derided the methods of writing letters before his day: masters had spent huge amounts of time adorning their epistles with vivid displays of verbiage and learned quotations from classical authors, who were believed to provide the seal of approval for their literary productions. He even criticised Cicero’s theory as inept and self-contradictory. He said that he had been reprimanded for rejecting the traditional practice of padding his prose with classical quotations and rarefied terminology, complaining that he was ridiculed for lacking a knowledge of Latin literature, and for drawing examples from the present day. In the late twelfth century, the school of Orléans was particularly associated with the traditional study of the classical authors, and Boncompagno accused his academic opponents of too much indulgence in Aurelianism.12 Crucial is the fact that Boncompagno presented himself as an innovator, revising the methods of his predecessors, to whom he constantly referred. Boncompagno was attempting to replace the kind of classical teaching practices traditionally employed in Italy, time-honoured methods that had been sanctioned and reinforced by the authority and prestige of the school of Orléans. Boncompagno’s self-advertisement as a radical innovator implies that classicism had flourished in twelfth-century Italy. A further indication of the shift in Italian culture comes in a renowned French text of the early thirteenth century, Henri d’Andeli’s La bataille des.VII. ars: among the forces ranged against grammar and the classical authors is rhetoric, marshalling many Lombard (i.e. Italian)

Angelo Montiverdi, ‘Arrigo da Settimello’, in Dizionario biografico degli italiani (Rome 1960–), vol. 4, 315–6. 12 Orléans = Aurelianum. For textual references, see R. Black, Humanism and Education, 192–3; see also Ronald G. Witt, ‘Boncompagno and the defense of rhetoric’, Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies 16 (1986): 1–31. 11

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knights.13 The Lombards following rhetoric rode together with dialectic, wounding many honest enemies from the authorial camp.14 The classical authors are now abandoned; artisti and canonisti are removed from grammar’s jurisdiction. Bretons and Germans still are under grammar’s sway, but grammar would be throttled by the Lombards, given a chance.15 The emergence of the Renaissance and humanism represented yet a third chronological milestone: following twelfh-century classicism and the anti-classical reaction inaugurated by the thirteenth came the counter-revolution of the pre- or early humanists. Here the rise of French and vernacular poetry in early thirteenth-century Italy is crucial. This period is famous for the birth of the Italian literary vernacular, and this movement corresponds to the anti-classicism characteristic of the teaching of grammar and rhetoric in Italian schools and universities at the same time. What Lovato Lovati’s humanism represented was a reaction against the overwhelming anti-classicism of the preceding generations, as typified by vernacular and Franco-Veneto poetry: Lovato dei Lovati . . . implied that the popularity of vernacular poetry spurred him to write Latin poetry out of a spirit of competition. So he suggested in a letter that he wrote about 1290 to his friend, Bellino Bissolo, a Latin poet who, perhaps only for the purpose of argument, was apparently willing to champion the vernacular against Lovato’s criticisms. Lovato told Bellino . . . he had come across a singer . . . ‘bellowing the battles of Charlemagne and French exploits’ in French, ‘gaping in barbarous fashion, rolling them out as he pleased, no part of them in their proper order, songs relying on no effort’. Nevertheless, the listeners had hung on every word. While recognizing the wisdom of maintaining the middle course between writing verses for the few and for the many, Lovato declared that ‘if you must err on one side, it should be on the side of daring’ . . . The obvious reference here was to his intention to write his poetry in Latin as opposed to the vernacular. Do you despise him [the courageous poet] because he believes that one must follow in the footsteps of the ancient poets (veterum vestigia vatum) . . . I won’t change my mind. I stand fast, as is my habit, and I won’t correct the vice of my long disease.

Louis Paetow, ed., The Battle of the Seven Arts. A French poem by Henry d’Andeli (Berkeley, 1914), 43, v. 68–9. 14 Ibid., v. 224–5, 228–9. 15 Ibid., 60, v. 444–9. 13

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This letter of ca. 1290 conveys the elitism of Lovato, who looked down on vernacular literature as inferior to Latin . . . Although the immediate antagonist was French poetry—Provençal poetry commonly enjoyed higher status—given Lovato’s loyalty to the veterum vestigia vatum, there can be no doubt that he considered Provençal poetry also inferior to Latin verse. More generally, the letter indicates the creative tension between vernacular and Latin poetry at the dawn of humanism and injects an element of competition into the mixture of causes leading to the rise of a new Latin poetry around 1250.16

It is right to see Lovato’s humanism as a reaction, one, however, which was not just against the vernacular but also opposed to the anticlassicism of the entire ‘secolo senza Roma’, to quote Toffanin,17 or ‘l’exil des belles lettres’, in the words of Gilson.18 Scholars such as Roberto Weiss, Berthold Louis Ullman, Paul Oskar Kristeller and Ronald Witt have, of course, been right to emphasise that humanism and the Renaissance had had a considerable history before Petrarch, but it is necessary to recognise that Petrarch represented yet another chronological milestone in the development of the humanist movement. It would be hard to find a more secularised group of literary intellectuals than the practitioners (known as dictatores) of medieval rhetoric (the so-called ars dictaminis), who flourished in Italy during the twelfth and especially the thirteenth century: not only were they nearly all laymen, but their writings are almost entirely secular in subject matter, lacking virtually any reference to religious authorities. In fact, it was not only the dictatores who, as forerunners of the humanists, showed little explicit interest in the Christian tradition. The grammatical tradition, as embodied in the studies of grammar teachers in medieval Italy, was also notably indifferent to Christian sources. In my recent book on the grammar curriculum in medieval and Renaissance Italy, I found that the explicitly named authorities in manuscript glosses were ‘overwhelmingly literary/grammatical/philological’ in character. ‘The entire list includes only three authorities in theology: Boethius, Augustine and Jerome. Old and New Testaments are both near the bottom.’19 Similarly, in my recent Ronald G. Witt, ‘In the Footsteps of the Ancients’: The Origins of Humanism from Lovato to Bruni (Leiden, 2000), 53–4. 17 Giuseppe Toffanin, Il secolo senza Roma, in his Storia dell’umanesimo dal XIII al XVI secolo (Città di Castello, 1933). 18 Etienne Gilson, Philosophie au Moyen Âge (Paris, 1962), 400–12. 19 R. Black, Humanism and Education, 303. 16

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study of manuscript glosses to Boethius’s Consolation in medieval and Renaissance grammar schools, I found that the only theological authority to emerge was Augustine, and that he lagged behind Seneca, Ovid, Cicero and Horace.20 In Boethian glosses, the Bible made a better showing than in glosses to literary texts, but it seems clear that the overall character of Boethian glosses was literary/philological, not philosophical/theological. In this context, Petrarch represented a new direction. In a paper that I published in 1995, I tried to demonstrate that the idea of the Renaissance as a rebirth of a time of light as opposed to a preceding darker period was related to discussions of ecclesiology in the Middle Ages.21 In particular, Petrarch’s ideas of ancient and modern history were developed explicitly from historical schemes about the primitive and modern periods of church history in which the Donation of Constantine provided the crucial turning point.22 Moreover, I showed, I think, that Petrarch’s linking of religious and cultural history was carried on by many later humanists and persisted throughout the sixteenth century.23 Although a key early humanist such as Bruni might not have written explicitly religious or Christian texts, it is hard to believe that when he talked about the revival of the arts24 he could have been unaware of the powerful and inherent link between the decline of antique classicism and the decay of the early Church which had been developed so powerfully by Petrarch and then echoed soon afterwards by Florentine writers such as Boccaccio and Filippo Villani.25 What I

Robert Black and Gabriella Pomaro, Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy in Italian Medieval and Renaissance Education. Schoolbooks and their Glosses in Florentine Manuscripts (Florence, 2000), 6–8. 21 Robert Black, ‘The Donation of Constantine: a new source for the concept of the Renaissance?’, in Language and Images of Renaissance Italy, ed. Alison Brown (Oxford, 1995), 51–85. 22 Ibid., 64–9. 23 Ibid., 69–77. 24 E.g. in his Life of Petrarch, translated into English in J. Ross and M. McLaughlin, eds., The Portable Renaissance Reader (London, 1977), 128. 25 R. Black, ‘Donation’, p. 78. Bruni’s fellow Aretine, Domenico di Bandino, made a similar link: see ibid., 78 n. 98. It is also interesting that one of Bruni’s fellow early Ciceronians, Pierpaolo Vergerio, who in Witt’s book appears as a secular humanist (R. Witt, In the Footsteps, 383: ‘his writings give little evidence of deep religious commitment’), actually wrote a panegyric of the primitive church in an oration pleading for the end of the Great Schism and delivered in 1406: see Pro redintegranda uniendaque ecclesia ad Romanos cardinales oratio tempore schismatis in consistorio habita, a. 1406, novembri, ed. C. A. Combi, Archivio storico per Trieste, l’Istria e il Trentino 1 (1881–2), 360–74. 20

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am saying is that the ideology of the Renaissance, as transformed by Petrarch, was potently linked to the ideal of the revival of the primitive and apostolic Church. In this basic sense, therefore, it is hard to agree that humanism was an inherently secular movement. Humanism may have begun along a ‘nonreligious’ path, but it took an irreversibly Christian direction under the reins of Petrarch, when he created an ideology of the Renaissance in terms of a contrast between Antiquity and modern times with the dividing line provided by the Donation of Constantine. The mention of Petrarch’s ideology leads to a second type of diversity evident in Renaissance humanism’s development. It is often said that humanism represented the ideology of the ruling classes in Renaissance Italy. Lauro Martines has persuasively entitled one chapter of Power and Imagination, his account of city-states in Renaissance Italy, ‘Humanism: a program for the ruling classes’: Humanism spoke for and to the dominant social groups . . . When Vergerio, Bruni, Guarino, Vegio, and other humanists made a plea for the capital value of the studia humanitatis . . . they had a select readership in mind . . . They addressed well-placed people . . . The humanists were drawn irresistibly to the ranks of winners . . . In addressing their pleas for the study of history to the members of oligarchies and to princes, they were saying, in effect, that the lessons of history could teach them, the holders of power, the way to improve their political nous . . . the fifteenth century turned eloquence, the core of humanism, into a program for the ruling classes of the different cities, oligarchical or signorial.26

In fact, the greatest humanist teacher, Guarino, advertised humanist claims to educate society’s rulers, as in this letter to a podestà of Bologna in 1419: I understand that when civil disorder recently aroused the people of Bologna to armed conflict you showed the bravery and eloquence of a soldier as well as you had previously meted out a judge’s just sentence . . . You therefore owe no small thanks to the Muses with whom you have been on intimate terms since your boyhood, and by whom you were brought up. They taught you how to carry out your tasks in society. Hence you are living proof that the Muses rule not only musical instruments but also public affairs.27 Lauro Martines, Power and Imagination. City-states in Renaissance Italy (London, 1979), 191–2, 198–9. 27 Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine, From Humanism to the Humanities. Education and the Liberal Arts in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Europe (Cambridge, MA, 1986), 2. 26

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What is interesting to discover is that the ideology of humanism had not always been elitist. In this context, it is necessary to recall the above-mentioned passage demonstrating Lovato’s rejection of the vernacular in favour of a return to antique latinity. Lovato contrasted a singer, ‘bellowing the battles of Charlemagne and French exploits’ in French, ‘gaping in barbarous fashion’, with ‘[the courageous poet . . . who] believes that one must follow in the footsteps of the ancient poets’. Brunetto Latini could proudly identify with Cicero, the new man who rose to confront the conspiratorial Catiline: ‘Tullius was a new citizen of Rome and not of great stature; but through his wisdom he rose to such eminence that all Rome was commanded by his words.’28 Latini’s formulation recalls Sallust’s description of Cicero as ‘homo novus’, previously passed over for the consulate owing to the invidia and superbia of the nobilitas.29 Sallust’s anti-aristocratic, propopular sentiments complemented Cicero’s own arriviste biography, giving classical history and literature a powerful social resonance in mid thirteenth-century Italy.30 For both Lovato and Latini a return to classical authors or classical language was connected with an antipathy towards contemporary aristocratic society dominated by courtly mores and hierarchical values; in both cases, one may detect a reaction against the political dominance of the aristocratic elite in the Italian communes. What were the social backgrounds of the first humanists? Latini, son of a notary from the Florentine contado, was Florentine chancellor under the popular regime of the primo popolo, exiled after the

28 Brunetto Latini, La Rettorica, 1.16, ed. Francesco Maggini (Florence, 1915), 8: ‘Tulio era cittadino di Roma nuovo e di non grande altezza; ma per lo suo senno fue in si’ alto stato che tutta Roma si tenea alla sua parola.’ See Patricia J. Osmond, ‘Catiline in Fiesole and Florence: the after-life of a Roman conspirator’, International Journal for the Classical Tradition 7 (2000), 15 ff. 29 Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, 23.5–6. 30 In his article, ‘Brunetto Latini and Dante’ (in his Dante’s Italy and Other Essays (Philadelphia, 1984), 177, Charles Davis pointed out that in the Fet des Romains Latini ‘could find a description of Cicero as a new citizen of Rome scorned by “the nobles of the city” . . .’, citing Francesco Maggini’s I primi volgarizzamenti dai classici latini (Florence, 1952), 35–9: ‘Maggini has said that though for short quotations Brunetto sometimes goes directly to the Latin text of Sallust, for longer ones he relies on the version of the Fet.’ What is significant here is that, although it is unclear whether Latini used Sallust directly for the information that Cicero was a new man opposed by the Roman nobility, nevertheless he had read Sallust’s original text and would have been sympathetic to Sallust’s anti-aristocratic interpretation of Cicero and the Catiline conspiracy.

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return of the Florentine aristocrats to power in 1260 but subsequently to enjoy a prominent political role in the popular guild regime established after 1282.31 Lovato ‘was the son of Rolando di Lovato, a notary, and his brother Alberto was also a notary; the fact that the family name established itself only in Lovato’s generation suggests that the family background was a modest one.’32 Geri d’Arezzo, the son of a notary, was similarly a lawyer from a humble Aretine family, who never even developed a surname.33 ‘Mussato was of poor and humble origins; his acknowledged father was . . . a court messenger who lived in the northern suburbs of [Padua].’34 All the figures associated with humanism from 1260 to 1350 emerged from the notarial/legal class: almost all were self-made men. Zambono d’Andrea and Lovato belonged to the class of popolani who had somehow made good during the years of Ezzelino [da Romano]’s tyranny; Rolando da Piazzola’s background was apparently similar. Mussato’s origins were even more humble and his sense of insecurity was exacerbated by the heights to which he rose and the rumours concerning his illegitimacy. The only exception to this pattern within the group was Geremia da Montagnone, the author of an important florilegium showing humanist influences, who belonged to an old feudal family which had descended socially into the administrative class.35

Significant in this context was Latini’s view of true nobility. Charles Davis wrote, His study of Cicero and other classical authors furnished him with a civic and moral ideal that was in harmony with the theory of nobility that he found in twelfth- and thirteenth-century French writers. Like them, he maintained that nobility was dependent not on birth or wealth but on virtue . . .36

As Davis pointed out, Latini here was drawing on two French sources, Gullielmus Peraldus’s Summa virtutum ac vitiorum:

On Latini’s strong popular affiliations and his powerful anti-aristocratic sentiments, see John Najemy, ‘Brunetto Latini’s “Politica” ’, Dante Studies 112 (1994), 33–52. 32 John K. Hyde, Padua in the Age of Dante (Manchester, 1966), 134. 33 For Geri’s biography, see Roberto Weiss, Il primo secolo dell’umanesimo (Rome, 1949), 57 ff. 34 J. K. Hyde, Padua, 165–6. 35 Ibid., 300. 36 C. Davis, ‘Brunetto Latini and Dante’, 180. 31

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robert black And . . . a man is called noble on account of his noble and virtuous deeds, and from this is born originally the nobility of a gentle race, and not from ancestors, for to have a vulgar heart and high lineage is to be an earthen vessel gilded outside with gold.37

and pseudo-William of Conches’s Moralium dogma philosophorum: if [nobles] themselves do not perform virtuous deeds, they do not realize that they are disgraced rather than honored by the fame of their forebears.38

In this latter passage, Davis points out39 that Latini made two additions to his source (here indicated in italics): And those who delight in a noble lineage and boast of lofty ancestors, if they themselves do not perform virtuous deeds, they do not realize that they are disgraced rather than honored by the fame of their forebears. For when Catiline conspired secretly at Rome, he did nothing but evil, and when he spoke before the senators of the uprightness of his father and the nobility of his line and the good it had brought to the city of Rome, he certainly spoke more to his shame than to his honor.40

Latini’s additions not only indicate ‘the importance of the CiceroCatiline episode in forming his view of nobility’41 but suggest as well the personal resentment he harboured against the contemporary aristocracy’s monopoly of political power and social prestige in the Italian communes on the basis of birthright alone. It is hard not to see Latini carrying the proverbial ‘chip on the shoulder’: there seems little doubt that, for Latini, Cicero and Sallust were allies in a struggle against aristocratic privilege. Even more revealing is a letter written by another early humanist, Geri d’Arezzo, to a fellow lawyer, Gerardo da Castelfiorentino: I do not admire Caesar less when I read his writings than when I read of his wars. For as a writer he had little assistance, whereas as a warrior he relied on many others. As conqueror of the world he caused the most bellicose foreign nations and regions to tremble, extending his empire to the seas and his fame to the stars, but with his Commentaries on the Gallic Wars, which he composed over ten years, he outdid other writers, Tresor 2.54, based on Peraldus, 1.3, 19: C. Davis, ‘Brunetto Latini’, 183 (for the translation) and n. 75 (for the source). 38 Ibid., 180–1. 39 C. Davis, ‘Brunetto Latini and Dante’, 181 and n. 56. 40 Ibid., 180–1. 41 Ibid., 181, n. 56. 37

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however prolific, with his artful and lofty style. Nor did such a prince think it less valuable to write something that was worth reading than to achieve something that was worth recounting. He thought he was wasting his time if he was neither fighting nor writing. And if people want to find out more, they ought to read Suetonius’s Lives of the Caesars and the eloquent orations delivered by Cicero to Caesar, indeed all Roman history, and then they will discover how antiquity, following the superstitious rituals of those times, justifiably consecrated Julius Caesar as one of the gods. Our age, by contrast, Gerardo, has begotten men so proud of their long pedigrees that they consider Latin learning a waste of time, despising a ruler if they discover he devotes himself to study: deeply misguided, in my view, they consider knowledge inimical to arms. I do not mention kings and emperors, to whom fortune either grants or denies pardon; I limit myself to the lesser ranks of men, who are distinguished by the word ‘nobility’, not true nobility, which consists solely, only and uniquely of spiritual virtue, but rather by the fictitious and false variety derived in one way or another from the accumulation of antique lineage and wealth. How are they dignified by intellectual achievement, by generous display of virtue, by good morals? They do not consider this quotation [from Juvenal]: What avail your pedigrees? What boots it, Ponticus, to be valued for one’s ancient blood, and to display the painted visages of one’s forefathers—an Aemilianus standing in his car . . . if in the presence of the Lepidi you live an evil life?42 The men of our day, smug and self-satisfied with the fame of their lineage alone, think it adequate if they follow barking dogs into the woods or if they waste their time hawking, smug and self-satisfied with the fame of their lineage alone. Not that I condemn physical exercise when the mind is stimulated by bodily exertion. But I should like such aristocrats, when they devote themselves to mental activity, to prize Latin literature, to cultivate and exercise virtue, so that they have no need for further moral improvement. While hunting, writing-equipment is not out of place, as I read of the Younger Pliny of Verona, the distinguished orator, whose style I am mad about, and who, while seated with fishing nets, while hunting wild boar, while wielding hunting-spears, passed his time in this way. He said that leisure during the hunt is a great incitement to thought, and that Diana, no less than Minerva, was wont to wander through mountains. But while meandering thus without restraint, I do not want to write a satire, although it would not be difficult to do so in this century, so lacking are we in men of quality.43

Juvenal, Sat. 8.1–3, 9, trans. George G. Ramsay (London and Cambridge MA, 1965), 159. 43 Published by R. Weiss, Il primo secolo, 120–1; my translation. 42

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Striking here is not only animosity towards the pursuits and pretensions of the contemporary aristocracy, but also the use of classical writers and history to justify the literary and learned activities of the non-noble literary and professional classes. It is difficult not to see early humanism as an ideology justifying the political and social aspirations of the legal class to which Lovato, Latini and Geri belonged.44 Finally, geography. It was transalpine Europe where the advent of the humanist educational curriculum led to a radical and even revolutionary change that was inconceivable in Italy. Developments in linguistic theory, originating in Parisian schools during the twelfth century, had had profound effects on Italian grammatical education in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In Italy, the emergence of a systematic, logical approach, based on Parisian theory, led to a streamlined and rapid system for teaching Latin composition, obviating the need for the slow traditional methods of total immersion previously employed. The result was a highly practical approach to grammatical learning, attuned to the utilitarian goals of Italian education: business or preparation for notarial, legal or medical study. This system was developed for the urbanised world of Italian towns and cities, a social and economic context less prevalent in Northern Europe, where Latin school education was geared to prepare for university study too, but where higher learning was dominated by faculties of theology, either absent or marginalised in Italian universities. Study in Northern universities was based on logical methods, uncharacteristic of Italian universities or at most limited there to specialised scientific disciplines; mainline subjects such as law, notarial studies or rhetoric at Italian universities45 were not pursued on the basis of Aristotelian logic, which, in contrast, was the very foundation of the philosophical and theological disciplines at the heart of Northern universities.46 44 On the rise of the middle classes (popolo) in the Italian communes during the 13th century, see L. Martines, Power and Imagination, 45 ff. 45 On Italian universities, see Paul F. Grendler, The Universities of the Italian Renaissance (Baltimore, 2002). 46 On Northern universities, see James M. Kittelson and Pamela J. Transue, eds., Rebirth, Reform and Resilience: universities in transition (Columbus, OH, 1984); Terrence Heath, ‘Logical grammar, grammatical logic, and humanism in three German universities’, Studies in the Renaissance 18 (1971): 9–64; James Overfield, Humanism and Scholisticism in Late Medieval Germany (Princeton, 1984); Charles Nauert, ‘The clash of humanists and scholastics: an approach to pre-Reformation controversies’, Sixteenth Century Journal 4 (1973): 1–18; Nauert, ‘The humanist challenge to medieval German culture’, Daphnis. Zeitschrift für mittlere deutsche Literatur 15

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Given this context, it is not surprising to discover that logical and philosophical methods penetrated the introductory subject of grammar in Northern schools too. For example, the great verse grammars by Alexander of Villedieu and Evrard of Béthune, both written at the turn of the thirteenth century, circulated widely both north and south of the Alps, but their use reveals the difference between Italian and transalpine approaches. In Italy, these works served primarily as mines of mnemonic verses, used to help pupils memorise grammar rules and key examples. North of the Alps, on the other hand, the texts were memorised in their entirety47 and subjected to commentaries impregnated with logical and philosophical terminology and content. Thus, about 1300, Jupiter48 introduced a new style of commentary on Evrard’s Graecismus, influenced by the latest fashions in modistic grammatical theory then current in the University of Paris arts faculty. In this connection, he was particularly beholden to Radulphus Brito and Michel de Marbais, two leading contemporary practitioners of speculative grammar.49 In view of the philosophical tendencies of Northern grammatical study, not just in universities but also at the school level, it comes as no surprise to discover that early Northern humanist pedagogues emerged as genuine radicals in a way inconceivable for their Italian humanist predecessors and counterparts. As I have shown in my book, Humanism and Education in Medieval and Renaissance Italy, the Italian humanist curriculum represented a moderate, evolutionary and gradual change of direction from traditional Italian medieval grammatical teaching methods, but when it was transplanted during the later fifteenth century as a whole into Northern Europe, with its (1986): 277–306; Nauert, ‘Humanist infiltration into the academic world; some studies of Northern universities’, Renaissance Quarterly 43 (1990): 799–812; J. M. Fletcher, ‘Change and resistance to change: a consideration of the development of English and German universities during the sixteenth century’, History of Universities 1 (1981): 1–36; Alan B. Cobban, The Medieval English Universities: Oxford and Cambridge to c.1500 (Berkeley, 1988); Hugh F. Kearney, Scholars and Gentlemen. Universities and society in pre-industrial Britain, 1500–1700 (Ithaca, New York, 1970); Mark H. Curtis, Oxford and Cambridge in Transition, 1558–1642 (Oxford, 1959); Augustin Renaudet, Préréforme et humanisme à Paris pendant les premières guerres d’Italie (1494), 2nd ed. (Paris, 1953). 47 R. Black, Humanism and Education, 84–5. 48 The pseudonym of a Dijonais grammar teacher named Jean [de Clacy?]. 49 Anne Grondeux, Le « Graecismus » d’Evrard de Béthune à travers ses gloses: entre grammaire positive et grammarire spéculative du XIIIe au XVe siècle (Turnhout, 2000).

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philosophical and logical penchant for modistic and speculative grammar, Italian humanist education represented a truly revolutionary alternative. The best known humanist school in the German-speaking countries was St Lebwin’s in Deventer. With Alexander Hegius at the head from 1483 to 1498, it became the premier pre-university academy in the Netherlands, famous for its teaching of Latin. His school was possibly the first north of the Alps to offer Greek, and pupils there were encouraged to compose Latin poetry. He openly criticised modistic and speculative grammarians, then dominant in Latin teaching both at the school and university level. For Hegius, studying language logically did not provide boys with a workable knowledge of grammar, and he rightly noted that Italian pedagogues did not, in his view, waste time teaching such idle and abstract topics. Other important German teachers, such as Wimpheling or Dringenberg, were similarly hostile to modistic grammar.50 Italian humanist teachers such as Guarino and Perotti likewise had not taught speculative grammar,51 but what is significant here is that neither had their important medieval Italian predecessors such as Pietro da Isolella da Cremona, Filippo di Naddo da Firenze or Francesco da Buti,52 whereas for Jupiter, a contemporary northern grammar teacher of equal standing, modistic theory was at the heart of his pedagogic methods.53 In Italy, therefore, teachers happily combined traditional and avant-garde methods and sources, whereas Northern European teachers had to choose between two alternate fully developed systems: the traditional Northern speculative approach, or the non-philosophical, non-logical Italian humanist method. The latter method received the backing of the greatest reformers, including Luther, Melanchthon and Regnerus R. Post, The Modern Devotion: confrontion with Reformation and humanism (Leiden, 1968); Jozef IJsewijn, ‘The coming of humanism to the Low Countries’, in Itinerarium Italicum: the profile of the Italian Renaissance in the Mirror of its European Transformations, ed. Heiko A. Oberman and Thomas A. Brady (Leiden, 1975); Charles Nauert, Humanism and the Culture of Renaissance Europe (Cambridge, 1995). 51 W. Keith Percival, Studies in Renaissance Grammar (Aldershot, 2004). 52 R. Black, Humanism and Education; K. Percival, Studies. 53 A. Grondeux, Graecismus. On Northern pre-university schools, see Susan KarantNunn, ‘Alas, a lack: trends in the historiography of pre-university education in early modern Germany’, Renaissance Quarterly 43 (1990), 788–98; George Huppert, Public Schools in Renaissance France (Urbana, Illinois, 1984); Joan Simon, Education and Soceity in Tudor England (Cambridge, 1969); Rosemary O’Day, Education and Society, 1500–1800: the social foundations of education in early modern Britain (London, 1982). 50

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Calvin, and so it is not surprising that the humanist alternative displaced traditional methods and textbooks more thoroughly and more rapidly in Northern Europe than in Italy. This scenario can be illustrated by the printing history of Alexander’s Doctrinale. Even over the first century of the press, Doctrinale continued in unabated use by Italian teachers and pupils. Until 1480, editions of the text were almost exclusively North Italian.54 At least forty-six Italian editions of the work were issued,55 half of these in Venice.56 Although some of these Venetian editions would have been prepared for the ultramontane57 and especially German market, this nevertheless cannot explain the longue-durée of Doctrinale among Italian publishers. The text was subjected to relentless attack in Northern Europe and especially in Germany during the first decades of the sixteenth century, with the result that it ceased to be used in schools there by about 1520.58 The last German edition was produced in 1525, and few other ultramontane editions appeared after that date.59 On the other hand, Doctrinale continued to be printed in North Italy, with a final series of editions coming out of Brescia beginning in 1538 and continuing after 1550.60 The fact is that Doctrinale’s popularity in Italy grew, if anything, during the fifteenth century and sustained itself well into the sixteenth. Out of a total of 250 manuscripts,61 Reichling lists twenty-three manuscripts now in Italian libraries.62 On the other hand, out of a total 295 printed editions,63 46 were published in Italy.64 It is a fact that, among all European countries, Doctrinale survived longest in Italy, with the last printing occurring there in 1588.65 As far as school education is

54 Dietrich Reichling, ed., Das Doctrinale des Alexander de Villa-Dei (Berlin, 1893), XLV. 55 Ibid., CCXCV–CCCIII. 56 Ibid., XLV. 57 Paul Grendler, ‘Reply to Robert Black’, Journal of the History of Ideas 52 (1991): 337. 58 D. Reichling, Doctrinale, XCVIII. 59 Ibid., CIII. The only other ultramontane editions after this date are Paris 1526 and 1542 (ibid. CCCI). 60 Ibid., XLV–XVI. 61 Ibid., CXXI. 62 Ibid., CCXCI–CCXCII. 63 Ibid., CLXIX. 64 Ibid., CCXCV–CCCIII. 65 Ibid., XLV–XLVI; see E. Garin, Il pensiero pedagogico, xxvi–xxviii, who agreed that ‘il Doctrinale di Alessandro de Villadei rimane’ the fifteenth century, citing Vittorino’s purchase of it for his pupils. Battista Guarini recommended Doctrinale in

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concerned, Italy may have been the cradle of humanist pedagogy, but the new learning reached its fullest and purest form, at least as far as the pre-university level is concerned, in Northern Europe. Renaissance humanism, to sum up, may have been a movement, but as such it was far from uniform, and so it is arguably more appropriate to speak in the plural rather than in the singular of Renaissance chronologies, ideologies and geographies.

his De ordine docendi et discendi of 1459. In 1456, at Bassano, the grammar teacher was required to teach Doctrinale (Giovanni Chiuppani, ‘Storia di una scuola di grammatica dal medio evo fino al seicento [Bassano]’, Nuovo archivio veneto, n.s. 15 [29] (1915): 73–138, 253–304, at 265), and the same was true at Pistoia in 1499: A. Zanelli, Del pubblico insegnamento in Pistoia dal XIV al XVI secolo (Rome, 1900), 147. In 1472, the grammar teacher at Sarzana declared he had given more than six lecture courses on Doctrinale: Francesco Mannucci, ‘I primordi del pubblico insegnamento in Sarzana’, Giornale storico della Lunigiana 2 (1910): 161–83, at 166. For copies in Venice and the Veneto throughout the century, see Susan Connell, ‘Books and their owners in Venice 1345–1480’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 35 (1972): 163–86, at 171, 184, 185. D. Reichling, Doctrinale, had, on the basis of an admirably thorough study of the text’s printing history, concluded that Doctrinale lasted more than fifty years into the sixteenth century (LXXXVIII, XC).

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SHAKESPEARE AND THE ‘TRAGEDY’ OF THE RENAISSANCE Robin Kirkpatrick The argument outlined in this paper is that certain of Shakespeare’s plays may be read as a critique—in some respects as a damning critique—of the Renaissance culture in which, chronologically, the author is to be located. I shall look at two plays—Love’s Labour’s Lost and Troilus and Cressida—in which Shakespeare anticipates the themes of this volume, scrutinising the realities or myths associated with humanist learning and with Renaissance conceptions of heroism. In a third— Cymbeline—I shall argue that here, as in other of the late Romances, a continuity is asserted between Shakespeare’s England and an origin deep in the Middle Ages. In a fourth—Othello—I shall suggest that the drama offers an understanding of the contradictions tragically intrinsic to Renaissance culture and demands that any audience that benefits from a Renaissance patrimony should re-engage with the agon of its own inheritance. To begin, let me briefly suggest a theoretical under-pinning for these observations by indicating what I do not intend to do. Not being an historian, I shall not base my claims on any appeal to historical context. My concern will rather be with the textual details of language and dramatic form. Of course, Shakespeare himself is plainly interested in history. Indeed, one of the most obvious ways in which he reflects the mentality of the Late Renaissance can be observed in the similarity between his concerns and those thinkers of the period who developed a new eye for political and social analysis, most notably Machiavelli and Montaigne. It is possible, for instance, to argue that a play such as Coriolanus might have drawn directly on Machiavelli’s Discorsi, remembering that around 1600 Machiavelli’s writings were being published in London by John Woolf.1 Like Machiavelli, Shakespeare is compelled—in

See Ann Barton, ‘Livy, Machiavelli and Shakespeare’s Coriolanus’, Shakespeare Survey 38 (1985): 115–29. Barton here speaks of Italian as ‘a language which on the evidence of his use of Cinthio for Othello, Shakespeare could read.’ As to Machiavelli she concludes: ‘I think myself it would be more surprising if it could be proved 1

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Coriolanus as in other history plays and, especially, Roman history plays—to investigate the phenomenon of power as displayed at those critical moments in history when regimes undergo change or when ideologies are brought into question. His dramaturgical and rhetorical gifts enable him to seize upon such moments with particular intensity. Somewhat similarly, Shakespeare, for all his interest in the character of individuals, is profoundly interested in the ways in which social groups are constructed, disintegrate and can be constituted afresh. In this respect, he shares as much with Montaigne as he does with Machiavelli. The Tempest, for instance, famously investigates the relativities that come into play when usurpation—or the advent of new princes— opens up the conflicting claims of unregenerate appetites and aspirations for a brave new world. But in making a possibly direct allusion to Montaigne’s essay (as translated by Florio) ‘Of the Caniballes’, the play also admits—in the figure of Caliban—the demands made on the moral imagination by irreducible alterities in cultural discourse and existential status.2 That said, however, it can be no part of a dramatic work—at least in Shakespeare’s hands—merely to reflect upon or interpret historical data. It is, rather, the function of his theatre (or so I suggest) to reformulate the very modes of language—and of perception, too—that an audience brings with them from their historical context and to reanimate, imaginatively if not ideologically, our capacity for action in a particular historical moment. Of Greek drama it is frequently said that it extends the philosophical and political debates of the Athenian world into a form where the often irreconcilable claims of competing discourses can be revealed, often tragically, to view. No audience would be immune from the consequences of that competition. My argument on Shakespeare’s behalf is somewhat similar. His plays— and especially his tragedies—reveal the aporetic sub-text of the Renaissance tradition and (to the extent that we still buy tickets for them) evokes a new responsibility, a new answerability, to the tradition of which our thinking is still a part. With this difference vis-à-vis the Greeks: that Shakespeare’s plays—and especially the comedies—disthat Shakespeare had managed to avoid reading Machiavelli than if concrete evidence turned up that he had.’ (ibid., 122). 2 A number of essays in Peter Hulme and William H. Sherman, eds., The Tempest and its Travels (London, 2000) are consistent with this suggestion. See especially Patricia Seed ‘This island’s mine: Caliban and Native Sovereignty’, 202–11.

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play a concern not only with the way we talk, when dressed in our social guises, but also with the ways in which, physically, we view and review ourselves, and each other, in the shifting relationships of time and space. Shakespearian metatheatre—never very far away, even in the tragedies—alerts us to how we stand or sit within the wooden O, to what it means to watch an actor acting, to a consideration of what reverie can generate, and also of the subtleties in emotion and thought that can grow out of disguise and beguilement. I am not, therefore, speaking of some vaguely ‘universal’ appeal that Shakespeare exerts but rather of an exercise—of intelligence as well as emotion—which animates a particular re-engagement with our ethical, political and even epistemological preconceptions. We need examples, and the first is Love’s Labour’s Lost. This, though probably one of Shakespeare’s earlier plays, is a pyrotechnically erudite exposé of humanist erudition. A group of young aristocrats take a vow that for three years they will devote themselves to secluded study in a country retreat, forming ‘a little academe | Still and contemplative in living art’, so that ‘fame may live registered upon [their] brazen tombs.’3 Their high-minded intentions are, however, immediately challenged by the arrival of the Princess of France and her women who set up camp in the park around their villa. The students are soon writing sonnets in response to the ‘heavenly rhetoric’ of the eyes of these newly-beloved ladies. The action that unfolds involves a direct contest between nature and learning. The case of the would-be academicians is vigorously interwoven with and paralleled by the appearance of peasant lovers, of village intellectuals rehearsing the performance of a learned entertainment for the court and by the extravagant word-power of a vagrant Spaniard, whose child servant, of brilliant intelligence, is named Moth or Mote—a light-seeking self-destructive ephemeral, or else (suggestively) the French ‘mot’—and thus ‘word’. There is much here that can be taken as a satire on the humanist Academies that came to prominence in sixteenth-century Italy and France,4 and much, too, that recognizes the alliances—characteristic of the High Renaissance—that were formed in this period between humanism and courtly power. Above all, however, Love’s Labour’s Lost reflects upon eloquence which, since Petrarch brought it into account,

3 4

Love’s Labour’s Lost, I, i, 1–2. See especially Frances Yates, A Study of Love’s Labour’s Lost (Cambridge, 1936).

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had been the animating spirit of the new learning. The cultivation of eloquence by Shakespeare’s time had penetrated even to the Stratford grammar school at which Shakespeare himself was educated, and he— along with, say, Rabelais—can be seen as the supreme exemplar of the virtuosity that results when words, once thoroughly practised, exceed all containment, pouring out in playful abundance. At the same time, there is in Shakespeare an acute and sometimes self-conscious realisation of the distortions and absurdities that can arise when words become our obsession. So it is Moth—the word-child—who in conversation with the country bumpkin Costard can sardonically remark of certain linguistic inebriates: ‘They have been at a great feast of language and stolen the scraps.’5 The play, however, does not merely debunk the excesses of humanist eloquence. On the contrary, it develops, especially in its final act, a new resource which, while sanctioning the flow of words, simultaneously imposes its own dynamic and dramatic form of discipline or moderation. This resource is theatre itself. For the fifth act of Love’s Labour’s Lost is a many-levelled exercise in meta-theatre, centring on the performance of a play written and staged by the provincial intellectuals of the village—school-teachers, curates and constables— intended to delight the visiting aristocrats with the heroic doings of the Nine Worthies. Here one may recall that in the humanist tradition, the commedia erudita originally had an important position in the scholastic curriculum in training pupils for public speaking and in encouraging self-confidence. Shakespeare in his comedies from The Taming of the Shrew, through A Midsummer Night’s Dream and on to Twelfth Night was to play endlessly—and often metatheatrically—on the comic formulae that had filtered through from Italy.6 But Love’s Labour’s Lost points the way forward, above all in calling upon theatre to voice considerations that, precisely in puncturing self-confidence and self-possession, allow access to unmediated emotion and inarticulate humanity. As the schoolteacher Holofernes attempts to impersonate the character of the warrior Judas Maccabeus, he is exposed constantly to the derisive banter of the erstwhile academicians, who play endlessly upon his name: Is he representing Judas the traitor?

Love’s Labour’s Lost, V, i, 36. See Louise George Clubb, Italian Drama in Shakespeare’s Time (New Haven, 1989). 5 6

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Does his name not end in ‘ass’? (Shakespeare himself is pre-emptively complicit in this banter by virtue of a meta-joke that endows his village pedant with the name of a decapitated Assyrian warlord.) But as the actor is driven incoherently from the stage, so too his words, stripped of all eloquence, reveal him as a naked object of pity, mutely entering a demand for attention to something other than language can deliver: ‘This is not generous, not gentle, not humble.’7 It is physical embarrassment—sheer exposure to view, as in some anxiety dream— that speaks in these stumbling phrases. The same demand, on a larger scale, is voiced by the famously disruptive conclusion at which the play eventually arrives. For the final interruption to these cruel festivities comes not from the lip of an over-educated bully but from the mouth of Death, as suddenly there enters a messenger who curtly announces to the Princess of France, herself a member of the audience, that her father is dead. The messenger is Mercade. Scholars—or pedants—may ask what relation his name bears to that of Mercury, the ‘psychopomp’ or guide of the souls after death, or to that of Shakespeare’s own Mercutio. But the true significance here lies in the purely dramatic rhythm, contrived across the painful silence of a line-ending, whereby the messenger’s formal pronouncement is interrupted by, and then immediately completed in, the three words of an orphaned daughter: Mercade Princess

The King your father— Dead for my life.8

It is the scarcely apprehensible resonance of these words that governs everything that is said—and a great deal is still to be said— until the final line of the play. Love’s Labour’s Lost began in a flurry of vows—as if lives could be governed and directed entirely by florid verbal performances. And vows, too, conclude the play as the lovers attempt to gain promises from their now-sympathetic ladies. But the vows uttered now are of a very different order, firmly established in the sombre realities of human existence. For the ladies are no longer merely objects of courtly devotion. They are bound in a deeper bond of mourning with the Princess, and the only vow that the lovers

7 8

Love’s Labour’s Lost, V, vi, 622. Ibid., V, ii, 712–3.

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can elicit from them is one of postponement for a year—in which time and not language will tell. The condition that Rosaline imposes is that her lover Biron, who all along has been the wittiest and most mercurial member of the academy, is that he should ‘this twelve month term from day to day’ Rosaline

Biron

Visit the speechless sick and still converse With groaning wretches; and your task shall be, With all the fierce endeavour of your wit To enforce the pained impotent to smile. To move wild laughter in the throat of death? It cannot be; it is impossible: Mirth cannot move a soul in agony.9

A familiar emblem in deconstructive studies of the Renaissance used to be Holbein’s Ambassadors, where an artfully trompe-l’oeil death’s head makes a mockery of the artful poise of diplomats and courtiers. In Love’s Labour’s Lost the impossible demand that Biron should ‘move wild laughter in the throat of death’ is a dramatic equivalent of this visual conceit. The impossibility, however, is one that Shakespeare’s own art can encompass—rather more invigoratingly than even Holbein can claim to do. To show how Shakespeare himself makes good this impossible demand—and how much more invigorating he is than Holbein in doing so—one would need to track his career through plays such as Measure for Measure (remembering Barnadine), Hamlet (remembering Yorick) and King Lear (thinking of Gloucester’s frustrated suicide). And on the way, one may well care to note a concern with the virtue of Folly in which Shakespeare is often at one with Erasmus’s celebration of that paradoxically productive resource. But, pursuing such a line, we should certainly need to consider Troilus and Cressida, a play which launches itself in self-laceratingly witty fashion against two of the most obvious bastions of Renaissance culture: its devotion to examples of ancient virtue, and the cult of eloquence and literary imitation.10

Ibid., V, ii, 837–43. Shakespeare is no less scathing when he considers the world of ancient Greece in Timon of Athens, where all moral exempla and philosophical persuasions are swept up in a vertigo or outlandish rhetoric. 9

10

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In one respect, Troilus and Cressida is an extended version of Holofernes’ pageant of the Nine Worthies. Set in the Trojan War, the play consistently presents the heroes of Greece—who did, after all, triumph over the Trojans in the end—as dunderheads, con-men, wimps and wastrels: Ajax’s name, whenever Thersites utters it, invites a notorious pun (as did Judas’s name in Love’s Labour Lost): Ajax—a jakes; a jacksy; an Elizabethan dung-hole. Achilles sulks in his tent while his catamite Patroclus does stage-y imitations of the other Greek champions. So much for any rosy conception of heroic individualism. More disconcerting still is the formal sophistication of the play, which, point by point, turns against itself (even against the themes of many of Shakespeare’s own sonnets) and corrodes the very conception of literary achievement—of fame, of victories over time, of art as a cultural monument.11 Shakespeare had undoubtedly read Chapman’s Homer, and in the course of his reading would surely have seen the possibility of attempting a prestigious imitatio, in which the epic narrative could dextrously have been condensed into a three-hour traffic on the stage, complete with histrionic rodomontades and stirring scuffles. Instead, he picks out an almost invisible strand in the epic story, which concerns the vicissitudes between two far-from immaculate lovers during a pause in the conflict. Moreover, in doing so, he affiliates himself rather more with the mediaeval than with the classical tradition. For the Troilus and Cressida story had been developed by vernacular writers such as Guido della Colonna, Boccaccio and, supremely, Chaucer as a vehicle for a range of medieval concerns, some of them connected with questions of fate and providence, others connected with the codes and conventions of courtly love, and all of them viewed (especially by Chaucer) through a lens of pitee, empathy or (in Henryson’s case) emotive frisson.12 But in Shakespeare’s hands all these themes fare as badly as does epic heroism. So far from eliciting pity (as Romeo and Juliet was so plainly designed to do), the dramatic rhythms of

Such themes as these have their origin most evidently in Petrarch’s writings. For Petrarch himself considerations of time, fame and literary achievement are always problematic. This is evident from the first sonnet of the Rime Sparse—a poem which can be seen as a pre-emptive palinode, revealing that the claims to fame which Petrarch himself pursues in the course of that collection may be nothing but a ‘brief’ dream’—a ‘breve sogno’. Followers of Petrarch not infrequently glossed over the conflicts that lie beneath the polished surface of the poet’s lyric writings. 12 See Piero Boitani, ed., The European Myth of Troilus (Oxford, 1989). 11

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Troilus and Cressida artfully dissolve the possibility of such a response as surely as they erode the possibilities of moral admiration. Take, for instance, the Chorus who opens the play armed like an epic warrior: In Troy, there lies the scene. From isles of Greece The princes orgulous, their high blood chafed, Have to the port of Athens sent their ships, Fraught with the ministers and instruments Of cruel war: sixty and nine, that wore Their crownets regal, from the Athenian bay Put forth toward Phrygia; and their vow is made To ransack Troy, within whose strong immures The ravish’d Helen, Menelaus’ queen, With wanton Paris sleeps; and that’s the quarrel. To Tenedos they come; And the deep-drawing barks do there disgorge Their warlike fraughtage: now on Dardan plains The fresh and yet unbruised Greeks do pitch Their brave pavilions: Priam’s six-gated city, Dardan, and Tymbria, Helias, Chetas, Troien, And Antenorides, with massy staples And corresponsive and fulfilling bolts, Sperr up the sons of Troy. Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits, On one and other side, Trojan and Greek, Sets all on hazard: and hither am I come A prologue arm’d, but not in confidence Of author’s pen or actor’s voice, but suited In like conditions as our argument, To tell you, fair beholders, that our play Leaps o’er the vaunt and firstlings of those broils, Beginning in the middle, starting thence away To what may be digested in a play. Like or find fault; do as your pleasures are: Now good or bad, ‘tis but the chance of war.13

13

Troilus and Cressida, Pr., 1–31.

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The rhythms here initially have the sweep of a periodic sentences and enunciate a catalogue of heroic names studded with refulgent Latinisms—‘orgulous’: ‘immures’: ‘corresponsive’—and seems for a moment to promise the kind of imitation that demonstrates how anything Homer can do the stage can do better: ‘our play leaps o’er the vaunt and firstlings of those broils . . .’ Yet by the time we reach line 20, the text is visibly descending into a far lower register—into the sphere of ‘tickling skittish spirits’ and of ‘hazard’, of titillation and sensational confusion. The attention that the Chorus finally invites is lubricious, irresponsible and even disparaging: ‘starting thence away | To what may be digested in a play . . .’ This Chorus—‘armed but not in confidence | of author’s pen or actor’s voice’—never re-appears, though there is a sort of anti-chorus in the form of the scabrous Thersites whose function is to project a cynical venom into every corner of the play. The consequence is that the audience is in the same moment offered an authoritative point of reference and deprived (deliberately, it seems) of any moral standpoint from which to view the action of the play, and so can scarcely be sure of where its attention should properly be concentrated, whether on questions of war or questions of love, whether in judgement of Cressida’s perfidy or sympathy at her destruction in the commerce of military negotiations. One may recall that in the Renaissance theatre of Italy the audience would always have in front of them a backdrop constructed in perfect perspective (designed by such architects as Serlio), accentuated by a chequer-board floor in which the formulae of perspective construction were perfectly observed. Such settings not only demonstrated artistic ingenuity but also symbolised the pattern of control or moral order which the aristocratic patron who had commissioned them wished to insist upon. Princely order here complacently assures the errant bourgeoisie of the inherent reliability that underlies all their comic antics.14 But Shakespeare’s audience—at least in Troilus—is denied any such comfort. What is worse, it is progressively implicated in a mode of perception which associates it with a prurience, voyeurism and gossipy curiosity that is displayed not only by Thersites but also by the only other link-man in the action, Pandarus, the go-between. It is, indeed, Pandarus who at the conclusion of

14 See Robin Kirkpatrick English and Italian Literature from Dante to Shakespeare (London, 1995), 195–223.

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the play, acting as substitute for the long-absent Chorus, invites pity for himself (though not in any Chaucerian sense) since he is suffering venereal disease and impotence (‘Pandar’s fall’) and then, appealing to the bawds and pimps in his audience, seeks to contaminate the audience itself with his sickening malaise: As many as be here of pander’s hall, Your eyes, half out, weep out at Pandar’s fall; Or if you cannot weep, yet give some groans, Though not for me, yet for your aching bones. Brethren and sisters of the hold-door trade, Some two months hence my will shall here be made: It should be now, but that my fear is this, Some galled goose of Winchester would hiss: Till then I’ll sweat and seek about for eases, And at that time bequeath you my diseases. Exit15 In this play, Shakespeare is (to put it mildly) aware of his audience. It seems likely that the play was first staged as an élite private performance, possibly at one of the Inns of Court, for an audience that could welcome the most intricately self-conscious of jokes. Here two examples must serve to indicate how Shakespeare’s dramaturgy invites any Renaissance man—at least of Burckhardian kidney—to conspire in his own destruction. The first example is that of the famous speech concerning cosmic order and ‘degree’ that Ulysses is given in the opening act at scene two, lines 85 to 88: The heavens themselves the planets and this centre Observe degree priority and place, Infixiture, course, proportion, season, form, Office and custom in all line of order. This speech used to be taken as the reliable expression of an Elizabethan world-picture. Certainly there is much here that resembles the discussion of degree in the opening pages of Sir Thomas Elyot’s Boke

15

Troilus and Cressida, Ep., 47–56.

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of the Governour, written, of course, in the heyday of Henrician absolutism. Ulysses’s words might thus seem to offer a point of reference, otherwise lacking, for moral commentary on this and many more of Shakespeare’s plays. Yet this is to ignore how, in context, the speech is delivered as a Machiavellian ploy, or a piece of philosophical rhetoric, intended primarily to define a policy which, so far admitting the claims of order, will lead to the ultimate destruction of Troy. Nor can any audience overlook the fact that the same Ulysses who here speaks with such intellectual perspective or even pragmatic cunning will himself become a peeping Tom when spying on Cressida at the moment when she is delivered over to Diamedes. ‘She will sing any man at first sight’ he whispers to Troilus, as unseen, they watch Cressida, in complete disorientation, attempting to save herself by flirtatiousness.16 This is the same Ulysses who (in IV, vi, 55) has spoken with repressed fascination of Cressida as a ‘daughter of the game’: ‘There’s language in her eye, her cheek, her lips.| Nay her foot speaks.’ We are here looking over Ulysses’s choric—if unreliable—shoulder. But in an earlier episode,17 we are required even more directly to contemplate a scene in which literary knowledge dissolves into a theatre of embarrassment (as does Holofernes’ play in Love’s Labour’s Lost) and find that all pretensions to conquer time by art and rhetoric are paradoxically undermined. For at the point where Troilus and Cressida are constrained to part, Shakespeare has contrived a highly formal scene in which Troilus, Cressida and Pandarus lay claim to the names and fame which they will enjoy in the future. Even when they are parted, Troilus will be true and so will Cressida. So Pandarus can conclude with the lines: ‘Let all constant men be Troiluses, all false women Cressida’ and all ‘brokers between’ panders. Yet as Cressida lays her claim, in one of the longest and most passionate speeches that she makes (‘Yet let them say to stick the heart of falsehood | “As false as Cressid” ’), she precipitates a vertigo of unresolved considerations. Few of these have as much to do with pity as with a shameful paralysis suffered as a result of our own learning, which extends even to our cognitive powers. We know the story, so know she is going to be false. But how does that superiority profit us? What possible future do our words have if they are so out of kilter with the way in which our stories

16 17

Troilus and Cressida, V, ii, 10. Ibid., III, ii, 167–207.

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unfold? What do we or can we know of ourselves? In any case, what is truth when the way ‘to stick it down’ is to proclaim, axiomatically, that Cressida is false even though she believed she would not be? Or is it only a story plucked from the past for an evening’s entertainment? A sophisticated audience might, metatheatrically, have been prepared to recognise that this was the only truth. If I have so far concentrated on these sleazy deconstructions, it is not to suggest the complete collapse of Renaissance pretensions to cultural advancement and courtly self-fashioning but rather to prepare for Othello. This is the play, written close in time to Troilus, where, arguably, Shakespeare writes himself out of the Iago-like posture which characterises the view-point of the earlier play and, in doing so, summons visibly Renaissance resources to reveal both the strengths and the weaknesses of Renaissance culture. But before turning to that true tragedy, let me look briefly at one of Shakespeare’s last plays, Cymbeline. For in this play a distinctly polemical attitude to at least the Italian Renaissance combines with the desire to recover a past in which ancient Rome enters into virtuous alliance with a mythical but mediaeval Britain. The play, set around the year 30 AD, moves fluently between three locations. The first is Cymbeline’s court in London, which has become corrupt under the influence of Cymbeline’s second wife and is contesting certain claims made by Imperial Rome. The second location is Rome. But this is a Rome represented anachronistically in terms of Renaissance behaviour: the story which centres on this site is drawn from Boccaccio and develops an accurately Boccaccian picture of Italian trade, gambling and guile. The third setting is Milford Haven, where we discover the long-lost sons of Cymbeline who, having been brought up in pastoral innocence and Celtic rectitude, will eventually return to their rightful inheritance. Now I shall not attempt here to explain how the happy ending is brought about (Shakespeare himself scarcely manages to do so). Essentially, the resolution is reached when Rome, as imperial overlord, is brought to recognise and respect the moral strength of native British culture and therefore can safely abdicate the realm to its own destiny, content with the honourable promise that Cymbeline will henceforth pay due tribute. But even this outline may suggest a reformulation of important Renaissance themes on Shakespeare’s part. Here, like Machiavelli, Shakespeare seems to recognise the virtù exemplified by ancient Rome and looks to the ways in which this example might be assimilated into a modern vein which otherwise is prone to enfeebled

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decadence. At the same time, there is a claim—very different from the claims that Machiavelli promulgates to Medicean Florence—which insists that virtù is a native strength to be drawn directly and without intermediary from the British soil. In this latter respect, Cymbeline has something in common with works such as Spenser’s Faerie Queene, where the Tudor line—which was Stuart by the date of Shakespeare’s play—was celebrated by reference to its Welsh and authentically British origins. More important, for our present argument, is an acute sense of the past which demands attention far less to written or printed texts than to the primitive, chthonic roots of our physical lineage. It is this understanding—where books and bodies, Italy and Britain are in direct opposition—that is brilliantly explored in Act Two scene two, where the love-interest of the play interweaves domestically with the political and cultural context. While in Rome, an exile from the unhappy court in London has been inveigled into gambling on his wife’s virtue. This is Boccaccio’s story. It also represents a modernised version of Livy’s Rape of Lucretia. But the Italian player in this game of chance—a certain Iachimo—deviously plans to win his wager by entering the bed-chamber of the honourable wife and bringing back from it information that will convince her husband of her infidelity. As the scene in question begins, Iachimo emerges from a travel trunk supposedly containing priceless jewels and therefore stored for safe-keeping in the honest wife’s bedroom. This box itself deserves attention. The connotations it carries are those of trade, transfer and treasure, which are, of course, the very foundations, in mercantile terms, of Italian Renaissance culture. Italian ingenuity is also involved here—since Iachimo’s box contains a subtle reverse lock which allows it to be opened from the inside, and the words that Iachimo utters go a long way to confirming this interpretation: Innogen sleeps. IACHIMO comes from the trunk IACHIMO

The crickets sing, and man’s o’er-labour’d sense Repairs itself by rest. Our Tarquin thus Did softly press the rushes, ere he waken’d The chastity he wounded. Cytherea, How bravely thou becomest thy bed, fresh lily, And whiter than the sheets! That I might touch! But kiss; one kiss! Rubies unparagon’d, How dearly they do’t! ‘Tis her breathing that Perfumes the chamber thus: the flame o’ the taper

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robin kirkpatrick Bows toward her, and would under-peep her lids, To see the enclosed lights, now canopied Under these windows, white and azure laced With blue of heaven’s own tinct. But my design, To note the chamber: I will write all down: Such and such pictures; there the window; such The adornment of her bed; the arras; figures, Why, such and such; and the contents o’ the story. Ah, but some natural notes about her body, Above ten thousand meaner moveables Would testify, to enrich mine inventory. O sleep, thou ape of death, lie dull upon her! And be her sense but as a monument, Thus in a chapel lying! Come off, come off: Taking off her bracelet As slippery as the Gordian knot was hard! ‘Tis mine; and this will witness outwardly, As strongly as the conscience does within, To the madding of her lord. On her left breast A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops I’ the bottom of a cowslip: here’s a voucher, Stronger than ever law could make: this secret Will force him think I have pick’d the lock and ta’en The treasure of her honour. No more. To what end? Why should I write this down, that’s riveted, Screw’d to my memory? She hath been reading late The tale of Tereus; here the leaf ’s turn’d down Where Philomel gave up. I have enough: To the trunk again, and shut the spring of it. Swift, swift, you dragons of the night, that dawning May bare the raven’s eye! I lodge in fear; Though this a heavenly angel, hell is here. Clock strikes One, two, three: time, time! Goes into the trunk. The scene closes18

18

Cymbeline, II, ii, 11–52.

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Iachimo’s aim here is not to rape his victim, as Tarquin’s would have been, but rather to create a commercial inventory which will allow him to carry back an account of the ‘moveables’ that are to be found in the room. Things and even brute physicalities are displaced by words and can therefore become the objects of exchange. Books as well as boxes here become dangerously complicit in the intrigue. For Iachimo’s inventory of mere fact is intended to make possible a sequence of illusory exchanges, ending in the annihilation of conjugal faith or any confidence in the moral virtue that can so tragically be eclipsed in the cultivation of Machiavellian prowess. Now it is pleasing to relate that in the long run, Iachimo’s stratagems are exposed for what they are in the light of a newly constituted alliance between Rome and Britain. But even in the present scene, virtue is capable of a mute resistance which, working eloquently as a sub-text to Iachimo’s actual words, resists and deflects his ravishing stride. The speech cited above is vibrating with a repressed and deviant sexuality—and also with a voyeurism reminiscent of Troilus and Cressida. At the same time, the language—which Keats significantly loved very dearly—wholly escapes from the frame of classical allusion (to Tereus and Philomel, for instance, at lines 45–6) or mercantile calculation—or even, for that matter, meta-theatricality—to produce a mode of immediate perception in which ‘things’ incalculably become objects of wonder, not of trade. The focus is upon ‘natural notes’—on irreducible particulars: ‘the mole cinque-spotted’. These need not, nor can they, be written down. They are ‘riveted | screwed to [Iachimo’s] memory’. The marks which distinguish her person are intrinsic to her and speak of the inalienable being of the sleeping woman. But these ‘rivets’ and ‘screws’ are also marks which she makes upon her assailant. When Iachimo is brought to justice in the final act, he is pointedly described as an Italian fiend whose Italian brain has worked its wiles in ‘duller Britain’. These ‘marks of secret on her person’ are still working in his memory and stimulating his confession. Love’s Labour’s Lost invites the Renaissance to entertain the paradoxical reality expressed by a trompe-l’oeil death’s head. Cymbeline, here as in other scenes, challenges the fascinations of miasmic corruption (particularly of Italianate corruption) by evoking a hidden watermark of efficacious innocence or even incorruptibility, encountered in the innocently sleeping Innogen. In defiance of artifice and artefact, theatre (as we, the audience, view the voyeur) concentrates its appeal on the breathing body of a form that, even in its sleep, is the human

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repository of crimson cowslip markings and (to quote) the ‘blue of heaven’s own tinct’. It is in this respect that Cymbeline points us, finally, back to Othello where Othello himself, bending over the sleeping Desdemona, is almost persuaded to break the sword of what—at that point—he considers to be the instrument of just revenge. So I turn to Othello. This play is set in Renaissance Italy. It displays, however, nothing comparable to the patriotic animus against things Italian that Shakespeare in Cymbeline shares with many of his English contemporaries. On the contrary, Shakespeare not only shows, here as in The Merchant of Venice, a surprising knowledge of Venetian institutions but also suggests a certain admiration for their manners and operation. Iago is, of course, a Venetian. But so is Desdemona. And Venetian justice is capable not only of acknowledging Othello’s merits and of sanctioning Desdemona’s marriage to an outsider but also of apprehending Iago and of electing another outsider, the Florentine Cassio, as governor of Cyprus at Othello’s death. There is, however, one respect in which the formation of the play does undertake directly to revise the Italian model, and that is in the revision of its source-text, which is to be found in Cinthio’s novellacollection, the Hecatommithi. Notoriously, this is the version in which the Moor and Iago come into Desdemona’s bed-chamber together to murder her and do so by beating her over the head with a sock full of wet sand. This is not as silly as it sounds. Their purpose is to commit the perfect murder, leaving no evidence of physical battery. Conversely, the author’s intention, reflecting a pious obsession in Counter-Reformation Italy with providence, is to show that there is no such a thing as a perfect murder, since the eye of God is all-seeing and all-revealing. But, in altering this and many other details, as well as by transferring a prose novella to the stage, Shakespeare develops an action in which the perceptions of the audience are exercised without recourse to any such confidence. This action, while in a way anticipating Cymbeline’s confidence in the force of human presence, is also quite different from those glances into a fractured mirror that Troilus invites or the comedic melancholia of Love’s Labour’s Lost. In following some of these changes through, one may, perhaps, hope to make good the claim that Shakespeare is capable of writing the true tragedy of the Renaissance. Firstly, as I have suggested, there is no appeal to providence in Othello. Certainly, there are a great many allusions to the discourse of Christian faith. But most of these on analysis prove to be merely

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local colour—the day-to-day references in Christian civilisation which Othello himself adopts almost by way of compensation for his foreignness. Otherwise, the play evolves beneath a ‘marble heaven’19 which is wholly unresponsive to human prayers. Far more than in Hamlet or Macbeth with their ghosts and witches, or in Lear with its gods who treat us as wanton boys treat flies, humanity in Othello is left alone to make, unmake and re-create itself by living through the consequences of its own actions. In this respect already, the audience—which in the final moments of the play will be called to act as a judge of Othello’s merits and failings—may feel themselves presented with at least one familiar version of the Renaissance myth, which, whether enunciated by Alberti or Burckhardt, imagines that human beings can most truly live in a civic relationship, untrammelled by the distractions of religion and superstition. In summoning up this picture, however, Shakespeare modifies Cinthio still further, going still deeper into the central concerns of High Renaissance culture. For one thing, if Othello is not a play about providence, nor is it (or so I’d maintain) a play about the pathological character of jealousy. Those (the majority) who have read it as being so, are in fact reading back through Shakespeare’s revisions and reviving a ghostly version of Cinthio’s original. It is Cinthio who shows how the Moor’s suspicions develop slowly and erosively, producing pages of heart-searching and domestic wrangles even on the part of Desdemona. Shakespeare compresses all of this, and in doing so balances our perception of events on rapier-like points of imaginative intensity: ‘I saw Othello’s visage in his mind’; ‘O my fair warrior’; (of the notorious handkerchief) ‘The worms were hallowed that did breed the silk’; ‘O balmy breath that doth almost persuade Justice to break her sword’; ‘Soft you a word or two before you go’.20 It is around these points, I suggest, that the tragedy of the Renaissance swirls to its conclusion. For throughout this play—as in a certain sense throughout the Renaissance—we are concerned not with the squalid distortions of sins such as jealousy, but rather with the perception of human excellence, and simultaneously—and tragically—with the extreme fragility of that perception. Or better say by the aporetic realisation that our

Othello, III, iii, 467. These phrases are to be found at Othello, I, iii, 252; II, I, 183; III, iv, 73; V, ii, 16 and V, ii, 347 19 20

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grasp of what is good and beautiful in the human individual can itself become a malicious strangle-hold. It is, after all, Iago who in his hatred of the suave and courtly Cassio declares: ‘He hath a daily beauty in his life that makes me ugly’.21 Deepening this tragic understanding, there are currents of thought in Shakespeare’s play that are drawn (one cannot tell how) from the purest springs of Renaissance Neoplatonism. The qualities of grace and sprezzatura (or courtly nonchalance) which Castiglione celebrates, and which Spenser turns into an ethical principle in the sixth book of The Faerie Queene, are immediately perceptible in Desdemona’s self possession, as indeed in her ability to give as good as she gets during early conversations with the Clown or Iago himself.22 Cassio, in his chequered way, is plainly endowed with a similar virtue. But so too—at least initially—is Othello: ‘Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust ’em.’23 The question which the play poses, however, is whether its audience can perceive any return to human grace in Othello’s final moments, when he comes to utter the appeal—simultaneously flamboyant and poised—which immediately precedes his suicide: OTHELLO

21 22 23

Soft you; a word or two before you go. I have done the state some service, and they know’t. No more of that. I pray you, in your letters, When you shall these unlucky deeds relate, Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate, Nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak Of one that loved not wisely but too well; Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought, Perplex’d in the extreme; of one whose hand, Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes, Albeit unused to the melting mood, Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees Their medicinal gum. Set you down this; And say besides, that in Aleppo once, Where a malignant and a turban’d Turk

Othello, V, I, 19. Ibid., II, i, 141–167. Ibid., I, ii, 6.

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Beat a Venetian and traduced the state, I took by the throat the circumcised dog, And smote him, thus. Stabs himself LODOVICO

O bloody period!24

It would undoubtedly help, in identifying the beauty and grace of this conclusion, to remember a commitment to the value of intuitive vision which is to be found in Ficino and is pithily defined by Shakespeare himself when in A Midsummer Night’s Dream he writes; ‘Love sees not with the eyes but with the mind | And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.’25 The human intellect sees more truly in conditions of blindness, drunkenness, ecstasy and wonder than it ever can when it is trained, soberly, upon the objects of sense perception. It is surely permissible to say that, in the narrative of the play, it was this intuition that led Othello to choose Desdemona and Desdemona to choose Othello. But if that much is obvious on a romantic level, it also applies, in the logic of the play, to purely practical considerations. Othello sees a ‘truth’ in Cassio which leads him against all common-sense evidence to appoint him as lieutenant over the merely ‘honest’ Iago. Venice itself may be thought to have followed some such course in committing its fortunes to the alien Othello. Such momentary intuitions, however, are, in the circumstances of time, fragile, and specifically so in being subject to the apparently rational forms of analysis which offer us ‘ocular proof ’ and usually get us through the humdrum day. Such forms are the stock-in-trade of Iago, whose language has a sharp observational power which associates it with certain forms of Renaissance treatise, as well as a propensity to categorical generalities which some have suggested anticipates the language of eighteenth-century character studies, as when, in conversation with Roderigo,26 he assesses Desdemona in complacently sweeping terms: ‘Very nature will instruct her in it and compel her to some second choice.’27

Ibid., V, ii, 347–65. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I, i, 234–5. Compare Edgar Wind, Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance (London, 1958), 58. 26 Othello, II, i, 235. 27 See John Bayley, The Characters of Love (London, 1960), 130–1. 24 25

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But can the audience, on the material offered us by Shakespeare, get beyond mere character-analysis—or gossip—in its final perception of Othello? Or are we to view him in the final moments of the play as Thersites might view the heroic Ajax, or else as Iago has viewed him throughout the whole action? Is Othello the ‘black ram’ that Iago first describes him as? I suggest not. The first propaedeutic involves a reconsideration, comparable to Desdemona’s intuitive response, of Othello’s blackness. In Cymbeline, an apparent defect on a woman’s breast can be seen not only as a distinguishing mark but also as the burning focus of imaginative attention. So, too, Othello’s colour is not—as Iago thinks it is—a merely racial denominator. Rather, it needs to be seen as a mark of uniqueness, of strangeness and particularity, untranslatable into ratiocinative generalisations. Particularity is the mode from within which the manifestations of excellence are to be perceived, and we are called in Othello—as we certainly are not in Troilus—to judge, but, simultaneously, to wonder at what we see. That call is enforced by an effect of dramatic rhythm, concentrating attention entirely upon the person and words of Othello as he works towards the wholly unexpected moment of his suicide. This coup de théâtre stands in significant contrast to that which concluded Love’s Labour’s Lost. In the earlier play, the reality of a remotely off-stage death intruded on a group which—like the Renaissance tribe at large—was seeking to establish itself entirely through language, by vows and eloquent protestations. And that intrusion was, up to a point, liberating, since it revealed a set of competing demands which otherwise would have dwindled into the formulae of a marriage celebration. Othello’s death, on stage, is likewise an intrusion, not least insofar as it concentrates attention on a black outsider who has arrived from beyond the confines of the Venetian realm. It is also, however, an act of integration, securing at one and the same time the integrity of the individual and the coherence of the social order. Othello is acting now not out of jealousy but out of disinterested, indeed self-sacrificing, devotion to the principle of justice—the very principle on which civilised existence wholly depends. He is certainly seeking justice for Desdemona—and in doing so ends, one might say, by re-marrying her as his body falls beside hers on the bed. At the same time, he is seeking justice for himself and the Venetian state (‘I have done the state some service and they know it.’), and in both act and word achieves this aporetic synthesis. Recalling how, in Aleppo once, he took by the

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throat the turbaned Turk, he triumphantly returns to the role he has always performed on behalf of the Venetian state, an outsider defending Venice from other outsiders. He himself must now, in justice, be regarded as an enemy of the state. But he is also what he was when the Venetian state—and Desdemona herself—first committed themselves to him. As for the audience, in its position as a ‘virtual’ society, the rhythms of word and dramatic action lead, as perhaps in no other tragedy by Shakespeare, to a moment of truth which is also a moment of beauty. Attending to the intense paradoxes of this final speech, we are finally offered—‘and smote him thus’—a silence which is also a perfect cadence in Othello’s richly exotic and strange oratorical sweep. Wonder, for the audience, is revealed as the perceptual foundation of the justice we do to others. It is unlikely that Alberti would have understood Othello. There are, to say the least, elements of extravagance in the play that are hardly compatible with the conceptions of human dignity, claritas and rational control which many have derived from Alberti’s humanism. Few Renaissance men—or for that matter Renaissance scholars—would suppose that the value of the human being and of the civic order that expresses our humanity might fundamentally depend upon particular and wonderful acts of self-sacrifice. But this is the truth that Shakespeare’s tragedy, never denying the value of a civic order, reveals—at least in Othello. And for the civic order constituted by his playhouse audience Shakespeare also provides the resources of wonder by virtue of which we may approach such contradictions. Wonder is one of the essential components in our response to theatrical events. In his late Romances Shakespeare himself clearly recognises the capacity of theatre to stop an audience in its tracks by visual spectacle—as in the theophanies of Cymbeline and Pericles— demanding that ratiocinative judgement yield to the immediacy of amazement. Miranda’s exclamation: ‘O brave new world that hath such creatures in it’ is not, in context, without its complications (as Machiavelli would no doubt have recognised). Yet it does provide (as Montaigne might insist) a liberality and generosity of perception which, though significantly denied to Holofernes, is an essential source of ethical refreshment. The tragedy is—and this is the tragedy that may still affect us—that wonder itself is fragile and may all too easily deteriorate into viciousness. This has been demonstrated to wonderful effect by Stephen Greenblatt in his Marvellous Possessions: the Wonder of the New World

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(Oxford, 1991). Here, Greenblatt argues that fabulous tales of far-off behaviours were a major export from the newly-discovered Americas, and he painfully traces the ways in which wonder and admiration can, perniciously, be transformed into possessive curiosity and gossipy gawping. Such possessiveness is recognisably a feature of Iago’s mentality with its coolly ‘honest’ analysis of mixed marriages and exotic extremes of sentiment. But it is also a feature of the culture we have inherited from the Renaissance to suppose that, following Machiavelli, scepticism has an affinity with rational investigation and that, following Alberti, the details of the observable world may be more reliable or engaging as objects of perception than the mysteries which the world may generate. As descendants of a rationalist Renaissance we are all that way inclined, and consequently all need Shakespeare to reveal how the re-birth of human grace and beauty must constantly be re-enacted through a wondering, if fragile, attention to fragile particulars.

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‘HUMANITAS RENATA’ Robin Sowerby At the beginning of his 1944 article, Panofsky distinguishes two implied meanings in the use of the term Renaissance, In a wider sense, it denotes a rebirth of higher culture in general, presupposing, of course, that higher culture had been dead, or nearly dead, in the preceding period. In a narrower sense it denotes a rebirth of classical Antiquity following a complete, or nearly complete, breakdown of classical traditions.1

This chapter will address the narrower association of the Renaissance with the rebirth of classical Antiquity. This, after all, has always been central to ideas of the Renaissance. Much of what follows concerns a clutch of letters that Petrarch wrote to classical authors and what they tell us about the Italian revival associated with his name. As Panofsky’s discussion of the Renaissance includes a comparison of Italy with Northern Europe, which he sees as having persisted in a predominantly medieval mindset, there will be a brief concluding reference to Erasmus as the pre-eminent representative of humanism in the North. Distinctions not made by Panofsky are also drawn between the revivals of Latin and of Greek. A useful perspective can be provided for this and every classical revival by alluding to the reaction of the early Church fathers to the pagan classics. First there is the testimony of Jerome in his famous letter in which he advises a young lady to abstain from reading classical literature. He begins with some fearsome questions: What communion hath light with darkness? What concord hath Christ with Belial? What has Horace to do with the Psalter, Virgil with the Gospels, and Cicero with Paul? Is not a brother made to stumble if he sees you sitting at table in an idol’s temple?2

Erwin Panofsky, ‘Renaissance and Renascences’, Kenyon Review 6 (1944): 201–36, here 202–3. 2 Jerome, Selected Letters, trans. F. A. Wright, 2 vols. (London, 1933), 22.29.7 ff. 1

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He then recounts his famous nightmare when he is called before the judgement seat. I was asked to state my condition and replied that I was a Christian. But He who presided said: ‘Thou liest: thou art a Ciceronian, not a Christian. “For where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also.”

Cicero is evoked as the standard bearer of cultural value not only by virtue of the style of his classical Latin, but also as a cultivated liberal man of letters and eminent moralist, if not philosopher, who actively engaged in affairs of state. Jerome’s famous nightmare is a rather extreme expression of the tensions wrought by the new religious dispensation among classically-educated intellectuals of the late Roman Empire. The nightmare occurs while he is on a journey, with obvious symbolism, from Rome to Jerusalem. If a modern reader is tempted to see irony in this letter, it is clear that no one in the Renaissance read it ironically. By contrast, there is the testimony of Augustine that he had been led to Christianity by a reading of Cicero’s Hortensius, a work (now lost) which inspired him to seek truth wherever it may be found and not in any one school of thought or philosophical system. This prepared the way for all those arguments that reading the classics could be a preparation for the greater Christian revelation to come. Despite this, he is nevertheless uneasy about his love for Cicero. So I made up my mind to examine the Holy Scriptures and see what kind of books they were. I discovered something that was at once beyond the understanding of the proud and hidden from the eyes of children. Its gait was humble, but the heights it reached were sublime. . . . But these were not the feelings I had when I first read the Scriptures. To me they seemed quite unworthy of comparison with the stately prose of Cicero, because I had too much conceit to accept their simplicity and not enough insight to penetrate their depths.3

It was always something of a problem for educated Christians that the Gospels, written in demotic Greek, did not emanate from high culture and that the language of the Old Testament and, indeed, of Jerome’s Bible, when it came, was hardly written in a style approximating to Ciceronian prose.

3 Augustine, Confessions, English and Latin, trans. William Watts, 2 vols. (London, 1912), 3.4–5.

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A thousand years later, it is possible to see in Petrarch a continuity of terms in the debate between the claims of religion and culture. These terms, however, are used in a quite different spirit. Where there had previously been antagonism and wariness, there is an overwhelming desire to synthesise and reconcile. You do know that I have long admired and loved Cicero above any writer from any nation or century. I have no fear of being any less a Christian for being a Ciceronian, for to my recollection Cicero never said anything against Christ.4

He goes on to say that if Cicero had said anything contra doctrinam Christi that would be sufficient reason for having nothing to do with Cicero and Plato and Aristotle. It is inconceivable that either Jerome or Augustine could have made this last assertion. It is not surprising, therefore, that the first of the letters that Petrarch wrote to classical authors5 is addressed to Cicero, the ancient author he most admired, although, having been written soon after Petrarch had made his discovery in the library of Verona Cathedral of Cicero’s letters revealing the more fallible side of his cultural hero, it is not in fact full of admiration. In it, he expresses a certain disillusionment, listing Cicero’s bad choices and his political and moral failings. In the second letter addressed to Cicero and dated six months later, he offers no retraction, but is apologetic and balances reproof with praise: O great father of Roman eloquence, not I alone but all who bedeck themselves with the flowers of Latin speech are grateful to you; for it is with the waters from your wellsprings that we irrigate our fields, frankly admitting that we are sustained by your leadership, aided by your judgements, and enlightened by your radiance. In a word, under your auspices, so to speak, we have achieved whatever writing skills and principles we possess.

Cicero’s cultural standing remains intact. Petrarch then goes on to salute Virgil, whom Cicero is reported to have hailed as ‘the second hope of great Rome.’6 Here the twin luminaries of Roman culture, 4 Fam. 21.10: Francesco Petrarca, Letters on Familiar Matters: Rerum Familiarum Libri XVII–XXIV, trans. Aldo S. Bernrado (Baltimore, 1985). For the Latin text, see: Vittorio Rossi, ed., Le Familari, 4 vols. (Firenze, 1941). 5 Fam. 24.2–12. Fam. 24.1 to an unknown correspondent explains that these letters, written over a period of years, had been gathered at a later date. 6 By Virgil’s fourth century commentator Servius at Eclogue 6.2. See George Thilo, ed., Servii grammaticiqui feruntur in Vergilii commentarii (Lipsiae, 1881–1902).

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Cicero and Virgil, set the classical standard in prose and verse. He then laments the loss of various works of Cicero that have not survived and ends by imagining that Cicero is eager to hear about the current state of Rome. But it is truly better to pass over such subjects in silence, for believe me, O Cicero, were you to learn your county’s condition, you would weep bitter tears, wherever in heaven or in Erebus your lodging may be.

Throughout the letters there is the poignancy of loss which may be translated into a yearning nostalgia on the part of the writer for irretrievable past glories. He ends by dating the letter using the Roman form: From the land of the living, on the left bank of the Rhone in Transpadane Gaul, on the fourteenth day before the Kalends of January, in the thirteen hundred and forty fifth year from the birth of that God whom you never knew.

The translator of these letters understandably modernises the date to 19 December, but this spoils the emotional and symbolic effect of this poignant and impossible mingling of Roman and Christian, ancient and modern.7 The letter to Seneca that follows, longer than those to Cicero, is largely concerned, like the analysis of Cicero, with the apparent dichotomy between Seneca’s Stoical philosophy and his political engagement as counsellor to the Emperor Nero. The letter to Marcus Varro follows, a contemporary of Cicero and ‘the most learned of the Romans’ according to Quintilian,8 all of whose works Petrarch believed to have perished. This gives him further opportunity to lament the world’s great loss and neglect, themes that pervade these letters and are taken up later in his De sui ipsius et multorum ignorantia,9 and themes that continue in his next letter to Quintilian whose work Petrarch had read but in incomplete form. This letter defines the importance of Quintilian for the Renaissance as a great teacher. The last section of the letter concerns the rivalry between Quintilian and Seneca. Petrarch

Cf. Robert Black, ‘Ancients and Moderns in the Renaissance: Rhetoric and History in Accolti’s Dialogue on the Pre-eminence of Men of his Own Time’, Journal of the History of Ideas 43/1 (1982): 3–32. 8 Quintilian, The Institutio Oratoria of Quintilian, trans. H. E. Butler, 4 vols. (London, 1920–22), 10.1.95. 9 Petrarch, De Sui Ipsius et Multorum Ignorantia, ed. L. M. Capelli (Paris, 1906). 7

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is aware of Quintilian’s judgement that Seneca’s style is corrupt and vitiated. Although Quintilian is writing in what since the eighteenth century has been called the Silver Age, his standard of eloquence was thoroughly Ciceronian. He regarded his own age as a period of decadence.10 Praise of Quintilian therefore sustains the Ciceronian ideal. For Petrarch as for later humanists, Quintilian’s Institutio Oratoria was a seminal text for the education of the orator and the promotion of contemporary eloquence. The letter to Livy that follows records the Italian admiration for the noble Romans and great men of their common history. With the letter to Asinius Pollio, who had intervened with Augustus for the restoration of Virgil’s farm appropriated for veterans after the civil war, we return to oratory; Petrarch salutes a master of Roman eloquence but admits that he does not know anything much about him and has not much to say to him, other than to regret his reported censuring of Cicero’s style which he puts down to envy. From oratory and history we come now to a third aspect of humanitas, poetry, and to its chief Augustan practitioners, Horace and Virgil. The letters to the Augustans are not dated, and it is of some interest that Petrarch put Horace first where we might have expected Virgil. The poem to Horace, written in one of Horace’s less complex metres, is lengthy at 135 lines and is a pure celebration of the lyric impulse. What it celebrates is the imaginative faculty of the poet and the sheer pleasure afforded by Horatian variety, with which he wholly identifies and from which he seeks to feed his own imagination. The poem in its allusions to Horace ranges widely through his topics and themes with which Petrarch is clearly intimately engaged. The poem to Virgil, written in hexameters, is half the length and quite different. In the opening line he is invoked as ‘Eloquii splendor, latinae spes altera linguae’: ‘Light of eloquence, other hope of the Latin tongue’.11 This latter phrase adapts the phrase attributed to Cicero calling Virgil ‘spes altera Romae’, the other hope of Rome. The new Rome to be born is envisaged as a linguistic entity. Here is the germ of Valla’s preface to his Elegantiae linguae latinae in which Valla too envisages a renewal of the Roman Empire through the sovereignty of classical Latin, the medium through which the liberal arts will be spread

10 11

Quintilian, Inst. Orat. 1.8.9. To Virgil, Fam. 24.11.

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throughout the world.12 After this opening, much of the poem ponders Virgil’s fate, first the fate of his soul and then the earthly fate of his poems. Perhaps with Dante in mind, he asks what circle of Avernus holds him. Is he with Homer? The most interesting lines seem to be by way of exclamation . . . quantum vero tua somnia distent Et vagus Aeneas portaque emissus eburna. (ll. 19–20) [How truly distant are your dreams and wandering Aeneas sent out through the ivory gate.]13

In what has always been regarded as something of a mystery, when Aeneas, visiting the shade of his father Anchises in Hades, has been shown a vision of the glorious Roman future, the Sibyl leads him back into the upper world by way of the ivory gate, which is specifically said to be the gate through which come falsa insomnia, delusive dreams. This suggests that Petrarch felt not only continuity with his beloved ancients but also the inevitable distance and discontinuity. This is the only direct allusion to the text of Virgil and in this it differs greatly from the earlier poem to Horace. After this, the poet ponders the fate of the good pagans; are they allowed a peaceful haven after Christ has harrowed Hell? There is perplexity and perhaps worry here, a pale reflection of something from Jerome and Augustine. Then comes the familiar lament for the current state of Mantua, Naples and Rome, all places intimately associated with Virgil and now best passed over in silence. Finally Petrarch assures Virgil of his continuing fame and popularity and ends with praise of Augustus for saving the Aeneid from the flames. What do these letters suggest about the Latin tradition? In Petrarch we have not only admiration for Cicero as the classical standard to be emulated in the present in the interests of the best style but also in embryonic form the programme laid out in the De oratore14 for

Lorenzo Valla, ‘Elegantiae Linguae Latinae’, in his Opera Omnia (Basel, 1540). Valla’s preface to the Elegantiae is translated and included in James Bruce Ross and Mary Martin McLaughlin, eds., The Portable Renaissance Reader (New York, 1953), 131–5. 13 Perhaps the dreams of universal empire imperium sine fine as predicted for Rome by Jupiter at Aeneid, 1.279. 14 See Cicero, De oratore, trans. W. E. Sutton, completed with an introduction by H. Rackham (London, 1942). 12

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the development of the orator, a programme more systematically developed by Quintilian, embracing the study of the various liberal arts perfected in the time of the late Republic and the Augustan age. Philosophy proper might be thought to be under-represented, but we have the Roman moralists in the figures of Cicero and Seneca; history is represented by the Augustan Livy and poetry by the Augustan poets, Horace and Virgil. From this beginning develops the studia humanitatis systematically part of the educational programme in the great schools of Italy,15 like those of Vittorino da Feltre and Guarino Veronese. It is the gradual and systematic development of this educational programme by Italian humanists, not mentioned by Panofsky, that is the hallmark of the Renaissance for another distinguished name in Renaissance studies, Paul Oscar Kristellar.16 This classical paradigm, implicit in Petrarch and worked out systematically in the schools of the early Renaissance is further systematised by Valla in his Elegantiae linguae latinae, where classical usage is defined and argued for with clarity and rigor. Valla’s work may be regarded as the precursor of the great dictionaries that define classical usage and distinguish it from the pre- and post-classical. The movement to classical Latin and all that went with it, not mentioned by Panofsky, is surely important given that Latin was the common language of intellectuals and of the ruling powers generally. Renaissance Ciceronianism could simply be an academic fad or esoteric affectation. Erasmus mocks the aping of Cicero in his dialogue Ciceronianus of 1528.17 But perhaps we should distinguish between the extreme cult of Cicero and the more general movement to classical Latin. Any pupil who had been through the classical mill in a school whose syllabus embraced the studia humanitatis learned to write Latin that obeyed the classical rules of syntax and grammar and used vocabulary sanctioned by ancient authority, or at least refrained from using outlandish words. Whether or not such a pupil went on to emulate the full-blown periodic style of Cicero, it would be apparent that standardised Latin revolutionised the medium of expression, so that if such a pupil came 15 On humanist education, see Craig W. Kallendorf, ed. and trans., Humanist Educational Treatises, The I Tatti Renaissance Library (Cambridge, MA, 2002). 16 See Paul Oscar Kristeller, Renaissance Thought (New York, 1961), and Kristeller, Eight Philosophers of the Renaissance (Stanford, 1964). 17 For Italian Ciceronianism, see the collection of texts in Ciceronian Controversies. The I Tatti Renaissance Library, ed. JoAnn DellaNeva, trans. Brian Duvick (Cambridge, MA, 2007).

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across a codex containing a medieval author like Gregory of Tours, let alone the scholastics, these authors might well seem to emanate from a dark age of linguistic anarchy and chaos. The Italian humanists certainly believed that in all this they were doing something significantly new that represented a real break with the centuries intervening between them and their distant ancestral past. They were eloquent in their own cause, persuading the world of a fundamental shift. There was indeed a rebirth that was different in scale and effect from anything seen before. Humanitas was very much a Latin phenomenon, a fact reflected in the use of the term for departments of Latin in our ancient Scottish universities. This brings us to Petrarch’s final letter, addressed to Homer. In the letter to Virgil, Petrarch had wondered whether Virgil was in the company of Homer in the afterlife. In their literary afterlives they have often been twinned. Their cases in the early Renaissance are, however, radically different. Through the messianic eclogue and allegorical interpretation of the Aeneid, Virgil, Dante’s guide in the Inferno, is the great bridge between ancient, medieval and modern, a continuing presence in the west wherever Latin had been known and studied. However, with Homer there is a definite break. With the disappearance of Greek from the west, Homer was known only in the medieval Latin epitome, written in Virgilian hexameters, going under the name of Pindarus Thebanus.18 Petrarch had desperately wanted to read Homer for years. He had tried unsuccessfully to get a Church emissary to teach him but was defeated at a point when he knew little more than the letters, after the emissary was promoted to a bishopric elsewhere.19 But another chance came in 1360 when Boccaccio procured the services of a Calabrian monk, Leontius Pilatus, at Florence to translate the Greek into Latin.20 This is the moment when Homer re-enters western consciousness. Petrarch’s letter is unique among these letters to classical authors in that it purports to be an answer to a letter from Homer.21 It is not known who composed the original fiction but it contains information about Homer that was news to Petrarch, such as the story that Homer travelled around Egypt and Phoenicia, and information about his use 18 Baebii Italici, Ilias Latina, ed. and trans. Marco Scaffai, Edizione e saggi universitari di filologica classica 28 (Bologna, 1982), 12–29. 19 See Pierre de Nolhac, Petrarque et l’Humanisme, 2nd ed. (Paris, 1907), 187–8. 20 See Agostini Pertusi, Leonzio Pilato fra Petrarca e Boccaccio (Roma, 1964). 21 Fam., 24.12.

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of Linus and Orpheus as sources. The letter seems to have been a litany of complaints about the way in which subsequent poets stole from him without acknowledgement and then about his subsequent neglect, judging by Petrarch’s reply. Then comes what is the most interesting part of Petrarch’s letter, concerning the translation of Homer into Latin. You weep, when it would have been more fitting to rejoice, because a common friend, whom you consider a Thessalian and I a Byzantine, has forced you to wander abroad, or if you prefer, to be in exile within the colourful walls of my native city.22

The letter also provides evidence of the rareity of Greek scholars and knowledge of ancient Greek in Italy and even in Greece itself. Do you not know how rare men of this ilk have always been even in your country? For in our day, if I am not mistaken, this friend of ours [Leontius] is the only one in all of Greece.23

Eventually, seven years later, Petrarch was able to read Homer in a copy made for him from Leontius’ literal ad verbum version.24 Homer was ill-served by Leontius, who did not always understand Homeric Greek and whose command of Latin was also shaky. He and his version confirm every prejudice one might have concerning the inadequacies of late Byzantine culture.25 Petrarch is polite about him in this letter but elsewhere in letters to Boccaccio complains about the halting translation that made Homer scarcely able to speak at all, prefacing the version with Jerome’s indictment of the ad verbum method.26 The need for a version was pressing if progress was to be made in the understanding of Homer but it was a hundred years before a better version was produced. Before that, Valla had in the 1440s translated two thirds of the Iliad into prose before passing the rest on to a pupil, one Griffolini.27

Bernardo, Letters on Familiar Matters, 347. Ibid., 348. 24 The manuscript with his annotations survives in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, cod. Lat. 7880. 25 At Iliad 1.202, Leontius translates Zeus’ epithet ‘aegis-bearing’ as capram lactantis ‘milking the goat’; the Greek words for aegis and goat are similar. Leontius evidently remembered the story that Zeus had been brought up by nymphs on the isle of Crete. 26 See Ep.Var. 25 in F. Petrarcae Epistulae, ed. G. Fracassetti (Florence, 1859–63), vol. 2, 370. 27 First published under the title: Homeri Poetarum Supremi Ilias per Laurentium Vallens in Latinum sermonem traducta (Brescia, 1474). 22 23

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The first complete version in verse of any quality was not produced until 1540 by a German, Eobanus Hessus.28 Homer hardly had much of a Renaissance in Renaissance Italy. Homeric Greek is initially difficult and the Italians never made the sustained effort necessary for its mastery. Petrarch was unlucky in Leontius, but even where the early Italians had good relations with Greek teachers, there are some startling results. Manuel Chrysoloras29 produced a Greek grammar in the 1420s for use in Italian schools and was evidently a civilised man and regarded as such by his Italian pupils, one of whom was Guarino of Verona. On his death, Guarino composed a fulsome tribute. It might be expected that Chrysoloras would be praised for enabling his pupils to have access to the glories of Greek culture. But no, Guarino praises him for aiding the Italians in their drive towards elegant latinity and purity of Latin diction.30 In the 1470s, one frustrated émigré from the old culture, Michael Apostolis,31 inveighs against the Italians for not taking Greek seriously and for seeking, as he sees it, to obliterate Greek by translating it into Latin. Only by teaching Greek through the medium of Greek will progress be made. In Fam. 24.12, Petrarch refers to the two luminaries of Greek culture; Homer, the obvious prize for a poet being one, and it is to be presumed that the other is Plato. Plato’s Attic prose presented less formidable problems and he fared better. He was translated into decent Latin by Leonardo Bruni, amongst others.32 But for the most part the Italians read their Plato in Latin rather than Greek. Finally, in the light of the questions raised by Panofsky about differences between North and South, some contrasts may be suggested between the humanist aspirations and activities of Petrarch and Erasmus. A century and a half apart, their times are vastly different and it is the difference that is at first striking. If we contemplate Erasmus’ 28 Poetarum omnium seculorum longe principis Homeri Ilias . . . latino carmine reddita H. Eobano interprete (Basle, 1540). 29 See Ian Thomson, ‘Manuel Chrysoloras and the Early Italian Renaissance’, Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 7/1 (1966), 63–82. 30 See Remigio Sabbadini, ed., Epistolario di Guarino Veronese, 3 vols. (Venice, 1915–19), vol. 2, 580–1. 31 See H. Noiret, ‘Lettres inédites de Michael Apostolis prises d’après les manuscripts du Vatican’, Bibliothèque de Écoles Francaises d’Athenes et de Rome 54 (1887): 149–51. There is an English translation of most of the letter in Deno G. Geanakoplos, Greek Scholars in Venice (Cambridge, MA, 1962), 101–6. 32 On this see, Paul Botley, Latin Translation in the Renaissance. The Theory and Practice of Leonardo Bruni, Giannozzo Manetti and Erasmus (Cambridge, 2004).

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first successful publication, the Adagiorum Collectanea, it is difficult to imagine Petrarch trawling through the highways and byways of ancient literature to cull proverbs, any more than it is to imagine Erasmus writing fanciful letters to classical authors in the manner of Petrarch. Petrarch admires and venerates the great figures of literature and history; Erasmus makes a show of kitchen pots.33 It is tempting here to revive the old cliché contrasting the broad sweep of lofty Italian idealism with the painstaking detail of northern realism. With his earliest publications of Adagiorum Collectanea (1500), Enchiridion Militis Christiani (1503) and Valla’s Adnotationes ad Novum Testamentum (1505),34 Erasmus began the programme to which he dedicated his life in defiance of all distractions in the way of temptations to worldly or ecclesiastical power: I can claim for myself that I created a new interest in the study of languages and good literature, that is something that cannot be denied. Through my efforts the theology of the schools, which had degenerated into the discussion of hair splitting sophistries has been brought back to its biblical sources and to the study of the old authorities. I have tried to awaken a world that has fallen asleep over its pharisaical ceremonies and to bring it to true holiness.35

The publication of Valla’s critical work on the New Testament, to which he had applied the same principles of textual criticism that he had used on the text of Livy, led directly to the race to produce the first new edition of the New Testament with a new translation, a race which Erasmus just won in 1516. Classical textual criticism suggests a link between humanism and the Reformation, but the desire to go back ad fontes—truly an aspect of the Renaissance spirit—extended more widely to the whole range of Erasmus’s intellectual life. He tells us that his journey to Italy was primarily to improve his Greek and this has been linked to his desire to produce the New Testament with a new translation. He had previously been taught Greek in Paris and had improved his mastery of the language by translating Lucian; he ‘ollas ostentare’, the title of one of his adages, explained as: ‘ “to make a show of kitchen pots”’. This is to bring forward something which is ridiculous and squalid but also of great importance’; see, Margaret Mann Phillips, The Adages of Erasmus (Cambridge, 1964), 355–7. 34 For the works of Erasmus see, Charles Trinkaus et al., eds., Collected Works of Erasmus, 28 vols. (Toronto 1974–). 35 Letter 1700 in The Correspondence of Erasmus: Letters 1658 to 1801, trans. Alexander Dalzell (Toronto, 2003), vol. 12 of The Collected Works of Erasmus. 33

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also translated two plays of Euripides. If he could translate Euripides, he could certainly cope with the New Testament, though he probably wished to do all in his power to improve his scholarly base for the editorial career he had set for himself. But his journey to Italy was in part the fulfilment of a humanist dream, to visit the homeland of the new learning. Once there he invited himself to the Aldine Academy and met the clutch of Greek émigrés that Aldus had gathered round him for editorial purposes.36 Here he met amongst others Johannes Lascaris and Marcus Musurus, worthier representatives of the old culture than Petrarch’s Leontius. On his return, he added Greek proverbs to the Adagiorum Collectanea, and the fruits of his Greek studies generally and his aptitude for literary appreciation can be illustrated by a passage he added to a later edition of his De Copia in which he praised the episode in the Iliad in which Hector bids farewell to Andromache, a very rare example of a reader of Homer taking proper literary pleasure in the actual text.37 But from Erasmus’s visit to Italy we can see a marked difference in the response to the new learning from North and South. Erasmus has no yearning nostalgia for the Roman past that marks Petrarch and so many of the Italians as they uncovered and rediscovered what they regarded as their own history. Erasmus in Italy is detached. Far from there being any sighing over the ruins of Rome or the longing for some kind of Roman revival, for the reformist Erasmus, Rome represented things he deplored, the wasteful magnificence of the modern Church, a great commercial enterprise presided over by a war-mongering pope, and a place where what he called the paganism of the humanists was rife. This latter objection is apparent in the criticism of those who aped Cicero, all of whom were Italian and who in the secular sphere exhibited the kind of preoccupation with surface ostentation that he found objectionable in the Roman Church. After he left Italy, he made a decisive turn towards satire, writing The Praise of Folly almost immediately on his return to the North. The term pietas literata is the formula that is most commonly used to encapsulate the Erasmian ideal, a formula that has not been associ36 On Aldus’ Academy see Deno G. Geanakoplos, ‘Erasmus and the Aldine Academy of Venice: A Neglected Chapter in the Transmission of Greco-Byzantine Learning to the West’, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 3 (1960), 107–34. Cf. also D. G. Geanopolis, Greek Scholars in Venice, 263–6. 37 In his De Copia Rerum et Verborum (1534); there is an English translation of this passage in Joanna Martindale, ed., English Humanism: Wyatt to Cowley (London, 1985), 130–1.

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ated with any of the Italian humanists. Here, pietas is the substantive qualified by the participial adjective literata. The most constant and easily identifiable element in the Erasmian synthesis comes from the tradition of unlettered piety that Erasmus imbibed at school, where he was taught by the Brethren of the Common Life, one of whose seminal texts was a work of late medieval piety, The Imitation of Christ, attributed to Thomas à Kempis, with its emphasis on right spirit and looking inward. But we cannot leave Erasmus there. Let the last word be Panofsky’s. At the end of his article he juxtaposes Erasmus’s Praise of Folly with Sebastian Brant’s Ship of Fools to illustrate his sense of the difference between the Renaissance and medieval. Taking us through Erasmian complications, he concludes: In an ironical double-twist like this there does appear a humanism— and a humanity—utterly foreign to the Middle ages. In the Middle Ages reason could question faith and faith could question reason. But reason could not question itself and yet emerge with wisdom—even though Robert Grosseteste had a telescope.38

38

E. Panofsky, ‘Renaissance and Renascences’, 235.

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MACHIAVELLI’S APPRECIATION OF GREEK ANTIQUITY AND THE IDEAL OF ‘RENAISSANCE’ George Steiris* Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527) was an emblematic figure of the Renaissance, a person who bore all the characteristics of a homo universalis. His interests were broad and included history, politics and literature. Machiavelli is well known for his thorough examination and use of classical Antiquity, both Roman and Greek. In the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, there was a profound interest in Greek Antiquity.1 Machiavelli, however, undermined ancient Greece while he praised Rome.2 In his eyes, there could be no question that Rome was the ultimate model of human civilisation. The manner in which he idealised Rome, however, was closely related to his attitude towards his own time and has a significant impact on this manner in which he should be located in relation to the ‘Renaissance’. What Machiavelli had learned from Greece and Rome was a cyclical view of history.3 Machiavelli thought of history as a circle which began with the glory of the ancients and concluding with the misery of his contemporaries. This view is anything but compatible with the

* My thanks to Dr. Marios Hatzopoulos for help with the manuscript of this article. 1 Jacob Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (Charleston, 2007), 133–335; Peter Godman, From Poliziano to Machiavelli, Florentine Humanism in the High Renaissance (Princeton, 1998), 3–234; Charles G. Nauert, Humanism and the Culture of Renaissance Europe (Cambridge, 2006), 8–100; Michael D. Reeve, ‘Classical Scholarship’, in The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism, ed. Jill Kraye (Cambridge, 1996), 20–46. 2 Harvey C. Mansfield and Nathan Tarcov, ‘Introduction’ to Niccolò Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy (Chicago, 1996), xvii–xix. 3 Louis Althusser, Machiavelli and us, trans. Gregory Elliot (London and New York, 2001), 33–9; John P. Maccormick, ‘Addressing the Political Exception’, American Political Science Review 87 (1993): 888–900, here 892–6; Harvey C. Mansfield, ‘Machiavelli’s Political Science’, American Political Science Review 75 (1981): 301–5; Hanna F. Pitkin, Fortune is a Woman: Gender and Politics in the Thought of Niccolo Machiavelli (Chicago, 1999), 254–60; David J. Staley, History and Future: Using Historical Thinking to Imagine the Future (Lanham, 2006), 23–4; Leo Strauss, Thoughts on Machiavelli (Chicago, 1978), 222; Maurizio Viroli, Machiavelli (Oxford, 1998), 17–21.

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commonly-held notion of the Renaissance as a renewed golden age. The aim of this article is to examine why Machiavelli held the heritage of ancient Greece in such low esteem and why he thought the Renaissance was a period of decline. Machiavelli and Antiquity Machiavelli lived in an environment which encouraged him to study Roman and Greek Antiquity. Of the two, he thought that Roman culture was superior. As an important passage from the Discorsi illustrates, Greece had no place in his view of the evolution of human history: When I meditate on how these things move, I judge that the world has always gone on in the same way, and that there has been as much good as bad, but that this bad and this good have varied from land to land, as anyone understands who knows about those ancient kingdoms which differed from one another because of the difference in their customs, but the world remained the same. There was only this difference, that whereas the world first placed excellence in Assyria, she later put it in Media, then in Persia, and finally it came to Italy and Rome.4

Here, Assyria appears as the first home of civilisation. It then passes to Media, Persia and finally Rome.5 Greece, however, is noticeably omitted from Machiavelli’s genealogy of civilisation. It is crucial for our investigation to understand what characteristic Assyria, Media, Persia, and Rome shared, that Greece lacked. The answer, according to Machiavelli, is virtù. Roman virtù, understood mostly in relation to politics and war, was superior to the artistic or intellectual virtues of the Greeks.6 Machiavelli’s use of the word ‘virtù’ is the subject of some debate amongst historians, but according to the most commonly-held interpretation, virtù was the ability to achieve victory in battle, the capacity to innovate in politics, a sense of determination, and the willingness to respond quickly without excessive moral scruples when necessary.

Niccolò Machiavelli, ‘Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius’, II, Pref., in Machiavelli: The Chief Works and Others, trans. Allan Gilbert (Durham, 1989), 322. 5 Harvey C. Mansfield, Machiavelli’s New Modes and Orders: A Study on the Discourses on Livy (Chicago, 2001), 187. 6 Harvey C. Mansfield, Machiavelli’s Virtue (Chicago, 1998), 11. 4

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Virtù was a crucial factor in assuring the stability of any given state.7 Machiavelli admired those states that managed to show prowess on the battlefield and retain their power for considerable periods of time. Although he attached this sense of virtù primarily to empires, these qualities partly characterised Sparta, which Machiavelli praised more than any other Greek state. With the exception of Sparta, small states, with little in the way of territory, were, he believed, in no position to play a significant role in human history.8 In his estimation, even Venice, though admirable for many of the same reasons as Sparta, never reached the same level as the ancient empires.9 Ancient Greece, like Machiavelli’s Italy, was divided into small states which, with few exceptions, won no laudable victories on the battlefield. The states of Greece and Italy were constantly fighting each other in endless civil wars. Civil strife had reduced classical Greece to chaos and disorder, a situation which ultimately left its cities prey to external enemies. Even Athens, the most celebrated of the Greek cities,

Mark Blitz, ‘Virtue, Modern and Ancient’, in Educating the Prince, Essays in Honor of Harvey Mansfield, ed. Mark Blitz and William Kristol (Lanham, 2000), 3–16; Jack H. Hexter, The Vision of Politics on the Eve of the Reformation (New York, 1973), 188–203; Waller R. Newell, ‘How Original Is Machiavelli? A Consideration of Skinner’s Interpretation of Virtue and Fortune’, Political Theory 15/4 (1987): 612–34; Clifford Orwin, ‘Machiavelli’s Unchristian Charity’, American Political Science Review 72/4 (1978): 1217–28; Russell Price, ‘The Senses of Virtu in Machiavelli’, European Studies Review 3 (1973): 315–45; Maureen Ramsey, ‘Machiavelli’s Political Philosophy in the Prince’, in Reading Political Philosophy: Machiavelli to Mill, ed. Nigel Warburton, Jon Pike and Derek Matravers (London, 2001), 36; Guido Ruggiero, Machiavelli in Love: Sex, Self and Society in the Italian Renaissance (Baltimore, 2006), 188–205; Quentin Skinner, Machiavelli (Oxford, 1981), 21–77; John H. Whitfield, Machiavelli (Oxford, 1966), 92–105. 8 Patrick Coby, Machiavelli’s Romans: Liberty and Greatness in the Discourses on Livy (Lanham, 1999), 45–7; Paul Q. Hirst, Space and Power: Politics, War and Architecture (Cambridge, 2005), 27–9; Mark Hulliung, Citizen Machiavelli (Princeton, 1983), 47–51; H. C. Mansfield, Machiavelli’s Virtue, 87; Mansfield, Machiavelli’s New Modes and Orders, 51–2; Gerald Proietti, Xenophon’s Sparta: An Introduction (Leiden, 1987), xi; Elizabeth Rawson, The Spartan Tradition in European Thought (Oxford, 1991), 141–4; Vickie B. Sullivan, Machiavelli’s Three Romes: Religion, Human Liberty, and Politics Reformed (Dekalb, 1996), 61–6, 93–5; Vickie B. Sullivan, ‘In Defense of the City: Machiavelli’s Bludgeoning of the Classical and Christian Traditions’, in Instilling Ethics, ed. Norma Thompson (Lanham, 2000), 39–44; Maurizio Viroli, ‘Machiavelli and the republican idea of politics’, in Machiavelli and Republicanism, Ideas in Context, ed. Gisela Bock, Quentin Skinner and Maurizio Viroli (Cambridge, 1993), 160. 9 Felix Gilbert, ‘The Venetian Constitution in Florentine Political Thought’, in Florentine Studies: Politics and Society in Renaissance Florence, ed. Nicolai Rubinstein (London, 1968), 488–489; Quentin Skinner, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, 2 vols. (Cambridge, 1978), vol. 1, 171–2. 7

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blossomed for only a short period of time before succumbing first to the Spartans, then to the Macedonians, and finally to the Romans. Machiavelli drew parallels between Italy and classical Greece for the sake of providing his contemporaries with inspiration. In the famous twenty-sixth chapter of Il Principe, he expressed his desire for a free and united Italy.10 Although classical Greece could offer no direct model for this vision, Machiavelli turned to the mythological hero Theseus, expressing also his admiration for Moses and Cyrus, who, like Theseus, took full advantage of the opportunities they enjoyed. Machiavelli, a faithful reader of Xenophon’s Cyropaedia, seems to reproduce, in his own way, the idea of the ‘chosen people’, who were a prerequisite for the accomplishment of any extraordinary deed through the course of history. History, fortune, or both of them, but certainly not God, create a situation of extreme decay, attempting to give to certain people, who have been chosen with the purpose of moving history and civilisation on, a chance to have a great leader, a man capable of leading them in glory and grandeur, conquering at the same time his own eternal fame: If, as I have said, to show Moses’ ability the people of Israel needed to be enslaved in Egypt, and to reveal Cyrus’ greatness of spirit the Persians had to be oppressed by the Medes, and to exhibit Theseus’ excellence the Athenians had to be scattered, so to reveal the ability of the Italian spirit, Italy needed to be brought to her present condition, to be more slave than the Hebrews, more servant than the Persians, more scattered than the Athenians, without head, without order, beaten, despoiled, lacerated, devastated, subject to every sort of ruination.11

Although he disparaged the majority of Greek states because ‘. . . the rest of Greece sat idle or busied herself in the acting of comedies . . .’,12 Machiavelli was, as mentioned before, a great admirer of Sparta and—in that its cultural output was poor—did not consider it to be a typical product of Greek civilisation. He extolled Lycurgus, who gave Sparta a durable set of laws which were observed for more than eight centuries, and who succeeded in creating a constitution in which kings,

Carlo Sforza, Contemporary Italy—Its Intellectual and Moral Origins (New York, 1944), 8–15; L. Strauss, Thoughts on Machiavelli, 67. 11 N. Machiavelli, ‘The Prince’, in Machiavelli: The Chief Works and Others, 93. 12 N. Machiavelli, Dell’ arte della Guerra, 7; Machiavelli: The Chief Works and Others, 725. 10

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aristocrats, and people all had a role.13 By comparison, Solon’s decision to offer power to the people of Athens was, Machiavelli believed, a mistake.14 Machiavelli was, of course, not the first to admire the laws and constitution of Sparta.15 In the 1460s, George of Trebizond had praised the Spartan constitution in his translation of Plato’s Laws, and suggested that it had in the past provided a source of inspiration for the Venetians. Greeting such a suggestion with enthusiasm, the Venetians gratefully rewarded George for his remarks.16 Sparta, indeed, came to enjoy high popularity among Renaissance humanists: Donato Giannoti, a compatriot and personal friend of Machiavelli, and Gasparo Contarini followed the same path.17 Renaissance translators of Xenophon read his Constitution of the Spartans in conjunction with Aristotle’s Politics to find out whether the former was based on the latter, although such attempts appeared to ignore Aristotle’s criticisms of flaws in the Spartan constitution.18 Although, like his contemporaries, Machiavelli praised Sparta, he ultimately came to the conclusion that it was in fact inferior to Rome. Of course, he did not deny that the two states were very different: whereas Sparta possessed a simple and stable political structure, the

Alfredo Bonadeo, ‘Appunti sul concetto di conquista e ambizione nel Machiavelli e sull’antimachiavellismo’, Annali dell’Istituto orientale 12 (1970): 245–60; Alfredo Bonadeo, ‘Machiavelli on War and Conquest’, II pensiero politico 7 (1974): 334–61; Peter S. Donaldson, Machiavelli and Mystery of State (Cambridge, 1988), 192–3; Eric Nelson, The Greek Tradition in Republican Thought (Cambridge, 2004), 74–5; John G. A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (Princeton, 2003), 189–90; Q. Skinner, Visions of Politics, vol. 2, 384–5. 14 Jürgen Huber, Guicciardinis Kritik an Machiavelli: Streit um Staat, Gesellschaft und Geschichte im fruhneuzeitlichen Italien (Wiesbaden, 2004), 168–9; Andrew W. Lintott, The Constitution of the Roman Republic (Oxford, 1999), 236–40; H. C. Mansfield, Machiavelli’s New Modes and Orders, 40. See N. Machiavelli, Discorsi, I, 2; Machiavelli: The Chief Works and Others, 199. 15 Mikael Hornqvist, Machiavelli and Empire (Cambridge, 2004), 195–7; E. Rawson, The Spartan Traditon in European Thought, 130–57. 16 John Monfasani, George of Trebizond: A Biography and a Study of His Rhetoric and Logic (Leiden, 1976), 103–4, 149. 17 Vittorio Conti, ‘The Mechanisation of Virtue: Republican Rituals in Italian Political Thought in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries’, in Republicanism, A Shared European Heritage, vol. 2, The Values of Republicanism in Early Modern Europe, ed. Martin van Gelderen and Quentin Skinner (Cambridge, 2003), 77. 18 Noreen Humble, ‘Xenophon, Aristotle and Plutarch on Sparta’, in The Contribution of Ancient Sparta to Political Thought and Practice, ed. Nikos Birgalias (Athens, 2007), 267–77. 13

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Roman polity was of a more mixed and dynamic variety.19 In contrast to Sparta, however, it was the strife between plebs and nobles that had led Rome to greatness.20 Whereas Sparta’s growth was only limited, the development of Roman territory and authority was immense, and in this regard, its superiority was beyond question: If anyone sets out, therefore, to organize a state from the beginning, he needs to examine whether he wishes it to expand like Rome, in dominion and power, or whether it is to remain within narrow limits. In the first case, it is necessary to organise it like Rome . . . In the second case, you can organize it like Sparta and like Venice.21

Machiavelli’s underestimation of Greek Antiquity could also be attributed to the fact that he entertained a relatively low interest in philosophy and the arts.22 In his works, he only very rarely refers to Plato, Aristotle, and other major Greek philosophers, who were extremely popular during the Renaissance, especially among the humanists in whose circle Machiavelli dearly wanted to gain a place.23 Philosophy, Machiavelli believed, infected and corrupted cities: For, as good and ordered armies give birth to victories and victories to quiet, the strength of well-armed spirits cannot be corrupted by a more honourable leisure than that of letters, nor can leisure enter into well-instituted cities with a greater and more dangerous deceit than this one. This was best understood by Cato when the philosophers Diogenes and Carneades, sent by Athens as spokesmen to Senate, came to Rome. When he saw how the Roman youth was beginning to follow them about with admiration, and since he recognised the evil that could result to his fatherland from this honourable leisure, he saw to it that no philosopher could be accepted in Rome.24

P. Coby, Machiavelli’s Romans, 150–2. E. Nelson, The Greek Tradition in Republican Thought (Cambridge, 2004), 79; L. Strauss, Thoughts on Machiavelli, 111–19. 21 N. Machiavelli, Discorsi, I, 6; Machiavelli: The Chief Works and Others, 209–10. Vickie B. Sullivan, ‘Muted and Manifest English Machiavellism: The Reconciliation of Machiavellian Republicanism with Liberalism in Sidney’s Discourses Concerning Government and Trenchard’s and Gordon’s Cato’s Letters’, in Machiavelli’s Liberal Republican Legacy, ed. Paul A. Rahe (Cambridge, 2005), 70–1; Leo Strauss, Studies in Platonic Political Philosophy (Chicago, 1983), 220–2. 22 M. Hulliung, Citizen Machiavelli, 132; H. C. Mansfield, Machiavelli’s Virtue, 11. 23 Felix Gilbert, ‘Bernardo Rucellai and the Orti Oricellari, A Study on the Origin of Modern Political Thought’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 12 (1949): 101–31. 24 N. Machiavelli, Istorie Fiorentine, V,1; Machiavelli: The Chief Works and Others, 1232. 19 20

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Although Machiavelli did not know Greek, a significant number of Greek philosophical works were available to him in translation.25 On the few occasions when he referred to Plato and Aristotle, he did so in a superficial fashion, as a result of his limited interest in this specific field of knowledge.26 By the same token, he had only a limited appreciation of classical theatre. With the exception of Roman comedy,27 he remained untouched by the contemporary vogue for ancient plays. Machiavelli was, however, keenly interested in history.28 He believed that the ancient Romans—and, to a much lesser extent, the Greeks— had laid down some fundamental rules for understanding the field of politics.29 Machiavelli’s father, Bernardo, had probably encouraged the young Niccolò to study the works of ancient—and especially Latin—historians. Bernardo had compiled an index of Livy’s place names and owned a copy of Flavio Biondo’s Historiarum ab inclinatione romani imperii decades, a history of Italy from the fifth to the fifteenth century.30 In this work, Biondo followed Livy closely and he was largely responsible for the Roman historian’s popularity during the later Renaissance. Machiavelli, as is well known, retained a particular affection for Roman history and Livy in particular. It should not, however, be thought that he neglected Greek historians. After Livy, Xenophon is the most frequently cited historian in the Discorsi.31 25 H. C. Mansfield, Machiavelli’s New Modes and Orders, 206; Maurizio Viroli, ‘Introduction’ to Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, ed. Peter E. Bondanella (Oxford, 2005), ix. 26 H. F. Pitkin, Fortune is a Woman, 286; M. Viroli, Machiavelli, 4. 27 Jackson I. Cope, Secret Sharers in Italian Comedy: From Machiavelli to Goldoni (Durham, 1996), 75–115; Arleen W. Saxonhouse, ‘Comedy, Machiavelli’s Letters, and His Imaginary Republics’, in The Comedy and Tragedy of Machiavelli: Essays on the Literary Works, ed. Vickie B. Sullivan (New Haven, 2000), 57–77; Erich Segal, The Death of Comedy (Cambridge, Mass., 2001), 255–85; Charles S. Singleton, ‘Machiavelli and the Spirit of Comedy’, Modern Language Notes 57 (1942): 585–92; Eduardo A. Velasquez, Nature, Woman and the Art of Politics (Lanham, 2000), 140–8. 28 Maurizio Viroli, Niccolo’s Smile, A Biography of Machiavelli (New York, 2001), 9. 29 Paul A. Rabe, ‘Thucydides’ Critique of Realpolitik’, in Roots of Realism, ed. Benjamin Frankel (London, 1996), 140–1. 30 Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella, ‘Introduction’ to Niccolò Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy (Oxford, 1997), vii; Wallace K. Ferguson, ‘Humanist Views of the Renaissance’, American Historical Review 45 (1940): 1–28. 31 Marcello Simonetta, ‘Machiavelli lettore di Tucidide’, Esperienze letterarie 22/3 (1997): 53–68. Walter R. Newell, ‘Machiavelli and Xenophon on Princely Rule’, Journal of Politics 50 (1988): 108–30; L. Strauss, Studies in Platonic Political Philosophy, 227; Strauss, On Tyranny, ed. Victor Gourevitch and Michael S. Roth (Chicago, 2000), 106.

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Machiavelli’s predilection needs some further explanation. His preference for Xenophon was not unique, as the historian enjoyed great popularity during the Renaissance. Although he had no interest in Xenophon’s philosophical works, Machiavelli shared a common interest in the techniques of effective military and civic leadership with him, and found in Xenophon’s works valuable exemplars for imitation which were of possible use to his compatriots.32 Xenophon, like Machiavelli, had produced biographies with the intention of teaching future leaders what to do and what to avoid in their endeavor of accomplishing political goals and stabilizing their states. Most of the examples Machiavelli used were drawn from the Cyropaedia.33 At the same time, Machiavelli almost ignored other available historical works of Xenophon such as the Constitution of the Spartans, which had been translated and commented by Francesco Filelfo in 1432, and the Hellenica.34 Machiavelli and Renaissance So far, we have noticed that Machiavelli did not share the Renaissance’s admiration for Greek Antiquity. Let us now turn to another interesting aspect of Machiavelli’s thought. Was Machiavelli aware of the fact that he was living in a ‘Renaissance’, a distinct historical period characterised by the revival of classical letters, the flowering of the arts and the evolution of philosophy and science? We have already observed that Machiavelli conceived of history as a circle starting with the greatness of the ancients, continuing with the misery of his contemporary Italy, before eventually a new period of greatness arise.35 He had probably inherited this idea from Polybius, of whom he was a great admirer.36 Joseph Mali, Mythistory: The Making of a Modern Historiography (Chicago, 2003), 55. 33 James Tatum, Xenophon’s Imperial Fiction: On the Education of Cyrus (Princeton, 1989), 3–33. 34 Robert R. Bolgar, The Classical Heritage and its Beneficiaries (Cambridge, 1973), 435; Florence Trail, A History of Italian Literature (New York, 1903), 94. 35 J. Conaway Bondanella and P. Bondanella, ‘Introduction’, xix; H. C. Mansfield, Machiavelli’s Virtue, 117; Benedetto Croce, The Philosophy of Giambattista Vico (Edison, NJ, 2002), 123–4; Jack H. Hexter, ‘Seyssel, Machiavelli and Polybius VI: The Mystery of the Missing Translation’, Studies in the Renaissance 3 (1956): 75–96; Anthony J. Parel, The Machiavellian Cosmos (New Haven, 1992), 26–44; David Wootton, ‘Introduction’ to Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, trans. David Wootton (Indianapolis, 1995), xiii. 36 Craige B. Champion, Cultural Politics in Polybius’s Histories (Berkeley, 2004), 20. 32

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According to Machiavelli, a given state’s slide from glorious apogee to decadent nadir may be arrested, while certain provinces may remain in a state of decay for an excessively long period of time.37 He believed that after the Roman Empire, humanity had followed a downward trend, although in certain provinces which lacked a glorious past progress was still discernible. Machiavelli held the opinion that there had always been as much good as evil in the world, although it was not shared equally in each province in a certain period of time, depending on the place. Notably, he contended that the Roman Empire, the last empire to embody virtù entirely, was not succeeded by an empire that kept the world’s virtù together for long. Virtù was scattered among the people of many nations, such as the French, the Turks, the Germans, and others.38 In these regions, virtù had existed before Machiavelli and was partly to be found in his times. He acknowledged that there could be no doubt that certain states flourished in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, but he would not grant that they should be regarded as on a par with the Roman Empire. This prosperity owed everything to the natural course of history and could not be regarded as a ‘rebirth’ of ancient greatness. His opinions about Italy—the birthplace of the Renaissance—were, however, totally different. According to Machiavelli, Italians who were not living under French rule were deeply unfortunate. What had forced Machiavelli to underestimate the civilisation he lived in, and at the same time to extol the French? A valuable insight is provided by the following passage: But he who is born in Italy or in Greece, and in Italy has not turned Northerner or in Greece turned Turk, has reason to find fault with his own time and to praise others. For in the others there are many things that make them admirable; in these there is nothing to redeem them from every sort of extreme misery, bad repute and reproach; in these no care is given to religion, none to the laws, none to military affairs, but they are foul with every sort of filth. Moreover these vices are so much the more detestable the more they are found in those who sit in judgment seats, give orders to everybody and expect to be adored.39

Miguel E. Vatter, Between Form and Event: Machiavelli’s Theory of Political Freedom (New York, 2000), 57–9. 38 Nancy Bisaha, Creating East and West: Renaissance Humanists and the Ottoman Turks (Philadelphia, 2004), 177–8. 39 N. Machiavelli, Discorsi, II, Pref.; Machiavelli: The Chief Works and Others, 323. 37

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On the other hand, Machiavelli admired the Romans for their religion, their laws, and their military affairs. Rome was superior to its nearest rivals, Sparta and Venice, in terms of success. Its laws had been wisely made, preserving the stability of the Empire and leaving space for expansion and domination at the same time. As for religion, Numa Pompilius established religion in order to maintain a civilised society, and he succeeded in doing so because for many centuries there was fear of God. This facilitated the enterprises of the Roman state and its officials, helped maintain the unity of the army, and preserved the moral condition of its people. Religion was a source of happiness for Roman citizens because it produced good institutions. These institutions in turn created good fortune, and from good fortune arose great deeds.40 The myth of Rome, however, had two totally different features: a virtuous Roman Republic on the one hand, and a corrupted Empire on the other. Livy was the main source for the virtuous Republic and Tacitus for the corrupted Empire,41 although Machiavelli also drew on the works of Sallust.42 Along with other Florentines—such as Botticelli, whose Tragedy of Lucretia and Tragedy of Vergina evoke the Ab urbe condita—Machiavelli remained faithful to Livy.43 Conscious that he lavished praise on ancient Rome and was highly critical of his own time, Machiavelli also answered in advance the potential accusation of impartiality. He was confident that he was absolutely right: I do not know, then, whether I deserve to be numbered with those who deceive themselves if in these Discourses of mine I over praise ancient Roman times and find fault with our own. And truly, if the excellence

P. Coby, Machiavelli’s Romans, 66–9; Dante Germino, ‘Machiavelli’s Political Anthropology’, in Theorie und Politik: Festschrift zum 70. Geburtstag fur Carl Joachim Friedrich, ed. Klaus von Beyme (New York, 1972), 53–5; H. C. Mansfield, Machiavelli’s New Modes and Orders, 71–9; J. Samuel Preus, ‘Machiavelli’s Functional Analysis of Religion: Context and Object’, Journal of the History of Ideas 40 (1979): 171–90; L. Strauss, Thoughts on Machiavelli, 225–27. 41 Alain M. Gowing, Empire and Memory: The Representation of the Roman Republic in Imperial Culture (Cambridge, 2005), 132–54; Fred J. Levy, Tudor Historical Thought (Toronto, 2004), 249–51; Gary B. Miles, Livy: Reconstructing Early Rome (Ithaca, 1997), 48–219. 42 Benedetto Fontana, ‘Sallust and the Politics of Machiavelli’, History of Political Thought 25 (2003): 86–108. 43 G. Walton, ‘The Lucretia Panel in the Garden Museum’, in Essays in Honor of Walter Friedlaender, ed. Walter Cahn et al. (New York, 1965), 177–86. 40

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that then prevailed and the corruption that now prevails were not clearer than the sun, I would keep my speech more cautious, fearing to bring upon myself the very deception of which I accuse others.44

In addition, Machiavelli informed us about the reason for his insistence on referring to ancient Romans. His desire was especially to urge young readers of his work to reject the modes and orders of their time, and to prepare to imitate the past. But since the thing is so clear that everybody sees it, I shall be bold in saying clearly what I learn about Roman times and the present, in order that the minds of the young men who read these writings of mine may reject the present and be prepared to imitate the past, whenever Fortune gives them opportunity. For it is the duty of a good man to teach others anything of value that through the malice of the times and of Fortune you have been unable to put it into effect, in order that since many will know of it, some of them more loved by Heaven may be prepared to put into effect.45

For Machiavelli and other Florentines, Roman Antiquity represented a repository of ancient wisdom that was relevant to present needs and preoccupations.46 Machiavelli rejected the argument put forward by Plutarch and Livy, that the Romans were ultimately a people who enjoyed the capricious favour of fortune without making any effort.47 He insisted that no republic was ever so organised that it could make gains equal to Rome. The Romans had combined exceptional skill with great prudence, a combination that almost guaranteed the aid of fortune as a kind of reward for their qualities. We must also note that the cyclical course of history upon which Machiavelli insisted assured the possibility of imitation. History would eventually return to the same point. Human endeavour was to accelerate and safeguard the rebirth of ancient greatness. Machiavelli never ceased to believe

N. Machiavelli, Discorsi, II, Pref.; Machiavelli: The Chief Works and Others, 324. Ibid. 46 John B. Bury, The Idea of Progress (Whitefish, 2004), 26–7; Federico Chabod, Machiavelli and the Renaissance (Cambridge, 1958), 196; J. Conaway Bondanella and P. Bondanella, ‘Introduction’, viii; D. Wootton, ‘Introduction’, xiii. 47 Niccolò Machiavelli, Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy, trans. Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella (Oxford, 1997), 385; Gary Forsythe, Livy and Early Rome: A Study in Historical Method and Judgement (Stuttgart, 1999), 93; Plutarch, Makers of Rome: Nine Lives by Plutarch, trans. Ian Scott-Kilvert (New York, 1965), 196. 44 45

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that the ancients’ discipline could be revived and that lost virtù could be recovered. Machiavelli accused his contemporaries of missing this opportunity insofar as they did not study and understand history properly. Rather, they entertained a keen interest in and appreciation for ancient art, mainly for decorative purposes. In other words, Machiavelli’s contemporaries were absorbed in ancient literature and arts, domains incapable of contributing to the development of the state. He suggested that they had to imitate the ancients in rather more crucial matters: When I consider, then, how much respect is given to antiquity and how many times (to pass over countless other examples) a fragment of an antique statue has been bought at a high price in order that the buyer may have it near him, to bring reputation to his house with it, and to have it imitated by those who take pleasure in the art, and when I know that the latter then with their utmost skill attempt in all their works to imitate it, and when I see, on the other hand, that the most worthy activities which histories show us, which have been carried on in ancient kingdoms and republics by kings, generals, citizens, lawgivers, and others who have laboured for their native land, are sooner admired than imitated (rather they are so much avoided by everyone in every least thing that no sign of that ancient worth remains among us), I can do no other than at the same time marvel and grieve over it . . . Nonetheless, in setting up states, in maintaining governments, in ruling kingdoms, in organizing armies and managing war, in executing laws among subjects, in expanding an empire, not a single prince or republic now resorts to the examples of the ancients.48

It is worth noting that while Machiavelli mentioned and cited numerous authors from ancient Greece and Rome in the Discorsi, he only referred to Dante, Lorenzo de Medici, and Flavio Biondo from among mediaeval and Renaissance writers.49 No other authors, he believed, had anything to contribute to an understanding of politics. As early as 1503, Machiavelli wrote the Del modo trattare i popoli della Valdichiana ribellati, in which—filled with anguish—he compared the effective methods used by the Romans in subduing an uprising with the poor results of similar policies employed by his contemporary Florentines.50 Machiavelli’s view was based upon the supposition—which was nei-

N. Machiavelli, Discorsi, I, Pref.; Machiavelli: The Chief Works and Others, 190–1. 49 H. C. Mansfield, Machiavelli’s New Modes and Orders, 394. 50 J. Conaway Bondanella and P. Bondanella, ‘Introduction’, ix. 48

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ther unique nor dominant during the Renaissance—that the Italians had to imitate the Romans in order to accomplish similar achievements in a range of fields.51 Petrarch asked ‘What else, then, is all history, if not the praise of Rome?’52 Machiavelli, however, went beyond politics. He adapted the myth of the virtuous Roman Republic to such an extent that he was obliged seriously to underestimate his own epoch. We have to bear in mind that in the Discorsi, Machiavelli commented only upon the first ten decades of Livy’s history. Not surprisingly, these books covered the period up to the First Punic War, the period when Rome, according to Machiavelli, reached the apex of its greatness.53 Machiavelli consciously declined to engage with the remainder of Livy’s history, which dealt with the period of decay. In addition, Machiavelli often deviated from Livy’s text by distorting it, often falsifying the meaning and spirit of the stories therein. He painted a picture of a society divided into groups whose finest members were men totally absorbed in safeguarding the state, free from prejudices and guided almost exclusively by virtù. For Machiavelli, Rome was something which went beyond an empire: it was his Rome, an ideal, in the Renaissance in which he believed and to which he contributed.54 Conclusions In conclusion, it is obvious that Machiavelli did not believe that he was living in a Renaissance. Nor, indeed, did he believe that he was even living in a province of a flourishing state. On the contrary, he was persuaded that a Renaissance would come if his contemporaries or, more likely, future generations imitated the ancient Romans. Machiavelli believed that Italy was still stuck in Biondo’s ‘media aetas’, the

Brian Richardson, ‘The Cinquecento’, in The Cambridge History of Italian Literature, ed. Peter Brand and Lino Pertile (Cambridge, 1999), 200; Peter Bondanella, The Eternal City: Roman Images in the Modern World (Chapel Hill, 1987), 42; Christopher S. Celenza, The Lost Italian Renaissance: Humanists, Historians, and Latin’s Legacy (Baltimore, 2006), 8–15; Roberto Weiss, The Renaissance Discovery of Classical Antiquity (Oxford, 1969). 52 Theodor E. Mommsen, ‘Petrarch’s Conception of the Dark Ages’, in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, ed. Eugene F. Rice (Ithaca, 1969), 122. 53 Mogens H. Hansen, The Tradition of Ancient Greek Democracy and Its Importance for Modern Democracy (Copenhagen, 2005), 10–11. 54 V. B. Sullivan, Machiavelli’s Three Romes, 3–16, 57–60, 119–22. 51

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period which marked the disintegration of the Roman spirit, a situation which ought to end as soon as possible. In other areas of Europe and Asia, prosperity existed, but it was not a Renaissance, because for Machiavelli, ‘Renaissance’ was the rebirth of the institutions, habits, modes and orders of the Roman Empire, especially in matters of religion, laws and military affairs. Although they flourished during the period of Rome’s ascendancy, Machiavelli was not so concerned with philosophy, art and cultural activity. Therefore, even if he admitted that ancient letters and arts were experiencing a revival in his times, and that humanity had the rare opportunity to benefit from the legacy of the ancient world, he was not satisfied. He saw that the truly valuable elements of ancient civilisations remained in the shadows, and attempted with his writings to bring them into the light of the foreground. This, he believed, would eventually bring the real Renaissance. Behind his underestimation of Greek Antiquity are to be found the same reasons which caused him undervalue his own times.

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PART TWO

THE RENAISSANCE AND THE ARTS

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INTRODUCTION: SEEING IS BELIEVING? THE RENAISSANCE AND THE ARTS Alexander Lee At some point in 1336, Petrarch met Simone Martini, who had come to Avignon to contribute to the decoration of the new papal palace.1 The two quickly became intimate and it was not long before Petrarch commissioned a portrait of his beloved Laura from the Sienese artist. The result was clearly striking and before November, Petrarch had written two appreciative sonnets, pulsing with subtly flattering compliments. Even if Polyclitus were to compete with all the other Greek sculptors for a thousand years, Petrarch claimed in the first sonnet, he would not see even the smallest part of Laura’s beauty. Simone, however, was certainly in Paradise when he painted her. Indeed, the work was such that it could only have been imagined in Heaven. For Petrarch it seemed that Simone could only have completed it when beyond the reach of heat and cold, and when his eyes were free from mortality.2

On Simone Martini’s arrival in Avignon, see Marthe Bloch, ‘When did Simone Martini go to Avignon?’, Speculum 2/4 (1927): 470–2; A. Peter, ‘Quand Simone Martini est-il venu en Avignon?’, Gazette des Beaux-Arts 80 (1939): 153–9; John Rowlands, ‘The Date of Simone Martini’s Arrival in Avignon’, The Burlington Magazine 109/742 (Jan. 1965): 25–6. For the Petrarchan connection, see Ernest H. Wilkins, The Making of the “Canzoniere” and other Petrarchian Studies (Rome, 1951), 83–7; N. Quarto, Studi sul Testo delle Rime del Petrarca (Naples, 1902), 55–8; Ernest H. Wilkins, ‘On Petrarch’s Appreciation of Art’, Speculum 36/2 (April 1961): 299–301; Wilkins, Life of Petrarch (Chicago and London, 1963), 12; Marcello Ciccuto, Figure di Petrarca. Giotto, Simone Martini, Franco Bolognese (Naples, 1991), passim. 2 Canz. 77: 1

Per mirar Policleto a prova fiso con gli altri ch’ebber fama di quell’arte mill’anni, non vedrian la minor parte de la beltà che m’àve il cor conquiso. Ma certo il mio Simon fu in paradiso, onde questa gentil donna si parte; ivi la vide, e la ritrasse in carte, per la fede qua giú del suo bel viso. L’opra fu ben di quelle che nel cielo si ponno imaginar, non qui tra noi, ove le membra fanno a l’alma velo.

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The sonnet clearly contains Christian, Dantean and Platonic elements,3 but the compliment which it contains is based on the figure of Polyclitus. As Petrarch would have known from Cicero, Quintilian and Pliny, Polyclitus was renowned as the most illustrious sculptor of his time, famed for his idealised Doryphoros (spear-bearer).4 In referring to Polyclitus, therefore, Petrarch drew a flattering comparison that made use of a familiar panegyric topos. On the one hand, a parallel between the two artists was forged. Like Polyclitus, Simone attempted to capture the ideal. For his efforts, he too is implicitly acknowledged as the foremost artist of his day, and subtly granted Polyclitus’ palm. On the other hand, Petrarch also intimates that Simone had surpassed his artistic antecedent. Not only had Simone been presented with a truly ideal beauty, unlike anything Polyclitus could possibly have seen, but he had also succeeded in capturing Laura’s likeness with what seemed to be a heavenly skill. In meeting the ideal, Petrarch infers that Simone had transcended his own humanity, and divested himself of his mortality, thus achieving a feat which Polyclitus had never had occasion to accomplish. Some of these same themes are continued in the second sonnet. Here, Petrarch describes how, compelled to suffer the pain of an unrequited love, he was left to contemplate Simone’s portrait.5 Uncannily Cortesia fe’, né la potea far poi che fu disceso a provar caldo e gielo, e del mortal sentiron gli occhi sui. On this verse see Willi Hirdt ‘Sul sonnetto del Petrarca “Per mirar Policleto a prova fiso” ’, in Miscallanea di studi in onore di Vittore Branca. I. Dal Medioevo al Petrarca (Florence, 1983), 435–47. 3 For which see Maurizio Bettini, ‘Tra Plinio e sant’ Agostino: Francesco Petrarca sulle arte figurative’, in Memoria dell’antico nell’arte italiana, vol. 1, L’uso dei classici, ed. Salvatore Settis (Turin, 1981), 221–67, here 222–31; Gianfranco Contini, ‘Petrarca e le arti figurative’, in Francesco Petrarca: Citizen of the World. Proceedings of the World Petrarch Congress, Washington D.C., April 6–13 1974, ed. Aldo S. Bernardo (Padua & Albany, 1980), 115–31. 4 Cicero, Brutus, 70; Quintilian, Inst. Orat., 12.10.7; Pliny, Hist. Nat., 34.19.53. References can also be found in Vitruvius, De arch., 1.1.13; 3 pr. 2, but it is questionable whether Petrarch knew his writings, on which see Pierre de Nolhac, Pétrarque et l’humanisme, 2 vols., new ed. (Paris, 1907), 2: 105. In her notes, Rosanna Bettarini draws attention to Polyclitus’ appearance in Dante (Purg. 10.32–33), but the reference simply does not contain enough information for it to have been any significant use to Petrarch. Petrarch, Canzoniere. Rerum Vulgarium Fragmena, ed. Rosanna Bettarini (Turin, 1995), 396. 5 Canz. 78: Quando giunse a Simon l’alto concetto ch’a mio nome gli pose in man lo stile,

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realistic, Laura’s image seemed to listen kindly to Petrarch’s plaintive words. Painfully conscious of the distinction between image and reality, however, the illusion which Simone had created made Petrarch only more acutely conscious of his pain, leaving him—like Pygmalion—to wish that the image would come to life.6 In the context of the Canzoniere, the sonnet serves to stress Laura’s indifference, but it is nevertheless dependent for its meaning on Petrarch’s concept of the image and, by extension, on his estimation of Simone’s skill. As the comparison with Pygmalion illustrates, it is the tension between the portrait’s deceptive realism and the resolute physicality of the image itself which provides the medium for Petrarch’s sorrow. This is in itself a compliment to Simone’s artistic ability and the opening lines make this quite explicit. As Hayden Maginnis has pointed out, the ‘alto concetto’ which came to Simone ‘speaks to an intellectual capacity on the part of the artist’ and attributes to Simone a degree of creative autonomy which was uncommon in contemporary descriptions of artists.7 Rather than simply being a craftsman practicing an essentially mechanical art at the behest of a learned figure, Simone is presented as an independent and creative figure, the quality of whose work transcended the wishes of the patron. Indeed, Simone is seemingly elevated to a position of social and artistic equality with the poet.8

s’avesse date a l’opera gentile colla figura voce ed intellecto, di sospir’ molti mi sgombrava il petto, che ciò ch’altri à piú caro, a me fan vile: però che ‘n vista ella si mostra humile promettendomi pace ne l’aspetto. Ma poi ch’i’ vengo a ragionar con lei, benignamente assai par che m’ascolte, si risponder savesse a’ detti miei. Pigmalïon, quanto lodar ti dei de l’imagine tua, se mille volte n’avesti quel ch’i’ sol una vorrei. 6 Note that Pygmalion and Polyclitus are paired at Sen. 11.17. 7 Hayden B. J. Maginnis, The World of the Early Sienese Painter (University Park, PA, 2001), 81. 8 The equality of artist and poet are further evidenced by a note made by Petrarch in his copy of Pliny (Paris BN lat 6802). Having read that Apelles was accustomed to talk with Alexander the Great as an equal, Petrarch (not abashed at equating himself with the Macedonian) remarked in the margin that Simone used to do the same most happily. Timothy Hyman, Sienese Painting. The Art of a City-Republic 1278–1477 (London, 2003), 67.

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Taken together, the delicate compliments which Petrarch paid to Simone in these two sonnets present a multi-faceted picture of the artist in the mid-fourteenth century. Closely associated with the literary culture of humanism, Simone is celebrated as an independent artist capable of bringing great realism to representational art. In turn, this praise is cast in terms drawn from classical texts, and making use of allusions to Greek art in Latin literature with which we may suppose Simone himself was also familiar.9 As has already been observed in this volume, any attempt to determine whether or not there was a Renaissance in western culture in the period c.1300–c.1550 must at some point engage with the question of what the word ‘Renaissance’ itself connotes. If Petrarch himself embodies the difficulties involved in assessing what—if anything—was ‘reborn’ in literary culture, the two sonnets he wrote to Simone Martini illustrate the multiplicity of problems attendant upon any attempt to determine what the word ‘Renaissance’ should be taken to mean when applied to the arts. In Petrarch’s praise of Laura’s portrait and of Simone’s artistry, it is possible to glimpse the various elements of artistic culture which have been emphasised by different definitions of ‘Renaissance’. For some scholars, the distinctiveness of art from the early fourteenth century onwards lies in a perceived individualism comparable to that alluded to by Petrarch’s ‘alto concetto’. While he conceived of the Middle Ages as a time in which human consciousness ‘lay dreaming or half awake beneath a common veil’ of ‘faith, illusion and childish prepossession,’ for example, Jacob Burckhardt contended that the Renaissance was a period in which ‘man became a spiritual individual’, an uomo universale.10 For other scholars, reflecting Petrarch’s com-

H. B. J. Maginnis, The World of the Early Sienese Painter, 186–190; Ernst H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation (Princeton, 1960). 10 Jacob Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (London, 1995), 87, 90–1 Since the publication of his work, Burckhardt’s concept of ‘individualism’ in the arts has been subject to considerable question and revision. Some, like Hans Baron, have suggested that the ‘discovery of the individual’ was actually more of a selffulfilling prophesy, and unnecessarily underestimates the role played by the patron, social structures like the family, intimate working relationships such as embodied by the workshop, and formal corporations like confraternities and guilds. Hans Baron, ‘Burckhardt’s Civilization of the Renaissance a Century after its Publication’, Renaissance News 13 (1960): 207–22; Macginnis, The World of the Early Sienese Painter, 83–118; Michael Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy: A 9

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parison between Simone and Polyclitus, it was the achievement of a greater naturalism in art which is the distinguishing characteristic of ‘Renaissance’. The elaboration of a full theory of linear perspective represented a decisive change in the techniques of painting and a break with previous theories of optics.11 For others still, the distinctiveness of the Renaissance lies in what is thought to be a new interest in ornamentation, embellishment and decoration, within the framework of which linear perspective and individualism can be accommodated.12

Prime in the Social History of Pictorial Style (Oxford, 1972); Bruce Cole, The Renaissance Artist at Work from Pisano to Titian (London, 1983); Anabel Thomas, The Painter’s Practice in Renaissance Tuscany (Cambridge, 1995); John M. Najemy, Corporation and Consensus in Florentine Electoral Politics, 1290–1400 (Chapel Hill NC, 1982); Marvin Becker, ‘An Essay on the Quest for Identity in the Early Italian Renaissance’, in ‘Florilegium Historiale’. Essays Presented to Wallace K. Ferguson, ed. John G. Rowe and W. H. Stockdale (Toronto, 1971), 296–308; Wend Stedman Sheard and John T. Paoletti, eds., Collaboration in Italian Renaissance Art (New Haven, 1978); Melissa Maria Bullard, ‘Heroes and their Workshops: Medici Patronage and the Problem of Shared Agency’, Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies 24 (1994): 179–98, reprinted under the same title in Paula Findlen, ed., The Italian Renaissance. The Essential Readings (Oxford, 2002), 299–316; James Beck, ‘Jacopo della Quercia and Donatello: Networking in the Quattrocento’, Source Notes in the History of Art 6 (1987): 6–15; Alessandro Guidotti, ‘Pubblico e private, committenza e clintela: Botteghe e produzione artistica a Firenze tra XV e XVI secolo’, Richerche storiche 16 (1986): 535–50. Yet Burckhardt’s notion of individualism and autonomy nevertheless remains attractive. See, for example, Andrew Martindale, The Rise of the Artist in the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance (New York, 1972). Stephen Greenblatt’s pioneering work on ‘self-fashioning’ and some illuminating studies on artists’ contracts have to some degree assisted in keeping the Burckhardian flame burning. Stephen Grennblatt, Renaissance Self-Fashioning. From More to Shakespeare (Chicago, 1984). For a discussion of Greenblatt’s influence, see Richard Mackenney, Renaissances. The Cultures of Italy, c.1300–c.1600 (Houndmills, 2005), 3, 28, 207 ff. For a splendid introduction to the place of contracts in determining the position of the artist, see Evelyn Welch, Art and Society in Italy 1350–1500 (Oxford, 1997), 103–130, and M. Baxandall, Painting and Experience, pt. 1. Michelle O’Malley, ‘The Business of Art: Contracts and Payments for Fourteenth- and Fifteenth-Century Italian Altarpieces and Frescos’ (Unpublished PhD thesis, Warburg Institute, 1994). 11 Samuel Y. Edgerton, The Renaissance Rediscovery of Linear Perspective (New York, 1975); Erwin Panofsky, ‘Die Perspetive als ‘Symbolische Form’ ’’, Vörträge der Bibliothek Warburg 1924–5 (1927): 258–330. For the changing role of linear perspective in Panofsky’s conception of the Renaissance, see Carl Landauer, ‘Erwin Panofsky and the Renascence of the Renaissance’, Renaissance Quarterly 47/1 (Summer 1994): 255–81, esp 265–66; Keith P. F. Moxey, ‘Perspective, Panofsky, and the Philosophy of History’, New Literary History 26/4 (1995): 775–86. 12 Hellmut Wohl, The Aesthetics of Italian Renaissance Art: A Reconsideration of Style (Cambridge, 1999); as has been observed, this intriguing book takes M. Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy as its point of departure. Charles R. Mack, Review of The Aesthetics of Italian Renaissance Art: A Reconsideration of Style by Hellmut Wohl, Renaissance Quarterly 53/2 (Summer 2000): 569–71.

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By far the most prominent and influential school of thought, however, is inclined to read the word ‘Renaissance’ as a more literal form of ‘rebirth’, and views other developments as a prelude to or component of a rediscovery of classical themes, models and motifs. In a manner which evokes the close relationship between Petrarch and Simone Martini evidenced by the sonnets themselves, it is common to portray this interpretation of the Renaissance in terms of a close affinity between the literary culture of the humanists and the arts.13 It would be possible to mention a number of seminal studies which have contributed to making this the dominant line of interpretation of ‘Renaissance’, but perhaps the most complete exposition of this view is Erwin Panofsky’s ‘Renaissance and Renascences’, published in the Kenyon Review in 1944 and later—following a series of lectures at the University of Uppsala—expanded into a book under the same title. Although his studies of Netherlandish art and iconology, for example, are habitually used as ‘a foil for modern art historians, a symbol of a past to be left behind’, his work on the Renaissance has achieved ‘classic’ status.14 As Michael Baxandall and others have also pointed out, the selfconscious writings of ‘the artistically-minded humanists and the humanistically-minded artists of the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries’ appear to betray a sense of living in a new period.15 13 On the association, see, for example, Ernest H. Gombrich, ‘From the revival of letters to the reform of the arts’, in Essays in the History of Art Presented to Rudolf Wittkower, ed. Douglas Fraser, Howard Hibbard and Milton J. Lewine (London, 1967), 71–82; Roberto Weiss, The Renaissance Discovery of Classical Antiquity (New York, 1969); Benjamin Rowlands Jr., The Classical Tradition in Western Art (Cambridge MA, 1963). 14 C. Landauer, ‘Erwin Panofsky and the Renascence of the Renaissance’, 257. See also Irving Lavin, ed., Meaning in the Visual Arts: Views from the Outside. A Centennial Commemoration of Erwin Panofsky (1892–1968) (Princeton, 1995); Michael Ann Holly, Panofsky and the Foundations of Art History (Ithaca, 1985); Charles R. Dodwell, Review of Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art by Erwin Panofsky. The Burlington Magazine 103/696 (March 1961): 113; Paul Oskar Kristeller, Renaissance Thought. The Classic, Scholastic and Humanistic Strains (New York, 1961), 93 n. 5; Kristeller, Review of Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art, by Erwin Panofsky, The Art Bulletin 44/1 (March, 1962): 65–7; Wolfgang Stechow, Review of Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art, by Erwin Panofsky, Renaissance News 14/2 (Summer 1961): 111–13; Erwin Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Art (New York, 1953); Panofsky, Studies in Iconology. Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance, repr. (New York and Evanston, 1965); Panofsky, ‘Renaissance and Renascences’; Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences. 15 E. Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences, 9. Michael Baxandall, Giotto and the Orators: Humanist Observers of Painting in Italy and the Discovery of Pictorial

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Although Petrarch’s ‘tenebrae’ referred primarily to the fate of poetry,16 the sense of a transition from the ‘darkness’ of a ‘middle age’ to the ‘light’ of Antiquity appears to have been applied equally to the other arts. From the fourteenth century onwards, readers of Horace followed the Ars poetica in drawing a natural connection between poetry and painting and in using the language of darkness and light to describe the revival they identified.17 For Panofsky, Dante’s imagined conversation with the illustrator Oderisi of Gubbio and Boccaccio’s dual celebration of Petrarch and Giotto as the harbingers of a new age,18 are particularly illustrative, but it is also useful to recall that Giorgio Vasari later coined the word ‘rinascita’ in his biographies of the most famous artists of his day (for which see the contribution here by Matteo Burioni), and figures such as Johannes Tinctoris celebrated the beginning of an ars nova in music in similar terms (for which see the essay by Rob C. Wegman). Far from being instances of ‘self-deception’, the declarations of rebirth and renewal which abound in humanistic literature from the fourteenth century onwards constituted, in Panofsky’s eyes, an example of ‘self-definition’, of a genuine consciousness of a real breach with the artistic modes of the Middle Ages, and of a recognition of a distinct historical period. While medieval cultural revivals—such as that

Composition, 1350–1450 (Oxford, 1971); Creighton E. Gilbert, Poets Seeing Artists’ Work: Instances in the Italian Renaissance (Florence, 1991). 16 Petrarch, Africa, 9: 451–7; text ed. Nicola Festa, Edizione Nazionale delle Opere di Francesco Petrarca (Florence, 1926), 278. Theodor E. Mommsen, ‘Petrarch’s Conception of the Dark Ages’, Speculum 17 (1942): 226–42, republished under the same title in Paula Findlen, ed., The Italian Renaissance. The Essential Readings (Oxford, 2002), 219–236, here 234. 17 Horace, Ars poetica, 361–365; on which see Rensselaer W. Lee, ‘Ut Pictura Poesis: The Humanistic Theory of Painting’, Art Bulletin 22/4 (Dec. 1940): 197–269, here 199–200; Elizabeth Hazelton Haight, ‘Horace on Art: Ut pictura poesis’, The Classical Journal 47/5 (Feb. 1952): 157–62, 201–2; Wesley Trimpi, ‘The Meaning of Horace’s Ut Pictura Poesis’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 36 (1973): 1–34; Henryk Markiewicz and Uliana Gabara, ‘Ut Pictura Poesis . . . A History of the Topos and the Problem’, New Literary History 18/3 (Spring 1987): 535–58. For the language of darkness and light, see, for example, Wallace K. Ferguson, ‘Humanist views of the Renaissance’, American Historical Review 4 (1939): 1–28, here 28; Martin L. McLaughlin, ‘Humanist concepts of Renaissance and Middle Ages in the tre- and quattrocento’, Renaissance Studies 2 (1988): 131–42. 18 Dante, Purgatorio, 11. 91–9. On Petrarch, see Boccaccio, Lettere edite ed inediti, ed. Francesco Corazzini (Florence, 1877), 187. On Giotto, see Boccaccio, Decameron, 6, 5.

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of the twelfth century—certainly involved the renewal of the arts and of classical learning, Panofsky believed that [i]t was for the Italian Renaissance to integrate classical form and classical content, and it was by this reintegration that the classical images— first salvaged, then split asunder, and finally recomposed—were really “reborn”.19

Panofsky happily admitted that this ‘reintegration’ of classical form and content had its beginning in the attainment of a greater naturalism in the representation of pictorial space, a development without parallel in antique and medieval art.20 Duccio di Buoninsegna and Giotto di Bondone attempted to grapple with the problem of pictorial space in essentially different ways, but Panofsky nevertheless saw them as having taken the first steps towards the transformation of an ‘objectively two-dimensional surface’ into what Leon Battista Alberti was later to compare to a pane of ‘transparent glass’.21 Breaking with the precepts of Hellenistic and Roman optics, as well as with those of High Gothic art, Duccio and Giotto laid the foundations for the later development of a system of perspective representation which relied on the assumption that continuity and infinity were characteristic qualities of space.22 Although not in itself classical in origin, this prima età of perspective representation was, for Panofsky, the necessary predicate of the resuscitation of antique art. ‘Looking out of his “window”,’ he contended, the painter learned to perceive the products of Roman art—buildings and statues, gems and coins, but above all reliefs—as part and parcel of his visible and reproducible environment, as “objects” in the literal sense of the word (objectum, “that which is set against me”) . . .23

At first, the influence of classical style was applied somewhat tentatively, and stylistic features of antique art were somewhat awkwardly introduced into non-classical contexts. Although the vaulting of Masaccio’s Trinity, in Santa Maria Novella in Florence, and the elaborate col-

E. Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences’, 222; c.f. Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences, 42–113. 20 E. Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences, 18–21. 21 Ibid., 118–27. 22 Ibid., 119–20. 23 Ibid., 151. 19

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umned structure in Apollonio di Giovanni’s depiction of a scene from the Aeneid on a cassone front now held by Yale University are apparently illustrations of a rinascimento dell’ Antichità, Panfosky pointed out that ‘a curious dichotomy can . . . be observed between the classical style of the setting and the non-classical, or at least, less classical style of the figures.’24 Just as it is difficult to find any trace of classical iconology in the Trinity, so Apollonio’s Virgilian scene is populated with characters who are dressed in the International Style popular in the cities of contemporary Italy. By the third quarter of the fourteenth century, however, Panofsky believed that the full reconciliation of setting and figures, of style and content, had begun. In Ferrara, Padua, Milan, Venice, Mantua and Bologna, ‘more than anywhere else’ it is possible to ‘observe the emergence of an antiquarian attitude so pervasive that the archaeologists, the painters and the humanists pure and simple worked and lived, as it were, in unison.’25 As texts such as Lucretius’ De rerum natura were rediscovered, and others, like Vitruvius’ De architectura were brought under closer scrutiny by humanists reaping the fruit of a new critical awareness, so in the arts, Panofsky believed, classical figures were shed of their previously Christian applications, and pictorial norms derived from Antiquity were increasingly used to narrate classical tales. Panofsky’s depiction of the Renaissance is in many ways compelling. An attempt to construct what is essentially a complete narrative account of developments in artistic practices and in perceptions of between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, it derives its strength from three distinctions. The first distinguishes between self-definition and self-deception in the testimonies of ‘artistically-minded humanists and the humanistically-minded artists; the second discriminates between the construction of linear perspective and the principles of ancient and medieval optics; and the third distinguishes between the separate and ‘integrated’ use of classical content and form. Although these distinctions offer the advantage of clarity without occasioning any loss of detail in Panofsky’s analysis, it is, however, worth questioning whether such stark contrasts are either useful or valid.

Ibid., 168. See also Ernst H. Gombrich, ‘Apollonio di Giovanni: A Florentine cassone workshop seen through the eyes of a humanist poet’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 18/1–2 (Jan.–June 1955): 16–34. 25 E. Panofsky, Renaisance and Renascences, 173. 24

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The testimonies of the ‘artistically-minded humanists and the humanistically-minded artists’ may indeed appear striking, but it is important to ask how far these texts actually speak to the reality of a ‘new age’ in the arts and how far they should be regarded as elegant, but formulaic praise, aspirational assertions, defensive declarations or hopeful hyperbole. From the late thirteenth century onwards it was customary for poets to be acclaimed as having restored their art to its ancient glory, and in such cases it is tempting to speculate whether either ‘self-definition’ or ‘self-deception’ would be an appropriate label for such commonplace descriptions.26 So with the other arts, it is often difficult to know where the line should be drawn, or if it should be drawn at all. In contrast to the intimate verses he wrote to his friends in Latin, the glory with which Petrarch seems to crown Simone Martini in his laudatory sonnets cannot readily be separated from his immediate literary purpose. Just as the canzone which commemorate the death of Cino da Pistoia (Canz. 92) or the achievements of Stefano Colonna the Younger (Canz. 103) and Pandolfo Malatesta (Canz. 104) serve to embellish the delicate relationship between love, poetry, fame and morality in the cycle, Petrarch’s praise of Simone’s artistry allowed him to illustrate the tension between the intensity of his love and Laura’s indifference using the contrast between image and subject. There is no reason to doubt Petrarch’s appreciation of art, but the terms in which the artist is praised are nevertheless so much a part of his contextual purpose and so clearly shaped by panegyric norms that it would be rash to apply any unequivocal label. The same, indeed, is true of Dante’s conversation with Oderisi of Gubbio. Although it can be read as a recognition of rebirth in literary culture and art, the fact that the canto in which the exchange occurs describes the penance of the proud in Purgatory cannot entirely be discounted. Bent over almost on his haunches with a mighty weight on his back, Oderisi’s strained words are intended to warn Dante of the dangers of taking pride in earthly fame. That Giotto had supplanted Cimabue in renown is not necessarily a comment on the talent of either artist, but a statement on the transience of fame. Self-definition and self-deception sublimate in the heat of the canto’s moral function.

Jerrold Seigel, Rhetoric and Philosophy in Renaissance Humanism. The Union of Eloquence and Wisdom, Petrarch to Valla (Princeton, 1968), 31–2. 26

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But yet broader questions can be raised about the application of such labels to contemporary accounts. In the case of Johannes Tinctoris’ Proportionale musices, the author’s scornful contempt of music written before 1430 and proud proclamation of an ‘ars nova’ cannot be as readily accommodated within the terms of Panfosky’s distinction as first appears. Although apparently an obvious example of a situation in which an author’s perception of the state of his art might be described as either self-deception or self-definition, Tinctoris’ remarks must, as Rob C. Wegman argues, be viewed as a vigorous response to mounting criticism of the decadence and wastefulness of music from humanists like the aging Erasmus, and thus seem to problematise categorisation. Similarly, when replaced into the context of his immediate biographical project, Vasari’s alluring notion of ‘rinascita’ seems to elude attempts to reduce it to the status of either a fanciful delusion or a justified piece of commentary. As Matteo Burioni contends, the concept of the ‘life’ in Vasari’s work suggests that, far from being a statement on the condition of the arts in his age, ‘rinascita’ can be read more satisfactorily as a category of art criticism applied primarily to individuals. If questions about the validity of the distinction between self-definition and self-deception may legitimately be raised, similar concerns may perhaps be voiced about Panofsky’s discrimination between the construction of linear perspective and the optical principles of Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Although the emphasis which Panofsky accorded to linear perspective varied slightly between ‘Die Perspective als “Symbolische Form” ’ and Renaissance and Renascences, his contention that the Renaissance constituted a more profound cultural revival than that of the twelfth century (for example) is ultimately reliant on the suggestion that a new attitude towards Antiquity was facilitated by radical innovations in the representation of pictorial space. It would perhaps be difficult to dispute that the elaboration of linear perspective as a formal method of depicting space was accompanied by a marked shift in compositional practice and by an enlargement of the artist’s range, but did perspective representation actually represent a departure from earlier optical principles? In his analysis of Brunelleschi’s perspective demonstrations, Johannes Grave illustrates the difficulties of detecting such a radical shift. Despite their use of a new understanding of spatial construction, Brunelleschi’s panels can be viewed as reproducing, rather than subverting, traditional notions of the image.

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Just as the realism of Simone Martini’s portrait of Laura was subordinated to the distinct identity of the representational image itself in Petrarch’s sonnets, Brunelleschi seems to have preserved—and even exploited—the distinction between object and image so important in medieval theological treatments of art. Indeed, when considering the deeper philosophical implications of perspective representation in their context, it may prove difficult to avoid the suspicion that the assertion of a radical shift in conceptions of space might not be more the product of an excessively teleological approach than a result borne out by the evidence. For Rhys Roark, the implication that linear perspective entailed a new understanding of infinity cannot be reconciled with the connotations of the infinite in medieval and Renaissance theology. Rather than being an indication of a rupture in conceptions of space, the provocative position of linear perspective in Panofsky’s work might perhaps more accurately reflect the questionable heritage of Ernst Cassirer’s neo-Kantianism. At a less philosophical level, the difficulty of applying such categories in this area is further illustrated by the somewhat paradoxical position occupied by the legacy of Byzantine art in relation to the supposed ‘revolution’ of linear perspective. Still a dominant influence in Venice and beyond during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Byzantine style demands attention, but attempts to integrate it into the framework of an analysis which sees linear perspective as having occasioned a radical break with earlier modes are sustained only with the introduction of a number of somewhat awkward qualifications. For Panofsky—as for many others—it seemed axiomatic that the apparent fluidity of Giotto’s compositions and the graceful naturalism of his figures superseded what Gombrich described as the ‘frozen solemnity of . . . Byzantine painting’.27 Placing tremendous emphasis on the Romanesque influence of Cavallini, Panofsky recognises that Byzantine art embraced a rudimentary grasp of foreshortening, a crude understanding of the use of orthogonals in representing spatial depth, and a form of chiaroscuro, but roughly dismisses the suggestion that it might have exerted a significant effect on Giotto’s style by adhering rigorously to the stark distinction between linear perspective construction and the optics of Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

27

Ernst H. Gombrich, The Story of Art, 16th ed. (London, 1995), 201.

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The complications entailed by sustaining so stark a contrast in relation to Giotto’s attitude towards Byzantine art is explored by Diotima Liantini. Although the importance of Giotto’s Roman visit and contact with Cavallini cannot be ignored, it is perhaps necessary to give due weight to the fact that the milieu in which Giotto was working in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries was deeply infused with the products of Byzantine art. Where the extent of his experience of Byzantine style is recalled, and a more subtle, less dogmatic approach towards ‘Hellenistic’ art is adopted, a number of significant points of continuity may be detected which, while not challenging the originality of Giotto’s contribution to Italian art, call into question the merit of retaining the distinction between linear perspective and the optics of Antiquity and the Middle Ages as a category for approaching the ‘Renaissance problem’. Similar questions may be raised about Panofsky’s distinction between the separate and ‘integrated’ use of classical content and form, which lies at the heart of his assertion of the distinct identity and comparative importance of the Renaissance. At first, the contrast appears clear. Although classical influences can—as Aby Warburg so passionately maintained—be detected in art throughout the medieval period, a glance at the use of classical motifs from the mid-fourteenth century onwards does indeed seem to reveal an attempt to employ them with a greater sensitivity for their original textual, cultural and historical contexts. The three scenes which comprise Piero di Cosimo’s Human Life in the Stone Age, for example, seemed in Panofsky’s eyes to demonstrate the increasing dominance of the klassicher Idealstil in art from the end of the fifteenth century and thus appeared as an illustration of the culmination of his understanding of the Renaissance.28 Although undoubtedly eccentric,29 Piero di Cosimo’s depictions of man’s primeval development manifest the ‘rediscovery’ of classical E. Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences, 179–81; Erwin Panofsky, ‘The Early History of Man in a Cycle of Paintings by Piero di Cosimo’, Journal of the Warburg Institute, 1/1 (July 1937), 12–30; reprinted in shorter form in Panofsky, Studies in Iconology, 33–68. 29 For Piero’s life and character, see, for example, Giorgio Vasari, Le Opere, ed. G. Milanesi, 9 vols. (Florence, 1906), vol. 4, 133–43; Louis Alexander Waldman, ‘Fact, Fiction, Hearsay: Notes on Vasari’s Life of Piero di Cosimo’, The Art Bulletin 82/1 (March 2000): 171–9; Dennis Geronimus, ‘The Birth Date, Early Life, and Career of Piero di Cosimo’, The Art Bulletin 82/1 (March 2000): 164–70; Sharon Fermor, Piero di Cosimo: Fiction, Invention and Fantasia (London, 1993), 13–41; R. Mackenney, Renaissances. The Cultures of Italy, 168. 28

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texts and their reception by the visual arts. Reproducing an account of the development of human society drawn from Vitruvius and Lucretius,30 Piero eschews any attempt to temper the implications with a Christian apology and makes use of pictorial forms (satyrs, centaurs etc.) evidently drawn from ancient archetypes. For Panofsky, Human Life in the Stone Age succeeds in effecting a reintegration of classical form and subject matter. As such, Piero’s panels not merely appear to stand in stark contrast to the art of the Middle Ages—in which classical form and content were, apparently, dissociated—but also appear to reap the fruits of the technical developments in art made since the early trecento. It is, however, nevertheless perhaps a little too easy to overestimate the degree to which artists intended faithfully to combine their use of classical forms with the original sense of the classical texts which furnished them with narrative content, and hence also too simplistic to maintain the stark distinction on which Panofsky’s analysis of Renaissance classicism is ultimately based. Although Piero di Cosimo’s figures betray a careful study of antique friezes and ancient statuary, and it is possible to observe the repetition of certain elements of the primitivism found in classical literature, it is not unjust to question how far Human Life in the Stone Age was intended faithfully to reproduce the account of human society’s origins in Vitruvius and Lucretius. Setting aside differences between the De architectura and the De rerum natura overlooked by Panofsky, it may be noted that the forest fire which rages in each of the three panels seems—as in numerous other medieval and Renaissance works—to signal that a primordial state is being depicted, but does not appear to perform any of the narrative functions so crucial to the accounts of Lucretius and Vitruvius. Seemingly unable to convey the sense of a complete mythological ‘story’, as Panofsky himself appears to admit, it is tempting to speculate whether these panels represent anything more than a thematically-related series of whimsical fantasies, and to question the degree to which Piero ever intended to reintegrate antique form and content. A more challenging example is provided by the gift drawings sent to Tomasso de’ Cavalieri by Michelangelo. Drawing on a number of Vitruvius, De architectura, 2.1; this passage was reproduced, virtually without amendment by Boccaccio, Genealogia deorum, 12.70; Lucretius, De rerum natura, 5.958–87, 1011–27, 1283–4. 30

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known archetypes from antique art, Michelangelo freely appropriated the imagery of classical mythology, but—as Maria Ruvoldt suggests— did so in a manner which subverted the original sense of the subjects. Viewing the image as an end in itself, Michelangelo uses depictions of the rape of Ganymede, the fall of Phaeton and the punishment of Tityus to reflect his own preoccupation with the tension between an erotic male friendship conceived along Neoplatonic lines and a deeplyheld Christian belief in the perils of such physical desires. Michelangelo’s scenes become components in the lexicon of a Christian lover, and receive their meaning both in relation and in contrast to the sense which might be associated with the subjects in the context of classical literature and art. In this case, the subversion of subject material and the use of emblematic scenes to communicate quite different meanings seem to make it difficult to apply Panofsky’s notion of the ‘reintegration’ of classical form and content. Although it is possible to question each of the distinctions on which Panofsky based his analysis of the art of the Renaissance, it might reasonably be objected that the general pattern of development which he detected may nevertheless be sustained. While the stridency of some of his claims may invite moderation and the somewhat challenging issues raised by some of the evidence discussed here may suggest some amendment, it is still hard to dispute the very simple fact that the works of art from the early fourteenth century onwards do indeed appear strikingly different from those of previous centuries and, where this is granted, an explanation is required. Responding to potential critics, Panofsky himself was not slow to make a similar point. In a final flourish, he concluded his chapter defending the historical reality of the Renaissance (‘“Renaissance”—self-definition or self-deception?’) with a stark summary. In the same way as it is ‘difficult to deny’ that Petrarch’s Canzoniere marked a watershed in the development of Italian literary culture, Panofsky asserted that the art historian, no matter how many details he may find it necessary to revise in the picture sketched out by Filippo Villani and completed by Vasari, will have to accept the basic facts that a first radical break with the medieval principles of representing the visible world by means of line and color (sic.) was made in Italy at the turn of the thirteenth century; that a second fundamental change, starting in architecture and sculpture rather than in painting and involving a preoccupation with classical antiquity, set in at the beginning of the fifteenth; and that a third, climactic phase of the entire development, finally synchronizing

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alexander lee the three arts and temporarily eliminating the dichotomy between the naturalistic and classical points of view, began at the threshold of the sixteenth.31

That the art historian has to accept these ‘basic facts’ is, in Panofsky’s view, relatively easy to demonstrate. Compare, he urged his reader, the Pantheon (c.125) with the Church of Our Lady at Trèves (c.1250) and with Palladio’s Villa Rotonda (c.1550). Looking at these three building alone, one must agree that a decisive shift occurred some time between 1250 and 1550, and that the buildings of the sixteenth century were closer in style to classical archetypes than to any Gothic examples. If the reader further compares Alberti’s Sant’Andrea in Mantua (begun 1472) with the choir of St. Sebaldus in Nuremburg (completed 1472), one must ‘strongly suspect that this decisive thing had happened in the fifteenth century and on Italian soil.’32 Regardless of questions which may be raised about individual aspects of his analysis, as far as the notion of an Italian Renaissance in the arts was concerned, seeing was, for Panofsky, believing.33 It is unlikely that the problem of the Renaissance in the arts will be resolved any time soon. In the same way that Renaissance and Renascences remains an invaluable and provocative work, however, Panofsky’s credo should serve as a challenge for further investigation, and as a spur to future study. The immediate visual impact of a comparison between the Villa Rotonda and the Church of Our Lady at Trèves is indeed striking, but it is nevertheless true that questions may legitimately be raised about the evidential value of contemporary comments on the ‘rebirth’ of the arts, about the ‘rupture’ occasioned by linear perspective, and about the extent to which classical content and form were

E. Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences, 39. Ibid., 40. 33 It is worth noting that Denys Hay’s remarkable contextualising study of the Renaissance begins with a similar, but even more striking credo: ‘. . . I accept as a fact that there was a Renaissance in the period (to beg a few questions for the time being) between about 1350 and about 1700. I accept that this Renaissance occurred first in Italy in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and that it later affected to a greater or lesser degree the rest of Europe. I say this with confidence because to my mind the evidence is overwhelming. Look at the façade of S. Maria Novella at Florence where the early fourteenth-century base rises to flower in Alberti’s mid-fifteenth-century design . . . Think for a moment of old St. Peter’s and new St. Peter’s in Rome . . .; of old St. Paul’s and new St. Paul’s in London. Think of Dante, Chaucer and Villon on the one hand and of Ariosto, Ronsard and Milton on the other.’ Denys Hay, The Italian Renaissance in its Historical Background (Cambridge, 1961), 1. 31 32

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‘reintegrated’. Despite the merits of Panofsky’s description of the path from linear perspective to a revived classicism, how far should questions about the distinctions on which his analysis was based influence our understanding of the ‘Renaissance’ in the arts? Despite the instinctive appeal of the notion of a Renaissance in the arts and the power of stark visual comparisons, is seeing really believing?

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VASARI’S RINASCITA: HISTORY, ANTHROPOLOGY OR ART CRITICISM? Matteo Burioni Vasari’s rinascita has been the subject of many readings. In a classic essay on the Renaissance, August Buck stressed that ‘Giorgio Vasari was the first to apply the tripartite notion of history developed by the Renaissance to a continuous historical process, the history of European art.’1 Since the publication of Buck’s paper, however, several scholars have diverged from and qualified his assessment. Paola Barocchi and Zygmunt Waźbiński demonstrated that the first (1550) and second— much enlarged—edition of the Lives (1568) contain contrasting attitudes towards history.2 Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that the term rinascita had currency long before Vasari.3 In a paper given at the 1974 Vasari Conference, Eugenio Garin gave a lucid assessment of several problems connected with the concept of rinascita in Vasari that have yet to be addressed properly.4 First, he pointed to the fact that the term rinascita in the Lives has lost any connotation of social, political or religious reform. This was rehearsed and clarified in an exemplary way by Martin Warnke in an interpretation of the frontispiece to the Lives.5 Second, Garin suggested tantalising August Buck, ‘Zu Begriff und Problem der Renaissance. Eine Einleitung’, in Zu Begriff und Problem der Renaissance, ed. August Buck (Darmstadt, 1969), 1–36, 10–11. See the recent overview by Robert Black, ‘General Introduction’, in The Renaissance. Critical Concepts in Historical Studies, ed. Robert Black (London, 2006), vol. 1, 1–24. 2 Paola Barocchi, ‘L’antibiografia del secondo Vasari’, in Paola Barocchi, Studi Vasariani (Torino, 1984), 157–70; Zygmunt Waźbiński, ‘L’idée de l’histoire dans la première et la seconde édition des ‘Vies’ de Vasari’, in Il Vasari. Storiografo e artista. Atti del congresso internazionale nel IV centenario della morte. Arezzo e Firenze 2–8 Settembre 1974 (Florence, 1976), 1–25. 3 Martin L. McLaughlin, ‘Humanist Concepts of Renaissance and Middle Ages in the Tre- and Quattrocento’, Renaissance Studies 2 (1988): 131–42. 4 Eugenio Garin, ‘Giorgio Vasari e il tema della rinascita’, in Il Vasari. Storiografo e artista., 259–66. See also Eugenio Garin, Rinascite e rivoluzioni. Movimenti culturali dal XIV al XVIII secolo (Rome, 1975), 39–48. 5 Martin Warnke, ‘Die erste Seite aus den “Viten” Giorgio Vasaris: Der politische Gehalt seiner Renaissancevorstellung’, Kritische Berichte 5 (1977): 5–28. See also the important notes by Julian Kliemann, ‘Su alcuni concetti umanistici del pensiero e del mondo figurativo vasariano’, in Giorgio Vasari. Tra decorazione ambientale e storio1

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similarities between Vasari’s concept of rinascita and the ideas of Guillaume Postel. The strong emphasis on the Etruscan origin of the arts in Vasari’s prohemium could reflect the influence of Postel, who published a book on Etruscan culture in Florence in 1551. Garin’s argument, however, did not stop at simply stating Postel’s influence on Vasari, which could have been mediated by Cosimo Bartoli or Giovanfrancesco Giambullari. He further hinted at an even deeper relationship between Postel’s philosophy of history as rinascita and Vasari’s art-historical project. Garin’s central thesis was that the universal concept of ‘art’ was derived from the idea of an universal origin of culture and of language in Etruscan civilisation. In my opinion, this article by Eugenio Garin is also the starting point of Charles Hope’s work on Vasari’s Lives. Hope first mounted his argument in 1995, while reviewing a book by Patricia Rubin.6 A scepticism about Vasari’s authorship of the Lives brought Hope to a new interpretation of the internal chronology of the first edition, the Torrentina. Hope contends that the innovative, historiographical idea of dividing the evolution of Italian art into three epochs was not Vasari’s idea, but was devised by members of the Accademia Fiorentina from 1546, during the editing of the Vite. Examining the internal chronology of the first edition, Hope proves that the Proemii, which feature the historiographical concept of the three epochs, were written after the main bulk of the work had already been completed. Within the Proemii, he established a relative chronology, arguing that the Proemio delle vite, which tells the history of art ab origine through the Middle Ages to Cimabue, was composed first. It was therefore initially deemed sufficient to write a general introduction to the Lives recapitulating the history of art before Cimabue. From this ensued the idea of breaking the Lives into three epochs, each with its own preface. After this grafia artistica. Convegno di studi Arezzo 1981, ed. Gian Carlo Garfagnini (Florence, 1985), 73–82. 6 Charles Hope, ‘Can you trust Vasari?’, New York Review of Books 42 (1995): 10–13; Charles Hope, ‘Le Vite Vasariane: Un esempio di autore multiplo’, in L’autore multiplo, ed. Anna Santoni (Pisa, 2005), 59–74; Thomas Frangenberg, ‘Bartoli, Giambullari and the Prefaces to Vasari’s ‘Lives’ (1550)’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 60 (2002): 244–58. See also Ugo Scoti Bertinelli, Giorgio Vasari scrittore (Pisa, 1905), 157–223; Giovanni Nencioni, ‘Fra Grammatica e Retorica’, Atti e Memorie dell’Accademia Toscana di Scienze e Lettere La Colombaria 19 (1954): 137–269, here 210–12; Piero Scapecchi, ‘Una carta dell’esemplare riminese delle Vite del Vasari con correzioni di Giambullari. Nuove indicazioni e proposte per la Torrentiana’, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 42 (1998): 101–14.

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decision was made, it was necessary to adjust the lives of the artists to conform to this novel framework. Hope is persuaded that members of the Accademia Fiorentina were responsible for this decision. For Hope, Vasari is therefore only nominally the author of the Vite. It should be noticed, however, that the people whom Hope holds responsible for this novel approach to art history are exactly the same as those mentioned in Garin’s seminal article, the only difference being that Hope’s philological acumen has effectively sidelined Garin’s broader cultural and philosophical concerns. Although this is not the right place to discuss the many fascinating philological questions posed by the Vite, this paper will address just one of the points raised by Hope’s thesis: can the term rinascita be separated so neatly from the fabric of the Lives? Is there just one concept of rebirth, or should we account for a wider variety of instances of rebirth? In other words, is the concept of rebirth only an historiographical category or is it also a category of art criticism? A central contention of this paper will be that art history cannot be separated from art criticism in the Lives. To address these questions it is necessary to take a closer look at Vasari’s biographical stance. After investigating the nature of Vasari’s biography in the first part, this paper will return to the concept of rinascita and relate it to how Vasari deals with the Middle Ages. The Life of Art For Vasari’s Lives to be a history of art, he had to write the lives of artists, not of men. This can help us to understand how the biography of each individual artist relates to the historiographical framework of the whole. Birth and death are the crucial points where life and history meet.7 To give just one very simple example, Vasari almost never rehearses the family history of the artists. The genealogy and descent which was of proven interest to artists themselves was replaced by a genealogy of influence for each artist.8 Fathers, mothers and uncles are only

See the excellent article by Philip Sohm, ‘Caravaggio’s Deaths’, Art Bulletin 84 (2002): 449–68. 8 Laura Riccò Soprani, Vasari scrittore: la prima edizione del libro delle ‘Vite’ (Rome, 1979); Paul Barolsky, Giotto’s Father and the Family of Vasari’s Lives (University Park, 1992). 7

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mentioned briefly. The life he wants to tell is the life which pertains to art. The period of a man’s life before he became an artist is not worth telling and is not considered part of the story. In this regard, the Life of Brunelleschi is an exception. Filippo Brunelleschi came from a major Florentine family and was therefore in a perfect position to play a leading role in Florentine society. Vasari wrote a whole paragraph about Brunelleschi’s father, his famous grandfather and the family of his mother.9 Although he explicitly mentioned Brunelleschi’s patrician descent, Filippo’s life as an artist begins with the contrast between him and his father, who would have liked him to have become a notary. The distress of his father is Brunelleschi’s admission ticket into the realm of art. By contrast, Alberti is never really accepted as an artist in the Lives. Vasari is quite explicit: ‘He was always more inclined to writing than to work, as he was of the most noble blood.’10 Alberti’s patrician descent is seen as one cause of his limited proficiency in building. The same qualities that make Alberti so interesting for us today—his learning, his artistic theory—were rejected by Vasari. He was too much a patrician to be fully accepted into the ranks of art. The life of the artist has to be a life of his own, different not only from ordinary life but also from the lives of noblemen or patricians. Michelangelo can serve as a prominent example. During his lifetime, Michelangelo was eager to assert his pretended descent from the counts of Canossa. This was so important for him that he let Ascanio Condivi include it in his biography, printed in Rome in 1553. By contrast, Vasari mentioned this fabulous descent only in passing. He was not at all interested in stressing this part of Michelangelo’s persona, as—for Vasari—Buonarroti was the artist par excellence. To be part of the life of art the artist has to live for art. To understand the relationship between the life of the artists and the life of art better, the first step should be to define the meaning of the word ‘life’ in the Lives. The word vita is used with different connotations: sua vita, finì la vita, questa vita always denote the earthly life, while miglior vita, passò ad altra vita stands for the after-life. A life can be perfect, quiet, good, most happy, solitary and saintly. Works Giorgio Vasari, Le vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori e architettori nelle redazioni del 1550 e 1568, ed. Rosanna Bettarini and Paola Barocchi (Florence, 1966– 1987), vol. 3, 139–40. 10 G. Vasari, Le vite, vol. 3, 288–9. 9

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can have a long life or a short life in respect to the durability of their material or technique. Life in the Vite is also used in a metaphorical way, to distinguish between the life of men and the life of artists.11 Benedetto da Rovenzano was included in the first edition of the Lives as the only living artist besides Michelangelo. This extraordinary favour granted to the artist is explained in the short introductory eulogy. In 1550, Bendetto had already lost his sight and so he was ‘dead for art and living for life’.12 Here we may observe a distinction between two types of life: the life of the man and the life of the artist. As Benedetto was blind he could no longer contribute to the life of art. He was dead to art and living for life. The same idea is expressed in the life of Sebastiano del Piombo. Sebastiano is accused of becoming idle and lazy after being elected to an important papal office. Vasari bluntly stated that Sebastiano ‘appreciated life more than art’.13 In this case, the two types of life exclude each other: ‘His death was no loss for art. From the moment that he was awarded the office of frate del Piombo he could be counted amongst the lost.’14 In respect to art, Sebastiano was already dead before he died. The life of Sebastiano del Piombo can help us to refine our categories. Vasari goes on to state that too much earthly recognition can lead to idleness in some artists. He adds that this not true of those who ‘strive more after the honour of works than the comforts and amenities of an Epicurean life’.15 In this instance, Vasari is clearly informed by an ideal of the virtuous life that can be traced back to Cicero.16 The harmonious combination of vita activa and vita contemplativa was also prominently advocated by Cristoforo Landino. The topical critique of Epicurean life is to be found in the Disputationes

For the concept of ‘life’ in biography see the excellent article by Sergei S. Averintsev, ‘From Biography to Hagiography: Some Stable Patterns in the Greek and Latin Tradition of Lives, including Lives of the Saints’, in Mapping Lives. The Uses of Biography, ed. Peter France and William St Clair (Oxford, 2002), 29–37, 20–1, 25. For ‘vita’ in Vasari see Roland Le Mollé, Georges Vasari et le vocabulaire de la critique d’art dans les ‘Vite’ (Grenoble, 1988), 99–154; Frank Fehrenbach, ’Kohäsion und Transgression. Zur Dialektik lebendiger Bilder’, in Animationen/Transgressionen. Das Kunstwerk als Lebewesen, ed. Ulrich Pfisterer and Anja Zimmermann (Berlin, 2005), 1–40. 12 G. Vasari, Le vite, vol. 4, 285. 13 Ibid., vol. 5, 100. 14 Ibid., vol. 5, 102. 15 Ibid., vol. 5, 86. 16 Cicero, Tusculan disputations, 1, 77–81. 11

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Camaldulenses.17 Though Vasari was close friends with members of the Camaldolese Order, there is not enough evidence for a direct connection to Landino’s writings.18 It is noteworthy that Vasari uses the terms ‘vita activa’, ‘vita contemplativa’ and ‘Epicurean life’ with apparent significance, although it is not always easy to ascertain their precise meaning and his sources.19 We will come back to this, but let us first look at some further meanings of life in Vasari. In the life of Berna Sanese, Vasari stresses that, despite his early death, Berna left such an abundance of works that he ‘seems to have lived a very long life’.20 Here the difference between the life of art and the life of men is only hinted at. Although it is quite clear that Berna’s life was long only in respect to art, his lifespan was very short. Internal to art, there is also a hierarchy of the techniques which assure the fame of the artist. In the life of Pollaiuolo, the reason why Pollaiuolo left the art of goldsmithing and turned to painting is that he ‘understood that this art does not give much life to their artisans.’21 Besides this, there are some interesting remarks about artists that are not fully accounted for in the Lives. Some artists have not achieved so much that ‘their whole life can be written’, but they have nonetheless contributed with some works to art.22 In the first edition, Vasari explains why he did not write the lives of some Lombard painters. Although he is well Cristoforo Landino, Disputationes Camaldulenses, ed. Peter Lohe (Firenze, 1980), 13–14. 18 For Vasari and the Camaldulese Order see Giorgio Vasari, Principi, letterati e artisti nelle carte di Giorgio Vasari, exh. cat. Arezzo 1981 (Florence, 1981), 50–4 (Anna Maria Maetzke). 19 See the excellent overview by Paul Oskar Kristeller, ‘The Active and Contemplative Life in the Renaissance’, in Arbeit, Musse, Meditation, ed. Brian Vickers (Zürich, 1985), 133–53. In this context, the figure of Giovanni Francesco Zeffi is of some interest. He was secretary to Lorenzino de’ Medici until 1537, commented on Cicero’s ‘Tusculan Disputations’, and translated the Epistles of Saint Jerome in the Badia Fiorentina. See Giorgio Vasari, Principi, letterati e artisti nelle carte di Giorgio Vasari, 79–80 (Anna Maria Bracciante). Furthermore, it has still to be assessed how Vasari’s concept of virtue is related to Renaissance Anthropology. See Charles Trinkaus, ‘Themes for a Renaissance Anthropology’, in The Renaissance. Essays in Interpretation (London, 1982), 83–125; Thomas Leinkauf, ‘Selbstrealisierung. Anthropologische Konstanten in der Frühen Neuzeit’, Bochumer Philosophisches Jahrbuch für Antike und Mittelalter 10 (2005): 129–61. See, for example, the Stoic conception of virtue as an ‘ars vivendi’: Maximilian Forschner, Die stoische Ethik (Stuttgart 1981), 206–7. 20 G. Vasari, Le vite, vol. 2, 253. A ‘Barna’ was already recorded by Lorenzo Ghiberti, but could not be documented. Today, ‘Berna’ is considered a name under which different artists’ work are discussed. One of which is to be identified with Lippo Memmi. 21 G. Vasari, Le vite, vol. 3, 502. 22 Ibid., 625. 17

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informed about their lives, he explains that it not worthwhile to write them: ‘I will not write the lives of those who are not dead or those who have not substantially contributed to and honoured the arts.’23 While they may have produced many works and may have reached a certain age, their œuvre cannot be considered as accomplished. Neither have their lives been concluded by their deaths, nor have their œuvres reached the high degree of perfection necessary to be included in the Lives. If you are still alive, then your œuvre is not accomplished. Death, therefore, not only ends life. It crowns a life-long work. It has already been mentioned that Vasari’s biography is informed by a Ciceronian view of the virtuous life. A balance between the active and the contemplative life is advocated throughout the work. Baccio da Montelupo is censured for living more like a philosopher than like a sculptor.24 This argument implies that Baccio had not lived up to the duties of an active life. The same criticism is levelled against Rustici who ‘wanted always to stay alone living almost like a philosopher’.25 It would be possible to quote many other examples of such censure. Vasari’s criticism is always directed against solitary work which does not lead to major commissions. This is true for his critique of the late Parmigianino as well as for his censure of Leonardo. This charge can also be levelled against Andrea del Sarto, the ‘pittore senza errori’.26 His lack of boldness and ambition is remarked upon by Vasari, who asserts that he had ‘no daring in the deeds of life’.27 Too much boldness at the expense of the side of contemplative life is discerned in the life of Andrea del Castagno. Castagno went so far that he was willing ‘to take someone’s life’ if he was not able to outdo his works.28 It may be said that Vasari was not only a judge of style as far as it is visible in a work of art; he was also a judge of the lifestyle that, in one highly significant instance, is expressly called the ‘maniera di vita’.29 This is shown with almost explicit clarity in the life of Fra Giovan Angelo Montorsoli. Here, Montorsoli peregrinates from the Calmaldolensians

23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Ibid., 625. Ibid., vol. 4, 296. Ibid., vol. 5, 476. Ibid., vol. 4, 342. Ibid., vol. 4, 397. Ibid., vol. 3, 351. Ibid., vol. 5, 111.

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to the Franciscans in La Vernia in search of a religious order and a way of life in which he can ‘attend to disegno and to salvation’.30 This ideal of the virtuous life as a balance of the active and the contemplative lives is set apart from those lifestyles that, for Vasari, are simply unbalanced and, therefore, utterly condemnable. A certain Bartolomeo Torri from Arezzo not only exaggerated his research into anatomy, but also thought that ‘to be some sort of a philosopher, dirty and without a rule in life would be a way to become great and immortal’.31 Here, what could have been a contemplative life seems to have gone out of control and can no longer be described as a virtuous life in Vasari’s terms. There are several artists who are criticised for living ‘a life like a man who was more a brute than a human’.32 A whole company of Florentine artists is censured for ‘pretending to live like philosophers while they lived like pigs and animals’.33 Here, an ideal of life close to that of the Cynics is strongly rebuked. This overview of the meanings of ‘life’ in Vasari’s art history should have revealed that ‘vita’ is by no means a neutral category in the Lives. To this should be added that life and art are interrelated categories in the early-modern artist’s biography. A certain ideal of life has consequences for the concept of art. Furthermore, as history is understood in the Lives as ‘life’, it can only have serious consequences for the historiographical stance of the whole work. The Lives as History As Waźbiński and Barocchi have pointed out, the first edition of the Lives is close to Paolo Giovio’s understanding of biography.34 HumanIbid., 492. Ibid., 186. 32 Ibid., vol. 4, 61. 33 Ibid., vol. 5, 404. 34 See above, note 2. On biography, see also Friedrich Leo, Die Griechisch-Römische Biographie nach ihrer literarischen Form (Leipzig, 1901); Arnaldo Momigliano, The Development of Greek Biography (Cambridge MA, 1993); Patricia Cox, Biography in Late Antiquity. A Quest for the Holy Man (Berkeley, 1983); Daniel Madelénat, La biographie (Paris, 1984); Walter Berschin, ed., Biographie zwischen Renaissance und Barock (Heidelberg, 1993); Thomas Hägg and Philip Rousseau, eds., Greek Biography and Panegyric in Late Antiquity (Berkeley, 2000); Thomas Schirren, Philosophos Bios. Die antike Philosophenbiographie als symbolische Form. Studien zur ‘Vita Apolonii’ des Philostrat (Heidelberg, 2005). For the notion of ‘history’ in the early-modern period, see the recent re-assessements by Gianna Pomata and Nancy G. Siraisi, ‘Introduction’, 30 31

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ists like Giovio saw biography as part of history, although they also drew a distinction between biography and encomium.35 In contrast to Plutarch—for whom histories were unlike lives—the humanists developed their own idea of biography. The emphasis on character likened the biographer to the portrait painter and became the key to the understanding of both life and works.36 In his dedicatory letter to Cosimo I, Vasari explicitly mentions that he wrote the Lives with the ‘pencil of a draftsman’.37 This biographical stance was combined with the ambitious historiographical scheme of the three epochs. As suggested by Erwin Panofsky, the idea of the birth, youth and maturity of art was modelled after Lucius Annaeus Florus’ De gestis romanorum, which appeared in an Italian translation in 1546.38 Accordingly, the whole work can be understood as a ‘biography of art’. In Antiquity, it was quite common to use this approach for encomia of cities.39 Therefore, the history of art and the lives of the artists followed the same model. This mingling of history and biography severely limited the ability to sustain a consistent historical outlook in the Lives. This can be inferred from a prominent example. Michelangelo’s Last Judgement stands at the end of the first edition of the Lives. In Vasari’s narrative it is also conceived of as a judgment of art. Before the conclusion of the work, the thought arises: how will paintings of the past and the future stand up to this comparison?40 The judgment of the historian is blended with the topical ecphrasis of the work. Here, art history and the artist’s biography are one: they can not be separated easily.

in Historia. Empiricism and Erudition in Early Modern Europe, ed. Gianna Pomata and Nancy Siraisi (Cambridge, Mass., 2005), 1–38 and Anthony Grafton, What was history? The art of history in early modern Europe (Cambridge, 2007). 35 T. C. Price Zimmermann, ‘Paolo Giovio and the Rhetoric of Individuality’, in The Rhetorics of Life-Writing in Early Modern Europe. Forms of Biography from Cassandra Fedele to Louis XIV, ed. Thomas F. Meyer and D. R. Wolf (Ann Arbor, 1995), 39–62, 40–1. 36 For biographer and portrayer in Giovio, see his letter to Girolamo Scannapeco in Paolo Giovio, Scritti d’arte. Lessico ed ecfrasi, ed. Sonia Maffei (Pisa, 1999), 336–40. 37 G. Vasari, Le vite, vol. 1, 3. 38 Erwin Panofsky, ‘The First Page of Vasari’s ‘Libro’: A Study on the Gothic Style in the Judgment of the Italian Renaissance’, in Meaning in the Visual Arts (Garden City, 1955), 169–235. 39 Laurent Pernot, La Rhétorique de l’Èloge dans le Monde Gréco-Romain (Paris, 1993), vol. 1, 191–202. This approach was also advocated by Francesco Patrizi: see Francesco Patrizi, Della historia dieci dialoghi, in Venetia: Appresso Andrea Arrivabene (1560), fol. 24r. 40 G. Vasari, Le vite, vol. 4, 75.

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In the second edition, this mix of biography and history was revised. Vincenzio Borghini, who advised Vasari on the second edition, criticised him for failing to acknowledge the rules of biography: The aim of your work is not to write the lives of painters, nor to say whose sons they were or what ordinary deeds they accomplished, but only [to describe] the works of the painters, sculptors and architects; . . . Writing lives is the privilege of princes and men who have accomplished princely deeds . . .41

As Waźbiński has already noted, this argument accorded with the rules that Francesco Patrizi had set out in Della historia.42 Borghini criticised the suggestion that the ideal of the harmonious combination of the active and the contemplative lives should be applied to artists. In describing their works and leaving aside their ‘ordinary deeds’, Borghini wanted to establish art as part of the contemplative life. This would have made writing a history of art much easier. It would have eliminated the conflicts between the life of art and the lives of artists. This goal was only partly achieved in the second edition. Rinascita and History It has frequently been argued that one of the characteristic traits of Vasari’s historical model is the idea of progress.43 The idea of progress

Karl Frey and Hermann-Walther Frey, Der literarische Nachlaß Giorgio Vasaris (Munich, 1930), vol. 2, 102. See Julian Kliemann, ‘Giorgio Vasari: Kunstgeschichtliche Perspektiven’, in Kunst und Kunsttheorie 1400–1900, ed. Peter Ganz (Wiesbaden, 1991), 29–74, 57; Joan Stack, ‘Artists into heroes: the commemoration of artists in the art of Giorgio Vasari’, in Fashioning identities in Renaissance art, ed. Mary Rogers (Aldershot, 2000), 163–175; Peter Michelsen, ‘Der Künstler als Held und Charakter: über die biographische Darstellungsweise in den “Vite” des Giorgio Vasari’, Archiv für Kulturgeschichte 84 (2002): 293–312. 42 Z. Waźbiński, ‘L’idée de l’histoire dans la première et la seconde édition des ‘Vies’ de Vasari,’ 43 Wolfgang Kallab, Vasaristudien, ed. Julius von Schlosser (Vienna, 1908); Julius von Schlosser, Die Kunstliteratur: ein Handbuch zur Quellenkunde der neueren Kunstgeschichte (Vienna, 1924); Erwin Panofksy ‘The First Page of Vasari’s “Libro”’; Svetlana Alpers, ‘Ekphrasis and Aesthetic Attitudes in Vasari’s “Lives” ’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 23 (1960): 190–215; Ernst H. Gombrich, ‘Vasari’s “Lives” and Cicero’s “Brutus” ’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 23 (1960): 309–11; Gombrich, ‘The Renaissance Conception of Artistic Progress and its Consequences’, in his Norm and Form. Studies in the art of Renaissance (London, 1966), 1–10 and 137–40; Hans Belting, ‘Vasari und die Folgen. Die Geschichte der Kunst als Prozess?’, in Historische Prozesse, ed. Karl-Georg Faber (Munich, 1978), 41

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underpins the cumulative growth of artistic achievement and points towards the third era, the era of perfection. Gombrich suggested that this schema of linguistic perfection was adapted from Cicero’s Brutus.44 Without doubt, this is one of the lasting accomplishments of the Lives as historical narrative. What has attracted less attention is that the idea of progress and the concept of rinascita are closely linked. In a key passage, Vasari speaks of the ‘progresso della sua rinascita’.45 At first sight, this may seem strange and it is indeed striking how cyclical and linear models of history were combined. What is more, the concept of rinascita is linked to the idea of an universal origin of culture. In the Proemio delle vite, it is said that art as a principle was perfect from the beginnings of time.46 As evidence for the fact that, in principle, art is an innate ability of man, Vasari adduces the example of children who grew up in the wilderness without teachers. Stimulated by their talent, they begin to draw on their own, following only ‘these beautiful paintings and sculptures of nature’.47 Vasari’s historical model therefore operates with two interrelated concepts of art: art as principle (disegno)—which is invariable—and art in the form of styles (maniere) which are variable. Whereas art

98–126; Ursula Link-Heer, ‘Giorgio Vasari oder der Übergang von einer BiographieSammlung zur Geschichte einer Epoche’, in Epochenschwellen und Epochenstrukturen im Diskurs der Literatur- und Sprachhistorie, ed. Hans-Ulrich Gumbrecht and Ursula Link-Heer (Frankfurt am Main, 1985), 73–88; Robert Williams, ‘Vincenzo Borghini and Vasari’s ‘Lives’’ (Unpublished PhD thesis, Princeton University, 1988); Georges Didi-Huberman, Devant l’image: question posée aux fins d’une histoire de l’art (Paris, 1990); J. Kliemann, ‘Giorgio Vasari: Kunstgeschichtliche Perspektiven’; David Cast, ‘Reading Vasari again: history, philosophy’, Word & Image 9 (1993): 29–38; Patricia Rubin, Giorgio Vasari. Art and History (New Haven, 1995); Paul Barolsky, ‘Vasari and the historical imagination’, Word & Image 15 (1999): 286–91; Philip Sohm, ‘Ordering history with style: Giorgio Vasari on the art of history’, in Antiquity and its interpreters, ed. Alina Payne, Ann Kuttner and Rebekah Smick (Cambridge, 2000), 40–54; Alina Payne, ‘Vasari, architecture, and the origins of historicizing art’, RES 40 (2001): 51–76. 44 See E. Gombrich, ‘Vasari’s “Lives” and Cicero’s “Brutus”’. Carlo Lenzoni used the Brutus for his history of the Florentine language, written in the 1540s. See Carlo Lenzoni, In Difesa della lingua fiorentina; et di Dante con le regole da far bella et numerosa la prosa (Florence, 1556), 20. 45 G. Vasari, Le vite, vol. 2, 32. 46 Ibid., 11–12. Vasari uses Alberti’s Aristotelian theory of a naturalistic origin of art in De statua and combines it with the idea of god as first artist from stoic and platonic thought. See Jean Rouchette, La Renaissance que nous à léguée Vasari (Paris 1959), 21–26; Leon Battista Alberti, De statua, ed. Marco Collareta (Livorno 1998), 31–52. 47 G. Vasari, Le vite, vol. 2, 11–12.

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is invariable, style has a history. This is fairly clear in the case of artists without teachers. Artists like Cimabue or Giotto revolutionised art without previous artistic education. This led Cantimori to say that, for Vasari, ‘art is reborn, not Antiquity that for him has definitively died’.48 This idea of immutable art and variable styles is held in common with members of the Accademia Fiorentina. In this respect, the writings of Giovanni Battista Gelli are revealing. In his writings about the Florentine language, Gelli posits an immutable language—Hebrew—and mutable languages—like Florentine, Greek, Latin and German.49 The Florentine language has a history. But whereas the Florentine language can grow, reach perfection and decline, Hebrew cannot. For Gelli, the Florentine language was derived from Hebrew, so the link between the variable and the invariable is very similar to that in Vasari’s Lives.50 This helps us to understand how Vasari conceives of art as an abstract, immutable principle, and how that is related to his concept of history. In the preface to the second part of the Lives, Vasari distinguished between an absolute judgement—according to which Giotto and Cimabue cannot be praised for their work—and a historical judgement that has to acknowledge and praise their considerable achievement.51 Absolute judgment is appropriate for art, whereas historical judgment is adequate for styles. History and art criticism are therefore two possible and interrelated modes of dealing with art: both are present in the Lives. This can also be said of Vasari’s concept of the Middle Ages. ‘Media aetas’ is a flexible concept in Vasari’s art history. It stands for art from Antiquity to the fifteenth century. It seems clear that this has to be seen much more as a tool of art criticism than as a clear-cut historiographical concept. In his Proemio delle vite, Vasari assembles a wide variety of works under the labels ‘maniera tedesca’ and ‘maniera greca’. These 48 Delio Cantimori, ‘Sulla Storia del Concetto di Rinascimento’, Annali della R. Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa 2 (1932): 1–40, 3. 49 This passage is to be found in the so-called Ragionamento sulla lingua, first published in 1551 with Pier Francesco Giambullari, Della lingua che si parla e scrive in Firenze (Florence, 1551). See Giovanni Battista Gelli, Dialoghi, ed. Roberto Tissoni (Bari, 1967), 289–99. 50 See, for example, his manuscript Dell‘origine di Firenze, c.1541–44. See Giovanni Battista Gelli, ‘Dell’Origine di Firenze’, ed. Alessandro D’Allessandro, Atti e memorie dell’Accademia Toscana di Scienze e Lettere La Colombaria 44 (1979): 59–122, at 119. It has to be stressed, however, that Gelli changed his ideas about the origin of language considerably from 1541 to 1551. 51 G. Vasari, Le vite, vol. 3, 13–14.

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works share no distinguishing stylistic features. Although Vasari’s attempt to write a first sketch of the history of medieval art is remarkable, it is reductive to understand it only as a historiographical achievement. Vasari never refrains from a judgment of quality which in the case of the media aetas can only be negative. This can be inferred from an interesting example. In the second enlarged and revised edition of this preface, Vasari refers to the Storie di Teodelinda in San Giovanni Battista in Monza.52 Asserting that this work was commissioned by the Langobard princess herself, he criticised it harshly. Today, this fresco cycle, painted by Francescino and Gregorio Zavattari, is dated to c.1444.53 It is quite obvious that in this case, Vasari’s judgement is far from being historical as the date can be inferred from a legible inscription. Rather, it must be understood as a criticism of a late medieval courtly style which, as a connoisseur, Vasari could not accept. Therefore, the concept of ‘media aetas’ in Vasari is both a category of art criticism and a historiographical notion. Vasari’s Lives are as much history as they are a form of art criticism. This is due to a biographical approach which encompasses the concept of the Renaissance. The historical narrative is borne by the concept of style, while art is for Vasari an eternal principle without history. Vasari was certainly influenced and helped by the scholars of the Accademia Fiorentina, although it is not easy to separate a historiographical concept from the corpus of the Lives. The relation between the single biography and the overwhelming history of art narrated in three epochs is precisely one of the most noteworthy features of the Lives. In both, history partakes of biography in many ways. Therefore, we can truly grasp the meaning and influence of Vasari’s Renaissance only if we consider the Vite as a whole.

Ibid., vol. 2, 23. Here Vasari’s text is an adaptation of Paul the Deacon, Historia Langobardorum, IV, 22. 53 Roberto Cassanelli and Roberto Conti, eds., La Capella di Teodelinda nel Duomo. Architettura, decorazioni, restauri (Milan, 1991), 145 and 94–8. 52

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THE STATE OF THE ART Rob C. Wegman A Renaissance in Music? In the early 1470s, Johannes Tinctoris, chief musician at the royal court of Naples, published a music treatise entitled Proportionale musices.1 Its contents are not of particular concern here—they are of interest mostly to specialists in fifteenth-century musical notation. But the prologue has deservedly become famous. Within fewer than 400 words of self-consciously humanist prose, Tinctoris managed to sketch nothing less than a universal history of music—reaching back as far as the days of Jubal and Pythagoras, citing some of the better-known Greek authorities, moving on quickly to Jesus Christ (whom Tinctoris hailed as the greatest musician of all time), enumerating the Church Fathers along with some of the more important medieval music theorists, only to arrive at what was transparently his true aim: to report on the state of the art of music in his own time. Now he was no longer in any particular hurry. With undisguised satisfaction, Tinctoris observed that the state of the art was good. In fact, it was astonishingly good. As he put it himself, music seemed to have become a ‘new art’: At this time, consequently, the potential of our [art of ] music has undergone such a marvellous increase that it appears to be a new art, the well-spring of which new art, if I may so call it, is held to be among the English, among whom Dunstable stood forth as the leader. Contemporary with him in France were Dufay and Binchois, to whom directly succeeded those of today, Ockeghem, Busnoys, Regis, and Caron, who are the foremost in composition of all I have heard. Nor can the English, who are popularly said to jubilate while the French sing, bear comparison with them. For the French invent songs in the newest manner for the new times, while the English always use one and the same [manner of ] composition, which is a sign of the poorest talent.2 Published in Johannes Tinctoris, Opera theoretica. Corpus scriptorum de musica 22, ed. Albert Seay, 2 vols. (Rome, 1975–78), 2a. 2 Tinctoris, Opera theoretica, 2a: 10: ‘Quo fit ut hac tempestate facultas nostrae musices tam mirabile susceperit incrementum quod ars nova esse videatur, cuius, ut ita dicam, novae artis fons et origo apud Anglicos quorum caput Dunstaple exstitit, 1

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Five years later, in the prologue to another treatise on music, Tinctoris’s enthusiasm does not seem to have diminished. On the contrary, so astonishing were the recent breakthroughs in the art of music that compositions older than forty years were scarcely even worth hearing anymore—at least in the opinion of those who had expert ears. This is how he put it, in the Prologue of his Liber de arte contrapuncti of 1477: And if it be permitted to report on things seen and heard, I have held in my hands at one time or another several ancient songs of unknown authorship that are called apocrypha, which are so foolishly, so stupidly composed that they much sooner offended the ears than pleased them. Nor (what cannot astonish me enough) does there exist anything that was composed more than forty years ago which is deemed, by those who are trained, to be worthy of the hearing.3

Musicologists have been very happy with these two commentaries. They seem to testify to a new period in the history of music, the precise beginning of which can be dated to the 1430s: that is, 1470s minus forty years. This makes it irresistibly close to the apparent beginning of another new age, in literature and the visual arts, known to us all as the Renaissance. For this reason, Tinctoris has become a crown witness for what music history textbooks, to this day, refer to as the Renaissance in music. Still, it has remained a matter of debate—considerable debate, in fact—how firmly his comments actually support this. Do Tinctoris’s words testify unambiguously to a Renaissance in music? Or is the idea of a Renaissance something we have to read into them? Has the idea perhaps served as a kind of interpretive lens, through which his words have seemed to take on that significance? As always, when

fuisse perhibetur, et huic contemporanei fuerunt in Gallia Dufay et Binchois, quibus immediate successerunt moderni Okeghem, Busnois, Regis et Caron, omnium quos audiverim in compositione praestantissimi. Haec eis Anglici nunc, licet vulgariter iubilare, Gallici vero cantare dicantur, veniunt conferendi, illi etenim in dies novos cantus novissimae inveniunt, ac isti, quod miserrimi signum est ingenii, una semper et eadem compositione utuntur.’ trans. after Rob C. Wegman, ‘Johannes Tinctoris and the “New Art’’ ’, Music & Letters 84 (2003): 171–88, at 181–2, where this text is discussed in more detail. 3 Tinctoris, Opera theoretica, vol. 2, 12: ‘Et si visa auditaque referre liceat nonnulla vetusta carmina ignotae auctoritatis quae apocrypha dicuntur in manibus aliquando habui, adeo inepte, adeo insulse composita ut multo potius aures offendebant quam delectabant. Neque quod satis admirari nequeo quippiam compositum nisi citra annos quadraginta extat quod auditu dignum ab eruditis existimetur.’ trans. and further discussion in R. C. Wegman, ‘Johannes Tinctoris and the “New Art’’ ’, 173–4.

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relatively brief texts are excerpted out of context and made to bear disproportionate historical weight, they may not stand close scrutiny. In recent years, scholars like Ronald Woodley, Reinhard Strohm, and myself, have scrutinised Tinctoris’s comments from a variety of different angles.4 Perhaps not surprisingly, there is no complete agreement even among ourselves as to precisely what the comments can be taken to mean. This is not the place to address all the aspects of this ongoing debate, but two critical issues are nevertheless worth pointing out. First of all, it has proved exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to pinpoint the exact stylistic changes that Tinctoris must be referring to.5 In a way that is surprising, for those changes should not be all that hard to detect. If music older than forty years was scarcely worth hearing by the 1470s, then the difference must be fairly obvious to the ear. To be sure, there has been some agreement among musicologists as to what the changes may have amounted to, and this tentative consensus may be illustrated with two musical examples. In the context of this printed version, I can unfortunately only supply scores, but recordings of the two pieces in question are readily available, and since the issue here is to do with hearing, the ideal comparison would be between the recordings rather than the scores. The first musical example dates from around 1470, the time when Tinctoris was writing his first treatise. This is the Credo of Johannes Ockeghem’s Missa Ecce ancilla Domini (Fig. 1). The second example dates from the 1420s, some forty-five to fifty years previously, and thus presumably not worth hearing by the 1470s. This is a Credo by Guillaume Dufay, written at a time when he had not yet been exposed to the music of John Dunstable and other English composers (Fig. 2). What is the difference between these two examples? A few things are immediately noticeable. The piece from the 1420s has a much faster tempo, in fact it moves in an almost dance-like triple rhythm

Ronald Woodley, ‘Renaissance Music Theory as Literature: On Reading the Proportionale Musices of Iohannes Tinctoris’, Renaissance Studies 1 (1987): 209–20; Reinhard Strohm, ‘Music, Humanism, and the Idea of a “Rebirth” of the Arts’, in Music as Concept and Practice in the Late Middle Ages, ed. Reinhard Strohm and Bonnie J. Blackburn, New Oxford History of Music, vol. 3.i. (Oxford, 2001), 346–405; R. C. Wegman, ‘Johannes Tinctoris and the “New Art” ’. See also Jessie Ann Owens, ‘Music Historiography and the Definition of “Renaissance’’ ’, Notes 47 (1990): 305–30. 5 This, for example, is the outcome of Philip R. Kaye’s exhaustive study The “Contenance angloise” in Perspective: A Study of Consonance and Dissonance in Continental Music, C. 1380–1440 (New York, 1989). 4

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1. Johannes Ockeghem, Missa Ecce ancilla Domini (c.1470), Credo, bars 34–49. After Johannes Ockeghem, Collected Works, ed. Dragan Plamenac, 3 vols., (Philadelphia, 1947–92), 1:88. No ficta has been provided.

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2. Guillaume Dufay, excerpt from Credo (1420s). After Guillaume Dufay, Opera omnia, ed. Heinrich Besseler, 7 vols., Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae 1 (Rome, 1947–49), 4:35–6. Asterisks indicate dissonances. No ficta has been provided.

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that is typical of music composed in the decades around 1400. The example from around 1470, on the other hand, has such a slow pace that one can barely hear the underlying pulse at all, let alone distinguish between duple or triple rhythm.6 Why is this difference in tempo important? It has to do with consonance and dissonance. In music that moves fast, dissonant clashes between voices are so brief and fleeting that there is no need to avoid them fastidiously. By later standards, in fact, the piece from the 1420 is generously, almost recklessly, seasoned with dissonant spice (marked by the asterisks in Fig. 2). In music that moves at a much slower pace, on the other hand, those same dissonances would be much more prolonged, and as a consequence they would end up sounding quite awkward. In the example from around 1470, therefore, dissonance is either avoided at all costs, or at least handled with great care. The question, of course, is whether this difference is so dramatic that we can use it to define a whole new age in the history of music; and, if we can, whether that definition is consistent with the spirit of the Renaissance in art and literature, however we may choose to define that. To judge from my own experiences in the undergraduate classroom, it takes a while for students to hear the difference, and even longer to appreciate what might have been its significance for contemporary musicians. Yet this brings us to the second point. Tinctoris says that the difference between worth hearing and not worth hearing, between older than forty years and more recently composed, was perceived by those who had expert ears (aures eruditae).7 In other words, not everybody could hear it. This proves that the change was not just a matter of composition, something that we can demonstrate objectively in a score alone. It was also a matter of listening, of listening in a new way. Maybe ways of listening changed along with ways of composing. Perhaps expert listeners became so acutely sensitive to dissonance that

The fundamental difference here is to do with what the German musicologist Heinrich Besseler once described as ‘der neue Stromrhythmus,’ literally, ‘the new flowrhythm.’ cf. Heinrich Besseler, Bourdon und Fauxbourdon: Studien zum Ursprung der niederländischen Musik (Leipzig, 1950, repr. 1974). 7 For the significance of the concept of eruditio in Tinctoris’s Liber de arte contrapuncti, see R. C. Wegman, ‘Tinctoris and the “New Art’’ ’, and Wegman, ‘Johannes Tinctoris and the Art of Listening’, in Studies on Renaissance Music, ed. Pieter Bergé and Marc Delaere (Leuven, forthcoming). 6

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an older piece would have sounded intolerably discordant to them, or, as Tinctoris put it, stupidly and ineptly composed. Obviously, once we start talking about ways of listening, one opens a whole new can of worms. Just as art historians like Michael Baxendall have addressed the historicity of seeing—the period eye—and literary historians the history of reading, musicologists have been greatly occupied with the history of listening—the period ear.8 But perhaps the issue need not be so complicated after all. Figures 1 and 2 have one thing in common: they both observe the rules of counterpoint. Counterpoint had originated as one of many polyphonic musical languages in the thirteenth century, but in the course of the fourteenth it became the world language in music—so much so that by the fifteenth century ‘music’ and ‘counterpoint’ were all but synonymous. So whatever happened in the 1430s, it cannot have been a fundamental change, since the basic language of music—counterpoint—remained the same. Certainly Tinctoris was exaggerating when he said that music seemed to have become a ‘new art.’ The only thing that could have changed was the handling of counterpoint, not the rules of counterpoint itself. This suggests that the change was really one of musical fashion, of musical taste, and the emphasis on listening seems to confirm that. So this is what the problem comes down to. When we read Tinctoris’s comments through a Renaissance lens, they seem to testify compellingly to a new age in music history. But when we try to translate those same comments into tangible musical terms, it is hard to be sure if we are dealing with anything more than a new musical fashion. So the obvious question is: why should we apply a Renaissance lens at all? In using it, are we doing interpretive violence to this text? How would Tinctoris’s words have impressed us if we had not applied that lens? As it happens, there are other texts from the late Middle Ages that seem to testify to dramatic changes in the art of music. Yet these have attracted much less attention from musicologists, largely, I think, because there was no ready-made lens with which to magnify their perceived historical significance. Here is an example from a text known as the Limburg Chronicle, written in the second half of the fourteenth century. Its author is Tilemann Elhen von Wolfhagen, town secretary

8 See, for example, the special issues ‘Music as Heard’, Musical Quarterly 82 (1998): 427–691, and ‘Listening Practice’, Early Music 25 (1997): 591–714.

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of the city of Limburg on the Lahn, in Western Germany. In the year 1360, Wolfhagen includes an entry that reads as follows: Item, in this same year the styles and poems changed in German songs. Up to now songs had been sung long, with five or six measures, and the masters are [currently] making new songs with three measures. Things changed also with regard to trumpet and shawm playing, and music progressed, and had never been as good as it has now become. For he who was known, five or six years ago, as a good shawm player throughout the whole country, is not worth a fly now.9

If one wanted to define a historical period called ‘post-plague Europe’, which in music history would actually make a lot of sense, then this might have been a very welcome document indeed, coming a mere twelve years after the first outbreak of the Black Death. As things stand, however, we really don’t know what to do with this text—except to suppose that it must be something to do with performance practice, or with unwritten traditions of music making. Had the entry been dated seventy years later, then the Renaissance lens would have turned it into another key text for the history of music. But now, as far as musicology is concerned, Wolfhagen is, and remains, an obscure German chronicler. The Renaissance lens is not only arbitrary, however; it is also onedimensional. It allows us to perceive only one question: was there a musical Renaissance or not? Yet authors like Tinctoris or the Limburg Chronicler did not comment on the state of the art in order to supply us with the evidence we need to break music history up into manageable chunks. They had their own agendas, and unless we find out what they were, we may well become the prisoners of our prima facie readings. Here is an example of a fifteenth-century writer whose agenda is relatively straightforward to establish, since he—or rather, a literary

Tilemann Elhen von Wolfhagen, Die Limburger Chronik des Tilemann Elhen von Wolfhagen, ed. Gottfried Zedler (Limburg a.d. Lahn, 1930), 36: ‘Item in disem selben jare vurwandelten sich dictamina unde gedichte in Duschen lidern. Want man bit her lider lange gesongen hat mit funf oder ses gesetzen, da machent dy meister nu lider mit dren gesetzen. Auch hat ez sich also vurwandelt mit den pyffen unde pyffenspel unde hat uffgestegen in der museken, unde ny also gut waren bit her, als nu in ist anegegangen. Dan wer vur fund oder ses jaren eyn gut pyffer was geheißen in dem ganzen lande, der endauc itzunt nit eyne flyge.’ More on this text from c.1400 and its historical significance in Rob C. Wegman, ‘The Minstrel School in the Late Middle Ages’, Historic Brass Society Journal 14 (2002): 11–30. 9

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character he created—comments on music in the context of a much longer argument. The author is the second crown witness for a musical Renaissance, the French poet Martin le Franc, and the excerpt comes from his massive poem in five books entitled Le champion des dames, written in the early 1440s. It has become famous because it seems to tie in wonderfully with the remarks by Tinctoris: Not long ago, Tapissier, Carmen, and Cesaris sang so well that they astonished all Paris, and all those who came to visit them. But never did they sing discant of such exquisite euphony (as those who were with them have told me) as Guillaume Dufay and Binchois. For they have a new practice of making bright consonance, in music loud and soft, in fainte, in pause, and in muance. And they have taken on the English manner, and have followed Dunstable, wherefore a marvellous delight renders their singing joyous and distinguished.10

This is a text whose meaning may seem transparent when we read it through a Renaissance lens, but takes on quite a different meaning when we allow it to speak to us on other terms. If we do the latter, it quickly turns out that Le Franc’s agenda is not just inconsistent with the idea of a Renaissance in music, but flatly contradicts it. For the allegorical character who is speaking here, Franc Vouloir, cites music, along with warfare, tapestry, and manuscript illumination,

Martin Le Franc, Le champion des dames (c.1441–3), vv. 16,257–16,272: ‘Tapissier, Carmen, Cesaris N’a pas long temps si bien chanterent Qu’ilz esbahirent tout Paris 16,260 Et tous ceulx qui les frequenterent. Mais onques jour ne deschanterent En melodie de tel chois, Ce m’ont dit ceulx qui les hanterent, Que Guillaume du Fay et Binchois.

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Car ilz ont nouvelle pratique De faire frisque concordance En haulte et en basse musique, En fainte, en pause, et en muance. Et ont prins de la contenance 16,270 Angloise et ensuÿ Dunstable, Pour quoy merveilleuse plaisance Rend leur chant joyeux et notable.’ Le Franc, Le champion des dames, ed. Robert Deschaux, 5 vols. (Paris, 1999), vol. 4, 67–9. Trans. after Rob C. Wegman, ‘New Music for a World Grown Old: Martin Le Franc and the “Contenance angloise’’ ’, Acta musicologica 75 (2003): 201–41, at 240–1, where the text is analysed at more length.

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as examples to demonstrate that the end of time must be near. No rebirth, no new lease on culture. The point about these and other arts is that they have been brought to such a level of perfection, have come so close to the realisation of their inherent potential, that it is impossible to see much, if any, scope for future development. Nature and art have all but completed their predestined course. This, along with several other arguments, suggests that human history is about to reach the fullness of time. This argument, this agenda, must certainly colour Martin le Franc’s commentary. After all, if music cannot be claimed to have made truly marvellous advances, it would follow that the end of time was still some way off, and hence that we could all breathe a bit more easily. Given the nature of his argument, then, Le Franc was bound to exaggerate. So it is natural to wonder: what was Tinctoris’s agenda, and what was the agenda of our German chronicler, Wolfhagen? Why should a writer wish to report on the state of the art, and why should he want to view recent developments from an historical perspective? In our own time, we may sometimes feel that our fields have witnessed dramatic advances. But what sort of agenda could bring us to say, for example, that articles and books older than forty years are scarcely worth reading? I can think of only one remotely plausible context, and that is the ‘grant proposal’. You do not win over potentially hostile referees unless you paint a truly upbeat picture of the current state of scholarship. Introductions to monographs are another good example. You do not win over potentially indifferent readers unless you present your particular topic as one of the most exciting new areas in scholarship. There appears to be a common thread running through all of this. Two musical excerpts, played in direct succession, cannot tell us the whole story, because the difference may depend crucially on how we hear them. Two textual excerpts, read in direct juxtaposition, cannot tell us the whole story, because their meaning depends critically on the particular lens through which we choose to read them. This is one reason why Tinctoris’s comments have invited so much debate. Yet, if such qualifications are to be made, how are we ever going to have a musical Renaissance? Can we even say that there was one? The concept of the Renaissance is a borrowing from art history, and, if the truth be told, it fits the history of music only very awkwardly. As musicologists are only too well aware, there could have been no rebirth of the music of Antiquity, no attempt to revive it, since nobody in the fourteenth or fifteenth centuries had any idea of what it had sounded

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like. It is true that a conscious attempt to fashion music after ancient ideals was to be made much later, around 1600, with the invention of monody. But this is not because people then had any clearer idea of what ancient music had sounded like. It is just that they, unlike musicians of the early fifteenth century, felt an acute sense of loss whenever they read ancient Greek descriptions of the power of music, a sense that the music of their own time had fallen far short of this ideal, and urgently needed to be restored. Those same descriptions had been known throughout the Middle Ages, without ever provoking a similar sense of loss. People valued and appreciated their own music; why else, indeed, would they want to listen to it? When a performance evoked vehement responses in the listener, this only seemed to bear out ancient reports of music’s power to move the affections. There was thus a sense of continuity with the past: music was music, after all, and what the ancients had said about the art applied equally well to the present. Without a sense of loss, without a perceived rupture in that continuity, it is difficult to formulate the need for a rebirth, and no fifteenth-century writer ever spoke of music in such terms. Why then do modern scholars identify a period in music history called the Renaissance? They do this by longstanding tradition, going back to the late nineteenth century. After the appearance of Burckhardt’s Kultur der Renaissance in Italien, in 1860, it was simply inconceivable that the art of music should not have partaken in this momentous cultural transformation—even though it was hard to be sure when, exactly, it had started to do so. At first, proposals ranged from the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries, but music historians finally settled on the 1430s, which has remained the accepted starting date to the present day.11 It all seems pretty arbitrary. Panofsky’s Renaissance As musicologists we have learned to live with these problems. We use the word ‘Renaissance’ as a necessary evil in our undergraduate classrooms and survey course textbooks, but otherwise we avoid it. Tacitly we assume that the problems must be peculiar to music history alone. 11 See esp. Andrew Kirkman, ‘The Invention of the Cyclic Mass’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 54 (2001): 1–47.

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At least, we tend to think, art history and literary history can make a plausible claim for a Renaissance. It is not until one turns to a book like Erwin Panofsky’s Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art, that it emerges that we are not, in fact, alone: other disciplines are coping with the very same problems. This is not because Panofsky successfully tackled those problems, or even identified and discussed them, but because his study is symptomatic of them. When I first read Panofsky’s book as an undergraduate, some twenty-five years ago, I looked upon the author as one of those giants who roamed the earth in those days, and was awed by the breathtaking erudition and the sense of confident authority to which a scholar of his stature was entitled. But when I reread the book for the conference from which this volume has sprung, my response was quite different. As I followed the thread of Panofsky’s argument, I began to feel vaguely troubled by some of his statements, and this sense of unease soon turned into irritation, and in the end, downright annoyance. What was the problem? As is well known, Panofsky set out to answer two central questions in his book. First, was the Italian Renaissance real, did it really happen? Second, was it fundamentally different from previous historical episodes that might also be called Renaissances? To both these questions his answer was a firm yes. Now to make a similar case in musicology, to arrive at the same answers to these two questions, would obviously be an impossible task, for the reasons I have outlined in the first part of this paper. Yet it is evident throughout Panofsky’s book that the task was not all that much easier for him. In fact, given the problems that haunt his enquiry I can only wonder why he undertook it in the first place. Why these two questions? What was so important about them in particular? Had someone else perhaps raised them, but concluded the opposite? From Panofsky’s own study it is hard to tell. One of its frustrating features is the author’s persistent refusal to mention any scholar by name in the main text: they are all reduced to the relative invisibility of the footnotes—the small print. Another of its frustrating features is Panofsky’s reluctance to represent authors by anything more than brief quotations, one-liners taken out of context. Typically he will write, for example, ‘it has been stated,’ ‘we read,’ or ‘there are those who hold,’ and then follows a sentence, or part of a sentence which he will proceed to comment on, usually disapprovingly. One must go to the footnotes to find out who actually said what. Not that the

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reader is encouraged to consult the original publications. For the sentences quoted by Panofsky are typically made to look so incautious, so overstated, and so ill-considered as to discredit the poor authors who wrote them. All this is bound to leave the reader with one overriding impression: that when Panofsky embarked on his enquiry, the issue of the Renaissance was drowning in a cacophony of conflicting and confused views. Mindless historians had left the field in an intolerable state of chaos, into which he was forced to intervene. Firmly distancing himself from those other historians, he embarked on an enquiry of his own, on his terms, to settle the matter once and for all. It is when one actually follows up the bibliographical references, reads the articles and studies the arguments that this impression turns out to be quite deceptive. These were, in fact, responsible historians, experts in their fields, who had made excellent points that deserved to be represented fairly in Panofsky’s study. Who were they? They were the medievalists who had questioned the concept of the Renaissance in what has become known as the ‘Revolt of the Medievalists’.12 If Panofsky singled out any one of them as the ringleader, it was undoubtedly Lynn Thorndike, author of the massive eight-volume History of Magic and Experimental Science. Thorndike is the one scholar whose admittedly scathing article on the Renaissance, entitled ‘Renaissance or Prenaissance?’ was most often made to look foolish and ill-considered.13 Just one example, among many, to illustrate the sort of thing that frustrated me about Panofsky’s handling of Thorndike and other scholars: Curiously enough, even those who refuse to recognize the Renaissance as a period sui generis and sui iuris tend to accept it as such wherever an occasion arises to disparage it (much as a government may vilify or threaten a regime to which it has refused recognition). “The Middle Ages loved variety; the Renaissance, uniformity.” [Footnote: Thorndike, op. cit., p. 71.] In extolling what they admire at the expense of what they have shown not to exist, the authors of statements like this unwittingly pay tribute to the very period the historicity of which they deny, and to the very humanists whose . . . ambitions they strive to refute.14

Wallace K. Ferguson, The Renaissance in Historical Perspective: Five Centuries of Interpretation (Boston, 1948), 329–85. 13 Lynn Thorndike, ‘Renaissance or Prenaissance?’, Journal of the History of Ideas 4 (1943): 65–74. 14 E. Panofsky, Renaissance, 8. 12

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This was really unnecessary. It is perfectly obvious from Thorndike’s article that when he wrote ‘the Renaissance [loved] uniformity,’ he meant ‘the Renaissance, as understood by those who propagate the term.’ Panofsky seizes upon one unguarded comment to ridicule a scholar whose numerous carefully reasoned points he prefers to ignore.15 But why, and to what end? Although I cannot prove it, I suspect that it was Thorndike’s article that had provoked Panofsky’s wrath, and that persuaded him to write his own study as a corrective. When one reads Thorndike, and then returns to Panofsky’s first chapter, it is obvious that the latter was preoccupied with it all the time. For example, the following remark, on p. 39, leaves one wondering if Panofsky was responding to some other scholar, to whom he conceded a minor point before reaffirming his own position, even though there is no footnote to tell us who this might have been: It is quite true that a few bishops and professors climbed mountains long before Petrarch’s “epoch-making” ascent of Mont Ventoux; but it is equally true that he was the first to describe his experience in a manner which, depending on whether you like him or not, may be praised as full of sentiment or condemned as sentimental.16

As it turns out, the scholar not mentioned by Panofsky was Thorndike, who—responding in his turn to Burckhardt—had remarked the following in his essay on the Renaissance: As a matter of fact, Jean Buridan, the Parisian schoolman, had visited [Mont Ventoux] between 1316 and 1334, had given details as to its altitude, and had waxed enthusiastic as to the Cevennes. So that all Petrarch’s account [of his ascent] proves is his capacity for story-telling and sentimental ability to make a mountain out of a molehill.17

One of the points ignored by Panofsky is worth mentioning, since it bears directly on his attempt to prove the reality of the Renaissance by invoking contemporary reports on revivals of literature and the visual arts after long periods of supposed neglect. Thorndike notes: ‘In the fifth volume of A History of Magic and Experimental Science I have given various examples of this notion of a resuscitation of liberal studies becoming stereotyped and being extended to the most inappropriate fields, such as astronomy, chiromancy, physiognomy, anatomy, magic, astrology, and mathematics.’ L. Thorndike, ‘Renaissance or Prenaissance?’, 67. 16 E. Panofsky, Renaissance, 39. 17 L. Thorndike, ‘Renaissance or Prenaissance?’, 72. 15

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Here, as in several other passages, it is hard to escape the feeling that Panofsky took the issue to be a personal one, and carefully laced his narrative with barbs that were meant for Thorndike in particular. More importantly, the two central questions Panofsky sought to answer in his study correspond directly with two principal objections raised by Thorndike. The latter had argued that the Renaissance was not even real, that it was merely an idea, a fiction, one that could change its shape in response to criticism.18 Panofsky, in response, devoted his first chapter to refuting just that objection.19 Thorndike, like many other medievalists, had made the point that engagement with classical legacies can be witnessed throughout the later Middle Ages. Panofsky, in response, devoted the remaining chapters to proving that the Italian Renaissance was unique, and fundamentally different from any apparent renaissance that had preceded it. For all his attempts to reduce the medievalists to near invisibility, Panofsky’s study was in fact an essay written on their terms, an attempt to refute their objections. This aim was not an easy task. Consider the question: was the Renaissance real? Some scholars might well respond with a counterquestion: should it have been? The Renaissance, they might argue, is a hypothesis, a coherent interpretation of the past. It is meant to account for evidence, not to be proved or disproved by it. Is that a reason to do away with the term? Not necessarily, for everything historians say and argue is, at the end of the day, hypothesis. So the objection is really an objection against historical interpretation in general, not against the Renaissance in particular. Yet this was not Panofsky’s response: he set out to prove the reality, the factuality, of the Renaissance. His first chapter offers an exhaustive review of contemporary testimonies about advances made in literature and the visual arts, dramatic upsurges after centuries of decline. Yet near the end of the chapter Panofsky admits that the evidence is perhaps not conclusive, since, after all, these various witnesses may well have been wrong. So how else to prove that the Renaissance was real? ‘But what is the use of questioning the Renaissance? No one has ever proved its existence; no one has really tried to. So often as one phase of it or conception of it is disproved, or is shown to be equally characteristic of the preceding period, its defenders take up a new position and are just as happy, just as enthusiastic, just as complacent as ever.’ L. Thorndike, ‘Renaissance or Prenaissance?’, 74. 19 ‘There is a growing tendency, not so much to revise as to eliminate the concept of the Renaissance—to contest not only its uniqueness but its very existence.’ E. Panofsky, Renaissance, 7. 18

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This was the moment for which he had kept an ace up his sleeve. Of the nearly 160 illustrations appended at the end of Panofsky’s study, the first five provide examples of architectural styles. These are images of, respectively, the Pantheon in Rome, the Church of Our Lady at Trèves, Palladio’s Villa Rotonda, the interior of Leon Battista Alberti’s S. Andrea in Mantua, and the interior of the Church of St. Sebald in Nuremberg. Referring to these five images, Panofsky settled the whole issue in three sentences: When we compare the Pantheon of ca. 125 ad with, on the one hand, Our Lady’s Church at Trèves of ca. 1250 ad (one of the very few major central-plan buildings produced by the Gothic age) and, on the other, Palladio’s Villa Rotonda of ca. 1550 ad (Figs. 1–3), we cannot help agreeing with the author of the letter to Leo X who felt that, though the interval of time was longer, the buildings of his age were closer to those from the time of the Roman emperors than to those from “the times of the Goths”: all differences notwithstanding, the Villa Rotonda has more in common with the Pantheon than either of these two structures has in common with Our Lady’s at Trèves, and this in spite of the fact that only about three hundred years had passed between Our Lady’s at Trèves and the Villa Rotonda, whereas more than eleven hundred had passed between the Pantheon and Our Lady’s. Something rather decisive, then, must have happened between 1250 and 1550. And when we consider two structures erected during this interval in the same decade but on different sides of the Alps— Alberti’s Sant’Andrea at Mantua, begun in 1472 (Fig. 4), and the choir of St. Sebaldus at Nuremberg, completed in that very year (Fig. 5)—we strongly suspect that this decisive thing must have happened in the fifteenth century and on Italian soil.20

It is hard to believe one’s eyes. One cannot begin to point out the questions raised by this way of settling an argument. First of all, is the method not dangerously vulnerable to manipulation? If five pictures is all it takes, as it apparently does for Panofsky, one can always select them in such a way as to prove just about any point. Thorndike, for his part, wisely refrained from responding with five pictures of his own. Second, is it fair to invoke a comparison between the Pantheon and the Villa Rotonda, when the latter was consciously modelled on the former? Besides, given the fact that the first is a temple for all the gods, and the other a private residence for a mere mortal, does this comparison not exemplify the very principle of disjunction that Panofsky 20

E. Panofsky, Renaissance, 39–40.

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sees as typical of the renascences preceding the Renaissance? Aren’t we facing here the same problem that music historians must deal with, namely, that comparisons between artefacts or texts cannot tell us the whole story, if we do not take into account ways of seeing, hearing, or reading them? Here as elsewhere, it is hard not to feel that critical issues are resolved simply by assertion. There is another example on p. 90. Panofsky has just explained his famous ‘principle of disjunction,’ the disjunction being that between classical and Christian elements in works of art predating the Italian Renaissance. He has gone to some lengths to show that all apparent exceptions to this principle—that is, medieval artworks in which there appears to be no disjunction—can be accounted for by special circumstances. Indeed, he comes close to suggesting that there are no exceptions at all. Summing up, therefore, he concludes: ‘where certain cases . . . still seem to defy interpretation, the fault is apt to lie with the limitations of our knowledge and ingenuity in applying the ‘law of disjunction’ rather than with the ‘law of disjunction’ as such.’ To which I cannot help but respond: why? The principle of disjunction is an hypothesis, one that, in the context of Panofsky’s book, still awaits corroboration. Why is this hypothesis important, and why should we wish to see it corroborated? After all, it is not especially useful as an interpretive tool: it cannot help us to make better sense of individual works of art, or discriminate between artists or styles. On the contrary, the principle is one of broad historical categorisation, it doesn’t distinguish, but lump together. It is somewhat like a lowest common denominator, or as Panofsky preferred to put it, a law: a fundamental law of culture that must be seen to apply, without exception, to centuries of medieval art. Now why would such a law be important, or even interesting? The answer is obvious: because it helps Panofsky to define what was to be truly new and unique about the Italian Renaissance. The latter period, as he sees it, tended to be more respectful of the original integrity of classical artworks, less inclined to borrow isolated elements and mix them together with incompatible ideas and materials. How does one corroborate this principle of disjunction? Panofsky’s answer is: by demonstrating, through interpretation, how it manifests itself in individual works of art. Presumably it’s up to us, the readers, to decide if his interpretations are persuasive or not, and to accept or reject the principle accordingly. Yet Panofsky turns the situation

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around. When the principle appears to be contradicted by the evidence—or so he advises us in the sentence just quoted—the fault is apt to lie with the interpretation rather with the principle as such. In other words, the principle is true, regardless of whether or not interpretation can be seen to confirm it. What Panofsky is in effect telling us is to make a leap of faith: accept the principle a priori, and dismiss all apparent exceptions as due to faulty interpretation. To which, again, I can only respond: why? Why should this be a matter of faith? An argument that is truly persuasive shouldn’t have to make such demands on the reader. In fact it could afford to do the opposite, that is, be totally frank and forthcoming about the room for disagreement. Yet Panofsky closes off that room, simply by asserting his authority. The central claim of his book, that there is a fundamental distinction between the Renaissance and preceding renascences, rests upon the principle of disjunction, which rests in turn, at least in cases of doubt, upon our willingness to accept it on faith. That, I’m afraid, is a leap I’m disinclined to make. One last example. Near the end of his first chapter, Panofsky makes the following remark: It is perhaps no accident that the factuality of the Italian Renaissance has been most vigorously questioned by those who are not obliged to take a professional interest in the aesthetic aspects of civilization—historians of economic and social developments, political and religious situations and, most particularly, natural science—but only exceptionally by students of literature, and hardly ever by historians of art.21

As a musicologist, fortunately, I can claim to take a professional interest in the aesthetic aspects of civilisation, so I do not need to take offence at this comment. But even as a musicologist I find it hard not to read the comment as a polite way (well, just barely) of saying: shut up until you know what you’re talking about. What Panofsky does not acknowledge is the problem that these scholars are confronted with: that of a sweeping historical interpretation, the idea of a Renaissance, for which they have found little or no convincing evidence in their own fields. His suggestion to them, apparently, is to leave the mat-

E. Panofsky, Renaissance, 38. Italics mine. With the revealing insertion ‘most particularly,’ Panofsky makes it quite clear that he was thinking of the author of the History of Magic and Experimental Science, Lynn Thorndike. 21

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ter to art historians, whose interpretation is more valid than that of anyone else. Panofsky’s comment seems symptomatic of a deeper problem. His idea of the Renaissance was so elastic that it could be blown up at will to comprise an entire civilisation, yet could just as quickly be deflated to the narrow sphere of competence of the art historian. This problem is particularly evident in Panofsky’s first chapter. Near the end of that chapter, he sums up his argument as follows: From the fourteenth through the sixteenth century, then, and from one end of Europe to the other, the men of the Renaissance were convinced that the period in which they lived was a “new age” as sharply different from the medieval past as the medieval past had been from classical antiquity and marked by a concerted effort to revise the culture of the latter.22

It is a statement of breathtaking historical scope, characterising a whole civilisation rather than just the art and literature it produced. Yet if this is meant to sum up the results of the first chapter, then one thing is certain: it cannot be based on anything other than exclusively art historical evidence. An example of that evidence is the following quotation from Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, Pope Pius II, invoked by Panofsky on p. 16: Pictures produced two hundred years ago were not refined, as we can see, by any art; what was written at that time is equally crude, inept, unpolished. After Petrarch, letters re-emerged; after Giotto, the hands of the painters were raised once more. Now we can see that both these arts have reached perfection.

Judging from this one example, the men of the Renaissance may have been convinced that painting, sculpture, literature, or architecture had markedly improved after long periods of decline. Yet it is far from obvious that they, like Panofsky, would have read the state of the world from the state of the art. Piccolomini was a prolific writer, who was preoccupied with a broad range of issues, and it is not hard to guess how he would have responded to the question: what, in your view, is the current state of the world? His first thought, conceivably, would not have been about art or literature, but about the condition of the Church—the state in which Christ would find it at the sec-

22

E. Panofsky, Renaissance, 38.

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ond coming. As for the dawning of a new age, Piccolomini would not have questioned the received truth, on the authority of St. Augustine, that Christ’s first coming had ushered in the sixth and final age of the world, a world that was by now weary and decrepit with old age.23 Once again, Panofsky’s study is symptomatic of the very problem faced by musicologists, namely, that it is dangerous to take texts like these at face value without looking into the agendas of those who wrote them. It is time to move on to the third part of this paper. All I would say in conclusion is this: whatever it is we need to do about ‘the problem’ of the Renaissance, Panofsky’s book is of limited help. Its aim, at bottom, is to win the reader’s support in a campaign against the medievalists, by means that are not always perfectly straightforward. It is a sobering thought that in the twelve years between its first publication in the Kenyon Review and its final appearance as a monograph, it never once occurred to him to reconsider his argument and to remedy its weaknesses. His study is a missed opportunity and, for a scholar of his formidable intellect, a tragic failure. The State of the Art I’d like to return once more to Tileman Elhen von Wolfhagen, author of the late fourteenth-century Limburg Chronicle, because his text is so utterly fascinating and yet so little known. Wolfhagen mentions the art of painting only once, but when he does, he gives us several interesting clues that may help us understand what he writes about music elsewhere. Here is one of his entries for the year 1380: At this time there was a painter at Cologne named Wilhelm. He was the best painter in the German countries, as esteemed by the masters, for he painted every human of every appearance, as though it were living.24

The painter has been identified as Wilhelm von Herle, a prominent artist known to have been resident at Cologne from 1358 to 1378. One

cf. George Boas, Primitivism and Related Ideas in the Middle Ages (Baltimore and London, 1948); James M. Dean, The World Grown Old in Later Medieval Literature (Cambridge, MA, 1997). 24 Limburger Chronik, 65: ‘Item in diser zit was ein meler zu Collen, der hiß Wilhelm. Der was der beste meler in Duschen landen, als he wart geachtet von den meistern, want he malte eynen iglichen menschen von aller gestalt, als hette ez gelebet.’ 23

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of the art works associated with this man, or at least with his school, is the famous Klarenalter in Cologne Cathedral.25 By modern standards, it is hard to see this altarpiece as especially lifelike or realistic: in one of the panels, the Flight into Egypt, the Virgin appears as an elongated, shapeless, somewhat pillar-like figure, not realistically proportioned, with head inclined and arms held in a somewhat theatrical gesture—as though the entire tableau were a scene on stage, rather than the depiction of a historical event. Still, there are many different ways in which works of art can seem real, lifelike, or true to nature. As we have seen, artefacts, by themselves, do not always tell us the whole story: we also need to take into account ways of seeing them. Focusing just on the Virgin, what someone like Wolfhagen would have seen was her face, her gestures, her general bearing, and her clothes. Face, gestures, and bearing belong to the medieval art of physiognomy, and clothes to the art of dress. Wolfhagen has much to tell us about both—and this in turn provides vital clues to what he says about music. Whenever Wolfhagen had seen major historical actors with his own eyes, he attempted to be lifelike and realistic in his own way, by giving us complete descriptions of their physiognomy, from head to toe. It is apparent from these descriptions that he was well-acquainted with the medieval art of physiognomy, and that he subscribed to its fundamental premise: that the outward appearance of an individual expresses his or her inner character. Here, for example, is a man he clearly admires for his nobility and strength of character: Item, now you shall learn the physiognomy and the appearance of Lord Kuno [of Falkenstein, Archbishop and Elector of Trier], for I have often seen him and experienced him in his nature and in many of his manners. He was a dignified man, strong in body, great in personhood, and excellent in all parts. And he had a large head with luxuriant, wide, brown curls, a broad face with well-rounded cheeks, a sharp manly aspect, a modest mouth with lips that were not too full; the nose was broad, with ample nostrils, the middle of his nose was down-pointing, with a large chin and with a high forehead, and he had also a large breast, and red under his eyes, and he stood on his legs like a lion, and had a benevolent demeanour toward his friends, and when he was angered, then his

25 For a reproduction, see Tancred Borenius, ‘The Gothic Wall Paintings of the Rhineland’, Burlington Magazine 61 (1932): 218–4, at 221.

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rob c. wegman cheeks would become round and full, which made him look dignified and wise, and not evil-disposed . . .26

We can tell from this description how a fourteenth-century artist should have depicted Kuno of Falkenstein in order for him to appear to be lifelike. It would be quite interesting to compare Wolfhagen’s account with the representation of Kuno of Falkenstein in the latter’s funeral monument in the parish church of Kirchzarten, near Freiburg in Breisgau. It was our chronicler’s good fortune to have also seen, in person, a truly wicked man, shortly before his execution at Utrecht in 1398: he was boiled alive and then taken out of the water quickly enough to be decapitated while still conscious. This man was a fake suffragan named Jacob, who had falsely ordained thousands of priests, and thereby caused them to administer sacraments that turned out, after his unmasking, not to have been sacraments at all. A very grave crime that could only have been perpetrated by a man of the most evil character. His physical appearance really gave it all away, as we can tell from the following entry in the year 1386: Also you shall learn his appearance and his physiognomy, for I have often seen him. He was a gaunt man, of average height, brown under the eyes, with an elongated face, a long, sharp, pointy nose, and his cheeks were in some measure reddish, and he moved his body and his head up and down in great pride . . .27

These descriptions were lifelike and realistic in the sense that they were true not just to physical appearance but, more importantly, to charac-

Limburger Chronik, 38–9: ‘Item nu saltu wißen phyzonomyen unde gestalt hern Conen vurgenant, want ich in dicke gesehen unde geprufet han in sime wesen unde in mancher syner manirunge. He was eyn herlich stark man von lybe unde wol gepersoniret unde groß von allem gelune, unde hatte eyn groß heubt mit eyme struben wydem brunen krulle, eyn breit antlitze mit pußenden backen, ein scharp menlich gesichte, eynen bescheyden mont mit glefsen etzlicher maße dicke; dy nase was breit, mit gerumenden naselochern, dy nase was ime mitten nider gedrucket; mit eyme großen kynne unde mit eyner hohen styrne, unde hatte auch eyn groß brost unde rodelfare under sinen augen, unde stont uff synen beynen als ein lewe, unde hatte gutliche geberde gen synen frunden, unde wanne daz he zornig was, so pußeden und floderten ime sine backen unde stonden ime herlichen unde wislichen unde nit obel . . .’ 27 Ibid., 69: ‘Auch so saltu wißen syne gestalt unde sine phyzonomyen, want ich in dicke gesehen han. He was ein ran man von obener lenge, brun under den augen mit eyme langen antlitze, mit eyner langer gescherpter spitzer nasen, unde sine wangen waren etzlicher maße rodelfare, unde ruchte synen lyp unde heubt uff unde nider in großer hoffart . . .’ 26

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ter, to inner disposition: they were coherent readings rather than enumerations of isolated traits. Reading faces, gestures, and bearing was not a matter of neutral observation, but involved a moral judgement. So what was lifelike about the Virgin, in a painting like the Klarenalter at Cologne, was less her anatomy per se, than the fact that she was recognizably the person Wolfhagen would have known her to be in his devotions. One could say the same about dress. The important point about dress was not the particular shape or colour of this or that garment, but whether it was fitting and appropriate to the person who is wearing it, his or her status in society. The key criterion, in other words, was decorum. Wolfhagen was even more keenly interested in dress than he was in physiognomy. There are numerous entries in his chronicle in which he reports that in such-and-such a year the fashion was such for women, such for men, such for nobility, and such for servants. This alone makes his chronicle an invaluable source for historians of dress, though I think it’s still waiting to be utilised by them. In 1380, Wolfhagen reports a dramatic advance in the art of tailoring: During this time the fashion in clothing changed as well; he who used to be a master tailor had become, within one year, an apprentice, as one may find further on.28

Interestingly, the year 1380 coincides exactly with the beginning of what historians of dress have called the International Gothic Fashion (c.1380–1420).29 Yet it is apparent from a more detailed entry, later in the same decade, that Wolfhagen was not interested in dress purely for its own sake, and was not writing merely to satisfy our curiosity. He did have an agenda. The central purpose of his entry, as it turns out, was not to record history, but to instruct. Future generations, he anticipated, would look upon these changing fashions as so many signs of pride and moral degradation, and his chronicle might perhaps help posterity to draw lessons from this. This is what we can tell from the following entry in 1389:

Ibid., 65: ‘Item in diser zit wart der snet von den kleidern vurwandelt also, wer huwer ein meister was von dem snede, der wart ober eyn jar ein knecht, als man daz hernach wol beschreben findet.’ 29 Cf. Margaret Scott, History of Dress Series: Late Gothic Europe, 1400–1500 (London, 1980), 77–105. 28

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rob c. wegman During these same years ladies, damsels, and men, noble as well as common, took to wearing robes, girdled around the waist (which girdles were called dusinge), and men wore them both long and short, according to their pleasure, and they fashioned long, wide sleeves on them, reaching partly down to the ground. Item, you, young man, who are yet to be born more than a hundred years from now, you must know that this present age has adopted this dress and these ways of clothing not out of coarseness, nor out of frivolousness, but has invented and made this fashion and these clothes out of great pride—even though one finds that there were such [sorts of] clothes four hundred years ago, as one can see in the old foundations and churches, where one finds stone [carvings] and statues dressed in this way . . .30

Comments like these help to explain why so many towns in the late fourteenth century sought to impose, and continually update, sumptuary laws, in order to ensure that townsfolk would dress properly according to their social position. In sum, what we can tell from these and other entries in the Limburg Chronicle is that the world, as it manifests itself to the eyes, is charged with moral significance, whether in dress or in human physiognomy. This is what made the image of the Virgin in altarpieces so lifelike: in a world of false appearances, in a world turned out of joint by rapidly changing dress fashions, and corrupted by the cardinal sin of pride, she at least was portrayed exactly as she was, a paragon of virtue. There is a close resemblance between Wolfhagen’s comment about advances in tailoring, in 1380, and advances in the art of music, in 1360. Both tailors and trumpeters, he says, suddenly found that their previous skills no longer amounted to anything. This is not a coincidence. Just as Wolfhagen describes in detail the particular dress fashions for this or that year, he also records, year after year, what new songs were current, quoting their texts, though unfortunately not recording their tunes.31 ‘Item, around the same time,’ he reports for example in Limburger Chronik, 70–1: ‘Item in disen selben geziden gingen frauwen, jungfrauwen unde manne, edile unde unedile, mit tapparten unde hatten dy mitten gegordet, dy gortel hiß man dusinge, unde dy manne drugen sy lange unde korz, wy sy wolden, unde machten daran lange große wyde stuchen endeiles uff dy erden. Item du junger man, der noch sal geboren werden ober hondert jar, du salt wißen, daz dise kleidunge unde manironge der kleider dise genwortige wernt nit an sich genomen hant von grobeheit noch von heiterkeit, dan sy disen snet unde kleider von großer hoffart gefonden unde gemachet hant. Wy wol man findet, daz dise kleidunge vur vir hondert jaren auch etzlicher maße gewest ist, als man wol sehet an den alden stiften unde kirchen, da man findet solche steyne unde bilde gekleidet . . .’ 31 R. C. Wegman, ‘The Minstrel School in the Late Middle Ages’, 11–30. 30

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1350, ‘one sang a new song in the German lands, which was played on shawms and trumpets everywhere, and which made everyone joyful: Wyßet wer den synen y vurkoys . . .’32 Other new songs are mentioned in 1350, 1356, 1357, 1359, 1360, 1361, 1363, 1365, 1367, 1374, 1379, and 1380.33 Nearly all the songs are said to have been played on shawms and trumpets, as well as sung by the people. One song, Ach rynes wyp von guder art of 1350, is said specifically to be ‘a good song, both tune and words.’34 Wolfhagen underlines repeatedly that the songs were popular ‘throughout the whole of Germany’ (1350), ‘in all these lands’ (1357), ‘everywhere’ (1361). Despite their popularity, however, only one of the songs is known to us from other sources; the others would appear to have circulated only through oral transmission. In the case of music as well as in dress, there is a moral dimension to Wolfhagen’s reports. In the fourteenth century, ‘new songs’ were anything but morally unambiguous.35 Certainly they were popular throughout the land, just as dress fashions were popular. But just as city councils imposed sumptuary legislation to curb extravagant garments, preachers repeatedly warned against the dangers of lasciviousness in song and dance. The fourteenth century has left us a quite a few sermons against dancing; and ‘new songs,’ typically, are mentioned here in one breath with dance music. In this period, there is nothing inherently positive about innovation, about a sudden change in taste, whether in music or in dress. On the contrary: such changes indicate that values are continually in flux, that nothing in this world is certain. So it is in line with Wolfhagen’s aim to instruct posterity that he should represent these changes as much more sudden and dramatic than they may have been in reality. It also explains his awareness that future generations will look with amazement at the deplorable state of the world in his time. All this ties in directly with what we know of the late fourteenth century in general: that writers in this period did not cease to complain

‘Item in der selben zijt sang man eyn nuwe lit in Duschen landen, das war gar gemeine zu pyffen unde zu trompen unde zur aller freude: Wyßet, wer den synen y vurkoys / unde ane alle scholt getruwen frunt virliß, / der wirt vil gerne sigeloys. / Getruwen frunt den ensal niman laßen, / want man vurgelden daz nit enkan.’ Limburger Chronik, 36. 33 Limburger Chronik, 25, 25–6, 33, 34, 35, 36, 39, 41, 43, 44, 54, 60–1, 64, and 65. 34 Limburger Chronik, 26; for the next sentence, see ibid., 26, 34, and 39. 35 On this issue in general, see Walter Salmen, ‘Das gemachte ‘Neue Lied’ im Spätmittelalter’, in Handbuch des Volksliedes, 2 vols. (Munich, 1973–5), vol. 2, 407–20. 32

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against the times, that people felt themselves to be caught up in an uncertain and unstable world, in which the only permanent values were those taught by the church. We find this awareness, for example, in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde: the English language is unstable and impermanent, and is likely to be almost unrecognisable in a thousand years. The author cannot even be sure that his own book will survive the vicissitudes of linguistic change: [Book II] 25

[Book V] 1,795

Ye knowe ek that in forme of speche is chaunge Withinne a thousand yeer, and wordes tho That hadden pris, now wonder nyce and straunge Us thinketh hem, and yet thei spake hem so, And speede as wel in love as men now do; Ek for to wynnen love in sondry ages, In sondry londes, sondry ben usages . . . And for there is so gret diversite In Englissh and in writyng of oure tonge, So prey I God that non myswrite the [i.e. the book], Ne the mysmetre for defaute of tonge; And red wherso thow be, or elles songe, That thow be understonde, God I biseche . . .36

We find this same future-oriented awareness in music history, in a mid-fourteenth-century treatise on music written by Johannes Boen, a Dutchman who had studied at the University of Oxford. As we can see in the following passages from his treatise De musica of c.1355, he expects the future to bring many innovations in music that can scarcely even be imagined at the present time. He is struck with amazement that even neighboring countries, like England and Holland, have utterly different musical tastes. Nothing is universally agreed, nothing is fixed, nothing is permanent: For many new and unheard of things may become possible according to the diversity of times and countries, such as, perhaps, the performance of the comma and of three minor semitones, and many similar things which, although not heard as of yet, may perhaps, after the passing of time, be heard in the future by means of new instruments and vocal abilities—just as there was not such subtlety in singing before Pythagoras as is the custom in our present times, nor do we produce the same rhythms in song as do the English, the French, or the Lombards.

36 Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde, II, 22–8 and V, 1,793–1,798. cf. Morton W. Bloomfield, ‘Chaucer’s Sense of History’, Journal of English and Germanic Philology 51 (1952): 301–13, at 308–9.

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For different countries demand different ways of singing, as I’ve heard in this experience, when I attended the schools at Oxford in England (a country separated from the County of Holland, my birthplace, only by the sea): that laymen there, and clerics, and old men, youths, and just about everybody loved thirds and sixths so fondly that I’ve seen them invoke these alone, as though in reverent prayer, in preference to octaves and fifths. Vehemently astonished, I’ve not ceased to wonder at such a difference in nature, and in so nearby a country.37

Our German chronicler Wolfhagen was not the only fourteenth-century author to perceive a direct connection between music and dress, or to invoke these arts to illustrate the moral degradation of the world. The following text, from the Bouc van der wraken (c.1346) by Antwerp author Jan van Boendale, makes the same point that was to be made ninety years later by Martin le Franc, one of those two crown witnesses for the musical Renaissance: the end of the world is near, and if you want to know why, you need only look at what’s going on in the arts. Boendale vehemently inveighs against the shameful dress fashions of his time, and moves on, almost in one breath, to music: Of the perversion of the world. Chapter 105. Our Lord Jesus Christ says, ’tis no delusion, that nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and that there shall be earthquakes, in truth, all over the earth’s dominion [Mark 13: 8]. One reads here as well, in truth, that when brother fights against brother, and the child rises up against the father [Mark 13: 12], and when honour and justice and the fear of God have been abandoned, and the just man is left alone, and everyone pursues his pleasure, that this is when will approach those perilous Last Days of which I’ve spoken before, [those days] that

After Wolf Frobenius, Johannes Boens Musica und seine Konsonanzenlehre (Stuttgart, 1971), 45–6 and 76; available online at http://www.chmtl.indiana.edu/tml/14th/ BOENMUS_TEXT.html (accessed 11 Sept. 2007): ‘Nam secundum diversitatem temporis et regionum multa nova et inaudita poterunt suboriri, sicut forte pronuntiatio commatis et trium semitoniorum minorum ac multorum similium, que, licet hactenus non audita sunt, forte tractu temporis per nova instrumenta et vocum habilitates posterius audientur, sicut nec ante Pitagoram fuit tanta subtilitas in cantu, quanta hodiernis temporibus est in usu, nec talem nos, qualem Anglici, Gallici vel Lumbardi in cantu facimus fracturam. Diverse namque regiones diversos cantus exigunt, ut in hoc experimento—dum scolas Oxonienses in Anglia colui, quam regionem a Comitatu Hollandie, loco mee nativitatis, solum mare discriminat—audito, quod layci ibidem et clerici, senes, iuvenes et indifferenter omnes tertiis et sextis tantam atribuebant affectionem quodque, duplis et quintis postpositis, ipsas solas invocantes quasi adorare videbam; vehementer attonitus de tam vicine regionis diversa natura continue ammirabar.’ 37

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rob c. wegman every man should rightly dread. Mark now, and decide if that time has presently arrived . . . Men wear their clothes short, even up to their privy parts. Women wear their clothes long, and have them pressed tightly around the body, so that one can easily see the shape of their shameful parts, with which they lead men into loose folly. They’re quick to open their mouths for them, and expect them to do likewise. In former days, women used to keep themselves strictly covered. You remember, I’m sure, that a woman would not have put her husband’s hat on her own head, so great was her sense of shame then. In the same way as this, the sweetness of music has been turned much into discord, as one may now hear every day; for those who bring most discord are the ones who can sing the best. In this way, as one here may learn, one can see all things being perverted nowadays: it’s a sign, to speak the truth, that Doomsday is approaching.38

38

Jan van Boendale, Bouc van der wraken (c.1346), II, 370–403 and 453–83: ‘Vander verkeertheyt der werelt. C. V. 385

390

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Onse here Jhesus Cristus seyt, sonder waen, Het sal volc jeghen volc opstaen, Ende oec riken jeghen rike, Ende het selen in ertrike Erdbevinghen sijn voer waer. Oec leestmen hier voer waer: Alse broeder jeghen broeder vecht, Ende tkint jeghen den vader recht, Ende ere ende gherechticheyt Ende Gods vresen sijn af gheleyt, Ende alsmen scalcheyt wijsheyt mect Ende die gherechtige achter stect, Ende elc siet op sijn gheniet, Dan so naect, des seker sijt, Die anxtelike leste tijt, Daer ic vore af hebbe gheseyt, Die elc mensche wel duchten mach. Nu merct ende wilt gomen Of dese tijt nu es comen . . . Die manne draghen cledere mede Cort tote hare scamelhede; Vrouwen draghen cledre lanc, Daer si in sijn ghepranct, Datment daer dore merct ghereyt Die vorme herre schamelheyt, Daer si die manne mede leyden Te gheloesder loesheyden. Si tonen hen die kele ghereet Ende willen des sijn ghemeet.

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This example alone suggests that Martin le Franc, in the 1440s, was not actually testifying to a new age in music history, let alone a Renaissance, but perpetuating a venerable tradition of social critique going back to the early fourteenth century: the complaint against the times, and the warning that the Last Judgement is imminent.39 As I think will be obvious at this point, novelty and innovation were profoundly ambivalent notions in the late fourteenth century, inasmuch as they served to destabilise any sense of abiding value. But in what direction did music tend to innovate, and what exactly was the problem about that? The answer is suggested by the remarks of my fellow Dutchman Johannes Boen, when he speculated that the future might bring minute divisions of the tone and semitone that were as yet inaudible and unheard-of. The direction was that of ever more minute distinctions, of ever finer discriminations; in a word, of ever greater subtlety. Subtlety not only with regard to tuning, as Johannes Boen anticipated, but especially with regard to rhythmic divisions, the breaking up of notes into ever smaller fractions, to the point of being virtually un-performable. Ecclesiastical commentators in the fourteenth century, including no one less than Pope John XXII himself, vehemently condemned such rhythmic subtleties when they were introduced in church music—

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Die vrouwen in ouden daghen Hen nauwe te decken plaghen. Mi ghedenct wel, dat ghijt wet, Dat een vrouwe niet en had gheset Op hare hoet haers mans caproen, So groet was hare scamelheyt doen.

Also oec in deser ghelike Es die soetheyt der musike Sere ghekeert in discort, Alsmen daghelijx nu hoert; Want die meest discorts bringhen, Dat sijn die ghene die best singhen. 480 Aldus, alsic hier mach leren, Sietmen alle dinc verkeren; Dats een teken, sonder saghen, Dat het naect den doemsdaghe.’ After F. A. Snellaert, ed., Nederlandsche gedichten uit de veertiende eeuw (Brussels, 1869), 370–3. 39 See, for example, Joseph R. Keller, ‘The Triumph of Vice: A Formal Approach to the Medieval Complaint Against the Times’, Annuale Medievale 10 (1969): 120–37; Thomas J. Elliott, ‘Middle English Complaints Against the Times: To Contemn the World or To Reform It?’, Annuale Medievale 14 (1974): 22–34. 475

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though they were powerless to stop such vanities in the liturgy.40 In secular music, on the other hand, such rhythmic subtleties were rapidly being pushed to extremes. The ballade Or voit tout en aventure, by a composer named Guido (1370s), is a good example of a composition that is not only full of quirky and erratic rhythmic effects, but whose sinuous, restless melodic lines, taken together, give the music an eccentric, almost bizarre quality.41 Its lyrics seem to reflect an awareness that music has now been pushed beyond what is natural, beyond reason, beyond measure—into a twilight realm that can only be typified as the Perverse: Now all is put at adventure, for this is how I must fashion a la nouvelle figure [i.e. in the new rhythmic notation], which is bound to displease everyone; it is wholly contrary to good art which is perfect: certainly this is not well made. Our making is contrary to Nature, unmaking that which is well made, for which Philippe [de Vitry], who is no more, gave us the right example. We are leaving all his doings for Marquet [of Padua], who does the contrary: certainly this is not well made. The art of Marquet has no measure, nor ever knows how to bring anything to perfection; it’s too great a presumption to follow and to draw these figures, and to drag all to where nothing is of proper treatment: certainly this is not well made.42 For a good example of the kind of music condemned by Pope John XXII, listen to the anonymous Sanctus, of ms Ivrea, Biblioteca Capitolare, 115 (1360s); The Clerks’ Group, dir. Edward Wickham, recorded 1998; sound recording made by Signum Records (SIGCD011), track 11. For an example of the sort of rhythmically uninvolved polyphony that Pope John approved, listen to Guillaume de Machaut, Messe de Notre-Dame, Ensemble Gilles Binchois, dir. Dominique Vellard; recorded 1990; sound recording made by Harmonic Records (H/CD 8931), tracks 1 and 15. 41 For a recent recording of this ballade, listen to Codex Chantilly, Ensemble Organum, dir. Marcel Peres; recorded 1986; sound recording made by Harmonia Mundi (HMC 90 1252), track 4. 42 ‘Or voit tout en aventure Puis qu’ainsi me convient fayre A la novelle figure Qui doyt a chascun desplayre; Que c’est trestout en contraire De bon art qui est parfait: Certes, ce n’est pas bien fayt. 40

Nos faysoms contre Nature De ce qu’est bien fayt deffayre; Que Philipe qui mais ne dure Nos dona boin exemplaire. Nos laisons tous ses afayres

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A world out of joint, weary and exhausted, unstable, riven by wars, epidemics, famine, collective hysteria, exhibiting the most bizarre fashions in music and dress, and because of all this, almost certainly nearing the end of time. Such a world seems to cry out for a Renaissance, the very kind of Renaissance that Burckhardt so compellingly sketched in his classic study. So when musical tastes did finally turn around in the 1430s, and compositions were systematically purged of these decadent subtleties, it is hard for us not to feel that a new age has dawned in the history of music—even though our crown witness Martin le Franc took just this change to spell the imminent end of time. Both Le Franc and Tinctoris ascribed the origin of the new style to English composers—not, interestingly, Italians. We also know that the style first took root in northern France and the Low Countries— not, interestingly, Italy.43 Is the new style indicative of a Renaissance in music? I very much doubt it, for a combination of reasons I cannot go into at this point. All I would suggest is that neither Le Franc nor Tinctoris can be made to support that conclusion. When Tinctoris looked back on the stylistic changes some forty years after the fact, he too, I think, had an agenda that coloured his remarks, and that drove him into wild exaggeration. Critiques of music, claims that the art was decadent, effeminate, and wasteful were issued not only in the fourteenth century, but continued into the fifteenth. In fact, the new English style could well be seen as a response, a concession, to those critiques. As I have argued in my recent monograph The Crisis of Music in Early Modern Europe, the

Por Marquet le contrefayt: Certes, ce n’est pas bien fayt. L’art de Marquet n’a mesure, N’onques rien ne sait parfayre; C’est trop grant outrecuidure D’ansuir et de portrayre Ces figures, et tout traire Ou il n’a riens de bon trayt: Certes, ce n’est pas bien fayt.’ Gordon K. Greene, ed., French Secular Music: Manuscript Chantilly, Musée Condé 564, Polyphonic Music of the Fourteenth Century 18 (Monaco, 1981) 80. 43 For an example of the new English style that was to change the course of music history, listen to Leonel Power, Missa Alma redemptoris mater, The Hilliard Ensemble; recorded 1980; sound recording made by EMI (CDM 7 63064 2); reissued by Virgin Veritas (7243 5 61345 2 2), track 10.

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critiques intensified precisely in the 1470s, the decade when Tinctoris was writing his treatises.44 Many humanists, at this time, sought to banish music from the humanist curriculum, on the grounds that the art was empty and vain, and took too much time away from proper academic pursuits. And Reformist critics were bent on outlawing all polyphonic music from the church—a position that no one less than Erasmus would subscribe to in the last two decades of his life. Against this background—that of a groundswell of criticism targeted against the very art of music, not just isolated excesses—Tinctoris was forced to write from a defensive position. His prologues bear all the hallmarks of this. He invoked the powerful criterion of lineage by showing music’s venerable ancestry in ancient and biblical times. He even asserted, without any apparent basis in Scripture, that Jesus Christ himself had been the greatest musician of all time, and he boasted recent breakthroughs so marvellous, so astonishing, that music seemed to have become a new art. Such was his agenda. As Tinctoris’s prologues suggest, then, few contemporary topics were as heavily charged with social, moral, religious, and political issues as the state of the art. Few things are as likely to obscure those issues from our view than the wish to read a Renaissance into them. In this, as in many other respects, a fundamental reconsideration of Panofsky’s study, as proposed by this volume and the conference from which it arose, is long overdue.

44 Rob C. Wegman, The Crisis of Music in Early Modern Europe: 1470–1530 (New York, 2005).

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BRUNELLESCHI’S PERSPECTIVE PANELS. RUPTURE AND CONTINUITY IN THE HISTORY OF THE IMAGE Johannes Grave Eighty years ago, in 1927, Erwin Panofsky published his seminal article ‘Die Perspektive als symbolische Form’.1 To create a new basis for the evaluation of perspective, Panofsky not merely focused on the linear perspective of the Renaissance, but distinguished fundamentally different concepts of perspective representation and placed them in a historical order from ancient to early-modern times. By interpreting the various modes of perspective according to Ernst Cassirer’s concept of ‘symbolic forms’, he went beyond the description of a mere technical development and implicitly related perspective to more fundamental cultural and epistemological problems. In this way, Panofsky put the question of the deeper historical relevance of perspective on the agenda. Although many scholars have since criticised or corrected certain details in Panofsky’s account, the historicity of perspective and its various modes has never been questioned. Whether linear perspective is regarded only as an extraordinarily successful convention2 or as a technique of representation that is especially comparable to human visual perception, there seems to be no doubt that the perspective construction established in the Renaissance should be characterised as a particular historical phenomenon. Consequently, Filippo Brunelleschi’s panels, which are believed to be the first demonstrations of the representation of linear perspective,3 and Leon Battista Alberti’s

Erwin Panofsky, ‘Die Perspektive als symbolische Form’, Vorträge der Bibliothek Warburg 1924/25 (Leipzig, 1927), 258–330; Panofsky, Perspective as Symbolic Form, trans. Christopher S. Wood (New York, 1991). 2 Hans Belting has recently emphasised the assumption that central perspective should be regarded as a culturally determined phenomenon; see Hans Belting, ‘Zwei Sehkulturen. Die arabische Wissenschaft und die Bildperspektive der Renaissance’, in Die Künste im Dialog der Kulturen. Europa und seine muslimischen Nachbarn, ed. Christoph Wulf, Jacques Poulain and Fathi Triki (Berlin, 2007), 100–15. 3 The exact date of origin of Brunelleschi’s panels is not documented. The suggested dates range from c.1401 to c.1425; see, for example, Corrado Verga, Dispositivo Brunelleschi 1420 (Crema, 1978), 58 (considering an early execution of the panels), 1

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De pictura, regarded as the first written description of the construction of perspective, have often been described as crucial events in the history of art, and also in the emergence of the modern concept of science. Moreover, epistemological paradigms and basic ideas of modern philosophy were linked to perspective. Gottfried Boehm, for instance, has analysed how the notion of perspectivity, a concept that he regarded as constitutive of the philosophical thinking in early-modern times, is related to perspective representation in Renaissance art.4 Similarly, Hubert Damisch has argued that there was a connection between the ‘origin’ of perspective—especially the ‘invention’ of the vanishing point—and the concept of subjectivity,5 an approach that has recently been developed and modified by Jean-Louis Deotte and Gérard Wajcman.6 But what did the introduction and the rise of linear perspective representation mean to the concept of the image? Do Brunelleschi’s demonstrations and Alberti’s theory mark a major discontinuity in the history of the image? In the fifteenth century, Filippo Brunelleschi’s demonstrations of perspective representation were regarded as something entirely new. Filarete seems to have been the first to credit

or Alessandro Parronchi, ‘Le due tavole prospettiche del Brunelleschi’, in his Studi su la dolce prospettiva (Milan, 1964), 226–95, 242–3 (arguing for a later date). Giuliano Tanturli has argued that the characterisation of Brunelleschi as ‘prespettivo’ in a letter which Domenico da Prato wrote in 1413 could suggest that the panels were created before 1413: see Giuliano Tanturli, ‘Rapporti del Brunelleschi con gli ambienti letterari fiorentini’, in Filippo Brunelleschi. La sua opera e il suo tempo, ed. Guglielmo De Angelis d’Ossat et al. (Florence, 1980), vol. 1, 125–44, 125. 4 Gottfried Boehm, Studien zur Perspektivität. Philosophie und Kunst in der frühen Neuzeit (Heidelberg, 1969). 5 Hubert Damisch, L’origine de la perspective. Édition revue et corrigée (Paris, 1993); Damisch, The Origin of Perspective, trans. John Goodman (Cambridge, MA, 1994). Damisch’s consideration of the origin of perspective is carefully discussed in Christopher Wood, Review of The Origin of Perspective by Hubert Damisch, The Art Bulletin 77/4 (1995): 677–82; Margaret Iversen, ‘Orthodox and Anamorphic Perspectives’, Oxford Art Journal 18/2 (1995): 81–4; and Whitney Davis, ‘Virtually Straight’, Art History 19/2 (1996): 434–44; see also Keith Broadfoot, ‘Perspective Yet Again. Damisch with Lacan’, Oxford Art Journal 25/1 (2002): 71–96; and Margaret Iversen, ‘The Discourse of Perspective in the Twentieth Century: Panofsky, Damisch, Lacan’, Oxford Art Journal 28/2 (2005): 191–202. 6 Jean-Louis Déotte, L’époque de l’appareil perspectif. Brunelleschi, Machiavel, Descartes (Paris, 2001); Gérard Wajcman, Fênetre. Chroniques du regard et de l’intime (Lagrasse, 2004).

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Brunelleschi as the inventor of linear perspective,7 while Brunelleschi’s biographer, probably Antonio di Tuccio Manetti,8 not only emphasised his invention, but also its relevance to painting: ‘He propounded and realized what painters today call perspective [. . .]. He originated the rule that is essential to whatever has been accomplished since his time in this area.’9 Nevertheless, it should not be taken for granted that Brunelleschi’s perspective demonstrations can be regarded as a project which mainly concerns the notion of the image. A closer examination of Manetti’s description of the panels shall help clarify their relevance to the history of the image, especially in the quattrocento. Brunelleschi’s Iconoclastic Perspective As Brunelleschi’s panels did not survive, modern research predominantly consists of interpretations of Manetti’s account, sometimes supplemented by commentaries on the brief reports by Filarete and Giorgio Vasari.10 Manetti’s text contains astonishing details, but yet also lacks basic information on the methods used by Brunelleschi. Manetti claims that his hero ‘originated the rule’ of perspective, but gives no explanation to help the reader understand the method. Instead, Manetti carefully describes the circumstances that Brunelleschi defined for the demonstration of his panels. The first perspective demonstration—‘una tavoletta di circha mezo braccio quadro’, which probably means a ‘small panel about half a braccio square’11—showed the Florentine Baptistery as it appeared when Filarete, Trattato di architettura, XXIII; Filarete’s Treatise on Architecture, Being the Treatise by Antonio di Piero Averlino, Known as Filarete, ed. John R. Spencer, 2 vols. (New Haven, 1965), vol. 1, 304–5, vol. 2, fol. 178r–179r. 8 On Manetti’s probable authorship and the evidence for dating the text in the 1480s, see Antonio di Tuccio Manetti, The Life of Brunelleschi, ed. and trans. Howard Saalman and Catherine Enggass (University Park, 1970), 10–20. 9 A. di Tuccio Manetti, The Life of Brunelleschi, 42. See also Cristoforo Landino, Commento sopra la comedia di Danthe Alighieri, ed. Paolo Procaccioli (Rome, 2001), vol. 1, 241–2. 10 See Filarete, Trattato di architettura, vol. 2, fol. 178r–179r; and Giorgio Vasari, Le Vite de’ piú eccellenti architetti, pittori, et scultori italiani da Cimabue, insino a’ tempi nostri [1550] (Torino, 1991), vol. 1, 279–80. 11 It is still a matter of debate whether ‘circha mezo braccio quadro’ should be regarded as the size of one side of the panel or as the size of the entire surface; see, for example, Renzo Beltrame, ‘Gli esperimenti prospettici del Brunelleschi’, Atti della Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. Rendiconti. Classe di Scienze morali, storiche e 7

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3. The Baptistery San Giovanni, Florence. Copyright © Johannes Grave.

viewed from inside the central portal of the cathedral of S. Maria del Fiore (Fig. 3).12 Manetti makes special mention of the square and the buildings which were represented on the panel and thereby indicates the approximate viewing angle used by Brunelleschi. In two unusual filologiche, 8th ser., 28 (1973): 417–68, esp. 428; Martin Kemp, ‘Science, Non-Science and Nonsense: The Interpretation of Brunelleschi’s Perspective’, Art History 1 (1978): 134–61; Giovanni Degl’Innocenti, ‘Il dimensionamento della tavoletta del primo esperimento prospettico Brunelleschiano’, in Filippo Brunelleschi. La sua opera e il suo tempo, 2 vols., ed. Guglielmo De Angelis d’Ossat et al. (Florence, 1980), vol. 2, 561–70; and H. Damisch, The Origin of Perspective, 101–2. 12 For references concerning the importance of the Florentine Baptistery and the tradition of its depiction, see Ernst H. Gombrich, ‘From the Revival of Letters to the Reform of the Arts. Niccolò Niccoli and Filippo Brunelleschi’, in Essays in the History of Art Presented to Rudolf Wittkower, ed. Douglas Fraser et al. (London, 1967), 71–82.

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4. Brunelleschi’s peep-hole and mirror system for viewing his perspective demonstration of the Florentine Baptistery. Reconstruction by Martin Kemp (1990), © Yale University Press.

arrangements, Brunelleschi took precautions against potential failures in the illusionistic representation of the Baptistery. According to Manetti, Brunelleschi ‘placed burnished silver where the sky had to be represented . . . so that the real air and atmosphere were reflected in it, and thus the clouds seen in the silver are carried along by the wind as it blows.’13 Furthermore, Brunelleschi made some sophisticated arrangements for the demonstration of the panel (Fig. 4) because the effect of the perspective representation was highly dependent on where the viewer was standing in relation to the panel. Manetti reports that: he made a hole in the painted panel at that point in the temple of San Giovanni which is directly opposite the eye of anyone positioned inside the central portal of Santa Maria del Fiore . . . The hole was as tiny as a lentil bean on the painted side and it widened conically like a woman’s straw hat to about the circumference of a ducat, or a bit more, on the reverse side. Whoever wanted to look at it was required to place his eye on the reverse side where the hole was large, and while bringing the hole up to his eye with one hand, to hold a flat mirror with the other hand in such a way that the painting would be reflected in it.14

13 14

A. di Tuccio Manetti, The Life of Brunelleschi, 44. Ibid. (the translation has been slightly modified).

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Manetti concludes that these arrangements were necessary to ensure that ‘the spectator felt he saw the actual scene when he looked at the painting.’15 The second panel showed the Florentine Piazza della Signoria from a position that offered a view of both façades of the Palazzo Vecchio.16 In this case, Brunelleschi did not drill a hole or employ a mirror, since the necessary distance between panel and mirror would have been too great to be handled by the spectator. Instead of affixing burnished silver to the upper part of the panel, Brunelleschi now decided to ‘cut away the panel in the area above the buildings represented’.17 In this way, the real sky could serve as the background for the painted view. A synopsis of the scholarly debate on Brunelleschi’s panels could show that attempts to reconstruct the appearance of the panels and the methods used by Brunelleschi are, at best, plausible. However, there are simply too many parameters that are only vaguely defined or totally unknown to reconstruct the panels accurately. The size of the panel and the mirror, the viewing distance and the viewing angle, as well as the shape and position of the viewing hole cannot be determined exactly.18 Nevertheless, at least one widespread opinion can be disproved. As Brunelleschi resorted to a mirror for the first demonstration, Decio Gioseffi, Rudolf Arnheim and Samuel Y. Edgerton have suggested that the method of obtaining the perspective effect involved the use of a mirror.19 Whereas Gioseffi and Arnheim proposed that Brunelleschi could have painted the Baptistery immediately on a mir-

A. di Tuccio Manetti, The Life of Brunelleschi, 44. Considerations on the viewpoint chosen by Brunelleschi can be found in Marvin Trachtenberg, ‘What Brunelleschi Saw: Monument and Site at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 47/1 (1988): 14–44, esp. 42–3; see also John White, The Birth and Rebirth of Pictorial Space (London, 1957), 117–20. 17 A. di Tuccio Manetti, The Life of Brunelleschi, 46. 18 See the helpful overview given by M. Kemp, ‘Science, Non-Science and Nonsense’; also Martin Kemp, The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat (New Haven, 1990), 344–5; and Stefano Boraso, Brunelleschi 1420. Il paradigma prospettico di Filippo di ser Brunellesco: Il ‘caso’ delle tavole sperimentali ottico-prospettiche (Padua, 1999). 19 Decio Gioseffi, ‘Perspectiva artificialis. Per la storia della prospettiva. Spigolature e Appunti’ [1957], in Scritti di Decio Gioseffi sulla prospettiva (Udine, 1994), 15–163, esp. 86–97; Rudolf Arnheim, ‘Brunelleschi’s Peepshow’, Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 41 (1978): 57–60; Samuel Y. Edgerton, ‘Brunelleschi’s First Perspective Picture’, Arte Lombarda 18/38–9 (1973): 172–95; Samuel Y. Edgerton, The Renaissance Rediscovery of Linear Perspective (New York, 1975). 15 16

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ror, Edgerton argued that a mirror would have been placed beside the panel during the process of painting. In both cases, Brunelleschi’s device of the hole and the mirror would have served merely to compensate for the inversion of the representation which he had caused by using the mirror in the first place. However, this explanation contradicts not only Manetti’s report that Brunelleschi used the hole and the mirror to ensure that the viewer and the panel were at the right distance, but also ignores the fact that the second panel did not operate with any mirror at all.20 Thus, Gioseffi, Arnheim and Edgerton would have to assume that Brunelleschi used a different method to design the perspective of each panel.21 Moreover, Gioseffi’s and Arnheim’s assumption cannot be reconciled with Manetti’s remark that Brunelleschi put the burnished silver on the picture (‘messo d’ariento brunito’), which would have been absurd if a mirror already served as the panel.22 Confirming Manetti, we can conclude that the mirror was not employed to correct any undesirable effects caused by using another mirror during the making of the panel,23 but was intended to control the process of perception by ensuring the right distance between the viewer’s eye and the panel.24 With this conclusion in mind, it is clear that Brunelleschi’s method required either some knowledge of geometry and mathematics or a certain skill in measuring buildings. Manetti’s account does not enable us to reconstruct the procedure used by Brunelleschi exactly, and only

It is quite unlikely that Brunelleschi painted the Piazza della Signoria on a mirror and then cut away the upper part, following the sophisticated outline of the represented buildings. Manetti emphasises that the second panel was considerably larger than the first one. Therefore it would have been difficult, if not impossible to get a sufficiently large planar mirror. 21 In fact, Arnheim and Edgerton did not propose any explanation of the methods used for the construction of the second panel. Gioseffi obviously recognized the problem and, therefore, claimed that the second panel was the result of a totally different, geometrical method. D. Gioseffi, ‘Perspectiva artificialis’, 90–1. 22 Not to speak of the technical difficulty of drilling a conical hole into a mirror. 23 See also Kim H. Veltman, Review of The Renaissance Rediscovery of Linear Perspective by Samuel Y. Edgerton, The Art Bulletin 59/2 (1977): 281–2. 24 This conclusion implies that Brunelleschi should have been aware of the inversion caused by the mirror he planned to use for the demonstration right from the beginning. Either he anticipated this inversion (for example, by copying preparatory drawings the other way around) or put up with an inversion that—due to the Baptistery’s symmetry—would only be visible at the margins of the representation. Alessandro Parronchi proposed a construction method (based on plans) that would have implied an inversion without using a mirror; see A. Parronchi, ‘Le due tavole prospettiche’. 20

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vaguely indicates the decisive parameters.25 In my opinion, there is no way to determine conclusively whether Brunelleschi constructed his perspective views geometrically using ground plans and elevations,26 specific technical devices, such as an astrolabe,27 a method he specially devised, based on a knowledge of medieval optics,28 or—most likely—by applying his surveying skills.29 However, Manetti makes it quite plain that the crucial parameters—the viewing angle and distance, the form of the hole, the size of the panel and the position of the spectator—were all clearly interrelated. It seems that at the core of Brunelleschi’s demonstrations was a concept of rational and geometrically controlled representation. He consciously limited the rep25 Dominique Raynaud has drawn an even more radical conclusion: ‘les conditions décrites par Manetti impliquent l’impossibilité physique de reproduire le tableau.’ Dominique Raynaud, ‘L’émergence de l’espace perspectif: Effets de croyance et de connaissance’, in Les espaces de l’homme. Symposium annuel du Collège de France, ed. Alain Berthoz and Roland Recht (Paris, 2005), 333–54, here 336. 26 For this assumption (which can be traced back to Giorgio Vasari) and its variations see, for example, Richard Krautheimer, Lorenzo Ghiberti (Princeton, 1970), 234–40; Piero Sanpaolesi, Brunelleschi (Milan, 1962), 41–53; Robert Klein, ‘Pomponius Gauricus on Perspective’, The Art Bulletin 43/3 (1961): 211–30, esp. 223–5; Eugenio Battisti, Filippo Brunelleschi (Milan, 1976), 102–13, 358–60; Luigi Vagnetti, ‘La posizione di Filippo Brunelleschi nell’invenzione della prospettiva lineare. Precisazioni ed aggiornamenti’, in Filippo Brunelleschi. La sua opera e il suo tempo, ed. Guglielmo De Angelis d’Ossat et al. (Florence, 1980), vol. 1, 279–306; Maren Holst-Jürgensen, ‘Technik und Philosophie in Brunelleschis perspektivisch konstruierten Bildern’, Architectura 18/1 (1988), 49–58; Leonhard Schmeiser, Die Erfindung der Zentralperspektive und die Entstehung der neuzeitlichen Wissenschaft (Munich, 2002), 24–39; and David Summers, Vision, Reflection, and Desire in Western Painting (Chapel Hill, 2007), 64. 27 See R. Beltrame, ‘Gli esperimenti prospettici’; see also Marco Jaff, ‘From the Vault of the Heavens. A Hypothesis Regarding Filippo Brunelleschi’s Invention of Linear Perspective and the Costruzzione Legittima’, Nexus Network Journal 5/1 (2003): 49–63. Shigeru Tsuji proposed that Brunelleschi had used a device comparable to the camera obscura; see Shigeru Tsuji, ‘Brunelleschi and the Camera Obscura. The Discovery of Pictorial Perspective’, Art History 13/3 (1990): 276–92; see also the letters by James Lawson and Tsuji in Art History 14/3 (1991): 455–8. Tsuji’s quite improbable assumption does not propose any explanation concerning Brunelleschi’s second panel. 28 See A. Parronchi, ‘Le due tavole prospettiche’. 29 See M. Kemp, ‘Science, Non-Science and Nonsense’ and M. Kemp, The Science of Art, 345. Kemp’s reasonable supposition that Brunelleschi relied on skills of surveying was elaborated by Jehane R. Kuhn, ‘Measured Appearances. Documentation and Design in Early Perspective Drawing’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 53 (1990): 114–32; Frank Büttner, ‘Rationalisierung der Mimesis. Anfänge der konstruierten Perspektive bei Brunelleschi und Alberti’, in Mimesis und Simulation, ed. Andreas Kablitz and Gerhard Neumann (Freiburg i. Br., 1998), 55–87. Volker Hoffmann related the geometrical challenges of the perspective panels to similar problems of the construction of the dome of S. Maria del Fiore; see Volker Hoffmann, ‘Filippo Brunelleschi: Kuppelbau und Perspektive’, in Saggi in onore di Renato Bonelli, ed. Corrado Bozzoni, Giovanni Carbonara and Gabriella Villetti (Rome, 1992), vol. 1, 317–26.

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resentation to objects that were totally measurable and characterised by geometrical patterns.30 Manetti emphasises this when he writes that Brunelleschi invented the ‘rule’ essential for ‘that science which, in effect, consists of setting down properly and rationally the reductions and enlargements of near and distant objects as perceived by the eye of man.’31 He repeatedly stresses that Brunelleschi worked on this problem ‘rationally’ and by employing a ‘rule’. As Hubert Damisch has pointed out, the concentration on objects that could be handled geometrically implies a strong limitation of perspective representation. Brunelleschi’s panels only depicted architectural settings: he did not include human beings, mobile objects or the sky—with its moving clouds—in his paintings.32 This specificity of the panels raises the question to what extent they can be related to the concept of the image that was current at that time. As far as we know, no picture of that era is comparable to Brunelleschi’s extraordinary panels. Susanne Lang has tried to explain the panels’ having been restricted to the representation of architectural settings by interpreting them as Vitruvian stage sets.33 However, this thesis is not only inconsistent with the history of stage design, but also ignores many details of Manetti’s account. Why should Brunelleschi have painted the relatively small panels, and why should he have designed the sophisticated viewing arrangements for the first panel if both pictures were merely intended as preparation for the construction of stage sets? Manetti reports that Brunelleschi painted the panel ‘with such care and delicacy and with such great precision in the black and white colours of the marble that no miniaturist could have done it better.’34 This extensive work would have been out of place if the panel only served as a modello for a stage design. Instead of hastily integrating Brunelleschi’s panels into the history of painting, it would seem more reasonable to stress their singularity. In

For detailed information on Brunelleschi’s alleged mathematical skills, see Piero Sanpaolesi, ‘Ipotesi sulle conoscenze matematiche, statiche e meccaniche dell Brunelleschi’, Belle Arti 2 (1951): 25–54. 31 A. di Tuccio Manetti, The Life of Brunelleschi, 42. 32 See Giulio Carlo Argan, Brunelleschi (Milan, 1955), 18; Hubert Damisch, Théorie du nuage. Pour une histoire de la peinture (Paris, 1972), 166–71; and Damisch, The Origin of Perspective, 93–4. 33 Susanne Lang, ‘Brunelleschi’s Panels’, in La prospettiva rinascimentale. Codificazioni e trasgressioni, ed. Marisa Dalai Emiliani (Florence, 1980), vol. 1, 63–72. 34 A. di Tuccio Manetti, The Life of Brunelleschi, 42. 30

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many respects, both perspective demonstrations departed fundamentally from the concept of the image current in the early quattrocento. Being fully measurable and geometrically controllable, Brunelleschi’s representations of the Baptistery and the Piazza della Signoria were unlike any previous pictures. In common with his architectural projects, his interest in perspective seems to have concentrated on the categories of commensuratio and proportio.35 Only the strict limitation of the pictorial representation to measurable objects enabled Brunelleschi to obtain a nearly perfect illusionistic effect. If we trust Manetti’s account, a central aim of the perspective demonstrations was to adjust the image totally to the setting so that the spectator could take the image of the Baptistery for the appearance of the real building. In the first demonstration, the effect was intensified by the use of a mirror which helped obscure the materiality of the panel and the painting. Viewed in the mirror, the perspective of the Baptistery did not appear as painted; the image was virtually split off from the panel. These singular characteristics of Brunelleschi’s perspectives—the limitation to measurable objects and the use of a mirror—radically strengthened the illusionistic power of the image and, at the same time, caused a sort of immanent iconoclasm.36 The iconicity of the image, which distinguishes the image from the represented object, was now hardly perceivable. In other words, by becoming fully transparent, the image lost its opacity,37 its capacity to refer to its own material status. The illusionism of Brunelleschi’s perspective implied that the pictorially represented space and the real surroundings in which the panels were handled were no longer clearly distinguishable. In the case of the Baptistery and the Piazza della Signoria, the structural correspondence of represented and real space did not cause any problems. But what if totally different locations, rooms and settings should be depicted? The See Giulio Carlo Argan ‘The Architecture of Brunelleschi and the Origins of Perspective Theory in the Fifteenth Century’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 9 (1946): 96–121; Rudolf Wittkower, ‘Brunelleschi and ‘Proportion in Perspective’’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 16 (1953): 275–91; and Miklós Boskovits, ‘‘Quello ch’e dipintori oggi dicono prospettiva’. Contributions to Fifteenth Century Italian Art History. Part I’, Acta Historiae Artium Accademiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 8 (1962): 241–60. 36 See G. Boehm, Studien zur Perspektivität, 19, 28–32. 37 Louis Marin has developed his concept of the opacity of the picture in various contexts; see, for example, Louis Marin, Opacité de la peinture. Essais sur la représentation au Quattrocento (Paris, 1989); and idem, De l’entretien (Paris, 1997), esp. 59–73. 35

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most important function of images in the quattrocento, the representation of scenes from salvific history, of saints and God, required clear distinctions between the represented space and the space of the viewer. However, in the case of Brunelleschi’s concept of perspective representation, it was neither intended nor possible to show categorically different spaces or to represent incommensurable phenomena which did not comply with the logic of the here and now. We therefore have to ask whether perspective representation inevitably implied a profound secularisation of the previously religious image. Framing Brunelleschi’s Perspective The characteristics and effects of Brunelleschi’s panels should by no means rashly be regarded as the paradigm of a new concept of the image. There are good reasons to question the assumption that the art of painting in the early-modern period tended towards the ideal of an illusionistic picture that is characterised by total transparency.38 Of course, Manetti and Alberti praised the power of images to make depicted things appear as objects in real life.39 Yet these comments do not necessarily imply that such illusionistic effects were intended in the vast majority of paintings. Nicholas of Cusa’s Idiota de mente suggests that a certain degree of anti-illusionistic opacity could be considered as indispensable for pictures.40 In this dialogue, the layman makes a remarkable distinction between the imago viva and the imago mortua, the vital and the dead image—a distinction that can be related to fundamental problems of illusionistic paintings. While the imago mortua reproduces the represented object in nearly every respect, the imago viva distinguishes itself by a lower degree of illusionism, but becomes more and more similar. This idea shows striking similarities to recent theories of the image

For an elaborated concept of a progress towards illusionism, see Ernst H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion. A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation (New York, 1960). 39 See Leon Battista Alberti, Vita. Lateinisch-deutsch, ed. Christine Tauber (Frankfurt/Main, 2004), 52. 40 Nikolaus von Kues, Idiota de mente. Der Laie über den Geist, ed. Renate Steiger (Hamburg, 1995), 112; see also Thomas Leinkauf, Nicolaus Cusanus. Eine Einführung (Münster, 2006), 208–10. 38

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that emphasise the constitutive indeterminacy of the image.41 What might seem to be a regrettable lack of resemblance at first actually enables the viewer to participate actively in the process of perception. By stimulating the viewer, a ‘vital image’ has the power to become more and more similar to the thing that was used as the model for the representation. A ‘dead image’, on the other hand, cannot produce such an effect. Cusanus’ concept of the imago viva is part of a much more complex theological argument concerning man’s likeness to God and, especially, the capacity of the human mind. Nevertheless it is fair to assume that the idea of the ‘vital image’ is more than merely a metaphor. As the layman explicitly refers to a painter and his self-portrait, his argument against total illusionism is not necessarily limited to an abstract theological or philosophical context. Louis Marin, Daniel Arasse and Georges Didi-Huberman, among others, have pointed out that the majority of pictures in the fifteenth century had to avoid perfect illusionism, since the saints and religious scenes depicted had to be clearly distinguishable from the viewer’s here and now.42 It is no accident that Daniel Arasse based his history of perspective representation in the fifteenth century on depictions of the Annunciation.43 Hardly any other iconographic theme can so clearly illustrate that the application of perspective had to be carried out very cautiously. Painters were faced with the challenge of depicting the encounter between the angel and Mary not as a mere earthly occurrence, since it was regarded as the moment of God’s incarnation, which contemporary theologians described as the becoming measurable of the incommensurable.44 Perspective was by no means an improved method of depicting such subjects. Rather, the rise of perspective made it more difficult to satisfy the functions of images in the fifteenth century.

Gottfried Boehm describes indeterminacy (‘Unbestimmtheit’) as a fundamental quality that characterizes the image in general; see Gottfried Boehm, ‘Unbestimmtheit. Zur Logik des Bildes’, in Gottfried Boehm, Wie Bilder Sinn erzeugen. Die Macht des Zeigens (Berlin, 2007), 199–212. 42 See L. Marin, Opacité de la peinture; and Georges Didi-Huberman, Fra Angelico. Dissemblance et figuration (Paris, 1990). 43 Daniel Arasse, L’annonciation italienne. Une histoire de perspective (Paris, 1999). 44 Bernardino da Siena, ‘Sermo III. In nativitate Domini. De triplici Christi nativitate’, in S. Bernardini Senensis opera omnia, ed. Collegium S. Bonaventurae (Quaracchi, 1959), vol. 7, 31–49, esp. 38. 41

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Paradoxically, the exceptional character of Brunelleschi’s panels could enable painters to reconcile linear perspective with a concept of the image that adheres to a fundamental pictorial opacity. The particular circumstances of Brunelleschi’s perspective demonstrations did not take into consideration some crucial questions which later painters had to address as soon as they wanted to apply linear perspective to their pictures. Firstly, his panels were obviously not framed; frames would have made it more difficult to obtain the illusionistic effect. Secondly, they did not have a fixed location in front of a wall or on a table, but had to be handled by the viewer. Thirdly, at least in the case of the first panel which was reflected in a mirror, the image was virtually detached and free from its material carrier. Fourthly, again in the case of the first panel, the viewer had to move the picture in order to adjust the distance between his eye, the panel and the mirror. Performing this procedure, he could experience the basic rule of perspectivity, that is, the rule that perspective depends on the correct viewing position if distortion is to be avoided. However, as only one arrangement of eye, panel and mirror guaranteed the correct perspective, the viewer had no alternative but to find the one and only correct distance. The process of perception was intended to result in a predetermined end. Applying Brunelleschi’s linear perspective to conventional pictures, therefore, necessarily implied framing the perspective representation, integrating it into a specific architectural setting (in most cases, a wall), defining its relationship to the material carrier of the painting and permitting the viewer to participate more actively and freely in the process of perception. All these steps inevitably made the pictorial representation more complex. The confrontation between the architecture depicted in perspective and the picture’s specific architectural setting made it possible to restrict the illusionistic effects of perspective. Fixed to a wall, the picture would not have necessarily been taken to be an ‘open window’ (‘finestra aperta’).45 While Alberti’s concept of the ‘open window’ defines a clear and rational relationship between the image, its frame and its surroundings,

L. B. Alberti, De pictura, I, 19; Leon Battista Alberti. On Painting and Sculpture. The Latin Texts of De Pictura and De Statua Edited with Translations, Introduction and Notes, ed. Cecil Grayson (London, 1972), 55. On the concept of the ‘finestra aperta’ see James Elkins, The Poetics of Perspective (Ithaca, 1994), 46–52; Wajcman, Fenêtre, 51–120; and Anne Friedberg, The Virtual Window. From Alberti to Microsoft (Cambridge, MA, 2006), 26–42. 45

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5. Filippino Lippi, St. Philip Driving the Dragon from the Temple of Hieropolis, c.1493–95. Florence, S. Maria Novella, Cappella Strozzi. © Bencini / Alinari Archives, Florence.

many quattrocento paintings are full of irritatingly shifting relationships between the fictitious architecture and the real surroundings. By causing confusion, they reveal an important subversive potential of perspective. In some cases, framing structures seem to become part of the pictorial representation and thereby disturb the strict distinction of image, frame and the surrounding (Fig. 5). For instance, Filippino Lippi’s frescoes in the Strozzi Chapel in S. Maria Novella (Florence)46

See Russell J. Sale, Filippino Lippi’s Strozzi Chapel in Santa Maria Novella (New York, 1979); and Patrizia Zambrano and Jonathan Katz Nelson, Filippino Lippi (Milan, 2004), 513–55 and 584–8. I am preparing a detailed study which shall analyse the use 46

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are framed by a painted architectural structure that consists of pilasters, a frieze and a Gothic arch. The pilasters, however, are partly concealed by figures that belong to the represented scene. Therefore, the frame intrudes into the image, or rather the image disturbs the frame that should guarantee the integrity of the pictorial field. Moreover, the framing architecture causes contradictory effects. While the pilasters suggest that they frame an opening, the frieze turns out to be a moulding which requires a supporting wall. What first seems to be a window-like opening appears as a flat, painted surface. Lippi did not conceive this strategy to strengthen the illusionistic effect of his frescoes, but to subvert the ostensibly unambiguous, clearly comprehensible relationship between the frame and the represented scene. As a result, the viewer comes to the realisation that he cannot gain full control over the constellation of frame and image. In many paintings, the representation of architecture in perspective is used to cause significant alternating effects. In his S. Lucia Altarpiece (Fig. 6), Domenico Veneziano demonstrates an exemplary application of perspective construction. The architecture of the arcade and the polygon behind it, as well as the sophisticated floor pattern indicate that Domenico attached great importance to an exact perspective construction.47 Nevertheless, the depicted space is not totally controllable in terms of geometry. As the arcade ends where the upper section of the frame begins, the viewer is obliged to localise the arcade in the front plane of the pictorial space, although the perspective construction hints at a position far further back. A similar shifting can be observed with respect to the position of Mary’s throne. In these cases, the localisation of the figures and architectural structures varies depending on which pictorial element the viewer relates to them. Even depictions limited only to architectural settings show what it meant to design pictorial representations in perspective that should be framed and integrated into a specific context. The three famous panels with perspective views of ‘ideal cities’, which belong to the museum collections in Urbino, Baltimore and Berlin, seem quite

of architectural elements in Lippi’s Strozzi frescoes as a demonstration of ‘parergonal aesthetics’. 47 See Hellmut Wohl, The Paintings of Domenico Veneziano, c.1410–1461. A Study in Florentine Art of the Early Renaissance (Oxford, 1980), 32–63; Luciano Bellosi, ed., Una scuola per Piero. Luce, colore e prospettiva nella formazione fiorentina di Piero della Francesca (Venezia, 1992), 94–9.

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6. Domenico Veneziano, Madonna with Saints (Pala di S. Lucia), c.1445–47. Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi. © Soprintendenza Speciale per il Polo Museale Fiorentino.

similar to Brunelleschi’s panels at first glance (Fig. 7).48 However, on closer inspection, it is apparent that the painters had to do more than merely apply Brunelleschi’s method, especially in the Berlin painting. The panel not only opens a perspective view of a street leading to a The attribution, date of origin and interpretation of the three panels in Urbino, Baltimore and Berlin are still being debated; for an overview of the various approaches, see Alessandro Conti, ‘Le prospettive urbinati. Tentativo di un bilancio ed abbozzo di una bibliografia’, Annali della scuola normale superiore di Pisa. Classe di lettere e filosofia, 3rd ser. 6/4 (1976): 1193–234; H. Damisch, The Origin of Perspective, 169–375; Richard Krautheimer, ‘The Panels in Urbino, Baltimore, and Berlin Reconsidered’, in Italian Renaissance Architecture from Brunelleschi to Michelangelo, ed. Henry A. Millon (London, 1996), 233–57; and Gabriele Morolli, ‘La vittoria postuma. Una città niente affatto ‘ideale’’, in L’uomo del Rinascimento. Leon Battista Alberti e le arti a Firenze tra ragione e bellezza (Firenze, 2006), 393–9. 48

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7. Unknown Master, Ideal City, c.1470. Berlin, Gemäldegalerie. Photo: Jörg P. Anders. © Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin, 2007.

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harbour, but also depicts a part of the panelling which should probably be integrated into a lettuccio, a firmly fixed sofa or bench. Strictly speaking, the painting consists of two different images—the depiction of the wooden panelling and a picture inserted into this framework. The relationship between these two images becomes even more complex when the viewer focuses his attention on the colonnade in the foreground of the perspective view. As it is part of the perspective construction, nobody would doubt that this particular building belongs to the represented harbour street. However, it fits into the frame in such a way that the columns of the colonnade seem to support the upper section of the frame. As a result, the colonnade opens up the pictorial space within the image and, at the same time, divides the flat surface of the picture into three equal parts. Consequently, this forces the viewer to perceive the panel in two conflicting ways. The painting not only causes a confrontation between the fictitious space and a pictorial composition related to the flat surface, but also establishes a depth that differs from the illusionistic depth of the perspective view. Viewing the picture from an angle reveals that the painting has the shape of a flat box; in the strict sense, it cannot be called a panel. From this angle, we see that the material support of the depiction plays a crucial role in the process of perception and was not meant to be ignored. In contrast to Brunelleschi, the painter did not aim for an iconoclastic illusionism that would lead the viewer to believe he or she was standing in front of an actual scene instead of a flat, painted surface. The panel in Berlin, the frescoes by Lippi and the altarpiece by Domenico Veneziano all display a common strategy in creating a tension between the image and architectural structures. They show that the representation of architecture in Italian quattrocento paintings did not merely serve to implement perspective construction, but could act as an operator that stimulated sophisticated and inconclusive processes of perception. The shifting relationships between image, frame and architectural surroundings ensure that the viewer cannot attain a clear view of the painting which could explain everything unequivocally and rationally. The uncertainty of perception disturbs the transparency of the perspective representation and, to a certain extent, makes the picture opaque. The interaction between transparency and opacity is critical in establishing a tension between the perspective view and the perception of the panel’s flat surface. When applied in this way, perspective does little to help clarify the pictorial representation: it actually makes it more complex. In this case, every element in the image can be seen in two fundamentally different ways: at the two-dimensional level, things

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can be tangential to each other that are strictly separated within the illusionistically-depicted pictorial space. This sophisticated application of perspective allowed fifteenthcentury painters to remain consistent with the traditional, religious concept of the image. By counterbalancing the illusionism of perspective, they could obtain effects of presence without having to apply the logic of the here and now to sacred scenes. Obviously, the figures in Lippi’s fresco and in Domenico Veneziano’s altarpiece seem almost tangible and physically present. However, the careful use of architecture as an operator in the image ensures that the image and its surroundings are categorically distinguished from one another. In this way, the representation of architecture in perspective can offer a glimpse of the incommensurable, although the perspective construction itself fundamentally depends on the measurability of the represented objects. A Rupture, Not a Discontinuity Considering these strategies for dealing with perspective, how should we define the historical relevance of Brunelleschi’s demonstrations? We would be misconstruing this historical event if we regarded it as a decisive step toward a fundamentally new, modern concept of the image. In my opinion, it is doubtful that the history of the image is strictly teleological at all. In fact, the implementation of perspective in paintings of the fifteenth century can be seen as a break that led to an important modification of pictorial strategies that, nevertheless, served almost the same purposes as before. In a conversation with Yve-Alain Bois, Denis Hollier and Rosalind Krauss, Hubert Damisch described the relationship between the representational art of early-modern times and the abstract art of the twentieth century as a break: there is a rupture, but at the same time there must be a ‘relève’—an Aufhebung in the Hegelian sense. So there is a rupture, something new which manifests itself, but was already present in that will to language which was in Renaissance painting.49

Analogous to Damisch’s assessment of modern art, Brunelleschi’s perspective demonstrations can be regarded as a ‘rupture’ that opened up

49 Yve-Alain Bois, Denis Hollier and Rosalind Krauss, ‘A conversation with Hubert Damisch’, October 85 (1998): 3–17, here 14.

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new approaches to satisfy much older functions and concepts of the image.50 Perspective construction was by no means applied to transfer pictorial representation ‘from heaven to earth’. In fact, it helped refine the fragile balance that enabled experiences of presence while representing the incommensurable without fully assimilating it to the measurable. With his two perspective panels, Brunelleschi did not establish a totally new paradigm of the image. However, his demonstrations proved to be a challenge to a concept of the image that was shaped by religious functions. Painters in later generations demonstrated that the implementation of perspective did not necessarily lead to total illusionism. Rather, they used linear perspective to make their pictures more complex and sophisticated. In this way, they discovered a subversive potential of perspective that Brunelleschi had probably not recognised.

A similar argument can be found in Daniel Arasse, ‘Perspective régulière: Rupture historique?’, in Ruptures. De la discontinuité dans la vie artistique, ed. Jean Galard (Paris, 2002), 58–71. 50

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PANOFSKY: LINEAR PERSPECTIVE AND PERSPECTIVES OF MODERNITY Rhys W. Roark Erwin Panofsky’s discussions of linear perspective are well known and much celebrated both within and outside the field of art history. His analysis of linear perspective has been available for the past halfcentury to the English-speaking world primarily through two texts: Early Netherlandish Painting (1953) and Renaissance and Renascences (1960).1 But these works are themselves based on Panofsky’s original perspective paper, presented in 1925, first published in German in 1927, and finally receiving an English translation in 1991: Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’.2 It is the original essay that principally motivates this paper, even though the other two texts, along with others by Panofsky, will also enter into discussion. To begin, Panofsky presents linear perspective as a notable—if not the unique—feature of Italian Renaissance art. For him, this uniqueness lies in linear perspective’s extremely versatile conception of space and in the fruitful and productive implications it has for both the visual arts and the sciences. The importance of this is of such magnitude that, for Panofsky, linear perspective constitutes a significant break from the philosophical and aesthetic worldviews of both Antiquity and the Middle Ages. As Carl Landauer observes, this break allows Panofsky to claim that the Renaissance is in fact a genuine rebirth of Antiquity, and thus something more permanent and less transitory than the mere ‘revivals’ (or ‘renascences’) seen during the Carolingian period and the High Middle Ages.3 ‘Panofsky,’ Landauer suggests, ‘is taking the old tripartite division of history into antique, medieval and modern 1 The editions to which page references will relate are: Erwin Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting: Its Origins and Character, 2 vols. (Cambridge, MA, 1958); Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art (New York, 1972). 2 Erwin Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, trans. Christopher S. Wood (New York, 1991). 3 Carl Landauer, ‘Erwin Panofsky and the Renascence of the Renaissance’, Renaissance Quarterly 47/2 (1994): 255–81.

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epochs quite seriously, implying that the Renaissance and the present are both parts of what the Germans called “die Neuzeit” [literally ‘the new time’, or the modern era]’.4 Panofsky’s Linear Perspective as Ernst Cassirer’s ‘Symbolic Form’ As the title itself suggests, Panofsky’s Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’ takes inspiration from Ernst Cassirer’s The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms.5 In highlighting the uniqueness of Renaissance linear perspective, Panofsky signalled his indebtedness by analysing the artistic and intellectual foundations of the relationship between space and objects from the perspective of Cassirer’s own analysis of the distinctions between Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Rather than being productive processes, Cassirer’s symbolic forms are the manifest products of various expressions of culture, such as art, literature or religion. In that it speaks to epistemology and phenomenology, Cassirer’s formulation of the symbolic form is both Kantian and Hegelian in inspiration.6 It is notably Kantian in that it represents the mind as actively structuring experience rather than as the passive recipient of objective knowledge from a fixed outside world. For Cassirer, cultural activities such as art or literature are mediating frames of reference around which the mind constructs its knowledge of the world. We cannot claim any knowledge of either without them, nor can we see ‘behind’ them to know what reality is in itself apart from them. For Cassirer, the two factors of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’, of ‘I’ and ‘reality’ are determined and delimited from one another only in these symbolic forms and through their mediation. If each of these forms embraces a spiritual coming-to-grips of the I with reality, it does not imply that the two, the I and reality, are to be taken as given quantities, as finished self-enclosed halves of being, which are only subsequently composed into a whole. On the contrary, the crucial achievement of every symbolic form lies precisely in the fact that it does not have the limit between the I and reality 4 C. Landauer, ‘Erwin Panofsky and the Renascence of the Renaissance’, 274; see also 264–5. 5 Ernst Cassirer, The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, trans. Ralph Mannheim, introd. Charles Mandel, 3 vols. (New Haven and London, 1955–1957). Originally published as Philosophie der symbolische Formen (Berlin, 1923–1929). 6 See Donald Phillip Verene, ‘Kant, Hegel and Cassirer: The Origins of the Philosophy of Symbolic Forms’, Journal of the History of Ideas 30/1 (1969): 33–46.

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as pre-existent and established for all time but must create this limit— and that each fundamental form creates it in a different way.7

Despite the similarities, this last sentence distinguishes Cassirer from Kant. For Kant, scientific knowledge of causality was alone constitutive of objectivity. Other activities, such as our understanding of art and aesthetics, could only possess a regulative function within our knowledge. They cannot determine objective knowledge of the world, but may only allow the mind to reflect back on itself and its thought as it carries out its search for objectivity.8 For Cassirer, however, all cultural activities—not science alone—can be of determinative significance.9 In addition to the formation of scientific concepts, ‘the life of the human spirit knows other forms [which] can be designated as modes of “objectivization”: i.e. as means of raising the particular to the level of the universally valid.’10 Generative of their own symbolic forms, feeling and intuition, then, as much as cognition, can also shape our apprehension of the world through such expressions as myth, literature and art. In that they are not static or timeless, but the product of a specific Weltanschauung carrying a unique history, Cassirer’s understanding of symbolic forms is also markedly Hegelian.11 This history of symbolic forms is one of struggle and embodies Hegel’s dialectic: the mind comes to know itself as mind, liberating itself from its identification with the external, physical world and becoming increasingly aware of itself as a constitutive entity.

E. Cassirer, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms vol. 2, 156, emphasis Cassirer’s. This usage of the terms ‘determinate’ and ‘reflexive’ judgments first appears in the Critique of Pure Judgment. See Immanuel Kant, ‘First Introduction’, V, 20: 210 ff.; Kant, ‘[published] Introduction’, IV, 5: 179 ff. In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant distinguishes between ‘apodeictic’ (certain) and ‘hypothetical’ uses of reason, Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, A 642 / B 670 ff.; cf. Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysic § 18 ff. 9 See Charles W. Hendel, ‘Introduction’, in E. Cassirer, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 1, 1–65, here, 47–53. 10 E. Cassirer, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 1, 77. 11 As Verene points out in his article, Hegel and the dialectic are the ‘actual foundations’ of the philosophy of symbolic forms, with Kant’s influence being relevant only in ‘a broad and secondary sense’. For Verene, it is the third volume of Philosophy of Symbolic Forms—The Phenomenology of Knowledge—that is the key volume in this respect, especially as Cassirer’s title mimics Hegel’s own Phenomenology of Spirit (1807). D. P. Verene, ‘Kant, Hegel and Cassirer’, 33 ff. 7 8

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But, just as his Kantianism had its limits, the Hegelian flavour of Cassirer’s symbolic forms goes only so far. Unlike Hegel’s geist, the symbolic form does not have as its object a metaphysical, spiritual essence which is external but transparent to the human mind itself. Instead, symbolic forms help realise a greater functional task immanent to human intelligence itself. The mind is not merely a passive recipient of sensory impressions, but a creative agent of cultural expression. This demonstrates a methodical or functional approach to knowledge,12 as the active and formative mind increasingly recognises its own creative agency by realising its own intrinsic methods of constructing experiences in preference to the merely passive reception of the externality of physical things. In Edgar Wind’s interpretation of Cassirer, as knowledge reorients itself from metaphysics to methods the development of knowledge . . . appears as a continuous transformation of absolute determinants into relative ones. But those determinants which are restricted by this procedure do not lose their entire value; they merely receive a more specific meaning.13

This combination of Kantian and Hegelian elements reveals that the historical and cultural development of symbolic forms is the history of the transition from necessity to freedom, that antithesis critical to the thought of German Idealism, where the mind is led away from its identification with deterministic external reality and towards an awareness of its own freely creative, constructive thought. This historical transition of the forms occurs through a tripartite dialectical development of symbolisation: the mimetic, the analogical and the truly symbolic symbol,14 the final type representing the ‘synthesis’ of the first two, the ‘thesis’ and ‘antithesis’ respectively.15

12 Edgar Wind, ‘Contemporary German Philosophy. Part 1’, The Journal of Philosophy 22/18 (1925): 477–93, here 484. 13 E. Wind, ‘Contemporary German Philosophy’, 484. cf. E. Cassirer, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 3, 110, 200–1. 14 E. Cassirer, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 1, 190–7; 2: 237–61. See also D. P. Verene, ‘Kant, Hegel and Cassirer’, 38–41. Each form is, likewise, respectively connected to a dynamic and expansive set of functions of consciousness: the expressive, the representational and the conceptual—paralleling, but not completely coinciding with Hegel’s subjective, objective and absolute mind. On these three forms see also David Lipton, Ernst Cassirer: The Dilemma of a Liberal Intellectual in Germany, 1914– 1933 (Toronto, 1978), 117–8. 15 D. P. Verene, ‘Kant, Hegel and Cassirer’, 40.

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According to John Michael Krois, the three classes of forms are meant to serve as ideal constructs rather than as a literal, empirical account of history. ‘Cassirer’s analysis of mimetic, analogical and purely symbolic meaning has methodological significance and application it is not an empirical theory.’16 Apparently, this statement is a recognition on Cassirer’s part that culture can evidence ‘fault lines’ in that ‘cultural trends do not move peacefully side-by-side’.17 The only occasion on which Cassirer’s symbolic forms are mentioned in Panofsky’s Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’ is the all-too brief assertion that linear perspective is a symbolic form.18 Nevertheless, the manner in which Panofsky elaborates the history of the artistic representation of objects and space clearly shows the influence of Cassirer’s dialectical triad. There is, however, a significant difference between the two. In contrast to Cassirer, Panofsky is anxious to transform the three classes of symbolic form into actual stages in a more literal, empirical history. This is evident in the numerous synchronic linkages he makes between artistic developments and other cultural and intellectual shifts. A notable example of this—and one to which this paper will return—is the correlation between the development of Renaissance linear perspective and the replacement of the earlier Aristotelian/Platonic model of the cosmos with the idea of a de-centred cosmos of infinite space. According to Panofsky this perspective achievement is nothing other than a concrete expression of a contemporary advance in epistemology or natural philosophy . . . This entailed abandoning the idea of a cosmos with the middle of the earth as its absolute center and with the outermost celestial sphere as its absolute limit; the result was the concept of an infinity, an infinity not only prefigured in God, but indeed actually embodied in empirical reality . . . We shall see this barrier [of the finite cosmos] collapse; it will not, however, crash suddenly, but rather, secretly ruined and consumed, will crumble little by little, in the time between 1300 and 1500.19

John Michael Krois, Cassirer: Symbolic Forms and History (New Haven and London, 1987), 80. 17 E. Cassirer, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 1, 82. 18 E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 41. See also Christopher Wood, ‘Introduction’, in E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 14. 19 E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 65. 16

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The legitimacy of this claim will be examined later, but for now let us return to an exploration of the dialectic between the mimetic, the analogical and the symbolic, and the manner in which it was used by Panofsky. The Mimetic, Analogical and Symbolic Phases of Artistic Space The mimetic symbol is the earliest-realised type of cultural expression. As its very name indicates, it ‘imitates’ and derives from the mind’s sensory immersion in the externality of the world.20 A linguistic example of this is onomatopoeia, where the sound made possesses the same essence as the sound imitated and does not merely ‘symbolise’ it in a more conventional, referential sense.21 For Panofsky, this Cassirerian mimeticism is found in the art of Greco-Roman Antiquity which ‘recognised as artistic reality only what was tangible as well as visible.’22 This literalism both influences and is influenced by a specific intellectual worldview. In the case of Greco-Roman painting, the herringbone perspective construction presupposes the principles of Greek geometry. For Panofsky, this perspective’s sense of distortion and lack of spatial consistency is explained by the eighth theorem of Euclid’s Optics according to which the apparent size of objects is determined in relation to visual angles rather than with respect to straightforward linear distances (Figs. 8–11). The ‘unreality’ of such constructions is the consequence of the fact that the method permits space to be understood as heterogeneous, discreet intervals separating solid bodies, rather than as a homogeneous continuum encompassing both solid bodies and ‘lower-order’ intervals.23 Since literal imitation is unable to express all that humanity might wish to express, Cassirer contended that the mimetic was superseded by the analogical symbol, the first instance of conventional types of symbolism.24 The original unity between signifier and signified is dissolved in favour of a less direct, referential pattern of representation. D. Lipton, Ernst Cassirer, 117–8; D. P. Verene, ‘Kant, Hegel, Cassirer’, 40; cf. E. Cassirer Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 3, 58 ff., 67–70. 21 E. Cassirer, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 1, 190–2. 22 E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 41. 23 E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 42–3: ‘. . . as soon as space is included in the representation [in Antique paintings], above all in landscape painting, the world becomes curiously unreal and inconsistent, like a dream or mirage.’ 24 D. Lipton, Ernst Cassirer, 118; D. P. Verene, ‘Kant, Hegel, Cassirer’, 40; cf. E. Cassirer, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 3, 109–15. 20

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8. Visual Angles: Renaissance linear perspective vs. antique angle perspective. From Erwin Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, trans. Christopher S. Wood (New York, 1991), 36, Fig. 4. © Warburg Institute.

9. Abraham Receiving the Three Angels and The Sacrifice of Isaac, 548 ad, San Vitale, Ravenna. From E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 161, Plate 5. © Warburg Institute.

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10. Antique perspective “fishbone” or “herringbone” construction based on the visual angle axiom. From Panofsky, Perspective as Symbolic Form, Fig. 5, p. 39. © Warburg Institute.

The use of metaphor shows this transition between mimetic and analogical symbolism particularly well. The employment of metaphor at the mimetic stage can be seen as an attempt to capture the concreteness and specificity of an action by substituting one thing for another, demonstrating likeness or identity.25 But as it simultaneously abstracts from experience in order to do this, it moves to a level of abstract thinking by means of analogy. Reliant on organisational and constructive mental activities more than on literal representation, the use of analogical symbols constitutes a magnification of human freedom: ‘[a]s immediate, determinate [sensory] contents recede,’ Cassirer contended, ‘the general factors of form and relation become all the sharper and clearer.’26 25 Cf. Bruno Snell, The Discovery of the Mind in Greek Philosophy and Literature, trans. T. G. Rosenmeyer (New York, 1982), 191 ff., 238 ff. 26 E. Cassirer, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 1, 108.

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11. Roman wall painting from Boscoreale showing the fishbone or herringbone construction of angled perspective. From E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 157, Plate 1. © Warburg Institute.

For Panofsky, the transition from late Antiquity to the Middle Ages occasioned the development of stronger planimetric orientation in art (Fig. 12) and the replacement of the ‘literal’ (mimetic) art by a more ‘symbolic’ (analogical) mode of representation. With this gradual change, both bodies and intervals now become ‘woven’ into the same continuous pictorial ‘fabric’. This art, therefore, can now signify in a more referential manner owing to its stronger ideogrammatic, and hence spiritual, character. While medieval art loses the rationality of the solid world,27 it 27 E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 49. Here Panofsky notes that the world is ‘robbed of its solidity and rationality’.

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12. Italian Renaissance linear perspective: disregarding of the antique angle axiom. From E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 29, Fig. 1. © Warburg Institute.

gains a depiction of space which, despite being distinctly two-dimensional, is more ‘rational’ than ‘empirical’. In contrast to earlier art, it features a continuity of space not given to sensation, and, in prioritising an active mental construction over the replication of passive sensation, thus embodied a greater freedom of thought. The art of the Middle Ages, then, with its apparent reversal of priorities becomes the ‘antithesis’ to Antiquity’s ‘thesis’.28 But with the collapse of both bodies and spatial intervals into a common continuum represented on a twodimensional surface, they can both begin the task of projecting outward, each together, culminating in the art of the Italian Renaissance. This brings us to the final stage of Cassirer’s dialectic: the truly symbolic symbol, more properly the symbolic form of which—for Panofsky—linear perspective is an example. The analogical phase brings a realisation that there is something else other than the material world—a 28

Cf. E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 47.

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more abstract, mental or ideational element, a realm of purely creative, constructive thought.29 Here we see the Hegelian dialectic conclude: the original act of signification—the mimetic ‘thesis’—established a unity between the sign or symbol and substantial entities. This unity is broken up into is analogical ‘antithesis’ where the sign or symbol is now allowed to have a broader, referential and ideational content, carrying meaning beyond sensation. The truly symbolic symbol is the ‘synthesis’ of these two prior forms of signification. It re-establishes the earlier indissoluble unity found with the mimetic symbol, except that the sign or symbol is united not with things (substances), but with ideas (relations/functions) which establish a universal referential signification. The symbolic symbol is a union between a form of communication and the purely ideal relations it embodies. The symbol’s relations are wholly intrinsic or internal to itself rather than being anchored or tied to the physical world. It exhibits a pure formality of structure that permits it to signify universality, which can be defined as the essence of rationality. The symbols familiar to modern science are the paradigmatic example for understanding the truly symbolic symbol.30 Abstract mathematical equations represent an insoluble unity between the symbol and the idea it embodies: the equation cannot be represented in any other way. The insoluble union of sign and idea thus expresses a universal lawfulness inaccessible to earlier mimetic and analogical symbols.31 Likewise, such symbolic symbols are not derived or tied to some literal material content,32 and yet are applicable to the world of experience, demonstrating the height of human creativity, and hence also human freedom. For Panofsky, Italian Renaissance linear perspective represents the truly symbolic symbol in that it encapsulates a purely ideal and rational form. It represents the ‘synthesis’ of Antiquity’s rational, plastically-defined bodies and the rational, consistent or homogeneous artistic space of the Middle Ages. As with the ancients, it is a reunification of symbol—e.g. perspective construction— and referent—e.g. spatiality. But like the ‘non-perspective’ of the Middle Ages, Renaissance linear perspective can reach beyond

D. Lipton, Ernst Cassirer, 118; D. P. Verene, ‘Kant, Hegel, Cassirer’, 40, 39; cf. E. Cassirer Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 1, 58 ff., 195–7. 30 See D. P. Verene, ‘Kant, Hegel, Cassirer’, 39–40; cf. E. Cassirer, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 3, 282–5. 31 Cf. E. Cassirer, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 1, 289 ff. 32 Cf. E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 28–30. 29

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the immediacy of a given sensation to signify a more abstract, rational understanding of reality. Like the laws of modern science, linear perspective construction embodies purely internal relations achieved through a purely mental construction. Space can be defined in terms of a rational and universal lawfulness as its three fundamental qualities— homogeneity, isotropy and infinity—are derived not from empirical reality, but from the ingenuity of the human subject.33 In Panofsky’s view, the fact that the angle axiom, which informed Antiquity’s psychophysiological vision, was replaced by a more economical mathematical construction relating the picture to the plane evidenced this especially well. Like Cassirer’s understanding of the ideas of ‘mass’, ‘force’ and—crucially—‘space’ in contemporary physics, linear perspective as defined by Panofsky is a ‘free fiction’ devised ‘in order to dominate the world of sensory experience and survey it as a world ordered by law, [though] nothing in the sensory data themselves immediately corresponds to them.’34 Panofsky’s progression, like that of Cassirer, clearly demonstrates a Hegelian transition from the externality of sensation to the internality of ideas.35 Similarly, as we progress from the externality of substance to the internality of function, we witness a Kantian transition from ‘our knowledge conforming to objects’ to ‘objects conforming to our knowledge.’36 The Significance of Perspective as a Symbolic Form We have seen that for Panofsky linear perspective develops out of an idealist, art historical dialectic in which Antiquity and the Middle Ages both make notable contributions, but in which the whole that has been fashioned is simultaneously something much more than the mere sum of its antecedent parts. At the beginning of his essay, Panofsky sought E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 31. E. Cassirer, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 1, 85. Speaking of this understanding in terms of physics and its symbolic concepts, it is precisely because sensory content does not correspond to these concepts, ‘the conceptual world of physics is entirely self-contained.’ cf. E. Cassirer, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 3, 393, 400–1. 35 G. W. F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, §803: ‘Not until consciousness has given up hope of overcoming that alienation into an external, i.e. alien manner does it turn to itself, because the overcoming of that alienation is the return to self-consciousness . . .’ cf. ibid. §§ 25 ff.; §§ 803 ff. 36 I. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, B 16. 33 34

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to distinguish the Renaissance clearly from what had come before—an era of still continuing significance as it is the source of ‘the modern’ (die Neuzeit) of which linear perspective becomes the distinctive achievement. This connection between Renaissance and ‘modernity’ is of considerable interpretational importance and Panofsky’s account of linear perspective is coloured significantly by three perceived characteristics of ‘die Neuzeit’, two of which are familiar to the many scholarly accounts of Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’. The first concerns Panofsky’s own fascination and admiration for the association between the achievements of Renaissance art and modern scientific culture. This theme of the unity of science and art that lays the foundation for the modern era was championed by Panofsky in later essays and he came to highlight linear perspective as having allowed for the realistic representation of the human figure essential to modern anatomical science,37 and contributing to the Cartesian sense of space that informs classical mechanics.38 The suggestion that ‘some of the achievements of the arts [should be thought of as] vital contributions to the progress of the sciences’39 returns us to the synchronic connection noted earlier between the development of a linear perspective involving a de-centred and endless conception of space and the corresponding discovery of classical cosmology’s infinite universe. Panofsky locates this synchronous change in the period 1350–1500. This, however, is a very odd set of dates within which to place the emergence of the idea of the decentred, infinite cosmos, or even any kind of presupposition of it, as it is prior to Copernicus’ heliocentrism (1543) and, more critically, the first astronomical observations with a telescope (1609).40 Covering the period during which the ‘revival of the ancients’ is supposed to have

Erwin Panofsky, ‘Artist, Scientist, Genius: notes on the Renaissance Dämmerung’, in The Renaissance: Six Essays (New York, 1962), 123–182, here 141–57, 174–77. 38 E. Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting, 5. 39 E. Panofsky, ‘Artist, Scientist, Genius’, 128; also 136, 140. cf. Joseph Leo Koerner, ‘ “The Shock of the View”, Review of E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, The New Republic (April 26, 1993), 32–8, here 34, where he notes how Panofsky ‘discover[ed] the priority of art in modern consciousness.’ 40 According to Thomas S. Kuhn, The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought (New York, 1959), 131: ‘Until half a century after Copernicus’s death no potentially revolutionary changes occurred in the data available to astronomers.’ On the persisting medieval presuppositions of Copernicus’ heliocentrism, see Arthur O. Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being: A Study of a History of an Idea (Cambridge Mass. and London, 1982), 105. 37

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been underway, these dates describe a time during which the Aristotelian cosmology of the Renaissance was securely in place. As Edward Grant notes, [b]etween approximately 1200 and 1500, cosmology in Western Europe remained unchallenged. Neither rival cosmologies nor new astronomical evidence endangered the stability of the Aristotelian world view.41

And it was the perfect mathematical proportions of its celestial regions, itself extending back to the understanding of Pythagoras, that would legitimate a notable aspect of Renaissance art theory: the interest in mathematical proportions as a guarantee of order, harmony and beauty—what the Greeks would call a ‘cosmos’ as opposed to ‘chaos’. Linear perspective, with its concern for mathematically measurable quantities, should be seen as an extension of this concern for proportion—as witnessed in Alberti’s own concern for the correct proportional placement of perspective transversals42—as opposed to the ‘quantitatively measureless’, which is a contradiction in terms for the Italian Renaissance, as can be seen in Nicholas Cusanus,43 Alberti44 and Leonardo da Vinci.45 Edward Grant, ‘Were there Significant Differences between Medieval and Early Modern Scholastic Natural Philosophy? The Case for Cosmology’, Nous 18/1 (1984): 5–14, here, 5. 42 Leon Battista Alberti, On Painting, trans. Cecil Grayson, introd. Martin Kemp (London, 1991), vol. 1, 19–20. 43 ‘[S]ince God is infinite, He could, in consequence, have created the world infinite; yet since possibility is of necessity limited and its aptitude neither completely absolute nor infinite, the world could not, by reason of its possible being, be actually infinite, greater, or in any way other than it is . . . Since, therefore, limitation of possibility is from God, and the limitation of the act is due to contingency, it follows that the world, necessarily limited through contingency, is finite . . . Our conclusion is that there is a rational explanation and necessary cause of the universe’s being finite.’ Nicholas Cusanus, On Learned Ignorance, trans. Fr. Germain Heron (New Haven, 1954), vol. 2, 8. See also Lai Tyrone Lai, ‘Nicholas Cusanus and the Finite Universe’, Journal of the History of Ideas 11/2 (1973): 161–7, here 162. 44 A line is defined as ‘extended lengthways directly from one point to another.’ L. B. Alberti, On Painting, vol. 1, 2. 45 A line is always defined as ‘. . . the shortest distance between two given points.’ Leonardo da Vinci, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, trans. and introd. Edward McCurdy (Old Saysbrook CT, 2003), 623. Additionally, the artist asks, ‘what is that thing which does not give itself, and which if it were to give itself would not exist?’ Answering, he says, ‘It is the [quantitative] infinite, which if it would give itself would be bounded and finite, because that which can give itself has a boundary with the thing which surrounds it in its extremities, and that which cannot give itself has no boundaries.’ Ibid., 612. This would agree with Cusanus: ‘there is no gradation from infinite to finite.’ N. Cusanus, On Learned Ignorance, vol. 2, 5; also vol. 1, 17. 41

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The second point which must be made—and one which has perhaps received the greatest interdisciplinary emphasis—is that Panofsky’s description of linear perspective involves an epistemological claim: that linear perspective is a cultural convention for understanding how we see rather than a bona fide translation of how we ‘really see’. Although it is possible to be sympathetic towards this as an argument, it seems unlikely that perspective was understood in such terms during the Italian Renaissance. While Panofsky sees perspective as an invention, it seems more plausible to suggest that it would actually have been seen as a discovery by Renaissance artists, conforming to how the world, and the way we see it, actually works. This would more readily underscore the Cassirerian-mimetic dimension of perspective in the Italian Renaissance, indicating as it does that external reality (real or ideal) provided the standard for depiction. This is especially plausible as perspective can be linked to the broader interest in mathematics that takes its cue from external reality—the microcosmic/macrocosmic distinction rooted in the finite, enclosed, geocentric cosmos. This is a more historically satisfying account of Renaissance art than making the era seem so overly ‘Kantian’. Of course, for Panofsky, the important point of the essay is that no culture can claim artistically to portray reality ‘as it really is’, that no artistic method—precisely because of its conventional status— can capture the ‘thing in itself’ any more than cognition can from the viewpoint of Kantian transcendentalism.46 Even the ancients, with their tie to material reality, elaborated an artistic convention for seeing. Representation is never just ‘given’ but, in Kantian fashion, always intellectually constructed,47 thus keeping to the Cassirerian notion of a mind that is dynamic an expansive in its constructive capabilities, and in contrast with Kant’s static and fixed categories.48 It is notable, however, that these two points—the universalising scientific aspect of linear perspective and its conventional epistemological status—are fundamentally contradictory. Panofsky cannot have it both ways and this tension is reflected in what Keith Moxey has 46 Cf. Christopher Wood, ‘Introduction’ to E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 7–24, here 12–3. 47 Cf. E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 71, where he observes that linear perspective is ‘abstracted considerably from psychophysiological “givens” ’, noting the scarce quotes of the final word. Also see E. Cassirer, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 1, 183–4. 48 J. M. Krois, Cassirer, 38–40, esp. 40.

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identified as a change in emphasis in Panofsky’s works.49 In Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’ Panofsky stressed the conventional status of linear perspective, but in Early Netherlandish Painting, later emphasised its universal validity as a space of continuous extension as later explicitly defined by Descartes, which for Panofsky informed our physical and cosmological understanding up to the early twentieth century.50 There is, however, no contradiction here when the developmental phases of Cassirer’s symbolic forms, from mimetic to truly symbolic, are properly understood. The transition from a materialist to an intellectual construction of perspective51 argues precisely for both linear perspective’s conventional status and its universalising character. Panofsky argues that Renaissance linear perspective is just as conventional a mode of depicting artistic space as another other, whether ancient or medieval (or Cubist, for that matter), but then privileges Renaissance linear perspective above all others. It is linear perspective as the truly symbolic ‘Symbolic Form’—a symbolic convention of human thought whose purely internal relations are a freedom from sensory ties that promotes universality—that allows for this double

Keith Moxey, ‘Perspective, Panofsky and the Philosophy of History’, New Literary History 26 (1995): 775–86, here 777–8. 50 E. Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting, 5. Here Panofsky establishes another synchrony: classical cosmology’s supplanting by Einstein’s theory of relativity (1905). The four-dimensional space-time of the latter is, for Panofsky, paralleled by the equally four-dimensional space-time depictions of Picasso, beginning with Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907). Needless to say, I am in no more agreement with this synchrony than with the previous one. As far as I can tell, Cubism’s sense of adding the dimension of time to that of space has nothing to do with how our perception of either one of these variables necessarily alters our perception of the other as based on astronomical distances, as in Einstein’s argument. cf. Michael Ann Holly, Panofsky and the Foundations of Art History (Ithaca, 1985), 149. 51 The double meaning which Panofsky attaches to the term ‘perspective’: like any Cassirerian symbol, a perspective construction construes an intelligible meaning by means of a sensible sign, so that the sensible sign and the meaning relayed are intrinsically bound to one another, rather than the former merely being superadded as a superfluous appearance overlaying a transcendent, intelligible meaning self-sufficient without it. It is due to this intrinsic connection between meaning and the form that communicates meaning that Panofsky says—concerning artistic perspective—‘it is essential to ask of artistic periods and regions not only whether they have perspective, but also which perspective they have.’ E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 41. Likewise, as Panofsky continues, ‘it would be methodologically quite unsound to equate the questions “did Antiquity have perspective?” with the question “did Antiquity have our perspective?” ’ Ibid., 43. 49

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move, and something that obtains for all truly symbolic Cassirerian symbols.52 This leads to the third point regarding the immediate motivation for Panofsky’s stance in Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’. Panofsky’s tendency to discuss the Italian Renaissance in Kantian and Cassirerian terms has, as far as I am aware, received very little attention. Panofsky, along Cassirerian lines, makes a value claim for linear perspective, by which its conventional status as a freedom from all sensory ties promoting universal lawfulness is most important. From a methodological perspective, what Panofsky found so attractive about linear perspective is the duality of objectivity and subjectivity which it embodies. Its conventionalist, universalist, rational objectivity is, after all, informed by a subjective point of view: the individual viewer’s station point, the foundation of linear perspective construction, in relation to which all else—the vanishing point, the orthogonals and the transversals—is determined. Perspective subjects . . . artistic phenomena to stable and even mathematically exact rules, but on the other hand, makes that phenomenon contingent upon human beings, indeed upon the individual: for these rules . . . and the way they take effect is determined by the freely chosen position of a subjective point of view.53

In this respect, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’ is a narrative of human freedom with implied political significance. As the transition from the mimetic to the truly symbolic is one from substance to function, from the material to the ideal, it is equally a transition from necessity to freedom, as noted earlier. As David Lipton observes, Cassirer’s analysis of language and myth was not purely philosophical but was full of political connotations. In effect he made the unfolding of

Cf. ‘The play between perspective as one of the many arbitrary spatial systems and [Renaissance linear] perspective as the culminating Weltanschauung of humanist progress was an ambiguity that . . . Panofsky chose [not] to resolve . . .’ Carolyn A. Jones, ‘The Modernist Paradigm: The Artworld and Thomas Kuhn’, Critical Inquiry 26/3 (2000): 488–528, here 508. But again, there is no contradiction here with Panofsky’s move insofar as the system of Cassirer’s symbolic forms is understood. As Koerner observes, ‘nowhere does [Panofsky say] that linear perspective is arbitrary or has no unique authority in interpreting the world.’ J. L. Koerner, “Shock of the View”, 35. 53 E. Panofsky, Perspective as Symbolic Form, 67. 52

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rhys w. roark liberal values [through his elaboration of the dialectic of symbolic forms] the central theme of his critique of human culture.54

As Cassirer would himself argue in The Individual and the Cosmos in the Philosophy of the Renaissance: ‘There can be no doubt that the Renaissance directed all its intellectually productive forces toward a profound examination of the problem of the individual.’55 Cassirer’s own work in the history of philosophy and Panofsky’s work on linear perspective and the larger Renaissance can be seen as political affirmations of liberal political values as each sought to connect the Renaissance to a wider European culture, and most notably to the culture of that ‘other Germany’, forgotten or marginalised during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The ‘forgotten Germany’ with which the Renaissance was connected was that of the Enlightenment, rather than that nationalist culture which—before, during and after the Weimar Republic—conventionally rejected the cosmopolitan values of Kant, Goethe, Schiller and Humboldt. This conception of an Enlightenment Germany reflects not merely the idea of moral autonomy56 which allowed Panofsky and Cassirer to link the Renaissance and the modern world, but also the perhaps excessively ‘Kantianising’ tendency of both scholars.57 In the first two volumes of Der Erkenntnisproblem (1906–7), Cassirer drew on the influence of Marburg neo-Kantianism to suggest that Kant’s philosophy was the culmination of the process of intellectual development instigated by the Renaissance.58 Taking this further, Panofsky notes that ‘one could even compare the function of Renaissance perspective with that of critical [Kantian] philosophy, and the function of Greco-Roman perspective with that of skepticism.’59 Although Panofsky does not explore the point in detail, we may presume that linear perspective, like Kant’s critical enterprise, is a transcendentally-deduced, mathematical structure that places our sensory experience within the context David Lipton, Ernst Cassirer: The Dilemma of a Liberal Intellectual in Germany, 1914–1933 (Toronto, 1978), 120. 55 Ernst Cassirer, The Individual and the Cosmos in Renaissance Philosophy, trans. Mario Domandi (New York, 1963), 35, emphasis Cassirer’s. 56 Cf. the Enlightenment, Idealist and Romanticist titles of E. Cassirer, The Individual and the Cosmos, chs. 3 and 4: ‘Freedom and Necessity in the Philosophy of the Renaissance’ and ‘The Subject-Object Problem in the Philosophy of the Renaissance’. 57 Cf. D. Lipton, Ernst Cassirer, 25. 58 D. Lipton, Ernst Cassirer, 27–8. 59 E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 66. 54

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of a universal, rational lawfulness. Greco-Roman perspective, for all its attempts at rationality,60 apparently ends up with something like Hume—a world of heterogeneous conjunctions and coincidences, but no lawful, truly rational connections as it made knowledge conform to material necessity rather than the freedom of knowledge to determine objects itself. Cassirer and—following in his wake—Panofsky sought to define freedom within a more ‘internationalist’ or cosmopolitan context. At the early stages of symbol formation—the mimetic and the analogical—humanity was more primitive because the individual more readily identified with collective forms of consciousness, reacting to the world through more mythic means. Humanity becomes more modern and hence autonomous when individual consciousness develops ‘and trie[s] to influence events by the orderly and organized, that is, rational use of [its] implements in connection with given ends.’61 Cassirer’s study of mythical thought is used to demonstrate the beginnings of this individual liberation, the ‘struggling for self-consciousness as the means of making sense out of the prima facie irrational and senseless acts of primitive man.’62 The history of Germany from unification to the Weimar Republic, however, might appear to have been a reversal of this liberation, a version of Cassirer’s dialectic of the symbolic form in reverse. The Germany of the Enlightenment was seen to have been forsaken as a foreign (Anglo-French) and destructive influence. Cosmopolitanism was perceived to have been abandoned in favour of the materialism of either Marxist or Fascist deterministic collectivism.63 Attempting to counterbalance this, Cassirer and Panofsky both stress the German contribution to Renaissance individualism as a means of reaffirming a Teutonic cosmopolitanism. This is evident in Cassirer’s treatment of Cusanus and his influence in Italy in The Individual and the Cosmos in Renaissance Philosophy.64 In Panofsky’s Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, it is apparent in the evaluation of the extent to which

Ibid., 70. D. Lipton, Ernst Cassirer, 122. 62 Ibid., 120. 63 On the distinction between Gessellschaft (society) and Gemeinschaft (community) as it related to the politics of Weimar Germany, see D. Lipton, Ernst Cassirer, 151. 64 E. Cassirer, The Individual and the Cosmos, chs. 1 and 2. 60 61

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13. Last Supper, c.1250. Naumburg Cathedral. From E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 162, Plate 6. © Warburg Institute.

Northern Europe—and Germany in particular (Fig. 13)65—actively contributed to the realisation of truly consistent perspectival space in the Middle Ages.66 The connection between individual autonomy in Kant and the Renaissance is made explicit by Panofsky in a later essay, ‘The Visual Arts as a Humanistic Discipline,’ in his Meaning in the Visual Arts, published shortly after Early Netherlandish Painting (1953) and five years before Renaissance and Renascences (1960). In

E.g. E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 162 (the Last Supper from Naumburg Cathedral, plate 6); 169 (Master Betram of Minden, Creation of the Heavens from the Petri Altar, plate 13). 66 See also E. Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences, 82. 65

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‘The Visual Arts as a Humanistic Discipline’, Renaissance humanism is understood as an attitude which can be defined as the conviction of the dignity of man, based on the insistence of human values (rationality and freedom [the ancient sense of humanitas]) and the acceptance of human limitations (fallibility and frailty [the medieval sense of humanitas]); from these two postulates result—responsibility and tolerance [the Enlightenment sense of humanitas].67

And for this Enlightenment sense of humanitas, Panofsky begins the whole discussion by invoking Kant and the sense humanitas had for him.68 By describing linear perspective as a Cassirerian symbolic form, it should not be surprising that the perspective essay’s mode of argumentation and claims regarding individual autonomy are informed by a Kantian worldview. It is the same freedom from external materialist ties that not only defines scientific knowledge in the Kantian sense, but also the ethical subject, as human freedom is the very centre of all of Kant’s epistemological enterprises.69 For Kant, moral imperatives cannot depend on sensory perception, or on custom or habit: ‘what is’ cannot be a basis for ‘what ought to be’. As Cassirer notes in his biography of Kant: The causality of obligation [i.e. Kant’s categorical imperative] is not confined to the actual, but is oriented toward what is not actual, indeed to what is empirically impossible [keeping in mind Panofsky’s understanding of perspective in his essay—true linear perspective is also ‘empirically impossible’].70 The pure content and the pure validity of the categorical imperative thus hold even when experience affords us no proof that any actual subject has ever acted in accordance; in fact, no such proof may ever be provided . . .71

The creative freedom of linear perspective as a truly symbolic form thus implies the humanist, moral freedom that culminated in Enlightenment moral autonomy. For Cassirer, ‘Autonomy signifies

Erwin Panofsky, ‘Introduction: The History of Art as a Humanistic Discipline’, Meaning in the Visual Arts: Papers in and on Art History (New York, 1955), 1–25, here 2. The definitions of Antique, Medieval and Renaissance humanitas are noted at ibid., 1–2. 68 E. Panofsky, ‘The History of Art as a Humanistic Discipline’, 1–2. 69 Andrew Bowie, Aesthetics and Subjectivity: from Kant to Nietzsche, 2nd ed. (Manchester and New York, 2003), 23. See I. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, B 25–29. 70 Cf. E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 59–63; 130–138n. 60. 71 Ernst Cassirer, Kant’s Life and Thought, intod. Stephen Koerner, trans. James Haden (New Haven and London, 1981), 254. 67

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that binding together of theoretical reason [scientific thought] and practical reason [ethical action] alike.’72 In Panofsky’s perspective essay itself, humanitas—which is described as ‘modern anthropocracy’—is invoked during a summary of Cassirer’s dialectic: Through this peculiar carrying over of artistic objectivity into the domain of the phenomenal, perspective seals off religious art from the realm of the magical, where the work of art itself works the miracle, and from the realm of the dogmatic and symbolic, where the work bears witness to, or foretells the miraculous. But then it opens it to something entirely new: the realm of the visionary, where the miraculous becomes a direct experience of the beholder, in that the supernatural events in a sense erupt into his own, apparently natural, visual space and so permit him really to “internalize” their supernaturalness. Perspective, finally, opens art to the realm of the psychological, in the highest sense, where the miraculous finds its last refuge in the soul of the human being represented in the work of art; not only the great phantasmagorias of the Baroque— which in the final analysis were prepared by Raphael’s Sistine Madonna, Dürer’s Apocalypse, Grünewald’s Isenheim altar, indeed perhaps already Giotto’s St. John on Patmos fresco in S. Croce—but also the late paintings of Rembrandt would not have been possible without the perspectival view of space. Perspective, in transforming the ousia (reality) into phainomenon (appearance), seems to reduce the divine to a mere subject matter for human consciousness; but for that very reason, conversely, it expands human consciousness into a vessel for the divine. It is thus no accident if this perspectival view of space had already succeeded twice in the course of the evolution of art: the first time as the sign of an ending, when antique theocracy crumbled; the second time as the sign of a beginning, when modern “anthropocracy” first reared itself.73

It is this ‘modern anthropocracy’ that is related to Panofsky’s synchronic connection between linear perspective and the cosmology of the infinite. Of the three qualities by which Panofsky defines linear perspective construction and its representation of space—homogeneity, isotropy and infinity—it is infinity that receives by far the greatest Cassirer, Kant’s Life and Thought, 243. E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 72. I have found this quotation, or at least small parts of it, invoked twice, by Moxey (K. Moxey, ‘Perspective, Panofsky and the Philosophy of History’, 778) and Holly (M. A. Holly, Panofsky and the Foundations of Art History, 156). Cf. E. Cassirer, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 2, 258: ‘all sensuous things are and remain signs and metaphors—but the sign no longer has a ‘wonder’ or miracle about it if the character of the wonder is seen in its particularity as an individual revelation of the transcendent. True revelation no longer occurs in any particular but only in the whole: the world as a whole and the entirety of the human soul.’ 72 73

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stress.74 In pointing out that the irrational, heterogeneous character of antique perspective was rooted in sensation, Panofsky affirms that ‘perception does not know the concept of infinity; from the very outset it is confined within certain special limits imposed by our faculty of perception’; by contrast, the infinity and homogeneity of linear perspective construction embody ‘mere expressions of ideal relations’ to the point at which the representation ‘is a purely functional and not a substantial reality.’75 As such, ‘infinity’ is the notable quality of the three that marks the evolution of human consciousness from the sensible to the intelligible. The infinite is a product not of something external or non-existent, but of the constructive creativity of the self. As Panofsky explains: Actual infinity, which was for Aristotle inconceivable and for High Scholasticism only in the shape of divine omnipotence, that is, in a huperouranious topos (place beyond the heavens) has now [with Renaissance linear perspective] become natura naturata [nature natured, or nature already created—but here created by the autonomous, hence, self-legislating, human subject].76

For Kant, the infinite expresses the paradoxical combination of two contradictory qualities; a combination, however, which would not have been viewed as resolvable during the Italian Renaissance. In Kant’s epistemology, the infinite embodies a sense of totality or completeness—a qualitative infinity which during the Renaissance could be associated with the unlimited perfection of God—and the numerically unlimited or unbounded—a quantitative infinity which would have stood in opposition to the Renaissance notion that finite being was governed by mathematical proportion. For Kant, both apply to the scientific and ethical spheres in that in the infinite possibilities of experience (quantitative infinity) we should continually strive for 74 As far as I can ascertain, the word ‘infinite’ or ‘infinity’ or its occasional synonyms occurs twenty-five times in the course of the main body of the essay (excluding notes): 28, 29, 30 (x2), 31 (as ‘boundlessness’), 44 (x2), 49 (as ‘immeasurable’), 54 (as ‘unlimited extension’), 56, 57, 58, 61, 63 (referring to Alberti on the definition of lines), 65 (x5), 66 (x2), 70 (x4—once as ‘arbitrariness of . . . distance’ and as ‘indifference to . . . distance’). For ‘homogeneity’, fifteen times: 29 (x2), 30 (x7—once as the antonym ‘unhomogeneous’), 31, 44, 49 (x2—once as ‘continuum’), 51, 52, 70. For ‘isotropy’ five times: 28–29 (x2—both as ‘unchanging’), 30 (as the antonym ‘anisotropic’), 70 (x2—once as ‘arbitrariness of direction’ and as ‘indifference to direction’). 75 E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 30, citing E. Cassirer, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 2, 83–4. 76 E. Panofsky, Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, 65–6.

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the empirically-unverifiable suprasensuous (qualitative infinity).77 To argue for the infinity of the cosmos is to make a transcendental claim (in the epistemological sense) as this claim is beyond empirical verification.78 But for Panofsky, the ability to assert this claim arises from the realisation that infinity is a function of our autonomy, our sense of ‘modern anthropocracy,’ and the reason why this synchrony of linear perspective and of the infinite cosmos is so important him. Despite this synchrony’s historical illegitimacy, it is an ironic revision of the Renaissance microcosmos/macrocosmos analogy that would be befitting for the Enlightenment. ‘In our selfhood,’ as Cassirer says, quoting Leibniz, ‘there is an infinitude . . .’79 Conclusion Panofsky’s defence of ‘modern anthropocracy’ as evidenced in linear perspective and Renaissance humanism ultimately proved to be a lost cause in Weimar Germany.80 Yet in mounting his defence, and in describing Renaissance linear perspective in Kantian terms, Panofsky expressed a notable irony. Writing on the eve of World War II, Panofsky melancholically observed in the conclusion of Studies in Iconology that the world of Renaissance humanism had given way to the world of modernity. A worldview underpinned by classical and Christian values—where knowledge was a function of ontology—had, in his view, ceded to a worldview that could no longer base its knowledge on a pre-established, objective order of being, but only on the deliberate scepticism of the thinking individual. This [transition of worldviews] was a solution [to the intellectual crises of the time] by way of subjective deliverance . . . [which] naturally tended towards a gradual disintegration both of the Christian faith and classical

See Adrian W. Moore, ‘Aspects of the Infinite in Kant’, Mind 97 (1988): 205–23. 78 Cf. I. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, B 41 ff. (in the ‘Transcendental Aesthetic’, Sec. I, § 3.). 79 E. Cassirer, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 2, 258, referring to G. W. Leibniz, Von der wahren Theologia mystica (1838), I, 411. 80 Cf. J. L. Koerner, “The Shock of the View”, 32, where it is noted that this loss was not forgotten by Panofsky, nor forgiven. When he made his only post-war visit to Germany in 1967, he gave two public lectures and an acceptance speech for the Pour Le Mérite (Germany’s highest award) in English. cf. C. Wood, ‘Introduction’, 10–12. 77

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humanity, the results of which are very much in evidence in the world of today.81

Panofsky’s understanding of Renaissance linear perspective, as first formulated in Perspective as ‘Symbolic Form’, and as later repeated in Early Netherlandish Painting and Renaissance and Renascences, is predicated upon this very sense of ‘subjective deliverance’, the source of his melancholy. In conceiving of linear perspective in terms both of modern projective geometry and of subjective transcendentalism, Panofsky signals his own debt to modernity, and especially to Descartes and Kant. Drawing on inherited Enlightenment thought, Panofsky’s argument emphasises the notion that cognitive knowledge and ethical action are rooted more in the self and in the creative mind than in external or extrinsic foundations. Associated with, for example, nature and Antiquity, however, these foundations were the basis of Renaissance art and culture. Thus Panofsky defines linear perspective in a manner that runs counter to the very presuppositions of Renaissance mimesis: that art is based upon ontological extrinsic or external foundations, rooted in the structure of the world or cosmos itself, rather than in the epistemologically intrinsic foundations characteristic of subjectivist Kantian traditions.

81 Erwin Panofsky, Studies in Iconology: Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance (New York, 1972), 230.

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MICHELANGELO’S MYTHOLOGIES Maria Ruvoldt Between late December 1532 and September 1533, Michelangelo sent a series of drawings to Tommaso de’Cavalieri, the young Roman nobleman who had captured his affection. In the Rape of Ganymede (Cambridge, MA, Fogg Art Museum, Fig. 14), the Punishment of Tityus (Windsor, Royal Library), and the Fall of Phaeton (Windsor, Royal Library), Michelangelo used the imagery of ancient myth to communicate complex messages of love, desire, and the consequences of human hubris.1 Although much has been made of the intimate nature of these gifts, and of the relationship that generated them, this paper aims to draw attention to the unique status of these subjects in Michelangelo’s artistic production. The gift drawings for Cavalieri represent ‘[G]li disegnò un Ganimede rapito in cielo da l’uccel di Giove, un Tizio che l’avoltoio gli mangia il cuore, la Cascata del carro del Sole con Fetonte nel Po et una Baccanalia di putti, che tutti sono ciascuno per sé cosa rarissima e disegni non mai più visti, Giorgio Vasari, La vita di Michelangelo nelle redazioni del 1550 e del 1568, ed. Paola Barocchi, 4 vols. (Milan, 1962), vol. 1, 118. A letter from Cavalieri demonstrates that he was in possession of the Phaeton, Tityus, and Ganymede compositions in September 1533. See Paola Barocchi, Giovanni Poggi and Renzo Ristori, eds., Il Carteggio di Michelangelo, 5 vols. (Florence, 1965–83), vol. 4, no. 932. The literature on Michelangelo’s ‘gift’ or ‘presentation drawings’ is vast. William E. Wallace, ‘Studies in Michelangelo’s Finished Drawings’ (PhD diss., Columbia University, 1983), offers the term ‘gift drawing’ as an alternative to the conventional ‘presentation drawing’ coined by Johannes Wilde. See A. E. Popham and Johannes Wilde, The Italian Drawings of the XV and XVI Centuries in the Collection of His Majesty the King at Windsor Castle (London, 1949), nos. 423–4, 428–31. See also Michael Hirst, Michelangelo and His Drawings (New Haven and London, 1988), ch. 10, ‘The Making of Presents’; Paul Joannides, Michelangelo and His Influence: Drawings from Windsor Castle (Washington, DC and London, 1996), and Alexander. Nagel, ‘Gifts for Michelangelo and Vittoria Colonna’, Art Bulletin 79 (1997): 647–68. For Michelangelo and Cavalieri, see Baruch D. Kirschenbaum, ‘Reflections on Michelangelo’s Drawings for Cavaliere’, Gazette des Beaux-Arts 6e sér. 38 (1951): 99–110; Christoph L. Frommel, Michelangelo und Tommaso de’Cavalieri (Amsterdam, 1979); Robert S. Liebert, Michelangelo: A Psychoanalytic Study of His Life and Images (New Haven and London, 1983); and James M. Saslow, Ganymede in the Renaissance: Homosexuality in Art and Society (New Haven and London, 1986), 17–62. Precisely how young Cavalieri was when the two met is a matter of some debate, but he was surely no older than nineteen and quite possibly as young as twelve. For Cavalieri’s birthdate, see Gerda Panofsky-Soergel, ‘Postscriptum to Tommaso Cavalieri’, in Scritti di storia dell’arte in onore di Roberto Salvini (Florence, 1984), 399–405. 1

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14. Michelangelo, The Rape of Ganymede, c.1533 (Vico). Cambridge MA, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Gifts for Special Uses Fund. Photo: Alan Macintyre. © President and Fellows of Harvard College.

one of the artist’s few forays into mythological subject matter. Despite his deep engagement with the art of classical Antiquity as a model for his conception of the human form, and his affinity for Neoplatonic philosophy, Michelangelo resisted antique subject matter for most of his career.2 In fact, his use of mythological subjects was restricted to

2

See Erwin Panofsky, ‘The Neoplatonic Movement and Michelangelo’, in Studies

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two distinct moments: first, during his initial training as a sculptor, a period that ended in 1497, and then, after a gap of more than thirty years, from 1529 to 1533, when he produced the extraordinary gift drawings and a handful of other works with classical themes before abandoning such subjects completely for the remainder of his life.3 What caused Michelangelo to turn away from mythology and why did he return to it when he met Cavalieri? What did the language of myth suddenly offer him that had not been available, or at least attractive to him, before? This paper will attempt to answer these questions by tracing the evolution of Michelangelo’s relationship with the art of classical Antiquity over the course of his career. In the process, we will hopefully be able to discern the range of meanings the classical past had for Renaissance audiences. Encouraged by the intellectual and artistic climate of late fifteenthcentury Florence, Michelangelo’s earliest works demonstrate a persistent interest in ancient art and subjects.4 Taken into the Medici household by Lorenzo the Magnificent, Michelangelo was influenced by the humanists in Lorenzo’s circle, who suggested subjects like the Battle of the Centaurs (Florence, Casa Buonarroti) to the young sculptor.5 He also had at his disposal Lorenzo’s exceptional collection of antiquities, including cameos and engraved gems that would, as we will see, provide inspiration throughout his long career.6 But in this first phase of his artistic training Michelangelo was involved in a project of imitation, emulating techniques—such the low relief of ancient sarcophagi in the Battle of the Centaurs—and making copies of the in Iconology: Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance (1939; reprint, New York, 1962), 171–230. 3 The works from the early period are the Head of a Faun (c.1489, lost), Battle of the Centaurs (c.1492, Florence, Casa Buonarroti), Hercules (c.1494, lost), the Sleeping Cupid (c.1496, lost), Cupid-Apollo (c.1496, lost), Bacchus (1496–7, Florence, Bargello). The later works commence with the Leda (c.1530, lost) and include Venus and Cupid (1532–33, lost), Three Labours of Hercules (c.1530, Windsor, Royal Library), the Rape of Ganymede (1532–3, Cambridge, MA, Fogg Art Museum), the Punishment of Tityus (1532–3, Windsor, Royal Library), and the Fall of Phaeton (1532–3, Windsor, Royal Library). 4 For Michelangelo’s early career, see Giuseppe Fiocco, ‘Sull’inizio di Michelangelo’, Le arti 4 (1941): 5–10; Charles de Tolnay, The Youth of Michelangelo (Princeton, 1943); Alessandro Parronchi, Opere giovanili di Michelangelo, 6 vols. (Florence, 1968–2003); and Michael Hirst and Jill Dunkerton, The Young Michelangelo (London, 1994). 5 According to both Vasari and Condivi, Angelo Poliziano suggested the subject of the Battle of the Centaurs and the Rape of Deianira to Michelangelo. See Ascanio Condivi, Vita di Michelagnolo Buonarroti, ed. Giovanni Nencioni (Florence, 1998), 13; and Vasari, Vita, 11. See also John F. Moffitt, ‘Another Look at Michelangelo’s Centauromachia’, Source: Notes in the History of Art 25 (2006): 16–26. 6 For Lorenzo’s collection, see Laurie Fusco and Gino Corti, Lorenzo de’Medici, Collector and Antiquarian (Cambridge, 2006).

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sculptures in the Medici collection, often blurring the line between imitation and forgery. His most successful, or perhaps notorious, project was the Sleeping Cupid—now lost—a copy after a work in the Medici collection.7 Michelangelo buried his Cupid to age it artificially, and sold it to an unwitting collector as an actual antiquity.8 The deception was soon discovered, but Michelangelo had established himself as an artist who could compete directly with the ancients. His efforts and ambitions culminated in the Bacchus (Florence, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Fig. 15), a life-size marble sculpture that seems to embody the reintegration of classical form and subject matter that Erwin Panofsky identified as the signal achievement of the Italian Renaissance.9 In scale, medium, and subject, the Bacchus betrays its sources—the sculptures Michelangelo had seen in the Medici collection and then on his first trip to Rome. It is, in many ways, a highly conventional approach to the antique, a case study in the Renaissance revival of classical Antiquity. It is significant, however, that despite his apparently easy mastery of technique and style, Michelangelo seems not to have been truly engaged by the subjects of these works. The Battle of the Centaurs, for example, is a famously difficult image to decipher. Without Michelangelo’s own testimony, we could determine that the scene is one of conflict and chaos, but we might be hard pressed to identify the subject or even locate a single mythical beast. The Bacchus comes closer to integrating form and subject—the unsteady stance and unfocused gaze of the god make visible the effects of wine, its power to ensnare both mind and body—but it hews so closely to ancient models that it, too, might be mistaken for an antiquity. The Bacchus also offers

For the Medici sculpture garden, see Caroline Elam, ‘Lorenzo de’Medici’s Sculpture Garden’, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 36 (1992): 41–83, esp. 58–61. See also Paola Barocchi, ed., Il Giardino di San Marco, Maestri e compagni del giovane Michelangelo (Florence, 1992). For the Sleeping Cupid, see Condivi, Vita, 17–8, Vasari-Barocchi, Vita, vol. 1, 15 and M. Hirst and J. Dunkerton, The Young Michelangelo, 20–8, with further references. 8 Condivi, Vita, 17–8, reports that Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’Medici suggested that Michelangelo age the sculpture and send it to Rome for sale, and that the artist obliged. Vasari-Barocchi, Vita, vol. 1, 15, offers different theories of who was responsible for the deception, repeating Condivi’s version, but also suggesting that the sculpture was aged without Michelangelo’s consent. Both sources concur that the ultimate purchaser of the work, Cardinal Raffaele Riario, uncovered the fraud and thus discovered the talented young sculptor and brought him to Rome. 9 Erwin Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art (1960, reprint, New York, 1972). For Michelangelo’s Bacchus, see M. Hirst and J. Dunkerton, The Young Michelangelo, 29–35, with further references. 7

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15. Michelangelo, Bacchus, c.1496–7. Florence, Museo Nazionale del Bargello. © Soprintendenza Speciale per il Polo Museale Fiorentino.

a glimpse of the future—of the way that Michelangelo would use the form of the body to express the conditions of the soul. Paradoxically, perhaps, in bringing him to the attention of patrons in Florence and Rome interested in large-scale public monuments, for which antique subjects were ill-suited, it was the success of the Cupid and the Bacchus that led to Michelangelo’s abandonment of classical

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content. In relatively rapid succession, he was employed by a French cardinal (who commissioned the Vatican Pietà), by the overseers of the Florentine cathedral (who offered him the marble block that would become the David), by the government of Florence (who requested a fresco of the Battle of Cascina), and finally by the pope himself, Julius II (who chose Michelangelo to create his tomb). That project was soon disrupted by another commission from the della Rovere pope, the decoration of the Sistine ceiling. Although Michelangelo was no longer occupied with antique subjects after 1497, the aesthetic of Antiquity permeated his work, as he adopted and adapted ancient models, particularly those of the male nude, for his own purposes. Sculptures recently unearthed in Rome quickly found their way into Michelangelo’s work, in both sculpture and painting.10 The fragmentary remains of ancient gods and heroes found new life as Florentine soldiers in the Battle of Cascina, as allegorical figures on the Sistine Ceiling, and as Biblical patriarchs in the colossal David, which echoes the Apollo Belvedere, and the Moses for the Julius tomb. Whether directly imitating ancient models, as in the use of the Belvedere torso (Fig. 16) for one of the Sistine ignudi (Fig. 17), or simply deriving inspiration from them, Michelangelo systematically incorporated antique form into his vocabulary of the body. Although Michelangelo continued to look to ancient art as a model for the perfect human figure, the appeal of imitation and replication had faded. Instead, during his thirty year break from mythological subjects, he was concerned with the creation of a modern art, one that might take inspiration from the art of classical Antiquity as a resource to be mined, but that was finding a different means of expression appropriate to its own subjects. Rather than recreate the visual world of classical Antiquity, Michelangelo and his contemporaries adapted classical aesthetics to Renaissance purposes. The idealised naturalism of ancient art married with a faith that focused on God made flesh made for a potent combination, and for the first quarter of the sixteenth century, Michelangelo laboured to develop a new visual language of the body that would blend ancient aesthetics with Christian content. It is a kind of visual humanism, as it were, a parallel project 10 For Michelangelo’s appreciation of even minor antique works, see William E. Wallace, ‘Michelangelo Admires Antiquity . . . and Marcello Venusti’, in Ashes to Ashes: Art in Rome between Humanism and Maniera, ed. Roy Eriksen and Victor Plahte Tschudi (Rome, 2006), 125–53.

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16. Apollonios of Athens, The Belvedere Torso, 1st century bc. Vatican City, Museo Pio Clementino, Vatican Museums. Photo: F. Bucher. © F. Bucher.

to literary and scholarly efforts to reconcile ancient philosophy with Christian faith. Just as his early project of imitation was nurtured by the environment of late fifteenth-century Florence and its antiquarian interests, so too does this middle phase reflect the atmosphere in which Michelangelo was working. He was immersed in the culture of Renaissance Rome during a period of urban renewal and renovation designed not simply to restore the city’s former glory but rather to create a new Rome that would surpass the old.11 The ancient world was physically

11 For the milieu of sixteenth-century Rome, see, among others, Ingrid Rowland, The Culture of the High Renaissance: Ancients and Moderns in Sixteenth-Century Rome (Cambridge, 1998) and Leonard Barkan, Unearthing the Past: Archaeology and Aesthetics in the Making of Renaissance Culture (New Haven, 1999).

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17. Michelangelo, The separation of light from darkness (detail). Vatican City, Sistine Chapel. © akg-images, London.

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present in ruins and rediscovered wonders to inspire new creation, but it was also an obstacle to the modernisation of the city, and sixteenthcentury Romans were decidedly unsentimental about demolishing or stripping ancient monuments to make way for new ones. It is precisely this attitude of re-use and reclamation, albeit in a far less destructive fashion, that we can see at work in Michelangelo’s adaptations. If it was the demands of patronage that drew Michelangelo away from ancient subjects, it was patronage that brought him back again. In 1529, Michelangelo travelled to Ferrara at the behest of the Florentine government as part of an effort to enlist the support of Duke Alfonso d’Este for the beleaguered Republic in its final struggle against Medici rule.12 It was in Ferrara that Michelangelo discovered a new approach to the antique in the gallery of mythological paintings the duke had assembled in his private study and showplace, the Camerino d’Alabastro. The program of Alfonso’s gallery had been conceived by a court humanist, who selected subjects for the paintings from Ovid, Catullus, and the works of other classical authors.13 This was, on a much larger and more formal scale, precisely the kind of arrangement Michelangelo claimed to have had in his youth with the humanists in the circle of Lorenzo de’Medici—using ancient texts as sources for modern works of art. But if the method of working from texts was familiar to Michelangelo, the results must have been a revelation. The paintings in the Camerino, including Giovanni Bellini’s Feast of the Gods (Fig. 18) and Titian’s Worship of Venus (Fig. 19), represented an entirely new approach to classical Antiquity, and, as Paul Joannides has recently argued, the experience of them was a transformative experience for Michelangelo.14 The almost archaeological interest in the imitation and re-creation of the ancient world that we see in Michelangelo’s earliest works is present here—Bellini’s grouping of gods recalls the low relief For this episode, see William E. Wallace, ‘Michelangelo’s Leda: The Diplomatic Context’, Renaissance Studies 15 (2001): 473–98. 13 For Alfonso’s Camerino, see John Walker, Bellini and Titian at Ferrara: A Study of Styles and Taste (London, 1956); Cecil Gould, The Studio of Alfonso d’Este and Titian’s Bacchus and Ariadne (London, 1969); Gorel Cavalli-Bjorkman, ed., Bacchanals by Titian and Rubens (Stockholm, 1987); David Rosand, ‘Ekphrasis and the Generation of Images’, Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics 1 (1990): 61–105; Rona Goffen, Titian’s Women (New Haven, 1997), 108–22; and David Jaffé, Titian (London, 2003), esp. 101–6. 14 See Paul Joannides, ‘Titian and Michelangelo/Michelangelo and Titian’, in The Cambridge Companion to Titian, ed. Patricia Meilman (Cambridge, 2004). 12

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18. Giovanni Bellini, The Feast of the Gods, 1514–29. Washington DC, National Gallery of Art, Widener Collection, 1942.9.1. © National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

and regular scansion of classical friezes, and Titian’s picture closely follows the Ovidian text that inspired it—but that scholarly distance is tempered as the ancient myths are grafted onto the courtly culture of love. Although it is possible to identify Bellini’s gods—Neptune’s trident is near his feet, Apollo wears a laurel wreath, and Bacchus is busy at his wine vat—this is a playful take on the antique. The gravity and solemnity of the Olympian gods is absent; we appear instead to have stumbled upon a masquerade, a group of rustic individuals in fancy dress. Neptune’s trident is an abandoned pitchfork, and he slyly slips his hand into his partner’s lap. If it were not for the satyr wandering off to the left, we might be forgiven for failing to recognise this as the realm of myth at all.

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19. Titian, The Worship of Venus, c.1518. Madrid, Museo del Prado. © Museo del Prado.

The Camerino was Alfonso’s private retreat, and its decoration was designed to appeal to his sensibilities, blending the sensual with the learned. The paintings are visual celebrations of the pleasures of the flesh, but they also reward careful observation of another sort. The identities of the gods in Bellini’s Feast, for example, though touched by humour, are not immediately accessible; they require an educated viewer to decode their subtle attributes. The frolicking putti in Titian’s Worship of Venus, who embrace each other and fly up to the trees to gather apples perform precisely the actions described by Ovid, in a careful visualisation of the text, just as the train of Bacchus in another

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painting in the Camerino—Titian’s Bacchus and Ariadne—closely follows a description by Catullus. Rich in anecdotal detail, the pictures reflect the social atmosphere of Alfonso’s court; they invite conversation that moves from one mode of response to another.15 This is not necessarily a ‘hidden meaning’ available exclusively to initiates, but rather a flexibility of reading that allows for different kinds of response, whether it is a recognition of the fidelity of these paintings to their textual sources or an appreciation of the visual delights and slightly bawdy humour they offer. Before 1529, Michelangelo had seen myth through the lens of Florentine humanism and Roman renovation, in which the recovery and revival of the ancient world was a serious undertaking, of pressing concern in the formation of Renaissance identity, and put to public use. In Ferrara, he was introduced to myth as a more private mode, a language of pleasure and escape from the cares of everyday life. It was a model he was quick to adopt. The Camerino had been planned as a showcase of works by all the great masters of Italy, but circumstances had prevented Alfonso from achieving this ambition, and the room had become a monument to Venetian painting, dominated by Titian. Alfonso hoped to add a work by Michelangelo to the collection, and the artist agreed to provide a painting on a mythological subject: the Rape of Leda.16 Michelangelo’s Leda survives only through copies, but they seem to provide a very good sense of the original (Fig. 20). The subject— the ravishing of a beautiful woman by a god—fits in perfectly with Alfonso’s tastes. But Michelangelo’s take on it represents a departure from the paintings in the Camerino. On a formal level, Michelangelo rejects the teeming canvases of Bellini and Titian in favour of a monumental composition of two figures, Leda and her swan, who fill the entire surface of the painting. He began, like Bellini and Titian had done, with a primary source, but whereas those artists worked from texts, Michelangelo relied on an image for inspiration. He returned to For the unique viewing conditions of ‘studiolo culture’, see Stephen J. Campbell, ‘Mantegna’s Parnassus: Reading, Collecting and the Studiolo’, in Revaluing Renaissance Art, ed. Gabriele Neher and Rupert Shepherd (Aldershot, 2000), 69–87; Campbell, ‘Giorgione’s Tempest, Studiolo Culture and the Renaissance Lucretius’, Renaissance Quarterly 56 (2003): 299–332; and Campbell, The Cabinet of Eros: Renaissance Mythological Painting and the Studiolo of Isabella d’Este (New Haven, 2004). 16 The painting was never actually delivered to Alfonso d’Este. See W. E. Wallace, ‘Michelangelo’s Leda’, for its history. 15

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20. After Michelangelo, Leda and the Swan, sixteenth century. London, National Gallery. © National Gallery, London.

an object that he had known in his youth, an onyx cameo of Leda and the Swan from Lorenzo de’Medici’s collection (Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale) that depicts a reclining Leda embracing her divine lover.17 The pose of the figure, propped up on one arm, with one leg bent and the other extended, had long fascinated Michelangelo. It had turned up, in a different guise, in his Adam and Noah on the Sistine Ceiling, and, returned to its original gender, in the figure of Night in the Medici chapel. In each of its iterations, Michelangelo used the tension of this pose, poised between passivity and control, to signal states of suspense, of transition from one condition to another—Adam about to receive the spark of life, Noah’s shame about to be covered, Night caught between waking and dreaming—but now Michelangelo was returning to its original subject.

17 See Phyllis Pray Bober and Ruth Rubinstein, Renaissance Artists and Antique Sculpture: A Handbook of Sources (London and Oxford, 1986), 54.

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The Leda amplifies the scale of the cameo, but retains a sense of its unique appeal to the viewer. In keeping with the conventions of studiolo culture, the paintings in Alfonso’s Camerino require a social kind of viewing; they are meant to be discussed and deciphered. As Stephen Campbell has argued, the paintings in Alfonso’s Camerino present a ‘spectacle of emotion, sensation, and physical life . . . set forth to be scrutinized.’18 In contrast, the Leda is private, introspective. It is not without its own visual pleasure, but it is very different from the canvases of Bellini and Titian, which invite the eye to wander, to discover details and allow the narrative to unfold. Leda’s body fills the frame of the picture and the almost clinical rendering of her coupling with the swan, his tail feathers caressing her buttocks, his neck nestled between her breasts, command the viewer’s entire attention. Leda’s sleep further inflects her relationship to the viewer—it allows for a purely voyeuristic experience, but it also creates an air of stasis and silence in counterpoint to the noisy throngs of Titian’s canvases with their cymbals and dancing. Michelangelo has taken the idea of myth as a language of sensuality and escape and turned it inward, made it contemplative. The mood of suspended action encourages meditation. This private mode was precisely what Michelangelo needed when he first encountered Tommaso de’Cavalieri in 1532. Michelangelo was, by all accounts, instantly besotted with the young man, and a flurry of letters passed between them, beginning with Michelangelo’s declaration that Cavalieri was ‘the light of our century, unique in the world.’19 The artist then promised to send some unspecified ‘things’ of his own that he hoped would please his new friend.20 The ‘things’ turned out to be the series of drawings with which this paper began. Although Michelangelo’s many letters and sonnets to Cavalieri employ the language of Petrarchan lyric to express his love, his visual language is that of ancient myth.21 In the drawings for Cavalieri, which were personal gifts rather than projects for a patron, Michelangelo was free to develop his own private idiom. The absence of a patron is crucial—the drawings were made by the artist as tokens of love for an intimate friend—they circulated S. Campbell, The Cabinet of Eros, 259. Carteggio, vol. 3, no. 897. 20 Ibid. 21 For Michelangelo’s sonnets and letters to Cavalieri, see Leonard Barkan, Transuming Passion: Ganymede and the Erotics of Renaissance Humanism (Stanford, 1991), 81 ff. 18 19

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outside the bounds of the traditional artist/patron exchange and were available only to those, like Cavalieri, who had earned Michelangelo’s particular affection. Tangible signs of a special bond between the artist and their recipient, the drawings reflect the intimacy of the relationship that generated them in their very form. The Leda had been inspired by an antique gem, but its scale created different conditions of viewing. The drawings, on the other hand, reproduce something of the viewing experience of such small-scale works of art. They are meant to be held and contemplated: they encourage a meditative kind of viewing that is akin to the experience of looking at gems. Cavalieri himself writes about spending hours contemplating them, and Vittoria Colonna, a later recipient of Michelangelo’s gifts, reports using both a magnifying glass and a mirror to explore her drawings.22 By demanding such intimate visual involvement from their viewer, the drawings replicate and reinforce the viewer’s intimacy with their creator. Evidence suggests that in Renaissance practice, the medium of drawing—or at least the exchange and circulation of drawings—signified personal intimacy. Vasari tells us that Leonardo da Vinci made a drawing of Neptune—with ‘great diligence’ for his ‘very good friend’ Antonio Segni, and that the painter Francesco Salviati created a drawing of the Three Ages of Man as a gift to mark the birth of a dear friend’s child.23 In fact, the very first collection of drawings in the quattrocento was that of the Veronese humanist Felice Feliciano, who wrote sonnets and letters praising his artist friends, including Giovanni Bellini and Andrea Mantegna, dedicated books to them, and seems to have received drawings from them in return.24 Such acts of ‘In questo mezo mi pigliarò almanco doi hore del giorno piacere in contemplare doi vostri desegni . . . quali quanto più li miro, tanto più mi piacciono . . .’ Cavalieri to Michelangelo, Carteggio, vol. 3, no. 898. ‘Io l’ho ben visto al lume et col vetro et col specchio, et non viddi mai la più finita cosa’. Vittoria Colonna to Michelangelo, Carteggio, vol. 4, no. 968. 23 ‘Ad Antonio Segni, suo amicissimo, fece in su un foglio un Nettuno, condotto così di disegno con tanta diligenzia, che e’pareva del tuto vivo.’ Giorgio Vasari, Le vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori ed architettori (1568), ed. Gaetano Milanesi, 9 vols. (Florence, 1878–85), vol. 4, 25. ‘Avendo Francesco fatto amicizia con Piero di Marcone orefice fiorentino, e divenutogli compare, fece alla comare, e moglie di esso Piero, dopo il parto, un presente d’un bellissimo disegno, per dipignerlo in un di que’tondi nei quali si porta da mangiare alle donne di parto: nel quale disegno era in un partimento riquadrato, ed accomodato sotto e sopra con bellissime figure, la vita dell’uomo, cioè tutte l’età della vita umana [.]’ Ibid., vol. 7, 20–1. 24 See Evelyn Karet, ‘Stefano da Verona, Felice Feliciano and the First Renaissance Collection of Drawings’, Arte Lombarda 124 (1998): 31–51. 22

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creative reciprocity add a deeply personal dimension to conventions of gift exchange. As the tangible evidence of the creative act and, by extension, as the most immediate and authentic reflection of the artistic self, drawings were the most intimate of artistic gifts. In adopting classical myth to speak of love and desire, Michelangelo was participating in an established tradition, but the gift drawings complicate and transform that tradition. By focusing on the male, rather than the female nude, Michelangelo departs from conventional approaches to myths of divine love and is thus able to speak not only of his particular desire for Cavalieri, but also of the Neoplatonic ideal of eroticised male friendship in contrast to the Petrarchan model of male-female desire. He returned to the reclining figure that he had always found so compelling, using it in rotation throughout the series for Cavalieri, creating a visual meditation on states of transformation.25 The same male body, painstakingly and lovingly described, appears to represent a return to a truly classical model of ideal love. But Michelangelo’s choice of myths is unexpected. These are not simply love stories, they are narrative reflections on both the attractions and the dangers of desire, a far cry from the idyllic escapist fantasies of Alfonso’s Camerino. Ascending Ganymede, lifted to heaven on the wings of a lustful Zeus, plummeting Phaeton, hurled out of Apollo’s chariot by a divine thunderbolt, and supine Tityus, eternally punished for his attempted rape of Latona—all stories of divine election and human hubris. They represent Michelangelo’s efforts to reconcile the influence of classical art and philosophy, which permit this kind of visual reflection on the male nude, with his own deeply held Christian faith and its convictions about the perils of physical expressions of desire, no matter who its object might be.26 The drawings for Cavalieri caused an instant sensation. By the 1530s, access to an original work by the hand of Michelangelo was extremely limited, and mythological subjects by the artist were also exceedingly rare. Word spread quickly that Cavalieri was in possession of these works and he soon found himself besieged by some of the most impor25 For the repetition of the figure in the series for Cavalieri, see Judith Anne Testa, ‘The Iconography of the Archers: A Study in Self-Concealment and Self-Revelation in Michelangelo’s Presentation Drawings’, Studies in Iconography 5 (1979): 45–72. 26 This same tension is expressed in several of Michelangelo’s sonnets that date from this period. See James M. Saslow, The Poetry of Michelangelo (New Haven, 1993).

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tant men in Rome, eager to see the drawings. Almost immediately after receiving the drawings, Cavalieri wrote to Michelangelo that the Medici Pope Clement VII, his nephew Cardinal Ippolito de’Medici, and ‘everyone’ was demanding access to Michelangelo’s drawings.27 He reports that the cardinal was so taken with the drawings that he wanted to have copies made of them in crystal.28 Cavalieri reluctantly loaned the drawings out, and they soon generated an astonishing number of copies, in a variety of media, from the crystals for the cardinal to paintings, prints, and even ceramics.29 Michelangelo’s private inventions thus passed into more general public circulation and were subject to uses and interpretations beyond his control. It was the very success of the drawings, I would suggest, that caused the end of Michelangelo’s extraordinary experimentation with mythological subjects. Michelangelo had found in his mythologies a language appropriate to his most conflicted private feelings about the nature of love, desire, and divine retribution. He must have realised quickly that although he could control the initial access to the original drawings, he could not manage their afterlife. The ideal of privacy and intimacy that the gift drawings had afforded him was impossible to sustain in light of his celebrity. After the Cavalieri drawings, Michelangelo continued to use the mechanism of the gift drawing as a mode of communication with his most intimate friends, but he dropped mythological subjects altogether, and focused instead on themes of religious devotion and redemption, appropriate not only to the piety of his later muse, Vittoria Colonna, but also to the atmosphere of post-Reformation Rome.30 The drawings for Cavalieri represent an unusual hybrid of the ancient and the modern. They marry antique subject matter to a thoroughly modern medium—the highly finished drawing conceived Cavalieri to Michelangelo, Carteggio, vol. 4, 932. Ibid. 29 Copies after the gift drawings form the core of a larger study I am pursuing at present on copying and collaboration in Michelangelo’s career. For the copies, see, among others, Mario Rotili, ed. Fortuna di Michelangelo nell’incisione, exh. cat., Benevento, Museo del Sannio (Benevento, 1964) and Marcella Marongiu, ed., Il Mito di Ganimede: Prima e Dopo Michelangelo, exh. cat., Florence, Casa Buonarroti (Florence, 2002), and Maria Ruvoldt, ‘Responding to the Renaissance’, in Renaissance Theory, ed. James Elkins and Robert Williams (London, 2008), 366–76. 30 See A. Nagel, ‘Gifts’, and Una Roman d’Elia, ‘Drawing Christ’s Blood: Michelangelo, Vittoria Colonna, and the Aesthetics of Reform’, Renaissance Quarterly 59 (2006): 90–129. 27 28

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as an end in itself. They represent the final stage in Michelangelo’s evolving relationship to the antique, from imitation to adaptation to re-creation. Yet despite his different methods of integrating the influence of Antiquity into his artistic practice, what remains consistent in Michelangelo’s use of his antique models—and what ties his practice to that of his contemporaries—is his determination to use them as a foundation on which to build a truly modern art.

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THE BYZANTINE INFLUENCE ON THE INTRODUCTION OF THE THIRD DIMENSION AND THE FORMATION OF RENAISSANCE ART Diotima Liantini* In order to understand the relationship between the Renaissance, the Middle Ages, and Antiquity, it is necessary to investigate the artistic elements that survived the Middle Ages and which were rediscovered in the fourteenth century. These elements were important for the artistic revolution which took place during Renaissance. Renaissance artists tried to break free from the artistic conventions of medieval art and to make their contribution based on the rediscovery of the ideals of classical Greek and Roman culture. In this paper, I will examine the work of an artist whose pioneering work had a significant impact on the history of western art. It is commonly accepted that it was Giotto di Bondone (c.1266– 1337) who led the way to the Renaissance by introducing the illusion of depth into the two-dimensional art of painting. Liberating painting from medieval techniques, he led the way to a more naturalistic mode of expression. In introducing perspective half a century later, Brunelleschi was to develop Giotto’s style further. Giotto was recognised as an extraordinary painter even by his contemporaries. In the Decameron, which was published about ten years after Giotto’s death, Boccaccio claimed that the famous Florentine artist brought back to light the art of painting that for many centuries had been buried under the errors of some who painted more to delight the eyes of the ignorant than to please the intellect of the wise. And for this he deserves to be considered one of the lights of the Florentine glory.1

* The author wishes to thank the editors of the present volume for their helpful comments and suggestions. 1 ‘. . . avendo egli quell’arte ritornata in luce, che molti secoli sotto gli error d’alcuni, che più a dilettar gli occhi degl’ignoranti che a compiacere allo ‘ntelletto de’ savi dipingendo, era stata sepulta, meritamente una delle luci della fiorentina Gloria dir si puote.’ Boccaccio, Decameron, V, 6,3. The English translation comes from Frederick Hartt, History of Italian Renaissance Art. Painting. Sculpture. Architecture. 4th ed. (New York, 1994), 76.

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Dante expressed a similar sentiment. In the Divine Comedy, Giotto is presented as the artist who stole Cimabue’s fame: In painting Cimabue thought he held the field And now it’s Giotto they acclaim The former only keeps a shadowed fame.2

But what shaped the extraordinary characteristics Giotto’s art? It is often suggested that Giotto was influenced by Byzantine form and style. In order to understand Giotto’s contribution to art, it is necessary to examine some of the basic principles that shaped both Byzantine and medieval western art, paying especially close attention to their differences. The idea that Byzantine style contributed to the formation of Renaissance art may sound provocative, because Byzantine forms are mostly abstract and plain: only the most essential ingredients of the represented subject usually appear in a composition. This is why Byzantine art has been considered a ‘withdrawal from the most realistic style of representation the world had then seen’,3 a rejection of the use of spatial representation, which was typical in classical Greek art. The early Byzantine style, which was formed during the first centuries of the Byzantine Empire and before the Iconoclastic conflict, was a form of religious art serving not only the Church but also, and primarily, Byzantine imperial politics. In Byzantium’s multicultural society, where hierarchy ruled and the emperor was supposed to be the earthly image of God, art became the main mode of communication among people who had different ethic and cultural backgrounds, but were nevertheless all citizens of the Byzantine Empire.4 In order to be easily understood, the new art tried to involve only those elements that were deemed necessary to the composition, namely those that made it recognisable and comprehensible to the viewer. In doing so, it may be said that symbolic and pedagogical purposes

“Credette Cimabue ne la pittura tener lo campo, e ora ha Giotto il grido, sì che la fama di colui è scura”. Dante, Purgatorio, XI, 94–6. The English translation comes from F. Hartt, History of Italian Renaissance Art, 76. 3 R. Arnheim, Art and Visual Perception. A Psychology of the Creative Eye (Berkeley, 1974), 146–7. 4 M. Aheimastou-Potamianou, Greek Art. Byzantine Frescoes (Athens, 1994), 11. [in Greek] 2

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underlie the early Byzantine mode of representation: the viewer should be able to identify in the picture what he has learned from the Bible or the priest’s sermons. As a result, the representation of the subject should be simple and clear; anything that might draw the attention away from the subject is to be eliminated. The subject should be easily identified: for example, if one saw a man holding a dagger over a small boy with his hands tied, one should immediately recall the tale of Isaac’s sacrifice. The early sixth-century mosaics featuring scenes from the life of Jesus Christ are typical examples of simple and clear symbolic representation. For example, the mosaic of The Betrayal of Christ in S. Apollinaire Nuovo in Ravenna is an example of the artistic norms of early Byzantine style (Fig. 21). The imposing, almost frontal, figure of Jesus is depicted in the middle. Next to him, Judas leans over to embrace him. Judas is depicted in a walking position, revealing the artist’s skill in representing body movements under the garments. Their faces come close, but their lips do not touch, and they do not actually kiss. The disciples are depicted on the right hand side of the compo-

21. The Betrayal of Christ. Ravenna, S. Apollinare Nuovo. © Scala Archives.

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sition, wearing white Roman-style togas and sandals, as if they were distinguished nobles. A group of Roman soldiers carrying torches appears on the left. All the people involved are placed in three groups. In the centre, Jesus and Judas appear to be isolated from the other two groups, namely the soldiers on the left and the apostles on the right. The central interaction of the two leading figures occupies the largest part of the composition, so that the viewer is forced to focus on its meaning. Although the figures at first seem only minimally engaged with each other and the composition looks incoherent, the drama has a clarity that is surprisingly intense. All figures, except for Judas, seem to face the viewer in the sense that their heads are depicted in the frontal position. However, in the literal sense, only Christ is actually looking towards the viewer. The soldiers are looking at Judas kissing Christ and the disciples—with the exception of Peter—are turning away, while the slight agitation of their tilted heads is the sign of emotion at the arrest of their leader. On the left of the composition, the soldiers’ group is also physically isolated; their connection with the middle group is achieved by the unnaturally long left hand of the soldier in front, who leans over Judas’ shoulder in order to capture Jesus. Nevertheless, despite their physical isolation, the soldiers are all looking at the ‘middle group’, thus creating a subtle, ‘internal’ connection with them. Finally, the scene is set outdoors against a gold sky, and there is no trace of real space: this further contributes to the clarity of the depicted scene. Byzantine artists’ symbolism and their desire to represent the spiritual dimension kept them away from the realism of ancient Greek art. The growth of Christianity coincided with a change in artistic tastes and a preference for older, pre-classical expressions, a tendency already existing in late Roman art. Gombrich reminds us that this breakdown [of classical standards] should [not] be interpreted as a fresh revolution in favor (sic.) of new ideals. What happened here looks much more like another process of natural selection, not a directed effort by a band of pioneers but the survival of the fittest; in other words, the adaptation of the formulas to the new demands of imperial ceremony and divine revelation.5

5

E. H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion (New York, 1960), 144.

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During the Middle Byzantine period, Byzantine style was influenced by the political and religious conventions that emerged after the Iconoclast conflict (726–43). The new iconographical types were based on theological principles, which also defined the content of the icons. After the defeat of Iconoclasm in 843, the ‘triumph of Orthodoxy’ and the ‘restoration of icons’, icons became the focus of attention in Byzantine society, not only as works of art and a medium for imperial influence, but also as objects deserving special respect in the ritual of the church and in political and social life: icons were conceived as mirrors of the divine. In other words, the basic reason for the creation of icons is their resemblance to the holy figure actually depicted. Such a quality is mostly found in orthodox Christian dogma.6 In Theology of the Icon, Leonid Uspensky claims that the meaning of the Byzantine icon derives from the principles proposed by the Church as a response to the iconoclasts. As Uspensky suggests, the dogmatic foundation of the adoration of icons and their liturgical role in the rituals of the Church was formulated in the kontaki of the Orthodox Sunday, an ecclesiastic hymn written in the ninth or tenth century. This hymn refers to the meaning of Christ’s incarnation and addresses the means by which the second member of the Holy Trinity became human without losing his divinity. Hence, although God could not in principle be described and depicted, after his incarnation he eventually became describable and capable of sustaining depiction.7 Byzantine icons therefore do not depict Jesus or any other holy figure or saint as ordinary people, because their holy nature should be preserved in the depiction as human beings. This is why Byzantine art does not aim at depicting the dramatic effects of a scene. Byzantine style, which initially intended to be easily understood, and the iconography of which was stabilised in the following centuries, was the result of the adaptation of artistic expression to a new spiritual reality. In this process of adaptation, a rejection of classical standards and a preference for a more austere and primitive artistic style can be easily traced. Simple, however, does not necessarily imply simplified. The Byzantine Empire was the natural heir of Greek civilisation. For someone to reject an artistic convention, they have to understand what

Manolis Borboudakis, ed., Icons of Cretan Art. From Candia to Moscow and St. Petersburg (Heraklion 2004), xxiv–xv. [in Greek] 7 Leonid Uspensky, Theology of the Icon (Crestwood, New York, 1992). 6

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it is they are rejecting. Consequently, the achievements of classical art most closely connected with the imitation of nature were well known to the emerging new world. At the same time, the historical distance between the old Western Roman Empire and the Byzantine world created a cleavage between East and West that by the time of Charlemagne had become so deep that one could no longer speak of a unified culture and art. The west had changed fundamentally under the impact of the Germanic invasions, while the East showed a remarkable continuity.8

During the early Middle Ages, Western Europe saw a series of invasions by northern conquerors, who were not familiar with local artistic tradition. These peoples’ artists conceived of art in a very different way. In drawing the human figure, they did not use a natural model. Instead, they had invented a combination of decorative motives to denote parts of the human body. Byzantine artists, on the other hand, were forced to follow traditional standards and iconographic models. In doing so, they somehow succeeded in preserving the artistic ideas and some naturalistic elements of the classical era, in contrast with western medieval artists, who were generally free from such artistic conventions and restrictions. Due to the turbulence of the Middle Ages, western art was not as coherent as the art of the eastern part of the Empire. During the ninth century, artists looked to the Roman Antiquity and early Byzantine works of the sixth and seventh centuries for inspiration. Although the so called ‘Carolingian Renaissance’9 was a significant artistic movement in the history of western medieval art, it did not last long and the time span separating it from the fifteenth century does not allow for a direct connection with the Italian Renaissance. After Charlemagne and his successors, new forms of art emerged. The rise of Romanesque and Gothic art, which were the dominant styles of the late medieval art, developed in a different way from that of Byzantium. The first example is a stained glass window from c.1060 representing the Head of Christ in Strasbourg Cathedral (Fig. 22). There is neither motion nor flexibility in his facial expression. The characteristics are 8 Kurt Weitzmann, Art in the Medieval West and its Contacts with Byzantium (London, 1982), 3. 9 Hugh Honour and John Fleming, A World History of Art, 5th edition (London, 1999), 333.

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22. Head of Christ. Strasbourg, Musée de l’Œuvre Notre Dame de Strasbourg. © Musée de l’Œuvre Notre Dame de Strasbourg.

depicted with simplicity and geometric accuracy, while the complexion of his face is depicted in light green shades. The artist appears to have been free from natural schematic and colouring rules. He combines colour and form with a strong decorative spirit, as he wished to express in a simple, elegant way the spirituality of Jesus Christ and the inconceivable dimension of his divinity. Liberation from natural colours, however, was not a general trend followed by all medieval western artists. In my view, in the Head of Christ, this kind of liberation seems quite clear, perhaps due to the fact that stained glass allows for this use of colours, while in the second example, namely the fresco depicting Christ in Majesty in the apse of Sant Climent de Taüll, painted between 1103 and 1150 (Fig. 23), the supernatural is depicted in the awesome face of Jesus. His powerful expression impresses the viewer with its stylised black lines, transforming it into a geometric composition. These un-classical approaches, and the liberation from natural forms gave artists working in the Romanesque style the opportunity to explore new techniques

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23. Christ in Majesty (detail). Sant Climent de Taüll (Institut Amatller d’Art Hispanic). © akg-images, London.

of expression. Medieval artists were able to show their independence from nature and express their ideas about the supernatural by resorting to this peculiar artistic language. A comparison between these two Romanesque compositions and the imposing, late eleventh-century Byzantine mosaic of Christ Pantocrator in the dome of the monastic church at Daphni in Athens (Fig. 24) reveals striking differences. The latter figure is characterised as ‘austere and linear’ with features ‘related to the un-classical tradition’.10 Nevertheless, the Pantocrator of Daphni seems to be much closer to

10 N. Panselinou, Byzantine Painting. Byzantine Society and its Pictures, 5th edition (Athens, 1999), 174. [in Greek]

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24. Christ Panocrator. Athens, the Monastic Church of Daphni. © Ministry of Culture (Greece)—Archaeological Receipts Fund.

the naturalistic expression of the classical tradition than the other two medieval depictions of Christ above. Medieval western art was formed in a freer way, without following strict rules, while Byzantine art observed specific iconographic principles. The different social and historical backgrounds had a significant impact on artistic values and techniques. The emancipation from the rules of the past had led western art into a representational cul-de-sac since it did not preserve much from ancient, traditional techniques. It seems that western art would not aim at an entirely naturalistic mode of representation. It was Giotto di Bondone, the founder of the new Italian painting,11 who employed elements of Byzantine style in order to create the illusion of space, thus making an important contribution to Renaissance 11 Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker, Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zu Gegenwart, vol. 14 (Leipzig, 1999), 94–100.

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art. He placed his compositions within real space and light and succeeded in creating a naturalistic illusion. Giotto’s works constitute an artistic revolution, although his realism does not involve a detailed representation of facial characteristics. Giotto does not create portraits; his realism is a realism of space and a ‘realism of action’.12 He organises the scene of the composition so that isolated parts form a whole in a realistic representation of space.13 By opting for a theatrical representation, he introduces the third dimension and creates realistic scenes with figures that seem to turn and move in a naturalistic way. Giotto’s achievement—namely the representation of space and action—can be better appreciated when the viewer is totally surrounded by his work. The Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi seems to be a typical example, although lately there have been some doubts as to whether he painted the whole chapel by himself, or collaborated with the Roman painter Pietro Cavallini.14 Giotto’s most famous work is the decoration of the Arena Chapel in Padua (1305–6). There, visitors can admire the two cycles of the life of Christ and his mother, and get the impression that they are watching a kind of early Christian ‘movie’.15 Giotto’s mentor, the famous painter Cimabue, is generally thought of as the last great painter following the Byzantine tradition. As Vasari suggests in his life of Cimabue some Greek painters were summoned to Florence by the government of the city for no other purpose than the revival of painting in their midst, since that art was not so much debased as altogether lost.16

Today we know that Byzantine panel paintings became known to the West from the time of Charlemagne,17 whereas from the second half of the thirteenth century until the first half of the fifteenth, the ‘Palae-

Vittorio Sgarbi, Da Giotto a Picasso. Discorso sulla pittura (Milano, 2002), 40. Curt H. Weigelt, ed., Giotto. Des Meisters Gemälde in 293 Abbildungen (Stuttgart, 1925), 24. 14 V. Sgarbi, Da Giotto a Picasso, 32. 15 E. Gombrich, Art and Illusion, 61. 16 ‘Avvenne che in que’ giorni erano venuti di Grecia certi pittori in Fiorenza, chamati da governava quella città non per altro che per introdurvi l’arte della pittura, la quale in Toscana era stata smarrita molto tempo.’ Giorgio Vasari, Le vite de’ più eccelenti architetti, pittori, et scultori italiani, da Cimacue insino a’ tempi nostri, § 126. The English translation comes from Otto Demus, Byzantine Art and the West (New York, 1970), 207. 17 O. Demus, Byzantine Art and the West, 205. 12 13

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ologan Renaissance’ thrived in Byzantine art.18 This artistic movement was inspired by the classical tradition and was characterised by a monumental mode of spatial perception in compositions, as well as by a lyrical expression of facial characteristics and the psychological state of the depicted figures. The fact that Byzantine art after 1204 continued to develop and Greek artists were in contact with the West justifies the assumption that Cimabue studied and learned many things from the Byzantine masters. A strong Byzantine influence can be identified in his monumental Madonna Enthroned (c.1280–90), now in the Uffizi (Fig. 25). The gold background, the flat halos, the long figures, the huge throne which seems to be rising upwards and denying the material reality of its weight, as well as the depiction of the Christ child as a young man, all reveal the influence of Byzantine style on Italian artists. Giotto’s version of the Madonna Enthroned (Ognissanti Madonna, c.1310), also in the Uffizi (Fig. 26), is different from Cimabue’s work. Although the arrangement of his composition is similar to Cimabue’s work (the Madonna with Jesus on her lap is depicted in the middle surrounded by saints and angels, all set against a golden background), the two works reveal a number of striking differences. Whereas Cimabue’s throne seems to be rising in space, Giotto’s is located on a horizontal support approached by steps, and gives a greater impression of threedimensional space. Cimabue’s figures are thin and elegant, whereas Giotto’s are heavier and bulkier. The folds on Mary’s drapery in Giotto’s composition are not outlined in golden lines as in Cimabue’s, but with heavy folds of cloth. Finally, Giotto’s Christ looks like a child rather than a young man. Giotto probably became familiar with the techniques typical of workshops in Constantinople during his training in Cimabue’s workshop. It seems that he was not satisfied with what he had learnt, and hence attempted to take a step further. After close observation of the principles defining Byzantine art, he used the elements which would create the illusion of realism in his works. This knowledge motivated him to study the basic rules defining art. While observing the faces of Byzantine figures, he must have noticed that their representation involved the effects of colouration and illumination.

18

M. Aheimastou-Potamianou, Greek Art. Byzantine Frescoes, 25–6.

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25. Cimabue, Madonna Enthroned. Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi. © Soprintendenza Speciale per il Polo Museale Fiorentino.

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26. Giotto, Madonna Enthroned (Ognissanti Madonna). Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi. © Soprintendenza Speciale per il Polo Museale Fiorentino.

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The faces in Byzantine art seemed more plastic and realistic compared to those of medieval western art. Many centuries before the Renaissance, the well-known sfumato techniques, made famous by Leonardo da Vinci, appear in Byzantine art in a rudimentary form. The shaping of the head and the separation of the neck in Byzantine figures, which are not depicted with hard, stylised outlines but with a use of light and shade that softens the lines and results in a naturalistic effect, survived from the classical past and the Florentine painter must have been aware of such a technique. The example of the Madonna Enthroned by Manuel Panselinos in the Monastery of Protato on Mount Athos (c.1290: Fig. 27) is a typical example of Byzantine technique that includes all the elements western artists admired and studied. Giotto observed the tenderness and sweetness of feeling in Byzantine figures and compositions that were known in the West, as well as the gestures of love, whilst noticing the expressions of despair, grief, and mourning, as expressed in the 1164 fresco of the Lamentation of Christ at the Monastery of St. Panteleimon in Nerezi (Fig. 28). Giotto’s compositions in Assisi and in Padua were clearly inspired by a Byzantine example similar to the Nerezi fresco, which was well known in Italy during the painter’s lifetime (Figs. 29–30).19 The similarities between the two compositions are astonishing. Christ is lying horizontally on the ground. His mother is holding him with affection and her face reveals her grief and pain. John is holding the hand of Christ and gently puts it on his cheek. The tragic element of the gestures and the expressions of the represented figures are also evident in these two works by Giotto, in which the drama, taking place in a rather simple setting, arouses the viewers’ compassion. Giotto introduced the world to a new conception of artistic creation. His compositions inspired the artists that followed, while his manipulation of space, action, light, and realism gave his followers the opportunity to develop his methods further. Massaccio was the most important representative of the new era: he painted with naturalistic strength and depicted his figures in a harmonious environment, and, following Brunelleschi’s rules, considered perspective to be a mathematical principle.20 After Masaccio’s work and the rediscovHorst W. Janson and Anthony F. Janson, History of Art, 6th edition (New York, 2001), 349. 20 Luciano Bellosi, Laura Cavazzini and Aldo Galli, eds., Masaccio e le origini del Rinascimento (Milano, 2002), 35. 19

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27. Manuel Panselinos, Madonna Enthroned. Mount Athos, Monastery of Protato. © Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs (Greece).

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28. Lamentation of Christ. Nerezi, Monastery of St. Paneleimon. © William Mullins.

ery of the classical artistic past, the gap between the new techniques and Byzantine style grew bigger. The new orientation in the study of perspective, as well as the depiction of natural space, were such important issues for artists that the picture lost its beauty in some cases. The Enthroned Madonna in the National Gallery in London (1426, Fig. 31) is a typical example: the depiction of the chubby Christ child and the face of Virgin Mary are remarkably different from Panselinos’ Madonna. Cimabue was the last representative of the Byzantine style in the western world. Giotto was the last painter who followed Byzantine principles and led the way towards an artistic revolution. His art became a bridge between the old and the new worlds, and his compositions maintained the monumental greatness and the holiness of Byzantine art. His influence was immense, and it is often suggested that

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29. Giotto, Lamentation of Christ. Assisi, Basilica di S. Francesco, Upper Church. © Scala Archives.

he was the greatest artist of all time.21 Even if we do not always agree about his contribution to art, we should always bear in mind that

R. Wolff, ‘Dicitur allegoria quasi alieniloquium. Das erste Bild der Franziskuslegende in der Oberkirche von San Francesco in Assisi’, in Hagiographie und Kunst. Der Heiligenkult in Schrift, Bild und Architektur, ed. Gottfried Kerscher (Berlin, 1993), 385. 21

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30. Giotto, Lamentation of Christ. Padua, Arena Chapel. © Scala Archives. we cannot but look at the art of the past through the wrong end of the telescope. We come to Giotto on the long road which leads from the impressionists backward via Michelangelo and Massaccio and what we see first in him is therefore not lifelikeness but rigid restraint and majestic aloofness.22

If our imagination succeeds in overcoming these obstacles and we learn to appreciate a variety of artistic creations of the past, we shall be able to recognise the great contribution of Giotto, who was an Italian painter with Byzantine artistic origins and who, most importantly, gave new meaning to western art and its history.

22

E. Gombrich, Art and Illusion, 62.

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31. Masaccio, Madonna Enthroned. London, National Gallery. © National Gallery, London.

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PART THREE

A WIDER RENAISSANCE?

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INTRODUCTION: A WIDER RENAISSANCE? Alexander Lee The ‘Italocentric’ Renaissance: Burckhardt, Huizinga and Panofsky Since the publication of Jacob Buckhardt’s Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien in 1860, historians have been exercised by the question of how best to approach the problem of the Renaissance in Italy, and—by implication—the question of how to conceive of the relationship between Italian culture and that of the rest of Europe.1 For almost 150 years, the troublesome problem of distinguishing between the ‘Middle Ages’ and the ‘Renaissance’ has been connected not merely with issues of cultural rebirth in the arts, but also with notions of cultural centres and peripheries. For Burckhardt, there was no doubt that the Renaissance was a fundamentally Italian phenomenon. The ‘first born among the sons of modern Europe,’ Italy was—in Burckhardt’s view—the cradle of the Renaissance, the home of a unique revival of Antiquity which stood in start contrast to the persistently ‘medieval’ outlook which prevailed beyond the Alps.2 Having begun in Italy, the Renaissance later spread gradually across Europe. Burckhardt justified his assertion of the distinctively ‘Italian’ quality of the Renaissance not merely by pointing to a widespread enthusiasm for classical art and literature, but by stressing that this enthusiasm was itself inextricably bound up with what he believed to be the characteristics fostered by the states of the peninsular in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.3 It was, indeed, ‘one of the chief propositions’ Jacob Burckhardt, Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien. Ein Versuch (Leipzig, 1860); translated as The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, trans. S. G. C. Middelmore (London, 1995). All subsequent notes will refer to the English translation. 2 J. Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, 87. 3 For recent perspectives on Burckhardt’s changing relationship with Romanticism and anti-Romanticism, and its influence on his attitude towards the Renaissance, see, for example, Lionel Gossman, Basel in the Age of Burckhardt: A Study in Unseasonable Ideas (Chicago, 2000), 210–410, esp. 392–3; John R. Hinde, Jacob Burckhardt and the Crisis of Modernity (Montreal, 2000). For the role of Romanticism in shaping 1

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of Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien ‘that it was not the revival of antiquity alone, but its union with the genius of the Italian people [dem italienischen Volksgeist], which achieved the conquest of the Western world.’4 Burckhardt did not deny that there was a certain enthusiasm for Antiquity beyond the Alps even before the fourteenth century and, in seeking to erect a notion of a specifically ‘Italian’ Renaissance, was cautious not to claim any uniqueness for Italy in this regard. If classical civilisation was fondly appreciated across Europe, however, Burckhardt argued that the nature of this appreciation in Italy was unlike any other: it was in the form of this enthusiasm that the difference lay, and it was a matter of crucial importance to Burckhardt that ‘the resuscitation of antiquity took a different form in Italy from that which it assumed in the North.’5 While elsewhere in Europe men were drawn only to specific elements of Antiquity, in Italy, he believed, there was a profound impulse to revive the whole of classical culture. In Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien, the impulse towards the revival of Antiquity tout court was presented as the direct consequence of a need felt by Italians from the fourteenth century onwards for a ‘new and stable idea’ which could give form to a sense of self-consciousness which had a risen as a result of the peculiar political fortunes of Italian states.6 In contrast to the rest of Europe, Burckhardt contended that both the despotisms of Federigo da Montefeltro in Urbino and of the Sforza in Milan, for example, and the republics of Florence and Venice, amongst others, fostered the development of a novel individualism, albeit in different ways. Gone was the outlook of the Middle Ages, in which human consciousness ‘lay dreaming or half-awake beneath a common veil . . . woven of faith, illusion and childish prepossession,’ and in its place, the demands of tyrants or the fluctuations of government in republican cities installed both ‘an objective treatment and consideration of the State and of all the things in the world’ and a subjective recognition of man as ‘a spiritual individual’.7 Looking at Burckhardt’s understanding of individualism in particular, see Steven Lukes, ‘The Meanings of “Individualism” ’, Journal of the History of Ideas 32/1 (Jan.–March 1971): 45–66, esp. 58–9. Note also Felix Gilbert, ‘Jacob Burckhardt’s Student Years: The Road to Cultural History’, Journal of the History of Ideas 47/2 (Apr.–Jun. 1986): 249–74. 4 J. Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, 111. 5 Ibid., 112. 6 Ibid., 114. 7 Ibid., 87.

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the state from a certain distance, Burckhardt argued that—unlike their coevals elsewhere in Europe—men in Italy were forced to know all the inward resources of their own nature, passing or permanent; and their enjoyment of life was enhanced and concentrated by the desire to obtain the greatest satisfaction from a possibly very brief period of power and influence.8

The world of classical culture, previously known or approached only piecemeal, became not merely a resource to be mined for practical purposes, but a model for the enjoyment of life which—in contrast to the medieval ‘veil’—represented the acme of individual self-consciousness. Most significantly, Burckhardt contended, when ‘this impulse to the highest individual development was combined with a powerful and varied nature, which had mastered all the elements of the culture of his age’ and which had embraced Antiquity as a whole, as something to be reborn, ‘then there arose the “all-sided man”—l’uomo universale’ who, with his urge for glory, was the true mark of the civilisation of the Renaissance and ‘who belonged to Italy alone.’9 While Burckhardt’s essay was consciously limited to Italy, it also provided a commentary on the manner in which he believed the concept of the Renaissance should be related to Europe more generally. By ‘stressing the priority of Italy in the formation of European culture,’ William Bouwsma has suggested, ‘Burckhardt was also saying that the rest of Europe in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries had remained essentially medieval.’10 Italian cities such as Florence, Rome and Milan were, for Burckhardt, centres of the Renaissance, while France and Burgundy—not to mention England, Bohemia and Poland, for example—remained stuck in a ‘medieval’ mindset until such time as the Renaissance spread beyond the Alps. Other nations came to participate in what remained a fundamentally ‘Italian’ Renaissance only at a later stage, receiving its cultural products and ideas as foreign imports many years after it was supposed to have begun in Italy itself. Although Burckhardt devoted little attention to cultural trends other than an enthusiasm for Antiquity in his essay, his thesis appears to be given a certain degree of credence by the fact that cultural trends were

Ibid., 88. Ibid., 90. 10 William J. Bouwsma, ‘ “The Waning of the Middle Ages,” by Johan Huizinga’, Daedalus 103/1 (Winter 1974): 35–43, here 37. 8 9

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fostered elsewhere in Europe which seem to bear no obvious relation to any of the characteristics which he identified with the Renaissance in Italy. As Peter Burke has explained in The European Renaissance, the contrast between intellectual and cultural developments in Italy and those seen elsewhere in Europe seems in some ways to reinforce the notion of an Italocentric phenomenon.11 While humanism began to emerge in Italy, scholasticism continued to dominate much of European intellectual life throughout the fourteenth century, and experienced a new lease of life at Salamanca from the beginning of the sixteenth century. Petrarch was, indeed, so conscious of the importance and influence of scholastic philosophy that he inveighed against the dialecticians of ‘the schools’ in two of his vitriolic invectives and in numerous other works,12 while some two hundred years later, in 1580, Francisco Suárez—the figurehead of the Second Scholastic—arrived to teach in Rome in the same year as Torquato Tasso completed his Gerusalemme Liberata.13 Gothic architecture flourished unabated north of the Alps and elaborate new forms, such as the perpendicular style, were developed apparently without regard for the revived classicism that was emerging in Italy. The foundation stone of the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge—for example—was laid on 25 July 1446, slightly more than four months after the death of Filippo Brunelleschi in Florence. Similarly, chivalry continued to be an important component of courtly life in northern Europe at least until the beginning of the sixteenth century. Thomas Mallory’s Morte Peter Burke, The European Renaissance. Centres and Peripheries (Oxford, 1998), esp. 48–65. 12 Petrarch, Invective contra medicum; De sui ipsius et multorum ignorantia, text and trans. of both in Invectives, ed. and trans. David Marsh (Cambridge MA and London, 2003); Secretum, I, text ed. Enrico Carrara in Prose, ed. Giuseppe Martellotti et al. (Milan and Naples, 1955), 22–218, here 52–4; Fam. 1.7; Sen. 5.2, 12.2. Although Petrarch included the Ethics in his list of his favourite books and his copy is still extant (Paris BN lat. 6458), it is unclear how fully he knew Aristotle. Berthold Ullman, Studies in the Italian Renaissance (Rome, 1955), 117–37. On disagreement over Petrarch’s knowledge of Aristotle, see, for example, Pierre de Nolhac, Pétrarque et l’Humanisme, 2 vols., 2nd ed. (Paris, 1907): 2: 147–52; Charles Trinkaus, The Poet as Philosopher: Petrarch and the Formation of the Renaissance Consciousness (New Haven and London, 1979), 15–21. 13 On Suárez and the Second Scholastic, see, for example, Annabel S. Brett, Liberty, Right and Nature: Individual Rights in Later Scholastic Thought (Cambridge, 1997), 123–64; Quentin R. D. Skinner, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, 2 vols. (Cambridge, 1978), vol. 2, 135–73. For an introduction to Tasso and the Gerusalemme Liberata, see, for example, Charles Peter Brand, Torquato Tasso. A Study of the Poet and his Contribution to English Literature (Cambridge, 1965), 79–118. 11

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d’Arthur was written in the 1460s, while the Lancelot—which set out to detail ‘things delectable and worthy to be remembered for the exaltation of noblesse and chivalry’14—was published in 1488, only two years after Giovanni Pico della Mirandola gave his oration De dignitate hominis.15 In the years after its publication, Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien did not always receive universal approval, and there were, indeed, many scholars who sought to claim the Renaissance as a more ‘European’ phenomenon. An awareness of the coexistence of seemingly contrasting cultural trends in different parts of Europe, however, complicated the endeavour, and those who attempted to challenge Burckhardt’s Italocentric conception of the Renaissance often found themselves either acceding to its central precepts or attempting to integrate disparate elements into essentially the same heuristic structure. In his Reformation, Renaissance, Humanismus (1918),16 for example, Konrad Burdach assimilated Burckhardt’s identification of the specific characteristics of the Renaissance, but endeavoured to reject his Italocentrism by annexing ‘parts of medieval culture to the Renaissance’17 and by locating the origins of the concept of cultural renewal in the ‘medieval’ notion of rebirth in God.18 This approach—which relied on detecting threads of continuity rather than undermining the root understanding of the ‘Renaissance’—was given new emphasis by the stress on ‘earlier’ Renaissances which developed during the 1920s and 1930s. Following Charles Homer Haskins’ The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century,19 Johan Nordstroem, for example, argued that

Quoted by Maurice Keen, Chivalry (New Haven, 1984), 2. Translation by Elizabeth Livermore Forbes in Ernst Carrirer, Paul Oskar Kristeller and John Herman Randall Jr., eds., The Renaissance Philosophy of Man (Chicago, 1948), 223–56. For a useful introduction, see Eugenio Garin, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola: Vita e Dottrina (Florence, 1937). 16 Konrad Burdach, Reformation, Renaissance, Humanismus (Berlin, 1918). For further discussion of Burdach’s relationship with Burckhardt, see, for example, Revilo P. Oliver, ‘Recent Interpretations of the Renaissance’, Italica 12/2 (June 1935): 130–5. For a parallel approach, although with less relevance for the Renaissance outside of Italy, note also Heinrich Thode, Franz von Assisi und die Anfänge der Kunst der Renaissance in Italien (Berlin, 1885), which seeks to trace Renaissance individualism back to St. Francis by emphasising its supposedly religious character. 17 W. Bouwsma, ‘ “The Waning of the Middle Ages,” by Johan Huizinga’, 37. 18 Henry Hornik, ‘Three Interpretations of the French Renaissance’, Studies in the Renaissance 7 (1960): 43–66, here 45, n. 13. 19 Charles H. Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century (Cambridge MA, 1927). 14 15

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the fundamental characteristics of the Renaissance had already been developed during the Middle Ages and that France ‘was the prime mover of the northern revival of learning which precipitated the Italian Renaissance’.20 Like Burdach, Nordstroem did not challenge either Burckhardt’s conception of the Renaissance or his distinction between Italy and the rest of Europe, but based his geographical claims exclusively on a recontextualisation of the phenomenon.21 In spite of such attempts to construct a more ‘European’ model of the Renaissance, a consciousness of the apparent divergence between the cultures of Italy and of France and Burgundy in particular contributed much to the continuing influence of Burckhardt’s Italocentric view among scholars working on Northern Europe in the decades after the publication of Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien. Far from cautioning a less forcefully ‘Italian’ view of the Renaissance, indeed, the appearance of cultural divergence led Johan Huizinga in particular to reinforce Burckhardt’s interpretation yet further.22 In his Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen and in two further influential papers on the ‘Renaissance problem’,23 Huizinga not merely absorbed Burckhardt’s conclusions, but also ‘revealed how well the courtly culture of France and the Netherlands supported’ Burckhardt’s Italocen-

20 H. Hornik, ‘Three Interpretations of the French Renaissance’, 50; Johan Nordstroem, Moyen âge et Renaissance, trans. Fr. Hammar (Paris, 1933). 21 Cf. Jacques Boulenger, ‘Le vrai siècle de la Renaissance’, Humanisme et Renaissance 1 (1934): 9–30. 22 For Huizinga’s place in the context of broader debates about the Renaissance, see Wallace K. Ferguson, The Renaissance in Historical Thought: Five Centuries of Interpretation (Boston, 1948), 373–6. See also Wessel Krul, ‘In the Mirror of van Eyck: Johan Huizinga’s Autumn of the Middle Ages’, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 27 (1997): 353–84; Edward Peters and Walter Simons, ‘The New Huizinga and the Old Middle Ages’, Speculum 74/3 (July 1999): 587–620; Jo Tollebeek, ‘ “Renaissance” and “fossilization”: Michelet, Burckhardt, and Huizinga’, Renaissance Studies 15 (2001): 354–66; Donald Sullivan, ‘The End of the Middle Ages: Decline, Crisis or Transformation?’, The History Teacher 14 (1981): 551–65; William Kerrigan and Gordon Braden, The Idea of the Renaissance (Baltimore, 1989). 23 Johan Huizinga, Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen: Studie over Levens-en Gedachtenvormen der Veertiende en Vijftiende Eeuw in Frankrijk en de Nederlanden (Haarlem, 1919); translated as Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages: A Study of the Forms of Life, Thought and Art in France and the Netherlands in the XIVth and XVth Centuries, trans. F. Hopman (New York, 1954). The two essays (‘The Problem of the Renaissance’ and ‘Renaissance and Realism’) have been reprinted in Johan Huizinga, Men and Ideas. History, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, trans. James S. Holmes and Hans von Marle (New York, 1959), 243–309.

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tric view of the Renaissance.’24 Despite the fact that he subtly took issue with some aspects of Burckhardt’s understanding of the role of classicism in medieval thought, Huizinga continued to maintain that there was indeed a fundamental distinction between medieval culture and that of the Renaissance, and insisted that this distinction was critical to differentiating between Italy and the rest of Europe in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Although eschewing the emphasis on the influence of political structures on the mentality of the age which was such an important feature of Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien, Huizinga accepted Burckhardt’s belief that it was the impulse to revive the totality of classical culture which marked the Renaissance out as having been a uniquely Italian phenomenon. Adding flesh to the bones of Burckhardt’s argument, Huizinga argued that in approaching the role of classicism, it was necessary to distinguish between form and content (or spirit): whereas classical forms had been known in previous centuries and continued to be known in, for example, France and the Netherlands, it was the union of these forms with a new classical spirit which constituted the defining characteristic of the Renaissance in Italy.25 While in the states of Florence and Venice, Milan and Urbino, men sought to revive classical forms in the spirit of a genuine classicism, Huizinga maintained that in the courts of France and Burgundy, ancient forms alone were sought, as in previous centuries, without regard for the wider content of antique culture, and from within a fundamentally ‘medieval’ mindset. In contrast to the ‘authentic’ classicism of the Italian Renaissance, it was a central contention of the Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen that the classical interests of northern Europeans were motivated not by a desire to revive a remote age in its totality and in its own terms, but by a preoccupation with the integration of isolated classical forms into a courtly and chivalric culture.26 Indeed, for Huizinga, W. Bouwsma, ‘ “The Waning of the Middle Ages,” by Johan Huizinga’, 37. It is worth noting, however, that Huizinga was occasionally inclined to display a more ambivalent attitude towards Burckhardt, although it seems unreasonable to suggest—in the manner of Peters and Simons—that this infers that he rejected the conclusions of Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien: E. Peters and W. P. Simons, ‘The New Huizinga and Old Middle Ages’, 603; Hans R. Guggisberg, ‘Burckhardt und Huizinga: Zwei Historiker in der Krise ihrer Zeit’, in Willem R. H. Koops, Ernst H. Kossmann and Gees van der Plaat, eds., Johan Huizinga, 1872–1972 (The Hague, 1973), 155–74; W. Krul, ‘In the Mirror of van Eyck’, 356–63. 25 J. Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages, 324–5, 335. 26 Ibid. 24

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the Low Countries—and Northern Europe in general—‘were in almost every aspect on the outside’ with respect to the Renaissance.27 Huizinga’s adaptation of Burckhardt’s work cast a long shadow on historiographical constructions of the position of Central and Northern Europe in relation to the concept of the Renaissance, and his distinction between the form and content of classical culture in particular had a deep and lasting impact.28 Examples of the impact of the Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen on later scholarship are not hard to find, but Erwin Panofsky’s Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art is a particularly important illustration of Huizinga’s role in embedding an Italocentric conception of the Renaissance in the minds of modern historians.29 Although Panofsky relied more closely on the Wege der Kulturgeschichte30 than on the Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen itself, the seminal importance of Huizinga’s reading of Burckhardt is clearly evident in the distinction between classical form and content which is of such significance to Panofsky’s justification both of the historical reality of the Renaissance and of the crucially Italian nature of the phenomenon. Despite the fact that his concentration on the visual arts puts him at some distance from the Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen, the interpretative framework which Panofsky used to distinguish the Renaissance from earlier ‘Renascences’ clearly bears the hallmark of Huizinga’s work. ‘From the eleventh and twelfth centuries,’ Panofsky asserted, employing Huizinga’s terminology, medieval art made classical antiquity assimilable by way of decomposition, as it were. It was for the Italian Renaissance to reintegrate the separated elements. Rendering unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, Renaissance art . . . put an end to the paradoxical medieval practice of restricting classical forms to non-classical subject matter.31

Johan Huizinga, Erasmus (Haarlem, 1924), 19: ‘De Noordelijke Nederlanden . . . droegen in bijna elk opzicht het karakter van een buitenkant.’ 28 For a good survey of Huizinga’s reception, see E. Peters and W. P. Simons, ‘The New Huizinga and Old Middle Ages’, 612–20. It is interesting to note that no less a scholar than Kristeller breezily accepted the implications of Huizinga’s thesis for perceptions of Europe beyond Italy: ‘. . . the fifteenth century outside of Italy is still quite medieval, as we have learned from Huizinga.’ Paul Oskar Kristeller, ‘Medieval and Renaissance Studies: Reflections of a Scholar’, Speculum 52/1 (Jan. 1977): 1–4, here 1. 29 Erwin Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art (Stockholm, 1960). 30 Johan Huizinga, Wege der Kulturgeschichte (Munich, 1930); originally published as Johan Huizinga, Cultuurhistorische Verkenningen (Haarlem, 1929). 31 E. Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences, 100. 27

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Just as the reunification of classical form and content marked the Italian Renaissance out as having been a true revival of classicism which stood in contrast to previous ‘Renascences’, Panofsky similarly believed that the harmonious reintegration of form and content placed Italy at considerable remove from the rest of Europe, which remained trapped in a ‘medieval’ worldview. ‘In spite of the “Neo-Gothic” or “anti-classical” currents,’ Panofsky wrote, again echoing Huizinga’s argument, the Italian Quattrocento is and remains a rinascimento dell’ antichità . . . The ars nova of the North, however, may be described as a rinascimento senz’ antichità or even a rinascimento incontro all’ antichità. With one or two possible exceptions, of purely individual relevance and of a purely iconographical character, classical influences did not affect the work of Early Flemish painters; and what applies to painting and to the Netherlands applies, a fortiori, to all the other arts and to the North as a whole.32

Despite offering a sympathetic view of Northern art (of which he was a noted scholar), the distinction between form and content which Panofsky adapted from Huizinga forcefully distanced the culture of Northern Europe from that of Italy and, critically, from that of the Renaissance. Constructions of the Renaissance and Historiographical Labels Although Burckhardt, Huizinga and Panofsky have had a considerable impact on perceptions of the geographical focus of the Renaissance, however, it would be mistaken to believe that all historians have shared this view of cultural innovation outside Italy. Especially in recent years, scholars have increasingly come to recognise that an Italocentric model of the Renaissance is often based on the use of a specific set of historiographical labels. As a result, such labels have been treated with increasing caution when approaching the ‘Renaissance problem’. While providing the basis for the interpretations offered by Burckhardt, Huizinga and Panofsky, terms such as ‘Italian’, ‘Flemish’ and even ‘Renaissance’ frequently defy precise definition and the attempt to bring greater clarity to such fluid labels can often feel like grasping

32

Ibid., 205–6.

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at mist. Although these terms evidently have a significant bearing on how the centres and peripheries of the Renaissance are determined, their lack of precise meaning creates a multiplicity of interpretative problems and leaves historiographical constructions vulnerable to influences which might potentially colour analysis. Being fluid, the manner in which key terms are understood has—in the past—not merely led to the relationship of particular figures to the Renaissance being conceived in radically different fashions, but has often been influenced as much by scholars’ contemporary surroundings as by the evidence itself. As Jeffrey Chipps Smith points out in his contribution to this volume, the fluidity of labels such as ‘German’, ‘Gothic’ and ‘Renaissance’, and their vulnerability to shifts in Germany’s cultural and political climate led to historical perceptions of Albrecht Dürer undergoing a dramatic change during the nineteenth century. In keeping with a growing taste for neo-Renaissance (as opposed to neo-Gothic) architecture, and the later rise in German nationalism, Dürer went from having been seen as the archetype of German art to being celebrated as the founder of the Renaissance in Northern Europe. It was, indeed, against this background that Panofsky’s own interpretation of the Renaissance was developed, and a similar attachment to labels susceptible to contemporary influences contributed to ensuring the persistence of the division between Italy and the rest of Europe which he sought to emphasise. As Ingrid Ciulisová explains, Jan Białostocki’s interpretation of the reception of the Renaissance in Eastern Europe in terms of the formulation of ‘national’ dynastic arts was not merely a consequence of his enthusiasm for the work of Julius von Schlosser and Panofsky, but also a consequence of a personal attachment to humanism that arose out of his experience of Communism in Poland. Two (or More) Renaissances? The recognition that labels commonly used in describing the ‘Renaissance’ both influence our understanding of centres and peripheries, and remain vulnerable to contemporary influences has led many recent scholars to adopt a more nuanced understanding of the Renaissance and a more positive view of cultural developments beyond the Alps. Some historians have, indeed, moved away from thinking of the Renaissance as a single cultural phenomenon that was restricted to Italy

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and have come to think of two—or even more—Renaissances embracing a range of cultural innovations in a number of centres.33 Despite Burckhardt’s rather dismissive interpretation and Huizinga’s far from positive view of its achievements, Northern Europe, as much as Italy, has come to be viewed as having experienced its own ‘Renaissance’.34 If the term ‘Renaissance’ is understood to connote a cultural efflorescence, there is, indeed, good cause to speak of multiple Renaissances. The idea of an ars nova described by Johannes Tinctoris, for example, can be seen not merely to have reflected real changes in fifteenthcentury music, but also to correspond to the notion of the Renaissance as a cultural efflorescence that stood in contrast to past modes. So too, in the visual arts, it is possible to discern radical and often dramatic shifts in techniques and tastes. The Burgundian court in particular was a focus for the development of new artistic styles and, as Panosfky himself pointed out, the introduction of oil painting was due to the pioneering spirit of Jan van Eyck.35 But even if the word ‘Renaissance’ is employed in the more narrow sense of a revival of Antiquity, many scholars have rightly pointed out that it is still possible to think in terms of two or more Renaissances. While it is true that the influence of classical Antiquity is less readily detected in the art and literature of Northern Europe in this period, the courts of Burgundy and France were not only centres of cultural change, but were also no less preoccupied with the recovery of classical literature than the courts of Milan and Urbino. Philip the Bold (1342–1404) and Philip the Good (1396–1467) were particularly notable bibliophiles who pursued a policy of consciously acquiring richly-adored manuscripts of classical texts for their libraries, which stood in stark contrast to the modest book collections assembled by earlier princes and noblemen. Not merely did this set a trend for classicism amongst the Burgundian nobility, but it also constituted an important component of Valois assertions of the autonomy and See, for example, John R. Hale, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Europe (London, 1993); P. Burke, The European Renaissance, esp. 48–65. 34 Lewis W. Spitz, ed., The Northern Renaissance (Englewood Cliffs, 1972); James Snyder, Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, and the Graphic Arts from 1350 to 1575 (New York, 1985); Jeffrey Chipps Smith, The Northern Renaissance (London, 2004); Marina Belozerskaya, Rethinking the Renaissance. Burgundian Arts Across Europe (Cambridge, 2002). 35 Erwin Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting, its Origin and Character, 2 vols. (Cambridge MA, 1953). 33

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significant of their territories. This was a tendency, indeed, which was further developed by Charles the Bold (1433–1477). As Peter Burke points out, Charles’ library contained an ample selection of classical works—including texts by Cicero, Livy, Ovid and Seneca—for which he nurtured a particular fondness as a result of his thoroughly humanistic education.36 A similar preoccupation with classicism can be detected elsewhere in Europe, in lands which have previously been regarded as marginal by many Renaissance historians, and the court of the Emperor Charles IV in Prague constitutes a particularly vivid example. Having transferred the imperial capital to Bohemia, Charles made his court a cultural centre which was home to a number of early humanists including Arnošt of Pardubice, Archbishop of Prague, Vojtěch Raňkův z Ježova (Adalbertus Ranconis de Enricinio) and Jan of Středa, as Klara Benešovská highlights. The classical learning of these figures was often prodigious and sustains comparison with even the finest of their Italian counterparts. In the course of a dispute with Henrich Totting von Oyta, for example, Vojtěch composed a notable apologia intended for the masters of Prague University which demonstrates a deep appreciation of Ciceronian rhetoric and a close reading of the pseudo-Ciceronian Ad Herrenium.37 Similarly, the substantial library assembled by Jan of Středa contained manuscript copies of Seneca, Livy, Valerius Maximus and Cassiodorus, as well as later works by Dante and the Historia Caroli Magni. But Charles IV’s cultivation of classical learning was not restricted to the erudition and learning of his closest advisers and it is no exaggeration to say that his enthusiastic patronage of classicism was imprinted on Prague itself. Reflecting Charles’ desire to construct a ‘New Rome’ which would manifest the notion of the translatio imperii, the New Town was constructed in compliance with the principles of town planning laid down by Vitruvius, and even the Charles Bridge erected over the Vltava was built to evoke classical archetypes in an identifiably Bohemian fashion.

P. Burke, The European Renaissance, 50. On Vojtěch’s apologia, see S. Harrison Thomson, ‘Learning at the Court of Charles IV’, Speculum 25/1 (Jan. 1950): 1–20, here 12. 36 37

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Cultural Exchange If it is possible to speak of a multi-centred Renaissance or even of many Renaissances, however, there are problems attendant on the implicit belief that each of these centres, or each of these ‘Renaissances’, existed in isolation. From the fourteenth century onwards, a vibrant network of exchange stretched across the continent linking cities, courts and cultures that poses a challenge not merely for the models of Burckhardt and Huizinga, but also for the creation of different, but equally sharp distinctions. Although there are many different ways of modelling such interactions (impact, epidemic, commercial and hydraulic)38 the growth of cultural exchange throughout the period seems to present significant difficulties for any attempt to distinguish clearly either between an Italian Renaissance and a ‘medieval’ Europe, or between multiple concurrent, but independent, Renaissances. There is, in some respects, reason to think not in terms either of an Italian Renaissance or of two (or more) Renaissances, but rather in terms of a more continental, or European, Renaissance, with various shifting currents of influence. New forms and ideas spread quickly from Italy to France, Burgundy, Spain, Bohemia, England and even Scotland. Trade routes, diplomatic connections and informal associations all played an important role in fostering this dissemination of the Italian Renaissance. The example of Petrarch, however, is particularly illustrative of the extent and vibrancy of this exchange. A frequent traveller who also had occasion to visit Paris (1333, 1360–1), Cologne (1333), and Basel (1356) during his lifetime, Petrarch was sent on a diplomatic mission to the court of Charles IV in Prague at the behest of Galeazzo and Bernarbò Visconti of Milan in 1356.39 Although Petrarch had corresponded—somewhat unsatisfactorily—

P. Burke, The European Renaissance, 5–6. On Petrarch’s travels in general, see Nicholas Mann, Petrarch (Oxford, 1984), 1–9. On Petrarch’s mission to Prague in particular, see, for example, Ernest Hatch Wilkins, Life of Petrarch (Chicago, 1961), 152–3; Wilkins, Petrarch’s Eight Years in Milan (Cambridge MA, 1958), 122–4; C. C. Bayley, ‘Petrarch, Charles IV, and the “Renovatio Imperii’’’ , Speculum 17/3 (July 1942): 323–41; N. Mann, Petrarch, 6. For Petrarch’s own accounts of this mission, see Petrarch, Fam. 21.1; 21.2; 21.7; Sen. 10. 1; 10.2; 17.2. 38 39

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with Charles IV before,40 and had met the emperor briefly in Mantua in December 1354,41 this visit marked the beginning of considerable closeness between the Italian poet and the imperial court, and the opening of a channel of regular cultural exchange. In the spring of 1361, for example, Charles confidentially asked Petrarch to determine whether two purported privileges said to have been granted by Caesar and Nero were genuine,42 and invited him to return to Prague on more than one occasion. Several figures at Charles’ court—including Arnošt of Pardubice and Jan of Středa—corresponded with Petrarch regularly. Jan of Středa, indeed, consciously attempted to emulate Petrarch’s style and established something of a ‘Petrarchan school’ in Prague.43 As in life, so after death, Petrarch’s influence spread rapidly across Europe and his works quickly found a ready audience.44 While he almost certainly did not meet Petrarch during his time in Italy, Geoffrey Chaucer modelled The Clerk’s Tale after Petrarch’s rendition of the Historia Griseldis and inserted a translation of Petrarch’s sonnet 132 into Troilus and Criseyde, written at some point between 1380 and 1385.45 At around the same time, the Frenchman Pierre Flamenc referred to Petrarch as a ‘holy man of God’, while also noting his Petrarch, Fam. 10.1; 22.1; 18.1. E. H. Wilkins, Life of Petrarch, 143–4; S. H. Thomson, ‘Learning at the Court of Charles IV’, 8. Petrarch’s most complete account of this meeting is given in Petrarch, Fam. 19.1. 42 The two privileges were forgeries. For Petrarch’s response, see Petrarch, Fam. 23.2. 43 S. H. Thomson, ‘Learning at the Court of Charles IV’, 8. 44 The bibliography for the European reception of Petrarch’s works is truly vast, but useful introductions to the dissemination of his writings include the following: Ernest Hatch Wilkins, The Making of the “Canzoniere” and Other Petrarchan Studies (Rome, 1951); Stephen Minta, Petrarch and Petrarchism. The English and French Traditions (Manchester, 1980); Nicholas Mann, ‘La prima fortuna del Petrarca in Inghilterra’, in Il Petrarca ad Arquà. Atti del Convegno di Studi nel VI Centenario (1370–1374), ed. Giuseppe Billanovich and Giuseppe Frasso (Padua, 1975), 279–89; Mann, ‘Petrarch’s role in humanism’, Apollo 94/115 (Sept. 1971): 176–83; Marc Dykmans, ‘Les premiers rapports de Pétrarque avec les Pays-Bas’, Bulletin de l’Institut Historique Belge de Rome 20 (1939): 51–122; Jozef Ijsewijn, ‘The Coming of Humanism to the Low Countries’, in Itinerarium Italicum. The Profile of the Italian Renaissance in the Mirror of its European Transformations. Dedicated to Paul Oskar Kristeller on the occasion of his 70th birthday, ed. Heiko Oberman and Thomas A. Brady (Leiden, 1972), 193–204; Leonard Forster, The Icy Fire. Five Studies in European Petrarchism (Cambridge, 1969). 45 The Griselda story has attracted an immense amount of scholarly attention, but some of the most useful and accessible introductory works include: E. H. Wilkins, The Making of the “Canzoniere”, 305–10; S. Minta, Petrarch and Petrarchism, 144–5; Vittore Branca, ‘Sulla diffusione della “Griselda” petrarchesca’, Studi petrarcheschi 6 (1956): 221–4; Gabriella Albanese, ‘Fortuna Umanistica della Griselda’, Quaderni 40 41

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renown as a laureate, thus displaying a knowledge of both his Latin treatises and his poetry (although perhaps not the Canzoniere).46 As contact between Italy and the rest of Europe expanded during the early fifteenth century—with figures like the Englishmen John Tiptoft, Robert Fleming and William Grey, and the Hungarian Janus Pannonius travelling to study at Italian universities, and ecclesiastics such as Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini voyaging as far afield as Scotland—the reception of Petrarch’s works abroad increased correspondingly. In the prologue to The Fall of Princes, written for Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester between 1431 and 1439, for example, John Lydgate showed his familiarity with Petrarch’s works and singled out the De remediis utriusque fortune in particular as being ‘wondirful delectable’.47 Perhaps most tellingly, Petrarch’s renown spread so rapidly that within a century of his death, the first non-Italian biography was produced by the German humanist Rudolph Agricola (1443–86).48 Cultural exchange, however, worked in both directions. European influences were felt strongly in Italy and, as many scholars have suggested, it is often difficult to sustain the impression that an Italian Renaissance can be regarded as separate from the cultural transformations originating beyond the Alps and in many cases, this strikes at the heart of the sharp distinction drawn by Burckhardt and Huizinga. Rather than shunning the ‘medieval’ culture of the rest of Europe, Italians appear rather to have nurtured a taste for the art, music and ideas of the North throughout the Renaissance period. Italian interest in Northern European art is, like Northern interest in Italian humanism, well illustrated by the reception of particular figures. In the same manner as Rogier van der Weyden and Justus of Ghent, Jean Fouquet (1420–81) was employed for a certain period in Italy. Already a noted artist in his native Tours, Fouquet was invited petrarcheschi 9–10 (1992–3): 571–628; Patricia Thomson, ‘The “Canticus Troili”: Chaucer and Petrarch’, Comparative Literature 11/4 (Autumn 1959): 313–28. 46 Quoted in Nicholas Mann, ‘Petrarch and Humanism: The Paradox of Posterity’, in Francesco Petrarca, Citizen of the World. Proceedings of the World Petrarch Congress, Washington D.C., April 6–13 1974, ed. Aldo S. Bernardo (Padua and Albany, 1980), 287–99, here 290. 47 John Lydgate, The Fall of Princes, ed. Henry Roger, 4 vols. (London, 1924), vol. 1, 8; quoted by Robert Coogan, ‘Petrarch’s Latin Prose and the English Renaissance’, Studies in Philology 68/3 (July 1971): 270–91, here 276. 48 See, for example, Frank L. Borchardt, ‘Petrarch: The German Connection’, in Francis Petrarch, Six Centuries Later: A Symposium, ed. Aldo Scaglione (Chapel Hill, 1975), 418–31, here 426–7.

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to Rome to undertake a portrait of Pope Eugenius IV.49 Although this work is no longer extant, and is known only through later copies, the fact that Fouquet was brought from France for this commission at roughly the same time as Fra Angelico was summoned to paint the frescos in the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament in St. Peter’s50 reflects the esteem in which he was held. His artistic ability, and his portrait of Eugenius IV in particular, was recognised by Filarete—who was working on the bronze doors for St. Peter’s at the time of Fouquet’s residence in Rome—in his Trattato di architettura, composed for Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan. In describing the artists best suited to the adornment of his ideal city, Filarete lamented the deaths of many notable Italian painters, but suggested that it would nevertheless be possible to find those with suitable talents elsewhere. ‘You must see, my lord,’ he wrote, addressing Francesco Sforza, if in foreign countries artists are to be discovered; at one time there was one of the highest excellences, Jehan de Bruges, but he, alas, is also dead. I am told, however, that in the Low Countries, there is another master, Rogier by name, whose gifts are great, and that in France there is a certain Jehan de Fouquet. If he is alive, he is a fine master, especially in the art of creating life-like portraits. He has painted, in Rome, the Pope Eugene attended by two members of his family and the likenesses are such that they seem Life itself. He has painted them upon a canvas which has since been placed in the sacristy of the Minerva. I mention them because he made the portrait within our living memory.51

Filarete was not alone in expressing admiration for Fouquet. Francesco Florio, a well-travelled Italian who had settled in Tours, was fulsome in his praise. Writing to his friend Tarlati, then in Rome, he declared I would be happy if I could find words worthy to celebrate the paintings of this master of the City of Tours. Pray do not think I am romancing . . . Look for yourself at the speaking likeness of the Pope in the Although the terminus ante quem is necessarily provided by the death of Eugenius IV in 1447, there is some uncertainty regarding the exact date of Fouquet’s residence in Rome. It seems, however, most probable that he was in the Eternal City between 1443 and 1447. Anatole de Montaiglon, ‘Jean Fouquet et son portrait du Pape Eugène IV’, in L’Œuvre de Jehan Fouquet, 2 vols., ed. Louis Curmer (Paris, 1886), vol. 1, 35; Otto Pächt, ‘Jean Fouquet: A Study of His Style’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 4/1–2 (Oct. 1940–Jan. 1941): 85–102, here 89. 50 On the dating of Fra Angelico’s Vatican commissions, see Creighton Gilbert, ‘Fra Angelico’s Fresco Cycles in Rome: Their Number and Dates’, Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 38/3–4 (1975): 245–65. 51 Quoted in Trenchard Cox, Jehan Fouquet. Native of Tours (London, 1931), 31. 49

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Church of the Minerva . . . Do not doubt that I am speaking the truth when I tell you that this Fouquet can create a living likeness and could even rival Prometheus himself.52

It is striking that the praise given to Fouquet’s ability to capture a lifelike appearance by both Filarete and Florio bears more than a passing resemblance to the praise conventionally heaped upon Giotto’s supposed talent for the same and to Petrarch’s praise of Simone Martini. The same pattern seems to have been repeated in philosophy. Although it has often been claimed that scholastic philosophers remained ‘aloof from the spirit and purpose of the Renaissance,’53 it is mistaken to believe that ‘scholasticism as an old philosophy was superseded by the new philosophy of humanism,’54 and the weaknesses of such a contention are brought out in sharp relief when the exchange of knowledge between Northern Europe and Italy from the fourteenth century onwards is considered. As Kristeller was careful to point out, rather than being in tension, scholasticism and humanism ‘developed side by side throughout the period of the Renaissance and even thereafter’55 and, as many other scholars have demonstrated, this scholastic strand drew particular succour from contact with universities in France and England. With the possible exception of some teaching at the University of Salerno, Aristotelian philosophy seems first to have been brought to Italy from France during the mid-thirteenth century.56 Attached primarily to the study of medicine, but also connected closely with the study of Roman Law,57 Aristotelian philosophy became a regular feature of the curriculum in Italian universities in the fourteenth century. By the early fifteenth century, the universities of Padua, Bologna, and Pavia, as well as those of Siena, Pisa and Ferrara, had become the most important centres of Aristotelianism in Europe and came to

Quoted in ibid., 32. Harold D. Hazeltine, ‘Roman and Canon Law in the Middle Ages’, in Joseph R. Tanner et al., ed., The Cambridge Medieval History, 8 vols. (1911–36), vol. 5, 697–764, here 739. Note also William J. Bouwsma, Venice and the Defence of Republican Liberty (Berkeley, 1968), 1–11, 41. 54 Paul Oskar Kristeller, Renaissance Thought. The Classic, Scholastic and Humanist Strains (New York, 1961), 113. 55 Ibid. 56 Ibid., 112. 57 See, for example, Q. R. D. Skinner, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, vol. 1, 51. 52 53

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produce such noted Aristotelians as Pietro Pomponazzi (1462–1525) and Alessandro Achillini (1463–1512).58 Just as Aristotelian philosophy had first been imported from France, so it flourished as a result of direct contact with the universities of Oxford and Paris. Marsilius of Padua (c.1275–c.1342), for example, whose Defensor pacis was written under the influence of Aristotle’s political philosophy, completed his education at Paris and eventually became Rector.59 At approximately the same time, Gregory of Rimini (c.1300–1358) studied and later taught theology at Paris—where he did much to bring English stands of philosophy and theology to bear on contemporary debate—before returning to teach in Padua and Rimini.60 Similarly, one of the most brilliant teachers at the University of Padua during the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, Paul of Venice (d.1429), had been sent to study at Oxford in 1390 and subsequently taught at Paris alongside Pierre d’Ailly before returning to Italy.61 If cultural exchange between Italy and the rest of Europe (and vice versa) ensured the rapid transfer of modes and ideas during the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, the interaction of cultural centres is often thought to have been made more profound by Johannes Gutenburg’s invention of printing using moveable type in 1455. Having reached Italy within a decade of the publication of the 42-line Bible, and having been established in Paris by 1470, Lyon by 1473, and Valencia, Bruges and Krakow by 1474, printing presses were to be found in approximately 250 cities by 1500 and the printing press swiftly became a truly European phenomenon. Not surprisingly, the spread of printing occasioned an extraordinary expansion both in the number and the distribution of books, and contemporary observers John Hermann Randall Jr., ‘The Development of Scientific Method in the School of Padua’, Journal of the History of Ideas 1/2 (April 1940): 177–206, here 182. 59 Charles K. Brampton, ‘Marsiglio of Padua: Part I—Life’, English Historical Review 37 (1922): 501–15; Alan Gewirth, Marsilius of Padua and Medieval Political Philosophy (New York, 1951), 20f; Georges de Lagarde, La Naissance de l’Esprit Laïque au déclin du moyen age, vol. 2, Marsilie de Padoue ou le premier théoricien de l’État Laïque, 2nd ed. (Paris, 1948), 17–30. 60 For a useful, if brief, introduction to Gregory of Rimini, see Stephen Brown, ‘Walter Burley, Peter Aureoli and Gregory of Rimini’, in Routledge History of Philosophy, vol. III, Medieval Philosophy, ed. John Marenbon (London, 2000), 368–86, here 381–3. For a fuller treatment, see, for example, Gordon Leff, Gregory of Rimini: Tradition and Innovation in Fourteenth-Century Thought (Manchester, 1961). 61 J. H. Randall Jr., ‘The Development of Scientific Method in the School of Padua’, 181; Felice Momigliano, Paolo Veneto e le correnti del pensiero religioso e filosofico nel suo tempo (Udine, 1907). 58

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such as Sebastian Franck frequently praised the sudden availability of knowledge in the most glowing terms. Works of classical literature, for example, were amongst the first to be published across the continent, and having mastered the art of printing Greek, the Venetian publisher Aldus Manutius issued an edition of Aristotle in five volumes by 1498. Works of vernacular literature also enjoyed considerable popularity and found their way around Europe. No fewer than twenty-five combined editions of Petrarch’s Canzoniere and Trionfi were printed in the period between 1470 and 1500, as well as a further nine editions of the Trionfi alone.62 Aided by the publication of a series of grammatical and lexical tools for students of Italian, these two works swiftly became enormously popular at the English court by the early sixteenth century. Further Problems: Towards a ‘Wider Renaissance’? If printing may be seen to have ‘transformed the cultural map of Europe’ and contributed to strengthening cultural exchange between centres, however, it is important to note that a closer examination of trends in the early history of the publishing industry caution against sweeping judgements. As Andrew Pettegree demonstrates, the impact of printing in transforming the fabric of French society in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries should not be over-estimated. The wider dissemination of ancient scientific texts in France did not necessarily lead to the positive progress which is usually associated with notions of ‘modernity’. While printing did make available important classical works on medicine, for example, such as Galen, it should not be thought that this either encouraged the emergence of a new experimental impulse or led to the amelioration of the human condition. By the same token, reading tastes remained rather static. Although the printing press made available some of the most important works of Italian Renaissance literature—such as Boccaccio’s Decameron and Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso—readers were more enthusiastic to read the more traditional chivalric romances of Amadis de Gaule, and the literature of discovery remained rooted in the fantastical. Robert Coogan, ‘Petrarch’s “Trionfi” and the English Renaissance’, Studies in Philology 67/3 (July 1970): 306–27, here 310. E. H. Wilkins, The Making of the “Canzoniere”, 279. 62

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The example of printing is significant in that it seems to warn against too strong an adherence to the idea of a ‘continental’ or ‘European’ Renaissance with shifting strands of influence. Although, as many scholars have pointed out, cultural exchange did serve to bring different centres into contact with different cultural innovations, and has the effect of weakening the sharp distinctions which are implicit both in a Burckhardtian Italocentric view of the Renaissance and in a multi-centred understanding of the phenomenon, that does not mean to say that it is plausible entirely to discount the distinct flavour that was retained by various regions of Europe. As some recent historians—such as Marina Belozerskaya—have discovered, in re-evaluating conceptions of the Renaissance, it is necessary to balance the aspects which distinguished regional developments carefully against the connections which linked different areas in formulating a new historiographical construction. Although the advent of printing bound France closer to Italy, for example, French reading tastes remained relatively unchanged and retained their own distinct nature. By the same token, while Jean Fouquet’s art was admired by Filarete and Florio, there is some sense in which artists from Northern Europe were indeed perceived to produce lifelike images in the manner of their Italian coevals, but were nevertheless not recognised as sharing the Italian preoccupation with classical forms. This line of argument can, indeed, be extended even further to challenge the validity of applying the very word ‘Renaissance’ to the cultural developments of Northern Europe, and to call traditional understandings of the term itself into question. As Rob Wegman explains in his contribution to this volume, Johannes Tictoris’ description of the music of his time as an ‘ars nova’ may be construed more as a reflection of his preoccupation with contemporary social, moral, religious and political issues than as evidence for the Renaissance which Panofsky so vigorously defended. Similarly, Hanno Wijsman has pointed out that while Philip the Bold and Philip the Good did indeed display a notable preference for classical works in assembling their libraries, they may be seen to have participated more in a long tradition of book collecting in Burgundy and the Low Countries than in either a radically new cultural efflorescence or in a Renaissance which had both Northern and Southern forms. Since the publication of Burckhardt’s Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien, therefore, historians have conceived of the Renaissance outside of Italy in a number of ways. As we have seen, the Renaissance

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can be thought of as primarily an Italian phenomenon, which began in the states of Florence, Milan, Rome, and Urbino (for example) and only later spread to the rest of Europe. Recognising the similarities between different developments across the continent, however, it is also possible to think of a series of parallel ‘Renaissances’, or of a multi-centred Renaissance, with focal points in Italy, France, Burgundy, Bohemia and even further afield. But a closer analysis of cultural exchange can also lead to a more unified, continental view of the Renaissance, of cultural centres all participating in an intellectual and artistic efflorescence as nodes in a complex network of relationships. Yet this view itself has its weaknesses and does not exclude other rival interpretations from being considered on the grounds that some cultural distinctions which challenge conventional uses of the term ‘Renaissance’ may indeed have to be acknowledged. In the final assessment, the historian of the Renaissance is perhaps left with a choice that has been made no clearer after 150 years of scholarship, but which has certainly become ever more enticing: in conceiving of the Renaissance, should Europe beyond Italy be thought of as sitting always on the outside, as participating as an equal, but distinct cultural revival, or as forming part of a more intricate network of cultural relationships that might be described using a broader definition of the Renaissance which goes beyond the Italocentrism of Burckhardt, Huizinga and Panofsky?

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NORTHERN RENAISSANCE? BURGUNDY AND NETHERLANDISH ART IN FIFTEENTHCENTURY EUROPE Hanno Wijsman* Everyone who has studied medieval or modern history knows that the periodisation of the eras on either side of the Renaissance provides much food for thought. This contribution aims first to address the usefulness of the widespread concept of the ‘Northern Renaissance’. This will inevitably involve an examination of the more general concept of the ‘Renaissance’, but this will be considered in the context of the relationship between North and South in fifteenth-century Europe. On account of the massive bibliography on this topic, this article cannot claim to be comprehensive, but will examine only key works and some recent contributions. Second, I hope to show here that the history of the book, of book collecting and of library formation can shed new light on more general problems in cultural history. In the first pages of his 1944 article, which later became the basis for Renaissance and Renascences, Erwin Panofsky gave two definitions of the Renaissance. In its more narrow sense, he calls the Renaissance ‘a rebirth of classical antiquity following a complete, or nearly complete, breakdown of classical traditions’ and, in its wider sense, the ‘universal efflorescence of art, literature, philosophy, science and social

* This article has taken shape at the same time as two others that are closely linked: Hanno Wijsman, ‘ “Bourgogne”, “bourguignon” . . . Un style de manuscrits enluminés?’, in La cour de Bourgogne et l’Europe. Le rayonnement et les limites d’un modèle culturel, ed. Torsten Hiltmann, Werner Paravicini and Franck Viltart (in press); Wijsman, ‘Bibliothèques princières entre Moyen Age et humanisme. A propos des livres de Philippe le Bon et de Mathias Corvin et de l’interprétation du XVe siècle’, in De Bibliotheca Corviniana, Mathias Corvin, les bibliothèques princières et la genèse de l’État moderne, ed. Jean-FranÇois Maillard, István Monok and Donatella Nebbiai, Suplementum Corvinianum, 2 (Budapest, 2009), 121–34. The three articles form a triad concerning the problems of the conceptualisation of fifteenth-century art and I intend to venture further into this field in the future. The writing of this article was made possible by a postdoctoral position paid for by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) and the University of Leiden. For their invaluable help and support, I am thankful to many, and especially to Wim Blockmans, Claire Challéat, Jeffrey Chipps Smith, Torsten Hiltmann, Alexander Lee, Anton van der Lem, Donatella Nebbiai, Werner Paravicini, Pit Péporté, Harry Schnitker, Hugo van der Velde and Rob Wegman.

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accomplishments after a period of decay and stagnation.’1 Adding a third quite common definition, we come to three: the Renaissance as a specific revival (that is a as rebirth of classical Antiquity), as a more general revival (as an efflorescence of culture), and as a period (generally used to speak about the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries). In what follows, I will refer to these three definitions as a rebirth, an efflorescence, and a period.2 Panofsky was preoccupied with showing that the Renaissance signalled a major change in European culture. He was reacting against historians who had put the whole concept of the Renaissance into perspective, and who were sceptical about its actual existence. He set out to show that the Renaissance had been a real change and that it had been more far-reaching than earlier periods of change, which he referred to as ‘renascences’.3 The French word ‘Renaissance’, as used in a specific sense, with a capital ‘R’, first appeared around 1829–30.4 The idea of a period of light and rebirth after a ‘dark’ age, however, went back to ideas from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries themselves. In modern historiography, the whole subject is embedded in the work of three great scholars: Jules Michelet, Jacob Burckhardt, and Johan Huizinga.5 In

Erwin Panofsky, ‘Renaissance and Renascences’, The Kenyon Review 6 (1944): 201–36, esp. 202–3. See also Erwin Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art (Stockholm, 1960). Peter Burke recently used a definition very close to Panofsky’s narrow one: ‘The enthusiasm for Antiquity and the revival, reception and transformation of the classical tradition’: Peter Burke, The European Renaissance. Centres and Peripheries (Oxford, 1998), 2. 2 For the Renaissance as a movement and as a period, see Ernst Gombrich, ‘The Renaissance—Period or Movement?’, in Background to the English Renaissance: Introductory Lectures, ed. Joseph B. Trapp (London, 1974), 9–30; P. Burke, The European Renaissance, 1; and also Robert Black’s contribution to this volume. 3 E. Panofsky, ‘Renaissance and Renascences’; Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences. See also Rob Wegman’s clear-cut analysis of Panofsky’s way of arguing in his contribution to this volume. For Panofsky’s view on Italy and the North in the fifteenth century, see Erwin Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting. Its Origins and Character (Cambridge MA, 1953), 1–20; Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences, 162–210. 4 Johan Huizinga, ‘Het probleem der Renaissance’, in his, Verzamelde werken (Haarlem 1949), vol. 4, 231–75, esp. 241; Marcel Françon, ‘Premiers exemples de l’emploi du terme Renaissance’, Modern Language Notes 72 (1957): 199–200; Lucien Febvre, Michelet et la Renaissance, ed. Paule Braudel (Paris 1992), 36–8. Huizinga stated that the first use of the word ‘Renaissance’ was by Honoré de Balzac in 1830, but some other uses of the word in the same period, including one by a certain H. Fortoul in 1829, were attested in M. Françon, ‘Premiers exemples’. 5 Jo Tollebeek, ‘“Renaissance” and “fossilization”: Michelet, Burckhardt, and Huizinga’, Renaissance Studies 15 (2001): 354–66. 1

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1855, the French historian Michelet was the first to publish a book about the ‘Renaissance’. In his view, it was the glorious beginning of modernity, and consequently the Middle Ages were characterised as an inert, fossilised era.6 Five years later, Burckhardt published his Kultur der Renaissance in Italien, which was to become even more influential. He developed Michelet’s interpretation, but transposed this glorious era from France in the sixteenth century to Italy in the fifteenth.7 Despite concentrating on the same historical period as Burckhardt, Johan Huizinga’s Autumn of the Middle Ages8 presented fifteenthcentury Burgundy as having experienced not the dawn of a new age, but the dusk of an old era.9 Although a great admirer of Burckhardt’s work, Huizinga was able to proclaim his ‘liberation from the spell of Burckhardt’.10 In his book and in his two essays on the Renaissance,11 Jules Michelet, Histoire de la France au seizième siècle, tome VII: Renaissance (Paris 1855) (critical edition by Robert Casanova, Paris, 1978); J. Tollebeek, ‘ “Renaissance” and “fossilization”’, 354–7. 7 Jacob Burckhardt, Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien. Ein Versuch (Leipzig 1860); J. Tollebeek, ‘“Renaissance” and “fossilization”’, 354–8. 8 Johan Huizinga, Herfsttij der middeleeuwen. Studie over levens- en gedachtenvormen der veertiende en vijftiende eeuw in Frankrijk en de Nederlanden (Amsterdam 1997) (first edition: Haarlem, 1919). Surprisingly, and sadly, there is no satisfactory critical English translation available of this important work. The older edition is much abridged and simplified and deprived of all the notes (as authorised by the author): Johan Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages, trans. F. Hopman (London, 1924). For the problems of the newer translation (Johan Huizinga, The Autumn of the Middle Ages, trans. R. J. Payton and U. Mammitzsch [Chicago, 1996]), see Wessel Krul, ‘In the Mirror of van Eyck: Johan Huizinga’s Autumn of the Middle Ages’, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 27 (1997): 353–84, esp. 353–4; the review by Walter Simons in Speculum 72 (1997): 488–91; Edward Peters and Walter Simons, ‘The New Huizinga and the Old Middle Ages’, Speculum 74 (1997): 587–620, esp. 589–96. 9 For the ‘making of ’ and the background of Huizinga’s ideas, see especially Anton van der Lem, Johan Huizinga. Leven en werk in beelden en documenten (Amsterdam, 1993), 134–50; Francis Haskell, History and its Images. Art and the Interpretation of the Past (New Haven and London, 1993), 431–95; W. Krul, ‘In the Mirror of van Eyck’; E. Peters and W. Simons, ‘The New Huizinga’; J. Tollebeek, ‘ “Renaissance” and “fossilization”’. 10 Cited by: Wessel Krul, ‘Johan Huizinga und das Problem der Renaissance’, in Johan Huizinga, Das Problem der Renaissance. Renaissance und Realismus (Berlin 1991), 7–15, esp. 13; J. Tollebeek, ‘“Renaissance” and “fossilization”’, 361. 11 Johan Huizinga, ‘Het probleem der Renaissance’, first published in 1920 in the journal De Gids 84 (1920), vol. 4, 107–33, 231–55; republished in the volume Johan Huizinga, Tien Studiën (Haarlem, 1926), 289–344 and in the collected works: Johan Huizinga, Verzamelde werken (Haarlem 1949), vol. 4, 231–75. Johan Huizinga, ‘Renaissance en realisme’ was based on lectures in London in 1920 and in Switzerland in 1926 and first published in Johan Huizinga, Cultuurhistorische verkenningen (Haarlem 1929), 86–116; republished in Johan Huizinga, Verzamelde werken (Haarlem 1949), vol. 4, 276–97. Several translations of these two essays have been published. In English: Johan Huizinga, 6

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written a short time later, Huizinga put the significance of the Renaissance into perspective: there was not so much newness in this era after all. In his eyes, the ‘Renaissance’ belonged to the Middle Ages, but at the same time, developments in Italy differed from those in France and the Netherlands.12 There is a tendency in modern historiography, especially in English, to speak in terms of the ‘Renaissance period’, which covers the late fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries. This has resulted in describing Southern Netherlandish art of the fifteenth century as ‘Renaissance Art’. This nomenclature is, however, debatable and potentially confusing. Jo Tollebeek has recently argued that the views of the Renaissance proposed by Michelet, Burckhardt and Huizinga are compelling, but also complex and very personal constructions.13 The main issue considered by the present contribution is the impossibility of regarding the concept as a ‘rebirth’ or an ‘efflorescence’, and as a designation of a period at the same time. The Northern Renaissance and Burgundy In common with Huizinga, this paper will focus on Burgundian culture in questioning the concept of a ‘Northern Renaissance’ and will take a very recent book on the same subject as a starting point: Marina Belozerskaya’s 2002 study Rethinking the Renaissance. The aim of her book is, as she puts it, to ‘readjust the traditional perception of [fifteenth-]century Europe’.14 Her study reassesses the concept of the Renaissance. Although the Renaissance is generally accepted as having come from Italy, by focusing on the Burgundian court as another breeding-ground of cultural developments, she attempts to show that ‘The Problem of the Renaissance’ and ‘Renaissance and Realism’, in Men and Ideas. History, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance. Essays by Johan Huizinga (New York, 1959), 243–87 & 288–309. In German: Johan Huizinga, ‘Das Problem der Renaissance’, Italien. Monatschrift für Kultur, Kunst und Literatur 1 (1928): 337–49, 391–404, 444–59; Huizinga, Wege der Kulturgeschichte. Studien (Munich 1930), 89–139; Huizinga, Das Problem der Renaissance. Renaissance und Realismus (Tübingen, 1953). In French: Johan Huizinga, ‘Le problème de la Renaissance’, Revue des cours et conférences 40 (1938–1939): 163–74, 301–12, 524–36, 603–13. 12 W. Krul, ‘In the Mirror of van Eyck’, 355, 373; J. Tollebeek, ‘ “Renaissance” and “fossilization” ’, 361–2; P. Burke, The European Renaissance, 47–8. 13 J. Tollebeek, ‘“Renaissance” and “fossilization”’, 366. 14 Marina Belozerskaya, Rethinking the Renaissance. Burgundian Arts across Europe (Cambridge, 2002), 46.

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Italy is not everything. She presents her study as ‘one alternative to the Italocentric perception of the Era’.15 Belozerskaya wants us to reconsider our view of the fifteenth century by juxtaposing different ‘modes’. In order to focus on these, she stresses that we have to look at the period with a ‘period eye’. When we learn at school that modernity was born with the Italian Renaissance and with Italian humanism, our view is blurred. The view that the Burgundian court was rooted in a medieval cultural mindset when elsewhere the first seeds of modernity were being sown is a hangover from Huizinga that must be carefully reconsidered.16 Belozerskaya’s book is a complete, lively and attractive study of Burgundian court culture and its influence on the rest of Europe. Her study, however, also suffers from severe problems, problems which unfortunately weaken her argument. Belozerskaya criticises Huizinga’s view of the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance for being both ‘highly charged and excessively simplistic.17 Unfortunately, Belozerskaya cites Huizinga in a very biased way and it would not be unjust to suggest that her conclusions are themselves ‘highly charged’. Huizinga’s interpretation is indeed susceptible to criticism: his treatment of the Renaissance problem is riddled with contradictions and a number of his assertions are seriously problematic.18 It is nevertheless surprising that Belozerskaya omits to analyse in any serious way Huizinga’s interpretations and, moreover, does not seem to have made use of Huizinga’s two fundamental articles on the Renaissance problem.19 Moreover, although she dedicates a long chapter to the historiography of the ‘Renaissance problem’, she mainly sticks to pre-twentieth-century historiography (ending with Huizinga). Although many of the presumptions with which the book begins might be appropriate for the general public, they are not merely well-known to a more specialised audience, but known to have been superseded. In this regard, one might highlight Belozerskaya’s references to the Italocentric perception of the era, her use of the term ‘minor arts’ (which were viewed as the ‘major’ arts in

Ibid., 2. Ibid., 66–7. 17 Ibid., 43. 18 For some of these problems, see W. Krul, ‘In the Mirror of van Eyck’, 372–5. 19 See above, note 13. Huizinga’s two articles remain an excellent starting point for reflecting on the ‘Renaissance problem’. 15 16

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the later Middle Ages), and her unwillingness to go beyond Vasari’s teleological and anachronistic viewpoint in evaluating artists.20 Another problem is caused by her use of insufficiently defined, but nevertheless key concepts. Although it is perhaps possible to define ‘Burgundian art’, any definition would have to differentiate it very carefully from ‘Flemish art’, and would be obliged to distinguish between court and city culture.21 By the same token, Belozerskaya is equivocal in attaching meaning to the word ‘Renaissance’. Despite using the Oxford English Dictionary to refer to the Renaissance as a rebirth, she describes it differently—as a period—elsewhere on the page.22 On the one hand, Belozerskaya attempts to prove that Burgundian culture fits into the narrow definition of the Renaissance as a rebirth. To this end, she looks for evidence which suggests that there was much more classical influence at the Burgundian court than is usually thought. Central to her argument is the contention that the ‘enthusiasm for Antiquity’ was not simply received from Italy, but was also an essential part of Burgundian court culture. On the other hand, however, Belozerskaya tries to show that a Burgundian mode enjoyed considerable influence in fifteenth-century Europe, even (or especially) in Italy. This Burgundian mode is evidently not classical in inspiration, in spite of the fact that some heroes from Antiquity do appear in Burgundian stories and imagery. It is at this point that we touch upon the heart of the problem of defining the Renaissance. In the fifteenth century, Italy was not the only breeding ground for cultural developments: Burgundy can be seen as a cultural alternative.23 But if we accede to the idea of a multi-poled Renaissance, then we should also accept another definition of it not only as a rebirth, but as a more general efflorescence, or simply as a period. What then remains might

M. Belozerskaya, Rethinking the Renaissance, 10–7. About the problematic definition of ‘Burgundy’ see: H. Wijsman, ‘“Bourgogne”, “bourguignon”. . .’. 22 ‘The great revival of art and letters, under the influence of classical models, which began in Italy in the fourteenth century and continued during the 15th and the 16th’, M. Belozerskaya, Rethinking the Renaissance, 3, citing: Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford, 1971). Later in her book (74) Belozerskaya also cites Peter Burke’s definition. 23 As Belozerskaya shows very well. See also H. Wijsman, ‘“Bourgogne”, “bourguignon”. . .’; Wijsman, ‘Bibliothèques princières entre Moyen Age et humanisme’, 132–4. 20 21

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be one of Panofsky’s ‘renascences’, or just an alternative designation of the early-modern period. In attempting to prove that classical influences were present at the Burgundian court and that they were even exported from ‘Burgundy’ to the rest of Europe,24 Belozerskaya seems to underestimate the degree to which classical material was present in medieval Europe, well before the period of Burgundy’s ascendancy. Classical themes, classical forms, classical subjects, and classical texts were known, used, cited and translated throughout the Middle Ages. Even if this interest was growing during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, we should not underestimate the degree of continuity which existed.25 This brings us back to Panofsky. In examining the Renaissance from the perspective of the ‘rebirth of Antiquity’, Belozerskaya omits to examine seriously Panofsky’s suggestion that the period’s distinguishing characteristic was not merely the rediscovery, but the transformation of classical forms and themes. While earlier ‘renascences’ had readily made use of the form and content of classical art and literature, the two had not been united. For Panofsky, the Italian Renaissance combined both form and content. In his eyes, the Middle Ages always retained a sense of continuity in treating classical subjects, whereas the Italian Renaissance really proposed something new. For the first time there was a sense of ‘historical distance’ between Antiquity and the present.26 Now this idea applies very nicely to relationship between Italy and Burgundy in historical constructions of the Renaissance. Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy founded the Order of the Golden Fleece, named after the precious object that the Greek hero Jason brought home; Philip’s son Charles the Bold listened to stories about Alexander the Great so that he might gain inspiration for his own conquests. M. Belozerskaya, Rethinking the Renaissance, 67–73. See Erwin Panofsky and Fritz Saxl, ‘Classical Mythology in Mediaeval Art’, Metropolitan Museum Studies 4 (1932–33): 228–80. 26 E. Panofsky, ‘Renaissance and Renascences’, 222, 228; Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art, 108–13; E. Panofsky and F. Saxl, ‘Classical Mythology’; and the pioneering Aby Warburg, ‘Italienische Kunst und internationale Astrologie im Palazzo Schifanoja zu Ferrara (1912)’, in Aby Warburg, Die Erneuerung der heidnische Antike. Kulturwissenschaftliche Beiträge zur Geschichte der europäischen Renaissance, ed. Gertrud Bing (Leipzig and Berlin, 1932), 459–81, 627–44; or in English: Aby Warburg, ‘Italian Art and International Astrology in the Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara (1912)’, in his The Renewal of Pagan Antiquity. Contributions to the Cultural History of the European Renaissance (Los Angeles, 1999), 563–91, 732–58. 24 25

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Netherlandish tapestries showing these and other stories were popular Burgundian export articles. As real medieval men, the dukes and others identified with classical heroes and yet did not have a sense of ‘historical distance’. This forces us to ask whether Italian Renaissance princes like the Medicis, the Sforzas, and the Montefeltros saw their relationship with Antiquity so very differently. It is quite easy to show how medieval certain people were because they used classical examples in a very concrete and transformed way (in Panofsky’s words ‘incomplete and distorted’),27 but it is much more difficult to show how ‘real Renaissance people’ were more abstract and comprehensive in their view of Antiquity. Maybe Petrarch or Leonardo Bruni were, but whether the fifteenth-century Italian princes were remains to be seen. In the inspiring last pages of his 1944 article, Panofsky tries very hard to underline the revolutionary character of the Italian Renaissance. He speaks, for example, of the gap that separates pagan Antiquity from the Christian Middle Ages.28 But we should not stop asking questions. For example, in a broad historical sense, was Christianity not also something typical of the Roman world, very classical in origin, very much influenced by all kinds of Hellenistic and classical philosophical currents? A medieval European might have seen the dichotomy between Christian and pagan as something very clear cut. We, however, should not shrink from challenging these ideas. Some Other Recent Points of View The inconsistencies and distortions caused by the various definitions of the word ‘Renaissance’ are well known to modern scholarship. Many studies published in the last few years address these problems, especially in the context of the relationship between Italian and Northern art. The vocabulary shift in the titles of two articles that Larry Silver dedicated to scholarship on Northern European art of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in 1986 and in 2006 is very telling.29 The 1986

E. Panofsky, ‘Renaissance and Renascences’, 228. Ibid., 226. 29 Larry Silver, ‘The State of Research: Northern European Art of the Renaissance Era’, Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 518–35; Silver, ‘Arts and minds: scholarship on early modern art history (Northern Europe)’, Renaissance Quarterly 59 (2006): 351–73. 27 28

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title, ‘Northern European Art of the Renaissance Era’, was already very delicately chosen. It avoids ‘Northern Renaissance art’ and in the notion ‘Renaissance era’, ‘Renaissance’ is used as an adjective and, strictly speaking, does not refer to a period, even if the use of ‘Renaissance era’ does not clarify things very much. But the 2006 title has avoided the use of ‘Renaissance: ‘Arts and Minds: Scholarship on Early Modern Art History (Northern Europe)’. Silver has chosen to refer to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as ‘Early Modern’, which seems a very enlightening choice. A recent article by Ethan Kavaler provides us with a more detailed example. Kavaler discusses the use of ornament in Southern Netherlandish painting, sculpture and architecture in the very late fifteenth century and in the first half of the sixteenth century, and, in drawing parallels with contemporary literature and music, he shows himself to be a scholar who wishes to capture the essence of the period in a broad cultural sense. His title contains the notion of ‘Renaissance Gothic’ and the introduction states that this is a deliberate choice intended to emphasise ‘the inevitable inconsistencies that result when we forget the specific values and perspectives enshrined in our construction of periods and our intuitive expectation of linear progression.’30 This seems to be a very clear example of the problems of definition. The term ‘Renaissance Gothic’ denotes both a period (Renaissance) and a style (Gothic).31 In Kavaler’s preliminary remarks, however, he uses the word ‘Renaissance’ to refer to a style.32 In using the same word to mean different things, he seems keenly aware of the problem of definition, but nevertheless feels obliged to indulge this lexical ambivalence in order to draw attention to precisely this problem. In her excellent study of the impact of Southern Netherlandish painting in Florence in the second half of the fifteenth century, Paula Nuttall begins by juxtaposing the artistic developments in Florence and in the Southern Netherlands in the period 1420–1440.33

Ethan Kavaler, ‘Renaissance Gothic in the Netherlands. The Uses of Ornament’, The Art Bulletin 82 (2000): 226–51, esp. 226. 31 Indeed, other notions than the Renaissance could be discussed in similar ways as we do here for ‘Renaissance’. ‘Gothic’ and ‘medieval’ are just as ambiguous. 32 Kavaler states that he wants to call attention to ‘discontinuities in conventional designations of periods’ and does not want to interpret Late Gothic as a Renaissance style: E. Kavaler, ‘Renaissance Gothic’, 246, n. 1 (my emphasis). 33 Paula Nuttall From Flanders to Florence. The Impact of Netherlandish Painting 1400–1500 (New Haven and London, 2004). 30

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Nuttall’s study emphasises the numerous strands of cultural exchange between Italy and the Netherlands. Working on fifteenth-century artistic exchanges between the Burgundian lands and the kingdom of Naples, Claire Challéat has recently published an overview of the historiography concerning the influences of Southern Netherlandish art in Southern Italy. King Alphonse of Aragon’s taste for Netherlandish art has often been interpreted as an indication of conservatism or even of cultural backwardness, but Challéat is right to point out that this way of looking at the fifteenth century is too teleological.34 It seems that historiography has allowed itself to be influenced too heavily by the self-conscious constructions of the ‘Renaissance’ by contemporary Italian artists. Although artists like Ghiberti, Alberti, Vasari and Michelangelo were unequivocal in expressing a sense of their place in the scheme of history and in comparing themselves—often harshly— with others,35 these subjective judgements should not preclude modern scholars from adopting a more objective approach to the art and culture of the era.36 The same relationship between Italy and the North was again considered in a volume edited by Joachim Poeschke which aimed, by way of a series of case studies, to explore the different art forms of the fifteenth century, and paid particularly close attention to the influence of Northern Europe on Italian art.37 In juxtaposing the early Renaissance in Italy and the later Middle Ages in the North, while at the same time describing both with the concept of the early-modern period, the title of the volume edited by Poetschke clearly raises questions for our conceptions of fifteenth-century art and shows a high consciousness of the problem.38

Claire Challéat, ‘Naples et le modèle bourguignon au temps d’Alphonse d’Aragon: quelques considérations historiographiques’, Annales de Bourgogne 78 (2006): 169–92, esp. 176. 35 For Michelangelo’s famous judgement of Flemish art as being fit for women and deprived from reason or art, see P. Nuttall From Flanders to Florence, 1–2 and 9–10. 36 P. Burke, The European Renaissance, 49–50. 37 Joachim Poeschke, ed., Italienische Frührenaissance und nordeuropäisches Spätmittelalter. Kunst der frühen Neuzeit im europäischen Zusammenhang (Munich, 1993). 38 Belozerskaya seems too ready to criticise the title of the volume edited by Poetschke as an example of the misconception that scholarship and the general public have of fifteenth-century art, especially because she does not cite the subtitle in which Northern and Southern art are clearly stated as both belonging to early-modern times (as does the introduction). M. Belozerskaya, Rethinking the Renaissance, 44. 34

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Many recent authors have emphasised the interdependence of the two artistic spheres,39 and—more generally—of the urban societies of the Southern Netherlands and Northern Italy.40 Moreover, modern scholarship shows a steadily growing consciousness of terminological and conceptual problems. Paula Nuttall is right in wanting to go beyond talking about ‘influences’:41 far from being indebted only to classical Antiquity, Italian Renaissance art was heavily influenced by its contact with Northern Europe, especially with respect to painting. Huizinga’s characterisation of fifteenth-century Netherlandish culture as having been rooted in the ‘autumn of the Middle Ages’ has had an enormous influence. This view had been consciously formulated in opposition to the idea of a ‘Northern Renaissance’.42 Moreover, it has been shown that, in spite of his anti-nationalistic tendency, one of Huizinga’s aims was to show the superiority of Dutch or Netherlandish culture43 and a certain anti-Italianism was not unfamiliar to him.44 The mere existence of an historiographical tradition in Huizinga’s image, coupled with the existence of historical constructions of the Italian Renaissance which ultimately derive from the self-aggrandisement of Renaissance artists like Vasari, makes a fair comparison between northern and Italian fifteenth century culture very complicated. It is therefore no surprise that recent publications struggle with such concepts.45 Even if many scholars are very well aware of the problems, commercially-motivated book titles, especially in the English language, have

P. Burke, The European Renaissance, 50–2. For this broader historic comparison, see most recently the various contributions to Elisabeth Crouzet-Pavan and Elodie Lecuppre Desjardin, eds., Villes de Flandre et d’Italie: relectures d’une comparaison traditionnelle, Studies in European Urban History 11 (Turnhout, 2007). 41 P. Nuttall From Flanders to Florence, 251. 42 Johan Huizinga, Verzamelde werken (Haarlem 1948), vol. 1, 39; W. Krul, ‘In the Mirror of van Eyck’, 357–62; Wessel Krul, ‘Realism, Renaissance, and Nationalism’, in Early Netherlandish Paintings. Rediscovery, Reception and Research, ed. Bernhard Ridderbos, Anne Van Buren and Henk van Veen (Amsterdam, 2005), 252–89, esp. 283. 43 It should be noted that the clear distinction in English between ‘Dutch’ and ‘Netherlandish’ does, for historical reasons, not exist in the Dutch language. 44 Anton van der Lem, Het Eeuwige verbeeld in een afgehaald bed. Huizinga en de Nederlandse beschaving (Amsterdam, 1997), 84–87. 45 Very conscious of terminology, Paula Nuttall admits in her preface that she acceded to the title given to her book for reasons of alliteration, whereas in fact the word ‘Flanders’ should have been replaced by the more correct ‘Southern Netherlands’. P. Nuttall, From Flanders to Florence, x. 39 40

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had a huge influence on the spread of ‘Renaissance’ as a period-indicative notion.46 I am well aware that ‘Renaissance princes’ sounds much grander than ‘fifteenth-century princes’. If the choice is between ‘later medieval’ and ‘Renaissance’, the second has an irresistible, lofty taste of newness.47 However, in resigning ourselves to this development we will ultimately only confuse ourselves. In spite of an awareness of the problems, vocabulary often continues to be ambivalent. It is impossible to attack the past without using the words that it has transmitted to us, but these same words prevent us from seeing the past clearly. Like many others, I would be inclined to refer to Netherlandish art of the fifteenth century as something new. The term ‘ars nova’, which has been put forward with quite some success, seems a good concept.48 It emphasises the newness of the art of Sluter, Van Eyck, and Van der Weyden, but, in avoiding the concept of ‘Renaissance’, distinguishes Netherlandish art from contemporary Italian art. Moreover, it detaches developments in art from more general developments in society as well. Princes, Nobles and their Book Collections Traditionally the pre-eminent fields of study in fifteenth-century culture concern the fine arts (especially painting), and classical philology. The study of book collecting and library formation, however, can add a lot to the discussion, especially when focusing on princes and nobles (men and women). Indeed, illuminated books constitute a meeting-ground for the visual arts and textual content. The patronage and collection

Established scholars have indicated to me that that titles containing ‘Northern Renaissance’ had simply been imposed on them by publishers. 47 The magnificent milestone which is the recent catalogue on Southern Netherlandish book illumination between 1467 and 1561, bears a beautiful title, but we must assume that the word ‘Renaissance’ in it refers only to a period. This is confusing, as the catalogue deals with book illumination before and after the introduction of elements from the Italian Renaissance in Netherlandish Art. Thomas Kren and Scot McKendrick, Illuminating the Renaissance. The triumph of Flemish manuscript painting in Europe (Los Angeles and London, 2003). 48 Ironically, the concept of ‘Flemish Primitives’, to refer to Early Netherlandish painting, which now seems to have become more and more obsolete (except in Flanders), was in itself meant to emphasise the newness of the new style of Van Eyck, Campin, and Van der Weyden. ‘Ars nova’ is an alternative means of denoting this new style, originally borrowed from musical history. See E. Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting, 149–50. 46

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of luxury manuscripts can help an examination of the Renaissance problem.49 Given the limitations of space, this contribution will confine itself to a brief examination of the case of the Burgundian dukes and their court.50 The Valois and—after 1482—the Habsburg dukes of Burgundy reigned over a conglomeration of territories from the late fourteenth to well into the sixteenth century.51 The first and the third of these princes—Philip the Bold (1342–1404) and Philip the Good (1396– 1467)—were important patrons of the arts. Both had a special affection for books, especially beautiful books. The Burgundian library grew to contain about 900 manuscripts, many of which (but by no means all ) were richly illuminated manuscripts. Between about 1445 and his death in 1467, Philip the Good acquired an enormous number of manuscripts. Some had been presents, others were the fruit of a carefully-considered policy of acquisition. He acquired, for example, many chronicles of the lands he ruled. He was also fond of stories that we would consider legendary, but which in his eyes provided an historical explanation for the origins of the Burgundian ‘state’, and a justification for its independence and importance.52 Philip the Good was not, however, the only collector of books in fifteenth-century Burgundy. A whole generation of nobles, born in the 1420s and 1430s and raised in the bibliophile atmosphere of the 49 Belozerskaya does not give much attention to literature, manuscripts and illumination at the Burgundian court, as she says, for reasons of space. M. Belozerskaya, Rethinking the Renaissance, 134. 50 See also H. Wijsman, ‘“Bourgogne”, “bourguignon”. . .’; Wijsman, ‘Bibliothèques princières entre Moyen Age et humanisme’. 51 Wim Blockmans and Walter Prevenier, The Promised Lands. The Low Countries under Burgundian Rule, 1369–1530 (Philadelphia 1999); Bertrand Schnerb, L’Etat bourguignon, 1363–1477 (Paris 1999). ‘Burgundian’ was used largely as a synonym for what we now call ‘Netherlandish’ for the whole of the sixteenth century, for which see Johan Huizinga, ‘Burgund. Eine Krise des romanisch-germanischen Verhältnisses’, Historische Zeitschrift 148 (1933): 1–28, esp. 27. 52 Yvon Lacaze, ‘Le rôle des traditions dans la genèse d’un sentiment national au XVe siècle. La Bourgogne de Philippe le Bon’, Bibliothèque de l’école des chartes 129 (1971): 303–85; Graeme Small, ‘Les Chroniques de Hainaut et les projets d’historiographie régionale en langue française à la cour de Bourgogne’, in Les chroniques de Hainaut ou les ambitions d’un Prince Bourguignon, ed. Pierre Cockshaw and Christiane Van den Bergen-Pantens (Turnhout 2000), 17–22; Hanno Wijsman, Luxury Bound. Illustrated Manuscript Production and Noble and Princely Book Ownership in the Burgundian Netherlands (1400–1550) (Turnhout, 2010), 238–43. Jan Veenstra, ‘“Le prince qui se veult faire de nouvel roy”. Literature and Ideology of Burgundian Self-determination’, in The Ideology of Burgundy. The Promotion of National Consciousness 1364–1565, ed. D’Arcy Jonathan Dacre Boulton and Jan R. Veenstra (Leiden-Boston, 2006), 195–221.

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Burgundian court in the 1450s and 1460s, became bibliophilic themselves. Having a library, collecting manuscripts that contained certain texts in vogue and that were produced in the fashionable Flemish or Hainaut workshops of scribes and illuminators, became an absolute ‘must’. Of course, individuals could have their own private fields of interests, but, on the whole, we see the same features in all book collections of the second half of the fifteenth century. Members of the families of Croy, Cleves, Gruuthuse, Lalaing, Luxemburg, Lannoy, and Nassau not only became knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece (the élite of the élite), but also followed the duke’s example in collecting books.53 Where did this wish to build up a library containing certain kinds of texts come from? Philip the Good was a grandson of Philip the Bold, who himself was the youngest son of King John the Good of France. As such, Philip the Bold was a brother of King Charles V of France (r. 1364–1380), and he also exerted considerable influence over his nephew, Charles VI (r. 1380–1422). It is well known that especially Charles V, nicknamed the Wise, was a king with a strong interest in intellectual matters. He employed several translators to produce French versions of classical Latin texts. It was also Charles V who founded the first French royal library, which, by his son’s reign, had expanded to hold almost a thousand manuscripts. In France he is often seen as having been responsible for the transformation of French into an ‘intellectual’ language. Charles V’s brothers—particularly Jean de Berry and Philip the Bold—were, of course, also very much interested in books.54 Looking back, it is not difficult to see how Philip the Good found his inspiration in the French court of Charles the Wise. It becomes even clearer if we recall that, after the death of Charles VI in 1422 and the English occupation of Paris and most of France, the manuscripts of H. Wijsman, Luxury Bound, 503–29; Wijsman, ‘La Librairie des ducs de Bourgogne et les bibliothèques de la noblesse dans les Pays-Bas (1400–1550)’, in La Librairie des ducs de Bourgogne. Manuscrits conservés à la Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique. Vol. 2: Textes didactiques, ed. Bernard Bousmanne, Frédérique Johan, and Céline Van Hoorebeeck (Turnhout 2003), 19–37. 54 Léopold Delisle, Recherches sur la librairie de Charles V (Paris 1907); François Avril and Jean Lafaurie, La librairie de Charles V, exhibition catalogue (Paris, 1968); Patrick De Winter, La bibliothèque de Philippe le Hardi, duc de Bourgogne (1364– 1404): étude sur les manuscrits à peintures d’une collection princière a l’époque du “style gothique international” (Paris, 1985); Françoise Autrand, ‘La culture d’un roi: livres et amis de Charles V’, Perspectives Médiévales 21 (1995): 99–106. 53

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the Royal Library were dispersed after the death, in 1435, of John of Lancaster, who had bought them in 1424. Philip the Good saw himself as the true heir of the Valois dynasty. Even if he was not the king of France, he was for quite a while much wealthier and more powerful. Importantly for our purpose, this power and wealth gave Philip the ability to commission lavishly illustrated manuscripts.55 Was it so unique for a king to found a library in the fourteenth century? Well, yes, in a way. Medieval princes and noblemen usually had some books. This, however, is not the same as founding a library, which involved the conscious acquisition of books and the employment of writers, translators and illustrators. Although it was not entirely without precedence, the idea that the noble (or non-noble) élite should gain their education through reading was quite a new idea in the time of Charles the Wise. It was this idea that Philip the Good took over and continued. In the fifteenth century, however, collecting books became more commonplace. Bibliophile kings and princes reigned in Italy, Spain, England, the German territories and Central Europe. A famous example of these royal bibliophiles, a generation younger than Philip the Good, is Matthias Corvinus (1443–1490), the Hungarian nobleman who was elected king of Hungary when only fifteen years old, in 1458. A somewhat unexpected monarch, despite his father’s having been regent of Hungary during the reign of Ladislaus the Posthumous, Corvinus build up an enormous library which was later completely dispersed and, for the most part, lost. Profoundly influenced by Italian culture, Corvinus’ library was dominated by Latin texts. He went to Italy to get the authors and the artists working for him and also to buy manuscripts and works of art.56 Another famous bibliophile is Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (1390–1447), fourth son of King Henry IV and brother of Henry V. He acquired hundreds of manuscripts and was in frequent contact with Italian humanists, several of whom came to his court, brought him books from Italy or wrote texts especially for him. Humphrey is 55 Philip the Good even managed to acquire several of the manuscripts that had been made for Charles V of France and that came from the dispersed library. They were somewhat older, but had this special royal flavour. 56 Csaba Csapodi and Klára Csapodi-Gárdonyi, Bibliotheca corviniana. La bibliothèque du roi mathias Corvin de Hongrie (Budapest, 1967). For more comparative information about Matthias Corvinus’ library and the one of the Burgundian dukes, see H. Wijsman, ‘Bibliothèques princières entre Moyen Age et humanisme’.

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well known for his taste for Italian humanism and for Latin texts,57 but it is worth noting that, of the surviving manuscripts bearing evidence of his ownership, about one third are written in French or in English. Among those written in French, there were several manuscripts formerly in the French Royal Library that Humphrey must have acquired through his brother, John of Lancaster. Humphrey, a prince who presented himself as an intellectual with humanist interests, was also closely linked to the French royal tradition. The influence of Italian humanism was little felt in the libraries of the high nobility in the Burgundian Netherlands. Far from seeking inspiration in Italy, the Burgundian nobility looked to the duke, who in turn looked to his French roots. After 1477, Habsburg rule did not introduce any profoundly new influences. Mary of Burgundy lived for too short a time; Maximilian of Austria was too distant; Philip the Fair and even Charles V were raised very much in the Burgundian tradition.58 Arjo Vanderjagt has pointed out that ‘the term ‘humanism’ cannot be applied generally to the courtly circles of Burgundy’, but that that does not mean that they weren’t intellectual.59 In noble libraries, the influence of Italian humanism was only introduced in some very specific cases: nobles like Raphael de Mercatellis (1437–1508), abbot of Saint Baafs Abbey in Gent, Philip of Burgundy (1465–1524), who became bishop of Utrecht, Charles II de Lalaing (1506–1558), who in his youth had been destined for an ecclesiastical career, and Joris van Halewijn (Georgius Haloinus; c.1470–1536/7) had book collections showing strong humanist tendencies.60 What

57 For Duke Humphry’s library, see Alfonso Sammut, Unfredo duca di Gloucester e gli umanisti italiani, Medioevo e umanesimo, 41 (Padova, 1980); David Rundle, ‘Two unnoticed manuscripts from the collection of Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester’, Bodleian Library Record 16 (1998): 211–24, 299–313; and the forthcoming book by David Rundle on the library of Duke Humphrey. 58 Hanno Wijsman, ‘L’otage de Gand. La formation d’un jeune prince’ and ‘L’itinéraire d’un esthète. Les lectures d’un prince éclairé’, in Philippe le Beau (1478– 1506). Les trésors du dernier duc de Bourgogne, ed. Bernard Bousmanne, Sandrine Thieffry and Hanno Wijsman (exhibition catalogue) (Brussels, 2006), 23–30, 51–60. 59 Arjo Vanderjagt, ‘Classical Learning and the Building of Power at the Fifteenthcentury Burgundian Court’, in Centres of Learning. Learning and Location in PreModern Europe and the Near East, Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 61, ed. Jan Willem Drijvers and Alasdair A. MacDonald (Leiden, 1995), 267–77, esp. 268–9; see also H. Wijsman, ‘Les princes et leurs livres’. 60 H. Wijsman, Luxury Bound, 277–81, 369–71, 386–92, 507–9; Wijsman, ‘La Librairie des ducs de Bourgogne et les bibliothèques de la noblesse’, 24–5; Jozef Sterk, Philips van Bourgondië (1465–1524), bisschop van Utrecht, als protagonist van de

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these four have in common is, first, that that they all went to university and, second, that (with the exception of van Halewijn) they were bastards or younger sons who had received an education suitable for an ecclesiastical career. They also assembled their libraries at the very end of the fifteenth century or in the sixteenth century. The other noblemen of their rank that belong to the generations born in the 1450s or later and that lived well into the sixteenth century adhered to more old-fashioned tastes when it came to collecting books. This is all the more striking because some of them—like Philip of Cleves and Henry III of Nassau—did show an interest in art inspired by the Italian Renaissance: they commissioned paintings with classical subjects from artists like Jan Gossaert, whose style betrays a strong Italian influence, and built palaces in a style incorporating Italian Renaissance influences.61 But until well into the 1520s and 1530s, these same noblemen acquired very few modern books: they had few, if any, printed books, very few modern texts, had little interest in reading Latin, and because the production of beautiful manuscripts had dried up in the 1490s, they mostly acquired older, second-hand manuscripts, sometimes with a prestigious provenance. This does not mean, however, that there was practically no Italian Renaissance or humanist influence in libraries in the Netherlands in the fifteenth century. It just did not spread into the leading princely and noble circles. We have to look for it among intellectuals in the towns. These town-dwellers, however, constituted a social group that was quite different to the courtly élite. The court-city dichotomy

renaissance. Zijn leven en mecenaat (Zutphen, 1980); Albert Derolez, ‘A survey of the Mercatel library on the basis of the early catalogues and the surviving manuscripts’, in ‘Als ich Can’. Liber amicorum in memory of Professor Dr. Maurits Smeyers. Corpus of Illuminated Manuscripts 11–2, ed. Bert Cardon, Jan Van der Stock and Dominique Vanwijnsberghe (Louvain, 2002), vol. 1, 545–64; Jacques Monfrin, ‘La connaissance de l’Antiquité et le problème de l’Humanisme en langue vulgaire dans la France du XVe siècle’, in The Late Middle Ages and the Dawn of Humanism outside Italy. Proceedings of the International Conference, Louvain May 11–13, 1970, ed. Gérard Verbeke and Jozef Ijsewijn (Louvain and The Hague 1972), 131–70. 61 J. Sterk, Philips van Bourgondië, 97–147; Dagmar Eichberger, Leben mit Kunst— Wirken durch Kunst. Sammelwesen und Hofkunst unter Margarete von Österreich, Regentin der Niederlande, Burgundica 5 (Turnhout, 2002); Elyne Olivier, ‘Philippe de Clèves, le goût et les particularismes artistiques d’un noble bourguignon à travers le Recueil de mandements, d’inventaires et de pièces diverses concernant la succession de Philippe de Clèves’, in Entre la ville, la noblesse et l’état. Philippe de Clèves (1456–1528), homme politique et bibliophile, Burgundica 13, ed. Jelle Haemers, Céline Van Hoorebeeck and Hanno Wijsman (Turnhout 2007), 143–59.

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deserves close study. Again taking painting as an example, it is worth noting that, far from being a reflection of court culture, early Netherlandish art was an emanation of the rich culture of the towns.62 Large altarpieces—a new form of art—were typical of the modes encouraged by commissions from town dwellers and were soon exported abroad. Despite this, there is very little evidence for either the ducal family or the high nobility having commissioned painted altarpieces. They stuck to tapestries and manuscripts. Some evidence that court culture was imitated can be found in the book collections of townsmen, but most urban collectors adhered to scholarly traditions at some remove from that influenced by Italian humanism. The history of manuscript patronage and of book collections draws our attention to several often overlooked cultural differences: between Italy and the North, between the inspiration sought by different princes, and between court culture and city culture. The relations between court and city, between towns and ruling dynasties were different in Italy and in the Netherlands, the two most urbanised areas in Europe. This seems to be the key direction for further research. Conclusion It seems to me that the generally widespread term ‘Northern Renaissance’ as used to apply to the ‘ars nova’ of Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden and others (i.e. the paintings that were used to be known as ‘Flemish Primitives’) came into being because people tended to use the word ‘Renaissance’ in its wider sense, to refer to a period. However, this habit induces a lot of confusion. Words can have different meanings, but if this process goes too far, scholars are no longer able to understand each other properly. Marina Belozerskaya’s Rethinking the Renaissance seems to be a victim of this problem: in this inspiring study, several key ideas suffer from the problem of definition. The introduction of the notion of a ‘Burgundian mode’ as opposed to an ‘Italian mode’ is very useful, but it cannot be done without clarifying what we mean by ‘Burgundian’, by ‘Italian’, as well as by ‘Renais-

Hanno Wijsman, ‘Patterns in Patronage. Distinction and Imitation in the Patronage of Painted Art by Burgundian Courtiers in the Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Century’, in The Court as a Stage. England and the Low Countries in the Later Middle Ages, ed. Steven Gunn and Antheun Janse (Oxford, 2006), 53–69. 62

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sance’. Differences between court and town, and in general between different social groups are at least as important as differences between Italy and the North. Thus, comparing Burgundian princely court culture with Italian city culture or with humanistic Latin culture is not comparing like with like. We have to consider that in fifteenthcentury Europe there were other modes of learning than ‘avant-garde humanism’ and ‘old-fashioned medieval learning’. Different modes of scholarship co-existed, each based on a different source of inspiration. In the intellectual circles of fifteenth-century Europe, the language for ‘real’ intellectual reading was Latin, and the renewing influences of humanism came from Italy. At the French court in the fourteenth century, however, another strong mode of learning was born which was taken up by the Burgundian dukes in the fifteenth century. It functioned as another model. It also had some influence elsewhere (for example at the English court of Edward IV and Henry VII). In the longer run—in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries—Latin remained the primary intellectual language on the international stage. The position of Latin was not new: it played the same role from late Antiquity right through the Middle Ages into the modern era, playing a dominant role even during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Maybe one of the reasons why Italian influences won out over Burgundian influences around 1500 was that the composition of texts in Latin made Italian ideas more exportable. If ‘Renaissance’ is primarily used to signify a rebirth of antique culture, then the concept of a ‘Northern Renaissance’ makes no sense and should be abandoned. If ‘Renaissance’ is primarily used to denote a general efflorescence or even a mere period, then the concept of a ‘Northern Renaissance’ might be more acceptable. In that it deprives ‘Renaissance’ of all its original sense, however, this seems a very unsatisfactory solution. If scholars accept the word ‘Renaissance’ as a general term used to designate a period, we should, in my opinion, draw the conclusion that it should be detached from the narrow definition of a ‘rebirth of classical Antiquity’, which is, however, a pity, if only because this meaning is ingrained in the word because of the first two letters and thus also ingrained in the concept. Simply for the sake of clarity, therefore, it seems preferable not to refer to fifteenth-century Netherlandish art as belonging to a ‘Northern Renaissance’. Some classical influences, such as translated texts and references to heroes, can indeed be seen at the Burgundian court. But this does not necessarily mean that the North was participating in a Renaissance

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(in the sense of a ‘rebirth’) independently from Italy. In indulging this classicism, the Burgundian dukes participated in a long medieval tradition. Every interpretation of history contains elements of exaggeration, because interpretation usually relies on the identification of differences. I think that the problems that are induced by the dichotomy between an ‘autumn of the Middle Ages’ in the North and an Italian Renaissance are not at all solved by the replacement of this dichotomy by another between a Northern and a Southern Renaissance. Using the term ‘Renaissance’ merely to designate a period or even vaguely to denote an efflorescence only leads us further away from an understanding of the era. The answer to the question ‘does a ‘Northern Renaissance’ exist?’ could be affirmative if we accept a very general use of the word ‘Renaissance’. But in this way we will shoot ourselves in the foot, because we will end up confusing key concepts containing very little meaning. So if we want to keep a clear notion of the Renaissance, as a rebirth or as an efflorescence, then we should not yield to the idea of a ‘Northern Renaissance’, but find another means of approaching and describing the Netherlandish ‘ars nova’ and Burgundian court culture.

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FORGOTTEN PATHS TO ‘ANOTHER’ RENAISSANCE: PRAGUE AND BOHEMIA, C.1400* Klára Benešovská In this paper, I will attempt to shed some light on the cultural and artistic activity in the crown lands of Bohemia in the second half of the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth centuries, by drawing specific parallels with Italian humanism and the early Renaissance in the trecento. The topic in question is so highly complex that we can only examine a few aspects here. Chronologically, this paper will begin with the election of Charles IV of Luxembourg as Holy Roman Emperor in 1346, and will end with the onset of the Hussite revolution in 1419 following the death of his son Wenceslas IV.1 The reason for this comparison is as much the well-known connections between the court of Charles IV and Italy as the lesser-known aspects of court art during the reign of his son Wenceslas. Emperor Charles IV’s decision to make the capital of the Bohemian kingdom his seat brought about startling changes in economic, political and cultural spheres. Shortly after his coronation as king of Bohemia (1347), he founded a university in Prague, a new district (the New Town), and Karlstein Castle, which he intended to use as a * This contribution has been translated from Czech by Zoë Opačić. 1 Franz Martin Pelzel, Karl der Vierte König in Böhmen, 3 vols. (Prague, 1781); Ferdinand Seibt, Kaiser Karl IV.: Ein Kaiser in Europa, 1346–1378 (Munich, 1978); Jiří Spěváček, Karel IV. (1316–1378) (Prague, 1979); Spěváček, ‘Der Machtaufschwung der Luxemburger in Mitteleuropa’, in Kunst der Gotik aus Böhmen, Katalog zur Ausstellung im Schnüttgen-Museum (Cologne, 1985), 19–35; Iva Rosario, Art and Propaganda: Charles IV of Bohemia, 1346–1378 (Woodbridge, 2000); Franz Martin Pelzel, Lebensgeschichte des Römischen und Böhmischen Königs Wenceslaus. Erster Theil: enthält die Jahre 1361–1395. Zweiter Theil: enthält die Jahre 1395–1419 (Prag and Leipzig, 1788–1790); Jiří Spěváček, Václav IV. 1361–1419 (Prague, 1986); Hlaváček, ‘Das Urkunden- und Kanzleiwesen des böhmischen und römischen Königs Wenzel (IV)’, in Monumenta Germaniae Historica Schriften 23 (Stuttgart, 1969); Hlaváček, ‘Wenzel IV, sein Hof und seine Königsherrschaft vornehmlich über Böhmen’, in Das spätmittelalterliche Königtum im europeischen Vergleich, VF 32, ed. Reinhardt Schneider (Sigmaringen, 1991), 361–420; Wilhelm Hanisch, ‘König Wenzel von Böhmen (geb.1361, gest.1419)’, in Ostbayerischen Grenzmarken, Passauer Jahrbuch für Geschichte, Kunst und Volkskunde 11 (1969): 197–217; 12, (1970): 5–61; 13, (1971): 198–233; Lenka Bobková and Milena Bartiolvá, Velké dějiny zemí Koruny české [The great Story of the Crown of the Bohemia Lands] IV.a,b (Prague, 2003).

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treasury for the imperial relics and insignia acquired two years later, in 1350. It is clear that the acquisition of the relics and insignia was of great importance for Charles’ public status, although their removal from imperial territory was viewed negatively within the Empire itself. Until his return from his imperial coronation in Rome in 1355—the event which legitimised and strengthened his position as the monarcha mundi—Charles was not publicly specific about his plans for the safekeeping of the treasures which symbolised the Empire itself and which were referred to as ‘insignia quae imperium dicuntur’. His plans gradually became apparent with the issue of the foundation charter of the Karlstein chapter on 27 March 1357. Alongside the imperial treasure, the castle also acted as a safe deposit for the Bohemian treasure.2 Charles’ pragmatism is also reflected in his approach to the important ‘Italian question’. In contrast to his imperial predecessors, he had valuable experience of the complicated Italian political milieu. In 1331, as a fifteen-year-old boy, his father put him in charge of the rapidly-gained but volatile territories of the ‘Luxembourg signorie’ in Northern Italy, which were eventually reduced to the town of Lucca alone.3 Charles came of age here and became resolved to build his political powerbase in the Bohemian kingdom, the place of his birth. During a period of estrangement from his father, Charles became involved in the conflict between the Venetians and the Della Scala family. The victorious condottiere was grandly welcomed by the patricians and the doge in Venice, imbued at the time with Palaeologan neo-Hellenism. He visited the treasury of St Mark’s and may Jiří Fajt, ed., Magister Theodoricus, Court Painter to Emperor Charles IV: The Pictorial Decoration of the Shrines at Karlstejn Castle (Prague, 1997); Karel Otavsky, ‘Reliquien im Besitz Kaiser Karls IV., ihre Verehrung und ihre Fassungen’, in Jiří Fajt, ed., Court Chapels of the High and Late Middle Ages and their Artistic Decoration (Prague, 2003), 125–37; Klára Benešovská, ‘Architektura ve službách panovníka. Základní architektonická koncepce Karlštejna a její inspirační zdroje’ [Architecture in the service of the ruler. The main concept of the Karlstein and the sources of his inspiration.], Průzkumy památek 13 (Schodištní cykly Velké věže hradu Karlštejna. ed. Zuzana Všetečková) (Příloha, 2006): 96–105. 3 Carla Dumontel, L’impresa italiana di Giovanni di Lussemburgo, re di Boemia (Torino, 1952); Ellen Widder, Itinerar und Politik. Studien zur Reiserherrschaft Karls IV. südlich der Alpen (Cologne, Weimar and Vienna, 1993); Klára Benešovská, ‘L’impresa italiana di Giovanni di Lussemburgo: testimonianze d’arte‘, in Medioevo europeo: Giovanni e Carlo di Lussemburgo in Toscana (1331–1369). Atti del Convengo Internazionale di Studi Montecarlo, 14 luglio 2002. Quaderni Lucchesi di Studi sul Medioevo e sul Rinascimento 3, 2002 (Lucca, 2002), 209–25. 2

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have acquired there the late antique bowl that now forms part of the sardonyx communion chalice (scyphus) and which he gave to the treasury of Prague Cathedral in 1350.4 Charles IV thus became intimately acquainted with the circumstances of Italy, and especially those of the North. After his accession to the throne, he surrounded himself with capable advisors who had been educated at the universities of Bologna and Padua. Among those closest to him were the archbishop of Prague, Arnošt of Pardubice and the chancellor and later bishop of Litomyšl and Olomouc, Jan of Středa.5 Jan’s chancellery became the centre of early humanism in Bohemia: he was an excellent writer and his library boasted volumes by Livy, Seneca, Valerius Maximus, as well as the history of the Trojan war, the Historia Caroli Magni, and the writings of Hugh of St. Victor, Dante and Cassiodorus.6 This historical background is necessary for a better understanding of the characteristics and early reception of so-called early humanism in Bohemia. Konrad Burdach singled out the arrival of Cola di Rienzo at court in Prague in 1350 as the beginning of the Renaissance ‘movement’ in Bohemia and Germany.7 This Roman notary and orator, whose rhetorical skills cast a spell over Petrarch and even Pope Clement VI himself during his visit to Avignon in 1343, arrived in Prague at the point when his glory was waning. After he had himself declared the Roman Tribune of Peace and Equality and the Liberator of the Holy Roman Republic, and had begun to foster imperial aspirations, he

Karel Otavský, ‘Cat.N.50’ in Barbara Drake Boehm and Jiří Fajt, eds., Prague— the Crown of Bohemia 1347–1437. Exhibition Catalogue (New York and London, 2005), 183–5. 5 For the complex literature about John of Neumarkt see the article by Roland Böhm in Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon, vol. 3 (1992), 129–30 (www .bautz.de/bbkl). 6 Ludvik Svoboda, ‘Rany humanismus doby Karlovy’ [Early Humanism of Charles’s IV Era], in Václav Vaněček, ed., KAROLUS QUARTUS. Piae Memoriae Fundatoris Sui Universitas Carolina D.D.D., (Prague, 1984), 233–45, esp. 237. 7 Konrad Burdach, in Zentralblatt für Bibliothekswesen 8 (1891): 448, and also in the introduction and notes to the letters of Cola di Rienzo in: Konrad Burdach and Paul Piur, Vom Mittelalter zur Reformation, vol. 2, Der Briefwechsel des Cola di Rienzo (Berlin, 1912–1935), 1–5, Josef Macek, ‘Francesco Petrarca a Cola di Rienzo’, Český časopis historický 11 (1963): 1–33; F. Seibt, Karl IV, 207–15; J. Spěváček, Karel IV., 341–44; Jaroslav Ludvíkovský, ‘Raný italský humanismus a Čechy 14. století’ [Early Italian Humanism and Bohemia in 14th century], in Antika a česká kultura [Antiquity and Czech Culture], ed. Jiří Daňhelka and Franišek Šmahel (Prague, 1978), 127–40. 4

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provoked the pope’s animosity and was obliged to flee Rome and seek shelter with the Franciscan followers of Joachim of Fiore. He expected Charles IV’s support for his plans to unite Italy and to restore the glory of Rome, and for his chiliastic views, Charles received him kindly and gave him a public audience, at which Cola was again able to captivate those present with his oratorical skills. However, for his own sake, Charles had to place him in detention, and after much papal pressure, finally sent him to Avignon in 1352. From that time onwards, they exchanged opinions only in correspondence. At about this time (24 February 1351), Charles received a letter from Petrarch inviting him to Italy in order to restore it to its former glory. Petrarch addressed the emperor not using his own voice, but assuming that of the authority of Rome and that of Charles’ grandfather Henry VII, who in turn was made to cite the examples of the heroes of Antiquity.8 Charles’ response was measured, but in a highly rhetorical style reminiscent of Cola, placed Petrarch ‘quem Eliconia tenet in coniugem’ among the champions of the imperium. In the meantime, Cola was again entrusted by Innocent VI with the governance of Rome, but was murdered dramatically on 8 October 1354 and did not live to see Charles’ arrival in the city the following year.9 On his way to Rome, Charles met with Petrarch (who was at that time working for the Visconti in Milan) in Mantua, where they spent many hours walking through the garden and discussing Petrarch’s philosophical writings. On this occasion, Petrarch gave the emperor some antique coins. As he told ‘Laelius’ in a letter dated 25 February 1355, Charles ‘was most pleased and it seemed that he never realised a present more.’10 Some twenty years later, Charles was able to say that his study of the lives of Caesars had convinced him that the ruler represented was not Julius Caesar—as Petrarch had

Paul Piur, ‘Petrarcas Briefwechsel mit deutschen Zeitgenossen’, in Vom Mittelalter zur Reformation 7 (Berlin, 1933): 12–5; Bern-Ulrich Hergemöller, Cogor adversum te. Drei Studien zum literarisch-theologischen Profil Karls IV und seiner Kanzlei (Warendorff, 1999), 353–7; J. Ludvíkovský, ‘Raný italský humanismus’, 127–40, esp. 131. 9 P. Piur, ‘Petrarcas Briefwechsel’, 12–5. 10 Petrarch’s letter to ‘Laelius’ from 25.2.1355: ‘. . . I gave him a couple of coins with images of our rulers . . . he was most pleased and it seemed that he never relished a present more.’ Karel Stejskal, ‘Karel jako sberatel’ [Charles IV as Collector], in KAROLUS QUARTUS, ed. V. Vaněček, 456–7. 8

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thought—but Augustus. In 1355, Charles gave Petrarch ‘a representation of Caesar of ancient origin’.11 In this context, it is important to stress that Charles was no stranger to the pleasures of collecting antiques, as can be judged from the large number of cameos in his possession. What sets him apart from modern collectors, however, is his habit of reusing them: they were often donated for the decoration of chapels, saints’ tombs and reliquaries. One famous example is the so-called Bohemian Reliquary Cross. The authenticity of the relics it contained was underlined by the presence of three Roman cameos: a sapphire cameo with a male head, a sardonyx with St. Antonia re-cut to resemble St. Helena, and a sardonyx with Alexander the Great—thought to have been Constantine— (Fig. 32) as well as five Byzantine cameos, and a Stauf cameo with an enthroned king, thought to be the Emperor Frederick II.12 At Mantua in 1354, Petrarch refused the emperor’s invitation to come to Rome, but he visited Prague a year later as an emissary of Giangaleazzo Visconti. From that time comes Petrarch’s famous description of the ‘cultural centre’ that was constituted by Charles’ court in Prague, in a riposte to Archbishop Arnošt of Pardubice’s complaint that Bohemia was a land of barbarians: ‘Ego vero nihil barbarum minus, nihil humanum magis profiteor me vidisse quam Caesarem et aliquot circa eum summos viros.’13 Both Arnošt of Pardubice and Jan of Středa accompanied Charles IV on his coronation journey to Rome. This was Jan’s first encounter with Italy, and describing it, he quoted Venantius Fortunatus (Carm. 3.9, paraphrasing the encomium of Italy in Virgil, Georg. 2): ‘Salve festa dies toto venerabilis evo, qua gressus meos versus felicem Italiam

11 Antonín Salač and Karel Hrdina, ‘Una moneta romana in proprietà dell’ imperatore Carlo IV’, Eunomia. Studia Greca et Romana 1 (1939): 87–92; Pavel Spunar, ‘Petrarca and Bohemia in the 14th century’, Listy filologické 118 (1995): 306–08. P. Piur, ‘Petrarcas Briefwechsel’, 12–5. 12 Jan Bouzek, Cat.N. 2 and 3, in Jan Bouzek, ed., Antické tradice v ceském umeni [Ancient Traditions in Czech Art] (Prague, 1982), 64; Karel Otavský, ‘Zlatý relikviářový kříž’, in Karel IV. Císař z Boží milosti. Kultura a umění za vlády Lucemburků 1310–1437 [Charles IV. Dei Graciae Imperator. Culture and Art of the Luxembourg Era 1310–1437], ed. Jiří Fajt and Barbara Drake Boehm (Prague, 2006), Cat. N. 24, 111–4. 13 P. Piur, ‘Petrarcas Briefwechsel’, N. 13, 56–7; J. Ludvíkovský, ‘Raný italský humanismus’, 132.

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32. Bohemian Reliquary Cross. Prague, Metropolitní kapitula u sv. Víta. © Fototéka Ústavu dějin umění, AV ČR, v.v.i.

lineavi!’14 Jan spent nine months in Italy on that occasion, and another year and a half during Charles IV’s second coronation journey in

14 J. Ludvíkovský, ‘Raný italský humanismus’, 137; Paul Piur, ‘Briefe Johanns von Neumarkt’, Vom Mittelalter zur Reformation 8 (Berlin, 1938), N. 84.

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1368. Occasionally, he met with Petrarch and other humanists, such as Niccolò Acciaiuoli, Guido Gonzaga and Pietro Corsini. He brought back with him a large number of books, among them Petrarch’s De viris illustribus, De vita solitaria, De remediis utriusque fortune, and Eclogues.15 Nevertheless, the beautiful illuminations commissioned by him in the Liber viaticus (dated to between 1344 and 1364), produced in the Prague court scriptorium, do not demonstrate a singular Italian stylistic orientation, but a synthesis of Italian and Franco-Flemish influences and local tradition, which was typical of the art of the court in Prague in this period.16 As far as the personal literary style of these early humanists is concerned, it should be pointed out that the verdict of classical philologists is highly critical: Cola di Rienzo’s writing is seen to have been marred by his ignorance of classical Latin, crude administrative and scholastic terminology, artificiality, hyperbole and unintelligibility.17 Eduard Norden judged that Petrarch’s Latin, with its contrasting mixture of scholastic barbarity and classical elegance, would appear to old Romans rather unpalatable.18 Recently, literary historians have cautioned against the habitual overestimation of Petrarch as the figurehead of Italian humanism. The Italy of Petrarch’s day was on the threshold of a new era in which the universal outlook of the Middle Ages was breaking down at the same time as a new religiosity was taking root (as can be seen in the strong cult of St. Catherine of Siena). From that older world-view Petrarch accepted the universal idea of the imperium and sacerdotium, and it was for this reason that he appealed to Charles IV to restore the glory of the old Rome and dreamt of the end of the papacy’s ‘Bablionian captivity’ in Avignon. At the same time, he was preoccupied with the inner life, in keeping with the writings of St. Augustine. Petrarch’s humanism is connected with the medieval concept of translatio studii, the idea of cultural continuity. The early humanism of Petrarch and Cola di Rienzo

J. Ludvíkovský, ‘Raný italský humanismus’, 138. For the last opinions see Jiří Fajt, ‘Liber viaticus Jana ze Středy’ [Liber viaticus John’s of Neumarkt], in Karel IV. Císař z Boží milosti. Kultura a umění za vlády Lucemburků 1310–1437, ed. J. Fajt and B. Drake Boehm, 96–8. 17 Georg Voigt, Die Wiederbelebung des classischen Alterthums (Berlin, 1893), vol. 1, 54. 18 Eduard Norden, Die antike Kunstprosa: vom VI. Jahrhundert v. Chr. bis in die Zeit der Renaissance (Leipzig, 1919), vol. 2, 733. 15 16

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should not, therefore, be placed in opposition to the ‘barbaric’ Middle Ages north of the Alps, since they shared medieval roots.19 Charles IV understood the legacy of the Roman Empire and Antiquity, above all through the continuity provided by the Christian Empire over which he now ruled. From the moment of his coronation in Rome he signed himself ‘Karolus Quartus, divina favente clementia Romanorum Imperator semper augustus et Bohemie rex.’20 The official image of him as constructed by court painters and chroniclers was modelled on his classical predecessors and early Christian rulers, particularly Constantine: it was no coincidence that he was described as ‘alter Constantinus’ in his funeral eulogy.21 During his short stay in Rome on the occasion of his coronation, Charles did not behave as a sightseer of classical ruins, but as a devout pilgrim spending two days visiting the city’s main pilgrimage sites incognito.22 When it came to planning the New Town in Prague, it is clear that its architect followed the teachings of Vitruvius as they had been handed down through the Middle Ages.23 The proportions of the streets and buildings are combined into an organic whole along the lines of classical principles of town building. But the content of this classical urban foundation was deeply Christian. With his carefully chosen and strategically and symbolically placed religious foundations, Charles constructed his new district not only as a New Rome/ Imitatio Romae, but also with reference to the idea of an Earthly Jerusalem, to the traditio imperii and to his personal devotional interests (such as, for example, the dedication of a monastery and church to St. Catherine).24 Jiří Pelán, ‘K české recepci Francesca Petrarky’ [Czech reception of Framcesco Petrarca], in Kapitoly z francouzské a italské literatury, ed. Jiří Pelán (Prague, 2000), 351–8. 20 For example, in the foundation charter of the Karlstein chapter dating from 27 March 1357. Bedřich Mendl, ed., Regesta diplomatica nec non epistolaria Bohemiae et Moraviae VI (Prague, 1929), N. 550. 21 Josef Emler, ed., Fontes rerum bohemicarum III (Prague, 1882), 429b. The author of the eulogy was John of Jenštejn, archbishop of Prague 1379–1396; Jaroslav Kadlec, ‘L’oeuvre homilétique de Jean de Jenštejn’, Recherche de théologie ancienne et médiévale 30 (1963): 299–323. 22 Kateřina Kubinova, Imitatio Romae. Karel IV a Řím [Charles IV and Rome] (Prague, 2006), 107–22. 23 Stefan Schuler, Vitruv im Mittelalter: die Rezeption von “De architectura” von der Antike bis in die frühe Neuzeit (Cologne e.a., 1999). 24 Paul Crossley, ‘The Politics of Presentation. The Architecture od Charles IV of Bohemia’ in Courts and Regions in Mediaeval Europe, ed. Sarah Rees Jones, Richard 19

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Charles also commissioned a new bridge across Vltava (the socalled Charles Bridge), in place of the destroyed Romanesque structure which connected settlements on the left and right banks and was part of the coronation route between the castles of St. Wenceslas and Vyšehrad—the mythical seat of the first rulers of the Přemyslid dynasty. The new bridge also had clear classical connotations: not only in the tradition of bridge-building but also in the triumphal arch structure of its tower with representations of the ruler, his heir and their saintly patrons. The tower acts as a visual introduction to the culmination of the coronation journey and of the pilgrimage across the bridge to the castle of St. Wenceslas perched high over the left bank, the seat of the king/emperor, his coronation and burial church, the principal church in the land and the site of numerous saints’ shrines. The figures of Charles and Wenceslas also embody the principle of just rule in the sense of ‘lex animata in terris’.25 The sculptural decoration on the other (castle-facing) façade of the Old Town Bridge Tower (now lost) probably complemented that notion with the figure of Iustitia26 (Fig. 33). The cathedral and its ceremonial south entrance (‘porta aurea’) also recall early Christian Rome. The tower, portico and tripartite arcade call to mind the entrance into the atrium of Old St. Peter’s Basilica, which also had a corner bell tower, while the mosaics can be compared to those on the walls of the chapel of Santa Maria in Turris and of the entrance (east) façade of the basilica itself.27 Charles’ inspiration Marks and A. J. Minnis (Woodbridge, 2000), 99–107, esp. 131–2; Zoë Opačić, ‘Emauzský klášter a Nové Město pražské: Slovanská tradice, císařská ideologie a veřejný rituál v Praze 14. století’ [The Marriage of Slavonic Tradition and Imperial Ideology in Fourteenth-Century Prague], in Emauzy. Benediktinský klášter Na Slovanech v srdci Prahy, ed. Klára Benešovská and Kateřina Kubínová (Prague, 2007), 32–69. 25 Rudolf Chadraba, Die Karlsbrücke (Prague, 1974); Jan Bažant, Umění českého středověku a antika [Medieval Art in Bohemia and Aniquity] (Prague, 2000), 163–70; Klára Benešovská, ‘L’art en Bohême à l’époque des rois Wenceslas IV (1378–1419) et Sigismond de Luxembourg (1420–1437): le bouleversement de la mise en scène du pouvoir’, in Sigismund von Luxemburg. Ein Kaiser in Europa. Tagungsband des internationalen historischen und kunsthistorischen Kongresses in Luxemburg, 8.–10. Juni 2005, ed. Michel Pauly and Francois Reinert (Mainz, 2006), 263–84, esp. 270; Jakub Vítovský, ‘K datování, ikonografii a autorství Staroměstské mostecké věže’ [On the dating, iconography and authorship of the old town bridge tower in Prague], Průzkumy památek 2 (1994): 15–44. 26 J. Bažant, Umění českého středověku, 170. 27 Hans Belting, ‘Das Fassadenmosaik des Atriums von Alt S. Peter in Rom’, Walraff-Richartz-Jahrbuch 23 (1961): 37–54; Herbert L. Kessler and Johanna Zacharias, Rome 1300. On the path of the pilgrim (New Haven, 2000), ill. 190, 192, 223.

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33. Jan Kozel and Michael Peterle of Annaberg, Panorama of Prague, detail showing Charles Bridge and the Old Town, 1562. © Fototéka Ústavu dějin umění, AV ČR, v.v.i.

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34. Director fabricae Wenceslas Radec, c.1380. Prague, St. Vitus’ Cathedral, triforium. © Klára Benešovská.

may also have come from the mosaics in Lucca and Venice, although the subject matter—the Last Judgement—is linked directly to the function of Prague cathedral and its collection of Passion relics28 (Fig. 34). The busts of the cathedral triforium representing Charles IV, members of his family and those involved in the rebuilding of the cathedral—magistri operis, canons-directores fabricae and archbishops—have also been linked with the classical tradition, and especially with Roman portraits. Several approaches overlap here. On the one hand, these are fictive, or at least highly idealised, portraits of people who were already deceased: Charles IV’s parents and his first three wives, Archbishop Arnošt of Pardubice, and the first architect, Matthias of Arras. But on the other hand, members of the court who were still alive were also carved: Charles IV, his last wife Elizabeth of Pomerania, son Wenceslas IV and his wife Joanna, Archbishops Jan Očko and Jan of Jenštejn and, of course, that of the architect/sculptor Peter Parler himself, often taken to be a self-portrait. The Klára Benešovská, Ivo Hlobil and Petr Chotěbor, Peter Parler and St Vitus’s Cathedral (1356–1399) (Prague, 1999), 158–61; Zuzana Vseteckova, in Katedrála sv. Vita v Praze [St. Vitus’s Cathedral at Prague], ed. Anežka Merhautova (Prague, 1994), 96–100. 28

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last bust to be added (in 1380), that of the director fabricae Wenceslas Radec, does indeed resemble Roman Republican portraits. It demonstrates a new stylistic direction of the Parler workshop, although the choice of the material itself must have played a part—this is the only bust made of soft limestone. Nonetheless, we cannot consider the triforium busts to be a ‘portrait gallery’ in the modern sense. They are part of the hierarchically-organised iconographical programme of the choir, which begins on the ground level with the dynastic tombs and memoria, continues at the triforium level, and culminates in the busts of Christ, the Virgin and Bohemian patron saints placed on the exterior so that they line up with the Luxembourg busts on the interior. It is also clear that none of the triforium busts displays the dramatic psychological intensity of the gisants of Otakar I and Otakar II in the choir chapels.29 The painted and carved representations of Charles IV can be categorised as portraits with unmistakable personal traits (confirmed by the analysis of his skull, with its high cheek bones). This can be seen, for example, in the adoration scene of the cross from Karlstein’s St. Catherine’s Chapel (1357), the sequence showing the donation of relics in the Chapel of Our Lady in the same castle (1356–1358)30 (Fig. 35), on the votive panel of Archbishop Jan Očko of Vlašim (himself realistically rendered), and in the gaunt figure of the aged emperor on the reliquary cross showing the donation of the relic of Christ’s loincloth by Pope Urban V in Rome in 136831 (Fig. 36). If we accept the hypothesis that the emergence of a true portrait is a sign of a new era, the representations of Charles IV could be seen as further evidence of a nascent Renaissance or proto-Renaissance at the court in Prague. But these convincingly realistic representations are not portraits in the contemporary sense of the word. Placed in a sacred interior gleaming with semi-precious stones, they resembled icons (the adoration of the cross, for example), imbued with a narrative or commemorative function. Their meaning is always subordiAlbert Kautal, České gotické sochařství [Czech Gothic Sculpture] (Prague, 1972); Jaromír Homolka, ‘Praha-Veitsdom, Büstenzyklus im unteren Triforium’, in Die Parler und der Schöne Stil, ed. Anton Legner (Cologne, 1978), vol. 2, 655–7; Michael, V. Schwarz, ‘Neue überlegungen zum Prager Büstenzyklus’, in Der Künstler über sich und sein Werk, ed. Michael Winner (Weinheim, 1992), 55–84; Ivo Hlobil, in Katedrála sv. Vita v Praze [St. Vitus’s Cathedral at Prague], ed. Anežka Merhautova (Prague, 1994), 80–8. On the triforium busts, see most recently Milena Bartlová, ‘The Choir Triforium of Prague Cathedral Revisited: The Inscriptions and Beyond’, in Prague and Bohemia. Medieval Art, Architecture and Cultural Exchange in Central Europe, The British Archaeological Association Conference Transaction XXXII (Leeds, 2009), 81–100. 30 J. Fajt, ‘Magister Theodoricus’, fig. 77, 33–9. 31 Prague—the Crown of Bohemia, fig. 8.4, 8.5. 29

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35. Sequence showing the donation of relics, detail of Charles IV with Charles V of Valois. Karlstein, Chapel of Our Lady. © Fototéka Ústavu dějin umění, AV ČR, v.v.i.

nated to the meaning of the larger spatial or devotional concept of which they are a part.32 Anton Legner, ‘Ikon und Porträt’, in his Die Parler und der Schöne Stil, vol. 3, 217–35; Götz Pochat, ‘Zur Genese des Porträts’, in Sigismundus rex et imperator 1387–1437, ed. Imre Takásc (Mainz, 2006) 124–42; Gerhard Schmidt, Malerei der Gotik: Fixpunkte und Ausblicke (Graz, 2005), vol. 2, 229–58. 32

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36. Reliquary cross showing the donation of the relic of Christ’s loincloth by Pope Urban V in Rome in 1368, detail of Charles IV and Urban V. Prague, Metropolitní kapitula u sv. Víta. © Fototéka Ústavu dějin umění, AV ČR, v.v.i.

My next observation is connected with the famous ‘back to nature’ theme; the notion that the Renaissance constitutes a rediscovery of nature.33 In cases where there is a dichotomy between realistic and idealised representation within a single work of art, this idea has lead to polarised interpretations. A good example is the bronze statue in Prague of St. George killing the dragon, cast by the brothers Martin and George of Cluj in 1373 (but documented in Prague Castle only in 1541).34 Here the horse is rendered with great realism and was 33 34

Erwin Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art (London, 1970), 19. About the statue, see recently: Ivo Hlobil, ‘Die tschechische Kunstforschung

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37. Martin and George of Cluj, St. George killing the Dragon, 1373. Prague, Collections of Prague Castle. © Jan Gloc.

taken to be a manifestation of the Renaissance style and proof of a date later than 137335 (Fig. 37). The saint’s armour is highly detailed, but his stylised face, expression and posture are seen to be Gothic in

und die Bronzegruppe des hl. Georg auf der Prager Burg’, Umění 55 (2007): 3–27; Klára Benešovská, ‘St George the Dragon-slayer—the Eternal Pilgrim without a Home?’, Umění 55 (2007): 28–39; Ernö Marosi, ‘Probleme der Prager St.-GeorgStatue aus dem Jahre 1373’, Umění 47 (1999): 389–99. 35 See the older Czech and German literature as summarised in I. Hlobil, ‘Die tschechische Kunstforschung’, 5–7.

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nature. At the same time, it has been shown that all parts of the group were cast at the same time, and only the representation of flora and fauna was different from the stricter typology of saints. However, the dynamism of the composition, the wondrous physiognomy of the horse and the realistic form of the serpent (pseudopus apodus) on the pedestal—made according to the casting method described in Cennino Cennini’s Libro dell’arte36—demonstrate that the artist was wellacquainted with contemporary Italian art (such as that found at the court of the Carraras in Padua) and that he subordinated realistic observation to existing traditions, as in the case of St. George himself. Does this work, therefore, belong to the Renaissance or to the Middle Ages? At the end of Charles IV’s reign, a reforming current began to assert itself and came to dominate (and eventually to terminate) the reign of his son Wenceslas IV. It began as a reaction to a growing crisis in the Church which reached its peak during the Great Schism. One of the more spiritually-orientated strands was the ‘devotio moderna’, which emerged in Bohemia out of Cistercian monasticism and the circles of the Augustinian canons.37 Attempts to reform the spiritual life had been supported by the court and educated clerics since the 1360s. In 1363, the emperor sent an invitation to the preacher and reformer Konrad Waldhauser, who shared the ideas of Cola di Rienzo and Petrarch, and who had corresponded with Jan of Středa. The so-called early humanism was part of this reforming current.38 A more radical form of that movement is represented by Jan Milič of Kromeriz, a student of Waldhauser’s, who left university to preach among the laity in Czech, criticising the inflated pride of the Church Cennino Cennini, Il libro dell’Arte. A cura di Fabio Frezzato (Vicenza, 2004). Eduard Winter, Frühhumanismus. Seine Entwicklung in Böhmen und deren europischen Bedeutung für die Kirchenreformbestrebungen im 14. Jahrhundert (Berlin, 1964); Johanna Schreiber, Devotio moderna in Böhmen, vol. 6 (Munich, 1965), Albert Hyma, The Christian Renaissance: A History of the ‘Devotio moderna’ (Hamden, 1965); Pavel Spunar, ‘Česká devotio moderna—fikce a skutečnost’ [Czech ‘devotio moderna’—Fiction and Reality], Listy filologické 127 (2004): 3–4, 356–70. 38 The relationship between early humanism and Reformation in Bohemia has been the subject of much study since the nineteenth century. See the revisions of František Šmahel, ‘Bref aperçu sur les recherches tchécoslovaque sur l’humanisme et la Renaissance’, Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance 28 (1966): 720–2; František Šmahel,‘I contatti tra la prima Riforma e il Rinascimento’, in Italia e Boemia nella cornice del Rinascimento europeo, ed. Sante Graciotti (Firenze, 1999), 11–22; more recently see František Šmahel, Mezi středověkem a renesancí [Between Middle Ages and Renaissance] (Prague, 2002); Zdenka Hledíková, ‘“O Devotio moderna” trochu jinak’, in Querite primum regnum Dei: Sborník příspěvků k poctě Jany Nechutové (Brno, 2006), 403–16. 36 37

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and not hesitating even to describe the emperor himself as the Antichrist. At the same time, he received the emperor’s support for the foundation of the New Jerusalem parish, intended to minister to fallen women.39 He defended himself against accusations of heresy in Avignon and was rehabilitated, but died there in 1374 and was buried in Notre-Dame.40 Close to Milič was Adalbertus Ranconis de Enricinio (Vojtěch Raňkův z Ježova), who studied in Paris and Oxford. He defended Milič’s followers and proposed to resolve the schism at a public council. He sent students to Oxford with scholarships where they came into contact with Wyclif ’s teaching and brought his ideas back to Prague.41 Jan of Jenštejn—archbishop of Prague from 1378— came from the circle of Jan Středa. He had been educated at universities in Italy and France, and personally knew the advisor and confessor of St. Catherine, the Dominican Raimond da Capua, who visited Prague in 1383–4. He also supported Church reform, as did Wenceslas IV, but he soon adopted an implacable approach to the questions of the schism, the independence of the Church from secular powers, and the Church’s guiding influence on everyday life. Jenštejn became an ascetic and visionary mystic, who believed that the renewal of the Church could be attained only through deep personal piety.42 His devotion was focused above all on the Virgin as a guardian and intercessor, and in 1389 he initiated the institution of a new feast day in her honour—the Visitation of Our Lady.43 He composed hymns in her honour and had his own visions recorded in writing and art. His extreme piety and strong Marian cult chime with the change in aesthetic modes and perceptions of works of art at the end of the fourteenth century, above all with a large number of images of the Virgin, and especially in Pietàs and in Man of Sorrows compositions.44 Their sensual beauty and corporeality is meant to 39 David Charles Mengel, ‘From Venice to Jerusalem and Beyond: Milic of Kromeriz and the Topography of Prostitution in Fourteenth-Century Prague’, Speculum 79 (2004): 407–42. 40 Miloslav Kaňák, Jan Milíč z Kroměříže (Prague, 1975); Peter C. A. Morée, Preaching in Fourteenth-Century Bohemia. Life and ideas of Milicius de Chremsir (+1374) and his significance in the historiography of Bohemia (Herspice, 1999). 41 Jaroslav Kadlec, Mistr Vojtěch Rańkův z Ježova (Prague, 1969). 42 Ruben Ernest Weltsch, Archbishop John of Jenštejn (1348–1400): Papalism, Humanism and Reform in Pre-hussite Prague (The Hague, 1968); Milan Kopecky, Jan Milíč z Kroměříže a Jan z Jenštejna (Žd’ár nad Sázavou, 1999). 43 Jaroslav Polc, De origine Festi Visitationis B.M.V. (Rome, 1967). 44 Jaromir Homolka, ‘Johannes von Jenczenstein und der Schöne Stil’, in Die Parler und der Schöne Stil, ed. A. Legner, vol. 2, 35–9.

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covey their divinity with a strong emphasis on the realistic detail of their bodies: the fingers of the Madonna sunken into the flesh of the Christ child; the expressions of suffering etched on the faces of figures in the Pietà and on that of the crucified Christ, and the prominent lines, veins and creased skin, all stand in sharp contrast to the unrealistic contraposto of the figures, their voluminous but artificially arranged drapery and stylised hair and beards (Fig. 38). The accomplished sculpted figures with strikingly realistic countenances and rhythmically articulated drapery can be compared with high-quality contemporary sculpture in Italy, such as, for example, Ghiberti’s figure of St. John the Baptist (1414) from Orsanmichele in Florence. In the case of Ghiberti’s statue, however, we do not find the impossible balance characteristic of the Beautiful Style’s statues: their ideological foundations and modes of viewing remain different. The celestial beauty and sweetness—especially of the Virgin and saints— captured the pious attention of the faithful and, criticised by the reforming preachers, was one of the motivations for Hussite destructive iconoclasm.45 In contrast to that of Charles IV, the art of Wenceslas’ court shunned the monumental in favour of private representation. The concept of renovatio imperii diminished as Wenceslas postponed his coronation and neglected his imperial duties.46 His interests focused more on the construction of private residences and the world of beautifully illuminated books: the struggle for his kingdom and for personal salvation is hidden in their ambiguous marginal imagery, and is connected with the heraldry of the personal courtly order of Wenceslas IV.47 In this respect, his tastes were similar to those of his French nephews, the Duc de Berry, Phillip the Bold and Charles V and their successors. The aspects of representation traditionally linked with the Renaissance—such as the naked human body, the application of perspective

Karel Stejskal, Ikonoklasmus a náš památkový fond [Iconoclasm and Czech Monuments] (Husitský Tábor, 2002), 529–81. 46 J. Spěváček, Václav IV, 259–318; I. Hlaváček, ‘Wenzel IV’, 411–20. 47 Josef Krása, Die Handschriften König Wenzels IV (Prague and Vienna, 1971); Josef Krása, ‘Humanistische und reformatorische Gedanken in der höfischen Kunst Wenzels IV’, Acta historiae artium 26 (1965): 197–203; Hana J. Hlaváčková, ‘Courtly Body in the Bible of Wenceslas IV’, in Künstlerische Austausch. Akten des XXVIII. Internationalen Kongresses für Kunstgeschichte, Berlin, 15.–20. Juli 1992, ed. Thomas W. Gaethgens (Berlin, 1993), vol. 2, 371–82; Milada Studničková, ‘Hoforden der Luxemburger’, Umění 40 (1992): 320–5. 45

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38. Virgin and Child (detail), c.1380–93. Prague, Altenmarkt in Pongau, Pfarrgemeinde. © Fototéka Ústavu dějin umění, AV ČR, v.v.i.

to architecture, the realistic depiction of nature and animals—appear here as elements marginal to principal scenes. Only from the literary description of houses in this period do we learn of classical themes— statues of Venus, bathing maidens, wild women and men—that appeared as painted house signs, influenced by the personal courtly order of Wenceslas IV. But we know virtually nothing about the funerary and public sculpture which was subsequently destroyed. Wenceslas IV’s portraits show a shift away from the official manner of representing the ruler as promoted by Charles IV. We find a range of such portraits among the illuminations of his six-part German Bible: from the formal enthroned portrait of the king and queen, or of the king seated alone on the throne among wild-looking men-at-arms, to the half-nude king washed by female attendants, or entangled in the ‘W’ of his own monogram (Fig. 39). From these depictions, Wenceslas emerges not only as an anointed monarch, but

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39. King Wenceslas trapped inside the letter ‘W’. Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, cod. lat. 2759, fol. 38r. © Fototéka Ústavu dějin umění, AV ČR, v.v.i.

also as an acteur of complex court plays and rituals connected with his personal courtly order.48 Significantly, one of the main rituals was that of bathing, repeatedly depicted in the margins of Wenceslas’ manuscripts. As Josef Krasa has pointed out, bathing in particular was a symbol of a rounded spiritual revival, a rebirth into a higher form of life, and in this sense it was also adopted by the proponents

Österreichische Nationalbibliothek cod. 2758–2764. Ausgabe im Originalformat der Codices Vindobonenses 2758–2764 der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek (Vienna and Graz, 1981–2001) (Codices selecti LXX/1–9). Hedwig Heger, Ivan Hlaváček, Gerhard Schmidt and Franz Unterkircher, Kommentarband (Graz 1998). On the courtly orders of the Luxembourgs, see most recently Milada Studničková, ‘Drehknoten und Drachen. Die Orden Wenzels IV. und Sigismunds von Luxemburg und die Bedeutung der Abzeichen’, in Kunst als Herrschaftinstrument: Böhmen und das Heilige Römische Reich unter den Luxemburgern im Europäischen Kontext, ed. Jiří Fajt and Andrea Langer (Berlin and Munich, 2009), 377–87. 48

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40. Vault of the chapel in Wenceslas’ residence Vlašský dvůr at Kutná Hora, around 1400. Kutná Hora. © Klára Benešovská.

of humanism and Renaissance, as it stood for their central concept of rebirth (renasci, regeneratio, nova vita, renovari, renovatio).49 The power of reforming tendencies is also detectable in the architecture of Wenceslas’ reign, which developed a clarity of form in structures framed by bare walls and illuminated by natural light from windows free from colourful stained glass.50 As in sculpture, the sophistication of architecture was articulated by the eye-catching play of elegant lines, in this case, of vaults and their supports, especially in Wenceslas’ castles. Over the deliberately irregular floor plans rise the lines of subtle ribs of seemingly simple vaults. Their curves are so consistently regular that they become miss-aligned with the playfully angled corbels— in contrast to the centuries-long tradition of vault design51 (Fig. 40). J. Krása, Die Handschriften König Wenzels IV, 89–91 (recalling the bath motif in Dante—Purg. 33: 142–145—or the bathing ritual staged by Cola di Rienzo on 1 August 1347 in the Lateran basilica, on the assumed site of Constantine’s baptism). 50 Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini expressed an admiration for this, for which see Dana Martínková, Alena Hadravová, and Jiří Matl, eds., Aeneae Silvii Historia Bohemica (Prague, 1998), liii–xcvii. 51 Václav and Dobroslava Menclovi, ‘Český hrad v době Václavově’ [The Czech 49

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There is, I think, a fundamental difference between the Renaissance concept of symmetry, anchored in Antiquity, and the harmony of Brunelleschi’s architecture—on the one hand—and the carefullyarticulated, refined irregularity and asymmetry of the beautifully disharmonious interiors of the late period of Wenceslas’ reign, on the other hand. Both grew out of different cultural milieus, but we can only wonder about the course that Wenceslas’ architecture would have taken. Its enigmatic creative forces shared the early death of its patron. How should we understand this period: as a path to the ‘autumn of the Middle Ages’, or as an end to existing tradition and thus a new path to an alternative culture of a ‘transalpine Renaissance’? Unfortunately, the researcher’s path in search of an answer to this question has been obstructed by the social consequences of that turbulent development in the late Luxembourg Bohemia: the Hussite revolution.

Castle in the Era of Wenceslas IV], Štencovo Umění 14 (1942): 89–103, 143–6; Dobroslava Menclová, České hrady [Castles of Bohemia], 2 vols. (Prague, 1972); K. Benešovská, ‘L’art en Bohême’, 280.

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A NEW WORLD OF THE MIND? RENAISSANCE SELFPERCEPTION AND THE INVENTION OF PRINTING Andrew Pettegree In May 1455, the Italian humanist Aeneus Silvius Piccolomini, the later Pius II, reported to a correspondent a recent encounter at the Diet of Frankfurt. Among other news, he mentioned one especial curiosity; that he had met a wonderful man—a ‘vir mirabilis’—who had been able to supply a Bible that might be read without spectacles and in more than one hundred copies.1 Piccolomini had been talking about the Gutenberg Bible, just then fresh off the press in nearby Mainz, and, as far as Piccolomini could ascertain, already sold out. This rare piece of contemporary documentation accurately captures the sense of wonder and excitement that greeted the dawn of the print era. Johannes Gutenberg had invested thousands, including thousands he did not have, in perfecting the art of producing books through the use of moveable metal type. The result was undoubtedly a triumph. everyone wanted to share in the lustre of the new art. According to Piccolomini, sheets of the Bible had been sent for inspection to the emperor, and customised, hand-decorated copies became the most treasured possessions of many of Europe’s leading ecclesiastical institutions. Of an initial print run of an estimated 180, around one third still survive, a sure indication that the book was cherished from the moment of its publication.2 The average rate of survival for books throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries is more like 0.1%.3 The curiosity and enthusiasm for the new invention appeared to be universal. From Mainz it spread very rapidly to the other towns of the German Empire, and throughout Europe. Itinerant German

1 John L. Flood, ‘Martin Luther’s Bible in its German and European context’, in The Bible in the Renaissance. Essays on Biblical Commentary and translation in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, ed. Richard Griffiths (Aldershot, 2001), 44–70, here 44. 2 Stephan Füssel, Gutenberg and the impact of printing (Aldershot, 2003), 21. 3 An estimate based on the data collected for the St Andrews French Book Project and Universal Short Title Catalogue.

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artisans introduced printing to Italy by 1465, and Paris by 1470. It spread swiftly to the Low Countries, and thence across the Channel to England. Eastwards it reached Poland (Krakow) by 1474, and the Iberian peninsula (Valencia) by 1474. At first, the proto-typographers were inclined to practice their art in rather traditional genres, such as school books and standard religious texts. But print soon became identified with a range of more ambitious projects. Print was swiftly taken up to promote the new learning, with editions of classical texts. This first era reached its apogee with the work of Aldus Manutius, whose press in Venice finally solved the technical problems connected with the correct printing of Greek, and developed a product—his famous small format editions of the classics—that suited the needs of readers.4 This was important, for this apparently triumphant and seamless itinerary in fact masks a period of struggle during which the nascent publishing industry went through a serious existential crisis. Printing had spread through the landscape of Europe with astonishing rapidity in the decade after 1470: this, however, was an expansion based not on any compelling economic model, but on the enthusiasm of the socio-cultural élites. Every prince, every bishop and every town council wanted to have their part in the new art. The consequence was that when the novelty wore off, printing presses were functioning in many places where they were not economically viable.5 The result of this was a rapid contraction in the market. Many towns that had boasted a printing press from early in the incunabula age disappeared from the printing map of Europe for several generations.6 Printing was introduced in Treviso in 1471 and in the next twenty years eleven presses operated there, but when the last press closed in 1493, printing in the town ceased until 1589. In Udine, the press established in 4 Nicolas Barker, Aldus Manutius and the development of Greek script and type in the fifteenth century, 2nd ed. (New York, 1992); Barker, Aldus Manutius: mercantile Empire of the intellect (Los Angeles, 1989); H. George Fletcher, ‘The ideal of the humanist scholar-printer: Aldus in Venice’, Printing History 30, vol. 15/2 (1993): 3–12. 5 Martha Tedeschi, ‘Publish and perish’, in Printing the Written Word. The Social History of Books circa 1450–1520, ed. Sandra L. Hindman (Ithaca, 1991), 41–67; Susan Noakes, ‘The development of the book market in late quattrocento Italy: Printers’ failure and the role of the middleman’, Journal of Mediaeval and Renaissance Studies 11 (1981): 23–55. 6 Philippe Nieto, ‘Géographie des impressions européennes du XVe siècle’, Revue française d’histoire du livre 118–21 (2004): 125–73.

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1484 lasted just two years and the next press did not appear there until 1592.7 In France, something over fifty places boasted a printing press at some point in the incunabula age: after the late fifteenth-century crisis, perhaps only three cities—Paris, Lyon and Rouen—could sustain a press continuously through the first half of the sixteenth century. This amounted to a complete re-structuring of the publishing industry. From the 1490s, printing was concentrated in a far smaller number of well-financed ventures established for the most part in Europe’s major trading cities. These larger firms were able to take on the larger, more ambitious works that required either a strong local market or, in the case of Latin books, a trans-European distribution network. It was the development of this sophisticated European market that captured the imagination of that most pragmatic of commercial intellectuals, Desiderius Erasmus.8 But other humanist scholars were equally vocal in their praise of the book, encomia that the scholarpublishers of Venice, Basle and Paris were delighted to put into the public domain. This chorus of praise continued unabated through the great crisis of religious strife in the first half of the sixteenth century. The Reformation was very different from the Renaissance in its aspirations and public, and thus required a different type of book. One thing on which reformers and humanists were agreed, however, was the power of print. Luther famously spoke of printing ‘as the greatest gift of God, for by this means God seeks to extend the cause of true religion to the ends of the earth, and to make it available in all languages.’9 These sentiments were echoed by many, as for instance by the spiritualist writer Sebastian Franck: ‘By means of the art of printing the long-sealed fount of divine and inexpressible wisdom and knowledge is made accessible to all.’10 In this way, the reformers introduced a new element into the debate: the claim that printing in the vernacular introduced the book

Neil Harris, ‘Italy’, in Michael J. Suarex and Henry Woudhuysen, eds., The Oxford Companion to the Book (Oxford, 2009), vol. 1, 257–69. 8 Karine Crousaz, Erasme et le pouvoir de l’imprimerie (Lausanne, 2005). 9 In this evocation of divine purpose Luther echoed not only Erasmus but Pope Leo X, who famously praised God’s purpose in the invention of printing, before going on to warn about the danger of publishing books dangerous to true religion. Bull ‘Inter sollicitudines’ of 1515. See Henry J. Schroeder, Disciplinary Decrees of the General Councils, Text, Translation and Commentary (St. Louis, 1937), 504. 10 J. L. Flood, ‘Martin Luther’s Bible Translations’, 49–50. 7

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to new audiences and thus brought intellectual independence to new groups within urban society, a perception that dovetailed with important aspects of Protestant theology. From this point on, the praise of the vernacular became an important element in the debate about print: it was pursued with particular zeal in France, by such influential writers as Estienne and du Bellay.11 In the German lands, print—especially vernacular print—came to be seen as important for bringing intellectual respectability to the Northern Renaissance. It was thanks to Gutenberg, according to Conrad Celtis, that Germans could no longer be ridiculed for the intellectual laziness attributed to them by Italians.12 For Joachim Vadian, the invention of printing was a cultural quantum leap equivalent to the discovery of writing by the ancients. ‘The Germans, however’, he wrote, after enumerating the contributions of Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, cast single letters from metal and showed that through a single pull of the press the highest daily output of the nimblest scribes could be exceeded, thus outshining all the inventions of the ancients put together; praise and glory to them!13

Reflecting on this first century of print, it is hard to find an issue and events that produced such widespread consensus as to their importance and beneficent consequence, and this is a consensus that has held untroubled sway through to our day, reinforced by such influential presentations as Elizabeth Eisenstein’s laudatory book The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe. Indeed it is interesting to remark that as other teleological interpretations of human progress have fallen largely into disfavour, this has proved remarkably robust. If we are to summarise this view, it might be distilled into the following propositions: – That print transformed the cultural map of Europe by making possible large advances in technical scholarship and learning. – In the process, it built a vastly enhanced readership for books and thus helped fuel the growth of literacy. – Print played an instrumental role in the major transformative movements of the day, not least the religious controversies sparked by 11 12 13

Joachim du Bellay, La deffence et illustration de la langue francoyse (Paris, 1549). S. Füssel, Gutenberg, 71. Ibid., 106–8.

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the Reformation, and the process of state-building and nation forming. – Print was the cornerstone of the emergence of the vernacular as an effective competitor to Latin. No doubt there is a great deal of truth in all this. Working on the culture of print in the last ten years, it has been easy to find evidence to support all of these propositions. Nevertheless, approaching earlymodern book culture from the point of view of the producer and reader, rather than from that of the intellectual agenda of the author, might suggest that some of these propositions need to be refined. Most of all, work of this sort raises rankling doubts that too easy an identification of print and enlightenment conceals some uncomfortable truths. The late fifteenth-century crisis in the European print industry is a case in point. Although generally unremarked in the literature, it demonstrated a harsh truth, that the new invention could not defy the laws of economic gravity. Print could not live by praise alone; it required that customers were furnished with the sort of books they wanted to buy, rather than those which humanists thought were good for them. In recent times, researchers in St. Andrews have had the opportunity to reflect at length on the role of print in society, while bringing to completion a major bibliographical project: a survey of all books published in the French language before 1601.14 This twelve-year project has resulted in the development of a short title catalogue of some 51,753 items. The project has identified around 185,000 surviving copies, located in 1,700 libraries worldwide. Gathering this data, the project group has been ideally placed to examine the emerging profile of the book industry in what was, with Italy and Germany, one of the three cornerstones of the European book trade. Paris was one of the great book cities of Europe, while Lyon, France’s second city, became a major centre of scholarly publication. Books were, however, also published in over 100 other places

Andrew Pettegree, Malcolm Walsby and Alexander Wilkinson, French Vernacular Books: Books Published in the French Language before 1601 (Leiden, 2007) [hereafter FB]. 14

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in France during the 130 years to 1601, an astonishing testament to the power and perceived utility of print. This survey thus allows us to address important questions about the book-reading and book-buying communities in France. What books did readers want and for what reasons? How did books advance the cause of scholarship and intellectual discovery? To what use was print put by France’s ruling classes? The answers to these questions are sometimes surprising. The present paper pursues these questions by examining three areas of book publication that played an important role in Renaissance self-fashioning: experimental science, especially medical texts; the literature of discovery; and the growth of government. Of course there is much else of interest embedded in the French project data: the development of a vernacular literature of recreation and entertainment, the literature of religious controversy, reprints of the classics, and the publication of architectural texts. The three themes chosen, however, give plentiful opportunity to test how effectively print served the civilising process, and its contribution to the development of the Renaissance worldview. As was the case elsewhere in Europe, French readers took an early interest in the discovery of the Americas. The first decades of the sixteenth century saw the publication of several accounts of the early explorations, most notably Le nouveau monde et navigations attributed in the French versions to Vespucci, but in fact a translation of the Italian narrative of Antonio Francanzano da Montalboddo.15 This was an immediate success: our bibliography of works published in French before 1601 records five editions of c.1515–1517, with further reprints in 1521 and 1534. In truth, however, the New World discoveries do not seem to have played a large role in the publishing industry’s presentation of the world beyond the kingdom’s borders. The war in Italy was a lively and ever-present concern, and the threat of Turkish incursion into Christian Europe made the East a far more common subject for those interested in exotic lands further afield. Reprints of the early accounts of American voyages found a diminishing audience in the middle years of the century, and it was not until the French themselves became engaged in colonial ventures that this interest to some extent revived. 15

Le nouveau monde et navigations (Paris, 1516 [= 1517 n.s.]). FB 50759–50763.

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Even here, engaging the interest of the reading public could not rely solely on a narrative of the French expeditions, dramatic as these histories were. The problems facing publishers of such works were really twofold. Firstly, the reading public had inherited from the fables and imagined narratives of the medieval period a perception of the non-European world so exotic that the reality could appear prosaic in comparison. Even after the voyages to the New World appeared in print, the medieval travelogue of John de Mandeville, a mishmash of plagiarism and fiction, remained a steady bestseller. Thus, for all that contemporary writers made a specific virtue of their first hand experience, ‘eye witness testimony’, in Steven Greenblatt’s telling phrase, ‘sits as a very small edifice on top of an enormous mountain of hearsay, rumour, convention and endlessly recycled fable.’16 Nothing illustrates this better that the famous rivalry between the two most notable French authors of New World narratives, Jean de Léry and André Thevet. André Thevet was a man of relatively modest social origins, who owed his education and opportunities for travel to his upbringing in the Franciscan Order.17 It was three years in the Middle East, traveling between Jerusalem and Constantinople, that provided the inspiration for his first geographical work, the Cosmographie de Levant, although even in the sympathetic view of Frank Lestringant this is a work that owed more to the compilations of humanist authors than to his own memories.18 Among the sources used in the fabrication of this work, the Lectiones antiquae of Coelius Rhodiginus occupies pride of place: Thevet would probably have had access to the definitive edition published on the Froben press at Basle in 1541. These ‘ancient lessons’ were frequently plundered by sixteenth-century geographical writers to give a lustre of learning, and Thevet used it shamelessly. In doing so he was able to exhibit a borrowed humanism, recycling the digested learning of the early sixteenth century for a public with no knowledge of Greek, or even Latin. The compositional techniques used in this work would be put to further use in Thevet’s second and more famous work. In 1555, Greenblatt in his foreword to Frank Lestringant, Mapping the Renaissance World (Berkeley, 1994), xi. 17 The following paragraphs follow F. Lestringant, Mapping the Renaissance World. 18 André Thevet, Cosmographie de Levant (Lyon, 1554). There was also an Antwerp edition of 1555. FB 49225–7. 16

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Thevet was among those who accompanied Nicolas Durand de Villegaignon on the ill-fated French expedition to Brazil. The expedition proved rancorous and ultimately unsuccessful, and Thevet’s role was distinctly inglorious: falling ill shortly after disembarkation, he was sent back when the ship that had brought him returned to France. But from this short ten-week stay Thevet fashioned the work that would make his reputation: Les singularitez de la France antarctique.19 In this work, Thevet created a Brazil that owed something to observation, but far more to a prolific use of ancient authorities and learned modern authors. These borrowings were not without cost to Thevet. The copious citations of Greek and Latin authors were largely the contribution of Mathurin Héret, a learned doctor and classicist, who, on publication of the book, sued Thevet to establish rights of authorship. Thevet successfully defended his right to be named as author, at the cost of surrendering to Héret the financial profit from the book.20 The solution, though squalid, was probably just, for Thevet’s debt to ancient and modern authorities went far beyond Héret’s decorative citations. Thevet’s presentation of the indigenous peoples he can scarcely have experienced is in perfect conformity with the topos of the barbarous native emerging from the conflation of ancient historical writers with modern authors such as Polydore Vergil.21 In his discovery of the fourth tribe of the Amazons, and a native king of Herculean powers and appetites, Thevet created a Brazil that was at once thrillingly exotic and yet reassuringly familiar, and this, indeed, may have been the basis of his success. Thevet’s work brought him welcome attention at the French court, and ultimately appointment as cosmographer royal, a new post apparently created for him. This financial security allowed him to embark on his final great work, La cosmographie universelle, a work on a grand scale, but with the American voyage still at its heart.22 André Thevet, Les singularitez de la France antarctique (Paris, 1557). Again there was a very rapid Antwerp reprint. FB 49228–49230. 20 F. Lestringant, Mapping the Renaissance World, 62–3. Héret is known principally for his translations of Alexander of Aphrodisias and Dares Phrygius. Polydore Vergil, De inventioribus rerum, first published Venice, 1499, but best known through the greatly expanded edition published by Froben in Basel in 1521. On this early modern best-seller, published in more than seventy editions before the end of the sixteenth century, see not the excellent website created by the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel: http://dbs.hab.de/Polydorusvergilius/porta-texte. 21 Polydore Vergil, De inventoribus rerum. 22 André Thevet, La cosmographie universelle (Paris, 1575). FB 49234–5. 19

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Thevet was not, however, without his critics, and it was this last work, published in 1575, that stirred his most powerful detractor, Jean de Léry, into action.23 De Léry was another veteran of the Brazilian expedition, though he arrived after Thevet had already left the colony. Léry witnessed the voyage’s failure, but survived to return to France and become a Protestant minister. The Huguenot role in the colonial venture became one of its most controversial aspects. When, in La cosmographie universelle, Thevet took the side of Villegaignon, who had blamed the Huguenots for the venture’s failure, de Léry was provoked into a response. His work is therefore in large part a work of justificatory religious polemic, but the detailed and acute observation of the local flora and fauna, and the life of the indigenous population, have ensured Léry’s work the admiration of posterity. The book was certainly an enduring bestseller, going through ten editions between its publication in 1578 and the end of the century.24 De Léry was also merciless in his ridicule of Thevet’s fictions, particularly his presentation of the Herculean king, Quoniambec, a myth that grew in precision with the passage of years, ending with his assimilation into the gallery of the great in Thevet’s Les vrais pourtraits et vies des hommes illustres, alongside Charlemagne and Julius Caesar.25 Léry’s assault on Thevet, though powerful and telling, was not unprecedented. The limitations of the ancients as a guide to contemporary geography and topography had been acknowledged by other writers. As Anthony Grafton has recently shown in an incisive article on Renaissance historiography and the New World, the Jesuit writer, José de Acosta, earned the favour of fellow modernisers with his critical attitude to Aristotle. But Acosta’s own methods were hardly those of the emancipated explorer/observer. Rather, as Grafton demonstrates, he pieced together a mosaic of evidence from diverse sources to show that other ancient writers were innocent of the errors of Aristotle. In other words, Acosta relied not on his own observations to defeat Aristotle, but other ancients.26

23 Jean de Léry, Histoire d’un voyage faict en la terre de Bresil (La Rochelle [= Geneva], 1578). FB 34334. 24 FB 34334–34344. 25 André Thevet, Les vrais pourtraits et vies des hommes illustres grecz, latins et payens (Paris, 1584). FB 49237. 26 Anthony Grafton, ‘José de Acosta, “Renaissance Historiography and New World Humanity” ’, in The Renaissance World, ed. John Jeffries Martin (London, 2007), 166–88.

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Acosta was not alone. Although pioneering works such as those of Conrad Gesner and Leonard Fuchs were transforming knowledge of the natural world, Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia also enjoyed an enormous vogue, in both Latin and vernacular languages. Significantly, while the major botanical encyclopaedias of modern writers were published initially in large and therefore expensive folios, Pliny was available to French readers in cheap and accessible octavos.27 As the sixteenth century wore on, readers had the opportunity to experience the New World through an increasing range and variety of eyewitness narratives written by shrewd and curious observers such as Jean de Léry and the Spaniard Barthelemeo de Las Casas. But those who sought to bring this literature to the reading public faced other daunting problems, not least the drive towards religious orthodoxy in an increasingly polarized book world. Beginning in midcentury, the development of a comprehensive Index of Prohibited Books posed real problems for publishers, particularly those whose books were only viable if they reached a pan-European readership. This was particularly the case for publishers of large, expensive books, such as the most compendious works of topography. These problems were faced in a particularly acute form by the publishing firm of Theodore de Bry, whose series of American voyages, published at the end of the century, was both compendious and expensive.28 Their problem was that many of the authors included were of questionable orthodoxy: de Léry was a Huguenot, and Las Casas had been critical of Spanish policy in the Indies. The publishers’ response was to fillet de Léry’s narrative to remove its most contentious aspects, particularly the vituperative criticism of the expedition leader, Villegaignon. These excisions were very thoughtfully and carefully applied: they were far more radical in the Latin edition, which was expected to sell in Southern Europe, than in the German, which could expect a largely Protestant readership. The strategy seems to have worked: the Voyages were not placed on the Index in Spain until 1614, and in Portugal until 1624. Even here, the texts were marked for expurgation, 27 FB 44019–44031. For Fuchs see FB 21959–22006, Gesner, FB 22782–22800. The publishers of Gesner and Fuchs did, however make one significant concession to their readership by publishing the vernacular names of plants and species in what was usually a largely Latin text. This form of incipient multilingualism has not been the subject of much comment in the literature thus far. 28 This section follows Michiel van Groesen, The Representations of the Overseas World in the De Bry Collection of Voyages (1590–1634) (Leiden, 2007).

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rather than banned completely. Michel van Groesen, the author of a fine recent study of the publishing strategies of the de Bry, has examined copies in Spanish libraries where the required corrections were duly made. Van Groesen’s survey of library holdings, however, also introduces a cautionary note. The academic library established at Groningen in 1614 had by 1619 accumulated a solid collection of 403 items. Given the most pressing need for theological and scholarly work, it is no surprise that the topographical collection includes only six titles: but among these six, the presence of Ptolemy’s Geographia and Strabo, alongside Ortelius and de Bry, signals the lasting authority of the ancients. It is perhaps relatively east to understand why French authors did not make a particularly large contribution in the field of travel writing. France did not establish itself as a significant colonial power, while the war with the Habsburgs and the civil strife of the second half of the century ensured that its most pressing preoccupations would be closer to hand. In the field of science and medicine, the contribution of French authors was very profound. French scholars took a leading role in the development of mathematical writing during the course of the century and the French reading public had access to a vast range of medical writing, both new and traditional.29 French medical publications of the sixteenth century may be divided into three categories, all of them popular with readers. There were a large number of translations from ancient authorities; there was considerable continued interest in staple texts from the medieval period; and there was a large quantity of writing by contemporary authors, much of it directly into the vernacular.30 Of the ancients, pride of place inevitably went to Galen—made available to French readers in a wave of translations between 1538 and 1549—and Hippocrates.31 Interest in pharmacy was reflected in translations of Dioscorides, Galen again, and Nicander on poisons. In this field, the

29 On sixteenth-century French mathematics, see especially Francis A. Yates, The French Academies of the Sixteenth Century (London, 1947), and more recently Alexander Marr, ‘A Renaissance library rediscovered: the Repertorium librorum Mathematica of Jean I du Temps’, The Library 9 (2008): 428–70. 30 FB; for a summary overview, Howard Stone, ‘The French language in Renaissance medicine’, Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance 15 (1953): 315–46. 31 FB 22159–22237 (Galen), 29977–30010 (Hippocrates).

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medieval Hortus sanitus enjoyed a continuing popularity.32 French readers also looked to the ancients for enlightenment in such fields as gynaecology and obstetrics. The issue of translation was itself controversial. The first wave of Renaissance medical tracts concentrated heavily on the learned languages, and in particular on the completion and purification of the inherited Galenic canon. The sixteenth-century redactors of Galen shared the general humanist tendency to exaggerate their own efforts and denigrate those of the medieval period. Anxious to claim a Renaissance in medicine equivalent to that in the ‘bonae artes’, medical writers adopted all the slogans of the new movement. Martin Acakia speaks of medicine in the Middle Ages as having been ‘buried and overwhelmed in great gloom’.33 A dedicatory epistle to Francis I prefixed to a sixteenth-century Galen makes the inevitable contrast between that dismal past and the current era, wherein ‘medicine has been raised from the dead’. But of what did this resurrection consist? It is hard to resist the conclusion that, for many medical writers, progress consisted in philological purity rather than in the efficacy of the remedies proposed. But in defence of those who, like Johann Gunther, praised the restoration of Galen, there was no new rational experimental pharmacology to set against the classical corpus. One of the most popular of the original sixteenth-century writings was the Secrets of Alexis Piemontese, now identified as a work of the Italian Girolamo Ruscelli.34 Among his most trusted remedies was the oil of a red-haired dog. Alas for the dog, this could not be extracted while the animal was still alive. The dog must be seethed whole until it fell to pieces, and then were added to the brew scorpions, worms, various plants, and the marrow of hogs and asses, all in a definite order. The resulting ointment was effective against many conditions, including gout. The complexity of these remedies did nothing to impede the book’s popu-

FB 16190–16197 (Dioscorides), 29324 (Nicander) 30117 (Hortus sanitus). Richard J. Durling, ‘A chronological census of Renaissance editions and translations of Galen’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 24 (1961): 230–305, here 238–9. 34 John Ferguson, ‘The Secrets of Alexis. A sixteenth-century collection of medical and technical receipts’, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine (1897), 225–46. 32 33

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larity. From the time of its first translation into French in 1557, it went through a staggering 38 editions before the end of the century.35 Original works in French fell broadly into three categories: plague tracts, controversial writings, and surgical manuals. Disputed subjects included attacks on abuse and ignorance in traditional pharmacologies, and, indeed, the use of French in medical writing. These were questions of prestige and privilege as much as of patient care. Physicians were extremely nervous lest the secrets of their art be published in the vernacular. The medical faculty in Paris was in this respect among the most conservative: the first colleague who attempted to give readings of Latin texts in the vernacular to assist the less educated barber surgeons was asked to suspend his lectures.36 This conservatism helps explain why French translations of Galen appeared only in the 1530s.37 It is perhaps unwise to make too radical a distinction between ancient and modern, Latin and vernacular writings, for even those written by modern authors were deeply steeped in the knowledge and medical theories of the ancients. That said, the continuing demand for classical works of medical literature is a striking feature of the output of French publishing houses in the medical domain. This seems to have been a common feature of the European publishing world. Richard Durling’s provisional census of Renaissance editions of Galen, published in 1961, found no fewer than 630 separate publications in Latin and various European vernaculars.38 A renewed search, using modern bibliographical tools, would no doubt find many more. Of course, the wisdom of the ancients offered no answers to the fundamentally new problems besetting early-modern societies, from the brutal injuries inflicted by the new firearm weapons, to the epidemic diseases that ravaged Europe’s teeming cities. The early-modern battlefield inspired a whole generation of text books dealing with field surgery, most notably the works of Ambroise Paré.39 Paré, a mere

Les secrets de reverend signeur Alexis Piemontois, contenans excellens remedes contre plusieurs maladies, playes et autres accidens (Antwerp, 1557). FB 46900–46939. 36 R. J. Durling, ‘Renaissance editions of Galen’, 240–1. 37 The first dated edition is from 1536. FB 22160. 38 R. J. Durling, ‘Renaissance editions of Galen’, 250–79. 39 FB 40671–40695. 35

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surgeon, was naturally despised by academic physicians, but his books enjoyed tremendous success.40 It is hard to know how much of this success was due to the copious woodcut illustrations of the ingenious surgical instruments required to perform the operations described. They undoubtedly added to the authority of the volumes, which culminated in a magnificent folio edition of 1575.41 French medical practitioners clearly gave a great deal of thought to battlefield medicine, unsurprisingly given the near continuous warfare in which France was engaged, but I know of no study of whether the application of Paré’s methods led to increased survival rates of those who suffered such injuries. Epidemic disease was another consuming preoccupation of medical writing. The population of Europe’s cities grew rapidly during the sixteenth century, and most of this growth took place within the medieval footprint of the city walls. Although city councils occasionally decided to expand the city, usually at a time when walls or fortifications were being rebuilt, they invariably frowned on the unplanned growth of suburbs outside the walls. This had the self-defeating result that more and more people were crammed into the urban core: with no fundamental improvements in sanitation, increased mortality was the inevitable result. The impact of plague on sixteenth-century society was profound. Plague epidemics returned with alarming frequency. Noordegraaf and Valk have calculated that in Holland, instances of plague were recorded in 107 of the 219 years between 1450 and 1668.42 In some instances, mortality reached 20%, or even 40%. The plague was one of the most terrifying of diseases: its onset unpredictable, its progress very rapid, the chances of survival very bleak. Early modern societies lived in constant terror of its arrival. Not surprisingly, the literature concerning plague was very large: all over Europe, the reading public had access to a large number of

For Paré’s influence outside France see Andrew Wear, Knowledge and practice in English Medicine, 1550–1580 (Cambridge, 2000). General treatments of surgical practice in the sixteenth century include Daniel de Moulin, A History of Surgery (Dordrecht, 1988); Owen Harding Wangenstein and Sarah Wangenstein, The Rise of Surgery. From Empiric Craft to Scientific Discipline (Folkstone, 1978). 41 Ambroise Paré, Les oeuvres (Paris, 1575). FB 40684. 42 Leo Noordegraaf and Gerrit Valk, De Gave Gods. De pest in Holland vanaf de late middeleeuwen (Bergen, 1988). 40

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texts offering treatments, and proffering explanations as to the cause.43 Most medical authors regarded plague as a poison to be driven out of the body. Bleeding was the inevitable first remedy, to restore the balance of the humours; if this did not cause the buboes to discharge their poison, then special dressings should be applied. The most popular internal medicines were theriac, commonly called treacle, and mithritadate, the two most trusted remedies since the time of Galen. Sufferers were, however, prepared to try anything. Many tracts offered a large variety of remedies, some reflecting the influence of the new Paracelsian science. None of these works, however, did much to relieve the swift agony of death; nor did writers on the plague make any fundamental progress in isolating its causes. Diagnostic clarity was impeded by the variability of the symptoms: as Ambroise Paré noted, plague never seemed to occur in one sort, but rather ‘in so great variety it is difficult to set down anything general or certain.’44 The stink of putrefaction as the epidemic wore on encouraged the theory that plague emanated from a miasma, and this explained its incidence over large areas. Astrological events, such as comets, could ignite epidemic disease, and sometimes, it was alleged, broke out after it had been spread deliberately by individuals with diabolic intent. Accusations of plaguespreading erupted from time to time in the febrile atmosphere of Europe’s cities, most notably in Calvin’s Geneva at the height of the political turbulence that attended his arrival in the city. A number of people were arrested, tortured into confession, and executed.45 But in all the search for medical causes, few doubted that plague was first and foremost a divine punishment. The Dutch name for plague, De Gave Gods—‘God’s gift’—reflects this general sense of helplessness in the face of God’s inscrutable purpose. Some tracts specifically recommended patient resignation as the only proper response. Noordegraaf and Valk, in a careful study of Dutch plague tracts, suggest some gradual shift towards secular, scientific explanations during A fine introduction to this subject is William Naphy and Andrew Spicer, The Black Death and a History of Plagues, 1345–1730 (Stroud, 2000); Paul Slack, The impact of plague in Tudor and Stuart England (London, 1985); Andrew Cunningham and Ole Peter Grell, The four horsemen of the Apocalypse. Religion, war, famine and death in Reformation Europe (Cambridge, 2000), 272–304. 44 Quoted by P. Slack, Impact of plague, 25. 45 William Naphy, ‘Plague-spreading and a magisterially controlled fear’, in Fear in early modern society, ed. Naphy and Penny Roberts (Manchester, 1997), 28–43. 43

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the course of the first two centuries of print, but this was by no means complete or linear. The wisdom of the ancients, treatments on surgical practice, the study of epidemic disease: none seem to have contributed greatly to ameliorating the suffering of those in pain, or advancing the understanding of disease. Indeed, if we are to accept that the fundamental purpose of medical intervention is the cure of illness, rather than the enhancement of the dignity of the medical profession, or the enrichment of its practitioners—admittedly a large assumption in any age— then the study of sixteenth-century medical manuals is a salutary antidote to any easy doctrine of Renaissance progress. On the contrary, if one takes into account the large increase in the duration of wars, the size of armies, the increasingly lethal capacities of firearm weapons, together with the rapid increase in the size of cities, the great sixteenth-century killing fields, and if we set this against the absence of any fundamental improvement in nutrition, food supply or public sanitation, then this may indeed be a period of human history when average life expectancy diminished rather than improved. Let us turn finally to one area of life that undoubtedly did experience transforming progress in the fifteenth and sixteenth century: the growth in the functions and reach of government. The business of government grew massively during this period in all the major states of Europe. Pressures of warfare, consequent increases in taxation, and the desire that the power of the state should extend to every corner of the kingdom increased exponentially the numbers employed in the business of government, which also attributed to itself an increasingly ambitious range of functions. All of this played its part in that complex nexus of power, display and administrative reform known as Renaissance monarchy. In France, print played an important role in the business of government. Our recent survey of sixteenth-century vernacular print revealed that over ten percent of the output of French printing presses—over five thousand items—consisted of reprints of legal documents.46 By far the largest category consisted of individual royal ordinances, edicts or decrees, reprinted for the benefit of legal practitioners and other interested parties, usually as small octavo pamphlets. The edict in

46 See, for instance, FB 10752–12544 (Charles IX), FB 21248–21821 (François I, François II), FB 25174–28732 (Henri II, Henri III, Henri IV).

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pamphlet form was a particular feature of French print culture, and a major dynamo of growth within the French publishing industry. The largest proportion of these edicts was printed in Paris, mostly by a small circle of printers formally charged with this responsibility. The privilege was highly prized, and with good reasons: the identification of large numbers of these edicts printed in multiple editions in a single year suggests a large and lucrative market. From Paris, the publication of edicts radiated out into the provinces, as the most significant royal ordinances, or those with purely local impact, were reprinted in other towns. Often these official publications were the mainstay of these local printing houses. In this way, the authority of the crown radiated out through the kingdom, and a network of regional printing centres was established throughout France. At some point in the sixteenth century, there were printing presses at work in over one hundred French towns and cities. Here, then, we seem to have identified an area of life where print contributed in a material way to the building of early-modern society. Yet even here it is necessary to exercise a degree of caution. A group of scholars in Paris has for the last twenty years been compiling a directory of all royal edicts, that is, all royal orders and instructions emanating from the royal chancellery. Set alongside the huge volume of business documented by this project, the number of edicts that merited a printed edition was relatively insignificant. In fact, only about three per cent of all royal edicts made it into print.47 These figures unlock the essential truth of Renaissance government: that printed edicts were merely the visible tip of a huge apparatus of administration that relied very largely on traditional manuscript and oral methods of communication. Indeed, many of the printed edicts themselves make this explicit, documenting not only the texts of the king’s order, but the steps taken by the relevant local jurisdiction to register the edict and to have it made known to the population. This was achieved by the traditional means of sending a public crier to the market place, the steps of the town hall and well-frequented crossroads and declaiming its text.48 This suggests that the printed editions Lauren J. Kim, ‘French Royal Edicts of the Sixteenth Century’ (St Andrews University PhD thesis, 2008). 48 In an edict of 1556, the places in which an edict would be proclaimed (accompanied by the royal trumpeters) around the capital were listed as follows: devant la principale porte du Palais; a l’apport de Paris devant Chastelet; a la croix du Trehoir 47

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that loom so large in our bibliography were by and large commercial reprints for the convenience of those who required a copy for professional reasons, lawyers or the stewards of local landowners, rather than part of the formal process of government. The way in which many survive, bound up into convenient collections as informal reference books, tends to confirm this supposition. It is also worth remarking in this context that the practice of publishing individual edicts was unknown in several other countries, such as England. Nor was there a single press of any size or permanence anywhere outside London: 95% of all books published in England before 1601 emanated from the capital. Proud, self-confident municipal communities such as York, Norwich and Chester functioned without print,49 and yet England is by general consent regarded as the most effectively administered and most thoroughly centralised of all the nation states of sixteenth-century Europe. The reasons for the very aberrant history of print culture in sixteenth century England is a subject I wish to probe elsewhere; for the moment, my argument has, I think, run its course. I have offered a view of the impact of print that goes against the grain of most presentations of the impact of printing in the Renaissance: certainly, it is an assessment of the capacities and influence of the new art that contrasts starkly with the ecstatic utterances of contemporary commentators. What I think lies at the heart of this dichotomy is a confusion of two notions of progress. For humanists, the heart of the issue lay in the recovering of the wisdom of the ancients, and the establishment, above all, of linguistic and textual purity. For the modern mind, progress consists above all in the amelioration of the human condition. Where they overlap is in the belief in the empowerment that comes with knowledge, though in the case of humanists, many believed that in practice the circle of enlighten-

aux Halles; a l’apport Baudoyer; plac de Greve devant l’hostel de la ville au Carrefour sainct Severin; a la place Maubert pres la crois des Carmes; au carrefour du mont saincte Geneviefve pres le puis; rue sainct Jacques devant les Jacobins, & au bout du pont sainct Michel. Ordonnance du Roy & de sa court des monnoyes (Lyon, 1556). FB 25596–7. Edicts printed in Rouen, Lyon and elsewhere had similar lists. 49 For the stuttering history of early print in York see, William K. and Ethelwyn M. Sessions, Printing in York: from the 1490s to the present day (York, 1976). Printing in York was extinguished by 1532. For other failed attempts to establish printing in England outside London see William K. Sessions, A Printer’s Dozen. The first British printing centres to 1557 after Westminster and London (York, 1983).

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ment should be drawn quite tightly. The greatest charge against general presentations of the role of print in the Renaissance is that this distinction between the two notions of progress is not made with sufficient clarity. Much of what I have outlined here will come as no surprise to those who have worked more narrowly on the early history of the book. As long ago as 1935, Scholderer pointed out that the culture of Italian incunabula, considered as a whole, appears to a large extent static. In a slightly later era, the trial of the Italian miller Menocchio, famously explored by Carlo Ginsburg as an example of free-thinking among the artisan classes, in fact reveals reading preferences that were decidedly backward-looking, such as the fantastical travel narratives of John de Mandeville.50 Our own researches for the St. Andrews French Project have demonstrated that, notwithstanding the availability of milestones of translated Italian literature such as Boccaccio and Ariosto, medieval chivalric romances, such as the ubiquitous, but now scarcely known, Amadis de Gaule, remained the overwhelming choice of French readers.51 Easily the most popular books of science were almanacs and prognostications. A full narrative of Renaissance culture needs to be mindful of these reading preferences—certainly those who took books to the market place were fully aware of what purchasers wished to take home with them. For the most part, these remarks are based on material drawn from France, for that is where we have the most recent and complete data, but it may be that my observations have some more general application, albeit with significant local variations. For sixteenth-century print culture was not confined within local boundaries, but constituted a web of intricate interconnections, as books and texts made their way freely from place to place. This was especially so of the Latin book world, which could only function as one integrated market, but texts also passed freely across national boundaries with the help of translations. It is to this wider international trade that the St. Andrews French Book Project team now intends to turn its attention. We want first to Carlo Ginsburg, The Cheese and the Worms: the Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller (London, 1982). 51 For the many editions of Amadis de Gaule, see FB 651–1053. For Boccaccio, FB 6014–6140 (with editions of the Decameron from 1534, FB 6034). For Ariosto, FB 1702–1734. 50

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complete a parallel study of Latin publishing in France, for France, with Paris to the fore, was one of the major centres of Latin print. Our intention is then to create a common interface to allow the information gathered by all of the national bibliographical projects, the German VD 16, the Italian Edit 16, the Dutch STC, and so on, to be searched through a single resource. That way, we will at last have a reliable indicator of the comparative volume of production in each of Europe’s major and secondary centres of print, a more complete sense of the movement of text around Europe, and a means for gauging the comparative weight of interest for different themes and genres of writing. Finally, we will be able to analyse how reading preferences and the availability of texts may have differed in separate parts of Europe’s cultural map. We hope to be able to make this Universal Short Title Catalogue, as we have called it, available within about five years. It will, we believe, allow us to take our understanding of the role of the book in Renaissance society to a new level. Statistical analysis does not offer the answer to all the questions posed with regard to book history, but it does allow us to compare our own hierarchy of merit with the actual reading preferences of our fifteenth- and sixteenth-century forebears. That, I would suggest, has a certain value. There is always a danger that if we privilege the intellectual in the past, we hold up a mirror to ourselves, an increasingly embattled bookish class in a post-print age. But we do not necessarily do justice to the periods we study.

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THE ‘INVENTION’ OF DÜRER AS A RENAISSANCE ARTIST Jeffrey Chipps Smith In his essay, ‘Albrecht Dürer and Classical Antiquity’ of 1922, Erwin Panofsky remarks, ‘If ever a great artistic movement can be said to be the work of one individual, the Northern Renaissance was the work of Albrecht Dürer.’1 Comments like this by Panofsky, among others, link the Nuremberg master with a label that frames him both chronologically and conceptually. From our modern vantage point, we might argue that labelling Albrecht Dürer as a Gothic or Renaissance artist is irrelevant since such terms are used more fluidly now than in the past. Yet in writing a short monograph on Dürer, I became acutely aware how scholars, myself included, wield such labels to define their portrayals of the artist.2 I also became intrigued by the major shift in perceptions that occurred in the mid-nineteenth century as Dürer went from being ‘the’ late medieval German artist to one heralded as its Renaissance progenitor. This chapter briefly addresses the issue of labelling from an historiographical perspective. William Bell Scott’s Albrecht Dürer on the Balcony of His House of 1854, hanging in the National Gallery of Scotland, typifies later eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century attitudes towards the artist3 (Fig. 41). A year earlier, Scott travelled to Southern Germany. In his later Autobiographical Notes, he remarks, ‘I painted a picture from the balcony at the end of Albert Dürer’s house in Nürnberg, showing the open space at the Thiergarten Thör, with the Schloss beyond, and Albert looking out at the passing crowd . . .’4 Like many artists before

The essay first appeared as ‘Dürer Stellung zur Antike’, Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte 1 (1921–22): 43–92; and then as Erwin Panofsky, Meaning in the Visual Arts (Garden City, NY, 1955), 236–85 (‘Albrecht Dürer and Classical Antiquity’), here 281. I wish to thank the Kimbell Art Foundation for its support of my research. 2 Jeffrey Chipps Smith, Dürer (London, in press). 3 Matthias Mende, Albrecht Dürer—ein Künstler in seiner Stadt, exh. cat., Stadtmuseum Fembohaus, Nuremberg (Nuremberg, 2000), illustrated opposite the title page. 4 William Bell Scott, Autobiographical Notes of the Life of William Bell Scott, 2 vols. (New York, 1892), vol. 1, 319–20. Scott possessed a ‘formidable collection’ of Dürer’s prints (vol. 2, 193) and he authored Albert Durer: His Life and Works (London, 1869), one of the first two serious monographs in English. 1

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41. William Bell Scott, Albrecht Dürer on the Balcony of His House, 1854, oil on canvas. Edinburgh, National Galleries of Scotland. © National Galleries of Scotland.

him, Scott made the pilgrimage to Dürer’s house, which had been purchased by the city in 1825, restored in a Gothic-style, and rented to a local art society. He could not resist imagining Dürer standing on the same balcony centuries earlier. Scott’s picture portrays Dürer as both a part of and apart from his native city. Holding his brushes, he gazes down at the world below from his lofty perch. Dürer is the singular genius at home in his late medieval city. Scott’s romantic evocation conforms to a well-established view that Dürer, as Germany’s greatest artist, was a hard-working, pious artisan, who embodied perceived national virtues.5 Since at least 1738, Dürer had been called a Gothic artist. Although some used this term disparagingly, ‘Gothic’ was more commonly employed by Goethe, Wilhelm Wackenroder,

5

Jan Białostocki, Dürer and His Critics (Baden-Baden, 1986), 91–143, 189–218.

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and others as a label for a style that was long believed to have been invented by Germans. Declaring Dürer, like Strasbourg cathedral, to be the apogee of the Gothic reflected German pride. Explaining the well-established association of Dürer and the Gothic is outside the focus of this chapter. Rather we shall address how his transformation into a Renaissance master follows broader changes in Germany’s cultural and political climates. The quantity of scholarship about Dürer and German art increased dramatically during the course of the nineteenth century. Franz Kugler’s pioneering Handbuch der Geschichte der Malerei, first published in 1837, offers a comprehensive chronological account of national schools of painting, especially their masters and developments in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The second volume of the 1867 edition, updated by Jacob Burckhardt, devotes particular emphasis to sixteenth-century painting in Italy and in Northern Europe.6 The book’s discussion of Dürer accords him almost equal standing with Raphael, whom many considered to be the apogee of art, not just of Renaissance art. A similar survey written in 1862 by Gustav Waagen, the influential director of the Berlin Museum, concludes that the art of Dürer’s time represents the fullest development of the German school of painting.7 Specialists like Joseph Heller (1827) and August von Eye (1860), as well as others writing in conjunction with the Dürer-jubilees of 1828, 1840, and 1871, fleshed out a more thorough picture of the artist.8 By the last third of the nineteenth century, most of Dürer’s own writings had been found. Photographs, photogravures, and lithographs reproduced and publicised his œuvre so that the broad scope of his art, rather than just his prints and a few paintings, became widely known. Albert von Zahn’s Dürer’s Kunstlehre und sein Verhältniss zur Renaissance, which appeared in 1866, threw down the semantic gauntlet.9 He declares that Dürer introduced the Franz Kugler’s Handbuch der Geschichte der Malerei seit Constantin dem Grossen, vol. 2, ed. Hugo Freiherrn von Blomberg incorporating the revisions of Jacob Burckhardt, 3rd rev. ed. (Leipzig, 1867). 7 G.[ustav] F.[riedrich] Waagen, Handbuch der Geschichte der Malerei, vol. 1. Handbuch der deutschen und niederländischen Malerschulen (Stuttgart, 1862), 194–6. 8 Joseph Heller, Das Leben und die Werke Albrecht Dürers, 2 vols. (Bamberg-Leipzig, 1827–31); A[ugust] v[on] Eye, Leben und Wirken Albrecht Dürer’s (Nördlingen, 1860); and Margot Blumenthal, Die Dürer-Feiern 1828: Kunst und Gesellschaft im Vormärz (Egelsbach, 2001). 9 Albert von Zahn, Dürer’s Kunstlehre und sein Verhältniss zur Renaissance (Leipzig, 1866). 6

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Renaissance to Germany. The author admits being influenced by the definition of the Renaissance as articulated in Jacob Burckhardt’s The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy, published in 1860. Von Zahn argues that even before his 1505–07 trip to Venice, Dürer already represented the best of German art. Yet as a result of his contact with Mantegna’s prints and his stay in Venice, the Nuremberg master embraced the Renaissance and brought it back to Germany. Von Zahn’s thesis focuses on how Dürer’s interest in the artistic theories from Vitruvius to Leonardo inspired his own writings. In his opinion, this changed the disposition and direction of German art. Other scholars soon followed von Zahn’s lead. Wilhelm Lübke’s Geschichte der deutschen Renaissance appeared in 1872.10 This remarkably influential tome addresses German architecture of the sixteenth century, which was often a hybrid of Gothic, classical, and Italian Renaissance styles. If the early nineteenth century represented the peak of neo-Gothic in German architecture, the last thirty or so years of the century witnessed the taste for a neo-Renaissance architecture based on the styles of the later sixteenth century. Although this book was not about Dürer, it solidified the idea that Germany experienced its own distinctive Renaissance in the sixteenth century. The case for Dürer as a Renaissance artist was articulated most carefully (and enduringly) by Moriz Thausing, the keeper of Albertina print cabinet in Vienna. His Albrecht Dürer: Geschichte seines Lebens und seiner Kunst, published in Leipzig in 1876, was translated into English in 1882 and then appeared in a revised German edition in 1884.11 This now classic two-volume study is considered the first comprehensive and truly critical monograph. Besides sensitively discussing the art, Thausing locates Dürer firmly within Nuremberg and his cultural environment. There is no chapter boldly announcing Dürer’s Renaissance status; rather he integrates his thesis into the comments on the art. Let us briefly consider Thausing’s treatment of Dürer’s All Saints or Landauer Altarpiece of 1509–11.12 (Figs. 42–43) The altarpiece is 10 Wilhelm Lübke, Geschichte der deutschen Renaissance (Stuttgart, 1872, reissued 1873). For a useful study of the idea of the Renaissance in German art historical scholarship, see Rudolf Kaufmann, Der Renaissancebegriff in der deutschen Kunstgeschichtsschreibung (Winterthur, 1932), esp. 116–24. 11 Moriz Thausing, Albert Dürer: His Life and Works, trans. and ed. Fred. A. Eaton, 2 vols. (London, 1882). 12 M. Thausing Albert Dürer, vol. 2, 23–41.

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42. Albrecht Dürer, All Saints (Landauer) Altarpiece, 1509–11, oil on panel and wooden frame. Painting: Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum. Frame: Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum. © Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

now divided, with the painting in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna and the original frame in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg. An illustration of Dürer’s self-portrait, extracted from the right rear of the picture, decorates the frontispiece of Thausing’s second volume. He states that the artist abandoned the typical

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43. Albrecht Dürer, All Saints (Landauer) Altarpiece, detail of self-portrait, 1509–11. Print after image published in Moriz Thausing, Albert Durer: His Life and Work (London, 1882), vol. 2, frontispiece.

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German winged altarpiece format in favor of a single picture within an architectural frame. Nuremberg offered him no models so he turned to the art of Venice and the Lombard Renaissance. His design shows ‘Dürer’s determined intention to adhere to the teachings of the Renaissance, but it is also a proof of the astonishingly good use he made of such information as he possessed.’13 In describing the Landauer Altar’s frame with its mix of antique, Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance features, he remarks ‘It was, however, of the very essence of the German Renaissance to endeavour to blend Gothic motives and motives derived from nature with the fundamental forms of antique art, or to graft them one upon the other.’14 In an accompanying note, he cites the research of Kugler and especially Lübke for informing his ideas. He then compares the painting and its theme with Raphael’s Dispute of the Sacrament in the Stanza della Signatura in the Vatican. Rather than denigrating either work, he explains that both are ideally appropriate for their respective settings and patrons. In Dürer’s case, the altar adorned the chapel of an alms house for aged artisans.15 Thausing stresses the picture’s ‘unity of sentiment’ and the artist’s unrivalled success at spiritualising colour. ‘It is though he had tried to produce a pictorial equivalent for the music of the spheres.’16 What was perfect for the humble piety of the Landauer chapel would have been wrong for the Vatican. Dürer’s All Saints picture is in every respect the most valuable testimony he has left us of his talent. It is an epitome of his life’s work, a sort of microcosm, a reflection of his own mind at the very moment he had reached the culminating point of his power.17

He cites its lyric landscape, the epic qualities of its portraits, and the sacred tragedy of Christ’s apotheosis. For Thausing, Dürer was also an architect, sculptor, and reviver of ancient Roman inscription forms.18

Ibid., 27. Ibid., 28. 15 Georg Wilder’s Interior of the Chapel of the Zwölfbrüderhaus in Nuremberg (1836, watercolor, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg) reconstructs the appearance of the Landauer Chapel with Dürer’s altarpiece. Karl Schütz, ed., Albrecht Dürer im Kunsthistorischen Museum (Vienna, 1994), 15–8. 16 M. Thausing, Albert Dürer, vol. 2, 32–3. 17 Ibid., 37. 18 Ibid., 41. 13 14

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Although modern scholars might quibble with Thausing’s language and sweeping remarks, his discourse on the altarpiece bolsters his broader observations about Dürer’s achievements. He painstakingly shows how Dürer’s remarkable skills and intellect allowed him to merge the best of German and Italian art into his own revolutionary Renaissance idiom. Other scholars quickly embraced Dürer as a Renaissance artist.19 The nineteenth century was the great age of the public art museum.20 Older princely collections and new civic ones sought to preserve and present art to an ever-growing audience. The vulnerability of works of art became increasingly apparent during the secularisation of church property which started in Germany in 1803 and during the Napoleonic Wars, during which art as war booty was transported to Paris.21 Politically, events such as the rise of the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1805 or the unification of Germany under Emperor Wilhelm I in 1871 were catalysts of nationalism and, relevant to our topic, national identities. Nationalistic feelings prompted the founding of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg in 1852. Its collection, housed in a former Carthusian monastery, consisted initially just of German art. The rapid growth of its holdings prompted the museum’s expansion from nine to eighty rooms by 1892.22 Museums debated their missions, which often included lofty notions of public edification and moral education, and how to display their art. Although some critics complained about the ‘intrusion of history’ into what should be an aesthetic experience, most museums, guided by increasingly professional staffs, eventually displayed their art according In his important study of Dürer’s drawings of 1882, the French scholar Charles Ephrussi refers to the artist as the ‘energetic representative of the German Renaissance.’ Charles Ephrussi, Albert Dürer et ses dessins (Paris, 1882), 355. This was originally published as a series of articles in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts from 1877 to 1880. 20 Bernward Deneke and Rainer Kahsnitz, eds., Das Kunst- und Kulturgeschichtliche Museum im 19. Jahrhunderts (Munich, 1977); James J. Sheehan, Museums in the German Art World (Oxford, 2000). 21 Dietmar Stutzer, Die Säkularisation 1803: Der Sturm auf Bayerns Kirchen und Klöster, 3rd rev. ed. (Rosenheim, 1990); Josef Kirmeier and Manfred Treml, eds., Glanz und Ende der alten Klöster: Säkularisation im bayerischen Oberland 1803, exh. cat., Kloster Benediktbeuren (Munich, 1991); and Francis Haskell, History and Its Images: Art and the Interpretation of the Past (New Haven, 1993), especially 236–52. 22 Rainer Kahsnitz, ‘Museum und Denkmal’, in B. Deneke and R. Kahsnitz, eds., Das Kunst- und Kulturgeschichtliche Museum, 152–75, especially 161–2; F. Haskell, History and Its Images, 282–7; Ralf Mennekes, Die Renaissance der deutschen Renaissance (Petersberg, 2005), 76–7. 19

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to national schools and chronology. The exhibition of Italian and German schools of art in adjoining galleries invited comparison. From this arose a more comprehensive understanding of the development of German art during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In 1887, Wilhelm Bode wrote an article entitled ‘La Renaissance au Musée de Berlin’ in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts.23 Assuming everyone shared his opinion, Bode states that Dürer and Hans Holbein the Younger represent the ‘grand summits’ of German Renaissance painting. Museum buildings were (and still are) hardly neutral vessels of display. Dürer’s status as an artistic genius and Renaissance master was proudly articulated in the modern decorative programs of many collections. For example, in 1887, the same year as Bode’s article, Carl Gehrts painted the Art of the Renaissance for the staircase of the Düsseldorf Museum24 (Fig. 44). It accompanied three others portraying Imperial Rome, the Middle Ages, and the modern era. Gehrts presents Ecclesia enthroned with Michelangelo and Leonardo at her right. Her attention, however, is drawn to her left. Raphael and Dürer, portrayed as co-equals, stand holding hands as Peter Vischer the Elder and Lucas Cranach look on approvingly. The linking of Dürer and Raphael was quite common in earlier nineteenth-century German literature and art. Portrait statues of Dürer adorned museums in Dresden, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe, and Munich, among others.25 Each of the four sides of Gottfried Semper’s Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, constructed between 1869 and 1891, celebrates a different period of art (Fig. 45). An over-life-size statue of Dürer stands proudly along the roofline of the main or entrance facade as a canonical Renaissance artist.26 Wilhelm Bode, ‘La Renaissance au Musée de Berlin’, Gazette des Beaux-Arts Pér. 2/ 35 (1887): 204–20 and 423–45, here 435–40. 24 G. Ulrich Grossmann and Petra Krutisch, eds., Renaissance der Renaissance. Ein bürgerliche Kunststil im 19. Jahrhundert, 3 vols., exh. cat., Weserrenaissance-Museum Schloss Brake (Munich, 1992–95), vol. 1, 372–73; J. J. Sheehan, Museums, 135. 25 Bernhard Decker, ‘Dürer und Raphael in Marmor: Die Museums-Büsten in Frankfurt am Main und Karlsruhe’, Anzeiger des Germanischen Nationalmuseums (1998): 79–87; J. J. Sheehan, Museums, 127–31. 26 The Vienna cycle was first conceived by Semper in 1874. The Renaissance pairings are Giotto and Jan van Eyck, Dürer and Raphael, Michelangelo and Rubens, and Titian and Holbein. Anton Schmidgruber carved Dürer’s statue. Beatrix Kriller and Georg Kugler, Das Kunsthistorische Museum. Die Architektur und Ausstattung: Idee und Wirklichkeit des Gesamtkunstwerkes (Vienna, 1991), 57–71, especially 69. Dürer figures prominently in the interior painted decoration as well. I wish to thank Karl Schütz for this reference. 23

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44. Carl Gehrts, Art of the Renaissance, 1187, oil on canvas. Düsseldorf, Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf im Ehrenhof. © Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf im Ehrenhof.

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45. Statue of Albrect Dürer, stone, completed before 1891 after a plan by Gottfried Semper. Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, balustrade of the Maria Theresien Platz (or main) façade. © Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

With just a few exceptions, notably Roger Fry (1909) and Friedrich Winkler (1936), scholars accepted Dürer’s designation as a Renaissance artist.27 Precisely what they meant by this label, however, varied greatly. Heinrich Wölfflin’s Die Kunst Albrecht Dürers, first published J. Białostocki, Dürer and His Critics, 259–63 (Fry) and 314 (Winkler). Winkler writes, ‘Dürer’s art is part and parcel of German Gothic—he remained throughout an artist of the Late Gothic period. Italy never had the same importance for him as for, say, Elsheimer, Hackert and Reinhart, for Cornelius and Overbeck, and later for Marées and Hildebrand. Italy, the land of classic art, as seen and admired by the 27

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in 1905, offers the next great landmark in Dürer studies.28 Adopting a largely formalist methodological approach, Wölfflin compellingly expounds on the stylistic characteristics of Dürer’s art. His lucid descriptions of certain works coupled with his astute comparisons place art in the foreground. Unlike most of his predecessors, Wölfflin largely ignores biographical and contextual associations. Interestingly, he views Dürer’s transformation into a Renaissance artist as a mixed blessing. In his 1905 preface, he writes, We like to call Dürer the most German of German artists and we delight in the idea of him sitting in his house at the Tiergärtner Gate in Nuremberg, sedately working away as his fathers had done, content on his native soil and convinced that art needed only to be heartfelt and true but that external beauty was unimportant. This idea was introduced by the Romantics. But it is a mistaken one. If ever anybody looked longingly beyond the borders of this country for a strange, immense vision of beauty, it was Dürer. He was responsible for the great lack of assurance, the break with tradition in German art and the domination by Italian models. Dürer did not go to Italy through chance or caprice. He went because he found what he needed there. But if one looks into someone else’s exercise-books and copies, one always has to pay the price. Ultimately he found the balance between his own and foreign characteristics, but at what cost to his own strength!29

Wölfflin concludes, Raphael and Titian could become classical artists because everything was ready when they appeared. In Dürer’s case not even the craft had been developed. By an immense effort he won the new mode of representation for art, achieved the transition from the Gothic to the ‘Renaissance style’ and created the human type of the Reformation. What he did was great, but the struggle by which he attained his ends is perhaps greater. The results of his life are hardly as interesting as the way they were achieved. He himself modestly thought that he was the pioneer, not the master, of a new art.

Wölfflin argues that Dürer’s encounter with Italy and its painters radically transformed his concept of art. Following his return from Venice in 1507, Dürer reached full maturity. Wölfflin writes, ‘Even the term

German-Roman school just did not exist for him.’ See Friedrich Winkler, Die Zeichnungen Albrecht Dürers, 4 vols. (Berlin, 1936–39), vol. 1, viii. 28 Heinrich Wölfflin, Die Kunst Albrecht Dürers (Munich, 1905); Wölfflin, The Art of Albrecht Dürer, trans. Alastair and Heide Grieve (London, 1971). 29 H. Wölfflin, The Art of Albrecht Dürer, 10.

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‘Renaissance’ was already familiar to him—he called it ‘re-growing’. Practice must be founded on theory. One does not get anywhere by mere technical exercises.’30 Dürer’s ‘speculations on human proportion . . . were based on the idea of the natural perfection of man, and this concept was of central significance for the Renaissance.’31 Above all, Wölfflin stresses Dürer’s artistic and intellectual efforts to comprehend beauty, which the Nuremberg master considered the fundamental problem of art.32 Dürer’s insights came at a price. Much of Wölfflin’s introduction laments the loss of an unadulterated German art. Or, as he memorably phrases the problem, ‘Samson has lost his locks in the lap of the Italian seductress.’33 To be fair to Wölfflin, he raises and then partially counters some criticisms of more nationalistic art historians. Summarizing their thoughts, he writes, ‘. . . his cult of Italianate form seems to have undermined his inborn German character in a fatal way’; or ‘Dürer remains the man who, drawn to Italian art at an early stage, brought a foreign element into native tradition’; and ‘But his work is interspersed with things which are alien to us.’34 Wölfflin does not deny his distaste for the artificially constructed bodies and the emotionless expressions of Adam and Eve in the 1504 engraving.35 He also feels that the effort that Dürer devoted to his theoretical studies was rather detrimental to his art. Nevertheless, Wölfflin cites the Four Apostles ‘who appear so completely un-Italian’ as proof of the artist’s creative power. He concludes that Dürer, whom he earlier described as ‘a child of the Late Gothic,’ ultimately ‘gave German art new eyes and a new heart.’36 Some critics, including Oskar Hagen, who reviewed the 1918 edition of Wölfflin’s monograph, attacked his premise that Italy was necessary for Dürer’s development.37 For

30 Ibid., 30. Dürer uses the word ‘wiedererwachsung’ (regrow) in one of the drafts of his unpublished Instruction on Painting (Das Lehrbuch der Malerei). E. Panofsky, Meaning in the Visual Arts, 237; and especially Hans Rupprich, ed., Dürer. Schriftlicher Nachlass, 3 vols. (Berlin, 1956–69), vol. 2, 144–5, l. 29. 31 H. Wölfflin, The Art of Albrecht Dürer, 36. 32 Ibid., 283–90. 33 Ibid., 11–21, here 18. 34 Ibid., 11, 13, and 18. 35 Ibid., 119. 36 Ibid., 228 and 290. 37 J. Białostocki, Dürer and His Critics, 312–3 cites Hagen’s review, which appeared in Kunstchronik und Kunstmarkt 54 (1919): 956–7.

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Hagen and others, everything Dürer needed to make him a great artist could be found in Germany, not abroad. Between the monographs of Wölfflin and Erwin Panofsky, that is, from 1905 to 1943, numerous detailed and sometimes multi-volume studies on Dürer appeared.38 None offers a compelling narrative or positively advances what scholars meant by labelling Dürer as a Renaissance artist. In fact, Wilhelm Waetzoldt’s popular 1935 book is very much a product of the National Socialist era, one in which Dürer uncomfortably becomes the inspirational ‘über-German.’ Against the backdrop of growing German nationalism, Panofsky presents a much fuller portrait of Dürer as a Renaissance artist. Although best known for The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer, Panofsky had already published extensively on the artist.39 His core conception of Dürer as a Renaissance artist was articulated in three earlier writings.40 In Dürers Kunsttheorie, based on his dissertation,41 Panofsky explores the intellectual foundations of Dürer’s work from his initial exposure in Italy to art based on mathematics, specifically geometry, to Dürer’s culminating treatises the Art of Measurement (1525) and the Four Books of Human Proportions (1528). Dürer read and, critically, internalised the writings of Vitruvius, Euclid, Alberti, Piero della Francesca, and Leonardo. Through his interaction with Aby Warburg and his circle in Hamburg, Panofsky’s interest in the survival of Antiquity and iconology were channelled through his research on Dürer. In Dürers Stellung zur Antike (1922), later translated as ‘Albrecht Dürer and Classical Antiquity,’ he analyses what drew Dürer to ancient art, albeit through Italian quattrocento intermediaries. First was the Nuremberg master’s response to classical pathos or the Dionysian side of Antiquity, as transmitted by Mantegna or Antonio Pollaiuolo. This is best seen in a work such as his Death of Orpheus drawing of 1494 in Hamburg (Kunsthalle).42 Here

Eduard Flechsig, Albrecht Dürer. Sein Leben und seine künstlerische Entwickelung, 2 vols. (Berlin, 1928–31); Hans Tietze and Erika Tietze-Conrat, Kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke Albrecht Dürers, 3 vols. in 2 parts (Augsburg-Basel, 1928–38); Friedrich Winkler, Dürer, des Meisters Gemälde, Kupferstiche und Holzschnitte (Leipzig, 1928); Wilhelm Waetzoldt, Dürer und seine Zeit (Berlin, 1935). 39 Erwin Panofsky, The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer, 2 vols. (Princeton, 1943). 40 E. Panofsky, Meaning in the Visual Arts. 41 Erwin Panofsky, Dürers Kunsttheorie (Berlin, 1915). 42 Walter L. Strauss, The Complete Drawings of Albrecht Dürer, 6 vols. (New York, 1974), vol. 1, 1494/11. 38

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the expressive power and beauty of the human body intrigued Dürer. The second, and slightly later phase, is characterized as the Apollonian side, where classical beauty, as articulated by Vitruvius and manifested in the Apollo Belvedere, is of paramount interest. Dürer’s Adam and Eve engraving conveys his quest to understand beauty. In Dürers Melencolia I of 1923, co-authored with Fritz Saxl, Panofsky first introduces Dürer as a humanist. More than any earlier Dürer specialist, Panofsky was intrigued by the artist’s integration into the world of Willibald Pirckheimer and his broad circle of scholarly friends. Pirckheimer and his associates placed a value upon learning. Perhaps more critically, they taught Dürer to think broadly, both about history (including the history of art), and what it meant to be a knowledgeable artist. This tripartite conceptual framework of theory, Antiquity, and humanism was fully articulated before Panofsky started writing The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer. His essay ‘Albrecht Dürer and Classical Antiquity’ opens with the statement: The works produced by Albrecht Dürer at the turn of the fifteenth century mark the beginning of the Renaissance style in the North. At the end of an era more thoroughly estranged from classical art than any other, a German artist rediscovered it both for himself and his countrymen . . . Dürer was the first Northern artist to feel this ‘pathos of distance.’ His attitude towards classical art was neither that of the heir nor that of the imitator but that of the conquistador.43

In contrast with some German scholars who decried Dürer’s openness to Antiquity and Italian art as an outright betrayal, Panofsky argues that this inquisitiveness combined with his thorough mastery of Northern European artistic traditions are what make Dürer a Renaissance artist. Panfosky’s book was written in the United States for both scholarly and public audiences. It grew out of a series of lectures given at New York University and Northwestern University in the 1930s. After being fired from the University of Hamburg in 1933 as part of the National Socialists’ purge of all Jewish university professors, Panofsky moved permanently to his new post at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton. During the 1930s, Dürer was increasingly hijacked by the Nazis for their nationalistic purposes. For example, in a 43

E. Panofsky, Meaning in the Visual Arts, 236.

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46. Albrecht Dürer, Knight, Death, and the Devil, 1513, engraving. Berlin, Staatliche Museen. © Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin.

1936 lecture on Dürer’s Knight, Death, and the Devil engraving (Fig. 46), Wilhelm Waetzold claims, Heroic souls love this engraving as Nietzsche did and as Adolf Hitler does today. They love it because it personifies victory. It is of course true that death will one day conquer us all, but it is equally true that a

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heroic man wins a moral victory over death. This is the eternal message of this print, the spiritual bond that unites Dürer’s time and ours. Dürer’s clarion call sounds to us across the centuries and finds once more an echo in our German hearts.44

It is instructive to recall that Panofsky seems not to have participated in any of the 1928 public festivities associated with the 400th anniversary of Dürer’s death.45 These jubilees in Nuremberg, Berlin, and a few other towns tended to accent Dürer’s quintessential Germanness. Panofsky’s Dürer is a Renaissance artist, albeit one who emerged from a late Gothic world and who never wholly separated himself from his native Nuremberg. He is, however, an international figure rather than an exclusively German artist. Panofsky liked to describe Dürer as a bridge, an intermediary, or a translator; that is, as the individual linking Italian and Northern European artistic traditions. In ‘Albrecht Dürer and Classical Antiquity’ he remarks, ‘only Dürer was capable of perceiving, through the Italian quattrocento, the antique. It was he who imparted to Northern art a feeling for classical beauty and classical pathos, classical force and classical clarity.’46 He adds, ‘Dürer’s followers could approach the antique directly because they already were Renaissance artists; Dürer himself could not because he had to start the Renaissance movement himself.’47 Panofsky’s Dürer is an intellectual with an international vision. When the artist signs himself as Albrecht Dürer of Nuremberg or Albrecht Dürer the German, he writes in Latin, the universal language of the well-educated. Panofsky’s Dürer bears more than a little resemblance to the author himself.48 J. Bialostocki, Dürer and His Critics, 235–42 on this print, here specifically 240, citing Wilhelm Waetzoldt, Dürers Ritter, Tod und Teufel, Preussische Jahrbücher, Schriftenreihe 33 (Berlin, 1936), 22–3. 45 I was reminded of this by Willibald Sauerländer (Munich). 46 E. Panofsky, Meaning in the Visual Arts, 281. 47 Ibid., 282. 48 Keith Moxey, The Practice of Theory (Ithaca, 1994), 65–78 (‘Panofsky’s Melancolia’). Michael Ann Holly, Panofsky and the Foundations of Art History (Ithaca, NY, 1984), 106 contextualises Panofsky and the creation of the Warburg Library within the parameters of Peter Gay’s concept of two Germanys post-World War I. Gay writes of ‘the Germany of military swagger, abject submission to authority, aggressive foreign adventure, and obsessive preoccupation with form, and the Germany of lyrical poetry, Humanist philosophy, and pacific cosmopolitanism.’ See Peter Gay, Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider (New York, 1968), 1, 6. Also see Jeffrey Chipps Smith, ‘Introduction to the Princeton Classic Edition’, in Erwin Panofsky, The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer (Princeton, 2005), xxvii–xliv; Smith, ‘Panofsky’s Dürer’, in 44

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To conclude, in the decades after World War II, Panofsky’s humanistic portrayal of Dürer gradually prevailed over any strictly nationalistic interpretations. His vision was especially evident in the conception and catalogue of the monumental 1971 Dürer-Jahr exhibition at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg.49 In the conclusion of his Burlington Magazine review of the jubilee events, Michael Levey aptly remarks that this exhibition’s most lasting achievement is to have revealed to a huge, international audience the man’s sheer range, ability and personality. If the Renaissance as a concept cannot accommodate Dürer after this extraordinary sustained demonstration of his truly Renaissance character and art, then it is time to throw away the usual concept and start to define it again.50

The labeling of Dürer as Renaissance artist, an idea first tentatively raised in the mid-nineteenth century, remains important. Regardless of the limits of any term, ‘Renaissance’ still implies positive progress, a Darwinian step forward for anyone assuming, as did scholars from Thausing to Panofsky, an evolutionary history of German art.51

Dürer, l’Italia e l’Europa, ed. Sybille Ebert-Schifferer (Rome, in press); and Smith, ‘La configuración de Alberto Durero a través de la Historia del Arte: de Wölfflin a Panofsky’ [‘The Art Historical Shaping of Albrecht Dürer: From Wölfflin to Panofsky’], in El siglo de Durero: Problemas historiográficos, ed. Mar Borobia (Madrid, 2008), 83–108 and 286–301. 49 Albrecht Dürer 1471–1971, exh. cat., Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg (Munich, 1971). 50 Michael Levey, ‘To Honour Albrecht Dürer: Some 1971 Manifestations’, Burlington Magazine 114 (1972): 63–71, here 64; also cited in J. Białostocki, Dürer and His Critics, 378–9. 51 Paul F. Grendler, ‘The Renaissance in Historical Thought’, and Paul F. Grendler and Stephen Wagley, ‘The Renaissance in Popular Imagination’, in Encyclopedia of the Renaissance, ed. Paul F. Grendler, 6 vols. (New York, 1999), vol. 5, 259–68 and 269–79.

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NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF RENAISSANCE SCHOLARSHIP IN CENTRAL EUROPE: BIAŁOSTOCKI, SCHLOSSER AND PANOFSKY Ingrid Ciulisová* In 1976, Jan Białostocki, professor of art history at Warsaw University, published The Art of the Renaissance in Eastern Europe: Hungary, Bohemia, Poland. An outgrowth of Białostocki’s Wrightsman Lectures, delivered in the autumn of 1972 at the Metropolitan Museum in Art in New York, the book was actually the first comprehensive account of Renaissance art in the satellite states of the Soviet Union written in English, and was therefore especially welcomed by art historians working behind the Iron Curtain.1 Given the dominance of national histories in European scholarship, it is no surprise that Białostocki employed Jacob Burckhardt’s concept of Renaissance culture in Italy.2

* I would like to express my gratitude to Professor Sergiusz Michalski for his valuable suggestions and advice. 1 Among the early reviews of the book are: Anthony Blunt, ‘The Art of the Renaissance in Eastern Europe. By Jan Białostocki. Phaidon Press, 1976’, The Burlington Magazine 119 (1977): 782–5; Rudolf Zeitler, ‘Jan Białostocki, The Art of the Renaissance in Eastern Europe. Hungary, Bohemia, Poland. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, Oxford: Phaidon Press 1976’, The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 36 (1977): 261–2; and Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, ‘Jan Białostocki, The Art of the Renaissance in Eastern Europe. Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1976’, The Art Bulletin 60 (1978): 164–9. Among the later assessments of Bialostocki’s importance are namely: Piotr Skubiszewski, ‘Jan Białostocki’, The Burlington Magazine 131 (1989): 422; Ján Bakoš, ‘Peripherie und kunsthistoriche Entwicklung’, Ars. Journal of the Institute of Art History of Slovak Academy of Sciences (1991): 1–11; Lech Kalinowski, ‘Jan Białostocki, jako historyk sztuki (Bialostocki as a Historian of Art)’, Folia historiae artium 28 (1992): 5–11, Sergiusz Michalski, ‘Jan Białostocki a ewolucja historii sztuki po roku 1945 (Jan Bialostocki and the Evolution of Art History after 1945)’, in Ars longa: prace dedykowane pamięci profesora Jana Białostockiego [Ars Longa. Works devoted to the memory of Professor Jan Białostocki] Materiały sesji Stowarzyszenia Historyków Sztuki (Warsaw, 1999), 53–68; and Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Toward a Geography of Art (Chicago, 2004), esp. 96–7. 2 Claire Farago, ‘Vision Itself Has Its History: “Race”, Nation, and Renaissance Art History’, in Reframing the Renaissance: Visual Culture in Europe and Latin America, 1450–1650 (New Haven and London, 1995), 68–72, Ingrid Ciulisová, ‘Against Hegemony: Jacob Burckhardt, Jan Białostocki and the Renaissance’, in Renaissance Theory, ed. James Elkins and Robert Williams (New York and London, 2008), 309–13, 460–1.

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He accepted the Renaissance art of ‘Italy’ as a determining qualitative norm, representing progress and modernity, but, since Bialostocki spent almost all his life in Communist Poland, his approach was also marked by his experience of the political situation in which he found himself. The Renaissance not only represented an important element in his personal research interests, but also had an especially significant place in Polish national history. It was associated with the glorious age of Wladyslaw Jagiello and then with the so-called ‘Imperium Jagiellonicum’, a period around 1500, when members of the Jagiello dynasty ruled a large part of Bohemia, Poland, Lithuania and Hungary. Yet the terms ‘nation’ and ‘national’ had very different connotations in the context of Marxist historiography: with the often violent suppression of ‘national’ cultural expression in the Eastern Bloc, Communist regimes pretended that they had overcome nationalism and were working to merge nations into a single, united society. In Marxist theory, the word ‘nationalism’ had a purely negative meaning: it was understood to mean ‘bourgeois nationalism’, as opposed to the ideal of ‘proletarian internationalism’.3 For this reason, the nation-centred approach to Eastern European art formulated by Białostocki, with its emphasis on the historic kingdoms of Hungary, Bohemia and Poland, should be seen as an attempt to interrogate and relativise official dogma; it allowed for a new understanding of the Renaissance, and for research into Renaissance art as a ‘national’ dynastic art. This approach enabled Białostocki to construct a persuasive account of Renaissance art in Eastern Europe focusing on the artistic milieu of the royal court, the character of which—owing to the fact that so many of the artists involved were Italian—he saw as both progressive and cosmopolitan. By conceiving of Renaissance art in Eastern Europe as a national and dynastic art, Białostocki’s work can thus be seen as the personal manifesto of an art historian opposed to the dominant ideology of his time and place. In considering the intellectual background of Białostocki’s book, however, the question of its position in the wider context of academic art history, especially in those parts of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire which were absorbed into the Communist Bloc, naturally Ingrid Ciulisová, ‘Humanismus a renesancia. Mestá, umenie a idey Erazma Rotterdamského (Humanism and the Renaissance: Cities, Art, and the Ideas of Erasmus of Rotterdam)’, in Problémy dejín výtvarného umenia Slovenska, ed. Ján Bakoš (Bratislava, 2002), 120–45, esp. 120–22. 3

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arises. This question is intimately connected with the role played by the Viennese school of art history in the inter-war years. The criticism of the Renaissance as a period of heroes had its roots largely in the influential writings of the eminent Viennese art historian, Alois Riegl (1858–1905). Working systematically on the margins of art history, Riegl deliberately promoted non-classical artistic forms and concentrated on unpopular research subjects such as the art of the later Roman Empire or Dutch group portraiture.4 The traditional highlights of the Italian Renaissance are almost completely missing from Riegl’s history of art.5 In The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome, based on lectures delivered at Vienna University from 1894 to 1902 and published posthumously, the key figures of the Renaissance art, such as Michelangelo, are treated as the ‘fathers’ of Baroque art, and the Renaissance itself is considered only as a prologue to the Baroque. Czech art historian Max Dvořák (1874–1921), who was appointed to a chair at the University of Vienna in 1909 after Riegl’s premature death, openly proclaimed his attitude towards the Renaissance. In his study of the van Eyck brothers, Dvořák declared: There are anomalies in historiography which are hard to understand. Among these are the cult of the Renaissance and the overestimation of it as an epoch that divides the history of human civilization into two epochs.6

In his 1918–1919 university lectures on the Italian Renaissance, he reveals his scepticism about the axiological role and the normative

Alois Riegl, Die spätrömische Kunst-Industrie nach den Funden in ÖsterreichUngarn (Vienna, 1901); Alois Riegl, ‘Das holländische Gruppenporträt’, Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien 23 (1902): 71–278. 5 Alois Riegl, Die Enstehung der Barockkunst in Rom: Vorlesungen aus 1901–1902, ed. A. Burda and M. Dvořák (Vienna, 1908), 29. There is a substantial literature on Alois Riegl and his scholarly writings. However, as far as I know, it was Christopher Wood who for the first time paid serious attention to Riegl’s approach to the Renaissance art in the wider context of the Vienna school of art history. See Christopher S. Wood, ‘Art history’s normative Renaissance’, in The Italian Renaissance in the Twentieth Century. Acts of an International Conference, Florence, Villa I Tatti, 1999, ed. Allen J. Grieco (Florence, 2002), 65–92, esp. 70–2. 6 Max Dvořák, Das Rätsel der Kunst der Brüder van Eyck (Vienna, 1999), 145. Originally published as Max Dvořák, ‘Das Rätsel der Kunst der Brüder van Eyck’, Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien 24 (1903): 161–318. See also Matthew Rampley, ‘Max Dvořák: art history and the crisis of modernity’, Art History 26 (2003): 214–37, esp. 226. 4

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status of Italian Renaissance art within art history even as he rehabilitates Renaissance art outside of Italy. In the introduction to his lectures he stated: These lectures concern the history of Italian art from Giotto until the death of Michelangelo, in other words, those 250 years of Italian art history that have long counted as the high point of the entire development of art since antiquity—a high point that could only be followed by a deviation from this line of development, by decline. Today we are far removed from such a theory of ascent and decline; one can quickly demonstrate that both the succeeding period—the Baroque—and art outside of Italy were no less creative or advanced, and that in terms of their significance for the present they were equal to Italian art between the fourteenth and the sixteenth centuries.7

As Otto Benesch, who studied under Dvořák, observed, it was only Dvořák’s early death that prevented him from reconsidering the problem of the Northern Renaissance. Benesch believed that a project exploring the historiographical possibilities of non-classical art must have already been in Dvořák’s mind, a suggestion which is supported by Dvořák’s Idealismus and Realismus in der Kunst der Neuzeit, as well as by essays devoted to Schongauer, Dürer, Brueghel and El Greco.8 Both Riegl and Dvořák’s refusal to consider the Italian Renaissance as the high point of post-classical art had an enormous impact on the writing of the history of art in Central Europe. What it is necessary to stress, however, is the fact that Jan Białostocki declined to follow this methodological approach in favour of that adopted by others, particularly Julius von Schlosser (1866–1938) and Erwin Panofsky (1892–1968). In his 1982 article devoted to Polish studies in the history of art theory, art criticism and artistic historiography, Białostocki wrote:

Max Dvořák, Geschichte der Italienischen Kunst (Munich, 1927), 3, M. Rampley, ‘Max Dvořák’, 214–37, esp. 226. Concerning dissemination of Dvořák’s ideas about the Renaissance art in Czechoslovakia see also Czech translation of the book, Max Dvořák, Italské umění od renesance k baroku, trans. Ján Krofta (Prague, 1946), 5. 8 Otto Benesch, The Art of the Renaissance in Northern Europe: Its Relations to the Contemporary Spiritual and Intellectual Movements (Cambridge, MA, 1945), 4. Beside Otto Benesch (1896–1964) there was another Dvořák’s student, Dagobert Frey (1883–1962), who systematically researched the Renaissance art. See his books Gotik und Renaissance als Grundlagen der modernen Weltanschauung (Augsburg, 1929), and Architecture of the Renaissance. From Bruneleschi to Michelangelo (The Hague, 1925). 7

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A number of eminent scholars such Eitelberger, Ilg, Janitschek and Kallab prepared the way for the appearance of the unique and distinct personage, that of Julius von Schlosser. His activity was crucial to the new discipline, and resulted in the publication Die Kunstliteratur.9

‘Schlosser Magnino,’ as he called himself after his Italian mother, succeeded Max Dvořák at Vienna University in 1922, and, as a personal friend and a warm admirer of Benedetto Croce, had not only been critical of any theory of historical formalism, but had also opposed the impersonal interpretation of historical change suggested by Alois Riegl. In contrast to both Riegl and Dvořák, Schlosser also devoted much of his attention to the artistic problem of the early Renaissance in Italy, particularly to the works of Piero della Francesca, Paolo Uccello, Michelozzo, Alberti and, above all, to his beloved Lorenzo Ghiberti. For Schlosser, at the end of his career, the history of art was mostly the history of individual artists.10 It is fitting that Schlosser should have been the last Viennese art historian who firmly attached himself to Italy and its humanistic tradition. He was ‘un vero umanista . . . aveva una conoscenza profonda delle lingue classiche, dell arte e della litteratura dell antichita’ and in this sense was, as Ernst Gombrich noted, something of an anachronism.11 Many of Schlosser’s graduate students—such as Charles de Tolnay, Ernst Kris, Otto Kurz and Ernst Gombrich—drew succour from his Julius von Schlosser, Die Kunstliteratur: ein Handbuch zur Quellenkunde der neueren Kunstgeschichte (Vienna, 1924); Jan Białostocki, ‘Polish Studies in the History of Art Theory, Art Criticism and Artistic Historiography after World War II’, Polish Art Studies 3 (1982): 245–60, esp. 245. 10 See Julius von Schlosser, Künstlerprobleme der Frührenaissance (Vienna, 1929– 1934); von Schlosser, ‘Ein Künstlerproblem der Renaissance: Leone Battista Alberti’, Sitzungsberichte Oesterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien, PhilosophischHistorische Klasse 210 (Vienna and Leipzig, 1929); von Schlosser, ‘Künstlerprobleme der Frührenaissance. Piero della Francesca, Paolo Uccello, Michelozzo und Alberti. (Zum Chorproblem der SS.Annunziata in Florenz)’, Sitzungsberichte Oesterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien, Philosophisch-Historische Klasse 214 (Vienna and Leipzig, 1933), von Schlosser, ‘Künstlerprobleme der Frührenaissance. Lorenzo Ghiberti’, Sitzungsberichte Oesterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien, Philosophisch-Historische Klasse 215 (Vienna and Leipzig, 1934). For Julius von Schlosser, see particularly an issue of Kritische Berichte (Zeitschrift für Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften) 16 (1988), with contributions by Ernst H. Gombrich, Thomas Ketelsen, Andreas Beyer, Edwin Lachnit, Karl T. Johns and others, and Artur Rosenauer, ‘Schlosser, Julius von.’, The Dictionarary of Art (Oxford, 1996), vol. 28, 114–5, Edwin Lachnit, ‘Julius von Schlosser’, in Altmeister moderner Kunstgeschichte, ed. Heinrich Dilly (Berlin, 1999), 151–9. 11 Otto Kurz, ‘Julius von Schlosser: Personalità—Metodo—Lavoro’, Critica d‘arte 11/12 (1955): 402; Ernst Gombrich, ‘Julius von Schlosser’, The Burlington Magazine 74 (1939): 99. 9

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ideas and later became distinguished scholars of the Renaissance in their own right. Sharing Schlosser’s appreciation for primary textual sources, and fully aware of the problems of studying the history of art behind the Iron Curtain, Białostocki, too, followed Schlosser’s interest in the history of art theory and art criticism. With the benefit of first-hand knowledge, he edited several important publications in Poland, including texts on the art of the period 1500–1700. Moreover, since art historians in the Communist Bloc had not had free access to western scholarship for quite some time, Białostocki prepared a unique anthology of selected essays of the most respected art historians in the world in Poland in 1976.12 Another scholar whom Jan Białostocki held in high personal regard throughout his life was Erwin Panofsky. It is generally known that Białostocki became the most dedicated promoter of iconology and its humanistic background behind the Iron Curtain.13 Throughout his scholarly career, Białostocki constantly acknowledged himself to be a close follower and admirer of Panofsky and his iconological writings. Like Panofsky, Białostocki’s scholarly work was in large part dedicated to the study of the Renaissance, its humanist culture and valJan Białostocki, Pojęcia, problemy, metody współczesnej nauki o sztuce: dwadzieścia sześć artykułów uczonych europejskich i amerykańskich [Concepts, Problems, Methods of the contemporary Science of Art: twenty-six articles of European and American scholars] (Warsaw, 1976). Białostocki selected essays by Fritz Saxl, Viktor Lazarev, Günther Bandmann, Julius Held, Max Friedländer, James S.Ackerman, Herbert von Einem, Meyer Schapiro, Rudolf Zeitler, Leopold Ettlinger, Werner Hofmann and others. 13 See, for instance, Jan Białostocki, ‘Metoda ikonologiczna w badaniach nad sztuką’, in his Pięć wieków myśli o sztuce. Studia i rozprawy z dziejów teorii i historii sztuki [Five hundreds years of thinking about art] (Warsaw, 1959), 271–96. In Czechoslovakia, it was Czech art historian Rudolf Chadraba and Slovak art historian Ján Bakoš who were among the first to comment on the iconological writings of Panofsky. See Rudolf Chadraba, ‘K metodě ikonologie’ [To the iconological method], Acta Universitatis Palackianae Olomucensis, Facultas Philosophica 1, Historica (Prague, 1960), 253–72; Ján Bakoš, ‘Model umenia v ikonológii’ [The Model of Art in iconology], Ars. Journal of the Institute of Art History of Slovak Academy of Sciences 4 (1970): 145–58. Panofsky’s essay ‘The History of Art as a HumanisticDiscipline’ was for the first time translated and published in Czechoslovakia in an anthology entitled Texty současných historiku a teoretiku umění [Writings of current historians and theoreticians of art] in 1968. The anthology was edited by a distinguished Czech art historian Petr Wittlich, who also translated all essays. See Petr Wittlich, Texty současných historiku a teoretiku umění. Vybral a preložil Petr Wittlich [Writings of contemporary historians and theoreticians of art. Selected and translated by Petr Wittlich] (Prague, 1968), 9–23. In his anthology, Wittlich also incorporated another Panofsky’s essay ‘Iconography and Iconology: An Introduction to the Study of Renaissance Art’, in his, Texty současných historiků a teoretiků umění, 25–40. Beside Panofsky’s essays Wittlich also selected articles by Hans Sedlmayr, Arnold Hauser, Herbert Read and Ernst Gombrich. 12

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ues. Furthermore, like Panofsky, he also nourished an abiding interest in seventeenth-century Netherlandish art. As Panofsky wrote in a letter to Białostocki in 1956: ‘It is simply astonishing how your interests continue to run parallel with mine—not only regarding Dürer but also with respect to the survival and revival of classical ideas . . .’14 What deserves particular emphasis, however, is the fact that both scholars had been deeply affected by their experience of totalitarianism: Panofsky by Nazism and Białostocki by Communism. From this point of view, there was a clear political message in the apotheosis of the individual in the Renaissance.15 In this regard, it is worth recalling Panofsky’s essay ‘The History of Art as a Humanistic Discipline’, originally published in The Meaning of the Humanities, and republished in 1955 as an introductionary essay to his Meaning in the Visual Arts. Here Panofsky openly wrote about the enemies of humanism. He stated that Philosophical and psychological theories, historical doctrines and all sorts of speculations and discoveries, have changed, and keep changing the lives of countless millions. Even he who merely transmits knowledge or learning participates, in his modest way, in the process of shaping reality—of which fact the enemies of humanism and perhaps more keenly aware that its friends.16

He expanded his argument by stressing the essential role played by Platonic philosophy during Fascism and Communism. For Panofsky, Renaissance culture was almost exclusively associated with Neoplatonic philosophy and its preference for harmony. Combining the classic and the Christian as well as the esoteric and the scientific, Neoplatonism represented the best of Renaissance thought not only for Panofsky but also for other scholars opposed to totalitarian regimes.17

14 Letter from Panofsky to Białostocki, 27 January 1956. Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Erwin Panofsky Papers, 1904–1990, Series 1.Correspondence, 1921– 1978. Box 1, Reel 2108–2109. 15 Carl Landauer, ‘Erwin Panofsky and the renascence of the Renaissance’, Renaissance Quarterly 47 (1994): 255–81. 16 Erwin Panofsky, Meaning in the visual Arts. Papers in and on Art History (Garden City, 1955), 23. 17 As Carl Landauer stated: ‘Without question, Panofsky had an emotional commitment to Renaissance neo-Platonism, a philosophy which gave priority to harmony, even combining a magical vision with the scientific.’ See C. Landauer, ‘Erwin Panofsky and the renascence of the Renaissance’. See also C. S. Wood, ‘Art history’s normative Renaissance’, 82, Horst Bredekamp, ‘Götterdämmerung des Neuplatonis-

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In decoding Białostocki’s personal tribute to the humanist culture of the Renaissance and iconology as a research platform, one might ask what was the main task of art historians preoccupied with Renaissance studies in the broader political context of Eastern Europe during the Cold War period. Although beyond the scope of this article, this topic merits a serious and detailed study of its own. Białostocki’s article dedicated to Panofsky, however, provides a brief and useful insight: The humanist perceives social and political dangers faster than others. His duty is to spy out calamities and to raise his voice to prevent them. And he should not remain silent when it is necessary to speak . . . A humanist . . . rejects uncontrolled authority, but he respects tradition, and in interpreting it he discovers lasting values in the human records which he transmits to posterity…18

A humanist, Białostocki experienced both Nazism and Communism painfully, believed both in the republic of letters and in the universal validity of the western cultural tradition. In Białostocki’s hands, the debate on the Renaissance and its meaning which began with Jacob Burckhard and which was later developed by Panofsky in United States became a form of scholarship that aimed at the defence of basic human values in Eastern Europe. Living as we do in the age when liberal ideology, which both Panofsky and Białostocki supported, has emerged triumphant and the Iron Curtain has happily disappeared, their appreciation of humanistic culture seems archaic and residual. The massive impact of structuralist and post-structuralist theory since the 1980s has called into question the very foundations of Panofsky’s concept of the history of art as a humanistic discipline. Panofsky and his followers have become highly contentious figures.19 Despite that, Jan Białostocki’s mus’, Kritische Berichte 14 (1986): 39–48, Andreas Beyer, Die Lesbarkeit der Kunst: zur Geistes-Gegenwart der Ikonologie (Berlin, 1992). 18 Jan Białostocki, ‘Erwin Panofsky (1892–1968): Thinker, Historian, Human Being’, Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art 4 (1970): 88. 19 Willibald Sauerländer, ‘ “Barbari ad portas”: Panofsky in den fünfziger Jahren’, in Erwin Panofsky: Beiträge des Symposions, Hamburg 1992, ed. Bruno Reudenbach (Berlin, 1994), 123–37, W. J. Thomas Mitchell, ‘What is visual culture?’, in Meaning in the visual arts: views from the outside, ed. Irving Lavin (Princeton, 1995), 215, Willibald Sauerländer, ‘Struggling with a deconstructed Panofsky’, in Meaning in the visual arts, ed. I. Lavin, 386. Sauerländer referred to the article by Mieke Bal and Norman Bryson, ‘Semiotics and Art History’, The Art Bulletin 73 (1991): 174–298. See also Ján Bakoš, ‘Od ikonológie k semiotike’ [From Iconology to Semiotics], Ars.

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The Art of the Renaissance in Eastern Europe: Hungary, Bohemia, Poland still attracts considerable attention and is frequently consulted and quoted. Although it would be possible to adduce a number of reasons for its enduring popularity, there are perhaps three which stand out. First, and most important, Białostocki employed a formalistic approach and, using functional concepts, he treated the idea of ‘Renaissance’ as having application to a style rather than to a period of history or to a humanistic outlook in Eastern Europe. Second, having been written as a preliminary survey, the book remains the only survey of the field in English. Third, through his writings on the Renaissance, Białostocki successfully challenged the stereotypical western view of Eastern Europe as comprising lands caught between civilisation and barbarism.

Journal of the Institute of Art History of Slovak Academy of Sciences (1998): 3–48, esp. 18–20. In connection with post-structuralist semiotics and its critique of iconology, Bakoš frequently quoted Norman Bryson, ed., Calligram. Essays in New Art History from France (Cambridge, 1998), and Keith Moxey, ‘Panofsky’s Concept of “Iconology” and the Problem of Interpretation in the History of Art’, New Literary History 17 (1986): 265–74. See also Christopher Wood and Alexander Nagel, ‘Interventions: Toward a New Model of Renaissance Anachronism’, The Art Bulletin 87 (2005): 403–15, and Charles Dempsey, ‘Response: “historia” and anachronism in Renaissance art’, The Art Bulletin 87 (2005): 416–21. Dempsey stressed that ‘classicism’ was powerful among the entire generation of scholars who lived through the darkest days of twentieth-century irrationality, despotism, and brutality and who found historical warrant for the humane values of Renaissance arts and literature (and also the products of turbulent times) in Renaissance Neoplatonism.

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INDEX Acakia, Martin 322 academies, humanist 47, 321 n. 29 Accademia Fiorentina 116, 117, 126, 127 Acciaiuoli, Niccolò 295 Achilles (Shakespearian character) 51 Achillini, Alessandro 264 Acosta, José de 319, 320 Aeneas 24, 72 Africa 2, 6, 19, 20, 103 n. 16 Agricola, Rudolf 261 Ailly, Pierre d’ 264 Ajax (Shakespearian character) 51, 64 Alberti, Leon Battista 29, 30, 61, 65, 66, 104, 112, 118, 125 n. 46, 144, 161, 162, 168 n. 53, 171, 173, 194, 278, 334, 344, 353 De pictura 162, 173 n. 45 Alberto di Lovato 22 n. 21, 24, 32, 33, 36, 37, 40 Aldine Academy 78 Aleppo 62, 64 Alexander of Villedieu 30, 41 Alexander the Great 99 n. 8, 275, 293 Alphonse of Aragon, King 278 analogy 188, 204 Anchises 72 Andrea del Castagno 121 Andromache 78 Angelico, Fra, see Fra Angelico Annunciation, the, depictions of 172 anti-classicism 32 Antiquity, classical 205, 208–210, 212, 215, 224, 226, 247–249, 254, 257, 269, 270, 274–276, 279, 287, 291 n. 2, 292, 296, 310, 331, 334, 345, 347, 352 Roman 91, 186, 230 Greek 9, 81, 82, 86, 88, 94, 186 Antonio Francanzano da Montalboddo 316 Apollo 209 n. 3, 212, 216, 222, 345 Apostolis, Michael 76 Arasse, Daniel 172, 180 n. 50 Ariosto, Ludovico 112 n. 33, 265, 329 Aristotle 3, 69, 85, 86, 87, 203, 250, 264, 265, 319 Politics 85 Aristotelianism 263 Arnheim, Rudolf 166, 167

Arnošt of Pardubice, Archbishop of Prague 258, 260, 291, 293, 299 ars dictaminis 31, 33 ‘ars nova’ 103, 107, 129 n. 2, 255, 257, 266, 280, 286, 288 Asia 6, 94 Assyria 49, 82 Astrolabe 168 Astronomy 142 n. 35, 193 n. 40 Athens 52, 83, 85, 86, 232, 233 fig. 24 Augustine, St. 33, 34, 68, 69, 72, 148, 295 Augustus 71, 72, 293 Aurelianism 31 Austro-Hungarian Empire 350 Avernus 72 Avignon 98, 291, 292, 295, 305 Baccio da Montelupo 121 Baltimore 175 Barocchi, Paola 115, 122 Baroque 202, 351, 352 Bartoli, Cosimo 116 Basel 6 n. 24, 3, 259 Bavaria, Kingdom of 338 Baxandall, Michael 102 Beatrice 25 Bell Scott, William 331 Bellay, Joachim du 314 Bellini, Giovanni 215, 218, 220, 221 Belon, Pierre 2 Belozerskaya, Marina 266, 272–275, 286 Bene da Firenze 30 Benedetto da Rovenzano 119 Benesch, Otto 352 Benešovská, Klára 10, 258 Berlin 175, 176, 178, 333, 339, 347 Białostocki, Jan 256, 350, 352, 354–357 Bible 34, 68, 227, 264, 306 n. 47, 307, 311 Binchois, Gilles 129, 137 biography 36, 117, 118, 121–124, 201, 261 Biondo, Flavio 87, 92, 93 Historiarum ab inclinatione romani imperii decades 87 Biron 50 Bissolo, Bellino 32

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index

Black, Robert 9, 24 Black Death 136 Boccaccio, Giovanni 27, 34, 51, 56, 57, 74, 75, 103, 110 n. 30, 225, 265, 329 Decameron 225, 265 Bode, Wilhelm 339 Boehm, Gottfried 162 Boen, Johannes 154, 157 Boendale, Jan van 155 Boethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus 30, 33, 34 Bohemia 10, 249, 258, 259, 267, 289–291, 293, 296 n. 24, 300, 304, 310, 349, 350, 357 Bois, Yve-Alain 179 Bologna 35, 105, 263, 291 University of 263, 291 Boncompagno da Signa 31 book collecting 266, 269, 280 Borghini, Vincenzio 124 Botticelli, Sandro (Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi) 90 Bouwsma, William 6, 7, 249 Bracciolini, Poggio 28, 29 Brant, Sebastian 79 Brazil 318 Brescia 43 Bretons 32 Britain 13, 56, 57, 59 Brueghel, Pieter the Elder 352 Bruges 264 Brunelleschi, Filippo 12, 29, 107, 108, 118, 161–173, 176, 178–180, 225, 238, 250, 310 ‘invention’ of perspective 12, 16, 163, 165 and fig. 4, 166, 168, 170, 171, 173, 178–180 perspective demonstrations 107, 161–163, 165, 166, 168, 170, 173, 179, 180 Bruni, Leonardo 20, 27, 33 n. 16, 34, 35, 76, 276 Bry, Theodore de 320, 321 Buck, August 115 Burckhardt, Jacob 1, 5, 6, 9–11, 27, 28, 61, 100, 139, 142, 159, 247–249, 251–254, 257, 259, 261, 266, 270, 271, 272, 333, 334, 349 Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien 247, 248, 251–253, 266 Burdach, Konrad 251, 252, 291 Buridan, Jean 142 Burke, Peter 28, 250, 258 Burgundy, duchy of 10, 252, 253, 257, 259, 266, 267, 271, 274, 275, 281, 284

Habsburg dukes of 281, 284 Valois dukes of 275, 281, 284 ‘Burgundian mode’ 10, 274, 286 Burioni, Matteo 11, 18, 103, 107 Busnoys, Antoine 129 Byzantine art 108, 109, 226, 229, 233, 235, 238, 240 Byzantium 226, 230 Caesar, Julius 38, 39, 260, 292, 293, 319 Caliban 46 Calvin, John 43, 325 Camaldolese Order 120 Campbell, Stephen 220 Campesani, Benvenuto 20 Cantimori, Delio 126 Carmen, Johannes 137 Carneades 86 Carolingian period 181 ‘Carolingian Renaissance’ 3, 22, 230 Caron, Firminus 130 Cartesian 193 Cassio (Shakespearian character) 60, 62, 63 Cassiodorus 258, 291 Cassirer, Ernst 108, 161, 182–188, 190, 192, 196–199, 201, 204 Der Erkenntnisproblem 198 The Individual and the Cosmos in the Philosophy of the Renaissance 198, 199 The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms 182 Catherine of Siena, St. 295 Catiline (Lucius Sergius Catilina) 36, 38 Cato, Marcus Porcius 86 Catullus, Gaius Valerius 20, 25, 215, 218 Cavalieri, Tomasso de’ 110, 208, 209, 220–223 Cavallini, Pietro 108, 109, 234 Celtis, Conrad 314 Cennini, Cennino 304 Cesaris, Johannes 137 Challéat, Claire 270, 278 Chapman, George 51 Charlemagne 32, 36, 230, 234, 319 Charles II de Lalaing 284 Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor 10, 258–260, 289, 291–296, 299–304, 306 Charles V of Habsburg, Holy Roman Emperor 284 Charles V, the Wise, king of France 282, 306

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index Charles VI, king of France 282, 283 n. 55 Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy 258, 275 Chaucer, Geoffrey 51, 112 n. 33, 154, 260 Troilus and Criseyde 154, 260 The Clerk’s Tale 260 Chester 328 Chiaroscuro 108 Chrysoloras, Manuel 76 Church Fathers 67, 129 Cicero, Marcus Tullius 9, 20 n. 10, 29, 31, 34, 36–39, 67–73, 78, 98, 119, 120 n. 19, 125, 258 Brutus 125 De oratore 72 Cimabue (Cenni di Peppi) 106, 116, 126, 226, 234, 235, 240 Madonna Enthroned 236 fig. 25 Cinthio, pseudonymn of Giovanni Battista Giraldi 45 n. 1, 60, 61 Ciulisová, Ingrid 10, 256 Clement VI, pope (Pierre Roger) 291 Clement VII, pope (Giulio Giuliano de’Medici) 223 Cologne 148, 149, 151, 259 Colonna, Stefano the Younger 106 Colonna, Vittoria 221, 223 Communism 11, 256, 355, 356 Communist Bloc 350, 354 Constantine the Great 293, 296 Constantinople 235, 317 Contarini, Gasparo 85 Copernicus, Nicholaus 193 Corsini, Pietro 295 Corvinus, Matthias, king of Hungary and Bohemia 283 Cosimo, Piero di 109, 110 Human Life in the Stone Age 109 Counter-Reformation 60 Cranach, Lucas 339 Cressida 13, 45, 50, 51, 53, 55, 56 Croce, Benedetto 353 Cymbeline (Shakespearian character, for the play of the same name, see under Shakespeare, William) Cynics 122 Cyrus 84 Czech language 304 Damisch, Hubert 162, 169, 179 Dante Alighieri 18, 19, 25, 72, 74, 92, 103, 106, 226, 258, 291 Inferno 19, 74 Purgatorio 18, 25

361

Davis, Charles 37, 38 Della Scala family 290 Deotte, Jean-Louis 162 Descartes, René 196, 205 Desdemona (Shakespearian character) 60, 62, 63–65 devotio moderna 304 dialectic 32, 183–186, 191, 192, 198, 199, 202, 250 Diamedes (Shakespearian character) 55 Diana 39 dictatores 33 Didi-Huberman, Georges 172 Dido 24, 25 Diogenes 86 Dioscorides 321 Donation of Constantine 34, 35 drama 46 Dresden 339 dress 3, 105, 149, 151–153, 155, 159 international Gothic fashion in 151 Dringenberg, Ludwig 42 Duccio di Buoninsegna 104 Dufay, Guillaume 129, 131, 133, 137 Dunstable, John 129, 131, 137 Dürer, Albrecht 10, 11, 202, 256, 331–335, 337–339, 341–345, 347–348, 352, 355 Literary works: Art of Measurement 344 Four Books of Human Proportions 344 Artistic works: Adam and Eve 343, 345 All Saints or Landauer Altarpiece 334 Apocalypse 202 Death of Orpheus 344 Four Apostles 343 Knight, Death, and the Devil 346 Durling, Richard 323 Dvořák, Max 351–353 ‘early modern’, definitions of 1, 275, 277, 278 ecclesiology 2, 9, 34 ecphrasis 123 Edgerton, Samuel Y. 166, 167 education 4 n. 14, 6, 9, 29, 30, 40, 42, 43, 71, 73, 126, 258, 264, 283, 285, 317, 338 Edward IV, King of England 287 Egypt 74, 84 Eisenstein, Elizabeth 314

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El Greco (Doménikos Theotokópoulos) 352 Elizabeth of Pomerania 299 Eloquence 35, 47–50, 69, 71 Elyot, Sir Thomas 54 Ennius 19 Epicurean 119, 120 Erasmus, Desiderius 24, 50, 67, 73, 76–79, 107, 160, 313 Adagiorum Collectanea 77, 78 Ciceronianus 73 De copia verborum et rerum 78 n. 37 Enchiridion Militis Christiani 77 The Praise of Folly 78, 79 Este, Alfonso d’ 215, 217, 218, 220 Euclid 186, 344 Eugenius IV, Pope (Gabriele Condulmer) 262 Euripides 78, 43 Europe 6, 9, 17, 94, 136, 147, 247–253, 255, 257–261, 263–267, 269, 272–275, 286, 287, 311–316, 324–326, 328, 330 Central 10, 283, 352 Eastern 256, 350, 356, 357 Northern 40–44, 67, 200, 250, 254, 255, 262, 263, 266, 277–279, 333 Southern 317 Transalpine 10, 40, 41, 310 Western 23, 194, 230 Evrard of Béthune 30, 41 Eyck, Jan van 257, 280, 286, 339 n. 26, 351 Eye, August von 333 Ezzelino da Romano 37 Ferrara 12, 105, 215, 218, 263 Ficino, Marsilio 63 Filarete (Antonio di Pietro Averlino) 162, 163, 262, 263, 266 Filelfo, Francesco 88 Filippo di Naddo da Firenze 42 Florence 28, 57, 74, 104, 112 n. 33, 116, 164 fig. 3, 174, 209–213, 234, 248–250, 253, 267, 277, 306 Galleria degli Uffizi 235 Orsanmichele 306 Palazzo Vecchio 166 Piazza della Signoria 166, 167 n. 20, 170 S. Maria Novella 112 n. 33, 174 Strozzi Chapel 174 Florio, Francesco 262, 263, 266 Florio, John 46 Florus, Lucius Annaeus 123

Fortune 21, 39, 84, 90, 91, 261, 295 Fouquet, Jean 261–263, 266 Fra Angelico 262 France 3, 10, 47, 49, 129, 159, 249, 252, 253, 257, 259, 262–267, 271, 272, 282, 283, 305, 313, 314–316, 318, 319, 321, 324, 326, 327, 329, 330 Francesco da Buti 42 Francis I, king of France 322 Francis of Assisi, St. 234 Franck, Sebastiaen 265, 313 Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor 293 Frankfurt 311, 339 freedom 184, 188, 190, 191, 196, 197, 199, 201 and autonomy 99, 198, 200, 201, 204 French language 32, 33, 36, 282, 284, 315, 316, 323 Froben press 317 Fry, Roger 341 Fuchs, Leonard 320 Galen 265, 321, 322, 323, 325 Ganymede 12, 111, 208, 222 Garin, Eugenio 115–117 Gasparo da Verona 30 Gaule, Amadis de 265, 329 Gehrts, Carl 339 Gelli, Giovanni Battista 126 Geography 29, 40, 319 Geometry, Greek 186 George of Cluj 302 George of Trebizond 85 Gerardo da Castelfiorentino 38 Geremia da Montagnone 37 Geri d’Arezzo 37, 38 German 3, 11, 42, 43, 76, 136, 138, 148, 153, 155, 184, 199, 256, 261, 283, 307, 311, 314, 330, 331, 333, 334, 337–339, 342–345, 347, 348 German, language 42, 43, 126, 136, 320 Germanisches Nationalmuseum 335, 338, 348 Germans 32, 89, 182, 333 Germany 11, 43, 136, 153, 198–200, 256, 291, 315, 331–334, 338, 344 Enlightenment 198, 199 Unification of 199 Weimar Republic 199, 204 Gesner, Conrad 320 Ghiberti, Lorenzo 278, 306, 353 Giambullari, Giovanfrancesco 116 Giannoti, Donato 85 Gilson, Etienne 33

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index Ginsburg, Carlo 329 Gioseffi, Decio 166, 167 Giotto di Bondone 103, 104, 106, 108, 109, 126, 147, 202, 225, 226, 233–235, 238, 242, 263, 352 Arena Chapel 234 Madonna Enthroned (Ognissanti Madonna) 235 St. John on Patmos 202 Giovio, Paolo 122, 123 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von 198, 332 ‘Golden Age’ 21, 26, 82 Gombrich, Ernst 21, 27, 28, 108, 125, 228, 353 Gonzaga, Guido 295 Gossaert, Jan 285 Gothic 29, 104, 112, 144, 151, 175, 230, 250, 255–257, 277, 303, 331–334, 337, 341 n. 27, 342, 343, 347 Gouwens, Kenneth 8 Grammar 30–33, 41, 42, 73, 76 Grant, Edward 194 Grave, Johannes 11, 12, 107 Greece, classical 51, 52, 75, 81–84, 89, 92 Greek 3, 4, 9, 23, 42, 46, 51, 52, 67, 68, 74–78, 81–84, 86–88, 94, 97, 100, 126, 129, 139, 186, 225, 226, 228, 229, 234, 235, 265, 275, 312, 317, 318 Greenblatt, Stephen 65, 66, 100 n. 10, 317 Gregory of Rimini 264 Gregory of Tours, St. 74 Griffolini, pupil of Lorenzo Valla 75 Groesen, Michel van 321 Grosseteste, Robert 79 Grünewald, Matthias 202 Guarino Veronese 30, 35, 42, 73, 76 Guido della Colona 51 Gunther, Johann 322 Gutenburg, Johannes 264 Hades 72 Hagen, Oskar 343 Halewijn, Joris van (Georgius Halonius) 284, 285 Hamburg 344, 345 Haskins, Charles Homer 251 Hay, Denys 5, 6, 22, 112 n. 33 Hebrew 4, 126 Hector 78 Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich 28, 183, 184 Hegelianism 28, 179, 182–184, 191, 192

363

Hegius, Alexander 42 Helena, St. 293 Helicon, Mt. 20 Hell 58, 72 Heller, Joseph 333 Henri d’Andeli 31 Henry III of Nassau 285 Henry IV, king of England 283 Henry V, king of England 283 Henry VII, king of England 287 Henry VII of Luxembourg, Holy Roman Emperor 292 Henry of Settimello 30 Henryson, Robert 51 Héret, Mathurin 318 Hessus, Eobanus 76 Highet, Gilbert 22 Hippocrates 321 Historia Caroli Magni 258, 291 History 2, 5, 11, 18, 27, 29, 33–36, 40, 45, 46, 71, 73, 77, 81–84, 87–89, 91–93, 115–117, 122–127, 135, 138, 151, 163, 169, 171, 181, 183–185, 198, 199, 265, 269, 288, 326, 328–330, 338, 345, 350, 357 Greek 81, 88, 291 Roman 39, 46, 71, 78, 81, 87, 93 Renaissance 115 of Art 3, 11, 115–117, 122–124, 126, 127, 138, 140, 162, 169, 172, 179, 181, 185, 225, 230, 242, 278, 286, 345, 348, 350–356 of Music 129, 134–136, 139, 154, 157, 159 Holbein, Hans the Younger 50, 339 Hollier, Denis 179 Holofernes 48, 51, 55, 65 Homer 9, 51, 53, 72, 74–76, 78 Iliad 75, 78 homo universalis (see uomo universale) Hope, Charles 116 Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) 25, 29, 30, 34, 67, 71–73, 103 Ars poetica 103 Hortus sanitus 322 Hugh of St Victor 291 Huizinga, Johann 10, 252–255, 257, 259, 261, 267, 270–273, 279 Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen (Autumn of the Middle Ages) 10, 252–254, 271, 279 Wege der Kulturgeschichte 254 humanism, humanists 4, 8, 9–12, 18, 20–22, 24, 28–30, 32–38, 40–45,

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47–49, 65, 67, 71, 73, 74, 76–79, 85–87, 100, 102, 103, 105–107, 122, 123, 129, 141, 160, 200, 201, 203, 204, 209, 212, 215, 218, 221, 250, 256, 258, 261, 263, 273, 283–287, 290, 291, 295, 304, 309, 311, 313, 315, 317, 322, 328, 345, 348, 353–357 humanitas 71, 74, 201, 202 Humboldt, Wilhelm von 198 Humphrey, duke of Gloucester 261, 283, 284 Iachimo (Shakespearian character) 13, 57, 59 Iago 56, 60, 62–64, 66 Iconoclasm 170, 229, 306 Icons 229, 300 Image 99, 104, 106–108, 111, 144, 152, 162, 163, 169–180, 210, 218, 226, 266, 279, 296, 305 imago viva and imago mortua 171, 172 imitatio 51, 296 Incunabula 312, 313, 329 Index of Prohibited Books 320 individual, development of 1 infinity, the infinite 104, 108, 185, 192, 193, 202–204 quantitative and qualitative 194 n. 45, 203, 204 Innocent VI, pope (Étienne Aubert) 292 Inns of Court 54 Israel 84 Italicus, Baebius 30 Italy 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 29–33, 35, 36, 40–44, 47, 48, 53, 57, 60, 67, 73, 75–78, 82–84, 87–89, 93, 105, 111, 159, 199, 218, 238, 247, 247–250, 252, 253, 255–257, 259–261, 263, 264, 266, 267, 271–275, 278, 279, 283, 284, 286–295, 305, 306, 312, 315, 316, 333, 342–344, 349, 350, 352, 353 Jagiello, Wladyslaw 350 Jan of Jenštejn, archbishop of Prague 299, 305 Jan of Středa 258, 260, 291, 293, 304 Jason 275 Jean, duke of Berry 282, 306 Jerome, St. 24, 33, 67–69, 72, 75 Jerusalem and New Jerusalem 68, 296, 305, 317 Jesus Christ 129, 155, 160, 227, 228, 229, 231, 235

Joachim of Fiore 292 Joannides, Paul 215 John II, the Good, king of France 282 John XXII, pope (Jacques Duèze) 157, 158 n. 40 John, duke of Lancaster 283, 284 Jubal 129 Judas 48, 51, 227, 228 Judas Maccabeus 48 Julius II, pope (Giuliano della Rovere) 212 ‘Jupiter’, pseudonym of Jean [de Clacy?] 41, 42 Justus of Ghent 261 Juvenal (Decimus Junius Juvenalis) 29, 39 Kant, Immanuel 183, 195, 198, 200, 201, 203, 205 Kantianism 182, 184, 192, 195, 197, 201, 204, 205 Karlsruhe 339 Kavaler, Ethan 277 Keats, John 59 Kirkpatrick, Robin 12, 24 klassicher Idealstil 109 Krakow 264, 312 Krasa, Josef 309 Krauss, Rosalind 179 Krey, Charles 21 Kris, Ernst 353 Kristeller, Paul Oskar 33, 254 n. 28, 263 Kugler, Franz 333, 337 Kuno of Falkenstein, archbishop and elector of Trier 150 Kurz, Otto 353 Ladislaus V, the Posthumous, king of Hungary and Bohemia 283 Landauer, Carl 181, 355 n. 17 Landino, Cristoforo 119, 120 Lang, Susanne 169 Las Casas, Barthelemeo de 320 Lascaris, Johannes 78 Latin 3, 4, 6, 9, 25, 29–33, 39, 40, 42, 67–69, 71–76, 87, 100, 106, 126, 261, 282–285, 287, 295, 313, 315, 317, 318, 320, 323, 329, 330, 347 Latona 222 Law 40, 84, 85, 89, 90, 92, 94, 145, 152, 192, 263, 315 Le Franc, Martin 137, 138, 155, 157, 159 Le nouveau monde et navigations 316 Leibniz, Gottfried 204

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index Leonardo da Vinci 194, 221, 238 Lestringant, Frank 317 Levey, Michael 348 Léry, Jean de 317, 319, 320 Liantini, Diotima 109 Liber viaticus 295 Limburg Chronicle 135, 136, 148, 152 Linus 75 Lippi, Filippino 174, 175, 178, 179 Lithuania 350 Livy (Titus Livius) 57, 71, 73, 258 Lombards 32, 154 London 12, 45, 56, 57, 112 n. 33, 240, 271 n. 11, 328 Lovati, Lovato 24, 30, 32 Low Countries 3, 10, 159, 254, 262, 312 Lübke, Wilhelm 334, 337 Lucca 290, 299 Lucian 77 Lucretius (Titus Lucretius Marus) 105, 110 De rerum natura 105, 110 Luther, Martin 42, 313 Lycurgus 84 Lydgate, John 261 Lyon 264, 313, 315 Macedonia, Macedonians 84, 99 n. 8 Machiavelli, Bernardo 87 Machiavelli, Niccolò 9, 45, 46, 55–57, 65, 66, 81–94 Del modo trattare I popoli della Valdichiana ribellati 92 Discorsi 45, 82, 87, 92, 93 Il Principe 7 n. 30, 84 Maginnis, Hayden 99 Malatesta, Pandolfo 106 Mallory, Sir Thomas 250 Mandeville, Jean de 317, 329 Manetti, Antonio di Tuccio 163–171 Mantegna, Andrea 221, 334, 344 Mantua 72, 105, 112, 144, 260, 292, 293 Manutius, Aldus (Aldo Manuzio) 265, 312 Marburg 198 Marin, Louis 170 n. 37, 172 Marquet of Padua 158 Marsilius of Padua 264 Martin, John 7, 8 Martin of Cluj 302 Martines, Lauro 35 Martini, Simone 97, 100, 102, 106, 108 Mary of Burgundy 284

365

Masaccio (Tommaso Giovanni di Mone) 104, 238 Enthroned Madonna 240 Trinity 104 Matthias of Arras 299 Maximilian I of Habsburg, Holy Roman Emperor 284 Medea 24 Media 82 Medici, family 210, 215, 219, 223, 276 Medici, Cosimo I de’ 21 n. 16, 123 Medici, Ippolito de’, Cardinal 223 Medici, Lorenzo de, the Magnificent 92, 120 n. 19, 209, 215 219 Medicine 263, 265, 321, 322, 324, 325 Melanchthon, Philipp 42 Menocchio (Domenico Scandella) 329 Mercade 49 Mercatellis, Raphael de, abbot of St. Baafs Abbey 284 Mercutio 49 Michelangelo Buonarotti 12, 110, 111, 118, 119, 123, 207–213, 215, 218–224, 242, 278, 339, 351, 352 and Petrarchan lyric 220, 222 Works: Apollo Belvedere 212, 345 Bacchus 210, 211, 216, 217 Battle of Cascina 212 Battle of the Centaurs 209, 210 David 212 Fall of Phaeton 111, 207 Last Judgement 123 Leda 218–221 Moses 212 Night 219 Pietà 212 Punishment of Tityus 111, 207 Rape of Ganymede 111, 207 Sistine Chapel Ceiling 212, 219 Sleeping Cupid 210 Tityus 12, 111, 207, 222 Micel de Marbais 41 Michelet, Jules 270–272 Michelozzo di Bartolomeo Michelozzi 353 Middle Ages 4, 6, 10, 27, 29, 34, 45, 79, 100, 103, 107–110, 117, 126, 135, 139, 141, 143, 181, 182, 189–192, 200, 225, 230, 247, 248, 252, 271–276, 278, 279, 287, 288, 295, 296, 304, 310, 322, 339 ‘autumn of’ 10, 279, 288, 310 ‘media aetas’ 93, 126, 127

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Milan 105, 248, 249, 253, 257, 259, 267, 292 Milford Haven 56 Milič of Kromeriz, Jan 304, 305 Mimesis 205 Minerva 39, 262, 263 Miranda (Shakespearian character) 65 modern, modernity 1, 2, 4, 6, 10, 11, 12, 23, 28, 34, 35, 56, 68, 70, 74, 102, 139, 149, 162, 163, 179, 181, 191–193, 198, 199, 202, 204, 205, 212, 215, 223, 224, 247, 254, 265, 269–273, 276–279, 285, 287, 293, 300, 315, 318, 320, 323, 328, 331, 338, 339, 350 Montaigne, Michel de 45, 46, 65 Montefeltro, Federigo da 248 Montorsoli, Fra Giovan Angelo 121 Moses 84 Munich 339 Muses 20, 35 Music 3, 9, 10, 35, 103, 107, 129–132, 134–140, 145, 148, 149, 152–160, 257, 261, 266, 277, 337 Mussato, Albertino 37 Musurus, Marcus 78 Naples 72, 129, 219, 278 Nazism 355, 356 neo-Kantianism 108, 198 Neoplatonism 62, 355 Netherlands (see Low Countries) Netherlandish art 102, 181, 196, 272, 277, 278, 280, 286, 287, 355 Nicander 321 Niccoli, Niccolò 27 Nicholas of Cusa 171, 172, 194, 199 Idiota de mente 171 Noordegraaf, Leo 324, 325 Norden, Eduard 295 Nordstroem, Johan 251, 252 North America 6 Norwich 328 Numa Pompilius 90 Nuremburg 112 Nuttall, Paula 277–279 Ockeghem, Johannes 129, 131 Missa Ecce ancilla Domini 131 Očko, Jan, archbishop of Prague 299, 300 Oderisi of Gubbio 103, 106 Optics 101, 104, 105, 108, 109, 168, 186 Orléans 31 Orpheus 75

Ortelius, Abraham 321 Othello 60–65 Our Lady’s Church, Trèves 144 Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso) 29, 30, 34, 215–217, 258 Oxford 154, 155, 264, 305 Oyta, Henrich Totting von 258 Padua 22, 30, 37, 105, 158, 238, 304 Arena Chapel 234 University of 263, 264, 291 ‘Palaeologan Renaissance’ 290 Palladio, Andrea 112, 144 Palmieri, Matteo 30 Pandarus (Shakespearian character) 53, 55 Panofsky, Erwin 3–6, 10–12, 18, 20–22, 67, 73, 76, 79, 102–105, 107–113, 123, 139–148, 160, 161, 181, 182, 185, 186, 189, 190, 192, 193, 195–199, 201–205, 210, 254–256, 266, 267, 269, 270, 275, 276, 331, 344, 345, 347, 348, 352, 354–356 ‘Die Perspective als “Symbolische Form” ’ 107 Dürers Kunsttheorie 344 Dürers Melencolia I (with Fritz Saxl) 345 Dürers Stellung zur Antike 344 Early Netherlandish Painting 182, 196, 200, 205, 280 n. 48 Meaning in the Visual Arts: Papers in and on Art History 200, 355 Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art 102, 107, 112, 140, 181, 200, 205, 254, 269, Studies in Iconology 204 The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer 344, 345 The Meaning of the Humanities 355 Panselinos, Manuel 238, 240 Pantheon 112, 144 Paré, Ambroise 323, 325 Paris 40, 77, 137, 142, 259, 264, 282, 312, 313, 315, 323, 327, 330, 338 University of 41, 305 Parler, Peter 299, 300 Pater, Walter 17 Patrizi, Francesco 124 Patroclus (Shakespearian character) 51 Paul of Venice 264 Pavia 263 Peraldus, Gullielmus 37 Perotti, Niccolò 42

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index Persia 82, 84 Persius (Aulus Persius Flaccus) 29 Perspective 4, 11, 12, 53, 101, 104, 105, 107–109, 112, 113, 161–163, 165–176, 178–182, 185, 186, 190–199, 201–205, 225, 238, 240, 306 and the ‘finestra aperta’ 173 and illusionism 170–172, 178–180 Greco-Roman 186, 198, 199 ‘herringbone’ construction 186 Linear 101, 105, 107, 108, 109, 112, 113, 161–163, 173, 180–182, 185, 186, 190–198, 201–205 ousia and phainomenon 202 Peter, St. 262 Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) 2, 8, 9, 18–20, 23, 24, 27, 30, 33–35, 67, 69–78, 93, 97–100, 102, 103, 106, 108, 111, 142, 147, 220, 222, 250, 259–261, 265, 276, 291–293, 295, 304 and Charles IV 259, 260 and Laura 97–100, 106, 108 and Mt. Ventoux 142 Works: Africa 2, 19, 20 Canzoniere 99, 111, 261, 265 De remediis utriusque fortune 261, 295 De sui ipsius et multorum ignorantia 70 De viris illustribus 295 De vita solitaria 295 Eclogues 295 Historia Griseldis 260 Trionfi 265 Pettegree, Andrew 9, 265 Phaeton 12, 111, 208, 222 Philip of Burgundy, bishop of Utrecht 284 Philip of Cleves 285 Philip the Bold, duke of Burgundy 257, 266, 281, 282 Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy 257, 266, 275, 281, 282, 283 Philomel (Shakespearian character) 58, 59 Philosophy 5, 31, 70, 73, 86, 88, 94, 116, 162, 185, 198, 208, 213, 222, 250, 263, 264, 269, 355 Phoenicia 74 Piccolomini, Aeneas Sylvius (Pope Pius II) 147, 261, 309 n. 50 Pico della Mirandola, Giovanni 251 Piemontese, Alexis 322

367

Piero della Francesca 344, 353 pietas literata 78 Pietro da Isolella da Cremona 30, 42 Pilatus, Leontius 74 Pirckheimer, Willibald 345 Pisa 263 Plague (see also Black Death) 136, 323, 324, 325 Plato 69, 76, 85–87 Laws 85 Pliny the Elder (Gaius Plinius Secundus) 320 Pliny the Younger (Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus) 39, 98 Plutarch 91, 123 Poeschke, Joachim 278 Poetry 25, 32, 71, 103, 106 Augustan 71, 73 French 32, 33 Italian 30, 32, 261 Latin 19, 30, 32, 33, 42, 73, 261 Provençal 33 Poland 249, 256, 312, 349, 350, 354, 357 Pollaiuolo, Antonio 120, 344 Pollio, Asinius 71 Polybius 88 Polyclitus 97, 98, 101 Polydore Vergil 318 Pomponazzi, Pietro 264 Pontano, Giovanni 25 Hendecasyllabi 25 Postel, Guillaume 116 Prague 10, 258–260, 291, 293, 295, 300, 302, 305 Cathedral 291, 299 Charles Bridge 258, 297 Karlstein Castle 289 New Town 296 Old Town Bridge Tower 297 University of 258, 289 Vyšehrad 297 Přemyslid dynasty 297 printing 43, 264–266, 312–314, 327, 328 printing press 9, 264, 265, 312, 313, 326, 327 Prometheus 263 Pseudo-Cato 30 Ptolemy 321 Pygmalion 99 Pythagoras 129, 154, 194 Quintilian (Marcus Fabius Quintilianus) 70, 71, 73, 98 Institutio Oratoria 71

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Rabelais, François 48 Radec, Wenceslas 300 Radulphus Brito 41 Raimond da Capua 305 Raphael Sanzio 202, 333, 337, 339, 342 Dispute of the Sacrament 337 Sistine Madonna 202 Ravenna 227 Reformation 77, 251, 313, 315, 342 Regis, Johannes 129 Renaissance, concept and definitions of, as ‘efflorescence’ 269, 270, 272, 274, 287 as period 1–3, 4–6, 10, 11, 17, 22, 24, 27, 29, 47, 73, 74, 88, 100, 109, 127, 130, 135, 137–141, 146, 193, 270, 272, 274, 277, 280, 286, 287 as progress 4–7, 9, 17, 21, 35, 56, 134, 147, 179, 193, 198, 200, 201, 271, 273, 280, 326, 329, 348, 355 as ‘rebirth’, ‘renewal’ and ‘revival’ 4, 9, 12, 17, 20, 25, 27, 34, 35, 56, 67, 77, 81, 94, 102, 107, 181, 210, 213, 225, 235, 247, 257, 269, 270, 272, 274, 275, 287, 302, 309, 310, 322, 343 as movement 27, 28, 44, 291, 347 die Neuzeit 182 ‘European’ 147, 247, 249, 251, 252, 256, 259, 266 Italian 5, 9, 33, 35, 53, 56, 57, 60, 67, 76, 89, 104, 112, 140, 143, 145, 181, 190, 191, 194, 195, 197, 203, 210, 230, 247–256, 259, 261, 266, 267, 273, 275, 276, 279, 285, 288, 337, 349, 350–353 ‘Northern’ 9, 10, 67, 77, 159, 254, 256, 257, 261, 265, 269, 272, 277, 279, 286, 288, 300, 314, 331, 334, 345, 352 rinascimento dell’ Antichità 1 n. 2, 105, 255 rinascimento incontro all’ Antichità 255 rinascita 11, 18, 103, 107, 115–117, 125 ‘self-definition’ and ‘selfdeception’ 3, 21, 59, 61, 105, 111, 130, 278 ‘self-fashioning’, 7, 8, 19, 65, 93, 218, 316 Carolingian 22, 230 Rhetoric 20, 31–33, 40, 47, 50 n. 10, 55, 258, 291, 292 Rhodiginus, Coelius 317 Riegl, Alois 351–353

Rienzo, Cola di 291, 295, 304 Rimini 264 Roark, Rhys 11, 12, 108 Roderigo (Shakespearian character) 63 Rolando da Piazzola 37 Rolando di Lovato 37 Roman Law 263 Romanesque 29, 108, 230–232, 297, 337 Rome 2, 12, 28, 56, 57, 59, 68, 70, 72, 78, 118, 144, 210–213, 223, 249, 250, 262, 267, 290, 292, 293, 296, 297, 300 Empire 18, 56, 71, 81, 82, 85, 86, 90–94, 292, 295, 339 Republic 36, 38, 69 Rosaline 13, 50 Rouen 313 Rubin, Patricia 116 Ruscelli, Girolamo 322 Rustici, Giovanni Francesco 121 Ruvoldt, Maria 12, 111 Salerno, University of 263 Salutati, Coluccio 27 Sallust (Gaius Sallustius Crispus) 29, 36, 38, 90 Salviati, Francesco 221 Sanese, Berna 120 Saxl, Fritz 345 Schiller, Johann Christoph Friedrich von 198 Schlosser, Julius von 256, 352, 353 Scholasticism 203, 250, 263 Schongauer, Martin 352 Schools, Italian 29, 30, 32, 34, 43, 73, 76 Science 4, 28, 88, 146, 162, 169, 181, 183, 191–193, 269, 316, 321, 325, 329 Scipio Africanus (Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus) 19 Scotland 259, 261 Scripture—see Bible Sebastiano del Piombo 119 Second Scholastic 250 Segni, Antonio 221 Semper, Gottfried 339 Seneca (the Younger) 31, 34, 70, 71, 73, 258, 291 Servius 19 Sforza family 248, 276 Sforza, Francesco, duke of Milan 262 Sfumato 238 Shakespeare, William 12, 24, 46–51, 53–57, 60–66 A Midsummer Night’s Dream 48, 63 Cymbeline 13, 45, 56, 57, 59, 60, 64, 65

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index Hamlet 50, 61 King Lear 50 Love’s Labour’s Lost 13, 45, 47–50, 55, 59, 60, 64 Measure for Measure 50 Othello 12, 45, 56, 60, 61, 65 Romeo and Juliet 51 The Merchant of Venice 60 The Taming of the Shrew 48 The Tempest 46 Troilus and Cressida 45, 50–52, 55, 59 Twelfth Night 48 Siena 263 Silver, Larry 276 Sluter, Claus 280 Smith, Jeffrey Chipps 10, 256 Solon 85 Soviet Union 349 Sowerby, Robin 9, 23 Spain 259, 283, 320 Sparta 83–86, 90 Spenser, Edmund 57, 62 The Faerie Queene 62 S. Andrea, church of, Mantua 144 St. Sebald, church of, Nuremburg 112, 144 Stage design 169 Steiris, George 9, 23 Stoic 30, 31, 70 Strabo 321 Strasbourg 230, 333 Stratford-upon-Avon 48 Strohm, Reinhard 131 studia humanitatis 23, 28, 35, 73 Suarez, Francisco 250 Symbolic forms 161, 182–185, 196, 198 Tapissier, Johannes 137 Tasso, Torquato 250 Theology 33, 40, 77, 108, 264, 314 Tereus (Shakespearian character) 58, 59 Thausing, Moriz 334, 335, 337, 338 Thersites (Shakespearian character) 51, 53, 64 Theseus 84 Thevet, André 317–319 Thomas à Kempis 79 Thorndike, Lynn 141–144 History of Magic and Experimental Science 141 ‘Renaissance or Prenaissance?’ 141 Tinctoris, Johannes 10, 103, 107, 129–131, 134–138, 159, 160, 257 Liber de arte contrapuncti 130

369

Titian (Tiziano Vecelli) 215–218, 220, 342 Bacchus and Ariadne 218 Worship of Venus 215, 217 Tityus 12, 111, 207, 222 Toffanin, Giuseppe 33 Tollebeek, Jo 272 Tolnay, Charles de 353 Torri, Bartolomeo 122 Tournon, Cardinal 2 Tours 261, 262 Treviso 312 Troilus 51, 55 Troy 52, 55 Uccello, Paolo 353 Udine 312 Ullman, Berthold Louis 33 Ulysses (Shakespearian character) 54, 55 Universities 32, 40, 41, 74, 261, 263, 264, 291, 305 uomo universale, homo universalis 81, 100, 249 Urban V, Pope (Guillaume Grimoard) 300 Urbino 175, 248, 253, 257, 267 Uspensky, Leonid 229 Utrecht 150, 284 Valagussa, Giorgio 30 Valencia 264, 312 Valerius Maximus 258, 291 Valla, Lorenzo 20, 30, 71, 73, 75, 77 Adnotationes ad Novum Testamentum 77 De Copia 78 Elegantiae linguae latinae 71, 73 Valk, Gerit 324, 325 Vanderjagt, Arjo 284 Varro, Marcus 70 Vasari, Giorgio 11, 12, 18, 103, 107, 111, 115, 116–127, 163, 221, 234, 274, 278, 279 Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects 11 Vegio, Maffeo 35 Venatius Fortunatus 293 Veneziano, Domenico 175, 178, 179 S. Lucia Altarpiece 175 Venice 7, 12, 28, 43, 63, 65, 83, 86, 90, 105, 108, 248, 253, 264, 290, 299, 312, 313, 334, 337, 342 Vergerio, Pier Paolo 35 Vernacular 32, 33, 36, 51, 265, 313–316, 320, 321, 323, 326

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370

index

Verona 12, 20, 69, 76 Vespucci, Amerigo 316 Vischer, Peter the Elder 339 Villani, Filippo 34, 111 Villa Rotonda 112, 144 Villegaignon, Nicholas Durand de 318–320 Virgil 2, 19, 24, 25, 29, 30, 67, 69–74, 293 Aeneid 24–26, 72, 74, 105 Eclogues 295 Virtù 56, 57, 82, 83, 89, 92, 93 vita activa and vita contemplativa 119, 120 Vitruvius Pollio 105, 110, 258, 296, 334, 344, 345 De architectura 105, 110 Visconti, Bernarbò 259 Visconti, Galeazzo 259 Visconti, Giangaleazzo 293 Visconti family 292 Vitry, Philippe de 158 Vittorino da Feltre 73 Vojtěch Raňkův z Ježova (Adalbertus Ranconis de Enricinio) 258, 305 Waagen, Gustav 333 Wackenroder, Wilhelm 332 Waetzold, Wilhelm 344, 346 Wajcman, Gérard 162 Waldhauser, Konrad 304

Warburg, Aby 22, 109, 344 Warfare 137, 324, 326 Wazbinski, Zygmunt 115, 122 Wegman, Rob C. 10, 103, 107, 266 The Crisis of Music in Early Modern Europe 159 Weiss, Roberto 33 Wenceslas IV, Holy Roman Emperor 10, 289, 299, 304, 305, 307 Weyden, Rogier van der 261, 280, 286 Wijsman, Hanno 10, 266 William of Conches 38 Wimpheling, Jakob 42 Wind, Edgar 185 Winkler, Friedrich 341 Wölfflin, Heinrich 341–344 Wolfhagen, Tilemann Elhen von 135, 136, 138, 148–153, 155 Woodley, Ronald 131 Woolf, John 45 Xenophon 84, 85, 87, 88 Constitution of the Spartans Hellenica 88

85, 88

York 328 Zahn, Albert von 333, 334 Zambono d’Andrea 37 Zavattari, Francescino and Gregorio 127 Zeus 222

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