Sister Wendy's Grand Tour: Discovering Europe's Great Art 1556705093, 9781556705090

Includes works from museums in Madrid, Florence, Rome, and St. Petersburg, featuring the art of such masters as Goya, Re

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Sister Wendy's Grand Tour: Discovering Europe's Great Art
 1556705093, 9781556705090

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W-:7^

Wm :'^.

\uropes Sister

Wendy

Beckett

rea

SISTER WipPDY'S

GRAND TOUR 'ollowiiig the popularity- ot Siitcr

highly acclaimed

11 (•»meonc

scu>itive to the Ivauty t>f life

and

art.

Shffr llciidy'} Cntinf liuir otVers u\ the

chjticc lo discover the gUj^|^«>f Bunipe's great an.

^M

CfVlCCEhfTER

3 1111 01669 0792

SISTER

WENDY'S

GRAND /

look forward to the thiy

when

it

it'ill

dawn upon

cuerybody that they can have odysseys and Grand Tonrs

and share

the fruits of the world. TJie capacity

to see, to

an

open np the vision

of reahty that

artist offers, is iiniatc in us all.

^

:/^

^UlM.-ZX)

FLORENCE

My

aim

me!

in every city

was too

It

Take tor example Giotto, with

who

not by birth,

manner

home

was to

on

in

its

own

whom

native

art, its

rich, the possibilities too dazzling.

I

spent

my

whole Renaissance began,

the

possibly decorated four chapels in the

ot the over-rich artistically, Florence

artists.

time

But Florence flawed

m

a state

Church of Santa Croce.

aUowed two of them

to

fill

of holy awe.

by domicile

a Florentine

if

In the wasteful

into decay.

But even

to

begin to describe the other two, the Bardi and Peruzzi, would have taken too long. Faint but the great cycle of St Francis and the two St Johns remain an intense joy.

visible,

But

if

I

loss art history will ever

into the

world

and anguish

makes

at

what time would

linger with them,

Florence are his great frescoes,

as

we

know. His

have

all

other pains, other joys, that again

Among

the glories of

Adam and Eve are driven from the Garden of Eden life

common

our

have for Masaccio?

I

for the artist's early death, perhaps the greatest

been expelled from the womb. Eve

the wrongness of

pitifully visible

more precious

the

all

it

(it

should not be

pain, but the scene

was either

all

set

scream in grief

common

Her

our

like this; is

amid such

or nothing. But

and expelled

utters the primal

all

a

feeling).

pain

richness of other scenes,

meant

I

would not have time

for Leonardo.

The

Uffizi has the

amazing

collaboration with Verrocchio).

awesome but incomplete.

It is

The

total

of three works by

greatest

infuriating to

this

most magical of

artists

(one in

of them, the Adoration of the Magi, remains unfinished,

remember

that this

was the time

when Leonardo was

sending out job applications for the post of engineer, adding that he was also quite good painter.

Has there ever been such prodigality of gifts? Perhaps the answer

also boasts the

only

Tondo of the Holy

oil

which

is

the Sistine, interpretation

Everywhere blissful

in Florence

I

is

all

my

is

the

Doni

the Sistine Chapel in miniature: same sculptural mass, same acidic colour,

strictly

up

same nude youths

in the

background. Here,

for grabs. But, oh, the dehght

was overwhelmed by the joy of the

dream, grabbing, savouring, delighting, anguishing.

experience with

as a

because the Utfizi

yes,

painting that Michelangelo ever took the trouble to finish. This

Family,

superhuman unity of form, same strange as in

is

friends.

29

I

art;

I

of that grabbing!

wafted around in

longed, above

all,

a sort

to share

of

my

Mary Magdalene

St

DONATELLO Born

Florence, Italy 1386/7

Died Florence,

M I

ary

Magdalene

one of the great mythic

is

characters that have always fascinated

is

There

we

really

are three

know

Marys

little

that at

only

But

into one.

one time she had 'seven

mean it

them

has

had an

that she

been

built

up

We

it

desire.

such

as epilepsy.

that

fell

hands

from her eyes.

who had

suddenly reaHzed that her

call-girl,

meaningless. She had

life

and

brings

set

sun,

The legend

went out into the

to live alone.

She went naked, clothed only

long golden

hair,

passion. This that

is

and lived

there,

rewrite the past

emotion, ('If

only

when we 1

wish

hadn't done

wc

it!').

He shows

as if

wisdom

have potentially

to use not marble, that

fragile

some

her praying, not with clasped

her intensity was her

its

own

own

business, but

apart, ready to receive.

becomes resolution

answer.

and though

e.xquisite, like

it is

now

almost

fleshless,

essen-

indedesert

it is still

her long slender legs and the glinting

wave of her thick cloak of

her

Donatello painted can

consumed by

was not the passion of remorse,

a sterile

desert in

all

Though burnt out with longing, she is still tially beautiful. Her bone-structure has an structible grace. Her face is gaunt from the

it

herself to pray. says that she

has had the

In a great stance of faith she

they wanted, and she wanted desperately. She was silks

a

incarnate, totally certain that whole-hearted desire

met goodness. She saw what

transformed overnight, threw away her

He

with hands held delicately

was

she was meant to be, what anybody could be

we

enduring material, but wood,

miracle.

clawed her way up into being a polished and expensive

passion,

organic stuff that only seems to survive by

of the

who one day met absolute

This poor Httle creature of the slums,

positive

in full seriousness.

which may

goodness, incarnate, and the scales

a

Donatello has carved an expression of absolute

are told

into this great legend

glorious glamorous sinner

shows us

for goodness, tor fullness, for beauty,

though we may be too half-hearted ever to express

devils',

illness,

He

tor total love, that passion

and the

myth-makers have made the whole story more exciting by conflating

nothing sterile or negative about Donatello's Mary

burning desire

about her.

in the Gospels

1466

Magdalene.

artists.

say 'mythic', because, although she does appear in

the Gospels,

Italy

still

hair.

Some of

the

be seen, shining

in

gilt

the

Florentine sun, reminding us ot the desert and her

regret:

She

could

longing.

There

Donatello shows us

30

still

craves siu-

for

the

goodness that

has alreadv attained.

St

Mary Magdalene Wood Museo

Donatello ht

dell'Opera del

1

88cm

c.

1455-60

(74in)

Duomo,

Florence, Italy

1 An

11

u n ci a

o n

t i

,FRA ANGELICO Born near Vicchio, Died Rome,

1400

Italy c.

Italy

i

1

1455

CJ^t

Renaissance .

the

was

Florence

ambitious place, and

monks of San Marco were

turbulence. That

is

what

emotionally, standing

allowed to come,

at

I

they were world.

woman

free, pure,

When we

I

is

about the word Ave and about

means

'Greetings', 'Hello', but

solemn word, destined

Ave Maria, the Hail Mary. Yet the picture

that

because of the

past,

looking up

at

more about

almost

their

too are taken into

from

that

we feel we belong

beyond

bare htde ceO where

all

There

noise. it,

the

nothing fraught in

a gentle

is

a

life

at all sits

His

reminding

Mary

what

his brothers

not to pass

an Ave, but, even more, he

is

God, and any

stool

moun-

idle talk or

this

is

scene without

pointing out that they pray, to

be

silent

with

occupation (the medieval

equivalent of mindlessly watching television) will

drown

words

hxed upon

silence the Ave,

message

or thoughts or activities, drowns the silent sound ot

is

it

out. Noisiness, in

the heavenly greeting that conies to

so that she can obey.

The

enclosed

trees, that lofty

on her

his

is

the litde flowers and domesticated

should go to their rooms to

will not give this girl

the angel, just waiting to hear

sits

whole turbulence of the outside

- there is just

support, her big apprehensive eyes

Mary

humble picket-fence and

sweetness of a place of silent prayer. Fra Angelico

moment, but

this painting.

bosomed

curve to be seen. She

without support, since

tain. Inside are

would become the

a very fraught

is

can see

being said from heart to heart.

we

came from heaven

we

both of them have their mouths closed. The is

The

his

wordlessness, because

world, those rambunctious

is

be the beginning of

the

Ave

almost a child, hardly

to

could only think that

to ask a creature of earth if she

much

Hterally

a

stairs

work of Fra

It is

slender girl

it is

In the Annunciation, the angel

is

Ave

silence.

there.

mother of God.

this

leading to

Aiuiunciation as they passed by,

there

stooping humbly before

extent, the painting

share the experience of those

something so serene and pure

is

and addressing her with the greeting Ave. To some

this

was ever

happy and untouched by

coundess monks of the

peacock-bright wings and pink and golden

his

attire,

think intellectually, but

the head of the

feel that, solely

I

Angelico.

untainted by

where no

the monks" private rooms,

with

and

violent

a

cannot believe that

I

way or

angel, so certain, so strong, so resplendent

32

another.

all

ot us.

one

Ainiiincidtioii

Fra Angelico

Fresco

216 x 321cm

c.i440ori450

(8s x I26jin)

San Marco Museum. Florence,

Italy

Judith and her Mai dserva

ii t

ARTEMISIA GENTILESCHI Born Rome, Died Naples,

Italy

1593

1652/3

Italy

J" dith with the Head of Hoi of ernes

CRISTOFANO ALLORI 1 Born

I

Florence, Italy 1577

Died Florence,

1

L his

is

1621

Italy

G^^

1

much more practical,

the story of Judith, the Jewish heroine

honest. Allori's Judith

ofernes, the Assyrian general, was besieging them;

last

Judith stole out of the city by night, captivated him,

homicidal. But Artemisia's

got

him drunk, and then beheaded him.

size.

women

men -

fears,

tation, there will

woman;

as a

be

a

decapiAllori's

is

it

to

like

an apple, no

Judith has brought a basket, with cloths to

erone, looks

on with

She has intelligendy entered into the

supremely glamorous and

yet notice the

little

of slaughter and,

butterfly

woman

Her maid,

heart a plaything, he hints).

is

done: both

mop up

is

no mess

lives in

to her people, a heroine,

bloodthirst. This, powerful

the approach of a male great

good

a female version

Gentileschi.

but

a

deceiver,

mask an implacable wiO and

We

as

whose

once

is

fearless;

innocence

Artemisia's

is

no defence.

of rape. She

tendency, whenever she shows

a

woman

also has a

vindica-

ting her rights, to paint a self-portrait. Judith looks

it is, is

very like Artemisia: heavy, not pretrv; but clever,

same

gallery holds

alert

of the same event, by Artemisia see at

that

self had suffered the indignity

artist.

fortune, the

not proud of what she has

There is an added poignancy in that Artemisia her-

a terrifying

and beguiling

is

are apprehensive, looking over

the real world, carrying her sword like a

weapon, knowing

to disfigure her.

on the point of marching triumphantly back

lovely looks

women

practicalities

handed over the nasty

their shoulders. Allori's Judith

breathless admiration, as well

of her beheading. There

as a lady,

thing to her maid. She

at

the chap-

she might, since Judith has done a nice surgical job

By

beheading and

a

be blood and disorder.

there

if

blood dripping, no preparations made. Artemisia's

the pre-

not now, of course,

jewel in her hair (even the strongest

is

as

the blood, and the stains are very evident already.

AUori shows Judith

She

a girl, the

young woman,

a solid

is

Judith carries the head, swinging

but then.

destructive

of

slip

person an innocent male would think of

the sense to realize that

and

So Judith expresses the hidden

Freudian fantasies, of

slim

a

is

with the muscle power to tackle

In the bad

men were fully equal, one of the great fears of any man was to meet a powerful woman who would cut him down to old days, before

and much more

to begin with,

T'who saved her people from the Assyrians. Hol-

how

difteront

it is.

and energetic. There

lierc that

to us

It is

34

makes the story

- than

it

is a

tar

secret personal

more

real to

could over have been for

a

power

her - and

male

artist.

Judith and her Miiidscrvant c.i6ii Oil on canvas 1 16 x 93cm (45 j x 36^in)

Artemisia Gentileschi Pitti Palace,

Florence, Italy

Head of Cristofano Allori

Judith with the Oil on canvas

Holoferiies

c.1615

139 x Il6cm (545 x 45sin)

Pitti Palace,

Florence, Italy

f Ve n us

Birth

1

SANDRO BOTTICELLI Born

|

1

Flo rence, Italy c.1445

Died Florence,

Italy

1

1510

^^-^ 1

Some

artists are realists

and some

are idealists,

Botticelli belongs.

and

camp

have no need to wonder in which

we

Although he never married, or

perhaps because he never married, he always had an

of the perfect woman. She was both Venus and

ideal

Virgin.

we

She never changed. She was always

see her here:

long

fingers,

tall,

slender and white, delicate

exquisite

wistful

face,

mouth, big

sad eyes and cascades of long golden

seems

infinitely

as

removed from the

She

hair.

common

things

Birth of Venus

shell to the island fetti

shows her borne on

of Cyprus, blown through

of flowers by Zephyr and

the shore Humanity, a

That

is

necessary

it is

human

of savage

father,

his consort

nymph,

a

con-

wind.

On

waits to receive her.

beautiful enough, but the beautv' goes tar

deeper because

act

a scallop

based on some hard, painful but

truths.

cruelty.

Uranus, tore

into the ocean.

It

Venus was born out

ot an

The god Cronus murdered ofl^his genitals

his

and flung them

was from the foam that was then

generated that Beauty arose. Even from the ugliest destruction and brutaHty, says the myth, can

Love and Beaurv.

come

have

Chloris, and then

that

a relevant story.

fell

with

in love

blow Venus

Zephyr raped She forgave

her.

him, and from that act of heroic forgiveness

came over her and she became goddess of flowers, Flora.

nymph

she conies ashore; so

we

is

the as

see Cliloris twice: before

Venus comes naked, and

It is

the

is

welcome Venus

her transformation through love, and

the land.

change

a

goddess,

a

think that Flora

I

waiting with the cloak to

the story: she

ofHfe.

The

Zephyr and Chloris, the winds to shore, also

this

is

atter.

the saddest part of

not permitted to step naked on to

a lovely

world that awaits

her,

with

all

the brightness of the pebbles shining in the water, a glorious cloak to

and Flora holds out her.

But she does so because our world

enough

to receive

into our world

we

Beauty naked. shall

deepest

Venus

human

is

is

When

not strong

Venus

Love

away from us her pure

as

well as Beauty, the

realities. T.S.

kind cannot bear very

Eliot wrote that

much

realirs'.

We

are

challenged

Botticelli sees us as

at

some deep

unready to

t'ace

two

human

Love

nakedness and Beauty unadorned are too us.

steps

cover her up, cover her with

exquisite garments, hide radiance.

wrap around

in

its

much

tor

le\el.

and

that challenge.

Urth of

rciiiis

Sandro Botticelli

Tempera on canvas

175.5 x

c.

278.5cm (695m x

Utfizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

1485-90

logfin)

n

Primavera (Sprir

SANDRO BOTTICELLI Bom

Florence, Italy

Died Florence,

c.

_

144.S

10

Italy 15

-^^'-

otdcelli's Primavera

'the things

we

is

so similar to pictures of the

almost an anthology ot

love best about him.

one

It is

see

ot

almost

as if

he

is

letting us

know

On

that love can

This

fruitflilness.

Some Uke

to read

pletely virginal,

as a sort

it

of calender of the months from spring to summer, but

I

prefer to see

connected with

it

as

two mini-dramas

out tlowers

as

nymph

is

fell

and Hfe-giving. So

of

initiation,

flowering.

When

who with

a

that Botticelli intended

Florentine maiden

perhaps centre,

that

is

its

struggle, pain

that this picture

bridal chamber,

some comfort

who

was going

their timeless

son Cupid, and though he

is

at

the Grace

just that fraction unlike her

pearls, for

example, and she

left,

is

where, by chance,

stands, very evidently male.

horizons,

He

is

the

god

this secret grove: infinite

meadows and wide

fields.

BotticelH

suggesting that this maiden in the middle

final

who

is

is

on

the point of tailing in love must realize that love will

was

carry her away into far pastures.

We

young

bed of

She

But

the head of Mother

taking careful aim

gleams the world outside

may be

to the

to the

unknown husband. Beyond is

it

is

by.

Over

com-

of distances, the messenger god, and behind him

story: a

and

fat little

wearing no

Mercury

dignity, radi-

one

her

flies

blindfolded he

gone

last.

girls

world of the

that secret

the only one looking to her

of tlowers. and

new

not to

sisters,

have passed through the

you think

probably meant for

another threesome, surely

is

in

in times

is

in the middle.

breathing

is

lost

maidenhood

is

m love with her,

Flora, goddess

BotticeUi paints her again in her

husband and wife

and the rehgious.

young maiden Venus

either side ot

she turns, naked and ashamed, to

and she turned into

stage

closely

Zephyr, the west

Chloris. She

confront him. But Zephyr then

antly fertile

on

love, taking place

Venus. There on the far right

wind, raping the

erotic

of Venus

Graces in their eternal dance. These are

about love and spring and

a picture all

is

left

we can

that

for Botticelli in

the most wonderful thing he ever painted: the three

turn things back to front.

youth and

the

Madonna

no problem

there was

combining the

those rare paintings you have to read from right to left,

how

see

right, just

a

two

stages

of love: consummated on the

about to begin on the

between two male gods

Flora, in the

the benign motherly presence of a Venus

queen.

38

It is

a

leti.

in a grove

.iiid all

held

where Venus

supremely comtbrting picture.

is

Priiuiwera (Spring) Tempera on panel

Sandro Botticelli 203 x

314cm

(79^ x I23sin)

Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

0.147!

-V

A

ROME Theend

Rome

simple matter of geography means that the Grand Tour cannot begin in

It

there, yet

it

seems to be it

streets

its

heritage happily rediscovered.

and old

The Doria

palaces.

Velazquez on their walls.

about

Rome.

It is a cit\'

dense with

It is

led to his series of screaming popes, hniocent

Rome I

portrait

liis

of their ancestor,

X

is

from screaming; he

far

keeping with what Bacon intuited. (He painted

his

sightseers,

The

Then

all

I

Doria

rather intensely chair,

is

verv'

when

it is

down and

centuries of

frescoes are only

is

a lot

becomes

I

found

it

hard actually

of awkward craning to be done here. clear

when one

almost a good thing that one could not respond fully

be undistracted, and the Sistine cannot allow for is

art,

What

I

overwhelming but

it

seemed

has

left

and

is

every turn.

Rome is

art,

m

all

sorts

of ways.

It

was

clear that the 'essential'

at

the time.

One

thinking

seem

so

needs to

this.

ditficult to

choose amongst

Romans were

its

thronging

Michelangelo, Raphael and

is how omnipresent Caravaggio is. He spent most of his Rome, and his energetic visions of reality seemed to meet me

had forgotten, though,

wild but immensely creative

Renaissance

made the crossing from The Chapel was jammed

the strange clarity of his colour and the great sweeping majesty of his line

Rome

at

supreme

finally

buzzing excitedly to one another, and in the jostle

angle too: for the stiff-of-neck there

beautiful that

Bernini.

a

'the

popes from reproductions, and

when

an unexpected sympathy for Bacon's attitude

How wonderfril Michelangelo's

sit

a sense

never ventured to see the original.) felt

with eager

back.

is

combined with the angular power of his confining

seeing pictures of the Sistine Chapel to experiencing 'the real thing'.

to look.

is

X. that astounding depiction of encaged authority, which so affected Francis Bacon

controlled, but such icy discipline,

in

nor can

our ideas

crowded churches

its

Hve in their prmcely palazzo, with

not just any Velazquez, but

that

in

the lived-with art ot

art,

family, for example, stiU

Iiniocciir

much

all

and squares that seems, when experienced, to be part of a personal

pope', it

This great city has been central to

has a symbolic as well as a Uteral importance artisticaUy. There

of cultural history so that

of age-old

creativity in

all

life

a cit\' so

but one sees

church mosaics and

it

in

deeply layered with

m

art that

it

was sad only to investigate one

layer,

the context of the Etruscan tombs, the catacomb murals, the

frescoes, the galleries

of contemporary'

of the architecture.

41

art.

Above

all,

there

is

the magnificence

Lady with

U

a

ii i

corn

1

RAPHAEL (RAFFAELLO) Born Urbmo, Died Rome,

14S3

Italy

Italy

1520

-Sl^"-

aphael can appear rather remote in his per-

I

His noble virgins with their regal

fection.

children draw our deep admiration, but

always love them? this

Hence my

work, the Lady with

do we

her virginal tainly

Though

because she

the

is

so accessible. It is

a

charming

portrait

young Raphael. He was

of

a

young

girl

man

a great ladies'

by the all

girl.

She

was no emotional involvement with a chilly

is

htde creature, with that

pink cheeks and pale blue

contained

face,

neat

figure tightly girdled in

little

eyes,

That, of course, picture.

She

is

a virgin.

part of the

a

a

whole world

back upon

no more than

her

It.

that she

her

and her bosom

The meaning may only be is

a

temporary

unicorn because

of

a

to

be

a

seeks, a

A subsequent owner of this painting did

nun.

It

beautiful but

Why

she has

though she

that she has

a

But

that she

might

it is

not

It

could be that she

we know

much upon

42

girl

is

wants

perpetual \irginit\- that she

a great painter,

though not

Raphael involves

erodcally, with this rich,

unknown young woman. He

expresses in his painnng. Like him,

is

also

holding the

symbol of Christ, the symbol

daunted by her unresponsiveness, but

overpamt, the poor

did the lady insist so

behind

it

life.

Because he was

painted over with a wheel, turning the lady into St

important.

it is

may be

unicorn

us emodonally,

presence

it.

very

may mean

This

indicating her vocational choice, that this

unicorn, and the

its

virgin.

consecrated chasdty.

not understand the symboHsm and had the unicorn

its

it.

is

and though

stiifness suggests,

mean, despite her grandeur,

meaning of the

unicorn looks rather bedraggled, but

pillars,

Raphael shows

there,

that, as

from

far

seen the space at her back and the promise of love,

self-

unicorn could only be captured

Catherine. Rescued from

is

her: she has turned her

holds

essentially unsensuous.

shown holding

legend held that

by

is

woman:

glorious clothes, she

past her, not yet towards her, firmly

this

well defended. Despite her beauty and the richness

of her jewels, she seems

may wear

she

been gossip? She cer-

not yet been awakened: the unicorn's horn points

his

brief life (he died in his thirties), but one feels certain that there

there

like a loose

well protected, with a wall and

particular fondness for

the Unicorn,

Had

state?

does not look

her, but

we want

to

is a

litde

that too

we

never

go on trying.

he teel

Lady with

a

Unicorn

Raphael

1505-6

51cm (25|x lOgin) Borghese Gallery, Rome, Italy

Oil on panel

65 x

Rape

of Proserpina

GIOVANNI LORENZO BERNINI

ernini ^

drama

have

is

the

1598

Italy

1680

their explanation for the alternation of the seasons.

Here we

story encapsulated

m

For

meadow when

she will

oft'

form

to his

underworld kingdom.

has ever struggled

more

out of a

No

pit

come back

rhythm of the does not

We

work

IS

about:

death,

level, that

for us

The Underworld all.

Yet there

is

a great,

grief;

The Greek myths

it is

Proserpina is

this

At any

also

as

it

Undenvorld;

in six

months'

Amidst the rushing moveflying,

we

are struck feels

it

set in

now, she will

feels

she

is

entering into a

woman

is

entering

order the

and though poor Proserpina

know

it is

in the end.

about birth.

entering into death, but she fertility,

goes

upon

motherhood. In

into

down

were, and comes out of

serpina

it

into the darkness,

with

new

lite.

infuses the shapes.

angle,

fertility.

and

survive because they deal with

Death

44

is life

that

seen from another

something the Greeks understood poetically

that Bernini

makes

His drama does not end

fundamentals; the myth of Pluto and Proserpina was

Pro-

the labour of childbearing,

hence the wonderful note of hope and power

not just about rape

about

really

giving birth,

meadow

seasons,

know

go down

swinging exuberance

it is

in the

meadows

could almost say that the work

what

the old can be snatched

waits beneath the

in this sculpture that tells us

and death and

is

the Underworld.

moment the young as well as away.

to

to the

had not conquered, he had merely

digs his

puts out his eye as she passionately but helplessly

She desperately does not want

- autumn and winter -

he has conquered. But the Greeks knew that he

hairy fmgers deep into her soft flesh and she almost

Underworld. At one

death

by the unholy glee of the god's expression: he

violently against the

to the

is

up again and we have spring and

ment, with garment and hair

of

sculptured

power of the brute than Proserpina. Pluto

resists.

life rises

time, bringing the spring.

darkness surged the dark god, seized her and carried

her

months there

summer. Proserpina will not stay

god of the Underworld,

and Proserpina, an innocent nymph. She was gathering flowers in a

six

and then

one intense

of overwhelming excitement.

the story of Pluto, the

It is

Italy

Died Rome,

most dramatic of sculptors, using

in the strict theatrical sense.

whole

a

moment

Born Naples,

us understand sculpturally. in death;

it

leads to

life.

Rape

of Proscrpiiui

Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini Marble

ht

255cm

(loofin)

Borghese Gallery, Rome,

Italy

1621-2

Apollo and Dap h

n e

GIOVANNI LORENZO BERNINI Born Naples.

Italy

1598

Died Rome,

Italy

1680

^pr^

his

deeply.

It

lived today,

I

am

overpowering in

is

ment and profound had

moves

the Bernini sculpture that

IS

T'most

in

its

its

and happening,

sure he

would have been

a

man

anxious thin,

the

tdm

that

nervous

he was. (His

with

Daphne of

afraid

that

he

flee?

Was

live

human

spirit.

emotional

afraid

feared, since

and brightness: was she timid? of God, of the divinity

who

about one

loves

and one

who

Apollo, the great sun god,

does not, fell

the strange story that

tells

is

who

human history: The Greeks

passionately

Why

he was god of the sun, and

never know. Bernini does not

on because they touch on

myth

is

Or was she Apollo? Or was it

anyone he married came into the ambience glor\'

things that continually matter to us. This

see

not going to get

is

is

she

over-

the

itself

tell

ot his

Or was

powering challenge of divine holiness?

The Greek myths

We

face there

she afraid of sex?

this particular lover,

power she

tension.)

rejects.

handsome

This myth goes deep into the did

him,

shows

his

dawning recognition

a

self-portrait

pop-eyed

face,

for

On

his heart's desire.

static

moment when things are moving the moment of the most intense

had some personal significance

and so does he.

it,

The myth of Apollo and Daphne seems

emotion. to have

walling her in to protect her against Apollo.

implications. If Bernini

maker, because he was never interested in the but rather in the

me

excite-

We

shall

us her motive,

he

repeated throughout

the story ot unrequited love.

explained such love by saying that

him; he pursued, and here

Cupid had two arrows: the golden, which caused think love, and the leaden, which caused hate. But

the point of capturing her.

we see him almost on He finds it impossible to

that

believe that she does not

want him, and he has

in love

with Daphne, a water nymph. She fled from

one hand anguish,

actually touching her, while

is

Daphne,

I

way

Her feels

But we

before she does, that her father has

see,

face

is

contorted with

became

a laurel tree.

Whatever

m

a

and she

slender fingers are turning into leaves, and bark

hill),

46

Yet, in

Apollo does get

will

was she dreaded,

some miraculous as

an absolute,

his heart's desire,

way he expected.

When Daphne

Apollo made that

for ever after

he wore

wreath of laurel. So he will have

those delicate toes are beginning to sprout, her long is

the

it.

it

never takes disaster

a laurel tree,

emblem, and

Already

who

feel that

though noi

distress

her prayer has not been heard.

responded: by turning her into

Bernini,

makes us

calling out to her father, the river god,

to save her.

to oversimplify

she has been saved from

in

because she

is

his special

in his curly hair

his lovely

Daphne

have him, wreathing him, crowning

but in the only way she can accept: platonually.

Apollo and Daphne

Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini Marble

ht 243 cm (q^b'")

Borghese Gallery, Rome,

Italy

c.

1622-3

Pieta

MICHELANGELO Born Caprese (now Caprese Michelangelo), Died Rome, Italy 1564

M

ichelangelo was the great colossus ot

The

ItaUans speak of his

someness, and certainly one before the

above

us,

own

selves.

her

side.

They

are

like a

both

we

all

None

of us

have two sides to

is

us: left brain

judging

sides integrated.

There

is

together hke

lonely man, a

man

ot enor-

within, as

mous and tempestuous passions, who lost his mother when he was very young. He Hved in a family ot men: an

irascible old father

and one

feels

that

is

a

whole, both

what

human whole come it

means

to

be united

Mary and Jesus, female principle and male

principle, are here united. I

not speaking theologically, and Michel-

am

angelo

and squabbHng brothers,

I

am

sure

meant only

to

show

the Virgin

agonizing over her Divine Son, but he has tran-

he was always unconsciously

seeking for what he shows us here,

see

intuitive

stereotype these into

a wonderfiil satisfaction in

seeing the t\vo sides of the this, to

of

we

brain, the

and the

male and female, but the true person

dead

united because they belong to one another. a

and right

side,

We

instinctive accepting side.

sides

only male or temale,

Jesus and the Hving Mary, yet they are so intimately

Michelangelo was

holds, both

wonderful synibols of the two

rational intellectual,

mountain,

isolated, the

me

to

our psyche.

a great river flowing

and grieving; Jesus like

beautiful

seem

feel so small it

The Christ, so abandoned in the arms of woman; the woman, so tenderly receptive ot the

power and grace of the young male she

It

struck by the deep

Mary

loneUness of those figures:

down

and we

am

I

the

awed standing

so great, because looking at

also,

yet,

magnify our

feels

1475

universal.

art.

awe-

the masterwork of his youth.

Picta,

floats there, serenely

and

his

terribilita.

Italy

scended the normal interpretation.

this beautiful

Mary summons

not with her eyes which are wholly bent on

young mother. He was once asked why he had made

us,

Man,' so young, and he said that she was too beautitul

Christ, but with that exquisite hand, just held out,

ever to

grow

has lost his I

a

old: that

is

the remark ot

man who

empt\-, to tell us

for her child but

how empty

life

is

without the

fulfilment of the loved one, the other part of her

mother young.

do not myself find here

mother

a

so

much

being. That silent suiumons

the anguish ot

become

something even more

48

a full

human

is

bein^.

a

own

sublime imitation to

Pieta

Michelangelo

149S-

ht

174cm

(eS^in)

St Peter's,

Rome,

Italy

Marble

Calling of St Matthew

CARAVAGGIO Born Caravaggio or Milan, Died Port'Ercole,

aravaggio ness,

the great painter of light and dark-

is

which he understood

have. His light shines

upon

as

few

we

ever

the absolute soHdity of

the real world, and his darkness speaks

of that other world; so

artists

get

soul,

is

how

St

What

wonder;

is

has

usual job of taking in the taxes (he

suddenly

a

was called to leave

is

moning. Christ

is

all

Matthew

that

but

an

intermediary,

visitations: a

lives.

He

had no belief

of it.

his painting so

convincing

is

life.

The two on

the

summons. The old man

in his

wrapped up

is

in

front

in

at

cal-

material-

is

money.

group understands

suddenly opened up. and

He

is

stunned: here live as a

that a

we

is

a

new

see him,

complacent career

barefoot apostle.

to himself incredulously. In a to spring up. scatter the table,

in angelic

thoroughly earthly man, Caravaggio,

and what makes

new

to

see the

in the

being asked to

another

person, the Church, in an ordinary way, in the midst

of our ordinary

We

not yet responding, but trying to accept the reahty

very canny man; he realized

through

Caravaggio pretty boy,

young man

the

Only one

The

kind of animal

half-amused expression.

summons

do not even

possibihrv' has

a

that they will not take the slightest

once

at

minded, engrossed

most of us would not be summoned by Christ

directly

his friend, a typical

sophisticated

culations;

sees,

and the hand, sum-

blocked from our view by the

a

the

a violent

him most of all was the different summons. The two young men on

the back, the intellectual,

bulky figure of St Peter, representing the Church. Caravaggio was

way

the

fascinated

notice of the left

there in the darkness, lighting up the shadows

that thin, ascetic, powerful face,

a

know

summons came from Christ. He his work and follow Him. Christ

simply by his presence. That

men and

one nearest Christ looks on with

that unfortunate thing: an official tax-coUector),

when

that very solid table, the

the right are intrigued but uncomprehending.

that

comfortable, nice-looking, elderly bourgeois in the

was

is

world.

won-

Matthew,

There

sword juts out to remind us they lived in

delving into the meaning ot one ot

at his

all.

responses to the

the great gospel stories:

middle, was

57 1/2

great muscular legs of the

derfully conjoined.

Here he

1

1610

earthiness of it

- sometimes -

body and

Italy

Italy

the roofless darkness.

It is

He

moment he

and follow

a risk, a

gamble,

50

is

going

C'hrist into a

version of the question put to each one ot

the

man

points

dramatic us.

Calling of St Matthew Oil on canvas

Caravaggio

33S x

348cm

1599-1600

(1335 x I37in)

San Luigi dei Frances!, Rome,

Italy

C

ti

ve

rs

II

i

of St Paul

CARAVAGGIO Born Caravaggio or Milan, Died Port'Ercole,

his

T'of

Caravaggio

the 'bad boy' of this.

adnut he

I

somebody

how

art;

generally regarded as

is

such

down

it

disreputable Caravaggio, that

He

moving.

is

showing

kind of 'bad boy' erant

He

man who

thrown off because

terrifyingly,

appeared to him.

There

his horse.

is

horseback

the trappings ot

all

self-certainty are roughly

Look

at

stretched,

Paul,

arms

what

is

proud man,

once thrown

a

up

heaven

in front

superior to anybody

of him, else.

is

he

fills,

is

the the

not to

that has so une.xpectedly

his belly. Paul has

become lower than

predicament than he had ever been to the his fellow

the back,

is

a

humans. The groom

moving

hmi

and

away, and in

Paul,

with

a

too, there

completely indiffer-

figure,

He

minute we

his useless

One

eyes

this

teels that

is

will

tenderly leading

be

left

sword and armour,

ground, exposed to the

as

It is

and what

a sensitive horse, careful

his responsibilirv', the horse.

Now he cannot even let

He

as central,

ent to Paul, concerned only with the well-being ot

in

removed.

to

spothghted

needs of

absolutely vulnerable, legs out-

raised

is

Paul

to Paul's

at

ofl" his

digniry-

And

man who thought himself able to judge and condemn others. The horse is more alert

significance here, a

flat.

the beasts, the

was blinded and

power and

shut since he has been blinded. see

a is

control, above the others, but

horse,

He

he had

who

beneath

slid

mission to intensify the per-

a

man on

a

also a

angrily persecuted the Christians.

when, suddenly,

vision. Christ

was

laid

Caravaggio shows the whole

on the poor creature

tread

this picture so

who

the beginning: a narrow, intol-

at

was riding on

secutions

makes

us St Paul,

of others, but

important, because, with a stroke

less

brilliance,

horse doing?

of the wild, violent,

that reputation,

is

horse

what

see

event not in terms of Paul but of the horse.

ot

choice he had, none of us can judge.

But

we

be thrown off a horse: not just coming

to

to the level

of utter

as to

how much freedom

responsible he was,

means

becomes even

as killing

an argument about tennis, but

in

it

do not altogether agree with

I

dici cireadful things,

1571/2

1610

with compassionate truthfulness, so that

Caravaggio's picture of the conversion

is

St Paul.

Italy

Italy

light

a

Caravaggio paints him

Caravaggio hoped something

would happen

to him, that

like

he would be thrown

made him

misery to himself and to others, and be made to

he

5^

on the

of truth.

off die horse of violence and self-will that

alone have vision

only with tiat

flat,

exposed to the

light

of truth.

Conversion of St Paul

00

on canvas

Caravaggio

230 x 175cm (903 x 68^in)

Santa Maria del Popolo,

Rome,

Italy

1600-1

.Ca)

:ii^:^

4

7"^

iL. ..u; ^ ^#i

1

TciCazzo Tsa/uxr

,iW

*

VENICE

Doge's Palace in Venice, building so splendid In the there grand picture by Giambattista Tiepolo a

is

it,

that

thought of their

city. It is

the equal of any of the art within

it is

shows us

that

a

On

queenly beauty, relaxing with grave sweetness on her couch.

companion

nymph cower as

sea

deigns to accept.

On

last

It is

the other side, equally cowed,

of the

none the

a delightful painting,

of the great Venetian State. It

is

artists,

but he

propaganda

political

less

here using his

is

great images

celebrations,

fools,

who

House of

Lei'i;

also bibhcal,

but

now

m

the church its

the

Accademia

where

I

went

to

I

lament

morning Mass

dynamic God

original setting the

vers'

Gallery.

ecclesiastical

art,

perhaps with

art there

and marriage

(St

a

is

was one of the

twinkle, in the service

unrivaOed. This

three of them.

all

silk-clad musicians.

frighten the timid.)

some of his most

this.

There

is

(the Gesuiti), but

Creating the Animals,

George dehghting

is

the city of

adorned with

It is still

contemporary

(He got into trouble with title

to Feast in

The immense energy of

colourftil

and exuberant pictures

a wonderfiil Tintoretto, Crucifixion, in

all

I

would have loved

to have seen in

sweep and fervour, with the animals

taken aback, or his picture of Sf Louis and St George, which

St Louis)

a

world both venerate their

problem by simply changing the

less likely to

Tintoretto adorned church after church, though are

Neptune and

which Venice graciously

instinctively painted gospel teasts as

Negro pages and

the Inquisition for his Last Supper but solved the the

depicts Venice as a

at its best.

by Veronese,

complete with

it

side,

so for being sheer fantasy. Tiepolo

Titian and Giorgione, of Carpaccio and the BeUinis,

numerous

one

the massive lion of St Mark, a symbol here

lies

Venice needs no propaganda: the

Artistically,

the Venetians of his time

and

suppliants, awed, holding out their riches,

of the Church. The commercial world of shipping and the overlady.

how

called Venice Receiving the Tribute of the Ocean,

is

really

about celibacy (the modest

in his rescued princess as she rides the defeated

dragon of lust).

We Grand tribute

are blessed

Tourists, that

I

with so many fine Canalettos and Guardis in Britain, mementos of the

saw the whole

one can pay Venice

appear. Titian,

who Uved

is

at a

city

to say that

through their

it is

loyal

and

craft\' eyes.

even more magical than

its

Perhaps the greatest

landscape

time of plague, was well aware of the darker side to

the bright imaginings of Tiepolo that hnger in

my

55

mind.

artists

his citv;

make but

it

it is

Yo

Man in h is Stu dy LORENZO LOTTO

u rig

Born Venice, Died Loreto.

Italy

c.1480

56/7

Italy IS

3^^

Lotto J

was

a

nervous, neurotic, secretive man, and

perhaps that

is

rationahty,

why he could home in so well on

the secrets of other people. That was what interested

him; not so

much

face, the secret

like.

and behind land



it

There a

at

young man

of hints

as to

the back

is

window showing

in his study,

what

this

is

-

his

his

is

is

clearly

sitter,

artists

do

this,

to help us get

However,

him or her

There

is

the letter that seems just

still

is

amused wink

silk

or scarf that seems so inappropriate, and the

Hzard has been thought to be

a

is

saying

is

is

not acting but he

The

is

much

hzard

is

a

and out, hiding away,

that this youth,

I

think

pondering

hfe, has a secret, darting

allowed to

story.

does

it

inner

lite

see.

we must make up our

sober-faced, not a hint of an

to the viewer. Yet, for

feel that the delicate

melodrama,

a 'last

indications, suggests that

shawl

the

voung man

deep

all its

all

gravity,

voung people

ot

56

we

these romantic

down

Lotto found

rather touching in his youthful self-

importance, touching and yet very vulnerable,

lizard.

symbol

He

sense of the lizard.

He

to have fallen

with

But

In a way. Lotto sets before us the ingredients ot a

own

rose of summer" touch to them, the blue

here,

sitter.

being watched. The look he

novel; using his visual dues

from the man's hand, the gold chain and the signet

The

nobody

that

perspective.

ring, the rose petals that lie scattered,

of the

gravely over his book, obviously concerned and

hfe in front.

now

is

wondering about

with that mysterious

and disconnected (apparently)

his self-awareness.

aware that he

that what Lotto

an intellectual

in

meaning

its

mysteriously appearing and then gone again.

musical

giving us a setting for the

Lotto goes further,

is

brooding face and the intent

ver^' secretive beast, darting in

with other pursuits, a balanced young man.

Many

at that

more personal

own

instrument, the keys of authority, the writer's pen,

young man

that

common sense

giving us, the subliminal message, indicates a

young

hunting horn,

his

the land

may be

it

dark eyes, the long and slender person of this young

what was behmd the

over which he hunted. There

the books: the

we look

man and

us a rich

gives us plenty

man was

as

then

life.

Here he shows and he

the face

and

reiterating the basic

otten are.

as

Young

Mill! in his

Study

Oil on canvas

Accademia

Lorenzo Lotto 98 x

1 1

icm

(385 x 43!iin)

Gallery, Venice, Italy

c.1527-

5

Ge

St

and the Dragon

rge

VITTORE CARPACCIO Born Venice,

Italy c.

Died Venice,

Italy

who Christian George Stbefore Christianity. He has always been there;

air

who fights the dragon of winter, the warrior who goes down and fights the dragon of death. Human legend has always hymned this powerful myth of the hero who goes

the

he

is

the Green

Man,

on our

to batde

story-teller, has a

St

George

is

also existed

saint

a

is

as

and Carpaccio,

wonderful version of it.

With

bright scaly wings, huge teeth and it

to

swirls its

out

its

dangerous

tail

to

little

princess

vegetation

on the

as well.

right,

(Notice

it

destroys

how

centre, vigorous

on

away on the

of the dragon.)

Carpaccio

side is

it

just rescuing the lady, he

is

The

saint

is

is

a

in

its

rescuing

in

all

in a

We

good look

after

two

period of destruction, It

is

I

we who rat],

destroy,

or indirecdy

have seen on our screens

our newspapers those broken

bits

of bodies,

Maybe we should

take

the people in the distance, standing

at

and

the combat.

dragon, and

we

each have

can spear

of us. There

within.

it

St

a

armed warrior

through.

George

Then we

for peace

is

not enough:

we

have to

can save our princess: our capacity

and happiness

story, also to

(the third participant in the

be internahzed). and enter into

that belongs only to those

mouth and out

the other

triumph

combat between darkness and

light; tlie

responsibility for



But we each have

a potential

the sword-wielder and tackle the dragon

become

around with gruesome

uninterested, looking on,

m

who

not

forts,

uninvolvcd

Watching is

laziness.

exists outside

- unbelievably

time of the dragon.

their churches

path,

withered

George

wars -

and

the principle of destruc-

not something that

are living

terrible

its lair

there so safely behind their balustrades and outside

unhesitant; he drives his lance

right through the dragon's side. It

a

the timid

is

and

is

the effects of war and torture.

the Utde tree in the

clear that St

are half-eaten bodies strewn

reahsm.

all

St George's side,

making

and

draw our attention

as

We

through our

This dragon does not

voracious appetite.

with the softness of the early morning

either direcdy as in Bosnia or

enormous frame,

merely eat unprotected virgins, such

ourselves.

in the

pie-frill ot

its

that

great

that great

sheathed in gleaming black armour,

really beHevable.

is

filled

and

tion,

riding a great and ferocious horse, and the dragon

he attacks

seems

the creature of darkness emerges from

man of hght attacks it. What is this dragon? It is

the hero

behalf,

1460—

1525/6

dragonhood.

who

liic

shoulder

St George and the

Dragon

Oil on canvas

Vittore Carpaccio 141 x

360cm

(555 x I4ijin)

Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, Venice,

Italy

c.1502-

Entombment

I

for Pi eta)

TITIAN (TIZIANO VECELLI) Born Pieve

di

Cadore,

Died Venice,

hen Titian painted the

W''plague

was raging

sciousness of death

old.

later

fict,

side

with soon-to-be-resurrected silent

and the

life,

above

so

grief,

One

have shared: death it.

Mary Magdalene, wild with

painted with enormous passion. She

angry about death,

for

is

a

as

is

is

hateful,

if in

hands and knees. This

we

are

second childhood on

is

is

a

and

his

inner

lite,

intensity'

lived well.

but here,

at

We know

who made

Was

his prayer

the end, he

of his yearning towards

his

is

passion has

a lot ot

nothing abtnit

make

can

it

a

To make

small

this explicit,

his

painted

volo (a

c.v

it

Titian

son Orazio on their knees,

trom the

epidemic.

But

unanswered,

level, the

his passion

answer

is

wasted?

no. because his

overcome death, drawing

lite

out ot

darkness and wriiigmg hope oui ot despair. In the

his

puntv of Its beauty alone the

depicting the

God. As betits

we

fear ot death,

them were dead - of plague.

need ot divine

At the deepest

Titian was a materialistic man,

seems weirdly

air',

as a silent prayer). In

imploring deliverance

forgiveness.

money and

from the

before this painting reached the church, both ot

a self-portrait ot the old

Titian, affirming both his faith

of poetry by Thomas

line

hand reaching up out of nothing, groping

shows himself and

very old

his

either

death trom the plague. At the right there

a strange

panel put on an altar

not meant

of Christ

falls

he has painted beneath

well

side

The haunting

all

on

almost hallucinatory landscape

for light, for help, for salvation.

fiercely

may

feeling that Titian

But on the other

man, coming

is

see

grand Renaissance

out two forms that express Titian's

united with her son in love. There are two other central figures.

lie is a

appropriate. In that tailing brightness

living

and contained, yet somehow

a strange,

Nashe, 'Brightness

testimony to the

in a way, his

and

we

Everything

construction, with dimly glimpsed statues

setting.

unfinished.

left it

painting that glimmers

back again into obscurity. The

Christ will

to be the

a

light.

tomb where

world, this painting of the dead Christ, incaiulescent

Mary, so

it is

because he

Titian's,

buried and was, in

seems to be,

confession,

a

between darkness and to tade

he ever painted: he

It

personal

seems poised

This work was intended for the church

where he was last

The con-

c.1487

1576

must have been on everyone's

mind, and perhaps specially on

was very

the

Eiitoiiibincnt,

Venice.

in

Italy

Italy

eternity,

so

60

which

is

l:iiioiiihiiiciii

what painting

is all

celebrates

about.

Entombment

{or Picta)

Oil on canvas

351 x

Titian

389cm (1385X

Accademia GaUen; Venice.

1576

I53sin)

ItaK'

The Tempest

GIORGIONE

^

Born

Castelfranco, Italy c.1478

Died Venice,

Italy

1

5

1

10

e^e

is

so precious, so fragile,

has hardly ever

been filmed. In one way

lorgione's Tempest that It IS

it

for the full glare it is

some

nice that there are

rather sad, since this

the pair as Synagogue and Church.) Another party

vehemently urges the meaning

in

another way

the male being action, with his

one of the most magical

is

clothes, the that

pictures ever painted.

Giorgione died in

a

wonderful poetry,

music that has never been equalled.

own

people of his

time and

particular painting this

can decide what

it

is

is

we

with true,

a soldier

but

explaining

Some

and

In this

tions.

what

it

a g\'psy.

An

early (sixteenth-

its

beauty and fascination.

scholars have decided that

Order, the

and the

a

rising in the

at

Not

the

fertile

woman

that

I

background. (A variation of

think

my own

comes

reading

He

night

m

Once

the sun

that

is

is

the at-

these interpreta-

is

closest,

but tor

quite ditierent. is

the flash of

the centre of the pictorial

thinking of the intense darkness of

world before

electricity or

even

gas.

went down, darkness came. Suddenly,

see.

What do we

flashes a bolt

see?

A man

of lightning,

and

mysterious, standing there.

at all, say

with

true

a woman, What are they doing? Darkness closes in again: we ne\er know. He is portraying that intense moment ot \i\id sight in a

Eden

world of darkness,

the broken pillars behind hiin,

Order, the

last

man/woman,

Of all

think what intrigues Giorgione

and we

Adam

symbolic representation of the Old

man with

New

the

worth,

through that thick night

a picture ot

it is

in a claim for

theory, have emphatically disagreed: IS

It IS

it is

meaning.

literally

(it is

the gulf between the fig-

about

and the difterences.

That may be

very short distance towards

goes

and Eve; yet others, looking askance

It

at as

lightning, and that this

Mars and Venus; others have put

they;

I

lite:

Lately the view has been growing that

represents a landscape

it

a

still.

state).

traction

enthralled the

enthrals us

it

com-

and working

staft

being contemplation

and see the work

ures,

a visual

woman

should look rather

perhaps because nobody

about.

century) description says

It

a

any activity would land her in an embarrassingly

unclad

his early thirties, yet in that

short time he brought into art something that had

never been there before:

being

as

parison between the active and contemplative

things too vulnerable

of the camera, but

1

tliat

sense of seeing and not-

seeing, never understanding

a city

depicting our painful

this sees

62

human

what

is

seen.

ignorance.

He

is

The Tempest

Giorgione

Oil on canvas

Accademia

82.5 x

73cm

c.1506-

(325 x 28jin)

Gallery, Venice, Italy

^P^ 3dA/^c(jA^ 4^.

^^

At

I

i

'J

ilifi h'

.

4?

•r-

-^

«-

n f-

4fc5

A^^ ^(U^iaju4

>^,-l-i

K-y

^q ke the\-

is

keen

dead back to

ing metal and the vulnerable

cjmc

We can

active power, lovely, intelligent, his flowing

and was tound by Tancred's

where ihe>' tound rv\t) dead

ending.

think, because of the horses.

for piDtcction.

to the cit>,

his tn>ops

warrior's dark steed stands motionlc*ss. obedi-

ent, passively waiting.

Tancred hardly knew that she

and

great plates of steel;

- the crowning beaun- of every

foresee this ending,

war

love."

and he opened

of blood, and they had no

appeared, and the ston. has

tell

because

religion, the

loss

time - and bound

geographical separateness

However, Erminia

captured, escaped, tquirc. Vafrino.

a

in politics

their peoplc-s.

and the sad existed.

It

not

kills

his tace

bandages. Erminia seized his sword and cut hair

he treated

calm thoughtfulness. and she

his usual,

between

adventures he

whom

on

tears tell

wrenched otihis armour, those

not only

wonderful tighter but also

stage in his

Her

and

love thee

I

Tancred was not dead, but dying. Tht^

his eves.

because he was such

met

behold/ Death wounds but

she wept.

basically political, rather

w-as the great Christian hero,

says Tasso,

Erminia knelt

than religious.

Tancred

come too late. down beside him,

they had

Crusade, Jfn(.' and lingers m my mind as one of the most

museum

This same

has a wonderful

depicted with a certain

touchmgly dignified

Antwerp recalls his

portraits

rich

m

I

have ever seen.

museums. Rubens" house, the mansion he

eftbrdess grandeur on every floor and

Dyck, the three throughout the the earlier

is

greatest painters city,

artists.

I

m

raised

by

his artistic eftorts,

the gracious garden. He, Jordaens and van

of Renaissance Antwerp, are glorious in churches and museums complemented by the still inwardness of

the great Baroque sweep of their hne

loved everything

I

saw.

119

A

ta

I

an

A COB

J

M eleaj^er

and

a

t

JORDAENS

1

1

ISnrn Aiilwi-rp, Ik-lgium 1593

Oicd

A[)tvvrrp. liclgium 1678

'

li.ui

IF

A

iH

to

lvhere

we

we get when

can in fact see the

expanse of the view,

shines in the lucidir\- ot the

we look, along the whole we see both a real cin.- and a

magical city shining before

What

is

it

so specific tor

time on the church clock: ten

us.

Vermeer

so interesting about

never really has

a 'story'.

His leading actor,

is

perhaps the only one in which light finds it is

ideahty and realism.

he

wonder of it. This painting

always hght itself the

is

subject, because

that

his 'hero',

is

hght that creates

is

a picture.

its

own

this cit\; in its

We see what reaHty

more than we imagined. That profoundly tranquilhzing

all exists.

We

a

cit\',

(an absolute visual essential) to have that lower layer also

on

darkening clouds overhead. But the storm has not

is.

revealed as that interior city: the

heavenly Jerusalem that reach.

different but

an almost photographic rep-

resentation of the city of Delft but

thing more.

it

impartialirs'

picks details

harbour, there a wonderfrilly golden roof Every

brick seems to ghtter

on

It

streak of blue

he takes something absolutely simple, something light sliine

with glorious

over the city buildings.

is,

why

We

infinitely this

is

so

do not long

with eager passion to cross the river to the visionary cit\'.

We

look

Vermeer has

at

set

it

with gende longing, with hope.

the ciU' across

has triven us a boat.

I3«

a

great river, but he

View of

D elf

r

Johannes

Oil on canvas Mauritshuis,

98.5 x

(Jan) 1

Vermeer

17.5cm (38^ x 465in)

The Hague, The Netherlands

c.

I

66

1

Saul and David

REMBRANDT Born Leyden, The Netherlands 1606 Died Amsterdam, The Netherlands 1669

hat

I

love about

W''romanticize and finger

his

relationship

Rembrandt

is

Saul

his refusal to

is

shown sunk

was, he cannot pull himself together

that

the biblical events were familiar reading matter in

but

his grasp

Rembrandt's day and

the subtleties of interpret-

all

would have been savoured. Saul was the king

God gave

David was the hero

who

slew Goliath with

Saul rewarded him, but their relationship was long

and devious, and

it

ended with open warfare

self-destructed and

Rembrandt

is

David became king.

focusing on an early and Httle

studied aspect of their lives together, instability

in

gave

rise to

when

Saul's

ungovernable rages

111

which he screamed and wept and hurled his spear at his attendants. In these wild fits, David could

down by

calm him

playing the harp.

Rembrandt

contemplates David the musician, and sees him scrawny,

young and Jewish. This

nificent

David

Rembrandt an

artistic,

of the

thinks

is

more

is

Renaissance likely to

but

what the king

is

doing.

still

to

draw

has his dangerous spear,

We sense

flaccid.

is

still

though he

enough he

that

is

gradually

by the music. It

is

the contrast between

without sentinientalm- -

The

old

mad

king

fills

to-be

is

only able to

Above him thickens tive,

I

two - wholly

the

that fascinated

half-fill his

a great

think, of two things:

Rembrandt.

of the canvas; he

his half

present power, alarmingly unstable.

The

is

small king-

part of the picture.

hole of darkness, indica-

one

is

the blackness that

engults poor Saul, a darkness of spirit; the other is

the future ahead for David,

vulnerable.

He

is

vacant space, but

viewers

knew

it

still

innocent and

destined to be king and will

well,

happen,

as the

fill

the

contemporan,-

only in dark and agonizing

ways.

what

have been true:

youthful harpist, lost in his music but

uneasily alert to

as

not the mag-

his terrifying

emerging from the horror of his condition, pacified

the Jews in response to their pleading; his sling.

He

handkerchief.

a

mental

wiping

between Saul and David was one

out

which Saul

the wretched misery of is

face with his curtain because, great king

as

that

all

He

the manic-depressive.

could well have been romanticized, especially

ation

in

way he unerringly puts on psychological truths. The long the

Despite to

all

we are asked human beings.

the superficial grandeur,

ponder the painful

realin.-

of two

struggling with their personal problems and their

unknown

140

destinies.

Saul and David

Rembrandt

Oil on canvas Mauritshuis,

(attrib.)

130 x 164.3cm (5i|x 64|in)

The Hague, The Netherlands

C.1655

r

BRIEF LIVES F

THE ARTISTS

Cr is tofano ALLORi

A Florentine bv bnth, Allon was taught style

hrst

bv

He was

sonietmies

He

his father's.

a perfectionist

liaison

who

with

a

had bouts of piet>', and

w^oman known

his taniily

name of Bronzino. He

visited

Rome

in 1610

where he saw Caravaggio's Mori was a gifted man, a

and by 1616 was very famous.

fine portrait painter, a landscape artist, poet a libertine

known by

then entered the studio of Gregorio Pagani, w^hose

his tather, Alessandro,

he preferred to

paintings.

is

(1577-1621)

as 'La

it is

and musician. Gossip reports him to have been true that he

formed an unhappy and expensive

Mazzafirra'. She was the

model

for his Judith, while

the head she carries was said to be a self-portrait.

Albrecht ALTDORFER

Born

in Bavaria, Altdoifer spent

official posts

he made

and became

a trip

down

the

most of

(c.

his Ufe in

1480-1 538)

Regensburg, where he held several

prosperous. His Hfe seems to have changed in about 151

Danube and was moved by

landscape drawings and etchings, and

1

when

the sceners' in the Austrian Alps.

his paintings gradually

gave

He

more and

made many more importance to the landscape rather than the figures. In 1 526 he was made city architect and became a member of the town council. Apparently, he was a happy man w^ho had a successful career, but

we

only

know

the bare outlines of his

143

lite.

the artists

;rief lives of

Fra ANGELico

Guido

di Piero

was born

he was apparently the

in the

mature man,

Dominican community

Domenico. The as

a

an

artist.

tide

many novices, when he joined

Mugello, north-east of Florence. Unlike

as

well

already being a recognized

as

in Fiesole,

where

Angelico seems to refer to

He became

1400-1455)

(c.

in 1450 his

artist,

he was appointed Prior ot San

goodness

as a

monk as

well as his genius

very well known, working outside Florence and Fiesole on a

occasions, the most important being his invitation to work in Rome, where between about 1445 and 1449 he painted four cycles of frescos in the Vatican. He had studio assistants but was himself a fast worker. In about 1453 he returned to Rome where he was buried in the main Dominican church, Santa Maria sopra Minerva.

number of

Hans BALDUNG

Hans

Baldung came from

a family

(c.

I

484/6-1 545

of lawyers and doctors

about eighteen he entered Durer's workshop

in south-west

Nuremberg

in

)

as

Germany and

at

an apprentice, hi 1509-10

he married, setded in Strasbourg and began his series of images of witches, as well as designing stained-glass windows and making woodcut illustrations tor books. He was

commissioned he spent

five years.

to allegorical

be one

in 15 12 to paint the important altarpiece in the cathedral at Freiburg,

where

The Reformation meant less demand for rehgious subjects and he turned

themes from

classical hterature.

of the greatest painters

of his time, and

He his

144

was considered by

his

contemporaries to

drawings were acquired by early collectors.

^RIEF LIVES

()I=

THE ARTISTS

Giovanni Lorenzo bernini

JtSeniiiii

IS

known

(1598-1680)

great sculptor and architect, but he was the Renaissance all-rounder:

as a

he wrote music and comedies, macle stage designs, and painted Bernini was

first

where Bernini

taught by his father,

stayeci

all

his

life,

a sculptor.

one

apart tVom

The

\isit

fimily

as well.

moved

to Paris in 1665.

Born

in Naples,

Rome in When he was to

1605, still

a

teenager the wealthy Cardinal Scipione Borghese commissioned sculptures from him. But

Pope Urban VIII was relationship.

stern as

A

his

devout

sculptors in

in the Basilica.

Rome

worked under him

ler Borch was born

under

who

portraits

Dutch

a rare

interior

for fift\'-six years

When

Haarlem.

He

travelled to later

and the small domestic dramas lite.

145

It

be

was

he was responsible for

assistants in his studio,

was

fifteen

and most

precocious child and began his

a it

England

seems he studied painting

in 1635 to join the studio

he went to

Italy

psychological penetration, but his greatest

stayed for the rest of his

said to

(1617-1681)

he was about

He

long working

time.

borch

was an engraver, and two years

with

where he

in

some

the eastern Netherlands.

his tather.

Amsterdam and then uncle,

m

ter

at

a

He was

protuse talker with strong convictions.

He employed numerous

Gerard

training

a

became famous;

Architect of St Peter's that he

works

he had

he believeci he was the tool of Clod.

by nature, but passionate when angry,

the major

whom

most important patron, with

C^atholic,

it

and Spain.

skill

He

in

of his

painted

was in depicting the

enclosed. In 1654 he was in Deventer,

)

BRIEF LIVES OF THE ARTISTS

Sandro BOTTICELLI

Alessandro Botticelh

di

Mariano

means

'a

He

elder brother.

Filipepi

wine

small

was born

cask', a

(

c

i

.

445- i 5

in Florence, the

name which seems

son of a tanner. to have first

Rome in

The nickname

been given

to his

148 1-2 to paint frescos in the Sistine Chapel.

Botticelli's brother was a follower of the preacher Savonarola, art to his 'bonfire of vanities',

Savonarola was burned

and

it

seems

Botticelli also

the stake in 1498.

at

He

who condemned works

became

a

of

follower about the time

died, unmarried, in Florence

and was

church of Ognissanti.

buried in the

Pieter bruegel the Elder

details

o)

was a pupil of Fra Filippo Lippi and, after commissions in Florence from

the Medici faimly, he was invited to

The

i

of Bruegel's

life

are

shadowy, but

it

(

is

c

.

i

5 2 5 / 3

o- i 5 69

now known

peasant, as traditionally assumed, and was instead a cultured

that he was not a simple man. Recent detective work

born in what is now north-east Belgium. In that period the Netherlands In 1551 he (the modern country together with modern Belgium) was under Spanish rule. On his Switzerland. and Italy to travelled and Guild, became a Master of the Antwerp lite he ot his rest the for and print-seller, and engraver for an return to Antwerp he worked has suggested he was

was both

a painter

1563 and the

and

a

designer of prints.

couple went

being shadowed by

He

to live in Brussels,

political

and

married the daughter of his old teacher in

where he died young, the

religious strife.

146

last

years ot his

lite

BH

1

i; I

LIVES

()

1

I-

H

Hans BURGKMAiR

1

he son of a painter, Burgkniair was born

then

a

famous painter and an important

m

seems to have lived mainly

admired Oiirer and details,

we know

that

very

both

little

through which to view

ARTISTS

i;

(1473-1531)

He w as

in Bavaria.

figure in the

a

pupil of Martin Schongauer,

development of engraving. Burgkmair

Augsburg, painting and engraving, and artists

about

made

his personal life: there are

his painting,

which

CARAVAGGIO

is

(

no bad

5 7

I

I

no 'biographical

/ 2

-

I

6

I

After a difficult

with

start

he

his radical interpretations

painting directly from

and to

his killing

life,

commission

of traditional subjects,

who

died

Rome

in 1599;

his light effects

of a fellow-player in

a

ballgame caused him to leave a

when he was

in

about 1592.

he caused

and

Rome

knight of the Order

a sensation

his insistence

on

number of brawls,

hicreasingly aggressive, he got involved in a

Naples and then to Malta, where he was made

a state

up

finally received a public

spectacles'

)

Milan, and went to

his apprenticeship in

he

that

thing!

iVlichelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was the son of an architect,

young. At eleven he began

we know

of each other. But apart from scanty

portraits

at

in 1606.

He

fled

the lowest grade,

of grace that was, not unexpectedly, short-lived. After numerous escapades he ended

in Naples

and was seriously wounded in

imprisoned and died whilst waiting for

mourned and

a

a fight in a tavern. Ironically,

he was mistakenly

papal pardon to arrive. His early death was greatly

the effects of his genius are

still

with

147

us.

)

BRIEF LIVES OF THE ARTISTS

Vittore carpaccio

Apart from one been

a pupil

possible trip to

(

c

.

Ruskin's enthusiasm for

his

enchanting

artist

and must simply deHght

in

artist,

although

Aix-en-Provence his father

to a

of the time with Arts.

He

his friend

m

life

of

Venice.

He

Bellini.

detail.

had

have

a special

In the 1860s

again with fresh eyes.

m the work he

He may

We know

John little

left us.

(1839-I906)

wealthy fanuK; Cezanne desperately wanted to become an

intended him to be

Emile Zola and

submitted work to the

a

lawyer and the

art

establishment

m

Paris

In Paris he entered into the revolutionary fervour

thought him remarkably ham-handed.

Beaux

5 2 5 / 6

Giovanni

command

work made people look

Paul CEZANNE

Born

spent his

assistant to

and had an enchanting

this

460 / 5- i

Rome, Carpaccio

of Gentile Bellini and was an

gift for narrative cycles

about

i

first

also

appHed

to the conservative

Impressionist exhibitions

m

Academie

des

1874 and 1877 but

was not well received. On his father's death in 1886, Cezanne was able to retreat Provence and devote himself to the revolutionary paintings which were to torm the basis of twentieth-century art, though he himself always felt he was falling short. Like Titian and

his style

to

Rembrandt (both he aged.

He

to

whom

he

is

equal

m

CORREGGIO

Antonio died.

genius) his

work grew

all

the

more

beautiful as

painted almost to the day he died.

Allegri was

He was

known

traditionally a

as

(C.

Correggio from

I489-I534)

his birthplace

pupil of Mantegna and

knowledge of Mantegna's work, although the style

near Modena, where he also

his early paintings certainly is

softer.

show

his

His greatest frescos, always

much admired, are in the cupolas in St Giovanni EvangeUsta and the C^athedral in Parma. The events of his Ufe seem to have made no mark on the world although his art grew and deepened. His death

in his early forties

was an irreparable

148

loss.

BRIEF LIVES OF THE ARTISIS

(1386/7-I466)

DONATELLO

Oonato

di

Niccolo

Betto Bardi was born in Florence.

di

He was

described

as a 'rare

and

simple man' whose sculpture was unrivalled. In 1403 he was an assistant to the Florentine artist

Ghiberti,

years later he

who

made

haci

won

thirty years. Brunelleschi

their friendship

the competition for the bronze doors of the Baptistery. Three

statues for the Cathedral,

was

a friend,

seems to have ended with

study antic]uity, and enthusiastically

who

is

content

about ten years,

in

every

finally ciying

and continued to work for

whom

a c]uarrel.

Ijorn

in

over the next

to

Kome

in

about 143 1—3 to

capitals to

measure

as 'a

Nuremberg, Diirer was one of eighteen

his gifted

He went

dug up fragments of columns and

Albrecht DURER

allowed

it

he talked about the problems of art, but

man for whom the smallest meal is a large one, situation'. He moved to Padua in 1443, where he stayed for in Florence, a poor man in a modest house.

and copy. In 1434 he was described and

with

son to make

a

(1471-1528)

children. In

1490—4

his

goldsmith father

prolonged aesthetic tour of Germany, before returning to

Nuremberg to settle down. He made one or two trips to Italy and met the ageing Giovanni which had an enormous impact on him. His success as a painter, his charm and

Bellini,

sophistication as a

man and

the lessons he had learnt in Italy concerning the painter's

importance, enabled him to transform the social standing of the remains the greatest and most influential of the Northern painters.

149

German

artist.

Diirer

BRIEF LIVES OF THE ARTISTS

Artemisia gentileschi

A

(

i

5 9

3" i 65 2

/ 3

)

strongly student of her father, the painter Orazio Gentileschi, Artemisia was also

influenced by Caravaggio's work, with colours.

When

strong contrasts of light and

its

she was nineteen she was raped by

Rome. She married

to a notorious trial in

a

life,

unusual for

women

at that

fellow

artist,

Florentine after the

never totally recovered because of the incident.

independent

a

The

shadow and rich Tassi, which led

Agostino trial

but her reputation

marriage was brief and she led an

time, and travelled extensively.

Between about

she mainly lived in 1638 and 1 64 1 she was in London, where her father was working, but major undoubtedly one the remains Naples for about the last twenty' years of her life. She talent

among women

artists

of the Renaissance and Baroque.

GIORGIONE

(c.

I

477-1

5

I

0)

Cjriorgio da Castelfranco was

important figure in the evolution of Western painting but there are very few hicts known Giorgione about his life, except that he died young of the 'plague'. It seems he was called dns, ot course, is ('Big George') because of the greatness of both his spirit and his size, but guesswork. It seems somehow appropriate that this most curious ot painters should

sheer

elude our biographical

curiosit)'.

150 .•-Sir-

BRIEF LIVES OF THE ARTISTS

Vincent van gogh

Van Ciogh was

Dutchman,

a

a

pastor himself, did he decide to

whom

Theo,

he joined

m

ort' his

ear in a

he had

at St

a

died

six

May

IJorn

in a

poor

months

Royal Manufcictory of Household, the dismay.

now

moving of

When he was forr\'-three he fell a brilliant

left

by

his friends,

we

ill

and became

period of work.

still

inhabitants he

died two

ciays later,

aged

(1746-1828)

eventually to

become

He

had

a

for the

Painter ot the Royal

accepted without

totally deaf. Isolated

lived

his father

make cartoons

and despondent,

through the Napoleonic invasion

the end. Finally, old and weak, w4th failing

at

he went to Bordeaux, where he stayed

accounts

He

his loyal portraiture apparently

of Spain, emerging battered but indomitable sight,

]c)cal

Theo wrote

married, he was called to Madrid to

Tapestries,

moved when he

later.

startling truthfulness

he nevertheless began

becoming

iSSS he

in

Aragon, Goya grew up in Saragossa, where

village in

at

vounger brother

1890 he

Francisco de goya

gilder's shop. In 1774,

his

and

sell

voluntary patient, where

revolver and shot himself in the stomach.

Theo

helped by

to him that moved to Auvers-sur-Oise near Paris, where But van Gogh was too ill to be helped: on 27 July

as a

the doctor was an artistic sympathiser.

he borrowed

He was

a painter.

of wild unhappiness. Harassed by the

Remy

at last sold a picture. In

thirty-seven.

having worked

until iSSo,

making an abortive attempt

was never assured: the most tamous incident being

moment

entered the sanatorium

become

after

Paris in icS86, but his pictures did not

to Aries. His mental balance

cut

Not

the son of a Protestant pastor.

England and Holland, and

in art galleries in

(1853-1890)

until his death.

Reading

his letters

and the

cannot fathom the nature of this strange and wonderful

artist.

151

BRIEF LIVES OF THE ARTISTS

El GRECO

Born

in Crete,

Spain.

He

(

I54I-16

Donienikos Theotokopoulos,

trained

El

Greco

4)

I

('the

Greek') was mainly active in

m Crete, then a Venetian possession, as an icon pamter and always showed

the influence of Titian. El

Greco came

own when

into his

he settled

Toledo, Spam, in

in

quahrv' and began giving him regular

1

577 and the Spanish intelligentsia soon recognized his The violent upheavals and intense spiritualit\' of the C^ounter-Reformation

commissions.

fused with Greco's

characterized by

its

own

with Mannerist innovation to create

affinity

distorted figures and

his extraordinary style

strange, almost mystical, colours.

his circle of admirers diminished but there were alwavs those

As times changed,

who

responded to

his

singularity ot vision.

Hans

The son

of a painter

HOiBti.N the

also called

Younger

(i497/^-i543)

Hans, Holbein the Younger

left

Germany

m

i

14 to study

S

England, armed in Basle, and there he stayed until he travelled through the Netherlands to settled in London finally Erasmus. He with a recommendation to Sir Thomas More from

and became one of Henry VIITs

men

official

court painters. iromcalK.

most

this

civilized ot

died of the plague.

J e a

The

son

t)f a

n

-

Au

gu

s

t

e -

jobbing sculptor

Do

in

111

i

n

i

q u

south-west

I

e

1

r.uu

n

e.

c.

u

1

s

(

i

7 S

-

I

S 6 7

)

Ingres studied under David in

i'.iris.

but he liad

a There were always those who appreciated tlie purity of confn>m away turned tempestuous career; sometimes admired, sometimes reviled. He temporary Cl.issicism and became a radical painter, witli a p.issioii for Kaphael. He ended

his

his days

but

It

with great prestige,

a

graphic

line,

supporter of the orthodo.xy he had earlier rebelled against,

mav be doubted whether

his later

works have the power of his

IS2

earlv masterpieces.

BRIET LIVES OP THE ARTISTS

Ja

C

ob JORDAENS

(1593-1678)

Jordaens was the son of a wcaltliy merchant and

member of the though has the

bourgeoisie,

royal patrons only 'feel'

we

who were

his

main

commissioned him

all

patrons.

after the

associate with the Flemish: robust,

therefore, to think of Jordaens himself as thus, but

Vassily kandinsky

ften regarded as the 'founder'

lived

his life in

He

Antwerp,

a successful

had a long, productive career, (in 1640).

His work

rather stolid.

We tend,

death of Rubens

good-humoured,

we may be completely

mistaken.

(1866-1944)

of abstract painting, Kandinsky was born

in

Moscow

mostly worked outside Russia, mainly because of lack of appreciation there. teacher of law, to

Munich

about

it

was only when he was

to study

his theories

thirt\' that

and then teach (he was

of art and explored the

parallels

He became

Klee, but after

the Nazis closed the Bauhaus

the rest of his

life.

An

between

art

the Bauhaus, sharing in 1933

a

painter and

Kandinsky wrote

a natural teacher).

by theosophy.

a professor at

he decided to be

and music, a

moved

a great deal

much

house with

but

Initially a

influenced

his friend

Paul

he moved to Pans where he lived for

instinctive aristocrat in Hfe as well as in art,

he was always hugely

self

confident.

Lorenzo lotto

Lotto's strange and distinctive

st^de attracted

(1480-1556)

commissions from

trained with Giorgione and Titian under Giovanni and Gentile his hfe are certain. slant.

He

is

art history.

became

Most of Lotto's

work

not exactly subversive, but This

a lay

is

is

over

Bellini,

Italy.

He may

but few

have

details

of

rehgious in subject but always with a unique

his interpretations are

perhaps most evident

all

in his portraits.

amongst the most personal

Towards the end of his

brother in a monastery near Loreto, where he later died.

153

life.

in

Lotto

BRIEF LIVES OF THE ARTISTS

Edouard MANET

Manet came

from

a Parisian family

(1832-1883)

of well-to-do, high-minded public

He

servants.

m

1849 he surprised his family by became a naval cadet, but after faiUng his exammations Salon were rejected; all the the decidmg to become a painter. In 1 863 his submissions to rejected

The

works were exhibited elsewhere, and

ridicule

he received

doubt, though he hid

at

this

the

particular abuse

1865 Salon made him

was awarded the Legion d'houneur in 1881. as a "sale bourgeois",

conformist and

at

The

Picnic.

with

self-

beneath a charming, well-bred manner, he was helped by his

admirers, particularly Berthe Morisot. In 1873 he

and

was directed

briefly flee to Spain. Filled

He

a success at the Salon,

had

at last

and he

has been described as both a 'revolutionary'

underlining the dichotomy in his

own

character: at the

same time

a

an ardent left-winger.

ip--

Andrea MANTEGNA

Born boy

in the

Paduan countryside, the son of

to Francesco Squarcione, a

mediocre

(

a

43 o /

i

carpenter,

i

-

i

5

06

)

Mantegna was apprenticed

Padua Mantegna

talent. In

the classical past of Italy Squarcione used to adopt his most talented pupils so for their

work; Mantegna managed to

early twenties

he married the

sister

free himself after a court case.

of Giovanni and Gentile

Venetian dynasty- of painters. At the age of thirty he

where he remained acquired land and a filled

of the set

for the rest of his tide

with antiquities. first

him

and

built a

He had

a

develop

court

moved with

artist to

the

a

and personal

fiercely protected.

.S4

When and

so joined

Roman

\illa.

detail

secuntv of his material

artistic

not to pay

\ision, at

c

a

in his

great

Mantua

his family to

meticulous eye for

of engraving. The

his strange

as

he was

Gonzaga tamilv

house modelled on an ancient

passion for stone,

to practise the technique

free to

life as a

Bellini,

as a

developed a love tor

1

here he

w huh he

and was one hl unistances

once vulnerable and

BRIEF LIVES OF THE ARTISIS

Henri matisse

Initially.

Matisse studied law

and the need

in Paris,

and

made him

to convalesce that

(1869-1954)

was only the chance intervention of an

it

realize that

he wanted to paint,

there were financial problems and his father took a

occupation

as a painter,

Matisse profoundly and

South of France greater as he

but from 1904 it

was

that inspired

grew

some

was more Morocco and a prolonged

his

'unrespectable'

assured. Light always affected

his career

his visits to

older, and,

dim view of

illness

in his early years

stay in

Nice

in the

of his most beautiful paintings. Like Titian, he grew

when he could no

longer

from coloured paper which have been of enormous and

lift

a

brush, he created cut outs

lasting influence.

'"^iW

MICHELANGELO

(1475-I564)

Michelagniolo Buonarroti came from an old Florentine boys and was put to nurse with

and

his father

a

remarried. Michelangelo was determined to be an

despite his father's opposition. At thirteen he

but he

left to

on the turbulent with Pope Julius

rest

political II,

of his

the second ot five

life

artist

when he was

from an

The

papal court recognized his quality

was divided between

Rome

and Florence, depending

He had a fiery relationship Medici. Very much against

cHmate or the commissions he received.

and successive popes, not to mention the

he accepted the commission to paint the ceiling of the

Sistine

Chapel

in 1508-12,

designing the scaffolding himself and the Last Jmi^ancut there from 1536 to 1541. sculptor, painter

six

early age,

began his studies under the painter Ghirlandaio,

study sculpture in the Medici Garden.

very early on and the

his will

He was

family.

marble-worker's wife. His mother died

and poet, and

in his last years

Architect to St Peter's.

155

he

w^as active as

He

was

an architect and was Chief

BRIEF LIVES OF THE ARTISTS

Bartolonie Esteban murillo

The

youngest of fourteen children, Murillo was born

in hfe, which perhaps explains the pathos that suffuses

(1617-82)

in Seville. He was orphaned early much of his work. His professional

however, was very successful and long-lasting, although his reputation has been increasingly diminished, and only now are we beginning to realize that he must not be career,

judged by the emotional nature of his themes. We know the marvellous truthfulness of his response to material religious context

of his work -

complex

a

litde

about him suggests

reality'

as a

-

person, but

in the highly

nature.

(1594-1665)

Nicolas poussiN

Poussin, one of the verv greatest of painters and certainly the most important French painter of the seventeenth century, actually spent his most productive years in Italy As his reputation grew, he began to get important commissions, such

Rome, and

St Peter's in

in

1640 he was

Cardinal Richelieu. Although he was

summoned back

to

as

France by Louis XI 11 and

made Superintendent of the Academy

the artistic climate in Paris stifling and returned to his beloved

remained for the

rest

of

his

life.

painting an altarpiece tor

Rome m

His vision of the landscape, profoundly

Foussin found

1642 where he

intellectual

while

appeal but there at the same time profoundly romantic, does not always have immediate

no painter who more repays

is

close study.

RAPHAEL

Raffaello Santi, or Sanzio, was born

m

(

I

483- 520) I

Urbino, i>ne of the leading cultural centres

in Italy

At the surprisingly young age of seventeen he was already a Master, increasing his artistic scope as he moved through Florence and on to Rome. Pope Julius 11 immediately recognized Raphael his supreme quality and there was general grief at his early and untimelv death. had

a

unique

perfect and

is

gift for

absorbing influences and going beyond them.

best appreciated

m

small doses.

156

1

lis

work

is

almost too

BRIEF LIVES OF THE ARTISTS

REMBRANDT

IRenibrandt was personal

life

lonely, but

a miller's

son

who

(1606-1669)

home

left his

Anisterdam. His

in Leydeii to settle in

seems not to have been particularly happy or successtul, and he died poor and

still

richly creative to the end.

making: he was wikily extravagant

in

Rembrandt's poverty was

buying

art.

The

details

of his

life

somehow unimportant in comparison to the immense integrity and work. He transcends fact in every respect, literally and artistically. are

Sir Peter Paul rubens

of his own well-known -

largely

-

all

visual

beauty of his

(1577-1640)

JKubens' career was an uninterrupted success from the time he

left his

birthplace, Siegen

Antwerp in 1 589. Like many painters of the day, he subsequently went to Italy where the power and beauty of his work was fully recognized and in 1608 he was invited by the Spanish Governors of the Netherlands to return to Antwerp as court painter. Here, Rubens ran a vast studio and employed many assistants - including van in Westphalia,

and moved

Dyck - which meant nearly

all

to

Banqueting House to act as a diplomat

in

Whitehall in London.

and negotiate

man of courtly demeanour, happy private

fame, spread across Europe.

his

life.

Four years

treaties,

to her.

He

was

after the

He won

who

also

great success.

Rubens was

157

as

a

had the bUss of an extremely

death of his beloved

lite.

I's

the government

first

wife in 1626 he

Helene Fourment and devoted much of his

Apart from gout, he seems to have died

instances of a completely blessed

upon by

also called

which he did with

and great integrity

tact

passionately in love with the 16-year-old life

and so

that his engravings,

the prestigious commissions of his day, including painting the ceiling of Charles

happily

as

he

lived,

one of the

fell

later

rare

BRIEF LIVES OF THE ARTISTS,

TITIAN

Born

(C.

I487-I576)

Tiziano Vecellio in Pieve di Cadore in the

Dolomites, Titian most likely

Italian

an apprentice to both Gentile and Giovanni Bellini, but was perhaps most profoundly influenced by Giorgione. He was the only artist of the day who can be compared

served

as

Michelangelo but whereas Michelangelo drew his strength from his association with the Papacy Titian - a much more worldly man - was the court painter to the Holy Roman Emperors. In 1532, Emperor Charles V commissioned him to paint his portrait in stature to

unique relationship developed which continued into the reign of Charles's successor, Philip II of Spain. Titian died of the plague claiming to be 99 but scholars have continually

and

a

revised his date of birth, assuming that he prestige.

Whatever

his age,

ishingly beautiful period

added

he constantly grew

still

a

in Seville,

Philip IV, then eighteen. for the rest

of his

to paint Philip,

life

It

but was early

was so successful

worked

succeeded

in

summoned

that

rather as does his

Madrid

to paint a portrait ot

It

was

said

he was the only one allowed

which aroused some

a great

envy.

No

it

He

painter and to be publically

gentleman. With the constant support of his royal friend, he

when

art.

to

in conversation,

obtaining his knighthood, but

social recognition

an aston-

he was appointed Painter to the King and

in the King's service.

and the two spent hours

as a great

is

(1599-1660)

seems to have harboured dual ambitions: to become

acknowledged

to his age in order to boost his

not fully appreciated.

Diego velAzquez

Velazquez was born

few years

in artistic power. 'Late Titian'

seems surprising that he sought

finally

this sort

of

his success as a painter was so great. His personality eludes us.

painter has ever surpassed him.

15S

BRIEF LIVES OF

Johannes

JLittle

is

kiunvn

t>f Vcrnicer

and strangely unsuccessful difficulties

and

his early

(Jan) vermeer

of Delft except that he was

death

left

c)f

beauty of

of eleven children

He

work

seems to have kept an inn,

represents

a

necessary personal

existence.

(I528-I588)

Veronese because he was born in Verona, Paolo's family name was Spezapreda,

hterally 'stonecutter'. a

his

much of his

Paolo VERONESE

run

a C'.athoHc, fatlier

his family destitute.

silent

counterbalance to the hated noise

as

(1632-16 75)

m his chosen profession as a painter. There were constant financial

and perhaps the haunted and

iVnown

ARTISTS

E

1 II

He

spent nearly

all

his professional career in

huge and productive workshop. He was

known beyond

a

the Alps, though not achieving the same kind of international status as

Titian. Despite trouble

themes, Veronese was

with the Inquisition because of his freedom

a

devout believer and

a

the son of a roofer.

He

had

when handhng reUgious

hard-working professional.

Antoine watteau

Watteau was

Venice and seems to have

highly successful painter, his reputation

(1684-1721)

little

education and

less

money, and, what

mattered more, very poor health. Yet despite suffering from tuberculosis, he painted visions

of an enchanted world which impressed even the Academie Royale.

new

him, they paid him the great compliment of creating

a

too young to develop his theme, but what he has

us suffices.

left

When

they accepted

genre: fetes galantes.

No

other

artist

He

captured his note of wistful gaiety, suffused with the yearning of a natural 'outsider'

159

died

has ever as

it is.

PICTURE CREDITS BBC

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and acknowledge

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all

copyright holders,

made

to

we would

should there have been any errors or

SCALA/Scuola di S. Giorgio degli Schiavom. Venice; SCALA/Accaderma, Venice; 67, 69, 71, 73, 73, 76, 77, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; 81, 83, 85, 87, 89, SCALA/ The Hermitage Museum, St.

61, 63

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17, 19,

Madrid; 21,

© ADAGP,

SCALA/Museo

Nacional del Prado,

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Madrid; 23,

photo R.M.N./Louvre,

Hermitage Museum,

31,

Matisse/DACS

SCALA/Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid; SCALA/Museo del I'Opera del Duomo, Florence; SCALA/Museo di San Marco, Florence; 35,

SCALA/Galleria 39,

DACS, London

Preussischer Kulturbesitz, BerUn; 107, 109,

photo R.M.N./Musee d'Orsay,

25, 27,

33,

Pans and

1994; 95' 97' 99' loi, 103, Gemaldegalerie, Staathche

omissions.

Palatina, Palozzo Pitti, Florence; 37,

SCALA/Galleria

degli UfFizi, Florence; 43, 45, 47,

SCALA/Galleria Borghese, Rome;

49,

SCALA/S.

Rome; 51, SCALA/S. Luigi dei Rome; 53, SCALA/S. Maria del Popolo, Rome; 57, SCALA/Accademia, Venice; 59,

St.

Paris;

Paris; 117,

in,

© ©

113, 115,

SCALA/The

Petersburg/© Succession H.

1994; 121, 123, 125, Koninklijk

Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp; Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp;

127, 129.

133, Vincent

Van Gogh Foundation, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; 135, 137, © Rijksmuseum-Stichting, Amsterdam; 139,

Pietro, Vatican,

Photograph

Francesci,

141.

621.

© Mauritshuis, The Hague, Inv. No: 92; © Mauritshuis, The Hague, Inv. No:

Photograph

1

Page numbers in

ilalic

refer to the illustrations

1

Bellini brothers,

Beriin, 11,

Bermejo,

1

1

1,

55

93-103

1

Bernini, Giovanni Lorenzo, 41, 44-6, 43, 47, 145 Birth of Venus (Botticelli), 36,

Borch, Gerard

Accademia

Gallery, Venice, 55, 57,

61-3

Allct;orY (Altdorter), 102, loj

Allori, Cristofano, 34,

?.s,

131, 136,

Borghese Gallery, Rome,

1

j/ j

1,

;/,

145

43-7

Bosch, Hieronymus, 15

142

Botticelli, Sandro, 36-8, 37, jg,

Altdorfer, Albrecht, 102, loj, 142

Bruegel, Pieter the Elder, 72,

Altman, Natan, 12

Amsterdam,

ter,

146

/j, 126, 127,

146

Bruegel, Pieter the Younger, 128

1-7

11, 13

Burgkmair, Hans, 100,

101, 147

Angelica and the Hermit (Rubens), 70, 71

Angelico, Fra, 32,

?j,

144

Annunciation (Fra Angelico), 32.

Antwerp,

11,

_;?

119-29

Apollo and Daphne (Bernini), 46, 47 Apostles Peter and Paul (El Greco), 88, 59

Calling of St

Matthew (Caravaggio),

50,

.5;

Ariosto, Ludovico, 70 Artist's

Bedroom (Van Gogh), 132,

Canaletto, 9, 55 ;

jj

Caravaggio, 41, 50-2, 51, 5j, 147

Tlie Assassin (Titian), 74, 73

Carpaccio, Vittore, 55, 58, 39, 148

Atalanta and Mealeager Qordaens), 120, 121

Carracci family,

1

Cezanne, Paul, 105, 106,

107, 148

Chagall, Marc, 12 Christ Child and the Infant St John (Murillo), 20, 21

Christus, Petrus, 119

Bacon, Francis, 41

Cima

Bakst, Leon, 12

Claude Lorraine, 79

Tlte Balcony

Tlie Bathers

Batoni,

99,

1

Claus, Fanny, 108

(Manet), 108, 109

Baldung, Hans, 98,

da Coneghano,

Tlte Colossus (Goya), 26, 27

144

Composition VI (Kandinsky), 90, gi

(Cezanne), 106, 107

The Conversation (Matisse), 116, 117

Pompeo, 9

163

1

1

1

1

SISTER

WENDY

S

GRAND TOUR

Conversion of Si Paul (Caravaggio), 52, 5j

Georg Gisze (Holbein), 96, 97

Corot, Jean Baptiste Camille, 105

Gesuiti, Venice, 55

Correggio, 82,

8^,

Gilles (Watteau),

148

no,

Giorgione, 55. 62,

Courbet, Gustave, 105

Giotto,

1 1

Jii

150

6j, 65,

29

,

Gisze, George, 96, g?

Dahlem Museum,

Berlin, 93,

Gogh, Vincent van,

132.

Goya, Francisco de,

11. 15,

El Greco, 11, is, 88.

95-103

Guercino,

Doge's Palace, Venice.

1

Madonna

(Titian), 74-5. 77

149

family, 41

Dossi, Dosso,

Duccio Tlie

1

Guillemet, Antoine. 108 Gyp'sy

Doria

22-6, 23, 23, 27, 151

152

55

Domenico Veneziano, ?j,

y, 15'

Guardi, Francesco, 55

Degas, Edgar, 105

Donatello, 30,

cfp,

i

di

1

Buoninsegna,

Duke and Duchess

1

of Osuna and

ihcir

22, 2J

Family (Goya),

H The Hague.

Dulle Griet (Bruegel), 126, 127

11, 131

Heinrich of Constance, Master, 128, 129 Durer, Albrecht, 94, 95, 98, 149

Dyck,

Sir

Anthony

Hcnrv

van, 119

Vill,

King of England, 96

Hercules. Dcianeira

and Nessus (Veronese), 68, 69

Hermitage Museum.

St Petersburg, 10, 12, 79, 81-91,

117

E

Hieronymus Hohschuher (Diirer), 94. 95

Holbein, Hans the Younger. 96, Eliot, T.S..

36

Entombment

97,

1

52

Holzschuher, Hieronymus, 94, g^

(Titian), 60, 61

Homer. 82

Everdingen, Caesar van, 131 Exter, Alexandra. 12

Eyck, Jan van,

11,

1

19

Ingres,

Jean-Auguste-Dominique.

Inspiration of the Poet (Poussin).

1

114. 115. 153

12,

m

Florence, 29-39

G Gambara. Veronica, 82

Jcunsh Brule (Rembrandt), 134.

Gauguin, Paul. 105

Jordacns, Jacob,

Gcmalde

Gallery, Berlin, 93.

Gcntilcschi. Artemisia, 34.

y5-'03

,?3,

150

1

ly, 120,

Jiidilh iJhJ her .\/.iiJ.(fn«nf

Judith unihlhc

164

us

ui. 153 (Gcnulcschi). 34.

«5

Head i^Hololrrne^iMUHi). u.

i