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Visit

Date: July 6, 2012 - April 30, 2013
Venue: Gallery N16
Tikect: RMB 10

Opening Hours:
Tuesday - Sunday, 9:00 - 17:00
Closed on Mondays
Tickets issued until 15:30, Last admission at 16:00

Address: East side of Tian’anmen Square,16 East Chang'an Avenue, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100006, P. R. China.
By Subway:
Nearest subway stations
Line1 Tian'an Men East
Line2 Qian Men

By Bus:
Tian'an Men East Station, Routes: 1, 2, 10, 20, 37, 52, 59, 82, 99, 120, 126, 203 (night), 205 (night), 210 (night), 728, Special 1, Special 2
QianMen Station, Routes: 5, 17, 20, 22, 48, 59, 66, 69, 71, 82, 120, 126, 301, 626, 646, 690, 692, 729
Tian'an Men Square East Station, Routes: 2, 5, 20, 22, 120, 126, 203(night), 210(night), special1, special2

Introduction
The cultural ministers of China and Italy signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Promoting Cooperation on Cultural Heritage Protection in Rome in October 2010, in which an important issue is to hold five-year-long exhibitions for exchanging in the national museums of both countries. Renaissance in Florence: Masterpieces and Protagonists is the first to be launched by Italy in National Museum of China.
Divided into three parts, namely, "From Initiation of Renaissance to Death of Lorenzo the Magnificent (in 1492)", "Renaissance in Its Heyday and Protagonists", and "Masterpieces", the exhibition showcases the artistic features, urban life and customs of Florence in Renaissance through 67 pieces of paintings, sculptures and handicraft articles. The exhibits are selected from 20-plus museums, art museums and related art collection organizations, for example, Galleria degli Uffizi and Pitti Palace (Galleria Palantina). Most of them date back to the 15th and 16th centuries, including masterpieces by Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raffaello Sanzio and Michelangelo and other renowned Italian artists. The exhibition makes it possible for Chinese people to enjoy a journey to Florence in Renaissance without travelling abroad and to deepen their understanding about Italian history and culture.

Introduction

  • Leonardo da Vinci(Vinci, 1452 – Cloux, near Amboise, 1519)
    Female head, called La Scapigliata (the Dishevelled Girl)
    1506-1508 circa
    Burnt umber, green amber, and ceruse on wood, 24.7 × 21 cm
    Parma, National Gallery, inv. no. 362

    This unfinished painting on wood depicts the inclined, ambiguously smiling face of a young woman whose abundant hair is rendered with decisive, minimal strokes that outline the sinuous strands falling down on her shoulders and that are only held up with difficulty by a ribbon that can scarcely be seen. The depiction, which is difficult to decipher, has been variously interpreted as a Madonna, a Leda, or a preparatory study for the second version of the Virgin of the Rocks which is in the National Gallery in London. The name of Scapiliata or Scapigliata derives from a description of a painting by Leonardo in the collections of the Gonzaga, the lords of Mantua, depicting the head of a girl with tousled (scapigliati) hair, and which has been identified as this one.
    Because of its technical and material characteristics, which differentiate it from other paintings by Leonardo because it is in monochrome, and from his preparatory drawings or sketches of various kinds, this work is unique in his pictorial and graphic output. Some of the precepts he formulated in his writings are translated into images here, for instance his method of representing human hair, which he says should be drawn to give the impression of “playing with a false wind around youthful faces, its different turnings graciously adorning them”.

  • Lo Scheggia (Giovanni di Ser Giovanni Guidi) (San Giovanni Valdarno 1406 - Florence 1486)
    Scenes from the life of Susanna
    1425-1449
    Paint on wood, 41 × 127.5 cm
    Florence, Gallery of Palazzo Davanzati, inv. 1890 no. 9924

    More effectively than any written description, this painted wooden panel depicting Scenes from the life of Susanna by Masaccio’s younger brother Giovanni di Ser Giovanni, known as Lo Scheggia (The Splinter), shows the city and its industrious activity as it was in the fifteenth century: a busy, energetic life with the colours of the market, the silk dresses of the girls, the painted facades of the buildings, which no longer exhibit the medieval features of the tower houses and have now taken on a more relaxed, convivial appearance, although the fortress at the right shows that the city still had its defensive walls.

  • Alessandro Filipepi, called Sandro Botticelli (Florence, 1445 – 1510)
    Adoration of the Magi
    1500-1510
    Paint on wood, 107.5 × 173 cm
    Florence, Uffizi Gallery, inv. 1890 no. 4346

    This work, which for unknown reasons was not taken to completion immediately after Botticelli’s death, was later extensively repainted over the original, presumably some time in the 18th. century. The unknown second painter tried to complete the work by referring to the drawing underneath, but did not finish it, which is why today we can still get a glimpse of the tiny, expressive marks made by Botticelli himself in one of his final works. This painting is in fact ascribable to his late period, at a time when the memory of Savonarola’s influence was still very vivid. In it we see a passionate devotion and a sense of renewed religiosity.
    In a vast landscape dominated by huge walls of rock, there opens a wide landscape in which the high walls of Jerusalem and the ruins of an ancient city can be seen. Along the roads comes a great multitude of men following the Magi and wanting to worship Jesus. The faces and attitudes of this excited, overflowing crowd are typical of Botticelli’s last period, in which we see a vast and variegated range of case studies of the human emotions.

Activity

NMC Hosts a Lecture on Italian Renaissance

On December 4, 2012, the press conference on exhibit replacement and the lecture on Renaissance in Florence: Masterpieces and Protagonists were held at the NMC Lecture Hall.

Director Lu Zhangshen Meets the Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities

On July 6, 2012, at the opening ceremony of the Renaissance in Florence: Masterpieces and Protagonists jointly held by the National Museum of China and Department of Cultural Heritage Promotion of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, Director Lu Zhangshen met Italian Minister Lorenzo Ornaghi.

Exhibition of Renaissance in Florence held in Beijing

Renaissance in Florence: Masterpieces and Protagonists opening ceremony was held at the National Museum of China in Beijing on Friday, July 6, 2012, showcasing the artistic features, urban life and customs of Florence in Renaissance through 67 pieces of paintings, sculptures and handicraft articles.

Press Conference on Renaissance in Florence: Masterpieces and Protagonists

The press conference on the exhibition was held on the morning of July 6, 2012. Media from China and abroad gathered at the Lecture Hall of the National Museum of China, reporting about this special exhibition featuring the content about Florence and Renaissance.

珍品
  • Alessandro Filipepi, called Sandro Botticelli (Florence, 1445 – 1510)
    Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala
    1481
    Detached fresco, 243 × 555 cm
    Florence, Uffizi Gallery, inv. Stores no. 201

    This fresco comes from the Hospital of San Martino alla Scala in Florence, which was founded in 1313 and was mainly devoted to caring for abandoned babies, pilgrims, and the sick.
    Pervaded by authentic religious sentiments, it shows some of the fundamental characteristics of Botticelli’s style: the harmonious balance of the composition, a clearly defined perspective defined by the strongly-painted glimpse of the floor, and a dynamic overall design that modulates and lightens the outlines of the figures. This fresco is the prelude to the great frescoes in the Sistine Chapel executed by Botticelli along with Domenico Ghirlandaio, Cosimo Rosselli, Luca Signorelli and Pietro Perugino.

  • Alessandro Filipepi, called Sandro Botticelli (Florence, 1445 – 1510)
    Adoration of the Magi
    1500-1510
    Paint on wood, 107.5 × 173 cm
    Florence, Uffizi Gallery, inv. 1890 no. 4346

    This work, which for unknown reasons was not taken to completion immediately after Botticelli’s death, was later extensively repainted over the original, presumably some time in the 18th. century. The unknown second painter tried to complete the work by referring to the drawing underneath, but did not finish it, which is why today we can still get a glimpse of the tiny, expressive marks made by Botticelli himself in one of his final works. This painting is in fact ascribable to his late period, at a time when the memory of Savonarola’s influence was still very vivid. In it we see a passionate devotion and a sense of renewed religiosity.
    In a vast landscape dominated by huge walls of rock, there opens a wide landscape in which the high walls of Jerusalem and the ruins of an ancient city can be seen. Along the roads comes a great multitude of men following the Magi and wanting to worship Jesus. The faces and attitudes of this excited, overflowing crowd are typical of Botticelli’s last period, in which we see a vast and variegated range of case studies of the human emotions.

  • Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci, 1452 – Cloux, near Amboise, 1519)
    Female head, called La Scapigliata (the Dishevelled Girl)
    1506-1508 circa
    Burnt umber, green amber, and ceruse on wood, 24.7 × 21 cm
    Parma, National Gallery, inv. no. 362

    This unfinished painting on wood depicts the inclined, ambiguously smiling face of a young woman whose abundant hair is rendered with decisive, minimal strokes that outline the sinuous strands falling down on her shoulders and that are only held up with difficulty by a ribbon that can scarcely be seen. The depiction, which is difficult to decipher, has been variously interpreted as a Madonna, a Leda, or a preparatory study for the second version of the Virgin of the Rocks which is in the National Gallery in London. The name of Scapiliata or Scapigliata derives from a description of a painting by Leonardo in the collections of the Gonzaga, the lords of Mantua, depicting the head of a girl with tousled (scapigliati) hair, and which has been identified as this one.
    Because of its technical and material characteristics, which differentiate it from other paintings by Leonardo because it is in monochrome, and from his preparatory drawings or sketches of various kinds, this work is unique in his pictorial and graphic output. Some of the precepts he formulated in his writings are translated into images here, for instance his method of representing human hair, which he says should be drawn to give the impression of “playing with a false wind around youthful faces, its different turnings graciously adorning them”.

  • Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci, 1452 – Cloux, near Amboise, 1519)
    Battle scene
    1503-1504 circa
    Pen and brown ink on light walnut-coloured paper, 10.1 × 14.2 cm
    Venice, Accademia Gallery, inv. no. 216

    This drawing belongs to a set of sheets belonging to the Accademia Gallery of Venice, and which are believed to be preparatory studies for Leonardo’s The Battle of Anghiari, a very large wall painting commissioned from him by the lords of Florence in 1503 for the Grand Council Chamber in Palazzo Vecchio. Close by Leonardo’s painting there was a plan to also position the Battle of Càscina, which was entrusted in 1504 to his younger colleague, Michelangelo. Leonardo was asked to immortalise one of the most glorious events in recent Florentine history: the victory at Anghiari in Tuscany, on 29 June 1440, of the united militias of the Florentines, the Venetians and the Church, commanded by Niccolò Piccinino, over the Milanese troops led by Filippo Maria Visconti. Leonardo undertook a long preparatory design phase and made a full-size cartoon of the entire composition. Unlike Michelangelo’s Battle of Càscina, this was also partly transposed on to the wall. However the undertaking was left unfinished because of Leonardo’s departure to Milan on 30th. May 1506.
    The group of knights and infantrymen, drawn here in an extremely rapid and confident hand, has been recognised as one of Leonardo’s initial studies for his Fight for the Standard, the crucial moment of the battle, which Leonardo conceived as an excited tangle of men and horses.

  • Michelangelo Buonarroti (Caprese, 1475 – Rome, 1564)
    David/Apollo
    1525-1530 circa
    Marble, height 147 cm
    Florence, Bargello National Museum, inv. Sculpture no. 121

    This statue comes from the art collections of the Medici family and is mentioned in an inventory made in 1553, which registers it as being in Palazzo Vecchio in the rooms of Cosimo I de’ Medici. According to Giorgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists it was “started off” by Michelangelo for Baccio Valori, who was the Medici governor of Florence on behalf of Pope Clement VII after the fall of the second Florentine Republic (1530). Michelangelo probably hoped by making this sculpture that he could achieve a reconciliation with the pope and the Medici family, and be pardoned for his support of the ethical and civic ideals of the republican government, under which he had been responsible for building the fortifications.
    The David/Apollo is one of Michelangelo’s most fascinating creations. Its posture has many points in common with his Christ the Redeemer in the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, but from which it differs in the nonfinito of its surfaces, which causes its outlines to be blurred. But rather than a limit, the incompleteness of this sculpture can be seen as a significant foretaste of Michelangelo’s future work, in which he deliberately leaves some areas indistinct along with others that are more finished. Moreover, the frontal view is of particular interest for the way in which the body twists, and in its refined play of oppositions, which Michelangelo re-elaborated on the basis of models of classical antiquity. The particular formal qualities of this work made it a much-admired, much-imitated model for other Mannerist sculptors.

  • Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio) (Urbino, 1483 – Rome, 1520)
    Angel
    1501
    Paint on canvas transferred from wood panel, 31 × 26.5 cm
    Brescia, Tosio Martinengo Picture Gallery, inv. no. 149

    This small painting is a fragment of a lost altarpiece (the Baronci Altarpiece) depicting the Coronation of St. Nicholas of Tolentino which was commissioned from Raphael on 10 December 1500 by Andrea Baronci, a wool merchant, for his chapel in the church of St. Augustine in Città di Castello, in Umbria. As well as being of extremely high quality, the work is of considerable importance because it is one of the earliest by Raphael as a master-artist in his own right, even though at the time he was only seventeen.
    His completion of the Baronci Altarpiece marked an important moment that established Raphael and his workshop. From that point on he was called upon to carry out ever more challenging and prestigious commissions in Umbria, a region that until then had been dominated by Raphael’s master, the artist Pietro Vannucci, known as Il Perugino. The full, delicate face of Raphael’s angel derives in fact from Perugino’s elegant human figures; his form has a monumental presence, whilst the lively colour palette and the expertise of execution are a foretaste of Raphael’s later work.

  • Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio) (Urbino, 1483 – Rome, 1520)
    Self-portrait
    1506 circa
    Paint on wood, 47.5 × 33 cm
    Florence, Uffizi Gallery, inv. 1890 no. 1706

    This painting arrived in Florence from Urbino in 1631 as part of the collections of the Grand Duchess Vittoria della Rovere. It later passed into the collection of Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici, whose 1663-1667 inventory records it as one of a number of Portraits of painters made by their own hand, presumably given by the Grand Duchess to her brother-in-law when he began to collect self-portraits of artists.
    The young man in this painting has always been acknowledged to be Raphael, thanks also to its relatedness to another self-portrait, known to be by him, in the fresco of the School of Athens in the Room of the Signatura in the Vatican Palace. This painting enjoyed vast popularity from the early 19th. century onwards, above all because Raphael’s melancholic, youthful, graceful beauty corresponded so well with his art and with the myth of the ‘divine painter’ who met an early death.
    The identity of Raphael’s client for this work is debated; some believe he painted it for his uncle Simone Ciarla; others think it was made for Duke Guidobaldo della Rovere, whilst still others say it was for Federico da Montefeltro’s daughter Giovanna, Giovanni della Rovere’s widow, to whom it is said that Raphael gave the painting, as his thanks to her for having more than once promoted and favoured his career.

  • 17th century Florentine painter
    Procession in the Cathedral Square in Florence
    after 1609
    Paint on canvas, 151 × 331 cm
    Florence, Pitti Palace picture stores, inv. 1890 no. 2597

    The cathedral of Florence, which in its original forms is Gothic, stands in the middle of the city next to the medieval Baptistery and Giotto’s bell tower. More than in any other place, this public space is a symbol of the interweaving and overlapping of historic, civic, religious and artistic epochs, manifested as a continuous evolutionary process that has never been interrupted.
    It was Filippo Brunelleschi, the architect of the Renaissance and an innovator of absolute originality, who added the enormous cupola on top of the cathedral: a work of outstanding genius that is still admired for its beauty and the technical expertise of its construction. Above all it is a Christian symbol, visible from every point in the city and soaring above the skyline when seen from afar. But at the same time it symbolises the presence of Man and his dominance over technology and matter. Thus it also stands for the new Renaissance conception of Man as the centre of the universe.

  • Lo Scheggia (Giovanni di Ser Giovanni Guidi) (San Giovanni Valdarno 1406 - Florence 1486)
    Scenes from the life of Susanna
    1425-1449
    Paint on wood, 41 × 127.5 cm
    Florence, Gallery of Palazzo Davanzati, inv. 1890 no. 9924

    More effectively than any written description, this painted wooden panel depicting Scenes from the life of Susanna by Masaccio’s younger brother Giovanni di Ser Giovanni, known as Lo Scheggia (The Splinter), shows the city and its industrious activity as it was in the fifteenth century: a busy, energetic life with the colours of the market, the silk dresses of the girls, the painted facades of the buildings, which no longer exhibit the medieval features of the tower houses and have now taken on a more relaxed, convivial appearance, although the fortress at the right shows that the city still had its defensive walls.

  • Cristofano dell’Altissimo (Cristofano di Papi) (Florence 1530 ca. -1605)
    Cosimo de’ Medici the Elder
    1562-1565
    Paint on wood, 59 × 44 cm
    Florence, Uffizi Gallery, storage, inv. 1890 no. 4239

    The Medici family owed its fortune to Cosimo the Elder (1389-1464), who was known as Pater patriae. During Cosimo’s lifetime they acquired great economic and political power, based on the significant wealth they amassed at the head of the Company of the Calimala (exchangers and lenders of money) which had offices elsewhere in Italy and Europe as well as in Florence, and also on the support and sympathy of the common people. This led to the birth of a true lordship that kept the previous republican system but gave it a renewed sense of the city. As the unchallenged lords of Florence, the Medici commissioned the works of art that opened the way for the Renaissance.

  • The Buglioni workshop
    Tondo with garland and the mark of the Medici family
    1490-1500 ca.
    Glazed terracotta relief, diam. 79 cm
    Florence, Uffizi Gallery, Contini Bonacossi collection , inv. C.B. no. 93

    This large tondo surrounded by a garland of flowers, leaves, and fruit presents the mark of the Medici family on a blue background. The mark consists of three feathers and a ring with two dolphins supporting a diamond, and the ensemble is held together with a ribbon whose ends are flying loose; above is the motto SEMPER. This is not the coat of arms of the Medici, the ruling family of Florence, but their mark (the symbol). This work is exhibited close to the portrait of Lorenzo the Magnificent, to whom the symbols specifically refer

  • Agnolo Bronzino (Agnolo di Cosimo) (Florence, 1503-1572)
    Eleanor of Toledo with her son Francesco
    1549
    Paint on wood, 131 × 109 cm
    Pisa, Royal Palace, inv. 25

    On several occasions Agnolo Bronzino, Cosimo’s official court portraitist, painted the Duke’s Spanish wife, Eleanor of Toledo (1522-1562) whom he married in 1539.
    This example portrays Eleanor with Francesco, the third of Cosimo’s fourteen children and first in line to the throne. Francesco was 8 years old at this time, and grew up to become one of the most gifted collectors of the family; it is to him that we owe the reorganisation of the Medici art collections and the construction of what later became the Uffizi Gallery.
    In this painting Bronzino’s interest is strongly concentrated on the Duchess’s jewels and her rich dress with its square neckline and shoulder net, her embroidered silk jacket, her long pearl necklace and earrings, and the net, or hood, that holds her hair in place.


介绍
Firenze, 1445 - 1510
 Alessandro (o più comunemente Sandro) Filipepi nacque a Firenze nel 1445. Il suo soprannome deriva probabilmente dal nomignolo “Botticello” con cui era chiamato il fratello Giovanni e che poi fu usato anche per gli altri membri della famiglia dell’artista. Intorno al 1459-1460 venne messo dal padre a bottega presso il frate carmelitano Filippo Lippi, tra i più apprezzati pittori fiorentini dell’epoca. Da lui Botticelli derivò la costruzione della figura umana mediante l’uso della linea, certe tipologie fisionomiche e l’impiego di colori tenui e luminosi. Reminiscenze dello stile pittorico del Lippi sono ben avvertibili in tutta la produzione giovanile dell’artista, almeno fino alla prima metà degli anni settanta del Quattrocento.
Vinci, 1452 - Cloux, Amboise 1519
   Figlio illegittimo del notaio ser Piero, di Vinci, nel 1469 si stabilì a Firenze, dove frequentò la bottega di Andrea del Verrocchio, con il quale collaborò al dipinto su tavola del Battesimo di Cristo (1470-1475) oggi alla Galleria degli Uffizi. Nel 1482 si trasferì a Milano alla corte di Ludovico il Moro, inviatovi, secondo alcune fonti, in qualità di musico da Lorenzo il Magnifico. Nel corso del soggiorno milanese Leonardo si impegnò nella ideazione di un colossale monumento equestre per Francesco Sforza, allestì apparati per feste, lavorò a progetti di architettura e svolse un’intensa attività di pittore. Nel 1483 gli fu allogata per la cappella della Concezione nella chiesa di San Francesco Grande, la tavola della Vergine delle rocce (Parigi, Museo del Louvre); nel 1494 Ludovico il Moro gli commissionò l’esecuzione dell’Ultima Cena nel refettorio della chiesa domenicana di Santa Maria delle Grazie, che fin dall’inizio fu oggetto della più grande ammirazione. La sconfitta di Ludovico il Moro (16 marzo 1500) costrinse Leonardo a lasciare Milano e a trasferirsi a Venezia, soggiornando lungo il viaggio a Mantova alla corte di Isabella d’Este, dove fu accolto con grande favore e ricevette la commissione per un ritratto della marchesa di cui realizzò il cartone preparatorio (Parigi, Museo del Louvre).
Caprese 1475 - Roma 1564
Michelangelo nacque a Caprese (odierna Caprese Michelangelo, vicino ad Arezzo in Toscana) nel 1475. La sua formazione artistica avvenne presso Domenico Ghirlandaio, titolare della maggiore bottega fiorentina specializzata nella pittura ad affresco della seconda metà del Quattrocento. Alla scultura si accostò frequentando il giardino di San Marco, dove era raccolta la più scelta collezione di sculture antiche della famiglia Medici. Accolto familiarmente nella casa di Lorenzo il Magnifico, entrò in contatto con la filosofia neoplatonica, componente essenziale per lo sviluppo della sua produzione artistica.
Urbino 1483 - Roma 1520
   Figlio del pittore Giovanni Santi, Raffaello si formò in un primo tempo nella bottega paterna a Urbino, dove ebbe occasione di entrare in contatto con il vivace ambiente artistico e letterario della corte dei Montefeltro. In seguito il padre lo mise a bottega da Pietro Perugino, il pittore più illustre del momento, del quale studiò i processi di organizzazione dell’immagine e il linguaggio figurativo. A soli diciassette anni Raffaello si spostò a Città di Castello, in Umbria, dove eseguì le sue prime opere da maestro ormai autonomo, come la pala dell’Incoronazione di San Nicola da Tolentino per la chiesa di Sant’Agostino (1500-1501), di cui oggi restano solo alcuni frammenti, e lo Sposalizio della Vergine per la cappella Albizzi in San Francesco (1504; Milano, Pinacoteca di Brera). Quest’ultimo dipinto, in particolare, testimonia il definitivo distacco dai modelli del Perugino e mostra una piena consapevolezza della costruzione spaziale, conseguita mediante l’uso sapiente della prospettiva lineare.

概述

  • Alessandro Filipepi, called Sandro Botticelli (Florence, 1445 – 1510)
    Adoration of the Magi
    1500-1510
    Paint on wood, 107.5 × 173 cm
    Florence, Uffizi Gallery, inv. 1890 no. 4346

    This work, which for unknown reasons was not taken to completion immediately after Botticelli’s death, was later extensively repainted over the original, presumably some time in the 18th. century. The unknown second painter tried to complete the work by referring to the drawing underneath, but did not finish it, which is why today we can still get a glimpse of the tiny, expressive marks made by Botticelli himself in one of his final works. This painting is in fact ascribable to his late period, at a time when the memory of Savonarola’s influence was still very vivid. In it we see a passionate devotion and a sense of renewed religiosity.
    In a vast landscape dominated by huge walls of rock, there opens a wide landscape in which the high walls of Jerusalem and the ruins of an ancient city can be seen. Along the roads comes a great multitude of men following the Magi and wanting to worship Jesus. The faces and attitudes of this excited, overflowing crowd are typical of Botticelli’s last period, in which we see a vast and variegated range of case studies of the human emotions.

  • Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci, 1452 – Cloux, near Amboise, 1519)
    Female head, called La Scapigliata (the Dishevelled Girl)
    1506-1508 circa
    Burnt umber, green amber, and ceruse on wood, 24.7 × 21 cm
    Parma, National Gallery, inv. no. 362

    This unfinished painting on wood depicts the inclined, ambiguously smiling face of a young woman whose abundant hair is rendered with decisive, minimal strokes that outline the sinuous strands falling down on her shoulders and that are only held up with difficulty by a ribbon that can scarcely be seen. The depiction, which is difficult to decipher, has been variously interpreted as a Madonna, a Leda, or a preparatory study for the second version of the Virgin of the Rocks which is in the National Gallery in London. The name of Scapiliata or Scapigliata derives from a description of a painting by Leonardo in the collections of the Gonzaga, the lords of Mantua, depicting the head of a girl with tousled (scapigliati) hair, and which has been identified as this one.
    Because of its technical and material characteristics, which differentiate it from other paintings by Leonardo because it is in monochrome, and from his preparatory drawings or sketches of various kinds, this work is unique in his pictorial and graphic output. Some of the precepts he formulated in his writings are translated into images here, for instance his method of representing human hair, which he says should be drawn to give the impression of “playing with a false wind around youthful faces, its different turnings graciously adorning them”.

  • Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci, 1452 – Cloux, near Amboise, 1519)
    Battle scene
    1503-1504 circa
    Pen and brown ink on light walnut-coloured paper, 10.1 × 14.2 cm
    Venice, Accademia Gallery, inv. no. 216

    This drawing belongs to a set of sheets belonging to the Accademia Gallery of Venice, and which are believed to be preparatory studies for Leonardo’s The Battle of Anghiari, a very large wall painting commissioned from him by the lords of Florence in 1503 for the Grand Council Chamber in Palazzo Vecchio. Close by Leonardo’s painting there was a plan to also position the Battle of Càscina, which was entrusted in 1504 to his younger colleague, Michelangelo. Leonardo was asked to immortalise one of the most glorious events in recent Florentine history: the victory at Anghiari in Tuscany, on 29 June 1440, of the united militias of the Florentines, the Venetians and the Church, commanded by Niccolò Piccinino, over the Milanese troops led by Filippo Maria Visconti. Leonardo undertook a long preparatory design phase and made a full-size cartoon of the entire composition. Unlike Michelangelo’s Battle of Càscina, this was also partly transposed on to the wall. However the undertaking was left unfinished because of Leonardo’s departure to Milan on 30th. May 1506.
    The group of knights and infantrymen, drawn here in an extremely rapid and confident hand, has been recognised as one of Leonardo’s initial studies for his Fight for the Standard, the crucial moment of the battle, which Leonardo conceived as an excited tangle of men and horses.

  • Michelangelo Buonarroti (Caprese, 1475 – Rome, 1564)
    David/Apollo
    1525-1530 circa
    Marble, height 147 cm
    Florence, Bargello National Museum, inv. Sculpture no. 121

    This statue comes from the art collections of the Medici family and is mentioned in an inventory made in 1553, which registers it as being in Palazzo Vecchio in the rooms of Cosimo I de’ Medici. According to Giorgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists it was “started off” by Michelangelo for Baccio Valori, who was the Medici governor of Florence on behalf of Pope Clement VII after the fall of the second Florentine Republic (1530). Michelangelo probably hoped by making this sculpture that he could achieve a reconciliation with the pope and the Medici family, and be pardoned for his support of the ethical and civic ideals of the republican government, under which he had been responsible for building the fortifications.
    The David/Apollo is one of Michelangelo’s most fascinating creations. Its posture has many points in common with his Christ the Redeemer in the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, but from which it differs in the nonfinito of its surfaces, which causes its outlines to be blurred. But rather than a limit, the incompleteness of this sculpture can be seen as a significant foretaste of Michelangelo’s future work, in which he deliberately leaves some areas indistinct along with others that are more finished. Moreover, the frontal view is of particular interest for the way in which the body twists, and in its refined play of oppositions, which Michelangelo re-elaborated on the basis of models of classical antiquity. The particular formal qualities of this work made it a much-admired, much-imitated model for other Mannerist sculptors.

  • Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio) (Urbino, 1483 – Rome, 1520)
    Angel
    1501
    Paint on canvas transferred from wood panel, 31 × 26.5 cm
    Brescia, Tosio Martinengo Picture Gallery, inv. no. 149

    This small painting is a fragment of a lost altarpiece (the Baronci Altarpiece) depicting the Coronation of St. Nicholas of Tolentino which was commissioned from Raphael on 10 December 1500 by Andrea Baronci, a wool merchant, for his chapel in the church of St. Augustine in Città di Castello, in Umbria. As well as being of extremely high quality, the work is of considerable importance because it is one of the earliest by Raphael as a master-artist in his own right, even though at the time he was only seventeen.
    His completion of the Baronci Altarpiece marked an important moment that established Raphael and his workshop. From that point on he was called upon to carry out ever more challenging and prestigious commissions in Umbria, a region that until then had been dominated by Raphael’s master, the artist Pietro Vannucci, known as Il Perugino. The full, delicate face of Raphael’s angel derives in fact from Perugino’s elegant human figures; his form has a monumental presence, whilst the lively colour palette and the expertise of execution are a foretaste of Raphael’s later work.

  • Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio) (Urbino, 1483 – Rome, 1520)
    Self-portrait
    1506 circa
    Paint on wood, 47.5 × 33 cm
    Florence, Uffizi Gallery, inv. 1890 no. 1706

    This painting arrived in Florence from Urbino in 1631 as part of the collections of the Grand Duchess Vittoria della Rovere. It later passed into the collection of Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici, whose 1663-1667 inventory records it as one of a number of Portraits of painters made by their own hand, presumably given by the Grand Duchess to her brother-in-law when he began to collect self-portraits of artists.
    The young man in this painting has always been acknowledged to be Raphael, thanks also to its relatedness to another self-portrait, known to be by him, in the fresco of the School of Athens in the Room of the Signatura in the Vatican Palace. This painting enjoyed vast popularity from the early 19th. century onwards, above all because Raphael’s melancholic, youthful, graceful beauty corresponded so well with his art and with the myth of the ‘divine painter’ who met an early death.
    The identity of Raphael’s client for this work is debated; some believe he painted it for his uncle Simone Ciarla; others think it was made for Duke Guidobaldo della Rovere, whilst still others say it was for Federico da Montefeltro’s daughter Giovanna, Giovanni della Rovere’s widow, to whom it is said that Raphael gave the painting, as his thanks to her for having more than once promoted and favoured his career.

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