Studi di Storia dell'Arte 22

21x30 bross, pp.  252, ill. 345 b/n, 30 tav. color, 2011  - ISSN 1123-5683

Liliana Barroero, Cristina De Benedictis, Anna De Floriani, Gert Kreytenberg,
Francesco Federico Mancini, Enrica Neri Lusanna, Vincenzo Pacelli, Steffi Roettgen, Pietro Ruschi,
Erich Schleier, Nicolas Schwed, Anchise Tempestini.
Marcello Castrichini direttore responsabile

Cristina Galassi

L’immagine come rivelazione: le Visioni di Santa Brigida e l’iconografia cristiana



The life of St. Bridget of Sweden is located in one of the most troubled periods of European history, marked by a pronounced decline and profound political, social and religious changes and coincides almost exactly with the seventy years of exile in Avignon.
The grant is intended to demonstrate the role that the visions of the saint, which gives an account in the eight books of Revelations, the text of which still lacks a critical edition, were on Christian iconography. The Revelations were quickly translated into Latin by the secretary and principal translator, Petrus Alvastra and then reviewed by Alfonso de Vadaterra Pecha. The text, in reporting some of the visions of the Swedish noblewoman, often depicted in many paintings and miniatures in front of a vision of the Madonna and Child or the Crucifix, contains details on the life and death of Jesus, who influenced some of the main episodes of the series devoted to the Life and Passion of Christ, the Nativity, the Betrayal and the Capture of Christ, the Flagellation, the Crowning with thorns, the Erection of the cross and the Crucifixion, episodes that had been described only briefly in Gospels and in the official texts and instead told by the mystical with details of impressive realism, focusing a lot, especially in the vision he had at the Holy Sepulchre, the unspeakable sufferings of Christ.
The text had to exercise a decisive influence on European figurative culture from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century.


Fabio Marcelli

Il volo di Mercurio. Intorno al Ritratto di uomo anziano di Luca Signorelli 


The Portrait of Elderly Man, painted by Luca Signorelli, is one of the masterpieces of the portraiture of the Italian Renaissance (Berlin, Staatliche Museen).
In the essay, it is proposed the identification of the man in red with Cristoforo Landino: humanist and counselor to Cosimo the Elder and Lorenzo the Magnificent.
The chronological collocation of the Signorelli’s painting on wood is proposed soon after the 1481, when Landino became protagonist of the Florence culture, thanks to the print publication of his ‘Comento sopra la Comedia’ , work that emphasized the civic identity with the poet of excellence Dante Alighieri.
The assay deals also with the others Medicean paintings of Luca Signorelli illustrating, together with the mythological works of Botticelli, the centrality in the commission policy of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici.
Other remarks are dedicated to one of the pillars of the Medicean power system: the Chancellor of the Republic, Bartolomeo Scala. Great friend of Cristoforo Landino, enthusiast of the antiquity, Scala is proposed as possible commissioner to Luca Signorelli of the Portrait of Elderly Man.


Federica Zalabra

Il ciclo farnesiano di Palazzo dei Priori a Perugia



Between 1545 and 1548 cardinal Tiberio Crispo created a fresco cycle destinated to embellish the Sala Governativa per la state at Palazzo dei Priori in Perugia. At that time the palace was his residence where he lived as papal legate. Since 1822, these frescoes have been wrongly interpretated as a homage to Braccio Fortebraccio. Now, a new reading is proposed: every scene is dedicated to Ottavio Farnese, Paul III’s nephew, and the entire decoration is a great homage to the Farnese family and to his power. Same episodes and iconographical choices will be used for the later decorations housed in Palazzo Farnese in Rome and in Caprarola. The painters at work are those mentioned by ancient scholars: Vincenzo and Lattanzio Pagani, Tommaso Bernabei called Papacello. This study tries to identify the frescoes painted by each one of them and reconstructs the artistic atmosphere where Giorgio Vasari played an important role.


Simona Capelli

Marcello Venusti dalla collezione Borghese alla Francia alla National Gallery di Londra. Ipotesi per una ricostruzione delle vicende di alcuni dipinti romani



The article analyses three important roman paintings ascribed to Marcello Venusti, and their history of collecting. The paintings are: Cacciata dei mercanti dal Tempio (London, National Gallery), The Resurrection (Cambridge, Mass., Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University) and The Burial (Montpellier, Musée Fabre), that came from Rome- Borghese Collection- arrived in France and then went to England. The three paintings derived from drawing and sketches by Michelangelo Buonarroti. The derivation of Buonarroti drawings attests to the interest of international collectors of these paintings from the eighteenth and nineteenth century.
The reconstruction showed that French general Henri Reboul (Pezenas 1763-1839) and the English auctioneer Samuel Woodburn (London1786-1853) played a key role in the purchase of three paintings.

Paolo Ervas

Un misterioso pittore “veneto-nordico”



In the survay of the venetian painting of the 16th century a modest painter worked, but his paintings were often, but dubitatively, attributed to other even important venetian painters. His style was characterized by an evident “belliniana”’s component with a strong influence of Nordic art. Some aspects of his style referred to Santacroce painters, as regards the way of simplifing the compositional types of Bellini, and referred, for other point of view, to Luca Antonio Busati and Jacopo de’ Barbari. The strong component of the Nordic art, combined with some iconographic solutions, which were deliberately archaic, may suggest an artist who wanted to adapt himself, in his own way, to the atmosphere of more contrition and mysticism of religious feeling which crossed, in the less culturally advanced contexts, the period following Luther’s reform. His painting, therefore, could be appreciated in those religious contexts which were more receptive to the expressive and pathetic connotation of his figures. The proposal of identifing this painter with Giovanni Galizzi of Santacroce, at the moment, does not seem sustainable, also in the light of the hypothesis of reconstruction of Galizzi’s catalogue, very close to the Tintoretto’s style.


Laura Gori

Giovan Francesco Peranda, erudito e collezionista, dalla Corte dei Gonzaga a quella dei Caetani



Apart from a brief, though remarkable, biography inserted by Gelasio Caetani in his Domus Caietana and a few laconic references to his well known collection of Lettere, the figure of Giovan Francesco Peranda – a savant and a poet, antiquarian and art-collector, trusty administrator and advisor – remains still nowadays a largely ignored and forgotten one. Born in 1529, Peranda spends the earliest years of his life amongst Venice, Bologna and Perugia, where he attains the degree of doctor as well as that of abbot. Prior to his arrival at the court of Niccolò Caetani, cardinal of Sermoneta, in 1565, only a few facts of his life are known: his earliest sonnets in the gallant or mythological vein are published in Venice in 1553, together with works by the likes of Annibal Caro, Baldassare Castiglione, Pico della Mirandola and Vittoria Colonna; Peranda is then reported serving as a secretary to cardinal Francesco Gonzaga, until this last’s death during the Conclave of 1565. It is precisely then that the savant, in search for a new job, joins cardinal Caetani at his roman residence in ‘Palazzo all’Orso’. It is during his professional association with Niccolò and, in particular, with Niccolò’s own nephew, cardinal Enrico Caetani, that Peranda has the opportunity to meet some of the most prominent personalities and to establish lasting relationships with outstanding figures of the roman ‘milieu’ of his times: his familiarity with architect, painter and engraver Etienne Dupérac, his correspondence with sculptor Silla Longhi, as well as his friendship with painter-miniaturist Giulio Clovio and other artists directly linked to Caetani’s entourage – such as Francesco da Volterra, Giovan Battista della Porta, Pietro Paolo Olivieri – bear evidence to that.
It is also in his role as antiques-collector that Peranda builds up his fame among his contemporaries: reputedly on friendly terms with such renowned antiquarians and numismatists as Pirro Ligorio and Ercole Basso, cardinal Caetani’s secretary is able to grow important collections of ancient sculptures, thanks to smart acquisitions on the art market and the lucky result of archaeological excavations carried out with the help of sculptor Giovan Battista della Porta. The most notable of his collections was the one sold to his patron Enrico Caetani in 1591, but another one was sold to Vincenzo I, Grand Duke of Mantua, in 1601.
A way to look at antiquity, Giovan Francesco Peranda’s own, “che avanza tutti di bellezza” (“wining all others for his beauty”), as stated by cardinal Scipione Gonzaga in a letter to Duke Vincenzo I in 1590. Described as an art collector that “più d’ogn’huomo che sia in Roma ha avuto diletto nelle statue”. (“more than any one else in Rome took full delight in statues”), the multifaced personality of Peranda receives well-deserved reconsideration through the facts brought to light by the documents published in these pages.



Franco Moro

Tanti Maestri un solo nome: Tommaso Salini. Gli inizi a Roma del vaso di fiori



The present research proposes to identify the author of the works attributed to different Masters as the Master of the Grotesque Vases considered up to now as Lombard, the Neapolitan Giacomo Recco, the Master of the Fiasca Fiorita and the Master of Palazzo San Gervasio, with the controversial and debated artistic personality of Tommaso Salini (Rome, about 1575 – 1625).
The new Salini’s catalogue has been made up thanks to the contribution of some important newly discovered works, that has been useful to give us further stylistic elements to confirm the hypothesis and allow us to understand that the works previously classified under the name of the above mentioned anonymous masters actually belong just to one author and his various artistic moments.
The initial nucleus of works made by this creator has been formed; the same creator that from the end of XVI th century all his life long owns the hegemony of the floral genre in the papal Rome, the same author described by the significant words of Baglione as the first who painted flowers in very extravagant and eccentric vases along with other compositions of fruits, vegetables and objects. His great success is documented by a series of composition repertories, inspired by the printed Florilegia and the Caravaggio’s floral inserts, created by his personal imagination and related to the northern newness and the Spanish experience, in a fervent creative climate, that will leave the field to his nephew Mario dei Fiori.

Stefano Pierguidi

Il Ratto di Elena di Guido Reni nel contesto del ‘Salon nuevo’ dell'Alcázar di Madrid



Guido Reni’s Abduction of Helen (Louvre), commissioned in 1627 and executed in 1628-1629, was one of the most celebrated paintings of Seventeenth century. Its iconography is a very uncommon one, showing no quarrel around Helen, who simply walks away hand in hand with Paris. Critics have long speculated on this strange feature of the painting, without finding any satisfying exlpanation. Stephen D. Pepper was the first one to see a connection between the difficult history of the commission of Reni’s Abduction of Helen, ordered by Philip IV of Spain but then acquired by Mary Medicis, and the wars in Valtellina and Monferrato, for the succession of Mantua Duchy of Mantua (1626-30). Anthony Colantuono has published a stimulating monographic study on Reni’s painting, interpreted as a pacifistic message that the Barberini court in Rome wanted to be delivered to Madrid. This article, instead, aims to demonstrate that the strange iconography of the Abduction of Helen must be read in the context of the other paintings executed, in the same years, for the ‘Salon Nuevo’ of the Alcázar in Madrid, where Reni’s masterpiece was intended to be hanged. Reni’s painting should have been read in relation with Rubens’ Muzio Scevola, the former pointing to the bad behaviour of Paris, the latter showing the exemplum virtutis of Muzio Scevola.





Martina Ingendaay

Viaggio di un dipinto: il San Pietro con le chiavi di Guido Reni



Among the Bolognese correspondents of the Florentine grand-ducal court was Ferdinando Vincenzo Ranuzzi Cospi (1658-1726), who was charged – as had been his grandfather Ferdinando Cospi – with the search for works of art, in particular those of Guido Reni, which were much sought after by the Gran Principe Ferdinando. After weeks of searching which is documented by some unpublished letters, Ranuzzi Cospi obtained for Medici a St. Peter with the keys which was offered by Camillo Zambeccari. The painting boasted a lively history: originating from the Bolognese collection of Andrea Angelelli, it was taken in 1643 to Rome by his widow, Cristina Duglioli. Following this, the painting shuttled between the two cities, first in the collection of their son Francesco at Bologna and then in the possession of his sisters at Rome. Finally Isabella Angelelli had it at Bologna in the mansion of her husband, Camillo Zambeccari, who ceded the painting to the Gran Principe. Having arrived at Florence in the summer of 1708, the painting left Florence between 1709 and 1714 as a gift from the Medici relatives to the Electoral couple at Düsseldorf. It is inventoried in the Electoral Gallery in 1719, and it again appears in an engraving in the catalogue of 1781 of N. Pigage. With the transferal of the hole Gallery of Düsseldorf, the St. Peter entered the Alte Pinakothek of Munich. Five cities which compose the itinerary of this painting by Reni, documented stops along the way which constitute a little emblematic history of the transferal of works of art in eighteenth-century Europe.

Vincenzo Pacelli

Un bozzetto siglato di Andrea Vaccaro per la copia della Flagellazione di Caravaggio

in San Domenico Maggiore



The author presents a hitherto unseen sketch from a private collection. Bearing the intertwined initials of the Neapolitan painter Andrea Vaccaro and dated 1640, it depicts the Flagellazione di Nostro Signore (The Flagellation of Our Lord) that Caravaggio painted in 1607 for the De Franchis chapel in San Domenico Maggiore in Naples, which is now in the Museum of Capodimonte.
The sketch must therefore be deemed a preparatory study for Vaccaro’s monumental copy of the Flagellation, which now adorns the chapel of the Rosary at the right of the high altar, also in San Domenico. The author has identified this painting as the one described by De Dominici in the Neapolitan church of Trinità degli Spagnoli.
The discovery of the sketch could turn out to be crucial in reinstating Vaccaro as the author of the copy in the church of San Domenico, despite recent speculation that the Flagellation might have been painted by Angelo Caroselli during his time in Naples. In fact Vaccaro’s Neapolitan biographer, in his Life of the painter, had made no mention of Caroselli when reporting the critical debate - dating back to the 18th century - about the attribution of the copy, undecided at the time between Vaccaro and Battistello Caracciolo.


Anna Manzitti

Orazio De Ferrari a Giustenice


The magnificent alterpiece showing San Michele Arcangelo between the holy Giovanni Battista, Caterina d’Alessandria, Lucia and Francesco is located in Giustenice, a small town near Savona, and it is made by Orazio de Ferrari, a great genoese painter.
Thanks to some documents discovered recently in the Archivio Diocesano di Albenga – Imperia it is possible to state the date of arrival of the painting inside Giustenice church. In the documents we can find also some information regarding the payment that Giustenice community made to the painter for this work.
It is also simple to deduct about the chronological execution phases of the painting, this helps us to understand better the composition style of Orazio de Ferrari and its develop during the years of his maturity.
The features and the characteristic of the Giustenice alterpiece are typical to all the other works made during the second half of 1640s years.

Alessandro Brogi

Giovanni Andrea Sirani, Guido Reni, un cardellino e il cardinal Leopoldo



The discovery of a painting representing a very unusual subject, belonging to a private collection and here attributed to Giovanni Andrea Sirani, Guido Reni’s most devoted pupil, is a starting point to revisit a painting of Guido himself, now in Austin (The Blanton Museum of Art), depicting the same subject. Sirani’s painting appears to provide strong evidence in favour of the iconographic autonomy of the small painting by Guido, long thought to be a fragment cut from a lost work, while casting new light on its collecting history. But above all, some works perfunctorily believed to stem from Guido prototype prove to be perfect copies of Giovanni Andrea’s painting, raising questions about its original destination. Doubtlessly, it wasn’t a secluded one, owing to the relative fame the painting must have enjoyed.

Cristina De Benedictis

Due Guercino per due fratelli. Un'ipotesi di lettura



Two paintings on canvas documented of the Guercino late activity are object of reflexion: the Hercules and the Atlas. The first one dates from sept 1645 and was painted for the Cardinal Carlo de’ Medici, son of the Granduca Ferdinando the 1st; the other one, dated from april 1646, for don Lorenzo, brother of the Cardinal. Taking into account the great fortune of the mythological figure of Hercules for the members of the Medici family and the relevant impulse given by the family to the arts in Florence, the author suggests a lecture of both the
paintings together. The two subjects chosen by Guercino can have a polytical significance for the two Medici brothers: a stymulus to help their nephew, the Granduca Ferdinando the 2nd in his hard task of Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Nicolette Mandarano

“Il tient beaucoup de l’école des Carraches”. Precisazioni sulla storia della pala conSan Rocco e la Vergine di Alessandro Turchi

The article follows the history of Alessandro Turchi’s altarpiece representing Saint Rocco and the Virgin. From the work’s disappearance from Saint Eustache’s church in Paris, to its inclusion in the D’Orléans collection in 1720, to the many sales that brought it in its present position, in München’s Staatsgemäldesammlungen. The account of the historical events is accompanied by a critical overview of the artistical writings relating to the work.

Mary Newcome

Addenda to Guidobono


The article is intended as an appendix/update to the 2002 monograph on the brothers Bartolomeo and Domenico Guidobono. The new pictures confirm the two styles of Bartolomeo, one pre rococo and one with large figures set against dark backgrounds. Coats of arms on 2 paintings and a large painting in Seville’s cathedral show the range of his patronage. The new pictures also display the ability of Domenico to paint portraits, still life and genre as well as highly decorative compositions when he was working at the court in Torino (1709-26). However, the organization of the new pieces by subject reveals the similarities in the work of the brothers and the problems of attribution that still exist.

Sabrina Norlander Eliasson - Mark Shepheard
Batoni’s portraits of the Sforza Cesarini the identity of the sitters and the role of portraiture in the family’s collection of art

his paper examines Pompeo Batoni’s two Sforza Cesarini portraits: the portrait of Duke Gaetano II in Melbourne and that of a woman traditionally identified as Gaetano’s wife, which hangs today in Birmingham. It argues that the sitter in the Birmingham portrait is not Gaetano’s wife but is in fact his sister-in-law, Anna Maria Barberini. It also discusses the social function of portraiture within the Sforza Cesarini’s extensive art collection and the likely place of Batoni’s two portraits within that collection.

Monica Castrichini

Ascensioni teosofiche in Gerardo Dottori.

Palazzo Battaglia a Marsciano



This study of Gerardo Dottori, Palazzo Battaglia in Marsciano (1925) tries to explain his work, for the first time in a theosophical way, linking the artist with the research of those years. On the basis of an iconographic comparison to the works by Balla, Dottori’s friend since 1911, it was assumed that Dottori may have been “initiated” to this philosophical doctrine by the Roman painter. In the 1920s, Dottori seems to come to a collective achievement of the geometric abstraction, like many other artists, such as Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Balla, Severini, Malevich and Mondrian. Dottori’s work in Palazzo Battaglia claims to be a source for reflexion to understand the philosophical doctrines which influenced his art. The painter from Perugia, through his work in Palazzo Battaglia, which is near Steiner’s line of thoughts, seems to suggest an ascension of the spirit, like the metaphor of the plane in the Aereopittura.

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