Studi di Storia dell'Arte 27
21x29,7 bross, pp. 314; ill. b/n e col, 2016 - ISSN 1123-5683 - € 60,00
Liliana Barroero, Giovanna Capitelli, Stefano Casciu, Stefano Causa, Enrico Maria Dal Pozzolo, Cristina De Benedictis, Cristina Galassi, Gert Kreytenberg, Francesco Federico Mancini, Enrica Neri Lusanna, Steffi Roettgen,
Pietro Ruschi, Erich Schleier, Nicolas Schwed, Angelo Tartuferi, Anchise Tempestini.
Marcello Castrichini direttore responsabile
Tania De Nile
Ascanius e compagni a Roma. La rappresentazione dei Bentvueghels nelle opere
di Domenicus van Wijnen e nuove notizie su Francis van Bossuit e Bonaventura van Overbeek
The analysis of Domenicus van Wijnen’s paintings representing the initiation rituals of the “Bentvueghels” – known through three prints by Matthijs Pool – represents the starting point for a close examination of all written and figurative sources related to the group of Netherlandish “Schildersbent” in Rome. Through the study of selected passages from the artist’s biographers, the article sheds light on aspects and protagonists of the “Bent” still little-investigated. In particular, it shows the relationship which binds Domenicus to the sculptor Francis van Bossuit, and both of them to Bonaventura van Overbeek, for whom Van Wijnen made his “Bentvueghels” paintings. Bonaventura’s role as a collector and agent engaged in the reintegration of artists in Amsterdam, after their stay in Rome, clearly emerges from the biographical sources; and – what is most significant – also the close bond of friendship with the famous painter Gerard de Lairesse.
Cristina De Benedictis
Tra "progetto e sogno". A Dresda il museo di Francesco Algarotti
This essay reconstructs the architectural project presented by the Venetian Francesco Algarotti in 1742 to the King of Poland Frederick Augustus III for his court in Dresden. Before founding the museum, Algarotti planned a thoughtful purchase campaign of works of art in order to fill the gaps in the royal collections. In is mind, the museum created in this way would count on three different structures:a specialized library, an academy for education and picture and sculpture galleries. Unfortunately Algarotti’s project, even if he worked as art dealer for the king, never came true.The author traces the sources of Algarotti, from Maffei to Lodoli, as well as his taste for classical and Palladian architecture through his purchases of paintings by artist such as Tiepolo, Canaletto and Pannini. Other sources for the reconstruction of Algarotti’s museum are in his writings on architecture and particularly, in a 1759 letter to the painter Prospero Pesci, where he returned on the failed project for Dresden court. Crossing these data, she outline the architectural design of the museum, in which Algarotti envisioned a close alternation of rotundas and galleries, with zenithal and lateral lightning and classical pronaoi for monumental entrances. This model anticipates the development of museum architecture in the Nineteenth century.
Donatella Biagi Maino
La tecnica del pastello nell'arte di Gaetano Gandolfi
Four allegorical figures of Poetry, Sculpture, Painting and Music are disclosed, performed in pastel by the Bolognese painter Gaetano Gandolfi, one of the protagonists of Italian artistic culture in the eighteenth century, not usually be proved in this technique. The excellent results achieved in these works attest of his experimentation in every field of contemporary painting techniques, he experienced from his youth, through his studies conducted both at home and for a long time in Venice, sponsored by a patron and learned collector, Antonio Buratti, and suggested by Francesco Algarotti. This attention to every field of research was one of the characters of Gandolfi's career, conducted at the Institute of Sciences of Bologna, having ease to study the precious collections of the Bolognese scholars print collections. And to the album of engravings with expression studies, from the drawings of the Carracci to Le Brun to the eighteenth-century examples, the graphic layout of studies from the natural setting refers: the realization of the representation of reality through the academic artifice.
Maria Vittoria Thau
Note ai restauri novecenteschi della chiesa dei SS. Apostoli a Firenze
The Florentine church of SS. Apostoli, though studied in its stylistic traits, it has not been studied in its conservation history. The projetc presented here, result of the consultation of unpublished material conserved in the Central State Archive of Rome (ACS), it has allowed us to deepen the story of the restoration of the building, in particular withstand between 1929 and 1940.
The study of this site have got the possibility to know the names who intervened for his enactment, first of all institutional personalities such as the University of Florence (Department of Architecture), the Ministry of National Education, the Apostolic Nunciature and the Soprintendenza all’Arte Medievale e Moderna (represented by Giovanni Poggi), as well as architects (Luigi Zumkeller before and Giuseppe Castellucci then) and lenders (the Count David Costantini in the first phase and Ser Arthur Acton at the end), without whom nothing would have been possible.
At the same time we have the opportunity, thanks to unpublished photographs, to know the rules followed in the architectural restoration, in which the building was rediscovered in its primitive forms. Last but absolutely central topic in the analysis and understanding of this intervention, the educational role played by this site, since it made him Zumkeller school camp of the fifth year of the Restoration of Monuments, of which the architect covered the teaching to the newborn School of Architecture in Florence.
Serena Calamai ~ Max Seidel
Federico Fellini: ″L’Olimpo″
In the later 1970s, most probably after 1976, Federico Fellini wrote the screenplay for a film about ancient mythology. The film was never made. He signed the manuscript and entitled it Olympus – The Greek Myths (fig. 1); it is now housed in the Federico Fellini Archive at the Cineteca in Rimini. It comprises eighty-six pages, some of them slightly cut down at the edges and here reconstructed.
The dating of Olympus is confirmed not only by references in the Introductory Note to the episode Le Tentazioni del dottor Antonio from Boccaccio ‘70, to Pasolini’s Il fiore delle Mille e una Notte and to Bertolucci’s Novecento (figs. 3-4), but also by the study of the figure of the gigantic Anita Ekberg as a simulacrum of the antique, which in Olympus appears as the ideal of beauté énorme developed with considerable mythological learning. Fellini transforms the iconography of Anita-Hera, queen of the stars, protagonist of the Tentazioni, into Anita-Metis, mingling the ancient sources so as to deconstruct the myth in terms of modernity (Tav. XXII; fig. 2).
The subject of the film is a selection of mythological themes illustrated for cinematographic treatment. The allusive and abstract screenplay, for an almost silent film, impels the director especially in the Introductory Note (transcribed in full in the essay) to describe with particular intensity his ideas for a new symbolism of Greek myth. Fellini, influenced by Surrealism and of course by Georges Méliès’s cinema of “pure fantastic animation”, confers a pictorial quality on the screenplay so as to desconstruct classicist imagery in the iconography of ancient myth. Comparison with the ancient sources of the mythological archetypes allows us to evaluate the innovatory force of contextualising the myths within modernity, an operation carried out with some of the most celebrated ones such as the Battle of the Titans, the love of Semele and Zeus, the infancy of Dionysius and of course Theseus and the Minotaur.
Analysis of the style and composition of this new mythic screenplay is developed through careful examination of the principal figurative categories in relation to the most significant events in the narrative, for each of which the ancient and modern sources are interrogated for comparative purposes. According to Fellini the screenplay should be “allusive and abstract, made of backgrounds and signs, of masses of light”, having as its aim “the imaginative” and “the timeless”. This new cosmogony is developed from surrealist imagery and takes form with the episode of the Titans’ attack on Uranus, against “painted backgrounds” with natural scenography of “pure space”.
The cinematography of the film was to have been “all overexposed”, “of a neutral white solarity”. Light and shade, together with silence and sound, thus determine the aesthetic terms of the filmic image. They constitute the matter of the figures that act in a surreal space, with silent or noisy rhythms, in relation, respectively, to the figures of pure light and to their negative inversion: the shadows, as in a sort of “Balinese shadow theatre”.
The actors are conceived as “masks” and “abstract silhouettes”. The battle between the Cyclopes and the Centomanes, under the guidance of Zeus, is described as a ferocious dance of “vast forms” that fight in the silent abysses of Tartarus like “shapes of moving light and masses of darkness”.
In the specific these abstract silhouettes move to the rhythms of an ancient gymnopaedia in a genuine tableau vivant, the best example being the mythological figures of the three Meliae in the form of “abstract silhouettes”. For the iconography, we show that Fellini was probably inspired by the surrealist Three Graces in the ballet Mercure (1924), with scenes and costumes designed by Picasso and choreography by Léonide Massine. The Study of these three mythological figures follows the development of the narrative of Olympus, in which the three Furies are transformed into the three Meliae and finally into the three Norms, as Aeschylus testifies in the final tragedy of the Oresteia: the Eumenides.
At the centre of this new iconography of myth is the desire for a “cinema of pure fantastic action” mounted with images of powerful vitality, chaos and sonic power, as in the case of Dionysus and the sailors of Acoetes, where the personages are anthropomorphic figures that move on the scene with pantomime gestures, while abstract silhouettes animate the background. Further, the mythological metamorphosis of this story is re-elaborated by Fellini as a fantastic animated transformation that composes a lively scene in continuous figurative evolution. Even more interesting is the myth of Semele and Zeus, for which the director devises a new iconography where the figures are fantastically animated beneath the changing glimmerings of moonlight. In a nocturnal atmosphere Fellini combines the personification of the moon-woman with the motif of the full moon’s reflection in a lake, where the coupling with Zeus appears as interplay between forces of light. Analysis of the iconography of the moon-woman invites comparison between the text of Olympus, where the scene is set against “painted backgrounds”, and certain stills from the most famous films of Georges Méliès (figs. 10-11), as far as the antithetical comparison with two of the principal stills from Fellini’s last film The Voice of the Moon (1990). In this latter film the figure of the moon-woman is developed from the description in the first, subjective screenplay which has references to Giacomo Leopardi’s moon-poetry as well as to some of the best known texts of modern literature such as Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities and Cosmicomics, and Tommaso Landolfi’s The Moon Stone.
Fellini reformulates the iconography of myth by representing with pantomime, used as a figurative style, those subjects that shatter the traditional illusory repertory of the ancient world. Naturally he draws on Méliès, even though his true source of inspiration seems once again to be the ballet Mercure, designed by Picasso to a commission from the Comte de Beaumont and performed in Paris in 1924 (figs. 14-15). The supreme representation of pantomime-cinema is found in the description of the infancy of Zeus, suckled by the she-goat Amaltheia in the cave of Dicte. This episode is analysed in relation to the importance of the equivalence between cinema and pantomime for the artistic worth of moving images, and is also the pretext for an iconographic excursus on the figure of Amaltheia.
The heart of the narrative of Olympus is the myth of Theseus and the labyrinth, an episode that opens with an account of the banquet of Minos on Crete, when the celebrated artificer Daedalus, creator of the labyrinth and of numerous marvellous sculptures, puts on a dance of animated wooden dolls that “greet, bow, smile and dance, to the music of tambourines and flutes”. The theatrical automata devised by Daedalus in Olympus are part of a long tradition of palace automata known to the courts of Europe. In Fellini’s work the theme had already appeared in the form of the mechanical doll in the film Casanova (1976), where the automaton dances in the ballroom of the Duke of Württemberg (fig. 16). While in Olympus we find a theatre of mechanical dolls, in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story Der Sandmann there is a woman who turns out to be an automaton, that is to say an extremely realistic moving doll. In this connection we consider the idea of the perfect court lady, such as the mechanical one marvellously described in a famous passage in Giacomo Leopardi’s Operette Morali, which makes reference to Il Cortegiano by Baldassar Castiglione.
At the centre of the narration by images lies “one of the greatest symbolic undertakings of Greek mythology”: Theseus and the Minotaur, a subject linked to the archetype of the labyrinth and filtered in Fellini’s imagination through his reading of Carl Gustav Jung. Comparison with the labyrinth scene in the 1969 film Satyricon shows that Fellini had originally thought of the mythological topos as a theatrical representation of the game of life, whereas in Olympus it develops as a rite of passage in an edifying sentimental education (figs. 17-20). Both in the screenplay and in the film, Fellini associates the Minotaur with the Sun, father of Pasiphaë and ancestor of the famous mythological creature. The reinterpretation of the emblematic figures of these myths in an archaic and surrealist sense is shared also by Picasso, whom Fellini admired, as is shown by the bull mask and the figure of the man-Minotaur (figs. 21-22).
The archetype of the labyrinth and the treatment of the Minotaur myth reveal the profound link between the Swiss dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt and Fellini, whose relations from 1960 to 1990 are amply documented not only in unpublished papers but also by their shared collaboration with the Diogenes publishing house of Zurich (fig. 23). Both of them fascinated by the early cinema of Méliès and by Picasso’s surrealist re-elaboration of the Minotaur, the director and the playwright devised new interpretations of the ancient myth, respectively in Olympus and in the play Minotaurus of 1985. Their reciprocal influence is noticeable especially in relation to the figure of the Pythia, whose iconography was reformulated by Dürrenmatt as a mingling of the figures of his second wife Charlotte Kerr and the priestess Pannychis XI, protagonist of the story The death of the Pythia (published by Diogenes in 1976), creating also an antithetical contrast with the alter ego of the priestess of Delphi: the Sphinx (figs. 30-32). Fellini in Olympus, thinking also of Pasolini’s film of Oedipus Rex (1967), creates a figure of oneiric visionary power, detached from the traditional iconography by the addition of a mask; its structure as an archaic idol makes it resemble certain surrealist sculptures by Picasso (figs. 33-34). The figures of the Minotaur and Theseus, analysed in a close comparison between Fellini, Dürrenmatt and Picasso, are carefully studied in relation to the labyrinth not only as “abstruse geometric space” (Fellini) but as a “psychic place” where the shadows of the Minotaur are reflected in the mirrors of consciousness (Dürrenmatt). Modern man has constructed his labyrinth with images and with literature; for Dürrenmatt this is the disorientation of contemporary life, while for Italo Calvino it is a means of ordering the chaos of the world (figs. 40-41).