Thursday, March 2, 2017

11 Icons, Scenes from the Bible, with footnotes, #11

PETER PAUL RUBENS (CIRCLE) Siegen 1577 - 1640 Antwerp 
Oil on panel
50 cm by 38.5 cm
Private collection

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (28 June 1577 – 30 May 1640) was a Flemish Baroque painter. A proponent of an extravagant Baroque style that emphasized movement, colour, and sensuality, Rubens is well known for his Counter-Reformation altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects.
In addition to running a large studio in Antwerp that produced paintings popular with nobility and art collectors throughout Europe, Rubens was a classically educated humanist scholar and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV of Spain and Charles I of England. More Sir Peter Paul Rubens

Central Italian School, 16th Century
Oil on panel
70 x 53.5 cm.; 27 1/2  x 21 in.
Private collection

This Renaissance panel depicting the Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine has thus far eluded secure attribution. The high cheek bones of the female figures' graceful physiognomies imply that the work was evidently painted by an artist closely aware of the work of Pietro Perugino, probably in central Italy, but the lively figure of Joseph also pays homage to Filippino Lippi. More about this Icon

Ambrogio Bergognone
The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine of Alexandria and Saint Catherine of Siena, circa 1490
Oil on poplar wood
187.5 × 129.5 cm (73.8 × 51 in)
National Gallery

The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine covers two different subjects in Christian art arising from visions received by either Saint Catherine of Alexandria or Saint Catherine of Siena (1347–1380), in which these virgin saints went through a mystical marriage wedding ceremony with Christ, in the presence of the Virgin Mary, consecrating themselves and their virginity to him.

The Catholic Encyclopaedia notes that such a wedding ceremony "is but the accompaniment and symbol of a purely spiritual grace", and that "as a wife should share in the life of her husband, and as Christ suffered for the redemption of mankind, the mystical spouse enters into a more intimate participation in His sufferings."  Catherine of Alexandria was martyred, while Catherine of Siena received the stigmata.

Both Saint Catherines are frequent subjects in Christian art; the scene usually includes one of the Saint Catherines and either the infant Jesus held by his mother or an adult Jesus. Very rarely both saints are shown in a double ceremony (as above). Saint Catherine of Alexandria is invariably dressed as a princess in rich clothes, often with a crown, and normally with loose long blonde hair and carrying a martyr's palm, sometimes with her attribute of a wheel; Saint Catherine of Siena is shown as a Dominican nun in white with a black over-robe open at the front, so it is usually easy to tell which saint is depicted. More Saint Catherine

Ambrogio Borgognone (variously known as Ambrogio da Fossano, Ambrogio di Stefano da Fossano, Ambrogio Stefani da Fossano or as il Bergognone or Ambrogio Egogni c. 1470s – 1523/1524) was an Italian painter of the Renaissance period active in and near Milan.

While he was nearly contemporary with Leonardo da Vinci, he painted in a style more akin to the pre-Renaissance. The dates of his birth and death are unknown; he is said to have been born at Fossano in Piedmont and his appellation attributed to his artistic affiliation with the Burgundian school.

Ambrogio Bergognone
Madonna and Child, from 1488 until 1490
Oil on poplar wood
55.2 × 35.6 cm (21.7 × 14 in)
National Gallery

His fame is principally associated with his work at the Certosa di Pavia complex, composed of the church and convent of the Carthusians. Only one known picture, an altar-piece at the Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio, can with probability be assigned to a period of his career earlier than 1486.

For two years after his return to Milan he worked at the church of San Satiro. From 1497 he was engaged in decorating with paintings the church of the Incoronata. Documentation of him thenceforth is scant. In 1508 he painted for a church in Bergamo; in 1512, his signature appears in a public document of Milan; in 1524 - and this is our last authentic record - he painted a series of frescoes illustrating the life of St. Sisinius in the portico of San Simpliciano at Milan.individuality. He holds an interesting place in the most interesting period of Italian art.

But to judge of his real powers and peculiar ideals, his system of faint and clear coloring, whether in fresco, tempera or oil; his somewhat slender and pallid types, not without something that reminds us of northern art in their Teutonic sentimentality as well as their fidelity of portraiture. More Ambrogio Borgognone

Oil on copper 
35.5 cm by 26 cm.
Private collection

The Cambrai Madonna (or Notre-Dame de Grace) is a small c 1340 Italo-Byzantine, possibly Sienese, replica of an Eleusa (Virgin of Tenderness) icon (below). The work on which it is based is believed to have originated in Tuscany c. 1300, and influenced a wide number of paintings from the following century as well as Florentine sculptures from the 1440–1450s. This version was in turn widely copied across Italy and northern Europe during the 14th and 15th centuries; Filippo Lippi's 1447 The Madonna and Child Enthroned is a well known example.

 Icon of the Virgin Eleousa, mid-14th c

When in 1450 the painting was brought to Cambrai, then part of the Holy Roman Empire ruled by the Dukes of Burgundy and now in France, it was believed an original by Saint Luke, patron saint of artists, for which Mary herself had sat as model. Thus it was treated as a relic; God bestowing miracles on those that travelled to view it.

Cambrai Madonna, circa 1340
Italo-Byzantine, possibly Sienese
Replica of an Eleusa icon.
Private collection

The work is significant beyond its aesthetic value: it serves as a bridge between the Byzantine icon tradition and the Italian Quattrocento, and inspired the work of 15th-century Netherlandish artists. After the Ottoman Turks had conquered Constantinople, copies of the painting were commissioned in the Low Countries in support of Philip the Good's projected crusade, announced at the Feast of the Pheasant but never launched. More The Cambrai Madonna

Tempera and gold on poplar panel
45 x 30.5 cm.; 17 ¾  x 12 in
Private collection

The Flagellation of Christ, sometimes known as Christ at the Column or the Scourging at the Pillar, is a scene from the Passion of Christ very frequently shown in Christian art, in cycles of the Passion or the larger subject of the Life of Christ. It is the fourth station of the modern alternate Stations of the Cross, and a Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary. The column to which Christ is normally tied, and the rope, scourge, whip or birch are elements in the Arma Christi. The Basilica di Santa Prassede in Rome, claimed to possess the original column. More

The Master of the Osservanza Triptych, also known as the Osservanza Master and as the Master of Osservanza, is the name given to an Italian painter of the Sienese School active about 1430 to 1450.

Research in 2010 by Maria Falcone in Siena has revealed the name of the Master to be Sano di Pietro. Falcone found a document about an altarpiece by the “Master of Osservanza” for a church in Asciano, just outside Siena, which was actually under the bishopric of Arezzo. The priest of the church in Asciano did not pay the painter and therefore the city government of Siena had to make an appeal to the bishop in Arezzo to force the priest from his district to pay the artist. The artist’s name was included on the document as Sano di Pietro. More The Master of the Osservanza

Sano di Pietro, or Ansano di Pietro di Mencio (1406–1481) was an Italian painter of the Sienese school of painting. His career spanned from the end of the Trecento period into the Quattrocento period. His contemporaries included Giovanni di Paolo and Sassetta
Sano was born in 1406. His name enters the roll of painters in 1428 where it remained until his death in 1481. In addition to his own painting and overseeing the pupils and assistants in his workshop, he was also part of the civic fabric of Siena. There are city records showing his participation. In 1431 and 1442 he was the leader of the San Donato district of Siena (1). Sano was also employed as an arbitrator; in 1475 he was called upon to settle a dispute between fellow painters Neroccio di Bartolommeo and Francesco di Giorgio Martini (2).
It was, however, as a painter that he made his living. The workshop he ran produced huge number of artworks. Sano himself is quite interesting. He wasn't merely a painter of altar pieces. He also produced frescoes, miniatures, and book bindings. Book bindings are exquisite little paintings that went on the spine of a book. After a long and successful career Sano died in 1481. More Sano di Pietro 

Bicci di Lorenzo, FLORENCE 1373 - 1452
Tempera on poplar panel, gold ground
88 x 58 cm.; 34 5/8  x 22 7/8  in.
Private collection

Bicci revisited the theme of the Nativity numerous times, always varying the poses of his figures in subtle ways.3 The design of this Nativity is most closely comparable to the central predella panel of the triptych in Sant’Ippolito, Bibbiena (Casentino), dated 1435, one of very few of Bicci’s compositions to position the manger parallel with the stable, rather than at an oblique angle. More

The nativity of Jesus or birth of Jesus is described in the gospels of Luke and Matthew. The two accounts agree that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the time of Herod the Great to a betrothed virgin whose name was Mary. There are, however, major differences. Matthew has no census, annunciation to the shepherds or presentation in the Temple, implies that Jesus's parents' home is Bethlehem, and has him born in a house there, and has an unnamed angel appear to Joseph to announce the birth. In Luke there are no Magi, no flight into Egypt, or Massacre of the Innocents, Joseph is a resident of Nazareth, the birth appears to take place in an inn instead of the family home, and the angel (named as Gabriel) announces the coming birth to Mary. While it is possible that Matthew's account might be based on Luke or Luke's on Matthew, the majority of scholars conclude that the two are independent of each other.

In Christian theology the nativity marks the incarnation of Jesus as the second Adam, in fulfillment of the divine will of God, undoing the damage caused by the fall of the first man, Adam. The artistic depiction of the nativity has been a major subject for Christian artists since the 4th century. Since the 13th century, the nativity scene has emphasized the humility of Jesus and promoted a more tender image of him, as a major turning point from the early "Lord and Master" image, affecting the basic approaches of Christian pastoral ministry. More

Bicci di Lorenzo (1373–1452) was an Italian painter and sculptor, active in Florence. He was born in Florence in 1373, the son of the painter, Lorenzo di Bicci, whose workshop he joined. He married in 1418, and in 1424 was registered in the Guild of Painters at Florence. His son, Neri di Bicci was also a painter and took over the family workshop. Bicci di Lorenzo died in Florence in 1452 and was buried in Santa Maria del Carmine.

Following early work – largely frescoes – in collaboration with his father, he received a number of important commissions. Among his major works are an Enthroned Madonna; the Three Scenes from the Life of St Nicholas, and a Nativity in the church of San Giovannino dei Cavalieri in Florence. More Bicci di Lorenzo

13th Century Icon of Saint Panteleimon b. XIII c.
including scenes from his life
Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai

St Pantaleon (c. 275 Nicomedia, Died 305 Nicomedia) came from Nicomedia, near the Black Sea, in Asia. He was such a famous doctor that the Emperor himself chose him for his own doctor. Pantaleon was a Christian, but the bad influence from the pagan court caused him to give up his Christian faith entirely.

A holy priest named Hermolaos made him realize what a sin he had committed. Pantaleon listened to him, detested his sin and joined the Church once more. To make up for what he had done, he greatly desired to suffer and die for Jesus. In the meantime, he imitated Our Lord's charity by taking care of poor sick people without any charge for his medical services.

When the Emperor Diocletian began his persecution, Pantaleon at once gave away everything he owned to the poor. Not long afterwards, he was accused of being a Christian. He was given the choice of denying his Faith or being put to death. No torture could force Pantaleon to deny his Faith.

There has been strong devotion in past ages to this Saint. In the East he is called the "Great Martyr and Wonder-worker."  More

16th century work by an anonymous artist from Toledo
The Martyrdom of Saint Agathius
Martirio de San Acacio
 From Tryptich, Center Panel
111 x 82 cm
 Museo del Prado. Madrid.

Saint Agathius (died 303), also known as Achatius or Agathonas or Acacius of Byzantium, according to Christian tradition, was a Cappadocian Greek centurion of the imperial army, martyred around 304.

He was arrested for his faith on charges for being a Christian by Tribune Firmus in Perinthus, Thrace, tortured, and then brought to Byzantium (the later Constantinople), where he was scourged and beheaded, being made a martyr because he would not give up his Christian Faith. More Saint Agathius

ANTWERP SCHOOL Circa 1520/1550
Oil on oak panel, cradled and rounded top
89.5 cm by 57 cm 
Private collection

The Adoration of the Magi (anglicized from the Matthean Vulgate Latin section title: A Magis adoratur) is the name traditionally given to the subject in the Nativity of Jesus in art in which the three Magi, represented as kings, especially in the West, having found Jesus by following a star, lay before him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and worship him. More The Adoration of the Magi

The Antwerp School is a term for the artists active in Antwerp, first during the 16th century when the city was the economic center of the Low Countries, and then during the 17th century when it became the artistic stronghold of the Flemish Baroque under Peter Paul Rubens.

Antwerp took over from Bruges as the main trading and commercial center of the Low Countries around 1500. Painters, artists and craftsmen joined the Guild of Saint Luke, which educated apprentices and guaranteed quality.  More Ecole Anversoise

Acknowledgement: Sotheby'sHargesheimer Kunstauktionen Düsseldorf

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