Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Page 9

Martelli Saint John, ca. 1440-1457, Settignano and Donatello

Unconsciously, we tend to think more while we are waking than dreaming. So, we are ascending our-self to God by dreaming and reflecting on the days events or on previous psychological events. Most of Settignano's sculpture tend to be of small children or infants that make you feel like he had a wonderful childhood or beautiful wife and gorgeous babies. They do tend to represent either baby Jesus or Christ and Saint John the Baptist as young children or in early adulthood. You get the feeling Saint John tended his flock solo rather than in the company of a shepherdess. But the Saint John represented here does not feel old enough to have contemplated the dream of Saint Anthony. Rather he feels consumed with his own thoughts and contemplative philosophy. 

Christ and Saint John the Baptist as Children, ca. 1455-1457, 
Desiderio da Settignano, Musee du Louvre, Paris

Laughing Boy, ca. 1460-1464, Desiderio da Settignano,
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Friday, February 22, 2013

Page 8

Saint John the Baptist, ca. 1455, Desiderio da Settignano (attributed to),
Musee du Louvre, Paris

One of the sculptures of Saint John by Settignano does not portray similar characteristics to the collaboration of Donatello and Setttignano. Donatello seemed to have a far more French countenance than his counterpart and this is suggested in the way form is completed or the body is sculptured. One of the sculptures on the High Altar of S. Antonio of Padua seems to suggest self-portraiture with a similar equation or dimension of his skull.

S. Daniele, Basilica di S. Antonio, Padua, 
c. 1446-1450, Donatello

The form we portray in sculpture or an artwork often seems to suggest our own dimensions as though unconsciously they are inherent in our being. You often see this in an artist work but when two artists get together you have a double equation and if they are of a very high calibre or masterful it is as though you have two brains equalling one or a far more complicated ascension to God. The collaboration here of Donatello and Settignano feels like a very transcendent understanding of God was reached. In the height of the creation of a piece you wonder if even while sleeping you are sculpting or thinking.

Donatello and Settignano

Friday, February 15, 2013

Page 7

Martelli Saint John (details), ca. 1440-1457, Settignano and Donatello

Looking at sculpture in art books does you no divine favours but sculpture in the round is the only way to comprehend the work. The inner geometrical structures of the face, for example, can only be appreciated with an extreme knowledge of form or a contemplation of the third dimension. Stone seemed to be the preferred medium of Settignano and is also deeply profound in relief. The third dimension is difficult to understand as being incomprehensible or infinite but the dimension it holds in space depends on your relationship to God and infinity. The cross feels evident as an element when looking at the head of Martelli Saint John, almost as an internal structure. The inner geometry of form is perhaps something very rarely thought about these days but was common knowledge and a part of your learning and ascension philosophy in Renaissance Italy. The understanding of a tree, for example, equalled God through a complex system of believing. Often the Virgin Mary was sighted in trees by those who believed and prayed for a miracle. One feels that the fleece of Saint John had a very special and sacred purpose for those secular people of the Christian faith that was prevalent of the day. Even though the current staff feels like a late edition to the Settignano and Donatello sculpture, it is not offensive. The "V" of the fleece covering Martelli Saint John is significant, reminding us of the valley and the mountain equation or ascending the shepherd to heaven.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Page 6

Martelli Saint John (detail), ca. 1440-1457, Settignano and Donatello

The size and proportion of Martelli Saint John by Settignano and Donatello also resonate Settignano's portraits of small children with their delicate features. You feel like the proportions were sent down from somewhere in the heaven on high. The extremely refined work was of a genre of sculpture from this time that also included della Robbia and Verrocchio. One wonders how such liberation of thinking occurred but often artists seem to have an extremely different philosophy of life. Geometry and cosmology were often thought about and seem to have had a completely different focus to the thinking of today. You would not be thinking a mathematical equation of the head could equal the pattern of the stars or the proportions of a tree or a flower could be of significance to the size, breadth and depth of the chest and length of the arms and legs, for example. But then again everything we look at and feel in our hearts has an influence on our perception.

Laughing Boy, c. 1460-1464, Desiderio da Settignano, 
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

The Little Boy, c. 1455-1460, Desiderio da Settignano, 
National Gallery of Art, Washington

 Portrait of a Young Boy, c. 1445, Luca della Robbia,
Museo Civico Gaetano Filangieri, Naples

Woman with Posy, c. 1475, Verrocchio, 
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Page 5

Giotto, The Last Judgment, 1306, Cappella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua

Giotto was also a free thinker. You get the impression that Padua was the destination of Christian pilgrims because of Giotto's philosophy. Most of Giotto's paintings look like they have been completed or finished by other people and due to the vast number of churches he painted frescos in, he could not have physically painted them all himself.

Giotto, Crucifix, c. 1310-1317, Tempio Malatestiano, Rimini

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Page 4

Giotto, Crucifix, 1317, Museo Civico, Padua

Carlo Crivelli, The Dead Christ supported by Two Angels, c. 1470-1475, 
The National Gallery, London

In Padua, they were also given a large amount of freedom to paint their own style. And were then sent to various townships nearby to continue their own technique. This was continued with painters in Florence and a few of the surrounding towns especially in the hill towns. Sienna felt like a flourishing time in Gothic painting and was also a great place for Gothic sculpture, especially Giovanni Pisano and his father Nicola Pisano.

Giovanni Pisano, The Crucified Christ, c. 1285-1300, 
Victoria and Albert Museum, London