1562114 x 155 cm
The emperor Commodus as Hercules, 2nd century A.D. Italy, Rome, Capitoline Museums, Palazzo dei Conservatori
Herbert James Draper - The Lament for Icarus (1898)
Lake View Cemetery: The Haserot Angel
It’s called the Angel of Death Victorious. Due to an effect of weathering and erosion on the bronze, the statue appears to be weeping black tears at all times.
c. 1482Tempera on wood207 x 148 cmGalleria degli Uffizi , Florence, Tuscany, ItalyIn this painting we can see another side of Renaissance Art; namely that of political propaganda. Botticelli was lucky enough to be a renown artist in his own time, but even then he had to earn his keep with a wealthy patron in order to assure his prestige. Living in a time of deep strife within the Medici regime of Florence (though, at which point wasn’t there strife in with that family), Botticelli served a key role in portraying his patrons as they should want to be perceived; as just, in the face of a contentious issue.The Pazzi Conspiracy (1478), as it is so remembered (history is written by the victors), was a dangerous game of intrigue that spanned the Peninsula. The Medici had held something of a de factorule over Florence since the days of Cosimo the Elder, and seeing as it was, technically, a Republic, the ever increasing political clout of the Medici was presenting a problem for the other powerful families of the city. The Pazzi and the Salviati, among the most precocious of the bunch, and with the most to gain (and, to lose), attempted a complicated coup d’etat, that, unsurprisingly, backfired in truly epic proportions when executed (pardon the pun) poorly.The then Pope, Sixtus IV, served to gain much out of an alliance with this group of conspirators, with potential for lands to go to his nephew Cardinal Riario, which was typical of the penchant for extreme nepotism in the clergy at the time. Without getting into the deep political machinations, let it be said that the Medici were in the way, and with the young and handsome Giuliano de’ Medici next in line, he was the first to be targeted.At Mass in the Duomo on April 26, Giuliano was stabbed 19 times before the congregation. His younger brother, Lorenzo, was spared such a fate, as he was home; ill— and therefore unaccounted for in the conspirators’ plans to eliminate both of the Medici youths in one fell swoop.Lorenzo lived on, and his vengeance was had.So loved were the Medici by the citizens of Florence, who had once called “Palle, Palle, Palle!” in the Piazza della Signioria after Cosimo the Elder had returned from exile, that the mob found key members of the conspiracy, and killed them. Jacopo de’ Pazzi was defenestrated and dragged naked through the streets. Salviati’s corpse was strung from the Palazzo Vecchio for all to see. The Pazzi family was exiled; a common punishment, but more than that. Lorenzo proved himself as a capable politician. When the Pope excommunicated the entire population of Florence for aiding his enemy, they would not hand Lorenzo over. When Lorenzo was faced the the Papal army, he went directly to see King Ferdinand I of Naples, and managed to convince him to support Florence against the Pope. Lorenzo managed, from then on, to create a state of Pax Romana in the Peninsula, for a time, keeping the powerful city-states in check.The death of Giuliano was, perhaps, the beginning of the death of the Republic. Lorenzo came out of this colder, more suspicious and cunning, and prone to ruling Florence as a prince would.And every prince needs to maintain his image.In Botticelli’s piece, the figure of Pallas is emblematic of Lorenzo. His impreso, the motif of 3 conjoined rings adorns Pallas’ clothes, likening Lorenze himself to the justice and wisdom embodied in the goddess, as well as the laurel crowning her head, a play on his name. In turn the Pazzi take on the bestial, half-man half-beast baseness of the Centaur, cowed by the righteous halberd-bearing Pallus. In the background, a subtle homage to the truly monuments voyage of Lorenzo down the Ligurian coast to Naples to court Ferdinand I is represented by the ship.Art in the Renaissance is no mere pretty thing. Every individual component of Botticelli’s pieces resound with meaning; carefully thought out, meticulous and planned artifice.
On this day in 1483, Pope Sixtus IV dedicated the Sistine Chapel to the Assumption of the Virgin, celebrated each year on 15 August. The celebration took place beneath the newly painted frescoes showing scenes from the lives and Jesus and Moses by the leading artists of late-fifteenth-century Tuscany: Pietro Perugino, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Cosimo Rosselli, and Luca SIgnorelli. The original ceiling was a simple starry sky, which would be replaced in the early sixteenth century by Michelangelo.