Lady at Her Toilette by Giulio Romano – Fornarina of Moscow or Venus of Mantua?
In recent decades the social history of art has revealed that virtually no piece of art in the Renaissance was created just because of a painter’s intention or desire. It was an expensive undertaking and normally had a commission with the commissioner’s expectations behind it. Renaissance art works have conventional meanings and functions which are not always evident to contemporary viewers. Research on meaning and function – these two basics are deeply imbedded in the historical context – has dramatically changed our understanding of many central artworks, such as Venus of Urbino by Titian or Primavera by Botticcelli. Few attempts have been made to define the possible function of Lady at her Toilette by Giulio Romano from the Moscow Pushkin State Museum. The issues of why and under what circumstances this enigmatic painting was created have not received much scholarly attention. Issues of its function have not been addressed directly – few scholars have questioned why it was created. The present study aims at defining the meaning, the function and the possible patron of this painting.
The so-called Lady at her Toilette by Giulio Romano from the Moscow Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts has been conventionally regarded as an imitation of famous Fornarina by Raphael. Social aspect of its origins have not been explored and its function has been defined only generally as a portrait or a depiction of “courtesan” or “mistress”, the issues of its possible patron and original context have not been assessed. Close examination of Lady at her Toilette’s distinct visual details dismisses the seeming similarities with frivolous female images of its to=ine known as belle and reveals strong affinities with painterly wedding epithalamia, which clearly indicates its own function as a wedding painting presenting Venus bestowing blessing upon a new bride. Established the work’s function in general, it has been attempted to define a possible patron of this wedding epithalamia. Giulio Romano’s artistic career shows his involvment to the wedding of the Duke of Mantua Federico II Gonzaga and Margherita Paleologa, which took place in 1531. As a court painter Giulio was responsible for major decorative works in the city and created, among other, the bride’s portrait (Royal Collection, Hampton Court, London). This portrait turns out to be the closest analogy to the Moscow “Lady” in terms of composition, style, painterly manner and even the facial features of women. This, along with other similarities, unequivocally indicates that they were created as a set — as a wedding set, that includes the portrait of young spouse and the allegorical depiction of Venus.
On the occasion of Doha being a cultural capital of the Middle East in 2010 and Istanbul being a cultural capital of Europe, Doha Orientalist museum is holding a symbolic exhibition “A Journey into the World of the Ottomans”, accompanied by a catalogue. Major part of the illustrated exhibition artworks are to come from the Orientalist museum own collection, the Rijksmuseum, as well as other major collections. The exhibition will bring together artists from the sixteenth century onwards, including Bernardino Campi, Jacopo Ligozzi, Nicolas Rycks, Jean-Baptiste Vanmour, Jean-Étienne Liotard, Antoine Ignace Melling, Francesco Hayez, John Frederick Lewis, Walter Gould, Alberto Pasini, Germain Fabius Brest, Oskar Kokoschka, Nikolai Kalmikoff, Vanessa Hodgkinson and Bas Princen. The artworks selected are to illustrate the history of the orientalism development from the sixteenth to twenty first century, which throughout the years shaped the image of the Ottoman world in Europe, covering different genres of orientalist art. - See more at: http://www.skira.net/a-journey-into-the-world-of-the-ottomans.html?___store=en&___from_store=default#sthash.V8N9Mye4.dpuf
In the cultural sphere, the period between the October Revolution and the initiation of the first five‑year plan was marked by a series of heated public debates about the function of visual art and media in the new socialist society. Prominent theorists, including the Commissar of Enlightenment, Anatolii Lunacharskii, and writers associated with the journal Lef, such as Boris Arvatov and Sergei Tret´iakov, participated in these debates, as did modernist artists and realist painters. Photography was a central theme, and by 1925 the question of how the advances in photographic and other forms of mechanical reproduction were changing the nature of the visual had emerged as the debates’ most pressing problem. While all of the debates’ contending factions recognized the significance of photography, they also agreed that the material components of painting—particularly color and surface texture—remained essential to the development of comradely socialist relations. This article brings to light for the first time the aspects of early Soviet thought on aesthetics and communication that led to the firm establishment of painting as a visual medium essential to socialism. It demonstrates in particular that the materiality of painting and its traces were linked to the activation and transmission of the sensations of the body, which were considered necessary for the formation of socialist connections.
The paper examines a rare explored phenomenon of Soviet cover design –a number of official releases produced by the only recording concern Melodija on the one hand, and so-called “tape-albums” became widespread among underground people in the late Soviet Union, on another.