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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Dadaist crisis in the sixteenth century Poirier, Joseph George Maurice 1965

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A DADA1ST CRISIS IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY by Maurice P o i r i e r . B.A.', University of Montreal, 1956 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in the Department of FINE ARTS We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1965 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r reference and study. I f u r t h e r agree that per m i s s i o n f o r extensive copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s understood that copying or p u b l i  c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be allowed without my w r i t t e n permission* Maurice P o i r i e r Department of Fine A r t s  The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, Vancouver 8, Canada Date A p r i l - 1965 IV ABSTRACT The purpose of t h i s thesis i s to present a new approach to the art of Rosso and Pontormo and to suggest a new interpre t a t i o n to i t s controversial character. The f i r s t part i s essen t i a l l y a preparation to the main discussion: the notion of S p i r i t u a l i t y , necessary to a f u l l understanding of the art of Rosso and Pontormo, i s f i r s t developed, followed by an extensive study of the primary " w i l l " which was guiding the c l a s s i c painter i n his major r e a l i z a t i o n s . The second part discusses the art of Rosso and Pontormo. The object here i s to demonstrate that i n a reasonably large number of t h e i r works we can detect a d i s t i n c t w i l l to awake f e e l i n g s of incongruity, abnormality, strangeness i n the beholder, and to perplex, disturb, frustrate and even shock him. This w i l l i s defined as the new w i l l . A f t e r an expose of the l a t t e r , the art of Rosso i s taken up, followed by the art of Pontormo. Eight works by Rosso and eleven by Pontormo are discussed i n d i v i d u a l l y . The method of analysis followed extensively takes into account the f a c t that the revolutionary art of those a r t i s t s made i t s appar i t i o n i n an e s s e n t i a l l y c l a s s i c i z i n g atmosphere. The t h i r d part attempts to explain what may have caused the new w i l l to germinate i n Pontormo and Rosso. A f i r s t chapter i s devoted to showing that corruption, at the height of the Renaissance, pervaded the I t a l i a n clergy from top to bottom. In a second chap ter, documents are brought up to the support of the f a c t that a reformation of the clergy was the great s p i r i t u a l need of that age. I t i s also pointed out that the whole of the I t a l i a n society of that time, indeed, was morally deteriorating at an alarming rate. V A f i n a l chapter describes how, under the effect mainly of the new di g n i t y awakened i n them by t h e i r recent recognition as l i b e r a l a r t i s t s , Pontormo and Rosso would have subconsciously awakened to such a state of a f f a i r s . They would have r e a l i z e d , among other abnormalities, that C h r i s t i a n a r t , e s s e n t i a l l y meant to promote the s p i r i t u a l advancement of society, was not helping to solve the great s p i r i t u a l demand of the i r age , nor was i t t r u l y helping society as a whole, although i t had just reached an unprecedented degree of perfection. D i s i l l u s i o n and despair would have followed, ultimately engendering, at least at the pre-conscious l e v e l , a b i t t e r resentment against society i n general which was f a i l i n g to respond as i t should to the a r t i s t ' s message. The w i l l to turn the work of art against society by making i t disturbing, f r u s t r a  t i n g and even shocking would have been the d i r e c t r e s u l t of such a resentment. The thesis concludes by pointing out some impor tant s i m i l a r i t i e s between the art of Rosso and Pontormo and the modern Dadaist movement. I l l I am greatly indebted to H. W o l f f l i n for my understanding of c l a s s i c art and also to S.J. Freedberg mainly for h i s perspica cious analyses of the early works of Pontormo and Rosso. I want to thank Mr. Ian McNairn for his very he l p f u l and constructive remarks regarding t h i s paper. My gratitude must also be extended to Mr. W.S. Hart, and to Dr. B. Savary of the Philosophy Department for his sympathetic attitude during the elaboration of my ideas. I f i n a l l y wish to express my indebtedness to Dr. R.C. Cragg for his kind assistance i n allowing t h i s project to be brought to completion. CONTENTS PREFACE ABSTRACT PART ONE -- FROM EARLY CHRISTIAN TO CLASSIC PAINTING CHAPTER I The Advent of S p i r i t u a l i t y i n Chri s t i a n Painting CHAPTER I I The Cl a s s i c W i l l PART TWO — THE NEW WILL IN ROSSO'S AND PONTORMO'S ART CHAPTER I I I Notion of the New W i l l CHAPTER IV The Art of Rosso CHAPTER V The Art of Pontormo PART THREE ~ SOCIOLOGY OF THE NEW WILL CHAPTER VI Sit u a t i o n of the I t a l i a n Clergy at the Height of the Renaissance CHAPTER VII The Great S p i r i t u a l Need of the High Renais sance CHAPTER VIII The Reaction of Rosso and Pontormo SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY I PREFACE This thesis i s e s s e n t i a l l y concerned with the analysis of a group of works by Rosso and Pontormo. The t i t l e chosen, I must admit, i s not quite appropriate. My intention was to devise one which would describe the psychological response of these a r t i s t s to the high degree of immorality reached by the society of t h e i r time, and which would also be expressive of t h i s very response as transmitted through t h e i r works. After several unsuccessful attempts I f i n a l l y decided on the present t i t l e , much more indeed for i t s suggestiveness, which w i l l be found he l p f u l i n under standing the ideas submitted, than for i t s adequacy of expression. I wish to make i t clear that I w i l l not by any means be attempting to interpret the art of Rosso and Pontormo i n terms of Dadaism. There are indeed important s i m i l a r i t i e s between the l a t t e r and the art of those a r t i s t s but these w i l l be suggested only at the very end of t h i s essay and i n a way which w i l l make the main d i s  cussion independent and u t t e r l y s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t . With these r e s t r i c t i o n s i n mind, the reader should be better prepared to accept t h i s rather dissonant t i t l e . The f i r s t part may seem to be a long diversion ranging from early C h r i s t i a n art to Raphael's Tapestry Cartoons. The nature of the f i r s t chapter was dictated to me by the fact that the term s p i r i t u a l i t y , fundamental to my discussion of the art of Rosso and Pontormo, i s so often misused that a r e - d e f i n i t i o n of i t i n a way p a r t i c u l a r l y applicable to painting appeared highly desirable i f not necessary. That I have found i t most convenient to go back I I to early C h r i s t i a n times i n order to i l l u s t r a t e my d e f i n i t i o n should not require any j u s t i f i c a t i o n . The second chapter i s an attempt to summarize the fundamental character of c l a s s i c painting. Such a task seemed desirable before discussing Rosso*s and Pon tormo' s a r t , and indeed i t may be found that many of the ideas which I express there w i l l f a c i l i t a t e the understanding of my approach to the art of these a r t i s t s . The ultimate goal of art h i s t o r y should not be simply to achieve a perfect anatomy of the exterior manifestations of the work of art but to enable us to understand as much as possible why and how those manifestations came into being. Most attempts at penetrating the creative process, i n the case of a p a r t i c u l a r a r t i s t , either l i m i t themselves to the discussion of formal influences from the works of other a r t i s t s , or else theorize about i t i n such a vague and abstract way, that one finds i t hardly possible to even perceive, i n the works themselves, the theory which i s being proposed. I t i s hoped that the present essay, which i s indeed highly speculative, w i l l enable the reader at least to see the ideas suggested, and also perhaps to gain a deeper, broader and more intimate understanding of the a r t i s t s i n question. I have no pretension about t h i s essay and indeed i t should be considered as a f i r s t exploration of the subject: for I am perf e c t l y aware that even tf„nly i n a few years from now I may want to amend and perhaps even abandon so many of the ideas which I now believe i n , that i f retouched then the present paper w i l l c e r t a i n l y be hardly recognizable. 1 PART ONE FROM EARLY C H R I S T I A N TO C L A S S I C P A I N T I N G 2 I THE ADVENT OF SPIRITUALITY IN CHRISTIAN PAINTING The transformations undergone by C h r i s t i a n painting during the early phase of i t s history were not without complexity. So many c o n f l i c t i n g influences were at work, so many new concepts and feelings had to be externalised, that no single l i n e of development can actually be followed during the f i r s t f i v e cen t u r i e s . I t i s possible, however, to determine several major inten tions by which a r t i s t s of that time would have been guided and which would have played an important role throughout those cen t u r i e s of development. I s h a l l presently attempt to survey what appear to be the most s i g n i f i c a n t ones of those intentions. A f i r s t generalization which we can safely make about early C h r i s t i a n painting, leaving aside the emotional aspect for the moment, i s that on the whole i t aims at giving a clear, d i s t i n c t rendering of the action depicted: the observer must f i n d out re a d i l y what i s going on. To t h i s end, nature w i l l be distorted i f necessary, and d i s t r a c t i n g elements w i l l be eliminated. The es s e n t i a l thing here i s for the event to be r e a d i l y "grasped" by the observer. The Adoration of the Magi (fresco i n the Cemetery of Petrus and Marcellinus; I I I century)*' i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s tendency perhaps at i t s purest. Against an empty background, two magi are depicted coming towards the V i r g i n , who i s seated i n a chair and holding the Child i n her arms. The figures are a l l rendered with a f a i r amount of naturalism: they have a certain v i t a l i t y , average proportions and t h e i r gestures s u f f i c i e n t l y approximate the ones 3 of normal human beings. There is no deliberate attempt at dehumanization.2 One sees, however, that the ar t i s t has unnat urally tipped the bowls which the magi are holding: so that we can judge of the nature of their offerings. That i s a l l . The emotional content in this work is indeed reduced to a minimum: the event stands out in an atmosphere of practically complete neutrality. Now we may very reasonably imagine that many an ar t i s t would have been tempted to make his depictions look more plausible, more true to l i f e , more "real*: this resulting either, on the one hand, from a genuine interest in naturalistic, or, in some cases, idealized (in the classipal manner) descriptions, or on the other hand, from a desire to convince the beholder that the action depicted actually took place (or is taking place). Thus here he would have been inclined to suggest a three-dimensional space, to give p l a s t i c i t y to the figures, to add a r e a l i s t i c background with buildings and trees...etc, A f u l l outburst of this urge can be clearly seen in the apsidal mosaics of Sta Pudenziana, Rome, (ca. 401-417). Here the i l l u s i o n of a three-dimensional space is clearly intended; numerous buildings recede in the background; the figures themselves (Jesus and his disciples) are portrayed "as majestic and dignified persons just as i f they were di s t i n  guished Romans, imperial governors or influential senators". 4 If i t did not significantly interfere in such scenes as the one we have just described, such an interest was, however, theoretically coming into conflict with the desire for c l a r i t y and directness of expression, when an actual event had to be 4 depicted. For the more you integrate an event in a natural setting, the more indeed you give i t the appearance of reality, but the more also the event i t s e l f somehow tends to be engulfed in this setting. Therefore, in his desire to impress the event s t i l l more vividly on the mind of the observer, the early Christian a r t i s t was led to take measures which often disregarded even the basic principles of naturalism. Thus he was led to eliminate irrelevant details, to geometrically reorganize the spatial components, to compress the scene in an irrational space; he was also lead to increase the size of the central figures, and this i s apparent even in the Adoration of the Magi discussed above;5 frontality was also found highly effective and therefore i t was adopted as a standard device; for the same reasons, the figures, from the beginning, were given clear, emphasized, arrested gestures. 6 A f u l l embodiment of a l l these tendencies can be seen in the nave wall mosaics of Sta Maria Maggiore, Rome (ca. 432-440). What has been said so far (except for the tendency to idealize forms the classical way, which did not last very long), was relevant more to the event i t s e l f than to the fundamental sp i r i t of the depiction. Since they were at the service of a new religion which was radically displacing old-established beliefs, and because the traditional art was intimately associated with those beliefs, i t was to be expected that the artists of that time would have eventually attempted to characterize their works:; in a way that would make them fundamentally different from traditional works; and since the god of the new religion was one 5 whose kingdom was not of t h i s world, since detachment and renun c i a t i o n from the things of t h i s world were indeed the most revolutionary ideals preached by the new r e l i g i o n , i t was also to be expected that t h i s characterization, t h i s new s p i r i t which would make them fundamentally d i f f e r e n t from purely pagan works, would also be somewhat related to "unworldliness." And indeed when we survey the art of the sixth century fox instance, we r e a l i z e that something new has been added, we become conscious, i n many works, of the d e f i n i t e existence of a new s p i r i t , a t r u l y new " l i f e - c u r r e n t " , hardly known to Antiquity and eminently symbolic of the very essence of C h r i s t i a n i t y . The work i n which to my mind t h i s new s p i r i t , t h i s new l i f e - c u r r e n t can be apprehended the most s i g n i f i c a n t l y and unequi vo c a l l y i s the set of mosaics narrating events from the l i f e and Passion of C h r i s t , i n the nave of Sant 1 Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna (ear l y VI century). The following d e s c r i p t i o n matches these mosaics p e r f e c t l y : "We have here scenes that take place i n a peculiar medium without l i g h t and a i r , i n a space without depth, perspective, and atmosphere, whose f l a t , shapeless figures are without weight and shadow. A l l attempt to produce the i l l u s i o n of a consistent piece of space i s now altogether discarded; the figures do not act upon one another i n any way, and the r e l a t i o n s between them are purely i d e a l . They become fa r more s t i f f and l i f e l e s s , and at the same time far more solemn, more s p i r i t u a l i z e d , more remote from l i f e and from t h i s earth. Most of the devices by which these e f f e c t s are achieved — above a l l , the reduction of the s p a t i a l depth, flatness and f r o n t a l i t y of figu r e s , economy 6 and simplicity of design -- were known to late Roman and early Christian art; but now they a l l coalesce and form the elements of a new style of their own. Formerly they were found in isolation, or at least only employed i f a particular situation seemed to require them, and were always in open and unresolved conflict with naturalistic traditions and recollections; but here the fl i g h t from the world i s f u l l y accomplished and a l l i s cold, s t i f f , l i f e l e s s form although i n s t i l l e d with a very instense and very essential l i f e through death of the fleshly Adam and awakening of a new spiritual man. It a l l reflects the words of St. Paul: ttI li v e , but not I but Christ liveth in me." The ancient world and i t s joy in sense i s now abolished; the old glory departed; Imperial Rome in ruins. The Church now celebrates her triumph, not in the s p i r i t of the Roman nobility, but in the sign of a power which pretends to be not of this world."? The reader w i l l have noticed here that the new life-current which I was mentioning above i s described very penetratingly by Hauser as "a very intense and very essential l i f e through death of the fleshly Adam and awakening of a new spiritual man." Now such a "very intense 1 1 l i f e would indeed presuppose that the contact with Nature (considered as a life-giving power) has been practically "cut off." In scenes, for instance, such as the ones depicted on the nave walls of Sta Maria Maggiore, this contact i s definitely not quite cut off (which should become apparent upon comparison of these mosaics with the ones in Sant 1 7 Apollinare Nuovo): there i s s t i l l too much naturalism in the ai r ; the space defined, in most depictions, i s s t i l l too deep and comfortable; the figures in general s t i l l have too much pla s t i c i t y and aliveness, their gestures often seem too easy and they are s t i l l too organically related to one another. A further comparison w i l l help us to s t i l l more firmly grasp the essence of this "very intense and very essential l i f e 1 * of which Hauser speaks. Let us consider the figures of Patriarchs  and Prophets (early VI century) immediately below the scenes from the l i f e and Passion of Christ, in Sant* Apollinare Nuovo. These figures psychologically belong to a normal humanity: they have personality and seem rationally controlled; their look i s positive and lucid. Now let us glance at the Procession of Martyrs (ca; 557-569) just below these Patriarchs and Prophets. The Martyrs stare into emptiness; they have a blank look; even though some may appear to be looking at us, on closer observation we find that they do not seem aware of our presence. They do not seem under the control of Reason; they seem to be under the spell of some foreign power which takes a l l individuality away from them. Although there are some differences among them, we do not feel them much. The impression we get i s that these people a l l belong to one same family. A similar difference can be observed in the treatment of the bodies and draperies. While in the case of the Patriarchs and Prophets the a r t i s t had striven for a certain variety and a certain p l a s t i c i t y , here in the Procession of  Martyrs, his concern i s to put as l i t t l e variety and p l a s t i c i t y 8 as possible; flowing lines axe kept to a minimum; roundness i s eliminated in favor of angularity, which tends to make the de sign look more two-dimensional. As with the Patriarchs and  Prophets the a r t i s t , although setting the figures on a gold background, had suggested a sufficient three-dimensional space on the ground, here the sense of spatial i l l u s i o n i s entirely suppressed: the Martyrs stand in an unreal space. We can indeed observe in these mosaics a difference in s p i r i t similar to the one which we have pointed out between the nave wall mosaics of Sta Maria Maggiore and the scenes from the l i f e and Passion of Christ in Sant 1 Apollinare Nuovo. In the case of the Patriarchs and Prophets, the contact with Nature i s s t i l l much f e l t , even though there i s a drastic tendency towards abstraction. With the Procession of Martyrs, however, such a contact no longer exists: here "the f l i g h t from the world i s f u l l y accomplished and a l l i s cold, s t i f f , l i f e l e s s form— although i n s t i l l e d with a very intense and very essential l i f e through death of the fleshly Adam and awakening of a new spiritual man. a Let us f i n a l l y compare the mosaic version of the Baptism of  Christ in the dome of the Baptistery of the Orthodox, Ravenna (ca. 449-452) with the one in the dome of the Baptistery of the Arians, Ravenna (ca. 500). In the earlier version, the Baptist i s standing in a normal and relaxed position; his raised l e f t foot i s resting comfortably on a clearly three-dimensional rock, and he i s pouring water on Christ*s head while looking calmly at the Dove. The figure personifying the Jordan, on the other hand, 9 i s sympathetically looking at Christ; the latter i s looking down, conscious of the importance of the event, but remaining calm and dignified. The interrelation among the figures here i s indeed highly organic. From this interrelation, from the strongly plastic modeling of the figures and also from the flowers and plants depicted at the lower left-hand corner, one gets a distinct sense of tttrue l i f e " , circulating through the work. In the later version, a fundamentally different atmosphere has been created. Here the foliage has been eliminated and the figures are now standing in a ri g i d symmetrical order. The strong chiaroscuro of the earlier treatment has been drastically reduced. One of the Baptist*s feet i s s t i l l raised, but here the rock on which i t was resting in the earlier version has been eliminated, which gives a character of a r t i f i c i a l i t y , of forced arrestedness to his posture; this impression i s reinforced by his look which, like for the other two figures, does not seem to rest anywhere; moreover, instead of pouring water, he i s now simply touching Christ's head with his right hand. The figure personifying the Jordan has also been significantly altered: he is here depicted frontally, with a frozen look in his eyes, as i f in a state of momentary transfixion. — Briefly, one gets the impression in this depiction that l i f e has been momentarily suspended and that a supernatural, irrational power has taken over. The contact with Nature, s t i l l very strong in the earlier version, i s here no longer f e l t . Like for the Procession of  Martyrs and the scenes from the l i f e and Passion of Christ in the nave of Sant* Apollinare Nuovo, one may say indeed, here also, that " a l l i s cold, s t i f f , l i f e l e s s form — although i n s t i l l e d xo with a very intense and very essential l i f e through death of the fleshly Adam and awakening of a new spiritual man,11 Now I am not denying that much of the new s p i r i t or new life-current, which Hauser's description analyzes so penetratingly and which I have tried to make the reader conscious of, can in deed be f e l t in such works as the nave wall mosaics of Sta Maria Maggiore. Therefore, in order to enable us £o more practically handle this new s p i r i t , this new life-current, we shall make use of Hauser's definition but in a somewhat modified way. We shall define i t ( i . e . the new s p i r i t or new life-current) as an ether breathing the presence of an unworldly and supernatural power (which i s God himself as understood and taught by the Christian religion), and we shall c a l l this ether by the name of Spiritu a l i t y . By this definition we are making provision for a d i f f e r  ence in degree, in intensity for this "very intense and very essential l i f e " , and we axe also allowing i t (which Hauser's definition does not allow) to co-exist with another ether, this one breathing the presence of a natural power (which i s Nature considered as a life-giving power), and to which we shall give the name of Natural L i f e . 8 S p i r i t u a l i t y thus understood 9 can be said indeed to have emerged in Christian painting long before the time of the nave wall mosaics of Sta Maria Maggiore. It i s , however, as we have pointed out above, only in such depictions as the ones narrating events from the l i f e and Passion of Christ in the nave of Sant 1 Apollinare Nuovo that i t reached f u l l purity (or maturity) and that Natural Life practically vanished from the scene.*6 11 From then on, and especially with the victorious and decisive spread of the Byzantine style, S p i r i t u a l i t y was to remain, for many centuries, a foremost concern for the Christian a r t i s t . 1 1 The re-awakening of interest in nature which took place with the Gothic period meant a revolutionary transformation in the outlook of the Christian a r t i s t . The new interest can significantly be seen, for instance, in the statues of the North and South porches of Chartres Cathedral (second quarter of XHIth century) as compared to the ones in the Royal West Portal (begun ca. 1145). While the latter are elongated, prisoner of the columns to which they are attached, highly stylized and l i t e r a l l y shut to our world,i2 the ones of the North and South porches reveal a definite w i l l to rehumanize the figure of man.1^ At the same time, by their awareness of their environment, of the world around them, they manifest a re-awakening of interest in the world i t s e l f from the part of the a r t i s t . From then on this renewed interest in man and the world was to compete for a place of i t s own. The main problem raised in Christian art, from that time on, was to conciliate this interest in man and the world (or, ultimately, Nature) with the w i l l to impose S p i r i t u a l i t y . 1 4 With the opening of the Early Renaissance, artists set out to conquer Nature systematically. The reticences which had manifested themselves a l l through the fourteenth century are now discarded by the greatest majority of artists, and the interest in Nature takes over. So much indeed that in some artists the interest in Spirituality subsists at a bare minimum. 12 One by one the mysteries of Nature are uncovered and integrated in the f i e l d of Christian art. The conflict between Natural Li f e and Spir i t u a l i t y remains s t i l l unresolved, however, until the coming of Leonardo da Vinci and the other classic artists f i n a l l y brings i t to a solution. 1. W« Lowrie, Art in the Early Church. New York, 1947, plate 14c. 2. By dehumanization I mean that the human figure i s recast in another form than i t would have i f naturalistically rendered. Likewise I shall use the term dematerialization whenever the environment of the figures i s recast in another form than i t would have i f depicted with naturalism. 3. The dating of this work, as well as of the other early Christian monuments discussed from here on, i s taken from W.F. Volbach, Early Christian Art. London, 1961. 4. A. Hauser, The Social History of Art. Vintage edit., 4 Vols., New York, 1957, I, p. 126. 5. One w i l l note here the slightly enlarged scale of the Virgin compared to the one of the magi. 6. A l l these devices can indeed be found in late Roman art. I am simply pointing out here why the early Christian artist would have wanted to use them. 7. Hauser, op. cit.,. I, p. 128. I must quickly point out here that this description, in Hauser's book, i s not meant for the Sant' Apollinare Nuovo mosaics but for the nave wall mosaics of Sta Maria Maggiore, Rome. Obviously I do not agree with this. To my mind, as w i l l be seen presently, the nave wall mosaics of Sta Maria Maggiore embody fax too many naturalistic tendencies to f i t this description perfectly. 8. By )|atuxe I mean hexe the natuxal agent cxeatox of a l l that exists on eaxth including man's intelligence. Thus anything with a xecognizable natuxal form or presumably created by man's intellect (e.g. an architectural construction) w i l l t h e o r i t i c a l l y breathe the presence of Nature (or Natural L i f e ) . This latter pxesence w i l l diminish in intensity in pxopoxtion as the amount of dehumanization and dematerial ization increases. 13 9, There is a certain s p i r i t u a l i t y inherent i n the crudest depiction of any religious event, due to the fact that we automatically recognize in i t the presence of God (no matter in how indirect a way)• I term this s p i r i t u a l i t y the "internal" s p i r i t u a l i t y of the work. Thus the s p i r i t  uality which the early Christian a r t i s t was led to impose i s really an "external'1 one. Since an internal s p i r i t u a l i t y i s inherent in a l l religious paintings and i s not relevant to our discussion, except in so far as i t "prepares the ground" for the existence of the external s p i r i t u a l i t y , we shall c a l l the latter by the simple name of Sp i r i t u a l i t y (with a capital S), 10, It would be tempting to speak of the "ascent" of Spirit u a l i t y in Christian painting, and to point out for instance the more advanced character, in this respect, of the triumphal arch mosaics in Sta Maria Maggiore (ca, 432-440) as compared to the nave wall mosaics, and the decisive triumph of Spi r i t u a l i t y , some years later, in the nave of Sant* Apol- linare Nuovo, One could indeed be led to speak of a "class i c a l phase," when the contact with Nature would have just been broken, and during which Sp i r i t u a l i t y would have dominated with the minimum display of movement, emotions,,, •etc. Thus Romanesque art, for instance, would have con stituted a baroque or even a rococo phase, in this respect,•• If one had gone that far, the temptation, in so far as Sp i r i t u a l i t y i s concerned, to consider the series of mosaics relating events from the l i f e and Passion of Christ in the nave of Sant* Apollinare Nuovo, as the "Parthenon Sculptures of Christian Art" (in a way not totally unlike the one in which Raphael's tapestry cartoons have been called the Par thenon Sculptures of Modern Art") — would be hardly resisted, 11, The fact that Byzantine art owed i t s decisive advent partly to purely p o l i t i c a l motivations does not basically conflict with our argument. For an expose* of the p o l i t i c a l s i g n i f i  cance of this art, see Hauser 1s chapter entitled The  A r t i s t i c Style of Byzantine Caesaropapism. op, c i t , , I, pp. 129-136, 12, The heads are verti c a l ; the draperies f a l l r i g i d l y ; the arms do not stretch outside the body. The books they are holding are a l l v e r t i c a l . 13, The attitude of these figures i s much less rigid indeed. The fantastic elongation of the West portal statues has gone. Draperies are more deeply (and thus naturalistically) carved. There i s more variety and a certain aliveness in the position of the arms. Some figures are looking side ways, aware of their environment. 14, I am considering here the new naturalistic trend which moved implacably through the Early Renaissance and culminated in the art of the High Renaissance as we shall soon see. 14 II THE CLASSIC WILL What actually happened in early Christian times was that the demands which Nature imposes on the work of art for her dignity to be respected and affirmed were ignored by the a r t i s t : at f i r s t , essentially for purposes of c l a r i t y and directness of expression; and later, more essentially in order to impress on the beholder the transcendental meaning of the scenes depicted* When interest in the world around began to redevelop, Nature began to impose herself again and from then on raised her voice more and more in order to have her dignity affirmed more and more in the work of art. With the advent of the Early Renais sance, the w i l l to reassert this dignity was given a decisive elan, which culminated in the art of the High Renaissance. Here Nature i s f u l l y conquered and her dignity powerfully affirmed. The f u l l affirmation of the dignity of Nature, in painting, implies the respect of some basic natural laws. Through the respect of these laws, the projection of the world depicted onto our own takes place spontaneously. We feel.the figures animated with the same type of l i f e as animates us and with a blood similar to ours running in their veins. Their environment, on the other hand, does not fundamentally di f f e r from ours and we would not feel sti?anger in i t . Thus i s created a sense of intimate relationship between our world and the world depicted by the a r t i s t . We feel intensely acting in i t the same natural power (Nature) as i s acting in our own. 15 Now what axe these basic laws, the xespect of which assuxes such an affixmation. They axe ox xathex constitute what I texm the physical premises of classic painting. The lattex does not specifically xeside in theix xealization, as we shall see, fox i t goes beyond them. But i t i s based on them and xespects them. These pxemises demand fi x s t of a l l that the figuxes appeax con vincingly liv i n g with a humanity like ouxs; they must thus have xealistic pxopoxtions; theix limbs and joints must be xounded out naturalistically; theix movements must appeax easy and natuxal; they must have a convincing p l a s t i c i t y and occupy a txue three- dimensional space adequate fox them; they must have v i t a l i t y and appeax contxolled by Reason. The physical pxemises also demand that the law of gxavity be xespected: figuxes must stand up fixmly and secuxely on theix feet; i f they axe seated, they must appeax sufficiently gxounded to theix seat.* The laws of optics, f i n a l l y , must be xespected: to this effect, linear and aerial perspective shall be used; the lighting shall appear r e a l i s t i c ; the distinction between the animate and the inanimate shall be clear. The significance of classic painting resides partly in the fact that i t realizes and respects those premises more faith f u l l y than ever before in Christian art. Hauser observes that "in the whole of Italian painting before Leonardo there i s no human figure which, compaxed with the figuxes of Raphael, Fxa Baxtolommeo, Andxea del Saxto, Titian, and Michelangelo, has not y 16 something clumsy, s t i f f , constricted about i t . However rich they are in accurately observed details, the figures of the Early Renaissance never stand quite firmly and securely on their feet; their movements are always somewhat cramped and forced, their limbs creak and wobble at the joints, their relationship to the space around them i s often contradictory, the way they are modelled i s obtrusive and the way they are illuminated a r t i f i c i a l * The naturalistic efforts of the fifteenth century do not come to fruition until the sixteenth,"2 Thus i s i t that classic art affirmed the dignity of Nature to a degree unpre cedented in Christian times* A complete definition of the classic w i l l would involve so lengthy a discussion, that I have no other ambition here than to point out only what appear to be the main objectives behind the classic artist's efforts. The f i r s t thing which strikes us, after the elaborate and fancy descriptions of Quattrocento art, i s the seriousness with which the classic a r t i s t takes his sub ject-matter."^ The scene i s purged from a l l accessories and incidentals, and the event confronts us with a force of presence indeed recalling the one of early Christian art. Simplifica tion and concentration become two major rules. The event must be grasped in i t s essence immediately and directly: to this end a l l distracting elements, not intimately bound to i t , are excluded. 17 A comparison of the Drunkenness of Noah as treated by Benozzo Gozzoli (Pisa, Campo Santo; ca. 1467-69) with the same subject as dealt with by Michelangelo in his Sistine Ceiling (Rome, Vatican; 1509) w i l l serve to make this clear. Gozzoli takes pleasure in depicting a l l the antecedents leading to the drunkenness i t s e l f , including a crowd of irrelevant details. Michelangelo, on the other hand, with the minimum of figures and using an almost bare setting, concentrates exclusively on what really i s the key-moment of the event, namely the discovery by his grandchildren of the drunken man indecently exposed. Having thus purified the scene from a l l irrelevancies, the classic artist now turns his efforts on suffusing the work with a powerful v i t a l i t y . The latter process i s f i r s t applied to the figures themselves, considered individually. The classic figures, as has already been hinted, breathe v i t a l i t y to a degree e;unprecedented in Christian art. Wolfflin observes that "one feels a heightened physical v i t a l i t y , and, indeed, the mere act of looking at something i s endowed with an energy pre viously unknown."4 A comparison of Verrocchio's Baptism of Christ (Florence, U f f i z i ; ca. 1476) with the treatment given to the same subject by Andrea Sansovino in the Baptistery of Florence (ca. 1502-05) illustrates this idea significantly. In the Verrocchio, the ceremony takes place with hastiness and we feel a certain rest- lessness in the figures. Sansovino, on the other hand, depicts the protagonists as simply standing there, quite calmly: yet 18 the v i t a l i t y pulsating in them greatly surpasses the one of the animated figures in the Verrocchio. The same phenomenon i s observable in portraits, where "a new expressive vigour"^ can be seen. The desire for v i t a l i t y i s so great indeed that a new organic current i s noticeable even in the clothes which the figures are wearing. The Count Castiqlione by Raphael (Paris, Louvre; 1515-16) offers an excellent example of such an organic current. Now beside v i t a l i z i n g the figures individually, the classic a r t i s t endeavours to also v i t a l i z e the relationships among them on the one hand and the relationships between the figures and their environment on the other hand. His aim i s to relate the figures among themselves and to integrate them with their environ ment in a truly organic way. The School of Athens (by Raphael), as we shall see, offers a perfect example of such interrelations. But the idea there i s fundamentally the same as exists in such a work as the Madonna of the Harpies (Florence, U f f i z i ; 1517) by Andrea del Sarto. In the latter work, the placing of the figures in different positions and at different angles, al l i e d with the interplay of light and shadow and the directions suggested by the draperies.••.etc., is specifically meant to produce such an organic current, such a rythmic freedom among them. Wolfflin observes 7 that here Hthe eye i s continually kept in pleasing movement.* It goes without saying that such an organic current adds i t s own share to the v i t a l i t y already present in the figures considered individually, and contributes to make the work pulsate with 8 v i t a l i t y s t i l l more. 19 Now in works such as a Holy Family, or a Madonna with Saints, there i s no actual event taking place. Such works essentially aim at confronting the beholder with certain holy figures, without really trying to impose a story on him. The Holy Family tondo by Michelangelo, the Sistine Madonna by Raphael and the Madonna of the Harpies by Andrea del Sarto belong to such a group. In such cases, the endeavours of the ar t i s t are on v i t a l i z i n g the figures individually, and also v i t a l i z i n g the relationships among them (and between them and their environ ment), on the purely formal point of view, without really aiming any further (as far as v i t a l i t y i s concerned). On the other hand, in works such as the Creation of Eve, the Liberation of Peter, the School of Athens ...etc. an actual event i s taking place.9 Let us visualize such an event as having an existence of i t s own, independently from the world in which i t i s taking place. We shall then be in a position to understand that beside being turned on v i t a l i z i n g the individual figures and v i t a l i z i n g their relationships among themselves and with their environment (in other words v i t a l i z i n g the world in which the event i s taking place) the classic artist's efforts are also turned on powerfully v i t a l i z i n g the existence of the event i t s e l f . We must clearly realize how "such a v i t a l i t y of existence i s something different from the mere force of presence the event may have. In an early Christian work such as the Raising of Lazarus (Ravenna, Sant' Apollinare Nuovo; early Vlth cent.), 20 the event as such possesses a powerful force of presence, yet i t s existence can be said to be static. The classic a r t i s t , while preserving in the event a similar force of presence, aims at powerfully v i t a l i z i n g or dynamizing i t s existence. It cannot be denied of course that the v i t a l i t y of the event as such depends largely on i t s force of presence (statically; considered) and also very largely on the v i t a l i t y of the world in which i t i s taking place (for indeed i t would be possible to visualize a vitalized event without a vitalized world)• But more is needed to make us feel the pulse of the event strongly. There must be a particular concentration of the actors on the event i t s e l f and there must also be among the figures certain inter relations through which the essence of the event i s dynamically and powerfully brought out. Giotto had been clearly concerned with such an intensi fication. His late frescoes in Santa Croce indeed reveal an obvious desire to suffuse the figures and their environment with a greater degree of natural v i t a l i t y , but we can also detect a distinct w i l l to vi t a l i z e the event i t s e l f . In the Renunciation of the Worldly Possessions _with pupil_7(Upper Church in San Francesco of A s s i s i ; ca. 1296-99);10 the father's disapproval i s clear, yet i t s existence is rather static. Giotto takes up the same subject in Santa Croce (Bardi Chapel; ca. 1325), but this time the father's gesture i s made much more aggressive and dynamic. The man violently steps out toward his son and two attendants are now needed to hold him back. Further, Giotto 21 adds on the l e f t the figure of a child prevented to throw a stone at the Saint by his mother. These two alterations com bine to greatly intensify the pulse of the event. It i s interesting to compare the Raising of Drusiana by Giotto (Santa Croce, Peruzzi Chapel; ca. 1318-23) with the Creation of Eve by Michelangelo (Vatican, Sistine Ceiling; 1509), Both artists aim at organically relating the power of the "raiser 1 1 with the helplessness of the person raised. To this end, Giotto depicts Drusiana seated with her hand pointing at the saint, and looking straight at him. The latter i s slightly bent towards her with his hand in a commanding gesture. Yet how arrested does this event appear when we compare i t to the Creation of Eve by Michelangelo (who uses basically the same motif). Here the raising of Eve i s s t i l l clearly in process while her complete dependence on God's gesture breathes v i t a l i t y in a most powerful way. So far we have seen that the classic artist aimed at giving the event an intense force of presence while suffusing i t and the world in which i t takes place with a powerful v i t a l i t y . What remains to be said now i s that on the event thus brought into focus and vitalized, the classic artist i s interested in imposing Monumentality. Webster gives of monumental the following definition: of the nature of, or resembling a monument; hence, massive and lasting; impressive; stupendous; as conspicuous as a monument; colossal; notable. And indeed we readily know what i s meant by 22 a monumental architecture and the monumentality of such Egyptian statues as the Colossi of Memnon. I would like here to make a particular use of the word Monumentality and define i t as a quality partaking of the dignified, the grand, the solemn, the grave, the potentially powerful, the highly lucid, the calm, the ordered, the controlled.••.This quality can be seen in i t s purest form (which i s also the perfectly static one) as embodied in a statue such as the seated Chefren (Diorite. Life-size. Cairo, Egyptian Museum. IVth dynasty, ca. 2530 B.C.) Now with the proper adjustment, i t can be said that the classic a r t i s t endeavours to impose the essence of this quality on his works (considered as wholes). To this end, he purifies the scene from a l l accidental details: only the essentials are kept in both the setting and the figures. The architecture used i s severe and powerful. The figures themselves are given the attitude of noble, dignified beings. The clothes they are wearing axe simple, but heavy and distinctive. Anything partaking of the vulgar or the low is cast aside. They stand easily and move freely but with calm and dignity. Their gestures, no matter how vitalized, are at the same time measured and restrained. They remain in control of their emotions even in the most dramatic cases. Their behaviour in any situation i s the one of true aristocrats. ; H The classic artist further makes use of symmetry, balances, verticals and horizontals, lays out the spatial components in layers parallel to the picture plane and clearly delineates a l l the individual objects. Thus i s created 23 an atmosphere of lasting order, control, dignity, solemnity, power and high lucidity* And thus i s made to prevail over the work the quality embodied in the Chefren which we have defined as Monumentality. One of the major problems confronting the classic artist was the conciliation of Monumentality with v i t a l i t y * The latter must always be kept within certain bounds, otherwise the atmos phere of high lucidity and solemnity inherent to the existence of Monumentality finds i t s e l f endangered. It i s such an interest in v i t a l i t y , broken free, which partly led to the advent of the Baroque. A significant example of such an interest i s the Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus by Rubens (Munich, Museum? ca. 1617). Here the s p i r i t of the Chefren ceases to be f e l t . It i s interesting to observe how Michelangelo succeeded in maintaining such a s p i r i t in his Sistine Ceiling. Although the latter i s bursting with v i t a l i t y , yet we have the impression of a solemn order and control* It i s most important here to consider the Ceiling as a whole. The solid grounding of the Seers and Ignudi (already pointed out) greatly contributes to keep the bursting energy within controllable bounds. We also observe that the passionate figures of the Prophets are answered by the calm figures of the Sibyls and that the active Ignudi count among them some solemnly calm ones (such as the one above Jeremiah). The figure of God himself, bursting with boundless vigour in the Creation of the Sun and Moon, i s given less impetus 24 in the nearby scene (Separation of the Earth and Waters) and a solemn calm (although i t i s sweeping down) in the s t i l l next one (the Creation of Adam). Now in classic art in general, the subject-matter usually lends i t s e l f f a i r l y easily to a conciliation of Monumentality and v i t a l i t y . The School of Athens, the Baptism of Christ, the Creation of Adam, the Madonna with Saints,.,.etc, are a l l of such a kind. Trouble begins to develop when an animated drama (such as the Expulsion of Heliodorus) has to be depicted. The classic a r t i s t , here, in his w i l l to impose on the event both Monumentality and a strongly pulsating l i f e of i t s own, i s faced with the problem of suffusing the work with dramatic v i t a l i t y (which can easily run wild) while keeping the latter within the solemn frame of Monumentality. We shall see later how Raphael reached an "impasse" in the Expulsion of Heliodorus and how in the tapestry cartoons he evolved the perfect solution to this problem.*2 There i s another category of events which cannot be called true dramas in the same sense as the Expulsion of Heliodorus or the Kiss of Judas but which s t i l l imply a certain departure from the calm and the controlled. A Lamentation over the Body of  Christ and an event like the Death of St. Francis belong to such a group. Here the v i t a l i z i n g of the event implies the display of a l i v i n g sadness. Now sadness is another quality which con f l i c t s with Monumentality, for (as just said above) i t implies a certain departure from the calm and the controlled, and can 25 easily develop into an exaggerated sentimentalism. Heze too, thus, the classic artist was faced with a problem. Giotto had understood that problem and in his Lamentation (Padova, Arena Chapel; ca. 1305-10) he included some figures actively displaying their sorrow, but he also enclosed them with calm and dignified figures and distributed the latter in such a way that Monumentality was made to most happily co-exist with sadness. The Death of St. Francis in Santa Croce (Bardi Chapel; ca. 1325) reveals the same intention and displays basically the same treatment, with s t i l l happier effects. Faced with the same problem, Michelangelo in his early Pieta (Rome, St. Peter*s; 1498-99) opted for the display of a stoical acceptance only tinged with sadness. Fra Bartolommeo's Pieta (Florence, P i t t i ; ca. 1516-17) on the other hand, displays a greater amount of living sadness. The event as such i s perhaps indeed more vitalized but the work also somewhat loses in Monumen t a l i t y over Michelangelo*s. Summarizing our results, we can say that the tr i p l e imposi tion on the event of an intense force of presence, of a powerful v i t a l i t y and of the solemn s p i r i t of the Chefren (defined as 13 Monumentality) constituted the major aim of the classic a r t i s t . The whole of classic painting, indeed, could perhaps be summed up as a series of attempts to bring these three elements into a happy unity. Towards that end (and this could be called the practical side of the classic w i l l ) , the classic artist endeavoured 14 to intensely exploit a l l the pos s i b i l i t i e s of the formal elements and to interrelate the latter within a powerful unity. 26 The work which to my mind e x a m p l i f i e s t h i s w i l l most s p e c t a c u l a r l y and most s u c c e s s f u l l y , and which i s thus emin e n t l y c l a s s i c , i s the L i b e r a t i o n of Peter by Raphael ^Stanza d'EliodoroJ(Rome, V a t i c a n ; l a t e 1513-early 1514), Let us consider the middle scene, where the dramatic t e n s i o n i s at i t s h i g h e s t . The event depicted here i s the waking up of P e t e r by the angel. I s h a l l not i n s i s t on the mere force of presence which Raphael gives to i t f o r i t i s obvious. I would l i k e i n s t e a d t o a t t r a c t the reader's a t t e n t i o n on Raphael's i n t e r e s t i n v i t a l i z i n g the drama t a k i n g p l a c e , i n dynamizing i t s very l i f e , i n making i t p u l s a t e w i t h dramatic v i t a l i t y . I t i s such an i n t e r e s t which f i r s t made him choose to d e p i c t the event at i t s most pregnant moment. Pet e r i s s t i l l s l e e p i n g profoundly and the angel i s j u s t about to wake him up. Coupled w i t h t h i s i s the f a c t t h a t the s o l d i e r s are placed i n such p o s i t i o n s t h a t they appear much more only t e m p o r a r i l y dozing than f a s t asleep (they are both standing up and r e s t i n g on t h e i r l a n c e s ) . Now had Raphael depicted Peter wide awake (as Domenichino di d ) * - 5 t h e i r sleep would more e a s i l y appear a r t i f i c i a l ( i . e . caused by God's d i r e c t i n t e r v e n t i o n ) , since a s t r i k i n g c o n t r a s t would then e x i s t . But w i t h t h e i r standing as they are, we get the d i s t i n c t impression t h a t they are j u s t t e m p o r a r i l y dozing, of the same n a t u r a l sleep as P e t e r ' s . And somehow we get the mysterious f e e l i n g t h a t they could wake up at any time. We wonder indeed whether the angel has not used h i s power to get i n t o the c e l l , p r o f i t i n g of a moment of weakness from the p a r t of the s o l d i e r s , and has not taken the chance that the l a t t e r do not wake up. Thus Raphael confronts us here w i t h 27 a situation where a conflict between the supernatural and the natural i s imminent and could arise at any moment. Needless to say that the pulse of the dramatic event taking place i s thereby greatly intensified. Space* architecture, color and light are also exploited and fused powerfully to intensify the pulse of the event. Light i s here the unifying agent among a l l those means* Emanating behind the angel, i t shines dramatically on the armor of the guards and illuminates the plain black structure of the ceiling and the walls in a most peculiar way* The yellow of the light intermingles with the black of the structure in such a way that the black, although obviously beneath the yellow, tends to pierce through the latter and to affirm i t s e l f as much on the surface; the structure thus ceases to be of a unified color to which one could give a distinct name: the black i s specifically f e l t as such and so i s the yellow spread over i t ; the conflict, the tension which we feel between the two results in a dramatic vibration* This vibration, by a true phenomenon of resonance, sets into a similar vibration the g r i l l of the c e l l ; conse quently the space included between the two ( i . e . the whole space of the interior of the cell) becomes i t s e l f activated: by thus adding i t s own vibration, i t contributes directly to enliven, to intensify the dramatic l i f e of the event* As much as i t was on making the event pulsate with v i t a l i t y , Raphael's concern was on imposing on i t a powerful Mionumentality* To this effect, he includes the scene within two giant, massive piers and uses a plain, severe structure 28 fox the interiox; he also gives noble and dignified attitudes to the figuxes (appaxent even in the soldiexs) and distxibutes them in a cleax symmetxical order. Thus is cxeated an atmos- phexe of order, nobility and even solemnity which stxikingly contxasts with the xestlessness achieved in Domenichino*s work.*^ A similax analysis could be done of the two side scenes. The xeadex may notice especially how the daxk form of the soldiex holding a toxch xises dramatically and energetically on the whole length of the brighter stairs, and how the silhouette of his companion also affirms i t s e l f impressively against the distant bare landscape. He may also observe how the fact that we cannot see their faces gives a more o f f i c i a l "cachet" to the action of these two soldiers by affirming in a purer way the authority which they personify, and how this fact directly contributes to the monumentality of the whole by making the event look more o f f i c i a l and more formal. He may observe, f i n a l l y , the outstanding nobility and grandeur of pose in the sleeping soldier on the extreme right, how light, especially, unifies the three scenes, and how Raphael makes the two massive piers contribute, through their colossal scale, to the monumen t a l i t y intended, and, through their "glowing", to the dramatic l i f e of the whole. This work indeed, especially when we take into account the stringent economy of means practised, realizes, within the event which i t f a i t h f u l l y and powerfully brings out, one of the happiest dynamic combinations of Monumentality and dramatic 29 v i t a l i t y ever achieved. For t h i s reason, i t can be included without h e s i t a t i o n among the very few greatest masterpieces of the c l a s s i c w i l l . ^ 7 The School of Athens /stanza d e l l a Signatur§7 (Rome, Vatican; late 1510-mid 1511) i s another outstanding example of the c l a s s i c w i l l . The event taking place, here, has nothing of a drama; i t can be described as r a t i o n a l thinking being done, Reason at work or s t i l l i n t e l l e c t u a l i t y i n process. The idea was to i l l u s t r a t e t h i s a c t i v i t y using a group of outstanding philosophers from Antiquity, among whom Plato and A r i s t o t l e . In agreement with the c l a s s i c w i l l , Raphael proceeds to monumentalize the scene. He sets the figures i n an a r c h i t e c t u r a l context at once powerful and majestuousi the monumental arches recede with order and solemnity i n the distance. The figures themselves are given "noble" proportions; t h e i r gestures are clear and controlled and t h e i r attitude breathes calm and d i g n i t y . Beside conferring Monumentality to the event, the a r c h i  tecture i s also made expressive of the very a c t i v i t y depicted: i t i s clear, vast and powerful and thus d i r e c t l y contributes to the s p e c i f i c atmosphere of "high clear tthought" 1® which Raphael intends. The pavement i n the foreground f u l f i l l s the same function: i t i s made of c l e a r l y spaced squares inscribed one i n the other, at once expressive of " r a t i o n a l i t y " and order. Now by depicting the philosophers in the middle of an animated discussion, Raphael at once communicates a certain v i t a l i t y to the event i t s e l f . In agreement with the c l a s s i c 30 w i l l , Raphael wishes to intensify this v i t a l i t y . To this end, he f i r s t proceeds to organically relate the architecture with the figures. This i s accomplished f i r s t by suffusing the figures with such a v i t a l i t y , distributing and interrelating them in such a way, and using such a system of coloring on them.,*9 that the whole space which they are occupying becomes i t s e l f activated and v i t a l i z e d . 2 0 Now the v i t a l i t y thus circulating in the space of the figures, expands, like the molecules of a gas, beyond and above the figures, in the space created by the majestuous arches. (This i s greatly helped by the placing of some figures inside the border of the space of the arches, and by the fact that the space of the arches i s connected with the foreground space, independently of the figures, through per spective). What results i s a truly organic interpenetration of the vast space created by the arches with the space inhabited by the figures. 2*- It i s this interpenetration which allows the latter to be organically related with the architecture, and i t is through this organic relation that the architecture i s made to dynamically (and not statically as was the case in the Quattrocento) 2 2 lend i t s qualities to the event depicted. Now Raphael distributes and interrelates the figures in such a way that the eye i s led implacably to the two philosophers in the center (this i s greatly helped by the placing of the latter exactly in the opening of the last arch). By thus doing Raphael is making a l l the amounts of intellectual v i t a l i t y present in the scattered figures (especially in the foreground) converge towards the figures of Plato and Aristotle and contribute 31 their own share to the v i t a l i t y already present in those too. Similarly, the qualities inherent to the architecture find themselves dynamically concentrated and integrated in those two figures (and not only juxtaposed, as would be the case i f there was no organic or dynamic relationship between the figures and the architecture). As a result of a l l this concentration of energy on Plato and Aristotle, the l i f e of the mind (which they eminently symbolize) i s presented to us suffused with a powerful v i t a l i t y . Here again, like in the Liberation of Peter, the event has been not only monumentalized but powerfully vitalized. The Expulsion of Heliodorus ^Stanza d'Eliodoro7 (Rome, Vatican; second half 1512) narrates a drama in the f u l l sense of the term: avenging angels, at the request of the High Priest in the background, come to punish the impenitent Heliodorus. The activity i s essentially: drama, suspense. Inaagreement with the classic w i l l , Raphael's intention i s to suffuse i t with a powerful v i t a l i t y . Like he was to do in the Liberation of  Peter the year after, he chooses to depict the moment most pregnant with dramatic tension, when the angels are just about to f a l l on Heliodorus. Now the wide space between the two groups in the foreground (disregarding the papal group) had to be activated with dramatic v i t a l i t y , and to this end Raphael made the group of women and children, on the l e f t , r e c o i l violently." Their force of look and gesture is directed to ward the right, but at the same time an equal and opposite impulse of fear makes them recoil toward the left."23 -phe 3 2 space between the two groups thus becomes charged with tension, like a tensed spring which could come back to i t s normal position at any time. It i s with a similar intention of charging the air through out with dramatic tension that Raphael devised such an archi tecture as he did: "The vacant foreground of the scene i s marked out in a floor pattern of movemented, perspectively- diminished shapes; the architecture to the rear i s open not only in i t s center but at the sides, making a wider and more pervasive sense of the activity of space; in the center bay of the temple arches, cornices and mouldings are multiplied, and insistently 94 and quickly scan their diminution into distance." And Freedberg further observes: "Unobstructed to the front, and swiftly and i r r e s i s t i b l y channeled to the rear, the space and i t s vehicle, the architecture, are of one temper of dramatic animation with the figures; more than their sounding board, the space becomes an actor in the drama with them."25 Light i s also used by Raphael to directly contribute to the sense of drama intended: i t f a l l s as a dynamically inter sected beam on the arches of the center bay and thus adds i t s own share to the dramatic l i f e of the whole. We can also see why Raphael included the two figures climbjLng up on one of the columns: so that the eye w i l l be induced s t i l l more towards the deep center and at the same time to help unify the space in the foreground with the one of the background by in serting them as a connecting element, a plastic link between the two spaces. Similarly for the two men standing against that 33 column and talking to each other: one i s turned towards the center and induces the eye in that direction, while the other one i s violently twisted, thus charging the air immediately around him with tension and contributing to the dramatization of the whole. On the drama thus powerfully vitalized, Raphael was faced with the problem of imposing Monumentality. The papal group on the l e f t serves such a purpose. It may also be observed how the impenitent Heliodorus preserves a dignity of bearing in the c r i t i c a l situation he finds himself i n . The massive architecture also throws a note of severity. But a l l the same, we feel here an unresolved conflict between dramatic v i t a l i t y on the one hand and Monumentality on the other hand. The papal group i s not integrated in the event but merely juxtaposed; the architecture, for a l l i t s massiveness, does not resolve in repose and majesty. Now I would like the reader to realize the d i f f i c u l t y which Raphael was encountering in the treatment of this subject as compared with the School of Athens. In both depictions, the space defined i s wide and deep and the figures occupy a rather small proportion of i t . In the School of Athens, as we have seen, space i s energized but in a gentle and controlled way, let us say, in agreement with the event taking place. In the Expulsion on the contrary, Raphael had to devise ways to pervade space not only with v i t a l i t y but with dramatic v i t a l i t y (since the event i s a true drama), i f the specific event taking place was to be truly enlivened. 34 Now such a large space as exists in the Expulsion i s not so easily dramatized and Raphael found out that he had to sacrifice Monumentality to a large extent in order to do so. The logical solution was to increase the scale and the power of expression of the figures and reduce the importance given to and the role played by space and architecture.2° in the tapestry cartoons (1515) Raphael took the f i n a l step towards such a solution. In the Death of Ananias, for instance, the figures are contained in such a shallow space that there i s no need for a complicated architecture to impose the sense of drama intended. The energy released in the foreground i s not allowed to be dispersed but immediately reaches the group of apostles, on which i t i s at once reflected and amplified. The apostles thus f u l f i l l the dual function of imposing Monumentality on the event to a powerful degree (by the solemnity of their presence) and of acting as a human sounding board for the dramatic energy released in the foreground. Monumentality and dramatic v i t a l i t y are thus not f e l t as conflicting (like in the Expulsion) but as integrated into a powerful unity.27 Such an integration was also one of the major concerns of Andrea del Sarto, as can be seen for instance in the Arrest  of St. John the Baptist (Florence, Scalzo; 1517). One may notice here how effectively the calm and solemn figure in the l e f t foreground answers Herod's dramatic movement foreward (although the latter i s addressed to the Baptist), and how the enclosing of the actors in a shallow space allows the event to vibrate with Monumentality and dramatic v i t a l i t y , both being powerfully unified. 35 A word may be said here about Spirituality. It was stated earlier that classic art solved the traditional conflict between Spir i t u a l i t y and Natural L i f e . Now such a conflict, in the Quattrocento, existed in two forms. Artists could purposely dehumanize the human form in order to emphasize the idea of the supernatural (as Botticelli, for instance, so often did) — in which case the conflict was between Natural Life and S p i r i t u a l i t y . On the other hand, they could depict the holy figures as simple, down-to-earth people, aiming essentially at a convincing natur- alism — in which case a conflict existed between Natural Life and the internal S p i r i t u a l i t y of the work (by challenging our conception of holy figures). By powerfully affirming the dignity of Nature (as we have seen) the classic work automatically integrates Natural Life in f u l l (and vice-versa). On the other hand, the higher level of existence (at once more v i t a l and more monumental) to which the classic a r t i s t raised reality, became the equivalent for a spiritualized existence. The religious classic work of art thus theoretically breathes both Natural Life and Spiri t u a l i t y (internal and external) no longer f e l t as conflicting, but as conciliated. 36 1. Michelangelo grounded his Prophets and Ignudi (in the Sistine Ceiling) so powerfully to their seat partly because he rightly gathered that the suggestion of any lose detachment of these figures from their seat, when seen from below, would make them look half-seated, half- suspended in the air, thus challenging our sense of gravity. And this could not be tolerated by the classic w i l l operating in him. 2. Hauser, op. c i t . , II, pp. 88-89. 3. H. Wolfflin, Classic Art. New York, 1950, p. 208. 4. ibid., p. 233. 5. ibid., p. 208. 6. ibid., p. 219. 7. ibid . , p. 174. 8. It i s important that we realize how the dignity of Nature i s respected by the classic a r t i s t . The latter achieves in his works a v i t a l i t y often greater than i s found in real l i f e , yet through the respect of the physical premises enumerated above, Nature i s always f u l l y integrated. What i s happening i s that the latter*s v i t a l i t y i s , let us say, intensified: there i s an increase in true v i t a l i t y , as before there was always a lack. That i s why although the world created by the classic a r t i s t may be highly superior to ours, yet we would feel more at home in i t than in any of the Quattrocento worlds: precisely because we feel a more intimate correspondence between i t s principle of l i f e and ours (which i s Nature herself, considered as a l i f e - giving power)• 9. It i s irrelevant to our discussion that pre-Socratic and Hellenistic period philosophers appear side-by-side in the School of Athens. What matters i s that they are depicted as i f l i v i n g at the same epoch. 10. The dating and attribution of this as well as of the other works assigned in this essay to Giotto, are taken from C. Gnudi, Giotto. Milan, 1959. For a contestation of these matters, see M. Meiss, Giotto and As s i s i . New York, 1960. 11. W81fflin observes that na bourgeois art i s transformed into an aristocratic one which adopts the distinctive c r i t e r i a of demeanour and feeling prevalent among the upper classes.*1 (op. c i t ; , p. 213). 37 12. Giotto also had to face this problem in a subject like the Kiss of Judas (Padova, Arena Chapel; ca. 1305-10). Although he imposes here a powerful monumentality on the event, yet he f a i l s to dynamize i t s existence and we have the clear impression that a l l the activity going on has been "frozen". 13. These three elements indeed a l l contribute to one another. They have been considered separately here in order to enable us to better grasp the mechanism with which the classic w i l l i s fundamentally operating. 14. By formal elements I mean essentially here space, light, color and architecture as well as the human figure i t s e l f . 15. In his Liberation of Peter (Rome, S. Pietro in Vincoli; early XVIIth cent.). 16. The comparison of the two works i s taken from Wolfflin, op. c i t ; , p. 104. 17. Wolfflin observes that the Liberation of Peter " i s perhaps better fitted than any other of Raphael's works to lead the hesitant to a f u l l appreciation of him." (op. c i t . , p. 106). 18. S. J. Freedberg, Painting of the High Renaissance in Rome  and Florence. Harvard Univ. Press, 1961, I, p. 123. 19. For a description of this system of coloring, see Freedberg (op. cit.) pp. 124-25. It i s demonstrated here how Raphael makes use of the assertive and recessive "personality" of the different hues to activate space. 20. Freedberg observes that the space occupied by the figures i s transformed into a "plastically responsive aether" (ibid., p. 126). 21. The idea of "interpenetration" i s taken from Freedberg, op. c i t . , p. 124. 22. The Funeral of St. Stephen (Prato, Duomo; 1460) by Fra Filippo Lippi offers a good example of a static juxta position. 23. Freedberg, op. c i t . , p. 159. 24. ibid., p. 159. 25. ibid., pp. 159-160. 38 26. The increase in scale which his figures gradually under went can be partly interpreted as a search for such a solution. 27. In the Liberation of Peter, as we have seen, Raphael achieved a similar integration. It may also be observed that the force of presence of the event has greatly gained in the Cartoons. In a work such as the Expulsion, the eye i s attracted certainly to the main actors, but also to the architecture and wide space around. The latter are indeed pervaded with drama, but in doing so we somewhat lose nation of the specific drama being played. In the Cartoons, the event confronts us with a most powerful intensity of presence. In the latter works, indeed, as in the Liberation  of Peter. Raphael struck what i s perhaps the ideal balance between force of presence, v i t a l i t y and Monumentality. 28. A good example i s Benedetto da Maiano's Madonna and Child (Berlin Museum; ca. 1480-85). This example i s taken from Wolfflin, op. c i t . , p. 42. PART TWO THE NEW WILL IN ROSSO'S AND PONTORMO'S ART 39 III NOTION OF THE NEW WILL Classic painting reached i t s climax, in Florence, between the years 1516 and 1518, under the leadership of Fra Bartolommeo (who died in 1517) and Andrea del Sarto. 1 The former produced such outstanding works as the Holy Family (Rome, Galleria Nazionale; 1516), the Salvator Mundi? (Florence, P i t t i ; 1516) and the Pieta /with Bugiardini7 (Florence, P i t t i ; ca. 1516-17). Andrea, on the other hand, created his two masterpieces: the Madonna of the Harpies (Florence, U f f i z i ; 1517) and the Disputation on the Trinity (Florence, P i t t i ; 1517-18). In a l l these works we recognize the classic w i l l (as we defined i t in the preceding chapter) as unmistakably as in the works discussed above. By a rather unusual coincidence, since the classicizing o trend was overwhelmingly predominating, those years also saw the emergence of a new art which was soon to powerfully challenge the accepted ideals. This new art, which we shall study in the works of Pontormo and Rosso, has proven to be one of the most controversial ones which art history has dealt with in the last forty years. It i s my intention to help throw some light on i t s true character and on the s p i r i t which led to i t s advent. In order to do so systematically, I shall make a particular use of the word "i r r a t i o n a l i t y " . I define as partaking of irr a t i o n a l i t y the amount by which the depiction departs from 40 what would be a normal r e a l i s t i c rendering of the event. Thus I include under irra t i o n a l i t y any amount of dehumanization or dematerialization, also anything which reveals i t s e l f to be abnormal, strange, odd, ambiguous, incongruous, dissonant, "irra t i o n a l " , inappropriate, i l l o g i c a l , untrue to l i f e , untrue to normal experience, anything which does not agree with the notion we have of a r e a l i s t i c , normal representation of the event. On surveying the whole of Christian painting prior to the new art^, we find that irrationality had resulted from a great diversity of interests. It had resulted, for instance, from an interest in cl a r i t y and directness of expression (as was the case in early Christian times); i t had been used to promote Spi r i t u a l i t y ; i t had resulted from an interest in the things of nature (as when animals, which we would normally not expect to be included, are inserted by the a r t i s t ) ; i t had resulted because the ar t i s t was interested in celebrating the fashion of the day (as Ghirlandaio i s when he dresses b i b l i c a l figures in the costumes of the day), or because he wanted to please the arch- eologically-minded ones (as Ghirlandaio does in his Adoration  of the Shepherds (Florence, S. Trinita; 1485)4; i t had resulted from a concern for purely aesthetic effects (as was partly the case with the refined Gothic line) ; i t had resulted from an interest in Monumentality (as was the case in Giotto, Masaccio, Mero della Francesca and the classic a r t i s t s ) ; i t had resulted from a particular interest in the human figure (as Michelangelo manifests in depicting b i b l i c a l stories with nudes),,«.etc. 41 Now i t can be said that until the advent of the new art, the i r r a t i o n a l i t y included in the work of art, on the whole was not meant as such to arrest the mind. When he dehumanizes the human figure and dematerializes the latter*s environment, the Byzantine a r t i s t exaggerates everything in such a way that the mind w i l l not find interest in the resulting abnormality and strangeness as such. He i s concerned with avoiding the the provocation of such comments as: "What a strange facel" or "How i l l o g i c a l i s the size of the eye s i " or "How ambiguous i s the space!" Instead, he hopes that the abnormality and strangeness created w i l l be immediately interpreted as a mani festation of the presence of the s p i r i t of God, and thus readily translated by the mind into Sp i r i t u a l i t y . Quattrocento art i s f i l l e d with i r r a t i o n a l i t i e s of a l l kinds. But here again the latter are not meant, as such, to arrest the mind. When he includes antique monuments in his Adoration of the Shepherds. Ghirlandaio expects that the in congruity as such w i l l not impose i t s e l f on the beholder; he expects the latter to enjoy both the monuments and the scene of the Adoration without being disturbed by the obvious abnor mality. Wb'lfflin observes, in this context, that " a l l the romancing of the fifteenth century i s just a harmless game with architecture and dress.®6'J The same thing, with the appropriate adjustments, could be said of a l l the irr a t i o n a l i t y present in classic art. When Raphael, for instance, includes two youths climbing up one of the columns, in the Expulsion of  Heliodorus. the abnormality thereby created i s not meant as such to arrest the mind. It i s meant to be simply by-passed. 42 The significance of Pontormo*s and Rosso"s art comes from the fact that we are confronted here with an art endowed with an i r r a t i o n a l i t y meant to impose i t s e l f in i t s very character of abnormality and strangeness. Indeed i t i s my contention that we can discern i n the new art a d i s t i n c t w i l l to awake feelings of abnormality, of incongruity, of dissonance, of i l l o g i c a l i t y , of ambiguity, of inconsistency, of strangeness i n the beholder. I r r a t i o n a l i t y i s no longer meant to be trans lated nor to be by-passed, but, as such, to arrest the beholder's attention, to perplex and disturb him, to frustrate and b a f f l e him, and often to create malaise, discomfort and uneasiness in him. Romanesque a r t , at times, achieves e f f e c t s resembling the ones achieved i n the new a r t . I t s i r r a t i o n a l i t y sometimes pos sesses such a power of f a s c i n a t i o n that, l i k e in the new a r t , i t tends to impose i t s e l f i n i t s very character of strangeness. But the l a t t e r i s , l e t us say, a naive strangeness, A Roman esque work may intrigue and fascinate the mind through i t s very i r r a t i o n a l i t y ( l i k e do also the ones created by Hieronymus Bosch) yet i t does not r e a l l y perplex the mind nor does i t t r u l y awake in the beholder fee l i n g s of incongruity, abnormality, i l l o g i  c a l i t y * etc. because of i t s being too consistently and obviously i r r a t i o n a l . The new a r t , as we s h a l l see, awakes such feelings e s s e n t i a l l y through subtle or isolated departures from the l o g i c a l , the normal, the congruous, the clear, the "rational 1*...which, as such, challenge the mind, perplex i t and disturb i t . The l a t t e r cannot be t r u l y challenged nor disturbed unless a suf f i c i e n t l y high amount of r a t i o n a l i t y ox *frfeau ;sibility w i s included. And indeed i t i s one of the main characteristics of the new art that the force of impact of i t s irr a t i o n a l i t y as such is largely due to the rather high amount of "rationality* 1 with which this i r r a t i o n a l i t y i s contrasted. In the f i r s t chapter, we have defined Spirit u a l i t y as an ether breathing the presence of the S p i r i t of God, It i s of a fundamental importance, for an adequate understanding of the new w i l l , to understand how such an ether i s different from the one which irrat i o n a l i t y , as such, produces. The latter, by defini tion, i s made of abnormality, strangeness, ambiguity, i l l o g i  c a l ity, inconguity...etc. Now when these qualities as such strike the mind, we are not properly speaking in the domain of Sp i r i t u a l i t y , The latter is allowed to exist only when these qualities are translated by the mind. Thus a search for the abnormal, the strange, the ambiguous, the incongruous, the i l l o g i c a l . . . e t c , i s something theoretically different from a search for the sp i r i t u a l . <ln the latter case, abnormality, i l l o g i c a l i t y and strangeness are means through which the appre hension (and consequently the existence) of Spi r i t u a l i t y is made possible, while in the former they are ends in themselves. We must also realize how any dwelling of the mind on the ir r a t i o n a l i t y as such is detrimental to the existence of Spi r i t u a l i t y . For in such a case the apprehension of irration a l i t y in i t s very character of abnormality and strangeness tends to substitute i t s e l f to i t s apprehension as Sp i r i t u a l i t y . The event tends to be grasped more as taking place in a "strange*1 44 and abnormal world} than i n a world pervaded w i t h the S p i r i t of God, The powers we f e e l at work tend to partake more of the strange and the abnormal than of God h i m s e l f . We s h a l l see how sometimes i n the new a r t , f e e l i n g s are awakened which a c t u a l l y c o n t r a d i c t S p i r i t u a l i t y i t s e l f . I n such cases, S p i r i t u a l i t y i s l i t e r a l l y " k i l l e d * 1 by the i r r a t i o n a l i t y d i s p l a y e d , S t , Bernard was not ®beingffi i n s e n s i t i v e to a r t when he prot e s t e d against the exaggerations of the a r t of h i s time: "So many and so marvelous are the v a r i e t i e s of d i v e r s shapes on every hand th a t we are more tempted to read i n the marble than i n our books, and to spend the whole day i n wondering at these t h i n g s than i n meditating the law of God."® Indeed he saw wi t h reason t h a t the i r r a t i o n a l i t y created by h i s contemporaries tended to be more e f f e c t i v e i n i n t r i g u i n g and f a s c i n a t i n g the mind by i t s own power of appeal than i n f o s t e r i n g S p i r i t u a l i t y , He perceived t h a t the a r t of h i s day tended to promote not so much the supernatural (which i n God hi m s e l f ) as the strange and the f a n t a s t i c . Instead of awakening f e e l i n g s of f e a r and reverence towards a m e r c i l e s s God ( m e r c i l e s s f o r the s i n n e r , t h a t i s ) , monsters tended to be regarded as "strange" beasts and wondered at f o r t h e i r own sake. Instead of being grasped as a s p i r i t u a l event, the l a t t e r tended to be grasped as a t r u l y "strange" event. Now the e s s e n t i a l r a i s o n d'etre of i r r a t i o n a l i t y , as e s t a b l i s h e d i n e a r l y C h r i s t i a n times, was to symbolize and to be t r a n s l a t e d i n t o S p i r i t u a l i t y . T h i s , as we have seen, i s how i r r a t i o n a l i t y had f i n a l l y been i n t e g r a t e d i n 45 the fundamental structure of Christian art. In St. Bernard's times, irr a t i o n a l i t y had come to be used in such a way that this very structure was endangered. Irrationality tended to become interesting to the mind in i t s very character of strangeness and abnormality, so that i t s translation into Spirituality tended to be no longer effective. It i s against such a degeneration that the saint thundered. Now I am not denying here a certain concern for Spirit u a l i t y from the part of Pontormo and Rosso. Neither am I declaring that the new w i l l i s active in a l l of their works. I am only stating for the moment that in a large number of their works, along with the w i l l for Sp i r i t u a l i t y (which I am conceding) the new w i l l (to awake feelings of abnormality, incongruity etc.; to create malaise, disturbance, discomfort) i s unmistakable and lives with a l i f e of i t s own. In some works, as said above, even the internal S p i r i t u a l i t y of the work i s annihilated by the irra t i o n a l i t y displayed; in others, as we shall see, the two wills can be f e l t separately. Thus as the Byzantine ar t i s t had endeavoured to bathe the event in Spirituality, the event, in the new art through the new w i l l , finds i t s e l f bathed in an atmosphere of abnormality, strangeness, incongruity, dissonance. To the superior world created by the classic artist the new art substitutes strange and abnormal worlds (partaking sometimes of the nightmare), where abnormality, dissonance, i l l o g i c a l i t y , ambiguity are the accepted values. 46 I t cannot be denied, of course, that a new aesthetic beauty and even a new S p i r i t u a l i t y emerge i n the new a r t . I t would be a matter of great controversy to decide whether i t i s the new w i l l , the w i l l for a new S p i r i t u a l i t y or the w i l l for new aesthetic e f f e c t s which was the decisive one for the advent of the new ar t . Although I am strongly inclined to believe i n the f i r s t hypothesis, my aim i n t h i s essay w i l l be limited f i r s t to showing the existence of the new w i l l i n Pontormo's and Rosso's ar t , and second to explaining what would have caused t h i s new w i l l to make i t s appearance.9 I would l i k e to add, f i n a l l y , that i n order to f i r m l y grasp the new w i l l , i t i s indispensable that we t r y and recapture the s e n s i t i v i t y to the subt l e t i e s of art, which the contemporaries no doubt had to a very high degree, and on which the new art was c e r t a i n l y r e l y i n g on. We must also remember that the new art made i t s appearance i n an e s s e n t i a l l y c l a s s i c i z i n g atmosphere, and that along the l u c i d i t y and refinement of Andrea d e l Sarto's and Fra Bartolommeo*s works, i t s incongruities and abnormalities would have been the more disturbing (thus making the a r t i s t ' s intention s t i l l the more obvious). 1. Freedberg, op. c i t . , p. 427. 2. i b i d . , p. 427. 3. The "new art" s h a l l r e f e r exclusively to the art of Rosso and Pontormo discussed i n t h i s essay. 47 4. He includes a sarcophagus next to the C h i l d , two antique p i l l a r s and a brand new triumphal arch i n the background. Pointed out by W o l f f l i n , op, c i t . , p. 218. 5. The lack of s k i l l , which by i t s e l f c e r t a i n l y caused a great deal of i r r a t i o n a l i t y throughout the h i s t o r y of C h r i s t i a n a r t , i s not relevant to our discussion. 6. W o l f f l i n , op. c i t . , p. 227. 7. I s h a l l r e f e r to t h i s w i l l as the "new" w i l l . 8. E. Holt, A Documentary History of Art, Anchor Books, New York, 1957, I, p. 21. 9. The possible forces at work during the creative process are so numerous that they could never be enumerated com p l e t e l y . Among the major ones are the desire to follow the p r e v a i l i n g fashion, the desire for fame, the desire to please the patron by giving him what he expects, the desire for o r i g i n a l i t y , the w i l l to impose S p i r i t u a l i t y , the w i l l to achieve new aesthetic e f f e c t s , the search f o r a new beauty...etc. Each one of these forces, considered i n d i v  i d u a l l y , t h e o r e t i c a l l y makes the a r t i s t paint in a c e r t a i n way and aim at such a r e s u l t that i t w i l l be s a t i s f i e d . For instance, the desire to please the patron, knowing that the l a t t e r wants something e s s e n t i a l l y c l a s s i c a l , w i l l make the a r t i s t aim at producing a work e s s e n t i a l l y c l a s  s i c a l . The w i l l for S p i r i t u a l i t y ( i f i t e x i s t s at a l l ) , on the other hand, w i l l make the painter aim at pervading hi s work with S p i r i t u a l i t y . . . e t c . I t i s obvious that some of these forces (or drives) play a more important part than others during the creative process, depending on the a r t i s t 1 s own temperament, his p a r t i c u l a r mood at the time of the sketching, the s o c i a l conditions of the time...etc. Generally the actual work w i l l s a t i s f y and c o n c i l i a t e the most powerful of these forces, and the a r t i s t w i l l be, on the whole, s a t i s f i e d . I f , however, c o n f l i c t i n g forces are imposing themselves strongly on the a r t i s t ' s mind, the re s u l t w i l l necessarily displease the a r t i s t himself and he w i l l express d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n at his own work, p r e c i s e l y because in s a t i s f y i n g one force (or one drive) he w i l l have been unable to s a t i s f y the other equally important force. The works by Pontormo and Rosso which we s h a l l discuss embody a new aesthetic beauty, as said above, and t h i s i s no doubt, f i r s t of a l l , because being genuine a r t i s t s , they could not help producing i n beauty. What I am con tending i s that the w i l l to disturb, perplex and even shock the beholder was one of the major forces (or drives) at work during the creative process which led to t h e i r pro duction. I would never claim that i t was the only one. 48 IV THE ART OF ROSSO It i s i n Rosso*s art that the new w i l l f i r s t asserted i t s e l f most c l e a r l y and most unequivocally. Born i n 1495, Rosso while s t i l l quite young manifested signs of d i s s a t i s f a c  t i o n with the c l a s s i c i d e a l s , 1 In his Holy Family (Rome, Borghese; ca, 1513-14), the scale of Joseph and St, John i n the middle distance i s quite i l l o g i c a l compared to the one of Mary and C h r i s t C h i l d , due to a lack of a r t i c u l a t i o n of the i n t e r  vening space between the two groups. This space i s e a s i l y apprehended, yet i t i s obviously not large enough to accouht for the abnormally reduced scale of Joseph and St, J 0hn, What i s more, Rosso ins e r t s i n the background a landscape which extends far into the distance, and which appears "normally recessive."^ Thus here a c o n f l i c t i s created between the i r r a t i o n a l i t y of the space included within the two groups and the r a t i o n a l i t y of the deep space annexed to i t . What further adds to t h i s c o n f l i c t i s that the figures are depicted with a s u f f i c i e n t l y great amount of naturalism: they a l l have easy and natural gestures; t h e i r proportions are average; Joseph i s r e c l i n i n g nonchalantly. In b r i e f , they would e a s i l y belong to a normal world. But Rosso includes them i n an i r r a t i o n a l space, and as i f to emphasize the i r r a t i o n a l i t y of i t , he annexes to i t a completely r a t i o n a l one (the deep land scape) as a contrast. Thus here the a r t i s t emphasizes the incongruity between the figures and the world they inhabit, thereby creating an abnormality which tends to be disturbing. 49 In Rosso*s Portrait of a Young Man (Berlin Museum; ca. x 3 1516), the new w i l l manifests i t s e l f as f u l l y active. Freed- berg gives an impeccable description of this work. "The sitter*s body i s altogether according to the usual convention of High Renaissance portraiture; only the fine and somewhat pointing drawing of the hands and the b r i t t l e painting of the drapery give i t a difference in account from the ordinary. The head, however, has been strangely dislocated in respect both to the axis of the body and the vertical axis of the picture, and i t has been even more abnormally displaced in space, thrust preternaturally forward to the foremost plane. It i s framed squarely by the lank long hair and by the hat, a f l a t floating biomorphic shape. In the background landscape, the topmost level of the trees continues the straight line of the hat, already singular enough, in an irrational connection between near and distant. Thus imminently disjoined from i t s context and compelled toward us, the face i s then subtly warped on i t s own axis, the far side pulled slightly toward the picture plane. The eyes turn s t i l l more toward us and stare, the pupils sharp against the white, with an unbearably insistent gaze. This unpleasant communication i s a l l in one direction: there i s no sense of a pacific and mutually interested inspection, as in Raphael's or Andrea*s portraits.••.Rosso*s sitter inverts the normal relation between spectator and the portrayed subject: he aggress ively examines us, but does not permit that we examine him. We can look at him only with unease, and with the sense that associa tion with him, even in this purely psychological domain of 50 ar t , might be dangerous; he i s a male and a n t i c l a s s i c a l inversion 4 of the Mona L i s a , " Elsewhere Freedberg points out the "almost dangerous abnormality 1' of his expression. 5 L i t t l e need be added to t h i s description except that we have here an excellent manifestation of the new w i l l . The "subtle departure" from the normal, which I mentioned i n the preceding chapter, i s here unmistakable and i s meant to impose i t s e l f on us as such, and i n such a way that a concrete disturbance r e s u l t s . We do not know what t h i s young man has i n mind, but i t does not seem reassuring to us. We sense abnormal ideas going on i n his mind and that i s why h i s staring at us makes us f e e l that "association with him,..might be dangerous" as Freedberg writes. This work i s the more s i g n i f i c a n t that by i t s being a purely secular work, there cannot be any question of S p i r i t u a l i t y ( i n the sense defined above). The new w i l l , here, dominates unchal lenged. The Assumption (Florence, SSS.Annunziata; doc. 1517) was the l a s t i n the series of frescoes on the l i f e of the V i r g i n begun by Andrea del Sarto a few years before. Pontormo had con tributed the V i s i t a t i o n (1515-16). In the context of the l a t t e r and the other depictions (such as the Birth of the V i r g i n by Andrea), which are a l l e s s e n t i a l l y c l a s s i c , "almost the f i r s t impression that emerges from the Rosso i s of i t s bizarre types and their expressions: snub-nosed, weak-chinned and shapelessly f a t of face; the Apostles bemused or vacant..^ The figure on the extreme l e f t i s p a r t i c u l a r l y s t r i k i n g through the crudity of his f a c i a l expression: "So strange a grimace, evoking such an 51 irrationality of spirit in an actually portrayed being is without antecedent in the Renaissance, even in the most abnormal imaginings of Pie.ro diCosimo." Further, while a l l the other frescoes are p self-contained, 0 here the robe of the apostle in the middle spills out over the frame, thus aggressively abolishing the boundary between the world of the picture and ours. It is easy here, indeed, to detect a will to truly shock the beholder by imposing on him, after the refinement and ennoblement of reality present in the other frescoes, a true crudity of types and an aggressive affirmation of these types (through the spilling of the robe). What is more, Rosso clothes his figures in truly monumental draperies, even more monumental than in the adjacent Visitation by Pontormo, and recalling the ones used by Andrea in his nearby , o Adoration of the Magi (1511). It is as i f Rosso had wanted to make a parody of the monumental figures depicted in the nearby frescoes: on the one hand, dressing his figures conspicuously like noble, superior beings, on the other, giving them the atti tude and physical appearance of crude, down-to-earth, undignified people. The latter remark applies especially to the two figures on the far right, to the one facing the middle figure and turned almost completely toward us, looking up with his mouth opened, and to the one at the far left. Thus Rosso in this work creates a double conflict, a double incongruity, fi r s t by juxtaposing crude figures to the idealized ones of the adjacent frescoes, and second by dressing them in clothes which rationally and conspicuously do not belong 52 to them. The atmosphere emanating i s one of c o n f l i c t , of contradiction, of incongruity, not of S p i r i t u a l i t y . The new w i l l i s again f u l l y active i n Rosso's Madonna and  Saints /E. M. Nuova A l t a r 7 (Florence, U f f i z i ; doc. 1518). Like was the fashion i n c l a s s i c a r t , the figures are set i n a shallow but r a t i o n a l three-dimensional space. They stand quite com for t a b l y i n conventional attitudes. There i s es p e c i a l l y i n St. John the Baptist, Mary and the Child an easiness and relaxation of pose which are p e c u l i a r l y c l a s s i c . The bodies of those f i g  ures are also remarkably well proportioned and rounded out. The figures of St. Jerome, on the r i g h t , throws a s t r i k i n g note of discordance i n the work. His outstanding skinniness and the abnormal elongation of his neck contrast di s t u r b i n g l y with the roundness of the other figures. His hands are also d r a s t i c  a l l y elongated; the fingers reach out i n a f r i g h t f u l way: they look more l i k e claws and confer to him a demoniac character. He i s a man, indeed, whom we would not f e e l safe with. Rosso makes him the f o c a l point of the work by turning three of the figures (including the Virgin) towards him and depicting him as i f he was explaining something to them. The casualness with which the V i r g i n i s l i s t e n i n g to him could make us think that he i s r e a l l y not dangerous, but the abnormality of f a c i a l expression which they a l l share makes us conclude, on the contrary, that i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y they a l l fundamentally belong to the same abnormal humanity as he does and are most l i k e l y inhabited by the same untrustable feelings as he i s . Freedberg observes that they 53 wear "an a i r of j u s t perceptible genteel lunacy which, i n a moment, could become hysteria or shapeless psychological collapse And indeed the general impression i s of a strange, abnormal humanity. We f e e l them inhabited by feelings which we vsould refuse to share because of t h e i r intimate closeness to mental i l l n e s s * As i f to emphasize t h e i r oddness, the two infants, at the bottom, seem on the contrary quite normal; they are playing innocently together, unaware of what i s being plotted above them* The atmosphere of strangeness and abnormality which emanate from the figure of St* Jerome and the f a c i a l expression of the figures i n general i s further emphasized by Rosso's use of color* Freedberg observes "a tendency, only p a r t l y restrained, to d i s  sonance..* The Madonna, for example, wears a mauve headdress and a blue-green cloak, t h i s framing a magenta crossed by a ver milion g i r d l e , i n her dress. The magenta goes "changeant" to blue i n shadows; one sleeve i s curiously transformed by l i g h t to yellow-gold. The John Baptist i s red-haired, clad i n a mantle of pale rose, bleached white i n h i g h l i g h t s , which contrasts with the tones of blue white, grey, and dark green of h i s other gar ments. The browned body of Jerome opposite i s draped in blue, very dark i n shadow and very cool i n light.»."^ And Freedberg summarizes the whole scheme of colors as being 12 "evidently i r r a t i o n a l . " This i r r a t i o n a l i t y only adds to the one already e x i s t i n g i n the body of St. Jerome and i n the psy chological expression of the figures i n general to make the l a t t e r look s t i l l more strange and abnormal.— I r r a t i o n a l i t y 54 indeed i s here no longer e f f e c t i v e l y translatable into S p i r i t  u a l i t y . And how s t i l l further away from S p i r i t u a l i t y could the work have stood i f the church master who had commissioned i t had not expressed his utter disapproval, whi'lk i t was s t i l l i n progress. "When he saw the sketch, narrates Vasari, he thought the saints were d e v i l s . . . Accordingly the master rushed out of the house and refused to take the picture, saying that he had been deceived."-^ I would l i k e here to point out two psychological phenomena which are extremely s i g n i f i c a n t f or an adequate understanding of the new a r t . The f i r s t one i s the remarkable easiness with which a s t r i k i n g l y abnormal and disturbing element often brings out i n i t s very character of abnormality and strangeness the i r r a  t i o n a l i t y of the other i r r a t i o n a l e l ements present i n the work — and how such i r r a t i o n a l elements (which would not be otherwise disturbing) thus activated, contribute to make the work pulsate with abnormality and strangeness s t i l l more. The scheme of colors, for instance, which i s used on the figures of the S.M. Nuova A l t a r would not have the same effect on the beholder's mind i f used on a group of Byzantine figures. Here i t s i r r a t i o n a l i t y would not t r u l y disturb and would be e a s i l y translated into S p i r i t u a l i t y along with the i r r a t i o n a l i t y of the figures themselves. But applied as i t i s ( i n the S.M. Nuova A l t a r ) on a group of fi g u r e s , which s t r i k e through the peculiar abnormality of t h e i r f a c i a l expression, i t s i r r a t i o n a l i t y somehow seems to come out i n i t s very character of abnormality and dissonance and contributes to 5 5 make the figures look s t i l l more "strange" and abnormal. And we ean be sure that the a r t i s t knew and was r e l y i n g on that phenomenon. That i s why i t i s of the utmost importance, when consider ing a certain i r r a t i o n a l i t y (or a certain group of i r r a t i o n  a l i t i e s ) , to analyze i t i n the context of the other i r r a t i o n  a l i t i e s present, i f we seriously aim at grasping the a r t i s t ' s fundamental int e n t i o n . For i t w i l l often be the case that a p a r t i c u l a r i r r a t i o n a l i t y (or a p a r t i c u l a r group of i r r a t i o n a l  i t i e s ) , when considered by i t s e l f , would be e a s i l y interpreted i n terms of S p i r i t u a l i t y , but that &£ the former i s seen i n the context of the other i r r a t i o n a l i t i e s present i n the work, such an interpretation could not hold. The second phenomenon I want to point out has already been indicated. I t consists i n the fact that the force of impact of the i r r a t i o n a l i t y included i s greatly helped by the amount of " r a t i o n a l i t y " with which t h i s i r r a t i o n a l i t y i s con trasted. A c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the new a r t , as I wrote above, i s that i t p r a c t i c a l l y always includes a rather high amount of r a t i o n a l i t y (or, more generally, a clear r a t i o n a l frame of reference) through which the abnormality and strangeness of the i r r a t i o n a l i t y present i s communicated (as such) with s t i l l greater force and e f f i c a c i t y , and through which the a r t i s t ' s intention i s made s t i l l the more obvious. In the S.M» Nuova A l t a r , for instance, the space defined i s r a t i o n a l and quite habitable, the figures (except St. Jerome) have normal proportions and there i s an easiness 56 in the postures of St. John, the Virgin and the Child which (as observed above) i s typically classic. The two infants at the bottom also strike by their innocence and the gentle ideal ization which Rosso imposed on them. On this background of rationality and idealism, the demoniac-looking figure of St. Jerome, the dissonance of the scheme of colors, and theaabnor- mality of f a c i a l expression which the figures (except the two infants at the bottom) a l l share are thus imposed on us with a greater acuity than would be the case i f , for instance, a l l the figures were immeasurably elongated and set in an utterly i r r a  tional space. In this case, the disturbing elements of the S.M. Nuova Altar would be easily "swamped11 in the ir r a t i o n a l i t y present and would attract the attention far less than they do in the actual work. Indeed the world of the S.M. Nuova Altar (as are the worlds of the other works by Rosso which are discussed here) i s Ear from possessing the naivety of medieval art, for instance. It plays on the beholder's sense of normality, of logic, of con- gruity in a way which i s a l l but naive and which allows us to deduce in a l l fairness an utterly positive willingness in Rosso to disturb, shock and frustrate the beholder. The w i l l to impose actual discomfort on the beholder, which had been f u l l y active in the Portrait of a Young Man (discussed above) i s given free course again in the Madonna with  Sts., John Baptist and Bartholomew /villamagna (near Volterra), 57 Pieve; dated 15217. The space i n which the figures are set i s here again quite r a t i o n a l . The Child c l i n g s to his mother i n a natural way and his proportions are normal. The V i r g i n ' s proportions are also, i n general, very pl a u s i b l e . Yet look at the way her r i g h t arm surrounds the Child and how i t appears "nightmarishly" melting into his body; and look at the long and sharp fingers on both of her hands: they have something demoniac. Now compare the looks on the faces of St. Bartholomew and the V i r g i n . There i s something frightening i n them. These people seem to belong to a race of abnormals, not of the innocent kind, but of the dangerous one, with an i n t e l l i g e n c e which has been di s t o r t e d . The way the V i r g i n and Bartholomew look at us indeed makes us f e e l uncomfortable. St. John the Baptist on the l e f t i s t r y i n g to explain something to them but they are not l i s t e n i n g to him. They are i n s i s t e n t l y staring at us and for t h i s reason we f e e l the more uneasy about t h e i r i n terest i n us. We wonder by what kind of f r i g h t f u l l y d i a b o l i c means they are already planning i n t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l mind to attract us into t h e i r world. The Child himself seems devoured by some strangely c o n f l i c t i n g inner urges. He seems to be of the same breeding as the two saints yet they have learned to repress (momentarily) t h e i r i n s t i n c t s as he has not. The sharpness of the l i g h t modelling these figures gives them a somewhat metallic appearance and adds to the night marish atmosphere of the scene. The i n t e r n a l S p i r i t u a l i t y of the work i s here completely annihilated. What overwhelmingly .^dominates i s an atmosphere partaking of the nightmare, the abnormal and the dangerous. — As i n the S.M. Nuova A l t a r the abnormality 58 and strangeness p r e v a i l i n g did not reach us d i r e c t l y but t h e o r e t i c a l l y remained confined to the work, here i t aggres s i v e l y breaks the barrier between the world of the picture and our world to impose on us a concrete uneasiness and discomfort. The Deposition (Volterxa Museum; dated 1521) i s another s t r i k i n g example of the new w i l l . The f i r s t incongruity we s h a l l observe i s between the upper and the lower parts. At the bottom, a scene of desolation and sadness. The V i r g i n , sustained by two la d i e s , bows her head i n a d i r e c t i o n completely p a r a l l e l to the ground, i n a sign of ultimate despair but also resignation: the struggle i s over but i t has l e f t her p r a c t i c a l l y l i f e l e s s . The Magdalena, also overcome with g r i e f , i s resting her head on Mary's lap. The boy holding the ladder looks at them s i l e n t l y and r e s p e c t f u l l y . St. John, on the r i g h t , i s bowing deeply, also with his head p a r a l l e l to the ground. His face i s hidden i n his hands and he i s crying s i l e n t l y . For him also the struggle i s over. What i s happening above them i s a masterpiece of confusion and noisy a c t i v i t y . Christ's body i s sustained by a man i n quite precarious a position on his ladder. The one holding his legs i s bent away from the ladder on which he i s r e s t i n g . Moreover, we cannot determine whether his r i g h t foot i s resting on the ladder or not, for i t i s hidden behind one of the women's head. The only way he i s apparently supported i s by having his l e f t knee resting on one of the ladder's steps, and t h i s gives him, s t i l l more than to the f i r s t man described, a most precarious p o s i t i o n . Furthermore, he looks away from Christ's body as i f 59 about to bring himself back into a more secure and stable posi t i o n on the ladder. The man next to him, with his mouth wide opened and his arms pointing at C h r i s t , i s shouting something at the man across him. We cannot determine exactly what i t i s , although he i s probably warning him to be c a r e f u l , seeing the precarious position t h i s man i s i n . As to the man on top, he i s supervising the operations with a worried and excited look, which the f l y i n g band of his robe, on top of him, only contributes to emphasize. — So here we have an a c t i v i t y which on top of being i n complete disagreement with the bottom scene, i s also most disturbing. We f i n d ourselves actually worrying about those men's a c t i v i t i e s : w i l l the man holding Christ's body succeed i n bringing him down safely? How about the one holding Christ's legs: w i l l he reestablish himself s o l i d l y on his ladder? I t seems here that Rosso had wanted to a t t r a c t our attention on the d i f f i c u l t i e s involved i n taking a body down a cross, rather than on the fact that i t i s Christ's body which i s being taken down. This idea i s further emphasized by the fact that a l l the figures are exclusively intent on t h e i r job, which i s to take a body down, without dropping i t : none of them looks at Christ (even the one shouting seems to be rather looking at h i s companion). What a change when we look at Fra Angelico's Deposition (Florence, San Marco Museum; ca. 1435), where we f e e l indeed that i t i s Christ himself, and no one else, which i s being taken down. To emphasize the d i s t i n c t i o n between the upper and lower 60 parts, Rosso makes a l l the actors i n the lower scene act as i f unaware of the d i f f i c u l t i e s involved i n the upper scene. Even the boy holding the ladder, whom we would expect to be looking up and i n t e n t l y following the operations, seems unconcerned about them. The r e s u l t of such a disun i t y between the two scenes (the upper scene i s noisy and secular, while the lower one i s s i l e n t and r e l i g i o u s ) i s to lead our eye up and down, making us unable to decide whether we should stay down and sympathize with the mourners, or go up and j o i n i n the rescue operations. The atmos phere immediately created by t h i s d i s u n i t y i s one of c o n f l i c t and incongruity: we sense indeed there i s something abnormal going on here. Looking more i n t e n t l y at the upper scene, we observe that Christ's body i s i n such a position that the hand (which must belong to the man supporting him) grasping the cross, could as we l l be H i s i The unusual smile on Christ's face, combined with t h i s ambiguity, now makes us doubt whether He i s r e a l l y dead and we begin to wonder whether the whole thing i s not simply a macabre joke: we would not be surprised now to see Chri s t burst into a h y s t e r i c a l laugh. At t h i s point the event depicted takes on the character of a possible f a n t a s t i c h a l l u c i n a t i o n . The sharp l i g h t f a l l i n g on the figures only adds to t h i s impression by i t s bestowing on them a ghost-appearance,* 4 thus imparting to the event a t r u l y nightmarish q u a l i t y . The incongruity be tween the upper and lower scenes (which was r a t i o n a l l y incom prehensible) now finds i t s explanation within the i r r a t i o n a l i t y which the nightmare allows. S i m i l a r l y for the figure of St. John, who i s much t a l l e r than the other figures and bows his head 6X quite out of the picture. Without the mechanism released by the problematic s i t u a t i o n of C h r i s t , his abnormal stature and his breaking out of the picture plane would not be so disturbing, but now we are made more aware of i t and the strangeness thereby created imposes i t s e l f as such to make the whole event look s t i l l more strange and nightmarish. F i n a l l y , the unusual glance of the lady looking out (there i s not the least f r i e n d l i n e s s nor i n v i  t a t i o n i n i t ; a c t u a l l y one can detect a certain (although very slight) fear i n i t ) adds i t s own share to the strangeness of the whole: we r e a l i z e now that most l i k e l y our world i s forbidden to her and that she i s looking out because she must be somehow aware of strangers spying on t h e i r macabre recreation. — Rosso*s main concern i n t h i s work, i t must be admitted, was for the strange, the abnormal and the f a n t a s t i c , hardly for S p i r i t u a l i t y . The new w i l l i s again f u l l y active (although i n a d i f f e r e n t form) i n Rosso 1s V i r g i n with Ten Saints (Florence, P i t t i ; dated 1522). The space i n which the figures are set here i s again f u l l y r a t i o n a l . Most of the l a t t e r are depicted quite normally, both p h y s i c a l l y and psychologically. The one to the immediate r i g h t of the V i r g i n i s , however, i n a rather ambiguous positions while a l l the other saints occupy a c l e a r l y s u f f i c i e n t space, he seems to be p a r t l y integrated i n the i n t e r i o r wall of the niche. He looks outward with an a i r somewhat timid and unsure, which only emphasizes the ambiguity of his s i t u a t i o n . The saint on the extreme r i g h t , on the other hand, looks at us menacingly. His body i s turned as i f he was about to leave, yet he takes at us a l a s t glance i n which we f e e l a certain threat to our security. 62 The monstrosity of St. Bernard's hands, while the proportions of the other saints are pl a u s i b l e , i s also a highly disturbing element. He i s one of the saints i n most evidence and the abnormal elongation of his r i g h t hand, es p e c i a l l y , throws a note of unpleasant discordance and abnormality i n the work. I t seems indeed that Rosso could not r e s i s t the temptation to insert disturbing elements. This work, for instance, would be highly consistent and pleasant without the abnormalities enumerated above; the l a t t e r , as i t were, " s p o i l " the atmosphere of calm and n o b i l i t y which would be p r e v a i l i n g otherwise. — I t i s perhaps i n works such as t h i s one, where a few isolated elements c o n f l i c t d i s t u r b i n g l y with the "atmosphererid*ensemble" that the new w i l l can be apprehended most unequivocally. The l a s t of Rosso*s works which I s h a l l discuss i n connec t i o n with the new w i l l i s the Moses Defending the Daughters of  Jethro (Florence, U f f i z i ; c. 1523). Friedlaender observes about t h i s work that i t i s "the strangest, wildest p i c t u r e " * 5 which Rosso ever devised. The action here i s set i n a deep three- dimensional space, which i s conveyed by the juxtaposition of p a r a l l e l layers one behind another. The figures, i n general, have average proportions and t h e i r gestures approximate f a i r l y plaus i b l y the ones of normal human beings. They also have a great deal of p l a s t i c i t y . One may rootlec. the outstanding v i t a l i t y i n the figures of Moses and of the man behind him moving towards the frightened g i r l (whose at t i t u d e , by the way, retains something charmingly feminine). The rendering of the heads of the lambs also conveys 63 remarkably well the natural commotion which such an event may cause among animals* In t h i s atmosphere of r a t i o n a l i t y or " p l a u s i b i l i t y " f Rosso ins e r t s a few disturbing elements which change the tone of the work completely. The head of the man i n the r i g h t foreground gives the effect of an isolated sphere; 1 6 the base of the column which stretches under the body of the man shouting does not con tinue; the s i t u a t i o n of the sheep i s most ambiguous: we cannot make out where they are standing; the two knees which we see underneath the bent figure on the l e f t seem to belong to no body; 1 7 the position of the bent figure i n the l e f t foreground i s i r r a t i o n a l l y forced and appears a r t i f i c a l l y arrested. The impression we get, once we have noticed those disturbing elements, i s of a world which i s neither u t t e r l y unreal nor s a t i s  f a c t o r i l y r e a l but reveals i t s e l f as an unusually strange one. We are perplexed and unconsciously t r y to f i n d a solution to the unresolved i r r a t i o n a l elements. The new w i l l i n t h i s work has indeed achieved i t s purpose perhaps as successfully as i n the ones described above: for although i t may be very i n t e r e s t i n g e s t h e t i c a l l y , the arrangement which Rosso has devised here funda mentally remains a b a f f l i n g and f r u s t r a t i n g enigma. 1. Freedberg, op. c i t ; , p. 248. 2. Freedberg, op. c i t . , p. 251 3. The a t t r i b u t i o n and dating of t h i s work are taken from Freedberg, op. c i t . 64 4. i b i d . , p. 541. 5. i b i d . , p. 541. 6. i b i d . , p. 542. 7. i b i d . , p. 542. 8. I mean here, p h y s i c a l l y , f o r some of the figures i n those frescoes are c l e a r l y aware of our presence. But i t i s , l e t us say, a refined awareness. The boundary i n the Rosso i s broken, on the contrary, with aggression. 9. K. Kusenberg, Le Rosso. P a r i s , 1931, p. 10. 10. Freedberg, op. c i t . , p. 546. 11. i b i d . , p. 547. 12. i b i d . , p. 547. 13. Vasari, The Lives of the Painters. Sculptors, and Architects, t r . by A.B. Hinds, London, 1927, I I , p. 356. 14. W. Friedlaender, Mannerism and Anti-Mannerism i n I t a l i a n P a i nting . New York, 1957, p. 31. 15. Friedlaender, op. c i t . , p. 34. 16. Kusenberg, op. c i t . , p. 23. 17. i b i d . , p. 23. 65 V THE ART OF PONTORMO Rosso, as we have seen, while s t i l l quite young, manifested unclassic tendencies; and although i t seemed at a time _ i n such works as the Madonna i n Glory (Leningrad, Hermitage; ca. 1515)_7 that he might have been tempted by the c l a s s i c i d e a l s , his adhe sion to the l a t t e r was never wholehearted.* The case of Pontormo i s d i f f e r e n t i n that we are confronted here with an a r t i s t for whom the c l a s s i c ideals at f i r s t co;n$fc£fciiated the only goal. The V i s i t a t i o n (Florence, S.S. Annunziata; doc. 1515-16)yand the St. Veronica /Florence. S.M. Novella (Cappella del Papa); second half of 151_7 mark the climax of t h i s " c l a s s i c " period of Pontormo. Their degree of excellence runs high within the c l a s s i c t r a d i t i o n . Freedberg remarks that "with these two works Pontormo carried the postulates of c l a s s i c a l style that had been given to him to a kind of f u l f i l l m e n t no other a r t i s t i n the c i t y had as yet attained and which, i n t h i s kind, no other a r t i s t would surpass." Fried- laender also observes about the V i s i t a t i o n that i t shows Pontormo as a complete master of the Florentine High Renaissance vocabulary. "This painting of Pontormo represents Florentine classicism at i t s most b r i l l i a n t . " 1 3 The d r a s t i c change which took place i n Pontormo's attitude toward art between 1516 and 1518 was perhaps without any precedent i n the whole history of Ch r i s t i a n painting. Here i s an a r t i s t who succeeds (along with others of course) i n bringing the e f f o r t s of a whole century to a climactic consummation and who the next day abandons his former ideals and starts off i n a completely d i f f e r e n t d i r e c t i o n . 66 The case of B o t t i c e l l i of course immediately comes to mind. We a l l know how under the influence of Savonarola, t h i s a r t i s t disregarded his own achievements i n order to impose an uncompro mising S p i r i t u a l i t y on his a r t . The difference between B o t t i c e l l i ' s and Pontormo's approach, i s , however, fundamental. Their handling of space i s perhaps the factor best revealing of t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l a t t i t u d e . In works by B o t t i c e l l i such as the Agony i n the Garden (Granada, Royal Chapel; ca. 1500-1504) and the N a t i v i t y (London National Gallery; 1500-1501) the scale of the figures i s so obviously i l l o g i c a l , the space defined so c l e a r l y i r r a t i o n a l that the r e s u l t i n g strangeness does not as such a t t r a c t the mind; i t i s presented i n such an exaggerated way that the l a t t e r does not take i n t e r e s t i n i t but e a s i l y translates i t , along with the rest of the i r r a t i o n a l i t y included, into S p i r i t u a l i t y . Pontormo, on the contrary, often takes pleasure, as we s h a l l see, i n crowding his figures i n a space "not quite" s u f f i c i e n t or l o g i c a l for them, or i n challenging our sense of location, with the r e s u l t that feelings of ambiguity, incongruity, and i l l o g i c a l i t y ( a l l detrimental to the apprehension of S p i r i t u a l i t y ) are awakened i n us. Indeed while B o t t i c e l l i ' s late art reveals a clear search for the s p i r i t u a l , Pontormo's, from around 1516 onwards, on the whole reveals primarily a search for the strange, the incongruous, the perplexing, the disturbing. In several of his works, as we have seen, S p i r i t u a l i t y was the least of Rosso's concerns. Consequently the new w i l l was given free course and was often allowed to run w i l d . In Pontormo, the c o n f l i c t between the w i l l for S p i r i t u a l i t y and the new w i l l 67 i s more intense and S p i r i t u a l i t y ' s "struggle for s u r v i v a l " i s stronger than i n Rosso. I t i s possible indeed to sometimes d i s  cern i n the same work by t h i s a r t i s t the two w i l l s side by side, each one with a l i f e of i t s own. Pontormo's art i n general does not produce the discomfort and uneasiness which we have observed i n Rosso's. Further, while Rosso favored an abnormal humanity and nightmarish e f f e c t s , Pontormo favours to challenge the beholder's sense of consistency, which had been so highly developed under the impact of c l a s s i c a r t ; to t h i s end, he devises such formal disturbances as s p a t i a l ambiguities or incongruities, the conspicuous tipping of a t r i a n g l e , the lack of unity, p h y s i c a l l y or psychologically, among the figures...etc. This d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n does not apply by any means to a l l of these a r t i s t e works, but i t gives an idea of their respective approach. What must be kept i n mind at any rate i s that i n both e x i s t s fundamentally the same w i l l : to perplex, disturb and frustrate the beholder by substituting to the superior, i d e a l world of c l a s s i c art a world where i l l o g i c a l i t y , incongruity, ambiguity, abnormality, strangeness are the accepted values. One of the f i r s t works by Pontormo i n which the new w i l l manifests i t s e l f d i s t i n c t l y i s the so-called Joseph Sold to Potiphar of the Borgherini series (Henfield, Lady Salmond; ca. 15lo). 4 I t actu a l l y depicts the departure of Jacob's sons for Egypt. We see them about to leave, i n the background, while Jacob, i n the fore- 5 ground, i s giving Benjamin his permission to accompany them. There i s c e r t a i n l y i n t h i s work an abundance of secondary figures and a certain confusion which make i t depart from c l a s s i c norms. 68 The most s i g n i f i c a n t unclassic feature however, i s the ambiguity of space created i n the middle ground. Pontormo has arti c u l a t e d i t with one fi g u r e , but i t i s impossible to determine exactly where the l a t t e r stands. There i s no appreciable i n t e r v a l of distance between him and the foreground figures. We know through his diminished proportions that he stands away from them, yet his exact location eludes us. Now t h i s would not perhaps be so disturbing i f he was occupied at some minor a c t i v i t y , but Pontormo places him conspicuously i n the exact center of the picture. Furthermore, he at t r a c t s our attention on him by making him look d i r e c t l y at us; t h i s figure indeed i s the only one not p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the event depicted: he stands isolated from the r e s t , not aware of them, but i n s i s t e n t l y staring at us and seemingly asking us: "Guess where I am standing!" The e s s e n t i a l purpose of t h i s figure seems to be to challenge our 7 sense of loc a t i o n . And t h i s i s as complete a manifestation of the new w i l l as could be. We are perplexed and disturbed by t h i s f i g u r e ; we would want to integrate him with the r e s t , yet we are powerless. He imposes h i s presence on us (through h i s staring at us) yet he eludes us and does not allow himself to be grasped. The r e s u l t i s perplexity, disturbance and f r u s t r a t i o n . In the Joseph i n Egypt (London, National Gallery; ca. 1517) the new w i l l has invaded the whole panel. B r i e f l y , t h i s work depicts the coming to Egypt of Joseph's family and Jacob's blessing 8 ' of Joseph's sons. Pontormo has made of i t a masterpiece of formal ambiguity, i l l o g i c a l i t y and incongruity. The space defined 69 i n the foreground i s clear enough and inhabited quite comfortably by the figures included i n i t . The f l i g h t of s t a i r s and the scene of Jacob's blessing i n the upper r i g h t hand corner are also s p a t i a l l y s a t i s f a c t o r y . The mind here i s not disturbed. The scale given to these figures i n general, i n these s p a t i a l areas, i s s u f f i c i e n t l y decreasing as the figures recede into deep space to appear pla u s i b l e . The Joseph i n the middle of the s t a i r s i s smaller i n size than the Joseph i n the foreground and larger than the figure of Asenath at the top of the s t a i r s . However, the space between the man holding out an empty bowl with an imploring gesture and the a r c h i t e c t u r a l construction i n the background defies any r a t i o n a l analysis. The scale of the mass of people held back by the two guards has diminished so d r a s t i c a l l y that they should normally stand much further back i n space, yet there i s no i n d i c a t i o n along the ground that t h i s i s so. And look at the isol a t e d figure immediately behind them, standing against the wa l l below the s t a i r s : he seems to be c l e a r l y set apart from the group yet we can't determine h i s p o s i t i o n * i n space r e l a t i n g to them; there i s no way of t e l l i n g how far away he stands from them; he appears at once close to them and far awa/ from them. This figure i s the exact counterpart of the isolated figure i n the middle ground of the Joseph Sold to Potiphar. In both cases, a man standing by himself, looking outwards, not p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the event a c t i v e l y and i n a completely ambiguous si t u a t i o n as f a r as his position i n space i s concerned. I t seems that i n both of these cases, Pontormo has included such a figure 9 mainly to simply baffle the beholder's sense of location. 70 The scale and s i t u a t i o n of Joseph's waiting r e l a t i v e s i n the center also "admits no reasonable explanation."" 1* 0 They look outwards, most of them d i r e c t l y at the beholder, as i f to affirm themselves s t i l l more and disturb with s t i l l greater acuity our sense of r e a l i t y . Wischnitzer observes that the landscape does not recede into depth but r i s e s l i k e a screen. 1* In any case i t c e r t a i n l y " r i s e s as much as i t recedes into the space." 1 2 This effect i s conveyed la r g e l y by the fact that the s t a i r s appear to carry the eye into the background as w e l l . I t i s further reinforced by the complete absence of s p a t i a l a r t i c u l a t i o n immediately behind the upper part of the s t a i r s : what we see there i s a uniform piece of background which t r u l y gives the effect of a completely v e r t i c a l screen. The impression immediately created by a l l those s p a t i a l i r r a t i o n a l i t i e s i s one of abnormality, i l l o g i c a l i t y and incongruity. The l a t t e r impression i s further reinforced by the effect created by the statues. Freedberg observes that they are "imminently as animate 13 as the actors." Thus here the boundary between the inanimate and animate worlds p a r t l y ceases to e x i s t . We wonder indeed i n what kind of a world Pontormo i s transporting us. The key to i t s mystery i s given to us by the si t u a t i o n of the group of people held back by the two guards. Unusual groupings of t h i s kind were quite common i n medieval a r t . A t y p i c a l example i s seen i n the Kiss of Judas by Duccio (from the reverse of the Majestas, Siena, Cathedral Museum; 1308- 1311). Here the soldiers are unnaturally pressed together behind 71 the figure of Ch r i s t ; but so are the f l e e i n g apostles on the r i g h t ; moreover the scale of a l l those figures i s consistent and also we do not f e e l any actual uneasiness amongst them. Consequently, the i r r a t i o n a l i t y thereby created does not as such tend to perplex the mind and no actual disturbance r e s u l t s . In the Joseph i n Egypt, on the other hand, two major factors combine to make the group held back by the soldiers t r u l y disturbing. F i r s t , the d r a s t i c a l l y reduced size of those figures compared to the one of the figures i n the foreground. Second, the p a r t i c u l a r uneasiness which, on careful observation, we perceive amongst them, compared to the ease with which the figures move i n the rest of the canvas. Of course, t h e i r eagerness to appreach Joseph and the fact that two guards are holding them back p a r t l y explains t h i s uneasiness, but not quite s u f f i c i e n t l y . Beside t h i s genuine eagerness and the con t r o l exercised by the guards, we f e e l the presence of another power at work, a t r u l y physical power which seems to press on the figures and group them together i n a ti g h t e r way than they would normally allow themselves to be grouped: we get the d i s t i n c t f e e l  ing that they are struggling against t h i s power. Since there i s no v i s i b l e force (other than the soldiers) surrounding them, the resu l t we come to i s that space i t s e l f i s t r u l y closing on them. Space thus becomes i n t h i s work d i r e c t l y activated by a strange force which gives i t the a b i l i t y not only to i r r a t i o n a l l y extend or narrow down the distance between the figures, but to even actually weigh on the l a t t e r and impede t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s . Once we are aware of t h i s , i t i s to t h i s strange power act i v a t i n g space i t s e l f that we now attribute the a b i l i t y to change the natural appearance of things. And the animate aspect of the statues now appears to be the work 72 not of our imagination but of t h i s power. The whole scene now seems to breathe the presence of t h i s power. We now f e e l that the " r a t i o n a l i t y " included i n the work i s at the mercy of the l a t t e r and that i n the next instant, the characters depicted i n the foreground could f i n d themselves re duced to the same scale as the figures i n the middle ground and background. We would not be surprised, e i t h e r , i f the statues suddenly began to move. The world which Pontormo offers us here suddenly reveals i t s e l f as u t t e r l y transitory, subject to r a d i c a l changes at any moment. The control which medieval art allowed (through i t s naivety) and which c l a s s i c art did not prevent (throu i t s respect of the basic laws of nature) i s here l o s t . The be holder finds himself confronted here with a world regulated by incomprehensible laws and activated by powers as incomprehensible. His sense of consistency and congruity finds i t s e l f openly baffled The new w i l l has triumphed. The works by Pontormo so far discussed were intended for private use. His f i r s t "public" work i n which the new w i l l i s f u l l y manifested, i s the so-called Visdomini Altarpiece /Madonna  and Child with Saints (Florence, S. Michele Visdomini; dated 151Sp. The figures here are d i s t r i b u t e d i n the usual way: the V i r g i n i s set i n the center i n a niche of c l a s s i c architecture, with two saints on each side of her; Christ Child i s balanced by St. John Infant and two p u t t i , i n the upper corners, also balance each other. The use of the triangular form, grouping Mary, St. Francis, Joseph and St. John Evangelist i s also discernable. One 73 p e c u l i a r i t y about i t i s that i t i s tipped; moreover, one of i t s extremities l i e s outside the frame. Further, i f brought back to normal p o s i t i o n , i t s base would be too wide to be contained within the canvas. For these reasons i t i s not immediately graspable but a closer examination reveals i t as an almost perfect t r i a n g l e . The apex i s j u s t above Mary's head, about half-way between the top of her head and the upper frame. One side goes through St. Francis' head and ends where his two feet i n t e r s e c t . The other side s l i g h t l y touches Joseph's chin, goes through St. John Evangelist's r i g h t eye and ends outside the frame at approx imately the same l e v e l as the l a t t e r ' s r i g h t w r i s t . The base goes through St. John Evangelist's r i g h t hand, through his r i g h t knee and cuts midway through St. Francis' l e f t leg, a l l along i t . The triangular form was used by the c l a s s i c a r t i s t s to confer s t a b i l i t y to the grouping and to enclose the figures compactly. The new w i l l operating i n Pontormo made him use such a form but i n a tipped p o s i t i o n , thereby denying one of i t s pro p e r t i e s and at once provoking a certain disturbance i n the beholder. Pontormo further choses; to openly deny the other pro perty (enclosure) by turning Joseph's and St. John Evangelist's heads away from the t r i a n g l e . Joseph's head indeed i s v i o l e n t l y twisted sideways and backwards, so much that i t completely breaks out of the t r i a n g l e . Again here a disturbing effect r e s u l t s . 1 4 A further disturbance emanates on comparison of St. John Evangelist's head with Joseph's. While the former i s turned e a s i l y and appears quite relaxed, Joseph's proves to be i n quite uncomfortable a p o s i t i o n . There i s i n i t a combination of restlessness and 7 4 uneasiness which only increases the sense of malaise already conveyed by the denied t r i a n g l e . The intent gazing of St. Francis at Christ Child also proves to be disturbing. While the other four saints appear t o t a l l y unconcerned about the l a t t e r , St. Francis i s concentrated on him almost l i k e i n ecstacy. In order to make t h i s oddity s t i l l more conspicuous, Pontormo makes Christ Child u t t e r l y unconcerned about St. Francis: he i s laughing p l a y f u l l y , looking vaguely but not seriously towards the a l t a r ; indeed he makes us wonder whether the saint i s not somewhat exaggerated i n his attitude towards him. Pontormo further elongates St. Francis' figure d r a s t i c a l l y while giving f a i r l y plausible proportions to the other saints. This has a "return** e f f e c t : to s t i l l more att r a c t our attention on his abnormal attitude towards Christ C h i l d , while t h i s attitude inver sely forces our attention on the exaggerated elongation of his body, r e l a t i v e l y to the other saints. The r e s u l t here again i s to awake i n us feelings of incongruity, of abnormality and of i l l o  g i c a l i t y . The c l a s s i c a r t i s t , i n his w i l l for concentration and i n t e n s i  f i e d l i f e , had endeavoured to achieve a high degree of cohesion between three-dimensional space and surface representation. To that e f f e c t the figures were often gathered compactly i n a shallow space, as for instance i n the Disputation on the T r i n i t y by Andrea del Sarto. In the Visdomini A l t a r , Pontormo also gathers his figures compactly, but i n a space "not quite** s u f f i c i e n t for them a l l . As i n Andrea's work there i s s t i l l ease and detente, the s p a t i a l arrangement i n the Pontormo conveys at once ambiguity and 75 a certain malaise. Freedberg observes that Pontormo here sub- 15 s t i t u t e s n a s i t u a t i o n of height for one of depth." He does so, however, not i n the naive way of the middle ages, but i n a c r i t i c a l way which t r u l y challenges our sense of location. On the one hand he allows the V i r g i n , St. Joseph, St. James and the two Infants to occupy a plausible space, while on the other he i r r a t i o n a l l y compresses the figures of St. John Evangelist and St. Francis, j u s t enough to awake i n us feelings of ambiguity and i l l o g i c a l i t y . As i n medieval a r t , the i r r a t i o n a l i t y of such com pressions was naive and clear, and was not otherwise disturbing, here i t i s j u s t such as to awake our c u r i o s i t y . We wonder whether St. John Evangelist i s not act u a l l y intruding i n Joseph's space; as to Francis, his s i t u a t i o n , on closer examination, proves to be most perplexing. His r i g h t leg appears to be i n the same plane as the figure of St. J 0hn. Infant: but t h i s would be r a t i o n a l l y impossible, since there i s a step running a l l along on which are seated the Infant and St. J 0hn Evangelist. I t would mean that the step would end exactly where the Infant stands, which i s quite improbable. — Thus here Pontormo mixes the r a t i o n a l and the i r r a  t i o n a l i n such a way as to create perplexity and doubt i n the beholder. In the l i g h t of the other abnormalities we have detected i n t h i s work, we can safely conclude indeed that the w i l l for disturbing e f f e c t s here was a major one for Pontormo. Freedberg has proven that the predella for the Visdomini Altarpiece o r i g i n a l l y included as a central portion a Pieta which 16 i s now i n the National Gallery i n Dublin. He attributes the l a t t e r to Pontormo and dates i t 1517-18. In general design, t h i s 76 P i e t a r e c a l l s the Avignon Pieta (Paris, Louvre; XVth cent.) Both are set i n a deep bare landscape which creates a mood of nostalgia and solitude. In the Avignon P i e t a , however, the figures are d i s t i n c t l y integrated i n the landscape through a clear movement i n space going from the donor on the l e f t to the Magdelena on the r i g h t : the donor i s set i n the immediate foreground while the Magdelena stands i n a plane further back; the eye going from one to the other i s thus induced to carry on beyond them and the i n t e  gration of the group with the landscape i s thus automatically f a c i l i t a t e d . The pie t a by Pontormo does not suggest such an integration. Freedberg observes that the actors are disposed against the land scape "as i f i n despite of the notion that there i s room i n i t fox habitation. They are arranged within the narrowest plane of space as close as possible to and i n s t r i c t p a r a l l e l i s m with the picture plane; they are against the landscape rather than within i t . " 1 7 We recognize here the same w i l l which we have observed i n the Altarpiece i t s e l f ; i n the case of the p i e t a , the disturbance comes from the fact that the actors seem not to want to associate them selves with the landscape: the l a t t e r i s there i n v i t i n g them, and we would want them to inhabit i t as i n the case of the Avignon  Pieta,yet they refuse and ali g n themselves against i t , thus openly f r u s t r a t i n g our sense of cohesion. Freedberg also attributes a panel depicting St. Lawrence (Dublin, National Gallery) to t h i s same predella and s i m i l a r l y assigns i t to Pontormo. A panel representing (presumably) St. Francis (also i n Dublin) i s assigned " f a i r l y surely" to Pontormo. 77 St. Lawrence's head indeed appears strangely dislocated; i t gives the effect of having been stuck on the saint's body rather than being an i n t e g r a l part of i t . The expression on his face i s one of surprise and stupefaction and adds i t s own oddity to the already abnormal position of the head. The saint's l e f t hand i s also most uncomfortably bent i n . The figure as a whole conveys a mixture of uneasiness and s t i f f n e s s . St. Francis, on the other hand, appears relaxed and normal: he i s looking at us quite natur a l l y and does not manifest any sign of surprise. If these two panels were r e a l l y juxtaposed i n the predella (as Freedberg i s i n c l i n e d to believe) and i f they were both executed by Pontormo, then we have here a perfect manifestation of the new w i l l . For then the incongruity between the attitudes of the two saints becomes s t r i k i n g : the figure of St. Francis, by being juxtaposed to that of St. Lawrence, now makes the l a t t e r t r u l y b a f f l i n g , unexplainable and f r u s t r a t i n g . The new w i l l i s again f u l l y active i n the St. Anthony Abbott (Florence, U f f i z i ; 1519-20). p h y s i c a l l y , the saint r e c a l l s the Prophets of the S i s t i n e C e i l i n g . 1 8 His psychological at t i t u d e , however, i s the exact opposite of the Prophets'. While the l a t t e r manifest a purposeful passion which nothing could stop, the saint on the contrary appears l i t e r a l l y frightened. "The aged saint i s i n a state of almost f e a r f u l s p i r i t u a l commotion, which he commun icates i n h i s intense yet haunted glance and equally i n the urgent i n c l i n a t i o n of his body. n 1^ The t e r r i f i e d expression on his face i s indeed so genuine and innocent that we i n s t i n c t i v e l y sympathize 78 with him. Yet at the same time we become awaxe of a s t r i k i n g contradiction, of a spectacular incongruity. Pontormo here creates a superior type of humanity ph y s i c a l l y and at the same time her negates i t psychologically. The saint looks l i k e a superman ph y s i c a l l y , yet his mental state i s the one of a frightened c h i l d . A device t y p i c a l l y c l a s s i c i s thus used here to be then conspicu ously negated. We have observed the same happening i n Rosso 1s Assumption, where bizarre types are clothed i n monumental robes. We have also observed s i m i l a r denials i n e a r l i e r works by Pontormo: how, for example, i n the Visdomini Altarpiece he had used the triangular form to then conspicuously negate i t i n i t s fundamental character i s t i c s , and how, i n the predella of the same work, he had included a deep landscape without allowing the actors to inhabit i t . The more we scruti n i z e Pontormo*s and Rosso's works, indeed, the more we r e a l i z e that the w i l l to frust r a t e the expectancies of a public eager for idealism i s fundamental to the new a r t . In the Certosa frescoes, as we s h a l l presently see, pontormo offers us another s t r i k i n g example of such a w i l l . Vasari t e l l s us that i n 1522 Pontormo l e f t Florence i n order on to escape from the plague?; which had jus t broken out i n the c i t y . He r e t i r e d to the Certosa nearby, where during the next three years he did some frescoes representing events from the Passion of Ch r i s t . The change, which his style underwent at that point was highly deplored by h i s contemporaries. Vasari himself, who i s usually rather benevolent towards any a r t i s t , made clear h i s disapprobation: "Let nt> one blame Gacopo for imi t a t i n g Albert Durer, because many painters have done i t and do so s t i l l . But he did wrong i n adopting 79 that s t i f f style fox evexything, the draperies, expxession and atti t u d e s , which should be avoided when boxrowing the ideas, as he had a graceful and beautiful modern style."21 And such a change, fox him, remained a mystexy. He could only f e e l sympathy fox pontoxrao "who took such pains to leaxn what others avoid, abandoning a good styjle which pleased everyone. Was not Pontormo aware that Germans and Flemings come to learn the I t a l i a n style which he made such e f f o r t s to shake off as i f i t was bad?"22 What actu a l l y took place i n Pontormo's mind was that the c o n f l i c t between the new w i l l and the w i l l for S p i r i t u a l i t y , which had been apparent i n such works as the Visdomini Altarpiece, reached a point of c r i t i c a l aacuity. The c o n f l i c t has here developed into a true c r i s i s . Durer's manner i s decided upon by Pontormo because he recognizes i t as capable of s a t i s f y i n g both of his urges. On the one hand he knew that the adoption of the German style by him, who was already famous among I t a l i a n a r t i s t s , would make his works disconcerting and f r u s t r a t i n g to the eyes of his contemporaries — and, therefore, the new w i l l , active i n his mind, would be automatically s a t i s f i e d . On the other hand he saw that the S p i r i t u a l i t y present i n Durer's art would maintain i t s e l f even though the works were by him and not by Durer — and, therefore, the w i l l for S p i r i t u a l i t y active i n his mind would also be auto matically s a t i s f i e d . The c o n f l i c t now, instead of being i n t e r n a l , 23 would be, l e t us say, external. Complications, however, did not take long to develop. The new w i l l , i n Pontormo's mind, was findi n g out that i t was con ceding too much to S p i r i t u a l i t y , and that the i r r a t i o n a l i t y of 80 Durer's a r t , although i t would be f r u s t r a t i n g for the immediate contemporaries, was i n t r i n s i c a l l y too naive and not disturbing enough. Consequently i t made Pontormo effect a f i r s t transfor mation of Durer's manner. Durer's a r t , as seen i n the Small, Large and Engraved Passions, has p r a c t i c a l l y none of the i r r a t i o n a l i t y c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the new ar t . The q u a l i t i e s which characterize i t best, i n comparison with Pontormo 1s a r t , are congruity and consistency. Space, for instance, i s always either s u f f i c i e n t l y r a t i o n a l to be quite habitable by the figures included i n i t , or else i t i s so naively overcrowded that the mind immediately accepts i t s i r r a t i o n  a l i t y as an i n t e g r a l part of the whole.* This comes to say that the world with which Durer confronts us i s always a closed one at once congruous and consistent with i t s e l f . The laws which .activate i t are r e a d i l y understood by us and i t s distance from our world i s always clear and well-defined. In such works, for instance, as the Christ Before P i l a t e of the Small Passion (1509-11) and the Christ Before P i l a t e of the Engraved Passion (1512), space i s c l e a r l y defined and the figures stand comfortably i n i t . There i s indeed a w i l l to reduce the space i n depth and to gather the figures on a rather narrow ground, but the amount of space present s t i l l remains s u f f i c i e n t and r a t i o n a l . The new w i l l active i n Pontormo made him introduce i n h i s Christ Before p i l a t e (at the Certosa) ju s t the r i g h t amount of i r r a t i o n a l i t y i n the space defined to provoke a disturbance i n the beholder. Lavin observes that here Pontormo "introduces a stairway at the bottom of the scene by way of j u s t i f i c a t i o n for the half-figures appearing above the frame. 81 But the space thereby created for the figures i s not quite s u f f i  c i ent, and we f e e l a l l the more the i l l o g i c a l i t y of t h e i r presence, A r a t i o n a l device i s employed, while i t s r a t i o n a l effect i s d e l i - 24 berately denied." I t i s again the new w i l l which made Pontormo depict the youth descending the s t a i r s t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t l y from the rest of OK the figures. While the l a t t e r ffxe5 "schematic and unplastic", t h i s youth is"much too.large and intensely p l a s t i c for the distance at which we would assume him to be judging from his position on the steps and within the perspective system as a whole." Thus here Pontormo creates a doubly s t r i k i n g incongruity: f o r the youth, instead of appearing s t i l l more "unplastic" than the figures ih t the foreground (as should be the case, since he i s further away i n space) appears on the contrary more p l a s t i c than they. The res u l t i s that "space i t s e l f seems to have become malleable, stfeanaeU-Y 27 expansible and contractible.* The consistency of Durer's art i s here completely thrown overboard. We are baffled by the world which Pontormo offers us; The laws governing i t escape us. An atmosphere of i l l o g i c a l i t y , incongruity and contradiction weighs on i t . The new w i l l here has marked one more point. Friedlaender points out that "the seated sleeping figure at the l e f t i n the Resurrection i s taken from the small woodcut Passion of Du'rer, and the figure of the Saviour c l e a r l y goes back 28 to the Resurrected figure of the Great Passion." x In the Small Passion, however, the soldiers are a l l set i n a comfortable space which does not challenge the mind. They are also very secondary i n importance and the figure of Christ by far dominates the scene. 82 The new w i l l operating i n Pontormo decided that there was too much ease i n t h i s work. So i t made him crowd four soldiers on the l e f t and three on the r i g h t , i n a space quite i n s u f f i c i e n t f o r them a l l . In the Small Passion, while the compression inherent to the bent legs of the seated figure on the l e f t finds i t s e l f sub merged i n the deep space behind, here i t becomes a major motif of disturbance. I t contributes to emphasize the idea that there i s no space available behind and that the soldiers have been forced into the shallow space they are occupying. A sense of malaise i s thus here created. We wonder indeed how the three soldiers behind the seated one on the l e f t can manage to sleep. Furthermore, the figure of C h r i s t , although large enough i n scale, i s no longer dominating l i k e i t was i n the Small Passion. The uncomfortably crowded soldiers here detract the mind from i t and tend to affirm themselves as much as C h r i s t . Like i n the Christ Before P i l a t e (by Pontormo), an atmosphere of abnormality and "illogism" emanates from the work. The new w i l l , here again, has marked another point. The w i l l for S p i r i t u a l i t y , as I have suggested already, was not prepared to give i n e a s i l y to the wishes of the new w i l l , i n those years which Pontormo spent at the Certosa. Therefore, to t h i s f i r s t transformation of Durer's style which I have j u s t described, i t answered by making Pontormo simultaneously effect a further transformation of i t . In t h i s second transformation, 29 ~ Pontormo became "more archaic and more Gothic*" than Durer himself. The figures which i n Durer were depicted with naturalism, became here disembodied and schematic. The two halberdiers i n the 30 foreground of Christ Before P i l a t e " r i s e ghostly and bodiless." C h r i s t , himself, i n t h i s work, i s turned to the side "so that his 83 31 silhouette i s a t h i n , Gothically swung curve." In the Resurrection "Durer's robust male figure, executed i n a thoroughly anatomical way, has i n Pontormo turned into a swaying, supernaturally elongated f i g u r e . A l l that i s physical whether i n Andrea del Sarto's or Durer's sense, has vanished — there remains only the d e l i c a t e , bright, almost bodiless appearance, completely transformed into 32 s p i r i t , which sweeps upward i n a spaceless existence." Paurofsky speaks of i t as "an ultra-Gothic Christ f l o a t i n g 33 upward l i k e a wisp of smoke." The w i l l for S p i r i t u a l i t y indeed affirms i t s e l f i n those frescoes as powerfully as the w i l l for disturbing e f f e c t s . In probably no other works by Pontormo are these two w i l l s affirmed so d i s t i n c t l y and so intensely. The im i t a t i o n of Durer's manner had, however, f a i l e d to solve Pontormo's c o n f l i c t i n g urges. I t was therefore abandoned and the a r t i s t now appealed to his own i n s p i r a t i o n to suggest to him the elements of a possible c o n c i l i a t i o n . The Deposition /Florence, Santa F e l i c i t a (Capponi Chapel); 1526-287 came as the r e s u l t of such an appeal. The Deposition occupies a unique place i n Pontormo's art i n that the a r t i s t here has temporarily renounced disturbing ambi gui t i e s and i l l o g i c a l i t i e s , i n order to impose on the beholder with greater power the elusive mystery of a "strange" r e a l i t y . The world depicted hare, through i t s i r r a t i o n a l i t y , obviously belongs to the domain of unre a l i t y . " I t i s nervous and unreal, colors are off-key, space i s crowded and i r r a t i o n a l , figures lack mass, faces 34 are masks, movement i s strained, proportions are strange." Yet 84 we axe not dealing here with a world so consistently unreal as would seem. The space, for instance, i s quite r a t i o n a l l y defined i n the foreground. The proportions of many figures are quite plausible on the whole and t h e i r gestures i n general are also quite normal. There i s no exaggerated display of emotions: the V i r g i n alone manifests a certain g r i e f , and the l a t t e r i s quite subdued. Clapp observes that "death has been among them for the f i r s t time, and i n amazement rather than i n tears, they carry to 35 the grave t h e i r f a i r e s t youth.*1 He also observes on the faces 36 **a look more of i n c r e d u l i t y than despair." The decisive element, however, i s the eminently human state of helplessness i n which the figures reveal themselves to be and which seems to be d i r e c t l y addressed to us. Three of them (not including the donor on the f a r right} are booking outwards. They seem to be waiting for someone to t e l l them what has r e a l l y hap pened and what to do next. This i s remarkable e s p e c i a l l y i n the man holding Christ* s legs. He i s bent i n a t r u l y "waiting" p o s i t i o n and i s looking out, obviously aware of our presence and t a c i t l y waiting for some advice. His attitude i s the more s i g n i f  icant that he i s one of the key figures i n the work. The youth holding Christ's upper body also seems " l o s t " and not knowing what to do and where to go: he looks outwards as i f i n the hope of find i n g somebody to d i r e c t him. The donor himself seems to be appealing to our sympathy. Now t h i s state of helplessness, combined to the amount of " p l a u s i b i l i t y " included i n the work, has the effect of involving us i n the event i n a most unusual way. Pontormo makes us f e e l , very 85 s k i l l f u l l y and subtly, as i f at t h i s c r i t i c a l instant we could } help i n the s i t u a t i o n . And somehow t h i s f e e l i n g awakened i n us has the effect of imparting a character of amazing r e a l i t y to the scene. The immediate r e s u l t of t h i s effect i s to transform the unreality of the scene into a "strange r e a l i t y . " What i s happening i s that we are l i t e r a l l y lured into the unreal world of the picture. There i s not i n t h i s work the b r u t a l i t y of Rosso's works nor the w i l f u l ambiguities or i l l o g i c a l i t i e s which we have detected i n Pontormo's e a r l i e r works. We cannot ta l k here of properly d i s  turbing e ffects by which we could somehow "control" the i r r a t i o n  a l i t y present. On the contrary, Pontormo has endeavoured to smooth out as much as possible the t r a n s i t i o n between the plau s i b l e , the r e a l , and the i r r a t i o n a l , the unreal. I t i s not unreasonable to say that the r e a l , here ( l i k e i n S u r r e a l i s t painting), merges with the unreal. We are lured into the unreal world of the picture ( e s s e n t i a l l y through the state of helplessness of the figures addressed to us) i n a way comparable to what would take place i f one passed imperceptibly and gradually from f u l l consciousness into the state of dream. Thus the unreal world which Pontormo offers us here imposes i t s e l f i n a mysterious yet powerful way as a "strangely r e a l " one. The Deposition thus anticipated perhaps more than any other work produced to that date, the creations of the modern S u r r e a l i s t painters. For the technique of l u r i n g the mind into an unreal world so that the l a t t e r takes on the character of a "strangely r e a l " world (technique which i s fundamental to S u r r e a l i s t painting) has been worked out i n the Deposition, indeed, to an amazing degree. 86 The V i s i t a t i o n (Carmignano, Parish Church; 1528-30) i s another work by Pontormo i n which we can detect the presence of the new w i l l . A comparison of the finished study for t h i s work ( U f f i z i 461) with the l a t t e r proves most i n t e r e s t i n g . 3 8 The study shows Mary and Elizabeth with t h e i r back to us and facing two attendants. One of these stands between Mary and Elizabeth; she i s immobile and looks at us. The other one, on the far l e f t , looks sideways; moreover her head i s s l i g h t l y t i l t e d , thus giving her a certain relaxation and at the same time endowing the scene with a note of informality. This note of informality has the effect of giving detente to the group,Inwhich otherwise would be rather s t i f f . The o r i g i n a l e s s e n t i a l l y includes two small alterations of the study. The head of the woman on the f a r l e f t , which was s l i g h t l y t i l t e d , has here been brought back to the v e r t i c a l p o s i t i o n ; more over, while in the study t h i s woman was looking sideways, here she i s looking straight at us, l i k e her companion near her. These al t e r a t i o n s have the affect of completely changing the tone of the work. We now have the uncomfortable f e e l i n g of being t r u l y "watched" by the two attending figures, as we behold the V i r g i n and Elizabeth (who constitute the esse n t i a l raison d fetre of the work). The attendants are not p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the event: they are instead 39 i n s i s t e n t l y staring at us in a strangely impassible way. There i s indeed something partaking of the spectre i n the figure on the l e f t . 4 0 The detente which pervaded U f f i z i 461 i s here gone. Gone also i s the f r i e n d l y communication which the study allowed between the beholder and the event. A sense of malaise, instead, now invades the beholder. The new w i l l , which was hardly manifested i n 87 U f f i z i 461, has heze been taken care of by Pontormo. The l a s t work by Pontormo which I want to examine i s the Madonna and Child with St. John Infant (Florence, Palazzo C o r s i n i ; 1528-29). The Virgin's face i s depicted quite normally: i t r e f l e c t s a normal psychological expression and i t s features are spaced according to normal standards. With Christ C h i l d , Pontormo has plunged into i r r a t i o n a l i t y . On the one hand, the distance between the Child's mouth and the l i n e of his eyes i s less than i s the case i n the Virgin's face, as should be expected since he i s only a c h i l d . On the other hand, his forehead i s so immeasurably elongated, that his whole head proves to be not only as long but s t r i k i n g l y longer than the V i r g i n ' s i The impression we get here, far from being the one of a future Saviour of humanity, i s of a deformed c h i l d , who has grown abnormally while s t i l l i n his mother's womb, and whose deformity has not been subsequently r e c t i f i e d by Nature (as often happens) but has kept on developing with him. We are indeed f a r here from S p i r i t u a l i t y . Both the V i r g i n and Christ Child (with a l l his deformity) r e f l e c t a f a i r l y normal psychological state. Coming now to St» John at the bottom, we are struck by the strange expression of the l a t t e r ' s eyes. The infant i s looking straight at us indeed, yet his look i s abnormally eager and fixed and we become aware here that perhaps the c h i l d i s mentally i l l . Examining his smile, we f i n d that i t lacks l i f e and partakes much more of a r t i f i c i a l i t y . At t h i s point we r e a l i z e that the whole face i s not a l i v e at a l l but i s a true mask! We get the d i s t i n c t impression that i t i s as 87 a i f the a r t i s t had been t r y i n g to infuse l i f e into a mask without quite succeeding. The whole painting now takes on the character of a f a n t a s t i c comedy: above, the V i r g i n , belonging to a normal humanity; near her, Christ Child with a head grown to monstruous proportions; and at the bottom, St. John r i s i n g abruptly l i k e a puppet on a miniature stage. The s i g n i f i c a n t thing here i s that Pontormo gives us a clear standard of reference i n the head of the V i r g i n , to conspic uously contradict i t i n the other two heads. He openly and con spicuously refuses to be consistent. The desire for incongruity and inconsistency i s nowhere clearer than here. We are not per plexed nor baffled nor intimidated by the world which Pontormo offers us here: we are p l a i n l y shocked, for we have the d i s t i n c t impression that the a r t i s t i s simply amusing himself at the expense of our naivety. The truth i s that the new w i l l , which had emerged as early as 1516 i n works such as the Joseph Sold to  Potiphar has here been l e t loose without any concern for S p i r i t  u a l i t y , For of the l a t t e r , i t i s impossible here to speak at a l l . The atmosphere emanating i s outstandingly one of incongruity, inconsistency, i l l o g i c a l l y and abnormality. 4 1 88 1. Freedberg, op. c i t . , p. 539. 2. i b i d . , p. 509. For a detailed analysis of these two works, see Freedberg ( i b i d . ) pp. 504-509. 3. Friedlaender, op. c i t . , p. 20. 4. There i s a great deal of controversy about the dating of the four panels making up the series. F. Clapp believes that none of them was painted before 1517 ( i n Pontormo; His L i f e  and Worki New Haven, 1916, p. 22). Freedberg dates them by i n t e r n a l evidence from 1515 to 1518, ascribing to the one discussed here the date 1516 (op. c i t . p. 510). We know that they were commissioned by S a l v i Borgherini as a wedding g i f t f o r h i s son and his wife Margherita A c c i a i u o l i and were i n  tended for the decoration of t h e i r bedchamber. We also know that the marriage took place i n 1515. Vasari also t e l l s us that i n the so-called Joseph in Egypt (London, National G a l l e r y ) , Pontormo "introduced Bronzino, his p u p i l , then a c h i l d , at the foot of the scene, seated on some steps, with a basket." (op. c i t . , I l l , p. 242). I f we believe Vasari and i f we take into consideration the actual date of the marriage, then the dating of the panels before 1515 would be quite sensible; for the c h i l d depicted as Bronzino does not r e a l l y appear to be more than twelve years old (Bronzino was born i n 1503) and the decoration would have been normally ready before the wedding ceremony. However, i n 1515-1516 Pontormo was at the height of his c l a s s i c period (as we have seen) and t h i s would mean that at the same time he would have been experimenting i n a complet el y d i f f e r e n t d i r e c t i o n . On t h i s evidence, and allowing for the fact that the decoration did not have to be completed before the wedding ceremony could take place, the dating of the Joseph Sold to Potiphar as 1516 and the Joseph i n Egypt no l a t e r than 1517 (thus allowing for the boy depicted as Bronzino to be of a maximum age of fourteen) seems to constitute the most sa t i s f a c t o r y compromise. 5. R. Wischnitzer, "Jacopo Pontormo's Joseph Scenes," Gazette des  Beaux-Arts, ser. 6, XLI, March 1953, pp. 145-166. 6. Freedberg, op. c i t . , p. 511. 7. Freedberg refers to him as a "disturbing" figure (op. c i t . , p. 511). 8. The iconography of t h i s work i s discussed extensively by Wischnitzer ( i b i d . ) . 9. I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to compare t h i s work with the s p a t i a l l y r a t i o n a l Dream of Pharaoh (Florence, P i t t i ) designed for the same Borgherini by Andrea del Sarto also around 1517. 10. Freedberg, op. c i t . , p. 527. 89 11. Wischnitzer, op. c i t . , p. 165. 12. Freedberg, op. c i t . , p. 527. 13. i b i d . , p. 526. 14. Pontormo could have e a s i l y respected the closed shape of the tri a n g l e by simply inverting the position of the four saints. St. James and St. Francis, who are not looking towards the a l t a r , would have been as happy on the l e f t hand side. 15. Freedberg, op. c i t . , p. 520. 16. S. J . Freedberg and J . C. Rearick, "Pontormo*s Predella for the&Michele Visdomini A l t a r " , Burlington Magazine, no. 694, v o l . 103, January 1961, pp. 7-8. 17. i b i d . 18. Pointed out by Freedberg, op. c i t . , p. 535. 19. i b i d . , p. 534. 20. Vasari, op. c i t . , I l l , p. 244. 21. i b i d . , p. 246. 22. i b i d . , p. 245. 23. I t should be obvious that I am d r a s t i c a l l y simplifying the problem in order to f a c i l i t a t e the communication of my main point. 24. I. Lavin, "An Observation on Medievalism i n Early Sixteenth Century S t y l e 4 1 , Gazette des Beaux-Arts, ser. 6, L, Sept. 1957, pp. 113-118. Lavin i s here comparing Donatello's treatment of space i n his Christ Before P i l a t e (North P u l p i t i n San Lorenzo; ca. 1460-65) with Pontormo's at the Certosa. He points out that " i n Donatello's work, we f e e l that the space of the figures and that of the background remain separate and consistent within themselves; the contradition involved i n juxtaposing them, however e f f e c t i v e , i s external and quite naive." In the Pontormo, on the other hand, "the contradiction has now become i n t e r n a l and u t t e r l y conscious." 25. Friedlaender, op. c i t . , p. 24. 26. Lavin, op. c i t . , p. 115. 27. i b i d . , p. 115. 28. Friedlaender, op. c i t * , p. 26. 90 29. i b i d . , p. 26. 30. i b i d . , p. 24. 31. i b i d . , p. 24. 32. i b i d . , p. 26. 33. E. Panofsky, Albrecht Purer. Princeton, 1948, I , p. 144. 34. F. D. Martin, "On Enjoying Decadence", The Journal of  Aesthetics and Art C r i t i c i s m , v o l . XEII, no. 4, June 1959, p. 445. 35. Clapp, op. c i t . , p. 46. 36. i b i d . , p. 46. 37. The success of a S u r r e a l i s t painting does not come from the simple juxtaposition of incongruous objects, nor from the simple placing of f a m i l i a r objects i n f a n t a s t i c or incredible s i t u a t i o n s . I t i s much more dependent on the a r t i s t ' s a b i l i t y to give a character of r e a l i t y to his depictions, so that the scene, although obviously i r r a t i o n a l , w i l l at the same time appear strangely r e a l and convincing, somewhat l i k e i t would i n the state of dream; and t h i s i s accomplished, i n my opinion, by l u r i n g the observer's mind into the world of the picture so that he w i l l f ind himself at once believing and d i s b e l i e v i n g what he sees. The success of The Persistence  of Memory by D a l i (New York, Museum of Modern A r t ; 1931} for instance, does not come so much from the simple hanging of huge clocks on trees and rocks, as from the fact that we are mysteriously led into the world of the picture, and compelled, l i k e i n the state of dream (but at the same time against our w i l l , since we are awake and conscious of i t s f a n t a s t i c i r r a t i o n a l i t y } , to share in i t as i f i t were a true experience. 38. The study as well as the dating of the work are taken from Clapp, op. c i t . , f i g . 112. 39. Their look has nothing of the h i e r a t i c which belongs to the Byzantine figures. I t i s much more ali v e and lu c i d and t h i s i s p a r t l y what makes i t uncomfortable. 40. The background i t s e l f has something ghostly and undefinable. 41. The case of Pontormo i s the more s i g n i f i c a n t that we know for a fact that many of his works caused great disappointment among the public of the time. We have seen how the a r t i s t ' s frescoes at the Certosa had provoked violent c r i t i c i s m . S i m i l a r l y we are t o l d that his treatment of the loggia for Duke Cosimo's 91 v i l l a , at Ca s t e l l o , aroused much d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n . aAnd Vasari presently explains why: "The figures are out of proportion and t h e i r attitudes seem strange and i l l regu lated." (op. c i t . , I l l , p. 252). Again, when he was asked to submit tapestry cartoons, Pontormo did two, but they provoked the same comments: "The Duke and the masters did not l i k e them, thinking them strange and unsuitable for the medium, and so Jacopo did no more" ( i b i d . , p. 252). His work i n San Lorenzo, f i n a l l y , where he spent the l a s t eleven years of his l i f e , seems to have completely mystified his contemporaries. Vasari does not hide his disapproval: " I t seems to me that i n t h i s labour of eleven years Jacopo has sought to bewilder both himself and those who see the work." ( i b i d . , p. 254). 92 VI SITUATION OF THE ITALIAN CLERGY AT THE HEIGHT OF THE RENAISSANCE I t i s an acknowledged f a c t that when the Renaissance c u l  minated, a deep corruption was pervading the I t a l i a n clergy from top to bottom. As Rodocanachi states i t : aUne profonde corrup t i o n , d 1innombxables abus avaient envahi l ' E g l i s e et toute 1 I'echelle hiexarchique." We s h a l l presently survey the extent of t h i s corruption as i t was a f f e c t i n g the d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s of the e c c l e s i a s t i c a l body. The methods adopted for the e l e c t i o n of the highest d i g n i  t a r i e s were nothing but shocking. Simony and p o l i t i c s , for instance, had become two determining factors i n the e l e c t i o n of the pope. To know that J u l i u s I I owed his e l e c t i o n mainly to simony and to an understanding with Cesar Borgia (who was then an 2 acknowledged murderer, without the least scruple) i s enough to make us r e a l i z e the r e v o l t i n g intrigues on which the el e c t i o n of the supreme Head of C h r i s t i a n i t y had come to depend. The t r a f f i c which was made of the other high e c c l e s i a s t i c a l d i g n i t i e s s i s no less shocking. Chaxges were di s t r i b u t e d l i k e f i n a n c i a l g i f t s and t h e i r cumulation by many ind i v i d u a l s proves 3 how l i t t l e consideration was given to t h e i r true s i g n i f i c a n c e . Too often neither experience of the things of the Church nor a b i l i t y to govern j u d i c i o u s l y were of any importance i n the e l e c t i o n even of cardinals. Giovanni de'Medici, at the request of his father Lorenzo the Magnificent, was o f f i c i a l l y promoted 93 to the caxdinalate at the age of sixteen and participated while s t i l l sixteen i n the conclave on the death of Innocent VIII (July 1492)• Pressed by urgent needs of money and by the need to drown the oppo s i t i o n which had r i s e n against him among the Sacred College, t h i s same man (now Leo X), i n 1517, created thirty-one cardinals a l l at once. Aubenas observes about the l a t t e r promotion: "Deplorable fut l a promotion de cardinaux de 1517: le pape porta son choix s o i t sur des hommes dont les recommendations pol i t i q u e s etaient impe'r- ieuses, s o i t sur ceux qui l u i avaient avance de fortes sommes d'argent pour cette odieuse guerre d fUrbin qui t r a i n a i t en longueur. L'effet fut de'sastreux. S i quelques choix furent heureux, i l s e'taient e'clipse's par d 1 autres vraiment scandaleux." 4 Nepotism was also behind many nominations. I t often swept away any serious concern for the reputation and welfare of the Church. Rodocanachi mentions t h i s nephew of J u l i u s I I , Galeotto, who was made cardinal by the former i n 1503: M I 1 recut un grand nombre de beni- f i c e s et devint vice-chancelier en 1505, a l a mort du cardinal Ascanio; cette charge rapportait 12,000 ducats par an; avec ses autres revenus, ce jeune homme disposa bientot de 50,000 ducats de rente annuelle. On s'e'tonna, on se scandalisa meme a Rome de l'ex- treme affe c t i o n que Jules I I l u i montrait 5 ...Le jour mSme de sa mort, son demiffrere S i s t o , qu'on d i s a i t t o u t - a - f a i t i l l e t t r e , s i ce n'est presqu' i d i o t , e'tait e'lu cardinal sous le meme t i t r e que l u i , deven- a i t e'veque de Lucques et recevait l a vice-chancellerie et, en outre, l a penitencerie. Such methods of election could not but lead to the most disastrous r e s u l t s . And indeed the papacy i t s e l f was the f i r s t to be affected. In J u l i u s I I and Leo X we are no longer dealing with popes conscious of th e i r mission as s p i r i t u a l pastor of the 94 C h r i s t i a n world. Matters of a purely temporal order, instead, constituted these popes* major concern: "Jules II et Leon X n'ont pas su s'e'lever au-dessus de preoccupations i t a l i e n n e s , en tout cas de preoccupations purement temporelles. w J u l i u s II was an ambitious pope whose warlike temperament and love of power caused I t a l y to be devastated by more wars and massacres than had been the case under any of his immediate predecessors. His lack of scruples made him not only break t r e a t i e s but use such s p i r i t u a l means as i n t e r d i c t and excommunication i n the most i l l e g i t i m a t e ways i n order to support his own p o l i t i c s g and aggressive a c t i v i t i e s . In 15G6, he set out to m i l i t a r i l y conquer Perugia and Bologna. The former gave i n f a i r l y e a s i l y , but as Bologna was o f f e r i n g resistance, the pope l a i d the c i t y under an i n t e r d i c t , i n order to break the moral resistance of the people. "En conformite / des ordxes du pape, les eglises furent ferme'es le 13 octobre, les exercices du culte suspendus; tous les pretres quitterent l a v i l l e , excepte ceux qui devaient v e i l l e r a / 9 l ' e n t r e t i e n des e d i f i c e s r e l i g i e u x . " The Bolognese authorities f i n a l l y bowed. The year 1507 saw J u l i u s II apply himself to foment an a l l i  ance of powers against Venice. His intention was to regain some old dependencies of the Holy See, which Venice was occupying and did not want to give up. His e f f o r t s f i n a l l y brought about the formation of the League of Cambrai, which grouped France, Spain and Germany against Venice (1508). J u l i u s II soon joined the League and supported the attack on the Venetian forces by excom municating the Republic. Having acquired the possessions he 95 coveted, J u l i u s II raised the excommunication, concluded a separate treaty with the Venetian aut h o r i t i e s , and abruptly turned against the French, whom he now wished to expel from I t a l y , AubeiEias observes that "Par l a , le pape e'tait entraine' dans des guerres sans f i n , et les contemporains — comme l a poste'rite — etaient fondes a l u i reprocher une attitude qui e'tait beaucoup plus c e l l e d'un souverain ambitieux que c e l l e d'un pacifique pasteur des peuples. Des ce moment, commencerent a c i r c u l e r de numbreux pamphlets representant Jules II comme un instigateur de guerres sanglantes, me'connaissant le role de co n c i l i a t e u r et d'arbitre de l a Chre'tiente qui eut du etre le s i e n . " 1 0 The h o s t i l e attitude which J u l i u s II took towards France (whose help he had used against Venice) forced Louis XII to device a p o l i c y which soon put him into open r e b e l l i o n with the pope. As Aubemas points out, " i l n'avait nullement 1'intention de deposse'der le pape ou de conque'rir ses etats, et l a perspective d'un schisme l u i e'tait insupportable,""^ but he could not bring himself to abandon a po s i t i o n ( i n Italy) which had been established with such labor. His f i r s t object was thus to j u s t i f y the conduct which he had decided to take against the pope. L'Assemblee de Tours (September 1510), which he convoked, decreted after an analysis of the s i t u a t i o n that he was allowed to oppose the pope's request.by force and to demand the gathering of a Council. These preliminaries led to the famous Council of Pisa (1511-12) which among others included six cardinals, two archbishops and twenty-two bishops. The pope answered by himself convoking a general 96 council for April 19, 1512. Although this step automatically annulled any serious chance of success of the Council of Pisa, the latter nonetheless took place and on April 21, 1512, o f f i c i a l l y suspended Julius II from the pontifical administration. Meanwhile the pope had declared war on the Duke of Ferrara who was the principal a l l y of the French in Italy. Like he had done with Venice, he excommunicated the Duke for refusing to accept his terms, thus making here again a most illegitimate use of such an important spiritual means of action. "Rompant pour la seconde fois avec la coutume qui n'autorisait l'emploi des armes s p i r i t - uelles concuremment avec les temporelles que dans quelques cas precis qu'il n'y avait pas lieu d'invoquer en l'occurence, Jules II lanca contre le due, le 9 aout 1510, 1"excommunication." The d i f f i c u l t i e s encountered in this campaign made Julius II take drastic steps. w Le 20 Janvier 1511, maigre les rigueurs d'un terrible hiver, i l entrait, par la breche et casque en tete, dans la place forte de la Mirandole, apres un penible siege — episode celebre qui stupefia, et aussi scandalisa, bien des contemporains. ** Julius II*s efforts to isolate France f i n a l l y met with success on the international level with the constitution of the Holy League, grouping the Holy See, Spain, Venice and England (October 1511). In front of such a coalition, the French positions in Italy were doomed. After a valiant resistance and an important but ephemeral victory at Ravenna, the French f i n a l l y had to 15 evacuate Italy completely (summer of 1512). Not satisfied with this result, Julius II **s*appretait a reprendre au printemps la guerre f e r r a r a i s e , * ^ (for he had not 97 been able to subjugate the Duke and he could not foxget the latter's alliance with the Fxench). On the othex hand, a dispute between Venice and Germany about some lands saw him sign, i n Novembex 1512,68 ''un accoxd foimel avec l'Empexeux, pax lequel i l pxomettait d'em ploye! en sa faweux les aimes spixituelles aussi bien que tempox- elles, soit contxe la Se'xenissime Republique, soit contxe le due de Gueldie." 1 7 In fxont of such an attitude, Venicehhad no othex choice but to a l l y i t s e l f with France. The new situation was such indeed that far fxom being at peace due to the expulsion of the Fxench," l ' l t a l i e des Alpes au Latium, semblait sux le point de se coaliser contxe le 18 pape, avec l'aide de la Fiance et de l'Espagne." Foxtunately fox the Holy See (and fox the Chxistian woild in genexal), death, at this point, stxuck Julius II (Febxuaxy 1513). One does not wondei why the latter event everywhere must have caused an immense r e l i e f . Julius II's warlike tempeiament and thirst for temporal power were combined with a love of pomp, personal fame and grandeur of the most unlimited kind. Is i t enough to know that hardly had he been sacred pope when he commissioned Michelangelo with a mausoleum which was to be his own and which was to surpass in splendor anything produced during the whole of the Renaissance? Or would one xathex xead about his entxance into Bologna (Novembex 1506), which followed the suxrender of the city? "Ce fut une entxee de tiiomphateui, digne d'etre compaiee a eelles d'autiefois... Entie la poite de la v i l l e et la cathedxale, i l avait ete dresse pax 98 ordre vingt-quatre arcs de triomphe garnis d f i n s c r i p t i o n s ; chaque association avait le sien; les milices formaient tumultueusement l a haie; vingt-deux cardinaux, quarante-quatre eveques, les magis- t r a t s de l a v i l l e et ceux des v i l l e s voisines precedaient le souverain pontife. Une garde de soldats h a b i l l e s de soie entre- mele'e d'or l'entourait; i l e t a i t porte dans une l i t i e r e par les membres du Conseil des Seize, sous un dai que soutenaient les ambassadeurs de France, de Venise, d'Espagne et d'Allemagne; vetu de blanc, i l e t a i t c o i f f e de l a mitre et j e t a i t a l a foule de l a menue monnaie; les cloches sonnaient, des orchestres jouaient au coin des rues...Paris de Grassi (maitre de ce're'monies du Vatican) estime, avec une certaine exaggeration, les cavaliers qui escor- terent le pape a dix m i l l e . " * 9 Rodocanachi adds that t h i s triumphal entrance " f i t comparer le pape Jules I I a Jules Cesar, comme on 1'avait f a i t naguere pour Ce'sar Borgia. • .Erasme, qui e t a i t venu a Bologne y e'tudier le Grec, fut sur le point de s'en retourner, depite, en Allemagne; i l a s sista f o r t mecontent a 1'entree du pape. 'Je ne pouvais m'empecher de gemir, e ' c r i t - i l , quand je comparais a la majeste des apotres convertissant le monde par l a doctrine celeste 20 ces triomphes dont des princes laiques auraient rougi."" I t may be of i n t e r e s t , f i n a l l y , to know that just before dying, J u l i u s I I attended his own apotheosis (January 1513). "Selon sa volonte sans doute, on organisa une maniere de d e f i l e triomphal rappelant les gloires de son p o n t i f i c a t . " The pope was represented "sous les t r a i t s d'un empereur tenant en main le sceptre et le globe et entoure des Horace, de Camille, de Scipion et d'autres heros de l a Rome Antique." 2* How far indeed we are here from the ideals of hurailit 99 detachment and renunciation preached by Christ need not be com mented upon. Leo X did not have J u l i u s I I ' s passion for m i l i t a r y glory, but an unrestrained love of luxury, a deep concern for h i s family and an excessive generosity likewise too often made him abandon a l l scruples and take actions of the most deplorable kind. The extensive exploitation which he made of the sales of indulgences i s well-known enough. I t was indeed only one of the many means adopted by t h i s pope i n his general campaign for r a i s i n g funds. Aubenas observes: " I I s e r a i t vain de le nier: les besoins d'ar- gent etaient s i grands que l a papaute n'hesita pas a employer les expedients les plus facheux, t e l s qu'accroissement des d r o i t s de chancellerie, des annates, des taxes de consecration, des levees d'argent sous pretexte de croisade turque et, enfin, m u l t i p l i c a - 22 t i o n d'indulgences nouvelles." Leo X's lack of scruples i s again exemplified i n the action he took against the Duke of Urbino. The following i s a summary of t h i s event. In his desire to e s t a b l i s h his family, Leo X had cast h i s eyes on the Duchy of Urbino. He offered i t to his brother GiU.liano who refused because, as he said, " i t would be an i n j u s t i c e 23 to the r i g h t f u l Duke," whom the pope would have had to d i s  possess.® "Cet acte de depossession l u i d e p l a i s a i t . I I le * 94 trouvait coupable et i n s i s t a pour q u ' i l ne fut pas commis."^ For indeed the Duke (Francesco Maria d e l l a Rovere) had been the l e g i t i  mate possessor of the Duchy for years and Leo X, as i s agreed by most hi s t o r i a n s , had no serious legitimate cause of dispossessing him. 100 The pope then turned to his nephew Lorenzo, who f i n a l l y agreed, after some hes i t a t i o n , to his uncle's propositions.^ 5 A b r i e f against the Duke was prepared, i n which Leo X M r e s c u s c i t a i t 1'accusation d'avoir assassine le cardinal de Pavie, crime dont Jules II 1'avait absout et dont lui-meme avait signe l'acte de 26 remission." Other crimes and i n f i d e l i t i e s were imputed to him, and the b r i e f f i n a l l y was dispossessing him of his States. What followed need only be summarized: Lorenzo was named Duke of Urbino and put at the head of the papal army. Confronted with the l a t t e r , Francesco had no other choice than to f l e e and Leo X's 27 nephew e a s i l y took possession of the Duchy (1516). I t i s under Leo X, as i s well-known, that "Court l i f e i n 98 Rome reached i t s zenith." Here, the transformation of the papal curia into an outwardly purely secular center of administration and power (transformation which had been underway fo r some time) has been completed. Hauser observes about i t that i t has become " l i k e the court of an emperor."29 j t i s not my intention here to elaborate on the semi-pagan character of t h i s court. The reader w i l l f i n d a detailed discussion of i t i n Rodocanachi's Le  P o n t i f i c a t de Le'on X. I would l i k e , however, to say a few words about the way of l i f e which had come to p r e v a i l among the pope's most immediate assistants: the cardinals. Hauser points out that " t h e i r houses are reminiscent of small secular courts and those of the other s p i r i t u a l gentlemen of a r i s t o c r a t i c households which t r y to outbid each other i n splendour."^° "L'orateur ve'nitien Soriano e'crivait que les 101 eaxdinaux n'etaient pas des saints, mais de v r a i s et dignes gentilshomraes et, de r a a l i t e , i l s vivaient de l a meme v i e . " Theix dig n i t y , indeed, was not preventing them from seeking the f u l l e s t enjoyment of the pleasures of l i f e , Rodocanachi admits that i n general " i l s donnaient 1*exemple d'une vie dissipee et 32 ruineuse." Several of them had mistresses, l i k e was the case f o r Galeotto, one of J u l i u s II's., nephews whom t h i s pope had made cardinals "Les dignites sacerdotales dont i l e t a i t revetu ne 1'empechaient pas d'entretenir une maitresse q u ' i l couvrait de bijoux, E l l e a l l a i t a l a messe sur une haquenee caparaconnee de velours, vetue de drap d'or et portant au cou un c o l l i e r de grosses perles dont le fermoir e t a i t rehausse d'un rubis; e l l e ornait ses cneveux d'une ferronniere garnie de diamants; devant e l l e marchaient quatre pages; derriere e l l e , quatre ecuyers; a ses A , / , , v „33 cotes, deux duegnes." The cardinals' recreations consisted mainly of banquets, spectacles, gambling and hunting. "Les f e s t i n s que donnaient les cardinaux etaient plantureux, interminables et accompagnes de 34 divertissements et de musique." Burckhardt narrates that "Franceschetto Cibo, i n two games with Cardinal R a f f a e l l o R i a r i o l o s t no less than fourteen thousand ducats, and afterwards complained 35 to the Pope that his opponent had cheated him." To s a t i s f y t h e i r pleasure of hunting, the cardinals, l i k e the pope, had "des ' 36 ecuries bien garnies et un nombreux personnel." Several of them were owners of racing horses: "Leurs chevaux a l l a i e n t souvent au l o i n disputer des p r i x . " 3 7 1G2 Needless to say that the performance of e c c l e s i a s t i c a l ceremonies, for most of those high d i g n i t a r i e s , had become no more than a pure formality. I t would be enough indeed to know that Leo X had to be r a p i d l y consecrated p r i e s t i n order to enable him to exer- 38 cise h is new function.* He had been a cardinal for twenty-one years, and he, as the one who was now called upon to govern the Church i n the name of C h r i s t , had not yet f e l t the desire to re- enact the l a t t e r ' s most meaningful gesture. In such an atmosphere of disorder, luxury, immorality and i r r e l i g i o n , i t was to be expected that intrigues of a l l kinds would have been f r e e l y fomented. The darkest one which the documents of the time allow us to know i s the famous conspiracy of the cardinals against Leo X's l i f e . This sad event took place i n 1516 but was brought out to l i g h t only the following year when i t was discovered that no less than f i v e casdihals, among whom the Dean of the Sacred College, had plotted the elimination of Leo X by poison. The unveiling of t h i s intrigue gives us indeed, as Pastor points out, M a deeper knowledge than can anything else into the intense corrup t i o n of the highest e c c l e s i a s t i c a l body." 3^ Corruption, as i t was stated at the beginning of t h i s chapter, was pervading the I t a l i a n clergy from top to bottom. And indeed we can observe the same r e v o l t i n g Mrelachement t t i n the lower orders as i n the higher ones. "Dussommet de l a hierarchie ecclesiastique jusque dans le bas clerge, parmi les r e g u l i e r s comme parmi les se c u l i e r s , l a meconnaissance des devoirs meme les plus imperieux qu'impose le sacerdoce, e t a i t frequente et souvent complete.**4^ Pastor frankly admits "the immprality of the p r i e s t s i n almost every 103 town of the I t a l i a n peninsula" and "the most deplorable condition" 41 of many of the monasteries. The immorality, indeed, "was so gross, that suggestions i n favour of allowing p r i e s t s to marry 42 v began to be heard." Auberaas points out that "particulierement 43 grave est le cas du pretre concubinaire, etonnamment frequent..." Rodocanachi writes: "Ce qui prouve surabondamment l a license des moeurs d'une partie du clergy et combien peu e l l e e t a i t re'prouve'e, ce sont l e s legitimations... Ces legitimations, d ' a i l l e u r s f r l - quentes, avaient l i e u dans des formes tout-a-faifc o f f i c i e l l e s devant le college "Scriptorum A r c h i v i i Romanae Curiae," lequel r 44 siegeait dans le p a l a i s du Vatican." As an example, the following i s given: "En 1517 (16 Septembre), le f i l s naturel de l'eveque de Bassano est legitime' par les soins d'un notaire qui r e c o i t cinq g i u l i ; peu apres, une f i l l e du meme prelat est legitimee moyennant A ' 45 meme r e t r i b u t i o n . " Aubenas further observes that "1'impression que donnaient trop de monasteres e t a i t franchement mauvaise... On est bien oblige de constater que 1'ideal monastique n'entrait pas beaucoup dans les preoccupations du clerge re'gulier. En revanche les appetits temporels se donnaient l i b r e cours et, dans ce domaine, les abus tendaient vraiment a se ge'neraliser, meme dans les ordres mendiants, 46 oublieux de leur raison d'etre." The following i s taken from Burckhardt: "The way i n which the p r i e s t s befool and plunder the people by means of spurious miracles, added to t h e i r own scandalous l i v e s , i i s enough to drive any thoughtful observer to despair. We read of the Minorite f r i a r s 104 who t r a v e l l e d to c o l l e c t alms; 'they cheat, steal and fornicate, and when they are at the end of t h e i r resources, they set up as saints and work miracles, one displaying the cloak of St, Vincent, another the handwriting of St. Bernardino, a t h i r d the br i d l e of Capistxano's donkey.' Others 'bring with them confederates who pretend to be blind or a f f l i c t e d with some mortal disease, and afte r touching the hem of the monk's cowl, or the r e l i c s which he c a r r i e s , axe healed before the eyes of the multitude. A l l then shout "Misexicoxdia", the b e l l s axe xung, and the mixacle i s recorded i n a solemn pxotocol.' Ox else the rrfonk i n the p u l p i t i s denounced as a l i a x by anothex who stands below among the audience; the accusex i s immediately possessed by the d e v i l , and then healed by the pxeachex. The whole thing was a pxe-axxanged comedy, i n which, howevex, the p x i n c i p a l with his assistant made so much money that he was able to buy a bishopxic fxom a Cardinal, on which the two confederates l i v e d comfortably to the end of th e i r days. Masuccio makes no great d i s t i n c t i o n between Franciscans and Domin icans, f i n d i n g the one worth as much as the other. 'And yet the f o o l i s h people l e t s i t s e l f be drawn into t h e i r hatreds and d i v i s i o n s , and quarrels about them i n public places, and c a l l s i t s e l f "frances- chino" or "domenichino."' "The nuns are the exclusive property of the monks. Those of the former who have anything to do with the l a i t y , are prosecuted and put i n prison, while others are wedded i n due form to the monks, with the accompaniments of mass, a marxiage-contxact, and a l i b e x a l indulgence i n food and wine. 'I m y s e l f , says the authox, 105 'have been there not once, but several times, and seen i t a l l with my own eyes. The nuns afterwards bring f o r t h pretty l i t t l e monks or else use means to hinder that r e s u l t . And i f anyone charges me with falsehood, l e t him search the nunneries well, and he w i l l f i n d there as many l i t t l e bones as i n Bethlehem at Herod's time." 1 Burckhardt adds a l i t t l e further: "We have been quoting from an author who wrote i n earnest, and who by no means stands alone i n h i s judgment. 1 , 4 7 1. E. Rodocanachi, Le P o n t i f i c a t de Jules I I . P a r i s , 1928, p. 161. 2. "Notbfeeing able to elect a~ pope to his own mind, he (Cesar Borgia) could have hindered any other from being elected pope." N. Mach i a v e l l i , The Prince, trans, by W. K. Marriott, London, 1958, p. 42. 3. On the eve of h i s e l e c t i o n to the throne of St. Peter, Cardinal Giulia.no d e l l a Rovere (who became J u l i u s II) was simultan eously "eveque de Carpentras, de Lausanne, de Catane, de Messine, d'Avignon, de Coutances, de V i v i e r s , de Mende, de l a Sabine, d'Ostie, de Bologne, de Lodeve, de Savone, de V e r c e i l . " (Rodocanachi, op. c i t . , p. 3). Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici (who l a t e r took the name Leo X), for his part cumulated the following d i g n i t i e s : "Chanoine des cathe'drales de Florence, de S. Lorenzo, de F i e s o l e , d'Arezzo, de Ging o l i , de S. Giovanni i n V a l d'Arno, de S. Pietro a Casale, de S. Marcellino a Cacchiano, Precettore de S. Antonio de Florence, Preposto de Prato, abbe' du Mont-Cassin (which he became at the age of twelve), de S. Giovanni d i Passignano, de S. Maria d i Morimondo, de S. Lorenzo a Coltibuono, de S. Salvatore d i Vajano, de S. J u l i e n de Tours, de S. Stefano de Bologne, de S. Michel d'Arezzo, de Chiaravelle de Milan, ArchevSque d'Amalfi." (E. Rodocanachi, Le P o n t i f i c a t de Leon X. Paris, 1931, p. 20). Is i t necessary to point out that the fundamental i n t e r e s t of such cumulations consisted i n the revenues which the charges provided? 106 4. R. Aubepias, L'Eglise et l a Renaissance. P a r i s , 1951, p. 182. Pastor points out that the members of the Sacred College gave t h e i r adhesion to t h i s promotion "not f r e e l y , but con strained by fear." (L. Pastor, History of the Popes, trans, from the o r i g i n a l German, v o l . VII, London, 1908, p. 200). 5. More w i l l be said about t h i s cardinal on p. 101. 6. Rodocanachi, Le P o n t i f i c a t de Jules I I . p. 15. 7. Aubeaas, op. c i t . , p. 192. I t i s ac t u a l l y under Sixtus IV (1471-84) that such a state of a f f a i r s had begun to gather an important momentum: "Aveo ce pape, l a papaute? commence a changer de caractere...des l o r s , le pape tend a devenir un souverain i t a l i e n plutot qu'a rester le chef s p i x i t u e l de l a chretiente; a p a r t i r de Sixte IV j chez le pape, 1 l e prince efface le pontife'." ( i b i d . , p. 75). 8. The use which had come to be made of excommunication proves how l i t t l e consideration was given to i t s true significance and how, along with other s p i r i t u a l means, i t had come to serve purely temporal ends. Rodocanachi observes: "L1excommun i c a t i o n e'tait incsere'e dans l a plupart des actes pontificaux portant une defense quelconque, souvent comme complement a une amende extremement basse; a i n s i defense est f a i t e d'imprimer un ouvrage dont le p r i v i l e g e est concede a un l i b r a i r e sous peine de cent ducats d1amende et de 1»excommunication; un enfant est excommunie' pour avoir achete du s e l a i l l e u r s qu'au depot p r e s e r i t . " (E. Rodocanachi, La Reforme en I t a l i e . I % P a r i s , 1920, p. 74). 9. Rodocanachi, Le P o n t i f i c a t de Jules I I , p. 73. 10. Aubenas, op. c i t . , pp. 1558156. 11. i b i d . , p. 157. 12. i b i d . , p. 160. 13. Rodocanachi, Le P o n t i f i c a t de Jules I I . p. 111. 14. Aubervas, op. c i t . , p. 158. 15. Florence, which had been a l l that time rather favorable to the French, was ordered to accept the conditions of J u l i u s I I : namely, the return of the Medici*Upon Soderini's government r e f u s a l , the c i t y of Prato (which was a Florentine possession) was taken by assault and "impitoyablement saccagee" by the Spanish troops, which Cardinal Giovanni de'Medici was accom panying (August 1512). "Plus de 5,000 habitants p ^ r i r e n t ; femmes, enfants, r e l i g i e u x , nonnes, nul ne f u t e'pargne'; pendant plus de quinze jours, les soldats espagnols massacrerent a coeur j o i e . " (Rodocanachi, Le P o n t i f i c a t de Jules X, p. 170). 107 According to Sanuto, Cardinal Giovanni (the future Leo X, l e t us not forget), who apparently had allowed the massacre, wrote that "cette execution s i cr u e l l e s e r a i t une lecon s a l u t a i r e . " (Quoted by Rodocanachi, i b i d . , p. 170). 16. i b i d . , p. 176. 17. i b i d . , p. 177. 18. i b i d . , p. 176. 19. i b i d . , p. 75. 20. i b i d . , p. 75. To perpetuate the souvenir of his v i c t o r y , J u l i u s II had two statues of himself made and set up i n con spicuous places i n the c i t y of Bologna. One was quickly erected and placed "sur l a facade du pa l a i s du gouvernement" . ( i b i d . , p. 76). The other one was commissioned from Michelangelo who completed i t i n 1508. I t was set up above the po r t a l of the cathedral of S. Petronio ( i b i d . , p. 77). When the pope lo s t Bologna to the hands of the population i n r e b e l l i o n helped by the French (1511) the two statues were destroyed. About Michelangelo's bronze statue, Rodocanachi narrates that " l a foule alluma tout autour un grand feu et, quand le bronze fut brGlant, e l l e brisa l a statue avec des c r i s de 3oie." ( i b i d . , p. 132). 21. i b i d . , p. 177. 22. Aubenas, op. c i t . , p. 182. The abuses i n the sales of indu l  gences were such that even i n I t a l y they provoked a decrease i n the sales. "Michiel rapporte qu'en mars 1515 le Conseil des Dix defendit aux Ve'nitiens d'acheter desormais des 'par dons'." (Rodocanachi, Le P o n t i f i c a t de Leon X. p. 247). 23. G. F. Young, The Medici. New York, 1930, p. 287. 24. Rodocanachi, Le P o n t i f i c a t de Leon X. p. 100. 25. Rodocanachi points out that Lorenzo " h e s i t a i t a accepter les propositions de son oncle." He also states that "Leon X he'sitait aussi au moment de commettre un acte dont i t sentait l a gravite et 1' i n j u s t i c e . " ( i b i d . , p. 101). 26. i b i d . , p. 99. 27. Pastor admits that "the whole action of the pope...has some thing repulsive about i t . The impression l e f t on the mind i s that he cared less that j u s t i c e take i t s course, than that the Duchy should become available f o r his nephew." (op. c i t . , p. 149). 28. Hauser, op. c i t . , I I , p. 86. 108 29. i b i d . , p. 86. 30. i b i d . , p. 86. 31. Rodocanachi, Le P o n t i f i c a t de Leon X. p. 152. 32. i b i d . , p. 152. 33. Rodocanachi, Le P o n t i f i c a t de Jules I I . p. 15. 34. i b i d . , p. 84. 35. J . Burckhardt, The C i v i l i z a t i o n of the Renaissance i n I t a l y , trans, by S.G.C. Middlemore, New York, 1929, p. 429. 36. Rodocanachi, Le P o n t i f i c a t de Jules I I . p. 85. 37. i b i d . , p. 85. 38. Rodocanachi, Le P o n t i f i c a t de Le'on X. p. 38. 39. Pastor, op. c i t . , p. 175. 40. Rodocanachi, La Reforme en I t a l i e . I, p. 99. 41. Pastor, op. c i t . , V, pp. 171-172. 42. i b i d . , V, p. 172. 43. Auberras, op. c i t . , p. 333. 44. Rodocanachi, La Re'forme en I t a l i e . I, p. 120. 45. i b i d . , p. 121. 46. Aubenas, op. c i t . , p. 276. 47. Burckhardt, op. c i t . , pp. 446-447. 109 VII THE GREAT SPIRITUAL NEED OF THE HIGH RENAISSANCE In order to understand the f u l l effects of such an intense corruption as we have described, on the morale of the Italian society of that time, i t is essential that we realize the importance of the role which the Church was playing in the everyday existence of a l l . There were indeed, at the height of the Renaissance, two major factors which were contributing to make the clergy a vital, organic part of the society. The fir s t one is a sense of intimate dependence on sacraments and religious ceremonies, which the people felt to a very high degree. The clergy as a whole was needed desperately. It was needed to celebrate mass, to hear confession, distribute communion, comfort the suffering, officiate at the civic ceremonies...etc. Although, as we shall see, people deeply resented the depravation of its members, they accepted them as an integral part of their society, necessary to the very life of the society as a whole. Burckhardt sumss up this idea when he writes: "The feeling of the upper and middle classes in Italy with regard to the Church at the time when the Renaissance culminated, was compounded of deep and contemptuous aversion, of acquiescence in the outward ecclesiastical customs which entered into daily l i f e , and of a sense of dependence on sacraments and ceremonies."1 The second factor which was contributing to impose the clergy on the Italian society of that time is the political influence which the Church was exercising on the local governments. The Holy See, under Julius II, had become a powerful temporal power. We have seen what happened to Prato, a Florentine possession, upon 110 Soderini's r e f u s a l to accept the pope's c o n d i t i o n s . 2 Indeed from that time on, and e s p e c i a l l y from the day of Leo X's acces sion to the papal throne i n 1513 u n t i l h i s death i n 1521, a c i t y l i k e Florence could take no important action without the approval of Rome. The clergy as a whole was thus omnipresent to the I t a l i a n people. I t i s not exaggerated indeed to say that i t s influence, i t s control, exercised both i n the s p i r i t u a l and the temporal, were t r u l y pervading the l i f e of society. I t can e a s i l y be under stood, therefore, that i n these conditions, such a shocking corrup t i o n as we have described above could not but have been deeply resented by the contemporaries. Aubenas makes no compromise about i t : " P o l i t i c a l i n t r i g u e , nepotism beyond a l l measure, unscrupulous- ness i n a l l things, simony that was often blatant -- these are things which, from a distance, become rather dimmed by the dazzling radiance of the Renaissance; but for the public of the time, they 3 were unbearable." And indeed, i n view of the important role played by the Church i n the l i f e of the society of that time, i t can be said without any reticence that a reformation of the clergy, a return f o r i t s members to a l i f e i n conformity with the true 4 meaning of t h e i r d i g n i t y , was the great s p i r i t u a l need of that age. The l i t e r a t u r e of the time, indeed, abounds i n attacks and protests against the corruption of the clergy, attacks i n which one often f e e l s the b i t t e r e s t indignation and the most genuine deploring of the e x i s t i n g state of a f f a i r s . The h i s t o r i a n Guic- c i a r d i n i , f or instance, who was f o r many years i n the service of I l l the Medicean popes, wrote i n his Aphorisms (1529): "No man i s more disgusted than I am with the ambition, the avarice and the p r o f l i g a c y of the p r i e s t s , not only because each of these vices i s hateful i n i t s e l f , but because each and a l l of them are most unbecoming i n those who declare themselves to be men i n special ^ j r e l a t i o n s with God, and also because they are vices so opposed to one another, that they can only co-exist i n very singular natures. Nevertheless, my p o s i t i o n at the court of several popes forced me to desire t h e i r greatness f o r the sake of my own i n t e r e s t . But, had i t not been fo r t h i s , I should have loved Martin Luther as myself, not i n order to free myself from the laws which C h r i s t i a n i t y , as generally understood and explained, lays upon us, but i n order to see t h i s swarm of scoundrels (questa caterva d i s c e l l e r a t i ) put back into t h e i r proper place, so that they may be forced to l i v e 5 either without vice or without power." Erasmus also communicatedfehis indignation i n several of his writings. In the Praise of F o l l y (written from 1509 to 1511; f i r s t pub. 1511), after scorning the monks, he comes to the Higher clergy: "Our popes, cardinals, and bishops for some time now have earnestly copied the state and practice of princes, and come near to beating them at t h e i r own game. Let a bishop but consider what his alb, the white emblem of s i n c e r i t y , should teach him, namely, a l i f e i n every way blameless; and what i s s i g n i f i e d on his part by the two-horned miter, the two peaks bound by the same knot — I suppose i t i s a perfect knowledge of the Old and New Testaments; what i s meant by covering his hands with gloves, a clean adminis t r a t i o n of the sacraments and one unsullied by any t a i n t of human 112 concerns; what the c r o z i e r symbolizes, most watchful care of the f l o c k put under h i s charge; what i s indicated by the cross that i s car r i e d before him, to wit, a v i c t o r y over a l l carnal a f f e c t i o n s . I f he would contemplate these and other lessons of the sort, I say, would he not lead a sad and troubled l i f e ? But as i t i s , they do well enough by way of feeding themselves; as f o r the other, the care of the sheep, they delegate that to C h r i s t himself, or else r e f e r i t to t h e i r suffragans, as they c a l l them, or other deputies. Nor do they keep i n mind the name they bear, or what the word •'bishop'' means — labor, v i g i l a n c e , s o l i c i t u d e . Yet i n raking i n moneys they t r u l y play the bishop, overseeing everything -- and overlooking nothing. "In a similar way the cardinals, i f they considered the fact that they have succeeded to the places of the apostles, would see that the same works are required of them as were performed by t h e i r predecessors; that they are not lords, but stewards, of s p i r i t u a l things, and that shortly they are to render an exact account of what they hold i n t r u s t . Yes, l e t them too philosophize a b i t concerning t h e i r vestments, and question themselves i n t h i s fashion: "What does the whiteness of t h i s upper garment mean? Is i t not a burning love of God? What, again, that outer robe flowing down i n broad f o l d s and spreading over the mule of his Exalted Reverence, though i t would s u f f i c e to cover a camel? Is i t not charity ample enough to embrace a l l men i n i t s helpfulness, by way of teaching, exhorting, chastising, admonishing, ending wars, r e s i s t i n g wicked princes, and f r e e l y spending blood — not money alone — f o r the f l o c k of Christ? And wherefore a l l t h i s money, anyway, for those who hold the places of the needy apostles?" If they would weigh 113 these things, I repeat, they would not be so ambitious for the post, and would w i l l i n g l y give i t up, or at least they would lead a toilsome and watchful l i f e of the sort l i v e d by those ancient apostles. "As to these Supreme P o n t i f f s who take the place of Ch r i s t , i f they t r i e d to emulate His l i f e , I mean His poverty, labors, teaching, cross, and contempt for safety, i f even they thought upon the t i t l e of Pope — that i s , Father — or the addition "Most Holy", who on earth would be more a f f l i c t e d ? Who would purchase that seat at the price of every resource and e f f o r t ? Or who would defend i t , when purchased, by the sword, by poison, or by anything else? Were wisdom to descend upon them, how i t would inconvenience them. Wisdom, did I say? Nay, even a grain of s a l t would do i t — a grain of that s a l t which i s spoken of by C h r i s t . I t would lose them a l l that wealth and honour, a l l those possessions, triumphal progresses, o f f i c e s , dispensations, t r i b u t e s , and indulgences; i t would lose them so many horses, mules, and retainers; so many pleasures. (See how I have comprehended i n a few words many marketsful, a great harvest, a wide ocean, of goods!) In place of these i t would bring v i g i l s , f a s t s , tears, prayers, sermons, studies, sighs, and a thousand troublesome tasks of the sort. Nor should we pass over the circumstance that a l l those copyists and notaries would be i n want, as would a l l those advocates, promoters, secretaries, mule teers, grooms, bankers, and pimps — I was about to add something more tender, though rougher, I am a f r a i d , on the ears. In short, that great host of men which burdens — I beg your pardon, I mean adorns — the Roman See would beg for t h e i r bread. This would be 114 inhuman and downright abominable, and, what i s more accursed, those very p r i n c e s of the church and true l i g h t s of the world would themselves be reduced to a s t a f f and a w a l l e t . "As i t i s now, what labor t u r n s tip to be done they hand over to Peter and P a u l , who have l e i s u r e f o r i t . But the splendor and the pleasure they take care of p e r s o n a l l y . And so i t comes about — by my doing, remember — t h a t s c a r c e l y any kind of men l i v e more s o f t l y or l e s s oppressed w i t h care; b e l i e v i n g that they are amply acceptable to C h r i s t i f w i t h a m y s t i c a l and almost t h e a t r i c a l f i n e r y , w i t h ceremonies, and w i t h those t i t l e s of Beatitude and Reverence and Holyness, along w i t h b l e s s i n g and c u r s i n g , they perform the o f f i c e of bishops. To work m i r a c l e s i s p r i m i t i v e and old-fashioned, h a r d l y s u i t e d to our times; to i n s t r u c t the people i s irksome; to i n t e r p r e t the Holy S c r i p t u r e s i s pedentry; to pray i s o t i o s e ; to shed t e a r s i s d i s t r e s s i n g and womanish; to l i v e i n poverty i s sor d i d ; to be beaten i n war i s dishonorable and l e s s than worthy of one who w i l l h a r d l y admit k i n g s , however great, to k i s s h i s sacred f o o t ; and f i n a l l y , to d i e i s unpleasant, to d i e on the cross a d i s  grace. "There remains onlytthose weapons and sweet benedictions of which P a u l speaks, and the popes are generous enough w i t h these: i n t e r d i c t i o n , excommunications, re-excommunications, anathematiza t i o n s , p i c t u r e d damnations, and the t e r r i f i c l i g h t n i n g - b o l t of the b u l l , which by i t s mere f l i c k e r s i n k s the souls of men below the f l o o r of h e l l . And these most h o l y f a t h e r s i n C h r i s t , and v i c a r s of C h r i s t , launch i t against no one w i t h more s p i r i t than a g a i n s t those who, at the i n s t i g a t i o n of the d e v i l , t r y to impair 115 or to subtract from the patrimony of Peter. Although t h i s saying of Peter's stands i n the Gospel, "We have l e f t a l l and followed Thee", yet they give the name of his patrimony to lands, towns, t r i b u t e , imposts and moneys. On behalf of these things, inflamed by zeal for C h r i s t , they f i g h t with f i r e and sword, not without shedding of C h r i s t i a n blood; and then they believe they have de fended the bride of Chr i s t i n apostolic fashion, having scattered what they are pleased to designate as "her enemies. M As i f the Church had any enemies more p e s t i l e n t i a l than impious p o n t i f f s who by t h e i r silence allow Chr i s t to be forgotten, who enchain Him by mercenary r u l e s , adulterate His teaching by forced interpretations, and c r u c i f y Him afresh by t h e i r scandalous l i f e t "Now the C h r i s t i a n Church was founded on blood, strenghtened by blood, and augmented by blood; yet nowadays they carry on Ch r i s t ' s cause by the sword just as i f He who defends His own by His own means had perished. And although war i s so cruel a busi ness that i t b e f i t s beasts and not men, so f r a n t i c that poets feign i t i s sent with e v i l purpose by the Furies, so p e s t i l e n t i a l that i t brings with i t a general bli g h t upon morals, so iniquitous that i t i s usually conducted by the worst bandits, so impious that i t has no accord with C h r i s t , yet our popes, neglecting a l l t h e i r other concerns, make i t t h e i r only task. Here you w i l l see feeble old men assuming the strength of youth, not shocked by the expense or t i r e d out by the labor, not at a l l discouraged, i f only they may upset laws, r e l i g i o n , peace, and a l l humane usages, and turn them heels over head. Learned sycophants w i l l be ofund who w i l l give to t h i s manifest madness the names of ze a l , p i e t y , and 116 f o r t i t u d e , devising a way whereby i t i s possible for a man to whip out h i s sword, s t i c k i t into the guts of his brother, and nonetheless dwell i n that supreme charity which, according to Christ's precept, a C h r i s t i a n owes to his neighbor." In h i s Querela Pacis (1515), Erasmus comes back to the sub je c t c l e a r l y r e f e r r i n g here again to J u l i u s I I : "What have the helmet and mitre i n common? What connection i s there between the cr o z i e r and the sword? between the Holy Gospel and the buckler? How, © bishop standing i n the room of the apostles, dare you teach the peoples the things that pertain to war?" 7 The J u l i u s Exclusus a C o e l i s , which appeared i n 1513 shortly a f t e r the death of J u l i u s I I , t , M g i v e s expression i n b i t t e r terms to the indignation f e l t by the enlightened section of the C h r i s t i a n g world." This extremely i n t e r e s t i n g document, whose r e a l author i s unknown although i t was thought to have been written by Erasmus, consists i n a dialogue between Peter and J u l i u s I I at the gates of Heaven. The late pope, upon request, narrates his pon t i f i c a t e to Peter. The l a t t e r attempts to disclose i n i t some actions worthy of a true Vicary of C h r i s t , by constantly r e f e r r i n g to the duties of such a person, but everywhere he meets with wars, glory, intrigues and temporal power — and a p r a c t i c a l l y complete unconcern for the expected duties. The following i s taken from the dialogue: "Jules: Peut-etre reves-tu a cette ancienne Eglise au sain de l a q u e l l e , en compagnie de quelques eveques fameliques, tu f a i s a i s une t r i s t e figure de Pontife, expose a l a pauvrete, a l a sueur, aux p e r i l s et a m i l l e incommodite's. Tout s'est bien ameliore' avec le temps, et tout autre est maintenant 117 le Pontife Romain: car t o i , tu n'e'tais Pontife que par le t i t r e et par le nom. S i tu voyais aujourd'hui tant d'e'di- f i c e s sacre's, construits avec des magnificences royales, de tous cote's des pretres par m i l l i e r s , l a plupart prodig- ieusement riches, tous ces eveques qui par l a fortune et les armes marchent de pair avec les r o i s , l a splendeur i n f i n i e de tant de palais sacerdotaux; s i surtout tu voyais maintenant a Rome tant de cardinaux couverts de pourpre, su i v i s par des legions de serviteurs, tant de chevaux mieux harnache's que des chevaux de r o i s , toutes ces mules couvertes de l i n , d'or, de p i e r r e r i e s , quelques-unes meme ferre'es d'or et d'argent; et le Souverain P o n t i f e , s i tu le contemplais, eleve sur un siege d'or que des soldats portent sur leurs e'paules, et toute l a foule se prosternant a un geste de sa main; s i tu entendais l a cre'pitation des bombardes, le son des trompettes, le bruit des c l a i r o n s , les de'tonations foudroyantes des machines de guerre, les applaudissements et les acclamations du peuple; s i tu voyais de tous cotes les lueurs des torches, et les plus grands princes eux-memes admis a peine a baiser ses bienheureux pieds...que d i r a i s - t u dis-moi, s i tu^avaishvuretxenteridu tout cela? P i e r r e : Je d i r a i s que j ' a i vu un tyran archi-mondain, un ennemi du C h r i s t , l a peste de l ' E g l i s e . * 9 "Pierre: En voulant que tout son corps fut d'une purete irre'prochable, le Christ a entendu particulierement ses ministres, c'est- a-dire ies e'veques. Et parmi ceux-ci, quiconque est plus 6'leve', doit etre plus semblable au C h r i s t , plus detache et plus de'barrasse de tous les inte'rets du monde. C'est le contraire que je vois a present: Je vols le plus rapproche' du Ch r i s t , c e l u i qui veut passer pour son egal, vautre' dans les choses les plus sordides, les richesses, l a puissance, les troupes, les guerres, les t r a i t e s , sans parler des vices. Et ensuite, bien que tu sois s i different du Ch r i s t , cependant tu abuses du nom du Christ pour en couvrir ta superbe, et, sous le nom de Celui qui a meprise le royaume du monde, tu te conduis comme un tyran mondain. Ve'ritable ennemi du Ch r i s t , tu exiges qu'on te rende les honneurs dus au Ch r i s t : maudit, tu benis les autres; tu ouvres aux autres le c i e l dont tu es exclu toi-m©me; tu consacres et tu es damne; tu excommunies et tu n'as ri e n de commun avec les saints: car en quoi, s i ce n'est que tu te caches sous le nom du Chr i s t , d i f f e r e s - t u du Sultan des Turcs?""1'0 And when J u l i u s claims that the Church, through her being a power f u l and impressive temporal power, i s more f a i t h f u l l y adhered to, Peter answers: "Au contraire, s i le vulgaire des Chretiens voyait en t o i 118 les v r a i s qualites du Ch r i s t : a savoir une vie de moeurs pures, l a doctrine sacre'e, une charite ardente, le don de prophetie, les vertus, i l t'admirerait d'autant plus q u ' i l te saurait plus etranger aux p l a i s i r s mondains. Et l a Republique Chre'tienne s e r a i t plus f l o r i s s a n t e s i par l a purete de ta v i e , par le raepris des p l a i s i r s , des richesses, du pouvoir et de l a mort, tu l a rendais admirable aux yeux des G e n t i l s . Maintenant non seulement e l l e est reduite a peu, mais encore s i tu veux mieux voir les choses, tu trouveras que l a plupart des Chre'tiens n'en ont que le nom. Voyons, quand tu e t a i s le Souverain Pasteur de l ' E g l i s e , tu ne te rememorais done pas par l a pensee comment l ' E g l i s e e t a i t nee, comment e l l e s'etait agrandie, comment e l l e s 'etait affermie? Est-ce done par des guerres, par des richesses, par des chevaux? Non, mais par l a patience, par le sang des martyrs et le notre, par les emprisonnements et les tortures. Tu pretends avoir agrandi l ' E g l i s e parce que ses ministres sont combles de l&humaine puissance; tu l a di s embellie, parce qu'elle est corrompue par les dignites et les d e l i c e s mondaines; tu l a declares defendue, parce que des guerres e'pouvantables ont ete allumees dans le monde entier pour le bien des pretres; tu l a d i s f l o r i s  sante, parce qu'elle est ivre de volupte; t r a n q u i l l e , parce que, tout le monde l a laissant f a i r e , e l l e j o u i t de ses richesses et, qui p i s est, de ses vices. Et par des couleurs, tu en as impose aux princes qui, suivant tes lecons, appellent "de'fense du C h r i s t " leurs vastes brigan dages et leurs c o n f l i c t s f u r i e u x . " 1 1 119 I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that the f i r s t ones to admit and resent the corruption of the clergy were themselves members of the clergy. "En 1511, un carme, B a t t i s t a Spagnoli d i t Mantuana, gen- e'ral de son ordre de 1513 a 1516, consacrait bon nombre des 59,000 vers dont i l e'tait l'auteur a denoncer et a blamer les moeurs du clerge'. . . I t r a i l l e sans pitie' les eveques sur leur luxe et leur depravation." The s i t u a t i o n had become so alarming, indeed, that i n the opening session of the Lateran Council (May 1512) which, as we have seen, J u l i u s I I had convoked to counteract the Council of P i s a , the orator developed the idea that w l a catastrophe de Ravenne et les maux qui a f f l i g e a i e n t l ' E g l i s e e'taient une mar que du courroux d i v i n et montraient que Dieu voulait que l a reforme eut l i e u incontinent...11 f i t un tableau effrayant du devergondage, du l i b e r t i n a g e , de l'impiete, de l'irapudicite et de 1'ambition des membres du clerge et conclut q u ' i l f a l l a i t y mettre f i n sur l'heure. Rodocanachi further mentions the following incident ( i n con nection with the Lateran Council) which indeed reveals perhaps better than any other document presented so f a r , how urgently needed a reformation of the clergy had become for the contemporaries: "Giov. Francesco Pico de La Mirandole, neveu de 1'erudit omniscient, adressa au pape et au concile une maniere de re'quisitoire sur les reformes a imposer au clerge'; i l fut publie' en 1519 comme ayant ete' l u au concile, mais ne figure pas dans ses actes. On y trouve presente's les principaux g r i e f s que formulait 1'opinion publique... I I est reproche au clerge' de donner de de'testables exemples, de n'avoir nulle pudeur, nul souci de mener une vie correcte, de 120 transformer l a piete en superstition, l a vertu en vice, de l i v r e r les demeures sacrees a des personnes sans morale* Pico y supplie enfin JLe'on X de porter remede a ces scandales, de ramener le clerge 14 dans le bon chemin." In view of the important influence which the Church was exercising on the I t a l i a n society of that time, i t was unavoidable that the l a t t e r be fundamentally shaken i n her b e l i e f s and ideals by the r e v o l t i n g spectacle of corruption which the clergy as a whole was o f f e r i n g . The more perspicacious ones could see indeed that t h i s corruption was undermining the s p i r i t u a l mentality of the whole society. M a c h i a v e l l i , for instance, who during several years had been an ambassador for the Florentine government, could write between 1513 and 1518 (although with a certain exaggeration): "Owing to the bad example set by the Court of Rome, I t a l y has l o s t a l l devotion and a l l religion...The f i r s t debt which we, I t a l i a n s , owe to the Church and to the p r i e s t s , therefore, i s that we have 15 become i r r e l i g i o u s and perverse." And indeed the r u l i n g c l a ss, for instance, would no longer allow any p r i n c i p l e of C h r i s t i a n ethics to stand i n her way, i f i t only challenged her i n t e r e s t s , Machiavelli's Prince simply theorizes on what had become a s i t u a t i o n of f a c t . Hauser states i t cate g o r i c a l l y : "Every petty Renaissance prince was a ready-made M a c h i a v e l l i a n . " 1 6 121 F a i t h , as would be expected, was gradually d i s i n t e g r a t i n g among the upper and middle classes, to the point where " i n Florence especially i t was possible to l i v e as an open and notorious unbe l i e v e r i f a man only refrained from d i r e c t acts of h o s t i l i t y against the Church." 1 7 Fiety ?among the masses, although s t i l l much a l i v e , had come to be pervaded with so much superstition that i t i s hard indeed to speak of the existence of a t r u l y C h r i s t i a n devotion (even among those masses). Aubenas acknowledges i t r e a d i l y : »Foi' aveugle dans les reliques les plus invraisemblables, deviations inquie'tantes dans le culte des saints,credulite extraordinaire dans les miracles les moins assures, croyance enracinee en l a s o r c e l l e r i e . . . r e  cherche a l a f o i s naive et inte'resse'e des indulgences, alterent visiblement l a purete de l a devotion de cette e'ppque."18 On the whole, I t a l y was morally degenerating at a rapid rate. Pastor makes i t clear: " I t a l y was r a p i d l y d e t e r i o r a t i n g . . . i n almost every town of the I t a l i a n peninsula, luxury and immorality were on the increase, d r i v i n g out the old s i m p l i c i t y and purity of manners." 1 9 The "grave moral c r i s i s " of which Burckhardt speaks was indeed of far greater implications than we might have suggested 20 above: the s p i r i t u a l destiny of the whole nation was at stake. 1. Burckhardt, op. c i t . , p. 445. 2. See p. 106, note 15. 122 3. The New Cambridge Modern History, v o l . 1, The Renaissance. G. R. Potter e d i t . , Cambridge Univ. Press, 1957, p. 93. 4. This point w i l l be better brought home when i t i s realized that the whole e c c l e s i a s t i c a l body, with the pope at i t s head, was occupying, on the s p i r i t u a l l e v e l to say the le a s t , a po s i t i o n analogous to the one occupied by an administrative body with a r u l e r at i t s head, on the temporal l e v e l . When, on the l a t t e r l e v e l , the r u l e r and his assistants, through a l i f e of disorder and d i s s i p a t i o n , become unworthy of the respect which i s due to them, when the welfare of the nation ceases to be t h e i r primary concern, when they start abusing t h e i r power and prerogatives i n order to at t a i n purely s e l f i s h ends, the need for a change of administration n a t u r a l l y begins to develop i n people; resentment against the e x i s t i n g state of a f f a i r s then follows, the l a t t e r e a s i l y becoming, i n time, no longer bearable. What was happening i n I t a l y , at the period we are considering, i s that on the s p i r i t u a l l e v e l , a series of i l l - f a t e d p o n t i f i c a t e s , mainly, coupled with the shocking state of depravation of the clergy i n general, had aroused the ind i g  nation of the contemporaries to a similar c r i t i c a l degree, although the comparison most obviously be made with certain reserves. Burckhardt alludes to the urgency of the si t u a t i o n when he writes that I t a l y , at the beginning of the sixteenth century "found i t s e l f i n the midst of a grave moral c r i s i s , out of which the best men saw hardly any escape." (op. c i t . , p. 427). 5. Quoted by Burckhardt, op. c i t . , p. 449. 6. D. Erasmus, The Praise of F o l l y , trans, by H. H. Hudson, Princeton, 1941, pp. 97-101. 7. The New Cambridge Modern History, op. c i t . , p. 82. 8. i b i d . , p. 82. 9. J u l i u s Exclusus a Co@Iis. trans, by E. Thion, P a r i s , 1875, pp. 145-147. 10. i b i d . , pp. 161-163. 11. i b i d . , pp. 163-167. 12. Rodocanachi, Le P o n t i f i c a t de Jules I I , p. 161. 13. i b i d . , p. 162. 14. Rodocanachi, Le P o n t i f i c a t de Leon X. p. 149. As i s well-known, the Council terminated i n 1517 without having taken any se?rious measure of reformation. Rodocanachi ca t e g o r i c a l l y states about Leo X that " i l ne f i t r i e n pour am^nder l 1 E g l i s e et mettre f i n aux scandales que chacun deplorait." ( i b i d . , p. 5). 123 15. N. M a c h i a v e l l i , Discourses, 1.12.6, trans, by L. J . Walker, Yale, 1950, I, p. 245. I am not claiming that the corruption of the Church was the only factor behind such a transformation. An equally important factor behind the l a t t e r (as w e l l as behind the general "relachement" of the clergy) was c e r t a i n l y the blooming of the Renaissance i t s e l f . 16. Hauser, op. c i t . , I I , p. 118. 17. Burckhardt, op. c i t . , p. 510. 18. Aubenas, op. c i t . , p. 387. 19. Pastor, op. c i t . , V, p. 101. For a more elaborate description of the alarming state of "demoralization'* reached by the I t a l i a n society as a whole, at the height of the Renaissance, the reader may refer to Burckhardt's chapters on 'Morality and R e l i g i o n ' , op. c i t . , pp. 426-517. The Renaissance, by W. Durant (New York, 1953) also incorporates an important chapter on t h i s subject (pp. 568-609). 20. I t may seem that I have perhaps r e l i e d too much on Burckhardt and Pastor i n t h i s whole discussion. For i t i s true that i n the meantime a great deal has been written on the history of that period. The fact remains, however, that t h e i r opinions were based on numberless quantities of authentic documents which could indeed speak for themselves; and even though a modern h i s t o r i a n l i k e Aubenas (op. c i t . ) may choose to i n s i s t on the numerous manifestations of f a i t h and piety rather than on the dark side which they have so conspicuously brought out, I am not aware of any basic disagreement with t h e i r opinions re garding t h i s subject. 124 VIII THE REACTION OF ROSSO AND PONTORMO The Renaissance was a period of awakening, of discovery and of challenge to old b e l i e f s and t r a d i t i o n s . I t was also, for the i n d i v i d u a l , a period of s e l f - a s s e r t i o n . The a r t i s t s ' struggle for a better p o s i t i o n i n society, and t h e i r ultimate v i c t o r y , i s one of the best testimonies of such a w i l l . Their claim to be accepted as members of the Humanist Society was perhaps the most important of t h e i r demands. Blunt summarizes the significance of the numerous arguments brought up i n i t s favour when he writes; "Implied i n these arguments i s a b e l i e f i n the superiority of the i n t e l l e c t u a l over the manual or mechanical, which corresponds to the desire of the a r t i s t s at t h i s time to shake themselves free from the accusation of being merely c r a f t s  men, manual labour being considered i n the society of the Renai ssance as ignoble as i t had been i n the Middle Ages." 1 As i s well-known, the great deal of controversy which such a claim occa sioned f i n a l l y brought success: "The upshot of a l l these disputes was that the painter, sculptor, and architect obtained recognition as educated men, as members of the Humanist Society. Painting, 2 sculpture, and architecture were accepted as l i b e r a l a r t s . " The second constraint which the Renaissance a r t i s t s succeeded i n f i g h t i n g off i s the domination of the guilds, on which they had been dependent for centuries. The r e s u l t s achieved are summed up by Blunt: "The arguments about the l i b e r a l arts were, therefore, the t h e o r e t i c a l side of the a r t i s t s ' struggle for a better p o s i t i o n . The p r a c t i c a l side of t h i s was a struggle against the old 125 organization of the guilds, by which a r t i s t s f e l t themselves t i e d . . . By the end of the f i f t e e n t h century they had almost thrown off r e s t r a i n t , and the painter had become a free, educated i n d i v i d u a l cooperating with other men of learning." I t i s hardly possible to exaggerate the importance which the disputes about the l i b e r a l a r t s , i n p a r t i c u l a r , must have had for the public of the time. Blunt writes: " I t i s hard for us to r e a l i z e the importance of these disputes about the l i b e r a l a r t s , but i t i s brought home to us by a story t o l d by Baccio B a n d i n e l l i , who records i n his Memoriale a duel fought between his cousin and the Vidame de Chartres because the l a t t e r accused the Florentine nobles of p r a c t i s i n g manual arts i n that they took an active i n t e r - 4 est i n painting and sculpture." The attention which Leonardo devoted to the problem i s a further testimony of i t s importance fo r the contemporaries. Now i t w i l l be r e a d i l y understood that such disputes, accom panied by the gradual recognition of painting and sculpture as a c t i v i t i e s partaking p r i m a r i l y of the i n t e l l e c t , would have e a s i l y awakened a new pride, a new sense of d i g n i t y i n the professional 5 a r t i s t . Hauser speaks of a "new self-consciousness" having been awakened i n him. And t h i s i s very understandable indeed, when we r e a l i z e that i n h i s new status, the a r t i s t was no longer "a simple purveyor of goods which anybody could order "but" a free educated i n d i v i d u a l cooperating with other men of l e a r n i n g . " 6 Now for a r t i s t s p r i m a r i l y concerned with s c i e n t i f i c experi ments or with the development of t h e i r talent (as was the case f o r instance with Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo at that time) 126 such a newly-acquired status would not have been a source of much disturbance. In others already p a r t i c u l a r l y self-conscious, however, i t would have e a s i l y given r i s e to a certain kind of speculation which we s h a l l presently examine. Let us suppose that you are e s s e n t i a l l y a painter of r e l i - 7 gious subjects and that you are also of a p a r t i c u l a r l y s e l f - conscious nature. Let us also assume that your s o c i a l status i s the one of a craftsman. As such, you w i l l not be i n c l i n e d to philosophize much about your a c t i v i t y , j u s t l i k e a carpenter i s not. You w i l l be e s s e n t i a l l y concerned with doing a good job, with being a good designer of r e l i g i o u s works. One day you f i n d yourself i n an e n t i r e l y new s i t u a t i o n : your friends, the people around you, your employer suddenly cease to consider you as a mere craftsman. You suddenly f i n d yourself recognized as "a free i n d i v i d u a l , co operating with other men of learning 1* and contributing your share of i n t e l l e c t u a l work to society. You are no longer "a simple purveyor of goods which anybody could order•*: you are now a l i b e r a l a r t i s t . As should be expected, a new d i g n i t y , a new sense of impor tance i s awakened i n you. You become proud of your a c t i v i t y , and since the l a t t e r consists i n the production not only of art but of r e l i g i o u s works of a r t , you say to yourself: **I am proud of being a painter; I am proud of producing r e l i g i o u s paintings.** I t i s at t h i s point that speculation begins to take place i n your mind. Since you are of a p a r t i c u l a r l y self-conscious nature, you want to know more about the nature of your contribution. You want to f i n d 127 out why r e a l l y you should be proud of what you are doing. Thus a subject which as a mere craftsman you would have most l i k e l y considered only s u p e r f i c i a l l y , suddenly becomes of a major impor tance for you. Your mind then begins to dig and you gradually r e a l i z e that your work, along with the rest of C h r i s t i a n a r t , i s ultimately meant to stimulate the s p i r i t u a l advancement of society (as understood within the requirements of the C h r i s t i a n r e l i g i o n ) , l i k e a Book of prayers or a sermon delivered by a preacher, and that t h i s indeed i s your true contribution (as a designer of r e l i g i o u s works of art) to society. Now t h i s conclusion t h e o r e t i c a l l y would take place by i t s e l f i n your mind. For on the other hand, assuming that you would be l i v i n g i n I t a l y around 1515, you could not f a i l of course, along with your contemporaries, to deeply f e e l the need for a reformation of the clergy. And you might go on for some time l i k e t h i s , undis turbed by your awareness on the one hand of the role which your art i s meant to f u l f i l i n the l i f e of society, and on the other hand of the great s p i r i t u a l need of your time...until a certain event (or a series of events) would suddenly estab l i s h the contact between the two. The sudden confrontation of these two r e a l i t i e s would act l i k e a f l a s h . In a moment of intense l u c i d i t y , you would r e a l i z e that your work, meant for the s p i r i t u a l welfare of society, i s not r e a l l y helping to solve the great s p i r i t u a l demand of your age; that although art has jus t reached a peak and i s giving the best of i t s e l f to the Court of Rome, the l a t t e r continues to be the very seat of the immorality p r e v a i l i n g . You would at the same time observe more c l e a r l y now that luxury and immorality 128 are gaining more and more ground around you, and that the whole of the lay society indeed i s gradually deteriorating i n the same l i n e as the clergy i s . The f e e l i n g here that art i s f a i l i n g to be of any s i g n i f i c a n t help to society would abruptly arise i n you. Set into action by t h i s discovery, your mind would explore further possible abnormalities and you would gradually develop the f e e l i n g that by providing the clergy with v i s u a l means of P^pa- ca ganda, you are t a c i t l y supporting i t along with i t s diseases. You would also awaken to the fac t that the depravation of the clergy i s indeed acting l i k e an open contradiction, an open denial of the highest ideals which your art i s ultimately meant to promote. You would f i n a l l y become conscious of being used, of your art i n gen e r a l (along with the res t of C h r i s t i a n a r t ) , behind a mask of h y p o c r i t i c a l piety, p r i m a r i l y serving ends at the exact opposite of such C h r i s t i a n ideals as detachment and humility, namely the 9 gaining of fame and immortality for the patron. My contention i s that i n Pontormo and Rosso we are dealing with two a r t i s t s i n whom ac t u a l l y took place a "prise de conscience" of the kind just described. Now i t may very well be that only one or two of the points enumerated above would have made t h e i r way through those a r t i s t s ' mind, for I am not claiming of course that everything would have happened i n the same clear and l o g i c a l way as I have presented i t . Neither am I arguing that t h i s "prise de conscience" would have been t o t a l l y l u c i d and cold-blooded: for indeed I am even prepared to concede that i t ac t u a l l y remained at the pre-conscious l e v e l . 1 0 129 Be i t as i t may, we know enough about Pontormo 1s nature to deduce that i t would have e a s i l y predisposed him to such specu l a t i o n s as we have described. Vasari t e l l s us that he was " s o l i t a r y beyond belief." 1' 1' And he adds: "Sometimes when he went to work he would f a l l into such deep thought that he came away at the end of the day without having done anything but think."-1 Talking about hi s house, Vasari further observes that " i t has rather the appearance of the dwelling of a f a n t a s t i c and s o l i t a r y man than a well-considered house. The room where he slept and sometimes worked was approached by a wooden ladder which he drew up after him, so that no one could come up without h i s knowledge or 13 permission." The f a c t , f i n a l l y , that he guarded his work-in- progress with an unusual jealousy conclusively points to a p a r t i c  u l a r l y self-conscious nature. Vasari, for instance, narrates that "having shut himself up alone i n the chapel (of San Lorenzo), Jacopo kept the place closed for eleven years, so that not a l i v i n g 14 soul entered i t except himself." He further reports that upon hearing that some boys on a certain occasion had l i f t e d the t i l e s of the roof and seen everything, "he took i t very i l l . " 1 5 Rosso does not seem to have shared Pontormo 1s strange habits of l i f e . His suicide, however, at the discovery that he had f a l s e l y accuseds a f r i e n d of his of having robbed him, 1 6 seems to point to a s i m i l a r l y deep self-consciousness. I have suggested above that the new sense of d i g n i t y awakened i n the a r t i s t by his recent recognition as l i b e r a l would have been the key-factor which would have provoked i n Pontormo and Rosso 130 such e "prise de conscience" as I have described. That t h i s recognition was by no means a unive r s a l l y accepted fact (and there fore that i t was capable of s t i r r i n g the mind of young a r t i s t s ) even around 1515, i s proven by the argument brought up by C a s t i - glione i n his "Book of the Courtier" (written between 1513 and 1518). For indeed after i n s i s t i n g that the Courtier should know how to draw and be acquainted with the art of painting i t s e l f , Castiglione f e e l s the ;need to support his demand: "Do not marvel i f I require t h i s accomplishment, which perhaps nowadays may seem mechanical and i l l - s u i t e d to a gentleman; for I r e c a l l reading that the ancients, especially throughout Greece, required boys of gentle b i r t h to learn painting i n school, as a decorous and neces sary thing, and admitted i t to f i r s t rank among the l i b e r a l a r t s ; then by public edict they prohibited the teaching of i t to slaves." Among the other factors which would have induced Pontormo and Rosso to r e f l e c t on the meaning of t h e i r a c t i v i t y , the fact that art had j u s t reached a peak i s c e r t a i n l y a major one (as has already been suggested). I t must have been r e a l i z e d by a l l a r t i s t s that Nature had f i n a l l y been conquered, while Michelangelo's S i s t i n e C e i l i n g and Raphael's Stanzas and Tapestry Cartoons must c e r t a i n l y have been, among a r t i s t s , a passionate subject of discussion, as marking a high point i n the history of I t a l i a n painting. The f a c t that the Court of Rome had replaced Florence as the center of art must also have contributed a certain influence: the very best a r t i s t s of the day, Raphael, Michelangelo and Bramante were a l l employed at the papal court. And art which had reached an unpre cedented degree of perfection was thus, under the mask of piety, 131 giving the best of i t s e l f to immortalizing the very center of d i f f u s i o n of a disease which was a f f e c t i n g the whole I t a l i a n society. Is i t any surprise that some p a r t i c u l a r l y self-conscious a r t i s t s would have awakened to such a state of a f f a i r s ? Now as I said above, i t i s most probable/ that the "prise de conscience" which I have described as having taken place i n Pontormo and Rosso, would have remained at the pre-conscious l e v e l . Such a "prise de conscience", i n any case, even at the pre-conscious l e v e l , was bound to provoke a reaction. The most r a d i c a l way i n which such a reaction could have manifested i t s e l f i s by a r e f u s a l to paint, a r e f u s a l to collabor ate any further i n a s i t u a t i o n where the true meaning of one's a c t i v i t y had been not only p r a c t i c a l l y l o s t but fundamentally di s t o r t e d . The eventual and d e f i n i t i v e departure of Rosso for France could be p a r t l y interpreted as suggesting that t h i s a r t i s t was i n c l i n e d i n that d i r e c t i o n . As for Pontormo, hi s reluctance at working for noblemen* and his long delays i n completing works for which he had been commissioned also strongly point to such, an i n c l i n a t i o n . When, for instance, Clement VII directed Ottaviano de Medici to have the h a l l of Poggio a Caiano completed, Pontormo was given the commission. He could not, however, be induced to do anything but cartoons " i n spite of the entreaties of Ottaviano the 19 Magnificent and Duke Alessandro." S i m i l a r l y , having been com missioned to paint a loggia for Duke Cosimo's v i l l a at C a s t e l l o , Pontormo kept the work hidden for f i v e years and agreed to unveil i t only upon a summon©® from the owner.^ i t may be of interest to know, f i n a l l y , that when Pontormo died, after eleven years of 132 work i n San Lorenzo, i t was found that the decoration for which he had been commissioned was s t i l l not completed. Since, however, they s t i l l had to paint (painting being t h e i r trade), a reaction of such a nature as to affect t h e i r work funda mentally would have taken place i n Pontormo and Rosso. In order to understand the f u l l meaning of t h i s reaction, i t i s necessary that we temporarily make abstraction of the "new w i l l " as we have defined i t i n the preceding part of t h i s essay, and that we consider i n themselves the abnormalities and d i s t o r t i o n s which we have de tected i n the art of these a r t i s t s . In the l i g h t of what has been said so f a r , three major explanations can be given of the revolutionary character of those a r t i s t s ' works. We may say, as a f i r s t hypothesis, that under the effect of a b i t t e r d i s i l l u s i o n at seeing that art was not helping society as i t should, Pontormo and Rosso would have gradually conceived the idea of d i s f i g u r i n g i t , of deforming i t s very struc ture. Since i t was ultimately of no help, what was the good of i t any way? What was the good e s p e c i a l l y , of endeavouring to per meate i t with S p i r i t u a l i t y and perfection, since society was remaining blind (morally, that i s ) to those values? The a n t i - c l a s s i c nature of th e i r works suggests that such an intention may have very we l l been at the root of the new a r t . I t was only natural indeed, i f such was the case, that the very ideals which were considered to be the ones of the highest art should be d i r e c t l y gone against. Coming at a time when the purity and perfection of c l a s s i c art had gained the admiration and approval of a l l , the new art t r u l y appears as intent on destroying whatever value the 133 work of art had succeeded i n acquiring. For indeed while c l a s s i c art breathes c l a r i t y , order, l o g i c and " r a t i o n a l i t y " , the new ar t , as we have seen, promotes ambiguity, i l l o g i c a l i t y , incon g r u i t y , strangeness; to the perfect worlds of c l a s s i c a r t , i t substitutes abnormal, perplexing and strange worlds; the id e a l r e a l i t y promoted by c l a s s i c art gives way i n the new art to a strange, abnormal, inconsistent r e a l i t y . The destructive character of the new art takes on a double significance when we observe, as we have done, that the existence of S p i r i t u a l i t y i t s e l f i s mortally affected i n i t . In t h i s sense, i t can be said that unlike B o t t i c e l l i ' s art,which through i t s : ascetic S p i r i t u a l i t y , , manifests a positive hope at reforming society, Pontormo's and Rosso's art manifests an utter despair. For these a r t i s t s the struggle i s over. The battle i s l o s t . There i s no sense i n carrying on. The only thing l e f t to do i s to de stroy those values now meaningless. A second hypothesis i s that Pontormo and Rosso would have become aware that the pu r i t y and perfection of c l a s s i c art were not suited to the s i t u a t i o n of the time. They would have rea l i z e d that such an art would belong to another age, to an age of order and moral prosperity, when the Ch r i s t i a n society would be genuinely endeavouring to l i v e i n conformity with her i d e a l s . The w i l l to create an art which would f i t the abnormal s i t u a t i o n of the time would then have germinated i n them. And indeed the picture of strangeness, i l l o g i c a l i t y , abnormality.•.etc. which t h e i r art off e r s can be interpreted as the d i r e c t manifestation of such a w i l l . I t t r u l y constitutes a concrete equivalent to the funda mentally abnormal and contradictory state i n which the I t a l i a n 134 society was f i n d i n g herself. In t h i s sense we can say that unlike B o t t i c e l l i who rejected some of the achievements of the Renais sance because of t h e i r too sensual nature, Pontormo and Rosso rejected c l a s s i c art because they considered i t " u n f i t " for the s i t u a t i o n of the time. What the new art more ultimately reveals, however, i s , as we have observed i n the preceding section, a w i l l to perplex, d i s  turb, f r u s t r a t e and even shock the beholder (which we have defined as the new w i l l ) . We may say here that h i s d i s i l l u s i o n at seeing that art was not t r u l y helping society and his r e v o l t at being used, at seeing that C h r i s t i a n art i n general was serving purposes standing at the exact opposite of ideals which i t was meant to promote, would have engendered i n the a r t i s t a b i t t e r resentment c e r t a i n l y against the clergy and the n o b i l i t y i n p a r t i c u l a r , but more ultimately against society i n general which was f a i l i n g to respond as i t should to the a r t i s t ' s message. The w i l l to turn the work of art against society by making i t disturbing, f r u s t r a  t i n g and even shocking would have been the d i r e c t r e s u l t of such a resentment. This t h i r d hypothesis i s obviously the most plausible one i n view e s p e c i a l l y of the fact that such works as P o r t r a i t of a Young  Man by Rosso could not be e a s i l y explained by any of the f i r s t two. I t i s not impossible, however, that they a l l played a certain part. The safest conclusion we can draw, since no categorical judgment i s possible, i s that each one may have possibly contributed a 21 c e r t a i n share (however limited) to the advent of the new a r t . Now I am not contending, here again, that Pontormo's and 135 Rosso's reaction, as we have analyzed i t , would have been u t t e r l y conscious and cold-blooded. Like was the case for t h e i r "prise de conscience" of the important abnormalities to which t h e i r art was subjected, i t i s much more probable here also that most of i t remained at the pre-conscious l e v e l (although t h e i r works were to be fundamentally affected). The poor excuses given by Pontormo on certain occasions, for instance, seem to indicate that he could not r e a l l y explain what was preventing him from giving s a t i s f a c t i o n to his patrons (although he could have undoubtedly done so). At Poggio a Caiano, for instance, he blamed his i n e r t i a on "a long s i c k n e s s . " 2 2 Again, at C a s t e l l o , when the patron was expressing his great disappoint ment, he excused himself, according to Vasari, by saying that he did not l i k e the place, because "being outside the c i t y , i t was exposed to the fury of the soldiers and other accidents." 2^ There are ind i c a t i o n s , however, that Pontormo was wel l aware of his not producing what he r e a l l y thought was the best a r t . His reluctance to accept money, for instance, seems to suggest that he f e l t a certai n g u i l t at being rewarded for works which to him were not properly "true". Vasari t e l l s us that on a certain occasion, when Duke Al^ssandro wanted to pay him for some paintings done, "he only asked for enough money to redeem a mantle which he had pawned. When the Duke heard t h i s he laughed, and gave him f i f t y gold crowns and the offer of a pension, though Niccclo (the Duke's servant) had hard work to make him accept i t . " 2 4 The new a r t , through the new w i l l , indeed constitutes a reaction which i n many respects r e c a l l s the Dadaist movement of 136 our own time. Although the comparison must be made with great reserve, i t can be said f i r s t of a l l that both originated p a r t l y out of d i s i l l u s i o n and despair. Verkauf writes that "the great anguish caused i n sensitive a r t i s t i c natures by the senseless massacres Hn the name of the most sacred possessions of humanity'' exploded i n the dadaist outcry...Dada was an outbreak of despair on the part of the a r t i s t , who f e l t the ever-deepening r i f t between himself and the society of a time which c r y s t a l l i z e d i n senseless mass-murder." 25 Both Dada and the new art can also be said to have represented a revolt and a protest, on the part of the a r t i s t , ultimately against society. Verkauf once again makes t h i s clear about Dada: "Although art h i s t o r y has often described dadaism as one of the movements i n art and more es p e c i a l l y as a precursor of surrealism, which followed i t , t h i s d e f i n i t i o n i s not quite conclusive. Dadaism was no new trend i n a r t , but a s p e c i f i c expression of the opposition of a r t i s t s - poets, sculptors, painters, musicians — to the c u l t u r a l creations of a society capable of slaughtering m i l l i o n s of people, and that at the beginning of the twentieth century, for purely s e l f i s h reasons." 2 6 Hauser paraphrases t h i s idea when he writes that Dadaism was "a protest against the c i v i - 07 l i z a t i o n that had led to the war." We may f i n a l l y observe important s i m i l a r i t i e s of intention between the new art and Dadaism. For indeed as we have detected i n the new art what could be called an important urge to destroy whatever value the work of art (through the achievements of the c l a s s i c a r t i s t s ) had succeeded i n acquiring, likewise i n the case 137 of Dadaism nthe canonized forms of art were to be negated and razed to the ground." As to the w i l l to turn the work of art against society (by making i t disturbing, f r u s t r a t i n g and even shocking), which we have.deduced above, concerning Rosso and Pontormo, i t i s also found eminently present i n the program of the Dadaists. Read makes i t clear about the l a t t e r : "They were out to shock the bourgeoisie (whom they held responsible for the war)." 2^ The new a r t , l i k e Dadaism, thus represented a moment of intense c r i s i s i n the history of a r t , i n that i t saw the a r t i s t turn aggressively against society and i n the fact that the whole structure of art i t s e l f appeared challenged. For Dada, the c r i s i s was ultimately solved when a new, positive purpose was found and a new d i r e c t i o n devised: thus the Dadaists found a new interest i n the systematic exploration of the subconscious and turned to O A Surrealism. In the sixteenth century ( i f I may be allowed to continue the p a r a l l e l ) , one could say that the c r i s i s would have t h e o r e t i c a l l y come to an end with the advent of the Council of Trent, when art was cal l e d upon to support the ambitious programme 31 of the Counter-Reformation. 1. A. Blunt, A r t i s t i c Theory i n I t a l y 1450-1600. Oxford, 2nd e d i t , rev., 1956, p. 55. 2. i b i d . , p. 55. 138 3. i b i d . , pp. 55-56. 4. i b i d . , p. 48. 5. Hauser, op. c i t . , I I , p. 66. 6. Blunt, op. c i t . , p. 56. 7. I t should not be necessary to demonstrate here that the production of "secular'' painting i n I t a l y , although on the increase at the height of the Renaissance, was s t i l l much less than the production of r e l i g i o u s painting. The painter was before a l l a producer of r e l i g i o u s works. I t i s as such that he must have f e l t and i t i s as such that he w i l l be considered i n the following discussion. 8. One may v i s u a l i z e here what would have meant a s t r i k e of painters, sculptors and architects i n protest against the corruption of the clergy. 9.. Hauser observes that "piety was by no means any longer the most important motive behind the endowments of Church a r t . . . The wealthy and distinguished c i t i z e n s of the c i t y republics wanted to make sure of t h e i r posthumous fame, although they had to exercise a certain degree of r e s t r a i n t i n t h e i r way of l i f e , out of consideration for t h e i r f e l l o w - c i t i z e n s . E c c l e s i a s t i c a l endowments were the most suitable method by which to secure eternal fame without challenging public c r i t i c i s m . " (Hauser, op. c i t . , I I , p. 43). As an unequiv ocal example that the role played by piety i n the commiss ioning of Church art was no longer of any serious importance, Hauser gives the following: "Castello Quaratesi wanted to provide the church of S. Croce with a facade, but as he was refused permission to put his coat of arms on i t , he gave up the whole project." ( i b i d . , p. 43). The papacy i t s e l f , as can e a s i l y be deduced, was not exempt from such a weakness: "With every church, chapel, altarpiece, and baptismal font, the Popes' ^ chief intention seems to have been to immortalize themselves, thinking more of t h e i r own glory than of the glory of God." ( i b i d . , p. 86). 10. For an i l l u m i n a t i n g discussion of the pre-conscious and of i t s role i n the creative process, see J . Maritain, Creative  I n t u i t i o n i n Art and Poetry, New York, 1953. 11. Vasari, op. c i t . , I l l , p. 255. 12. i b i d . , p. 255. 13. i b i d . , p. 250. 139 14. i b i d . , p. 253. 15. i b i d . , p. 253. 16. Vasari, pp. c i t . , I I , p. 363. 17. B. Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, f i r s t pub. 1528, trans, by C. S. Singleton, Anchor Books, New York, 1959, p. 77. 18. Vasari t e l l s us that "being often requested to do things for noblemen, and notably on one occasion by M. Ottaviano de Medici, he would not serve them, but would then begin some thing for some plebeian instead at a low pr i c e . " (Vasari, op. c i t . , I l l , p. 250). 19. i b i d . , p. 249. 20. i b i d . , p. 252. 21. As I have stated i t previously, my aim here has been essen-. t i a l l y to explain what may have provoked the advent of the new w i l l . I t i s beyond the scope of t h i s essay to discuss the influence which such an event as the Reformation may have had upon Pontormo and Rosso. I t would also constitute the subject of another essay to determine up to what point the presence of the "new w i l l " can be recognized i n tne works of other a r t i s t s of that time. What i s certain at any rate about the Reformation i s that i t must be e n t i r e l y l e f t out when discussing the advent of the new a r t , since the l a t t e r as we have seen made i t s appearance as early as 1516, when the Reformation had not even begun. The most that can be said indeed about t h i s movement as regards the advent of the new art i s that l i k e the l a t t e r , i t was pri m a r i l y provoked by the intolerable s i t u a t i o n which the corruption of the Church had brought about. Hauser i s categorical about the Reforma t i o n : "The decisive fact for the sociology of the Reformation i s that the movement started i n a wave of indignation against the corruption of the Church, and that the avarice of the clergy, the trading i n indulgences and e c c l e s i a s t i c a l o f f i c e s , was the immediate cause by which i t was set i n motion.' (Hauser, op. c i t . , I I , p. 112). 22. Vasari, op. c i t . , I l l , p. 249. 23. Vasari, i b i d . , p. 252. 24. i b i d . p. 25. W. Verkauf, Dada. New York, 1957, p. 10. 26. i b i d . , pp. 10-11. 140 27. Hauser, op. c i t . , IV, p. 231. The founder of the famous Cabaret V o l t a i r e i n Zurich, Hugo B a l l , wrote the following (which i s indeed very s i g n i f i c a n t for our argument), i n his book "Flucht aus der Z e i t " : wOur cabaret i s a gesture. Every word spoken or sung here says at least one thing, that these humiliating times have not succeeded i n wresting respect from usi* (Quoted by Verkauf, op. c i t . , p. 12). 28. Verkauf, op. c i t . , p. 10. 29. H. Read, A Concise History of Modern Painting. New York, 1959, p. 119. I t would appear that one of the main differences between the new art and Dadaism i s that the l a t t e r was an u t t e r l y conscious reaction while the new art was not. That i s p a r t l y why the art of Pontormo and Rosso appears so complex, at times contradictory, and on the whole quite inconsistent: p r e c i s e l y because the new w i l l was not always operating with the same energy, and that other forces, equally i f not more powerful, were c e r t a i n l y competing strongly with i t . 30. As i s well-known, i t i s Andre' Breton who guided the t r a n s i t i o n from Dada to Surrealism (Read, op. c i t . , p. 129). For an expose' of the p o s i t i v e , constructive aims of the new movement, the reader may re f e r to Breton's f i r s t Manifeste du Surre'alisme (1924). 31. This i s indeed a very free observation and would presuppose that the "new w i l l " would have continued to manifest i t s e l f u n t i l then. This subject i s , however, far beyond the scope of t h i s essay. 141 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY The circumstances surrounding the w r i t i n g of t h i s thesis have made i t impossible for me to consult the whole of the l i t e r a t u r e related i n some way or other to my argument. On the other hand, I cannot bring myself (for the mere sake of complete ness) to l i s t a series of books with which I am not personally acquainted. Therefore, i n order to guide the reader for further reading, I s h a l l presently point out a few works which seem to me to incorporate comprehensive and r e l a t i v e l y up-to-date b i b l i o  graphies on the main ideas treated. For a survey of the h i s t o r i c a l and current views concerning post-classic art and the meaning of Mannerism, Smyth's Mannerism and Maniera (New York, 1962) i s perhaps the most i n t e r e s t i n g work of i t s kind. Briganti's I t a l i a n  Mannerism (London, 1962) i s also very useful i n t h i s respect. So i s Bousquet's Mannerism, the Painting and Style of the Late Renais sance (New York, 1964). The l a t t e r work also incorporates an i n t e r e s t i n g bibliography on the h i s t o r i c a l and s o c i a l background of the so-called Mannerist period. For a more exhaustive (though not so up-to-date) bibliography on these l a t t e r aspects and also on the r e l i g i o u s s i t u a t i o n i n I t a l y from 1492 to 1534, the reader may refer to W e i l l ' s Religious L i f e i n I t a l y from 1492 to 1534 (M.A. Thesis, New York Univ. 1940) • Aubenas' "L'Eglise et l a Renaissance (P a r i s , 1951) however remains perhaps the most comprehensive work i n t h i s respect and i s p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t i n g i n that i t assesses the value of the source material and of the major studies which have been done on t h i s problem. Freedberg's Painting of the High  Renaissance i n Rome and Florence (2 vol s . , Cambridge, Mass., 1961) 142 i s now the standard work on c l a s s i c painting (bibliography-wise at any r a t e ) . I t also incorporates important bibliographies on Pontormo and Rosso. For a more exhaustive bibliography on Rosso, Barocchi's I I Rosso Fiorentino (Rome, 1950) should be consulted. As to Pontormo, the recent work by J . C. Rearick on The Drawings  of Pontormo (2 vols . , Cambridge, Mass., 1964) seems to l i s t a l l the works of significance which have been written on t h i s a r t i s t . Anthony, E. W., A History of Mosaics. Boston, 1935. Auberias, R., L'Eglise et l a Renaissance, v o l . xv of H i s t o i r e de l ' E g l i s e depuis les Origines jusqu'a nos Jours. Bloud et Gay e d i t . , P a r i s , 1951. Barocchi, P., I I Rosso Fiorentino. Rome, 1950. B e r t i , L., et a l . , Mostra del Pontormo et del Primo Manierismc*' Fiorentino, Florence. 1956. Blunt, A., A r t i s t i c Theory i n I t a l y 1450-1600. f i r s t pub. 1940, second e d i t , rev., London, 1956. Blunt, A., "Mannerism i n Architecture," Journal of the Royal I n s t i t u t e of the B r i t i s h A r c h i t e c t s , t h i r d series, v o l . 56, 1949, pp. 195-201. Bousquet, J . , Mannerism, the Painting and Style of the Late  Renaissance. New York. 1964. Bovino, G., Mosaici d i S. Apollinare Nuovo d i Ravenna, i l Cielo  C r i s t o l o g i c o . Florence, 1958. Breton, A., Manifestes du Surrealisms. J . J . Pauvert e d i t . , France, 1962. B r i g a n t i , C., I t a l i a n Mannerism. Trans, by M. Kunzle, London, 1962. Burckhardt, J . , The C i v i l i z a t i o n of the Renaissance i n I t a l y . trans, by S.G.C. Middlemore, Harper Brothers, New York, 1929. 143 Castiglione, B., The Book of the Courtier, trans, by C. S. Singleton, Anchor Books, New York, 1959. Clapp, F.M., Pontormo: His L i f e and Work. New Haven, 1916. De Tolnay, C., "Les Fresques de Pontormo dans le Choeur de S. Lorenzo a Florence", La C r i t i c a d'Arte. IX, 1950, pp. 38-52. De Wald, E.T., I t a l i a n Painting 1200-1600, New York, 1961. Deichmann, F.W., Fruhchristliche Bauten und Mosaiken von Ravenna. Baden-Baden, 1958. Durant, W., The Renaissance. New York, 1953. Dvorak, M., " E l Greco and Mannerism". Magazine of A r t , v o l . 46, no. 1, January 1953, pp. 14-23. Erasmus, D., The praise of F o l l y , trans, by H. H. Hudson, Prince ton, 1941. Freedberg, 3.J., painting of the High Renaissance i n Rome and Florence. 2 vols., Cambridge, Mass., 1961. Freedberg, S.J. and Rearick, J.C., "Pontormo*s Predella for the S. Michele Visdomini A l t a r " , Burlington Magazine, v o l . 103, no. 694, Jan. 1961, pp. 7-8. Friedlaender, W., "Die Entstehung des antiklassichen S t i l e s i n der i t a l i e n i s c h e n Malerei urn 1520", Repertorium  fur Kunstwissenschaft 46, 1925, pp. 49-56; trans, as "The A n t i - C l a s s i c a l Style", i n Mannerism and Anti-Mannerism i n I t a l i a n Painting, New York, 1957. Gnudi, C , Giotto, trans, by R. H. Boothroyd, Milan, 1959. Hauser, A., The S o c i a l History of A r t , ( f i r s t pub. 1951), Vintage e d i t . , 4 vo l s . , New York, 1957. Holt, E., A Documentary History of A r t . 2 vol s . , Anchor Books, New Y 0rk, 1957. J u l i u s Exclusus a Coelis. f i r s t pub. 1513, trans, by E. Thion,Paris. 1875. Kusenberg, K., Le Rosso. P a r i s , 1931. Lavin, I . , "An Observation on Medievalism i n Early Sixteenth Century St y l e " , Gazatteedes Beaux-Arts, ser. 6, L, Sept. 1957, pp. 113-118. 144 Lowrie, W., Art in the Early Church. New York, 1947. M a c h i a v e l l i , N., Discourses, trans, by L. J . Walker, 2 v o l s . , Yale, 1950. Ma c h i a v e l l i , N., The Prince, trans, by W. K. Marriott, Every man's Library, London, 1958. Mar i t a i n , J . , Creative I n t u i t i o n i n Art and Poetry. New York, 1953. Martin, F.D., "On Enjoying Decadence", The Journal of Aesthetics  and Art C r i t i c i s m , v o l . XVII, no. 4, June 1959, pp. 441-446. Meiss, M., Giotto and A s s i s i . New York, 1960. Motherwell, R., e d i t . , The Dada painters and Poets. New York, 1951. The New Cambridge Modern History, v o l . 1, The Renaissance. G.R. Potter, e d i t . , Cambridge Univ. Press, 1957. Pajmofsky, E., Aibrecht Purer. 2 v o l s . , Princeton, 1948. Pastor, L., History of the Popes, trans, from the o r i g . German, vols. V to V I I I , London, 1901-1909. Pevsner, N., review of Tintoretto and Mannerism by E. Newton, i n The A r c h i t e c t u r a l Review, v o l . I l l , June 1952, pp. 360-365. Read, H., A Concise History of Modern Painting. New York, 1959. Rearick, J.E., The Drawings of Pontormo. 2 vols., Cambridge, Mass., 1964. Richardson, E.P., "Pontormo to Greco", Art Quarterly, v o l . XVII, no. 2, summer 1954, pp. 150-154. Rodocanachi, E., Le P o n t i f i c a t de Jules I I . P a r i s , 1928. Rodocanachi, E., Le P o n t i f i c a t de Le'on X, P a r i s , 1931 Rodocanachi, E., La Re'forme en I t a l i e . 2 vols., P a r i s , 1920. Per Romischen Mosaiken und Malereien der Kirchlichen Bauten vom. IV. bis X I I I . Jahrhundert. J . Wilpert e d i t . . 4 v o l s , (espec. v o l . I l l ) , Freiburg im Breisbau, 1916. Rowland, P.B., Mannerism. Style and Mood. Yale, 1964. Smyth, C.H., "The E a r l i e s t Works of Bronzino", A r t B u l l e t i n . 31, 1949, pp. 184-210. 145 Smyth, C.H., Mannerism and Maniera, New York, 1962. Van Berchen, M. and Clouzot, E., Mosa'iques Chretiennes du IVme au Xme s i e c l e , Geneve, 1924. Vasari, G., The Lives of the Painters, Sculptors, and Archi t e c t s , t r . by A. B. Hinds, 4 vols., London, 1927. Verkauf, W., Dada. New York, 1957. Volbach, W.F.. Early C h r i s t i a n A r t , London, 1961. Von Simson, 0., Sacred Fortress, Chicago, 1948. W e i l l , E., Religious L i f e i n I t a l y from 1492 to 1534 - the Religious  Background of the Art of the High Renaissance and Manner ism, M.A. Thesis, New York Univ., 1940. Wischnitzer, R., "Jacopo Pontormo 1s Joseph Scenes," Gazette des Beaux-Arts, ser. 6, XLI, March 1953, pp. 145-166. W o l f f l i n , H., Die Klassiche Kunst. Munich, 1899, trans, by P. and L. Murray as Classic A r t , London, 1952. Young, G.F., The Medici, New York, 1930. Zupnicte., I.L., "The Aesthetics of the Early Mannerists," Art B u l l e t i n , XXXV, Dec. 1953, pp. 302-306. 

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