Young curator: Clothing and Garments in the Arts
The students of IsArt, Liceo Artistico Arcangeli in Bologna who participated in the CrowdSchool Project, chose a series of paintings and objects, taken from the Europeana collections, with which they created a small exhibition on the theme of clothes and garments in art, which we present on this page, adding their comments on the selected works.
The diptych depicts the lords of Urbino, Federico da Montefeltro (1422-1482) and his wife Battista Sforza (1446-1472). In accordance with the fifteenth-century tradition, the two figures are represented in profile, a perspective that guaranteed a remarkable likelihood and precision in the rendering of details, without showing the states of mind: the dukes of Urbino appear in fact immune from disturbances and emotions. The spatial unity is suggested by the light and the continuity of the hilly landscape in the background. The chromatic contrast between Federico's tanned complexion and the very clear one of Battista Sforza stands out, a pallor which, in addition to respecting the aesthetic conventions in vogue in the Renaissance, could allude to the early death of the duchess, who died very young in 1472.
The portrait of Federico da Montefeltro features a half-length portrait of the duke, elegantly dressed in a red and black suit and seated in an ornamental chair. Federico is depicted in profile, with his face turned to the right, and his right hand leaning on his sword. The composition of the painting is extremely balanced, with a strict symmetry between the two sides of the image, underlined by the classical architecture in the background. In the background, you can also see some symbolic representations that allude to Federico's exploits, such as the bull (symbol of strength) and the lion (symbol of courage).
Depicted in profile, as in the medals, with a background of a landscape as far as the eye can see, the figure of Frederick is powerful, framed by hair and a typical fifteenth-century headdress. The cap in the shape of a cylindrical stock with a slightly enlarged head, called "alla capitanesca", is accompanied by a collar on which a lucco, a typical toga that matches the color of the headgear, rests.
On the back of the panels, the dukes are portrayed as they are carried in triumph on chariots, accompanied by the Christian Virtues. The Latin inscriptions praise the moral values of the couple. The presence of the paintings on the reverse leads us to believe that the two paintings, now inserted in a modern frame, could originally have constituted a diptych. (Francesca Fazio, Asia Torreggiani, Alessandro Paglia, Aurora Cenni, Yuri Fabbri, Valentina Medori, Daniele Martone, Beatrice Vespignani
The Double Portrait of the Dukes of Urbino is a diptych, oil on panel with the portraits of the spouses Federico da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza, by Piero della Francesca. It is datable to around 1465-1472, and kept in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The sovereigns are depicted in profile, as in the medals, in solemn immobility, suspended in a very clear light in front of a distant and deep landscape as far as the eye can see, which accentuates the figures in the foreground. The portrait of Battista is light in colour, with almost white skin, as dictated by the etiquette of the time: light skin was in fact a sign of nobility. The forehead is very high, according to the fashion of the time which required a very high hairline.
The portrait of Galeazzo Maria Sforza by Piero del Pollaiolo is an oil painting on wood, made around 1471-1474, which depicts the Duke of Milan, i.e. Galeazzo Maria Sforza. The painting presents a full-length portrait of the duke, elegantly dressed in a brocade suit and with a heavy gold chain around his neck. Galeazzo is depicted in profile, with his face turned to the left, while he holds a mace in his right hand. The composition of the painting is extremely dynamic, with a strong emphasis on the figure of the duke and his power. In the background, some architectural details can be seen, including an open window showing a landscape in the distance.
Galeazzo Maria Sforza has a serious face, small eyes, a large nose, a small mouth, curly hair. He has a bluish dress decorated with yellow lilies and a red dress. He wears gloves holding the other glove and a necklace with a red stone. (Francesca Fazio, Sara Saporetti, Asia Torreggiani, Alessandro Paglia, Aurora Cenni, Yuri Fabbri, Valentina Medori, Manuel Bove)
The portrait of Francesco Gonzaga is a tempera on panel painting by Andrea Mantegna, datable to around 1461, which depicts the second son of the Marquis of Mantua Ludovico Gonzaga, elected cardinal at the age of sixteen by Pius II, shortly after the Council of Mantua. The effigy was among the first works painted by Mantegna for the Mantuan court, where he had moved in 1460. The young cardinal is portrayed in the purple habit, in profile against a dark background. The lateral pose was customary in art in the Italian courts of the time. With remarkable sensitivity, the artist brings out the still childish and naive aspect of the boy under the ecclesiastical habit, naturally characterizing the adolescent age. (Francesca Fazio, Asia Torreggiani, Alessandro Paglia, Aurora Cenni, Yuri Fabbri, Valentina Medori, Federica Tassi, Giada Bullini)
Portrait by Jacopino del Conte, depicting two elderly figures looking at each other. The faces are not particularly expressive, but very realistic, in which the details of the features carved by age can be seen. They are wearing a turban and a sort of tunic, the light creates a beautiful chiaroscuro effect on the drapery. The technique is probably graphite. (Francesca Fazio, Sara Saporetti, Asia Torreggiani, Irene Atti, Yuri Fabbri)
Portrait of Eleonora da Toledo with her son Francesco, by Bronzino. The duchess is elegant, she wears a dress of precious and carefully worked fabric, all accompanied by jewels and a rigorous hairstyle that frames her face. The dress is partially covered by a long embroidered jacket. (Francesca Fazio)
Portrait of the King of Spain, Philip II, depicted in full three-quarter length to the left. His face is framed by a beard and mustache with a thoughtful and melancholy expression and a gaze that is lost in space. The clothes are regal, with an embroidered doublet and light-colored neckline from which a white shirt collar emerges, light-coloured thigh-highs with embroidered strips of fabric, which allow a glimpse of the underlying fabric, flat shoes with round toes and a jacket with wide decorated sleeves and lined with black fur. Philip wears the collar of the Golden Fleece, the highest Catholic honor, with his left hand he grips a pair of gloves and with his right the hilt of his sword. (Francesca Fazio, Yuri Fabbri)
Portrait of Guidobaldo da Montefeltro by Raphael. Behind Guidobaldo da Montefeltro there is a window where you can see the landscape with the mountains and fields. Guidobaldo has long hair, small eyes, a narrow nose, a small mouth and is serious. He has a black cape and black pointed headdress and is looking at viewer. (Francesca Fazio)
Portrait of Eleonora Gonzaga della Rovere, by Titian. Her dress is in sumptuous dark velvet, with golden bows and a neckline covered with white silk and edged with golden inlays with precious stones. Her colors recall those of the saddle of the Montefeltro, from whom the della Rovere had inherited the dukedom. Elegantly wavy silk puffs emerge from her sleeves. Her belt is a golden cord with a tassel at the end, from which hangs a marten with a jeweled head, in gold set with pearls and rubies; the duchess strokes her dark fur with her right hand. The woman also wears other jewels, including a neck chain with a drop pearl pendant (symbol of the bride's purity), pearl earrings, and rings. (Francesca Fazio, Sara Saporetti, Asia Torreggiani, Alessandro Paglia, Yuri Fabbri, Valentina Medori, Veronica Mazzoli)
Portrait of Alessandro Farnese, by Raphael. The cardinal is portrayed standing up to his knees, holding a letter in his right hand while his left is stretched along his leg. The background features a dark room with a window that reveals a bright river landscape. The particularly bright red hue of the cardinal's habit, under which he wears a white robe, and the cap dominate. (Francesca Fazio, Yuri Fabbri)
Portrait painted by Lotto Lorenzo in 1480-1567, depicting Bernardo de Rossi. The man is seen in three-quarter view, with a straight posture and a serious expression. He holds a parchment in his left hand. His face is not expressive, looking forward, eyes clear. His head is covered, but his hair can be seen from the side. He wears a red cape that covers part of the upper bust in which there are spherical buttons. Under the cape, a black and white collar of a dress is visible. In the hand in which he holds the parchment you can see a ring on the index finger, of a gold colour.
In this painting the background is completely black, but a green curtain shines through. The figure has a serious face, small blue eyes, a pointed nose, a small mouth, his dress is red with some orange spots, he holds a papyrus in one hand. (Francesca Fazio, Sara Saporetti, Asia Torreggiani, Yuri Fabbri)
Antea, by Parmigianino. The young woman has a marten skin that falls over her right shoulder resting on her gloved hand. The apron, an ornament in use among the northern nobility, is draped over the heavy silk dress. Her careful hairdo, refined by a precious pearl clasp, leaves the perfect oval of her face uncovered. The work, among the greatest masterpieces of Italian Mannerism, is certainly one of the most refined examples of a female figure of the sixteenth century. (Francesca Fazio, Sara Saporetti, Asia Torreggiani, Yuri Fabbri)
Portrait of Galeazzo Sanvitale, by Parmigianino. The nobleman watches us sitting on a savonarola placed sideways, so as to widen the space, giving it greater depth. He is a handsome man not even thirty years old, who wears a blond and curly beard, recently combed. Under a dark cape, which highlights his bright face, he wears an elegant red robe that matches the color of the hat. Behind him, on one side, we see the armor and the iron mace that underline his status as a prestigious military leader, on the other a beautiful wooded landscape. (Francesca Fazio, Asia Torreggiani, Yuri Fabbri)
Portrait of Bianca Capello. Bianca Cappello was a Venetian noblewoman, daughter of the patrician Bartolomeo Cappello, who held prestigious positions. Bianca was endowed with a romantic and passionate temperament, but above all with an exceptional beauty. Bianca is here dressed in a sumptuous, richly decorated dress. The rich lace of the white shirt that frames her neck emerges from her neckline. The noblewoman wears pearl jewels around her neck and ears, her hair is tied back by a lace veil, her forehead is uncovered and marked by a pearl inserted in the hairstyle. Even the pose and the proud gaze towards the viewer suggest the noblewoman's high social background. (Francesca Fazio, Sara Saporetti, Asia Torreggiani, Alessandro Paglia, Aurora Cenni, Yuri Fabbri, Valentina Medori, Veronica Mazzoli)
Portrait of Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici, attributed to Titian. The figure emerges from a dark background, his gaze is fixed on the person who is watching him. He has a beard, small eyes, a pointed nose, a small mouth and short hair, and is very tense. He has a dark red Hungarian military dress with a belt around his waist, he wears a hat with a feathered clasp and a collar. In one hand he holds a staff and in the other a sword. (Francesca Fazio, Sara Saporetti, Asia Torreggiani, Alessandro Paglia, Yuri Fabbri, Valentina Medori)
Family portrait by Frans Floris. The family is crowded around the table covered with an embroidered tablecloth, on which various fruits are placed in the center and a small piano to the right. A cat also appears in the right-hand corner, and is trying to climb onto the table. Women with covered heads are represented, two little girls with their hair styled in braids and four men with their heads covered by a hat. The women's dresses are not too elaborate, they have puffed sleeves and some have a square neckline. It is probably a moment of musical leisure, given the presence of the man in the centre, who plays an instrument similar to a mandolin. The girl to her left is playing the piano. The environment in which everything takes place is decorated by two paintings on the wall behind them, depicting a portrait and a landscape. (Sara Saporetti, Asia Torreggiani, Yuri Fabbri)
Portrait of a young woman, by Titian. Titian represents a young woman who caresses a pearl hanging from a gold chain with one hand. Her hair wrapped in braids with small curls on her forehead reflect the style of the time. She wears a silk dress with lace on her sleeves. Her jewels and sumptuous dress underline her wealth. (Asia Torreggiani)
Portrait of Don Garzia de' Medici, a child. Painting made by Agnolo Bronzino in 1551, it is an oil on canvas located in the National Museum of Palazzo Mansi in Lucca. The portrait was probably commissioned by Eleonora di Toledo, wife of the duke, to Bronzino in 1550, when he was in Pisa. The blond child is portrayed against a dark background, placed frontally and half-length. He is dressed in a red doublet with gold embroidery. The painting is placed inside a smooth and gilded shaped frame. The version in the Prado and the miniature in the Uffizi derive from this work. (Irene Atti)
Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta in prayer for San Sigismondo, by Piero della Francesca. Depiction of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta in profile, kneeling, with joined hands. He wears a tunic. On the left we see the sovereign seated on a throne and on the right a dog. (Yuri Fabbri)
In Francesco Trevisani's painting we see Jesus taken from the cross and supported by two angels who are crying. All figures are disproportionate. In the background is the sky and below them the tomb of Jesus. The colors are soft and bright and there is a light that illuminates Jesus. (Yuri Fabbri)
Virgin with Child. The painting by Francesco Napoletano presents the portrait of the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus, who is holding a little bird in her arms. The colors are very dark. Behind them the background is dark and above the Virgin's head the wooden ceiling can be seen. Jesus is looking at Mary. In Maria's veil there is a cloak pin with a red ruby. (Yuri Fabbri)