Michelangelo bronze sculpture discovery in England

This video from Cambridge University in England says about itself:

Michelangelo bronzes discovered

2 February 2015

It was thought that no bronzes by Michelangelo had survived – now experts believe they have found not one, but two – with a tiny detail in a 500-year-old drawing providing vital evidence. – See more here.

They are naked, beautiful, muscular and ride triumphantly on two ferocious panthers. And now the secret of who created these magnificent metre-high bronze male nudes could well be solved. A team of international experts led by the University of Cambridge and Fitzwilliam Museum has gathered compelling evidence that argues that these masterpieces, which have spent over a century in relative obscurity, are early works by Michelangelo, made just after he completed the marble David and as he was about to embark on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

If the attribution is correct, they are the only surviving Michelangelo bronzes in the world.

A new article presents evidence that Michelangelo inserted his self-portrait into a sketch of his close friend, Vittoria Colonna, which is currently in the collection of the British Museum in London, England. This self-caricature of Michelangelo may serve as a tool for analyzing the artist’s probable bodily dimensions and even his state of health at the time. In the portrait of Michelangelo’s friend, a small figure can be seen standing in the area immediately in front of her abdomen and between the lines that form part of her dress. The caricature is leaning forward at an acute angle, as if he himself were drawing the portrait. The caricature may have been a signature of sorts: here.

Michelangelo’s David sculpture abused by merchants of death

This video is called Michelangelo‘s David (BBC).

From the BBC:

8 March 2014 Last updated at 20:14 GMT

Italy up in arms over Michelangelo‘s David rifle advert

Italy’s culture minister has expressed outrage over an advertisement by a US weapons firm showing Michelangelo’s David holding a rifle.

Dario Franceschini said the image was offensive and violated the law.

A number of Italian media web sites carried the image of the advertisement showing David holding a bolt-action rifle.

The advertisement, from Illinois-based ArmaLite, carries the line “a work of art” in promoting the $3,000 rifle.

This punk rock music video from Britain is called GANG OF FOUR – ‘ARMALITE RIFLE‘.

The lyrics are here. They are about the role of Armalite rifles in killing people in Northern Ireland.

The BBC article continues:

Mr Franceschini urged the company to withdraw the advertisement for the AR-50A1.

He said in a tweet: “The image of David, armed, offends and infringes the law. We will take action against the American company so that it immediately withdraws its campaign.”

Historical Heritage and Fine Arts Board curator Cristina Acidini has issued a legal notice to ArmaLite to withdraw the image, saying it distorts the artwork.

The government says it has copyright on the commercial use of images of David.

Angelo Tartuferi, director of Florence’s Accademia Gallery, where the statue is on display, told Repubblica newspaper: “The law says that the aesthetic value of the work cannot be distorted.

“In this case, not only is the choice in bad taste but also completely illegal.”

The marble statue of the Biblical hero was created by Michelangelo between 1501 and 1504 and is considered a masterpiece of the Renaissance.

See also here. And here. And here.

Weak ankles leave Michelangelo’s statue of the boy warrior David vulnerable to collapse, Italian scientists confirm with new tests: here.

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Michelangelo lived in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome

From German press agency DPA:

Rome- Michelangelo lived in a small room inside Rome’s Basilica of St Peter’s during the last 17 years of his life, according to a report Friday in daily La Repubblica.

The report cites a recently discovered receipt dating back to March 1557, in which an engraver was paid “10 scudi” for making a key for a chest “in the room in St Peter’s where Master Michelangelo retires to.”

Historians had always suspected that the great Renaissance artist spent his last years inside the Vatican.

But this is the first timethat evidence has been found to corroborate their theory and pinpoint its exact location.

Michelangelo lived inside the basilica. No one before had been able to verify it.

This document casts new light on a theory that until yesterday we could only imagine,” art historian Maria Cristina Carlo-Stella told La Repubblica.

Michelangelo’s alleged room is now a library inside the basilica’s Historic Archive, which is positioned behind the church’s dome.

Researchers use it to study its documents and commonly refer to it as “Michelangelo’s room.”

Michelangelo is thought to have lived there from January 1547 until his death, which took place on February 18, 1564.

The basilica was still under construction at the time.

The artist had previously worked on his famous Last Judgment fresco in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, between 1534 and 1541.

That Michelangelo lived in a small room where he could be easily controlled by papal authorities, is an argument for the thesis of him being more a less a slave to the pope.

Michelangelo became a famous sculptor by choice; and a famous painter, especially of the Sistine Chapel frescoes; and famous architect, including of St Peter’s Church, by pressure of his papal patrons.

Michelangelo letter sold for 576,000 dollars

Translated from Dutch news agency ANP:

NEW YORK – A letter by Italian artist Michelangelo this Monday at an auction in New York City was sold for 576,000 dollars (434,000 euros) .

Auctioneers Sotheby’s say that is much more than expected.

The 1521 letter is about paying gold coins to two sculptors working at his sculpture of the Risen Christ in the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva church in Rome.

The letter is part of 31 rare documents owned by a US American collector sold now.

A letter from 1534 by Catharine of Aragon to her cousin Charles V was sold for 156,000 dollars (117,000 euros).

In the letter, she asks the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire to use his influence with the pope to save her marriage to the king of England, Henry VIII.

Queen Catharine, Charles V, and Henry VIII while alive, were used to much money, for being members of the ruling class (not for doing anything of artistic value).

Michelangelo, however, while certainly not poor, also certainly never got over half a million dollars for any of his works, let alone for a letter.

He lived in comfortable semi-serfdom to popes who ordered him to do painting and architecture while he prefered sculpture.

And, as with many other artists, today people who never contributed a drop of paint or cubic millimeter of marble get rich off them.

Somewhat similarly: Che Guevara, and Che portrait photographer Alberto Korda.

Women artists, Sofonisba Anguissola

This 2015 video says about itself:

Sofonisba Anguissola (also spelled Anguisciola) (c. 1532 – 16 November 1625) was an Italian Renaissance painter born in Cremona to a noble family, but a relatively poor one. She received a well-rounded education, that included the fine arts, and her apprenticeship with local painters set a precedent for women to be accepted as students of art.

As a young woman, Anguissola traveled to Rome where she was introduced to Michelangelo, who immediately recognized her talent, and to Milan, where she painted the Duke of Alba.

Elizabeth of Valois, the queen of Philip II of Spain, was a keen amateur painter, and in 1569 Anguissola was recruited to go to Madrid as her tutor, with the rank of lady-in-waiting. She later became an official court painter to the king, and adapted her style to the more formal requirements of official portraits for the Spanish court.

After the queen’s death, Philip helped arrange an aristocratic marriage for her. She moved to Palermo, and later Pisa and Genoa, where she continued to practice as a leading portrait painter, apparently with the support of her two husbands, living to the age of ninety-three.

In the post 1500 history of Europe and countries with much European influence (in order not to make the subject too big and too complex), women on average had less chance of becoming visual artists than men.

After becoming artists, they had less chance of becoming famous artists (most art critics being male, etc.).

Not just conservatives, but also Giovanni Boccaccio, usually seen as a progressive herald of the Renaissance in arts, had prejudices against women, including as artists.

Now, some women who were more or less exceptions to this rule.

Sofonisba Anguissola lived from about 1535 (1532, some accounts say) to 1625.

A younger contemporary and friend of Michelangelo, like him, she lived to a very old age, certainly for the sixteenth century.

So, she became an older contemporary of Anthonie van Dyck, whom she influenced.

She had the advantage of growing up in a family which had money, social prestige of aristocracy, and interest in arts.

She managed to get a job at the Spanish court, teaching 14-year-old queen of Spain Elisabeth de Valois how to draw.

She painted a portrait of herself at work when she was 26.

However, when the queen died nine years after the painter’s arrival, she had to return to her native Italy.

This series on women artists will continue, in between blog entries here on other subjects.

Art and gender in history: here.