Bulletin du Musée National de Varsovie — 39.1998

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1 cm
Joanna Kilian

Locus amoenus - Delightful Place.
The Courtly Return to Naturę
in Sixteenth Century Northern
Italian Painting

The subject, or rather the pretext, of my analysis will be two paintings,
Rural Concert (early 16th century) by Giovanni Busi, known as Cariani,1
from the collections of the National Museum in Warsaw (iii. 1), and The Chess
Gamę (1555) by Sofonisba Anguissola2 from the collections of the National
Museum in Poznań (ill. 2). Although both works have often attracted the
attention of researchers and have freąuently been mentioned in the literaturę,
facilitating the classification of other works, they themselves never received
detailed analysis. The special value of Anguissola’s painting, supposedly
emphasised by the majority of art historians, is its rare comhination of
a portrait with a genre scene, enabling her to capture the intimate aura of
family life. CarianPs Concert, meanwhile, has been discussed as an excellent
example of the type of pastorał painting popular in 16th century Venice. Yet
the categories of genre scene or pastorał seem inadeąuate to grasp the essence
of both these works. The common key to both of these different works is their
strong grounding in the northern Italian humanist conception of nilleggiatura
and the ideał of life associated with it.

1 Giovanni Busi, called Cariani, Country Concert, oil on canvas, 103 x 165 cm, National
Museum in Warsaw; cf. R. Pallucchini, F. Rossi, Gionanni Cariani, Bergamo 1983, p. 142-143,
no. 79, il. IV; J. Białostocki and M. Skubiszewska, Malarstwo francuskie, niderlandzkie, włoskie
do 1600, catalogue of the collections of the National Museum in Warsaw, Warszawa 1979,
pp. 230-231; J. Kilian in Tiziano. Amor Sacro e Amor Profano, exhibition catalogue, Palazzo delle
Esposizioni, Romę 1995, p. 256, no. 23 (bibliography).

2 Sofonisba Anguissola, The Chess Gamę, oil on canvas, 52x97 cm, National Museum in Poznań;
cf. M. Faber, Das Schachspiel in der europdischen Malerei und Graphik (1550-1700), Wiesbaden
1988, pp. 56-58; I. S. Perlingieri, Sofonisba Anguissola. The First Great Woman Artist of the
Renaissance, New York 1992, p. 86; Sofonisba Anguissola e le sue sorelle, exhibition catalogue,
Centro Culturale “Citta di Cremona”, Santa Maria della Pieta, Cremona 1994, p. 68; La
prima donna pittrice. Sofonisba Anguissola. Die Malerin der Renaissance (um 1535-1625), exhi-
bition catalogue, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna 1995, p. 79; M. Skubiszewska, Malarstwo
włoskie do 1600. Katalog zbiorów Muzeum Narodowego w Poznaniu, Poznań 1995, p. 29-35

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