The painter, architect and writer Giorgio Vasari (Arezzo 1511 – Florence 1574), whom Dan Brown frequently refers to in his Inferno through his protagonist Robert Langdon as “the first art historian in the world”, is celebrated at Palatine Gallery in Florence by the exhibition Giorgio Vasari e l’Allegoria della Pazienza (Giorgio Vasari and the Allegory of Patience), which runs from November 26, 2013 to January 5, 2014.
The painting displayed above was commissioned to Vasari by Bernardetto Minerbetti, bishop of Arezzo and ambassador of Cosimo I, shortly after 1550. Minerbetti ordered Vasary to represent, in a new and emblematic way, the main virtue of his character, that is, the art of Patience.
To represent that virtue, Vasari created the figure of a young woman, neither overly dressed nor naked, chained to a rock, upon which there falls small drops of water that will erode it in time, eventually allowing her to regain her freedom. On top of the vase, which the artist called “hourglass water ,” is an armillary sphere, a symbol of wisdom and knowledge.
Once Vasari had finished the painting, in 1551, the Spanish painter Gaspar Becerra, who was in Italy to capture the aesthetic precepts of modern mannerism, added some finishing touches.
The features attributable to the Spanish painter consist of the generosity of forms of Patience, the dark tones of the background, as well as a meticulous attention to detail, seen through the decoration of the vessel from which the water falls, the hair of the young woman, and the drape of clothing.
The originality of Vasari’s painting lies in the abandonment of the traditional iconography of patience, which was until that time represented by a young woman burdened by a yoke, and the use of a new concept, the philosophical ideal of calm, which becomes a virtue of the strong, that waiting weakens the rival.
The Allegory of Patience is an innovative canvas in terms of the concept and iconography. It achieved success beyond the confines of Florence, reaching the court of Ferrara where Ercole II d’Este a few years from employing the service of Minerbetti, commissioned a similar version of the Patience to Camillo Filippi, one of the most famous painters of the Ferrarese school of the sixteenth century. The Duke made instructed him to introduce the same personification on the reverse side of a famous medal, on the base of his bust and on a series of coins minted by the Mint of Ferrara.
But why was Vasari’s invention so successful? And why was the virtue of patience considered so important in Renaissance art and literature?
The exhibition explores these issues by following the sequence of commissions, the literary sources, and the paths of artists, and by analysing the complex and fascinating background of the courts of Italy.
The exhibition’s curator defines it as a “dossier exhibition”, containing deep conceptual and stylistic aspects of painting, and compares it with other works of art that have the same theme.
The exhibition investigates the reasons for the celebrity of a work and the code of its artistic originality.
Picture by tripadvisor.it