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Imagines 10

The tenth issue of the Uffizi Galleries' Magazine

Articles of this issue.

An unpublished effigy of Osiris Hydreios in the collections of the Uffizi Galleries

Fabrizio Paolucci

In the storage rooms of the Uffizi Galleries, a fragmentary marble head with Egyptianized subject and style is preserved, remaining unpublished until today, in which it is possible to recognize an effigy of Osiris Hydreios. The remarkable dimensions, suggesting an original function as a cult statue, together with the use of fine statuary marble, make this Florentine sculpture particularly intriguing in the context of the iconography of this Egyptian deity.

From Giotto's rib: a critical and artistic profile of the Maestro della Santa Cecilia (alias Gaddo Gaddi)

Sonia Chiodo

The Master of the Santa Cecilia is one of the most mysterious figures of Florentine painting between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. He was Giotto's collaborator on the frescoes in the Upper Basilica in Assisi, and continued his activity in Florence until around 1330, becoming the bearer of a vision that was less revolutionary in terms of formal language, but highly cultured in its ability to translate the values and contents of the society of his time into images. The discovery of a layer of paint underneath the one currently visible in the panel with Saint Cecilia and stories of her life (Florence, Uffizi Galleries) as part of diagnostic investigations carried out by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure for the scientific catalogue of paintings from the 13th and 14th centuries, is an opportunity to argue the high date, around 1300, of this important painting and from here to start an excursus through the few, but fundamental milestones of his activity. Certainly active from the height of the 1320s, his identification with Gaddo Gaddi, an elusive artistic personality despite the extensive biographical profile outlined by Giorgio Vasari, still active in 1328 and progenitor of the family that with Taddeo and Agnolo would dominate the Florentine artistic scene until the end of the century, is gaining strength.

Saint Cecilia and stories from her life: technical insights

Anna Marie Hilling

The work describes the technique used for the panel painting Saint Cecilia and Stories from her Life made by the Master of Saint Cecilia of the Uffizi Gallery. The technique is described on the basis of non-invasive diagnostic investigations carried out at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure. The analysis revealed several unknown aspects of the work. Firstly, the figure of the enthroned saint was almost completely reworked in a period that was rather close to the execution of the panel. The investigations - in particular X-ray radiography and XRF mapping - allowed to understand, among other things, some formal and technical aspects of the first version of the saint, which was very similar to the representations of the saint in the side scenes. The valuable technique of the work was analysed through its complex stratifications, from the support to the pictorial layers, with the use of various types of metal leaf decorations.

The recovered inscriptions on the panel of St Cecilia

Tommaso Gramigni e Stefano Zamponi

The contribution presents the study and edition of the hitherto unknown inscriptions illustrating the eight scenes of the legend of Saint Cecilia. In the appendix, the codex that the saint holds in her hands is described and the inscriptions on the panel of St. Margaret are edited.

Luigi Lanzi's shrewd scepticism concerning the self-portrait of Morto da Feltre in the Uffizi Gallery

Giorgio Fossaluzza

The work is dedicated to the alleged self-portrait made by Morto da Feltre. Acquired in 1682, it was inventoried in 1704 as 'Morte Veronese', but in 1784 was listed as a self-portrait by the Venetian painter. Initially, a different portrait presented in Vasari's Lives was outlined, using a drawing by Polidoro da Caravaggio. Afterwards, different examples of chalcographic translations derived from our self-portrait were compared, which will follow one another from 1789 onwards. These contemporary translations followed the research by Luigi Lanzi, who, in 1809, managed to fully explain the significant sources reproduced here, which allowed him to identify the author (Morto da Feltre) with Pietro Luzzo. The catalogue of the works coming from Feltre, which actually belonged to his brother Lorenzo, allowed Lanzi to rule out the attribution of the Uffizi self-portrait. The attribution proposed by Cavalcaselle in favour of the Veronese painter Francesco Torbido stands out for its authoritativeness. Considering the few works present in Lorenzo Luzzo's catalogue, a solution can be found by taking into account Dosso Dossi, thus proposing a direct attribution to the Ferrarese Gabriele Capellini known as Calzolaretto, with reference to a couple of confirmed altarpieces and to the Portrait of Laura Pisani.

Drawing for the Rape of Europa by Giovanni Domenico Ferretti

Federico Berti

The article describes a preparatory drawing for the Rape of Europa made by Giovanni Domenico Ferretti around 1730, upon commission by the Medicean Tapestry Workshop. The painter had a role in the Florentine workshop, as he succeeded Sagrestani in the direction of the workers, a transition about which we learned thanks to a recently found letter. The work, which was created to represent the element of water within a series of tapestries dedicated to the four Elements, was never woven and became popular thanks to two models: the first one, in a reduced format, is preserved in the Uffizi Galleries, while the other in the original format is now preserved in Montecitorio.

Giuseppe Piattoli and Giuseppe Antonio Fabbrini in a collective etching depicting The Family of Grand Duke Peter Leopold

Fabio Sottili

The etching depicting The Family of Grand Duke Peter Leopold, dated 1785, has a complex authorship that envisions three possible versions. The creator of the composition was the Florentine painter Giuseppe Piattoli, while the etching was the work of Giovan Battista Cecchi in collaboration with Benedetto Eredi, together with Anna Nistri Tonelli, who made the drawings, and Giuseppe Antonio Fabbrini, who painted live portraits of the ruling family. They were all part of the grand ducal entourage. The discovery of the canvases with the portraits of the Grand Duke's sons executed by Fabbrini, as well as some preparatory drawings, which had been erroneously attributed and have now been enriched by new considerations on the portraits of the sovereign couple and by an analysis of the final etchings, have allowed to trace the paintings back to their respective authors. The only remaining doubt concerns the authorship of the pictorial translation of the etching, now preserved in a private collection, which was certainly subsequent to the prints.

A view of the ancient theatre of Taormina in the Florence Gallery of Modern Art

Orazio Ilario Caricchio

Upon careful analysis, a small and apparently anonymous canvas from the Ambron collection preserved at the GAM Museum in Florence revealed a view of the ancient Theatre of Taormina. This represented an excellent opportunity to reflect on the multicultural interactions taking place between the 19th and 20th century, a period in which the society was dominated by an upper middle-class in search of self-affirmation and social redemption, which led to a cultural rejuvenation that would invest all sectors, from the construction industry to the innovative avant-garde movements, such as the Macchiaioli. To this period pertained the families of ceiling painters, often anonymous, who worked for the new fin de siècle society to finally join those artistic movements in contrast with the academicism of the time. From this social sphere emerged the profile of the hypothetical author of this small painting, the progenitor of a family of painters from Palermo, the Mirabella family, who used to decorate overdoors before migrating towards the avant-garde Macchiaioli movement, while remaining somehow linked to the great landscape tradition of the 19th century.

The value of decorative arts in the 1948 florentine exhibition and the fortunes of cassone Adimari

Greta Bimbati

This work aims to highlight the importance of the exhibition 'The Italian House through the Centuries', which was held in 1948 at Palazzo Strozzi to showcase the role of decorative arts in Italy in the last century. As a matter of fact, despite the success of the exhibition, very few documents came down to us, some of which are preserved in the Historical Archives of the Florentine Galleries. The main strength of the exhibition was the quality of the works on display, with a selection of the most valuable examples of applied art produced in Italy from the 14th to the 19th century, as well as their arrangement, which was carefully studied by the curators in order to move away from the old-fashioned exhibition halls and present an event that highlighted the individual masterpieces. Among these, the case of Cassone Adimari has been examined in depth, as it became particularly popular among critics, collectors and exhibitors.

Imagines è pubblicata a Firenze dalle Gallerie degli Uffizi. Direttore responsabile: Eike D. Schmidt. Redazione: Dipartimento di Comunicazione Digitale. ISSN 2533-2015

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