Massimo Stanzione: L'opera completa.This is the first modern, independent study of the painter Massimo Stanzione Massimo Stanzione (also called Stanzioni; c. 1586 - c. 1656) was an Italian Baroque painter, mainly active in Naples.
Stanzione was born in Orta di Atella, in the modern province of Caserta. (ca. 15854656) who was recognized by Wittkower in 1958 as "the most important caposcuola" of mid-seventeenth-century Naples. For the first time the full richness of his surviving oeuvre is made available to us in this elegantly produced and beautifully illustrated book. Not only do we find the dramatic Massacre of the Innocents
The book, written in Italian, is the product of a collaboration between a German and an American scholar. Sebastian Schutze and Thomas Willette discovered in the 1980s that they were both writing Ph.D. dissertations on Stanzione. It is to their credit that they combined forces to publish together. However, as we shall see, this has resulted in some drawbacks as well as advantages.
There is one part of the book which works brilliantly as a collaboration: the immensely useful catalogue raisonne, which includes entries for lost works, along with extensive bibliographical references. Here one has the impression that the whole is more than the sum of its parts, that Schutze and Willette exchanged ideas and added to each other's material much as the interlocutors pictured in the striking dust jacket portrait (Florence, 1640s) are seen engaging in a lively exchange.
As for the text, Schutze's two chapters constitute a skillful skill·ful
1. Possessing or exercising skill; expert. See Synonyms at proficient.
2. Characterized by, exhibiting, or requiring skill. analysis of Stanzione's stylistic development so far as it can be pieced together from the scant evidence, especially with regard to the early work. Schutze also includes a suggestive apercu a·per·çu
n. pl. a·per·çus
1. A discerning perception; an insight: "Her schmoozy but magisterial aperçus inspired widespread emulation among the young" Roy Blount, Jr. of the Neapolitan Accademia degli Oziosi, whose intellectual leader, Giovanni Battista Basile, dedicated an ode to Stanzione in 1617 and a madrigal madrigal, name for two different forms of Italian music, one related to the poetic madrigal in the 14th cent., the other the most common form of secular vocal music in the 16th cent. in honor of his alleged Venus and Cupid. The fact that Giambattista Marino was made principe of this literary academy in the mid-1620s when he returned to Naples may also have been relevant to Stanzione's formation. For Naples provided him with an intellectual atmosphere where literary and artistic taste shifted toward classicism classicism, a term that, when applied generally, means clearness, elegance, symmetry, and repose produced by attention to traditional forms. It is sometimes synonymous with excellence or artistic quality of high distinction. . And it was to Naples that Domenichino and Lanfranco were called to execute major fresco ensembles, and where Stanzione left behind his affinities with late Mannerism mannerism, a style in art and architecture (c.1520–1600), originating in Italy as a reaction against the equilibrium of form and proportions characteristic of the High Renaissance. and aspects of Caravaggism to take on the role of Guido Reni Napoletano."
This is how Bernardo De Dominici, the mid-eighteenth-century biographer of Neapolitan artists, describes Stanzione. In several articles over the last ten years Willette has undertaken a scholarly reconsideration of the biographer, known at the end of the last century as "il falsario." Here, in his two chapters on Stanzione's school and on De Dominici's Life (which also receives a splendidly annotated reprinting), Willette comes near to fulfilling one of the book's main goals: mapping out Stanzione's active stylistic choices.
But this is where the collaborative project is less successful. Schutze and Willette each make a strong case for Stanzione's crucial links with Annibale Carracci and the Bolognese school, but they do so in very different terms. For example, were the authors planning to undertake a thorough critique of earlier scholarship - that is, of De Rinaldis, Ortolani, and especially Raffaello Causa, who "envisioned the Neapolitan school of the early Seicento sei·cen·to
The 17th century with reference to Italian literature and art.
[Italian, from (mil)seicento, (one thousand) six hundred : sei, six (from Latin sex as responding, in its eclectic way, primarily to Caravaggio"? This is not made clear. Willette sets the stage for such a critique in his close readings of contemporary texts. But it was up to Schutze to carry it forward into Stanzione's style. In this and in other ways, the authors' respective shares are not really complementary. Nor do they leave room for themselves to cover other topics (such as portraiture) about which we would like to know more. In spite of all this, they have begun convincingly to answer some very serious questions about artistic development in seventeenth-century Naples.
JUDITH COLTON Yale University