Pontormo, Bronzino, and Allori: A Genealogy of Florentine Art. .Elizabeth Pilliod. Pontormo, Bronzino, and Allori: A Genealogy genealogy (jē'nēŏl`əjē, –ăl`–, jĕ–), the study of family lineage. Genealogies have existed since ancient times. of Florentine Art.
New Haven New Haven, city (1990 pop. 130,474), New Haven co., S Conn., a port of entry where the Quinnipiac and other small rivers enter Long Island Sound; inc. 1784. Firearms and ammunition, clocks and watches, tools, rubber and paper products, and textiles are among the many and London: Yale University Yale University, at New Haven, Conn.; coeducational. Chartered as a collegiate school for men in 1701 largely as a result of the efforts of James Pierpont, it opened at Killingworth (now Clinton) in 1702, moved (1707) to Saybrook (now Old Saybrook), and in 1716 was Press, 2001. x + 289 pp. index. illus. bibl. $55. ISBN ISBN
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ISBN International Standard Book Number
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Elizabeth Pilliod's Pontormo, Bronzino, and Allori: A Genealogy of Florentine Art is really two books in one. One the one hand, the book is a valuable study of Pontormo, along with Bronzino and Allori: the author challenges Vasari's accounts of their lives, especially that of Pontormo, and offers up a great deal of new information, culled from the archives. But at the same time, this book is very much about Vasari himself, whose honesty and credibility are called into question--not only with regard to the three artists named above, but also mote (reMOTE) A wireless receiver/transmitter that is typically combined with a sensor of some type to create a remote sensor. Some motes are designed to be incredibly small so that they can be deployed by the hundreds or even thousands for various applications (see smart dust). generally and more directly. Vasari stands accused of altering the facts, and suppressing information, in order to advance his own position.
As has long been recognized, Vasari's account of Pontormo is quite critical, emphasizing his eccentric and solitary nature. While Vasari is full of praise for Pontormo's early efforts, he is more negative about the rest of his career. In discussing the frescoes in the cloister cloister, unroofed space forming part of a religious establishment and surrounded by the various buildings or by enclosing walls. Generally, it is provided on all sides with a vaulted passageway consisting of continuous colonnades or arcades opening onto a court. of the Certosa di Galluzzo The Certosa di Galluzzo is a monastery located in the Florence suburb of Galluzzo in Italy. The building is a walled complex located on mount Acuto, at point of confluence between the Ema and Greve rivers. , for example, he faults Pontormo for falling too much under the influence of Durer and the German style; when he turns to the choir of San Lorenzo San Lorenzo, town, S Honduras, on the Gulf of Fonseca. Its satellite, Henecán is the chief Pacific port of Honduras. Henecán's modern port facilities and deepwater harbor and channel approach were constructed in the late 1970s after the old port at , he questions both the style and the subject matter, as well as the artist's reluctance to let anyone monitor his progress. In general, Pontormo is presented as a melancholy outsider who was indifferent to money, and Vasari's view, as Pilliod points out, has colored much of the subsequent scholarship on the artist.
Pilliod rejects this interpretation of Pontormo and is at pains to place him in a more central and influential position. She calls into question Vasari's characterization of the artist, and brings out his ties to the Medici Medici, Italian family
Medici (mĕ`dĭchē, Ital. mā`dēchē), Italian family that directed the destinies of Florence from the 15th cent. until 1737. court. For example, she takes issue with the assertion that Pontormo kept visitors away from the choir of San Lorenzo, which she shows to be untrue since, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the artist's diary, the duke visited on more than one occasion (although the diary does not specify that he actually inspected the frescoes). So too, she goes beyond Vasari, using documents she herself has uncovered, to establish Pontormo's financial ties to the Medici and to prove that Pontormo received a generous salary during the years he was at work in San Lorenzo. Indeed, according to Pilliod, Pontormo "becomes with the sculptor and architect Baccio Bandinelli one of the earliest court artists recognized by and on salary to the Medici dynasty" (23). This is something that, according to Pilliod, Vasari deliberately supp resses.
One factor that has led to the common notion that Pontormo was a disturbed individual is Vasari's characterization of his house, which he describes as "having the appearance of a building erected by an eccentric and solitary creature" (67). As Pilliod points out, this has become a metaphor for Pontormo's anti-social tendencies, and she provides a corrective. She makes a derailed study of the building, its location and layout, and demonstrates quite convincingly that, far from being the sort of oddity odd·i·ty
n. pl. odd·i·ties
1. One that is odd.
2. The state or quality of being odd; strangeness.
1. Vasari suggests, it was not at all unusual. It may not have been the stately home stately home
Brit a large old mansion, usually one open to the public
Noun 1. stately home - a mansion that is (or formerly was) occupied by an aristocratic family Vasari would have considered appropriate for a court painter A court painter is an artist who paints for the members of a royal or noble family. See category of Italian art collectors for lists that included non-aristocratic patrons. , but it was not especially bizarre or run-down run·down
1. A point-by-point summary.
2. Baseball A play in which a runner is trapped between bases and is pursued by fielders attempting to make the tag.
adj. also run-down
a. : it was a typical dwelling for an artist-craftsman. So too Pilliod shows, in contrast to Vasari, that Pontormo did not live there alone, for he had the company of Giovambattista Naldini (who would later become part of Vasari's team).
Pontormo's social contacts are brought our more fully in the chapter that follows. Here Pilliod explores, in impressive detail, the artist's ties to Florentine confraternities and the Accademia Fiorentina. This further counteracts the notion that Pontormo was solitary and anti-social, and brings out the true extent of Pontormo's literary interests and other cultural pursuits. Indeed this discussion goes along way toward giving us a sense of the texture of the lives of these artists and their associates, their personal relationships and activities, and it provides a vivid picture of Florence at mid-century. And the same could be said about the next chapter, on the makeup of Bronzino's household, where Pontormo was often a guest. Here Pilliod supplies a good deal of new information, which brings out the artistic and personal connections between Pontormo and Bronzino, and between Bronzino and Allori--linkages that Vasari had omitted or downplayed.
One of the most fascinating sections is the discussion of the dispute over Pontormo's estate, which remains something of a mystery. Vasari makes no mention of the episode--although he must have been aware of it. But Pilliod has uncovered extensive documentation which has allowed her to reconstruct the general outline of what happened. Her account is a revealing microhistory which sheds a good deal of light on the circumstances and on the behavior of those close to Pontormo--who do not always appear to have acquitted themselves well. Unfortunately, some gaps remain, and it is still unclear why, in the end, the decision went against Bronzino, especially since there seems to be little question that his adversary, a weaver called Chiazella, invented a false genealogy and perjured per·jure
tr.v. per·jured, per·jur·ing, per·jures Law
To make (oneself) guilty of perjury by deliberately testifying falsely under oath. himself. Nevertheless, the entire episode makes it clear that Ponrormo was more prosperous than Vasari allows.
Throughout the book, as Pilliod revises our understanding of Pontormo and his artistic heirs, Vasari is often used as a point of departure, or even a straw man; but by the end, he becomes the main subject. Of special importance is Vasari's role in the newly formed Accademia del Disegno, and how his involvement with that institution shaped the second edition of the Lives, and in particular, the book's organization. In revising and adding to his original text, Vasari decided to group many of the biographies of his contemporaries, starting with Bronxino, in a special section devoted to the Accademia. This may seem a perfectly reasonable way to proceed, but Pilliod is not altogether comfortable with this approach and calls Vasari's motives into question. Above all, for Pilliod, this new structure has the effect of blurring the lines of artistic lineage. The life of Bronaino, for example, is widely sepatated from that of Pontormo, and as a result, the links between them are weakened, as is the role of Allori. Thi s, in turn, has the effect of diminishing the importance of their almost dynastic position in Florentine art. The new institution takes precedence over Florentine tradition, of which Vasari was never entirely a part.
Many have recognized Vasari's lack of objectivity, how quite a few of the lives are colored by personal preferences or animosities and other biases. While some have noted his sometimes fawning fawn 1
intr.v. fawned, fawn·ing, fawns
1. To exhibit affection or attempt to please, as a dog does by wagging its tail, whining, or cringing.
2. devotion to the Medici, others have remarked on his somewhat uncomfortable position among Florentine artists, or on his ties to Rome. Just recently, for example, David Franklin David Franklin can be:
see dairy herd. were decisive. Along with Salviati, Vasari brought a distinctly Roman flavor to Florentine art and was critical of those Florentine artists who remained oblivious to or uninterested in Roman influences. Pontormo was one of those, and one could well see Vasari's criticism of him, and Vasari's artistic judgments generally, in that light.
But Pilliod prefers to see Vasari in a more cynical terms, as "cunning and calculating" (272). Vasari is guilty of suppressing some contemporary painters and reassigning others to the wrong bottega, which has had the effect of breaking apart the link between artists and their proper masters and pupils, and, in Pilliod's view, enhancing Vasari's position at the expense of others, such as Pontormo, Bronzino, and Allori. Vasari was obviously wrong about many things, and may have distorted others; his unusually harsh criticism of Pontormo is certainly curious, but a question remains as to what extent Vasari is expressing deeply-felt convictions or true animosities, and to what extent he deliberately and cynically slandered his rivals in order to solidify so·lid·i·fy
v. so·lid·i·fied, so·lid·i·fy·ing, so·lid·i·fies
1. To make solid, compact, or hard.
2. To make strong or united.
v.intr. his professional position. Pilliod clearly favors the latter position, but many scholars would be unwilling to take things quite that far.
As Pilliod herself would acknowledge, Vasari's version of the Renaissance remains an essential point of departure for any study of the period, but she is alarmed at the extent to which Vasari's views continue to predominate, considering how inaccurate and how misleading his information often is. At times she can barely contain her indignation; she wonders why there has not been an organized outcry among contemporary historians against such an unreliable source. Her concerns on this score are a bit overstated o·ver·state
tr.v. o·ver·stat·ed, o·ver·stat·ing, o·ver·states
To state in exaggerated terms. See Synonyms at exaggerate.
o , perhaps, and few scholars of Renaissance art would now accept Vasari at face value, but at the same time, she has given us many reasons to question his veracity veracity (vras´itē),
n . Moreover, she brings a good deal of new documentary evidence A type of written proof that is offered at a trial to establish the existence or nonexistence of a fact that is in dispute.
Letters, contracts, deeds, licenses, certificates, tickets, or other writings are documentary evidence. to the table, which greatly enriches our picture of Pontormo and his successors, and which broadens our understanding of the world of Florentine artists in the middle of the sixteenth century. Indeed, that is greatest strength of this remarkable book.