Artistic identity in the (Dream of) Poliphilo.
Over the past 100 years, historians have attributed the Poliphilo woodcuts to many different artists, including the painters Bonconsigli, Giovanni and Gentile Bellini, Botticelli, Bartolomeo and Benedetto Montagna, Palma Vecchio, Cima da Conegliano, Franco Francia, Titian, Benozzo Gozzoli and Pinturricchio, and Agabiti; the medalists Peregrini and Sperandio; the printmakers Giulio Campagnola, Jacopo de' Barbari, an anonymous `Dolphin Master;' and the miniaturists the `Second Grifo Master' and Benedetto Bordon. (4) Attempts to attribute the woodcuts to an artist clearly bring into question the efficacy of stylistic analysis for artistic attribution in this book.
The perpetually debated attribution of the Poliphilo woodcuts is partially re-examined here by first asking, why is it important to know the artist/s of the Poliphilo? What is at stake, and how does that in part determine the attribution? The question of style is then rephrased from a codicological perspective. (5) The attempt to understand the book as an integrated whole object in the context of typical printed book production allows us to see that the more fundamental question of how the woodcuts were created must be answered before the traditional question of attribution is approached.
When art historians have sought to understand the surpassing quality and influence of the Poliphilo, they have often found the hands of individual famous painters, such as the Bellini or Titian. (6) When scholars have been interested in the implications for verifying claims for the authorship of the romance, they have looked for proof of regional production, in particular to confirm that the author and artist originated in Rome, in Florence, or in the Veneto. (7) A number of these scholars have been careful to distinguish the designer of the woodcuts from the final engravers. Those concerned with local book production in Venice have typically looked to miniaturists or printmakers. (8)
Careful analysis of book production of the time discourages one from looking for a single artist of genius, to accept that the woodcuts were created by a number of artists working at different stages. The search for `who' then becomes more expansive because of the collaborative, largely anonymous nature of the book's production. (9) The more fruitful question becomes exposition of the stages of execution of the book and identification of groups who would have most likely been involved in its production.
That the Poliphilo woodcuts were produced in several stages is clear first of all by the indirect nature of the medium itself. One must first create an image on the block, and then cut the block to realize that image in transfer. To cut the block well is a specialized craft, and we know from late fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Venetian privileges, early forms of copyright, that these tasks were usually performed by separate craftsmen called tagliadori. A miniador, or miniaturist, usually created the designs by drawing on the woodblock, and the tagliador executed them by cutting the block. (10) The probable identities of the artists of some of these phases of the woodcuts will be discussed, but the Poliphilo images actually must have origins earlier than at this final publishing stage.
The three authors who have most closely speculated on the nature of the lost original manuscript of the Poliphilo, Lamberto Donati, Giovanni Pozzi, and Maurizio Calvesi, all agree that the Poliphilo author must have made drawings for the original manuscript. (11) Although this manuscript is lost, it was most likely the source of the strong interrelationships between text and image in the Poliphilo, where the text often refers to illustrations, and where illustration interrupts the text and contains texts. In contrast, even the most profusely illustrated printed books of the time, such as the 1497 vulgate edition of Ovid's Metamorphoses, are illustrated at discreet textual intervals, in this case between each story; they do not break into the text. (12)
As was first recognized by Charles Mitchell, the strong interrelationship between text and image, and the flavour of archaeological fantasy in the Poliphilo, are rooted in a tradition of humanists creating amateur drawings in pen and ink to accompany the inscriptions they collected, as in Cyriacus of Ancona's epigraphic manuscripts and those of Marcanova written out by Felice Feliciano (fig. 3). (13) Besides such epigraphic and archaeological manuscripts, there were numerous personally illustrated writings and collections of verse and romances, as in the manuscript of collected verse written by Felice and accompanied with romantic pen and ink images now in Modena, with two drawings of the poet offering his heart. (14)
The manuscript of Rene of Anjou's Cueur d'amours espris now in Vienna may also be seen as analogous to the original Poliphilo manuscript, because Rene may have illustrated it himself soon after completing the romance in 1457 (fig. 4). (15) The Cueur and Poliphilo texts are similar in that both are allegorical narratives set within a dream, involving a protagonist whom one identifies with the author, and who goes through a series of trials in search of his beloved. The Vienna manuscript miniatures are distant from the Poliphilo woodcuts in terms of style. They are, however, strikingly similar to the major Poliphilo woodcuts in their large size and narrative focus. (16) Rene spent four years in Naples (1438-42) and resided for some time in Florence, where he was befriended by the Pazzi family, and the Cueur demonstrates the influence of Italian Renaissance art. But a great influence on the large narrative illustrations in the Poliphilo may indeed ultimately have been French. Emanuela Kretzulesco-Quaranta has argued for the influence of the literature of the French courts, including the Cueur, on the Poliphilo. (17) The emblematic interest linked with themes of love in the Poliphilo is also highly developed in some French manuscripts of the period. (18)
We should therefore think of the first manifestation of the Poliphilo as a text already incorporating images in the author's own hand or by artists supervised by the author. The concept of this illustrated text was informed by distinct illustrated manuscript types, including the epigraphic collection and romances. The author may in this way be considered as the first artistic personality of the book.
Several identities of the author have been proposed; the two most widely accepted are the friar Francesco Colonna of Treviso, and the Roman nobleman also named Francesco Colonna. (19) Arguments for either rest on several areas of evidence. Those that concern us here are, first, the ascertainment of the author's possible access to ancient monuments and other visual imagery which inform the Poliphilo; and second, the attribution of the style of the woodcuts to contemporary artists.
Lamberto Donati proposed, because of the influence of ancient Roman monuments evident in the Poliphilo, that the author must have been at some time in Rome. He further suggested that the style of all the archaeological, geometric, and allegorical figures indicates an author of central Italian or Roman origin. He proposed that the artist who translated the author's images was the Florentine Benozzo Gozzoli, and that the Venetian character of the illustrations was due to a Venetian woodcutter. (20)
Maurizio Calvesi, currently the leading proponent of the Roman Colonna, follows Donati in attributing the design of a number of the Poliphilo woodcuts to Benozzo Gozzoli, and adds Pinturicchio or an associate, and the hand of the author for the architectural drawings. (21) The attribution to Benozzo and Pinturicchio working in Rome is intriguing on the level of style, and particularly as the source of the complex and often hermetic imagery. Fuller consideration of the stages of the translation of the author's illustrations into woodcut is given below.
Giovanni Pozzi has been foremost in proposing the Trevisan monk Francesco Colonna as author; his name has been associated with the Poliphilo by scholars since the eighteenth century. Pozzi strengthens his argument by demonstrating that the antique prototypes reflected in the Poliphilo would be available through study of all'antica monuments in the Veneto and through drawings of Roman ruins available in sketchbooks. (22) Pozzi further suggested that the author knew Aldus Manutius and helped to supervise preparation of the printed version. (23) Pozzi localized the drawings to a Venetian artist by attributing the designs to the illuminator of the second major illuminated page in a manuscript of poetry by Antonio Grifo, now in the Marciana Library (fig. 5). (24) Pozzi also called attention to the fact that elements of the learned culture all'antica found in the Poliphilo are already found in Venetian art. Recent research on the work of some Venetian illuminators shows that they were influenced by Roman sculpture already in the 1470s. (25)
There are thus two main production hypotheses: one, that the author and artist were Roman, that the author produced some of the drawings and supervised painters in their execution, and that woodcutters transferred the drawings into a Venetian idiom; and two, that the author was from the Veneto, that he also did the initial drawings and supervised printing, and that a Venetian miniaturist created the drawings for the woodcutters. I find arguments for both the Roman and Venetian authors compelling. I cannot offer evidence to affirm authorship at the earliest phases of production, but one can assume from study of the usual practice of the late fifteenth century in Venice, that not only Venetian woodcutters, but also Venetian miniaturists must have been involved in the final stages of execution.
One can hypothesize that after the author's manuscript, an intermediate manuscript -- an exemplar or mock-up to guide printing of the work -- was produced. This manuscript, also now lost, would be equivalent to the remarkable surviving exemplar for Hartmann Schedel's 1493 edition of the World Chronicles. (26) The second or third artist or team of artisans would therefore be those who produced the exemplar. This team could consist of the author, professional artists, and the editor and printer.
The similarity of the woodcuts to others published in Venice, such as the Ovid woodcuts referred to above or certain figures from the Aldine astrological compilation of October 1499 (fig. 6), must be primarily due to the third or fourth artisanal group, probably made up of miniaturists who transferred these designs directly onto a woodblock for the woodcutters, the fourth or fifth group, to carve. (27)
Although it is possible, I believe it improbable that a panel painter or figurer, as these were distinguished from miniadori, drew the designs directly on the blocks. In the fifteenth century, there was a complex of professionals in Venice primarily concerned with book production. Although sometimes the professions of miniaturist and painter overlapped, there are no documents indicating a painter drew woodblock designs for books until the sixteenth century. Only later, in the book production from the 1530s to the late 1550s headed by the publisher Francesco Marcolini (a friend of Titian and of Aretino), do we find painters designated as figureri documented as working on woodcuts for books. (28) Giovanni Bellini seems to have been the artist of full-page portraits in manuscripts, but conceptually these are really panel paintings on vellum, not so much book decorations as independent works inserted in books. There is, furthermore, no documentary evidence of Giovanni Bellini as a designer of either independent woodcuts or small woodcuts for books. (29) Most importantly, growing knowledge of the output of contemporary illuminators demonstrates that their work was of a caliber sufficient to produce the intermediate Poliphilo drawings.
Two of the most likely candidates as intermediate designers working closely with the publisher are the miniaturists the Second Grifo Master and Benedetto Bordon. The miniatures of both these masters have great affinities with the woodcuts of the Poliphilo, and both had experience with inventing classical imagery. But it has proven difficult to separate completely their respective oeuvres; no documents linking either with the woodcuts have been found; and the intervention of the woodcutter's hand makes it extremely difficult to distinguish miniaturists' hands. I do not propose to finalize attribution to these masters, but to introduce new information about the work of the Second Grifo Master which further exhibits links with the Poliphilo and with Bordon. It will be helpful first to discuss the history of the attribution of the Poliphilo to these illuminators.
The namesake miniature of the Second Grifo Master, the mythological group in the manuscript of poetry by Antonio Grifo, was in fact initially attributed to Bordon by Mario Salmi, who noted its affinities with the work of Cima; and it has been directly attributed to Cima and other artists. (30) I believe that one can distinguish the Second Grifo Master as a separate artist from Bordon, but the interaction between the two miniaturists must have been extremely close -- so close, that it may be that both worked on the Poliphilo. Indeed, their attributes are complementary. The work associated with the Second Grifo Master generally shows greater refinement, and has been above all distinguished by deep, hazy, and atmospheric landscapes with yellow trees. Bordon can be more clearly associated, however, with the circle of Aldus. Giordana Mariani Canova and Lilian Armstrong have shown that Bordon, and possibly the Second Grifo Master, participated with other miniaturists as a team in the illumination of the printed books of Peter Ugelheimer. (31)
The woodcuts of the Poliphilo were first attributed to the miniaturist Benedetto Bordon by Giuseppe Biadego in 1900. Other scholars have noted similarities in style of Bordon's work with the woodcuts, but with the exception of Ulrike Bauer-Eberhardt, most have hesitated to attribute them to Bordon without further evidence. (32) I believe that Bordon was probably one of the designers, but I disagree with much of Biadego's reasoning. The attribution to Bordon is reconsidered here and modified.
Biadego largely based his attribution on the `b' in two Poliphilo woodcuts (folios a6v, c1r, fig. 2), which certainly could help to argue for him as artist, but cannot be conclusive. The letters could refer to a number of artists, but because these recur in other styles of woodcut designs, they more likely refer to the woodcutter's workshop. (33) Second, Biadego interprets the privilege documents concerning Bordon to mean that Bordon was a woodcutter as well as a miniaturist. But careful examination of the wording of these documents reveals that Bordon actually had woodcuts carved by someone else. This is, for instance, the case with the 1504 request for rights to a woodcut set of the Triumphs of Caesar. Jean-Michel Massing has identified this set of woodcuts designed by Bordon, and cut by Jacob of Strassburg. (34) Comparison of a section of the Triumphs with woodcuts of the Triumph of Love in the Poliphilo woodcuts shows similar figure types and motifs, but in contrast to the spare outlines of the Poliphilo, Jacob brought out a developed system of shading, which suggests how important the woodcutters were for interpretation of the designs. (35)
A small quarto of Lucian's Works, edited by Bordon, and published in 1494 by Simone Bevilacqua, has long been a source for understanding Bordon's style of illumination, its translation into woodcut, and his importance as an innovator in book design. Bordon was the editor of this Latin edition of Lucian, as is documented in a privilege petition and in a statement at the end of the book. (36) The woodcut border found in most copies on paper is usually attributed to him because of Bordon's involvement with the book's publication (fig. 9), and this woodcut is remarkably close in imagery and style to the border painted on a copy now in Vienna, which was printed on vellum. (37) The illuminations of the Vienna copy have also been attributed to Bordon because of the similarity in style to the one book we know was illuminated by him, the Evangelistary for the Monastery of Santa Giustina in Padua, which is now in Dublin. This manuscript is signed on two pages, and the terms of the contract were recorded in 1523. (38)
Miniatures in the earliest Lucian, such as the image of Lucius turned into an Ass (fol. 25r, fig. 10), convey a lyricism and open clarity of composition approaching that of the best illustrations in the Poliphilo, and the small horizontal format of the Lucian illuminations is often repeated in the Poliphilo as in that depicting a sculpture of seven singing nymphs who are transformed into a tree, and who incline themselves to a statue of Jupiter (fol. 12v, fig. 11).
The Lucian illuminations seem entirely done by one hand, but later miniatures in books printed by Aldus Manutius indicate that there was a workshop under Bordon, or that he had strong associations with miniaturists working in a similar style, and that Bordon had associations with the press. These illuminations in the style of Bordon are found in a number of copies of the early Aldine small format octavos printed on vellum. These paintings share not only a similar yet varying style, but also the same format for illumination; and certain motifs are sometimes repeated, indicating the use of a shop model book for the illuminations. For instance, the motif of Apollo crowning Petrarch is repeated in three known copies, but with slight variations in style (fig. 12). (39) This motif furthermore recalls a figure of Victory Crowning Lucius Sicius Dentatus in a Pliny printed in 1472, convincingly attributed to Bordon by Jonathan Alexander, and seems directly derived from the border woodcut of the 1494 Herodotus, variously ascribed to Bordon because of its similarity to the Lucian, or to the Second Grifo Master because of the similar format and refined quality of that page (fig. 13). (40)
As I have argued elsewhere, the similarity of the small size and illuminations of the earlier Lucian with these Aldine octavos suggests that Bordon worked closely with Aldus, and may have even been involved in the evolution of the octavo format. (41) The repetition of motifs by different hands indicates Bordon had a fairly extensive workshop or cooperative links with other miniaturists, so that he could have quickly done such an enormous job as the Poliphilo in a collaborative effort. (42)
There are documents stating that Bordon designed woodcuts, and Bordon's style of illumination is most similar to many of the woodcuts in the Poliphilo, and woodcuts in two other Aldine publications: the compilation of astrological texts of 1499, and the Letters of St. Catherine. Finally, as Giordana Mariani Canova has pointed out, Bordon was not only a miniaturist, but is documented as an editor and writer, so he would have been most able to comprehend the author's drawings in relation to the difficult Poliphilo text. (43)
The Poliphilo is distinguished by emblematic images, such as the half-seated, half-rising, partially winged woman who represents the motto `Make haste slowly.' (44) Furthermore, erotic imagery, such as the large-phallused Priapus, prompted censorship of some copies, apparently within the shop itself. (45) The main objection against Bordon as an illuminator of the Poliphilo might therefore be that he never works in an hermetic mode, nor does he use erotic imagery in the main illuminations of the Aldine octavos, or in the Evangelistary; these are centered on clearly staged narrative. But this can be explained by the differences of these book types. The octavos, official documents, and liturgical books, by nature of their texts, do not encourage hermetic or erotic imagery. The author's manuscript for the Poliphilo would have provided the model for such designs. Furthermore, the Poliphilo certainly manifests word and image relationships of interest to Bordon.
For instance, the Poliphilo narrator recurringly practices the rhetorical exercise of ekphrasis, or the careful verbal evocation of works of art. It is remarkable that Bordon, a miniaturist, was the editor of the first printed Venetian text including an example of ekphrasis, the Lucian compilation described above, which included the De columnia with its ekphrasis of the Calumny of Apelles. (46)
Two inserted illuminated leaves in a tiny book of hours (7.2 x 5.4 cm.) now in the Newberry Library further expand the oeuvre of the Second Grifo Master (fig. 15). Citing Salmi's attribution of the Marciana Grifo miniature to a follower of Cima, Paul Saenger recently attributed these also to a follower. (47) With new understanding of the Grifo manuscript in the Marciana, we can now transfer attribution to the Second Grifo Master. Despite the tiny size of the Massacre of the Innocents page (7.3 x 5.4 cm.), the illuminator has created softly moulded, rounded figures which monumentally enact the drama in front of a deep Veneto landscape with craggy outcrops and characteristic yellow trees. The flight into Egypt is humourously alluded to by fleeing figures in grisaille at the base of Herod's throne (one figure pulls on an ass who refuses to budge). This miniature particularly demonstrates affinities with the Poliphilo woodcuts, and with the work of Bordon. Bearded Herod, for instance, can be compared with the statue of Jupiter in the Poliphilo which we have just examined (fol. 12v, fig. 11), and the strong-featured faces and broad jaws are characteristic of works associated with Bordon. (48) The elaborate pen-and-ink flourishes and borders throughout the rest of this tiny manuscript can be attributed to the scribe and illuminator Alberto Maffei (fig. 16), whose oeuvre has been outlined by Suzy Marcon. (49)
The complex relationships between miniaturists, and between miniatures and woodcuts, is further exemplified by a Penitential Psalms manuscript of around 1509, attributed to the hand of the Grifo illumination by Jonathan Alexander. (50) The top border of folio 3 (fig. 16) has a vignette of a satyr petting a goat exactly like that in the top border of the Herodotus woodcut variously attributed to Bordon or the Second Grifo Master (fig. 13), so that the illumination must be a direct copy of the woodcut, or from a workshop model book. (51) The format of the Grifo page also closely follows that of the Herodotus woodcuts, with an antique vignette in the bottom border set in a carved frame. In the center of the miniature is an inversion of the eagle in the 1494 Lucian woodcut border attributed to Bordon (fig. 9). Does this close copying demonstrate a workshop situation where artists worked from the same model books, or does this merely indicate the open currency of images in print?
The fourth group in the generation of the woodcuts were the woodcutters, to whom we owe the ultimate interpretation of the images in an elegant outline style associated with other Venetian woodcuts termed by Hind as the `classic style.' These include the woodcuts in the Ketham published by the de Gregoriis in 1493/4, and the woodcuts in two other books for Aldus, the astrological compilation of October 1499, and the letters of Catherine of Siena, published in September 1500. (52)
The woodcuts in the astrological compilation indicate the extent to which the style of the miniaturists and the anonymous woodcutters are responsible for the beauty of the Poliphilo woodcuts. Most of the woodcuts which illustrate the text by Aratus in the Aldine compilation seem to have been printed directly from the same blocks used in the Aratus text printed by Antonius de Strata in 1488, which in turn were used initially in the 1482 Hyginus published by Ratdolt. (53) The reuse of the de Strata woodcuts indicates that Aldus purchased them either from de Strata or from a woodcutting shop.
But five of the original woodcuts were either lost or worn out in the interim, for there are new ones based on de Strata's in Aldus's edition. Three of these new Aldine woodcuts are remarkable in that they are not merely recuttings, but reinterpretations in the style of Bordon. The new woodcuts of the Pleiades sisters replacing the 1488 de Strata edition in the 1499 Aldine show a new rounding of form and classicizing style (fol. G6v, figs. 6 and 17). These are close to the Poliphilo woodcuts, having similar rounded outlines, but the cutting, inking, and printing is not up to the caliber of the Poliphilo. This shows both that the Poliphilo artist was probably working for Aldus Manutius in another publication just before the Poliphilo and how important the final execution of the woodcutters and typesetters was to realize most completely the illuminator's designs. That this artist included Bordon is indicated in particular by the opening initial to the Bolzanus edition Aldus printed in 1497; a lion's head mask is distinctively like those in the Lucian border woodcut. (54)
To conclude, it is clear in light of typical book production in Venice in the late fifteenth century, that the beauty and innovations of the Poliphilo woodcuts are not attributable to a single artist, but rather to the combined efforts of the author and perhaps an artist closely linked to the author, Venetian miniaturists including Benedetto Bordon, the Second Grifo Master and workshops, the woodcutters, and the typesetters. The exact nature of the workshops remains to be seen, as art historians continue to distinguish Bordon's work from the closely related hands of the so-called Second Grifo Master and other anonymous miniaturists; but the vitality and high quality of their work encourage attributing a prominent role in the production of the Poliphilo to them.
The orchestration of these artisans was made possible by the expense lavished on the project by Leonardo Crasso, who claimed to have spent several hundred ducats on it. (55) In the final analysis, whether or not Aldus was closely involved with the production of the Poliphilo, the highly developed resources of his press and his links to woodcutters, illuminators, and typesetters are visible in, and were crucial to the development of, the magnificence of this book.
Cette communication examine ce qui est probablement le livre le plus connu d'Aldus, l'Hypnerotomachia Poliphili de 1499, et plus particulierement ses illustrations, leur style et leur origine. Plusieurs noms ont ete mis de l'avant dans le but d'identifier l'artiste responsable des gravures sur bois du Poliphilo. Cet expose tente de demontrer qu'elles sont selon toute vraisemblance issues d'une collaboration entre l'auteur, des graveurs sur bois venitiens et des typographes de l'atelier d'Aldus.
I would like to thank my dissertation advisors Esther Dotson, Robert G. Calkins, and Claudia Lazzaro for their guidance in the early stages of research on this topic. My gratitude also to Lilian Armstrong, Giordana Mariani Canova, Martin Lowry, and Federica Toniolo for continued advice and support.
(1) The literature cannot be fully listed here. Please see E. Barraud, `Essai de bibliographie du Songe de Poliphile,' La Bibliofilia 15 (1913-14): 21-9, 121-34, 186-95, and 214-20; M.T. Casella and G. Pozzi, Francesco Colonna: Biografia e Opera (Padua: 1959); G. Pozzi and L. Ciapponi, Hypnertomachia Poliphili: Edizione critica e commento (Padua: Editrice Antenore, 1964); reprint with new critical review of the literature, 1980); P. Scapecchi, `Giunte e considerazione per la bibliografia sul Polifilo,' Accademie e biblioteche d'Italia 53 2 (1985): 68-73; M. Calvesi, `Hypnerotomachia Poliphili: Nuovi riscontri e nuove evidenze documentarie per Francesco Colonna signore di Preneste,' Storia dell'Arte 60 (1987): 85-137; H.K. Szepe, `The Poliphilo and Other Aldines Reconsidered in the Context of the Production of Decorated Books in Venice,' Ph.D. Diss., Cornell University, 1992; M. Calvesi, `La pugna d'amore in sogno' di Francesco Colonna Romano (Rome: Lithos, 1996); H.K. Szepe, `Desire in the Printed Dream of Poliphilo,' Art History 19, 3 (1996): 370-92. The two most recent facsimiles of the 1499 edition are by Eugrammia Press (London: 1963) with an essay by George Painter, and by Ediciones del Portico (Zaragoza: 1981) with an introduction and analysis by Peter Dronke.
(2) Martin Lowry, The World of Aldus Manutius: Business and Scholarship in Renaissance Venice (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1979), 119-26.
(3) For instance, the woodcut of a satyr uncovering the fountain nymph (fol. D9r) is the direct source for a number of painted and engraved reclining nudes, including the engraving of a similar subject by Benedetto Montagna, and Lucas Cranach's painting of the Nymph of the Spring. The general phenomenon of the reclining nude in Venetian art is discussed and illustrated in M. Meiss, `Sleep in Venice: Ancient Myths and Renaissance Proclivities,' Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 110, 5 (1966): 348-82. On the influence of the Poliphilo woodcut, see Fritz Saxl, Lectures (London: Warburg Institute, 1957), I: 162; E.B. MacDougall, `The Sleeping Nymph: Origins of a Humanist Fountain Type,' Art Bulletin 57, 3 (September 1975): 357-65. Jaynie Anderson locates the source of the sleeping nude in epithalamic poetry and ancient gems. She tempers the attribution of the direct influence of the Poliphilo woodcuts on Giorgione. For the source of the motif, see also S. Huper, `The Woodcuts of the Hypnertomachia Poliphili,' Ph.D. Diss., University of Iowa, 1948, 74-5. The influence of the Poliphilo woodcut on Cranach is discussed in M. Liebmann, `On the Iconography of the Nymph of the Fountain,' Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 31 (1968): 434-7. The literature on the general influence of the Poliphilo on art and architecture is extensive. This is listed in Pozzi and Casella, Francesco Colonna: Biografia e Opera, I: xviii-xxvii, Pozzi and Ciapponi, Hypnertomachia Poliphili: Edizione critica e commento, II: 22-4. See also the special issue of Storia dell'Arte on the Poliphilo, Vol. 66 (1989), edited by Maurizio Calvesi; A.K. Hieatt and A.L. Prescott, `Contemporizing Antiquity: The Hypnertomachia and Its Afterlife in France,' Word and Image 8, 4 (October-November 1992): 291-320. Alberto Perez-Gomez has rewritten the book in postmodern terms as Polyphilo, or the Dark Forest Revisited (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992).
(4) The attribution history of the Poliphilo is long and complex, and is summarized in H.K. Szepe, `The Poliphilo and Other Aldines,' 7, n. 9.
(5) On the codicology of printed books, see Sandra Hindman's introduction to Printing the Written Word: The Social History of Books, circa 1450-1520 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991), 4.
(6) This is typical of the nineteenth-century search for genius. See, for example, Domenico Maria Federici, Memorie trevigiane sulle opere di disegno dal 1100 al 1800 (Venice: F. Andreola, 1803), 1: 96-116, and L. Pollak, `Uber heutige Stand der Polifilusfrage,' Kunstchronik 23 (1911-12): 433-7; Josef Poppelreuter, Der anonyme Meister des Poliphilo: Eine Studie zur Italienischen Buchillustration und zur Antike in der Kunst des Quattrocentro (Strasbourg: Heitz, 1904).
(7) The Poliphilo was published anonymously, but an acrostic formed by the opening letters of chapters spells `POLIAM FRATER FRANCISCUS COLUMNA PERAMAVIT.' Two different but contemporary Francesco Colonnas have been proposed as author: one a Trevisan monk who lived in Venice, and the other a Roman nobleman. Giovanni Pozzi in particular has used artistic evidence to argue for the Trevisan monk, while Maurizio Calvesi has presented Roman visual evidence to argue for Roman authorship. The most recent arguments and bibliography are presented in Pozzi and Ciaponni, `La cultura figurativa di Francesco Colonna e l'arte veneta,' Lettere Italiane 14 (April-June 1964): 151-69, and in Calvesi, `Nuovi riscontri.'
Other authors have also been suggested. See A. Khomentovskaia, `Felice Feliciano da Verona comme l'auteur de l'Hypnertomachia Poliphili,' La Bibliofilia 37 and 38 (1935, 1936): 154-74, 20-48, 92-102. P. Scapecchi attributes the book to Eliseo da Treviso in `L'Hypnertomachia Poliphili e il suo autore,' Accademie e Biblioteche d'Italia 51, 4/5 (1983): 286-99. Emanuela Kretzulesco argues for Florentine origins, attributing the designs to Leon Battista Alberti in `L'enigma della sigla "B" nella Hypnertomachia Poliphili,' in Giardini Misterici: Simboli, enigmi dell'antichita al Novocento (Parma: Silva, 1994), 69-108.
(8) Eugene Piot was the first to suggest an anonymous master working in book production, whom he labeled the `Maitre des dauphins.' See Le Cabinet de l'amateur (Paris: Didot Freres, 1863), 353-65.
(9) Michel Pastoureau has proposed that we abandon the frustrating `art historical' preoccupation with attributions and accept the collaborative nature of early book illustration. Nevertheless, comparison with contemporary manuscript illumination allows for closer identification of similar groups of works. See `L'Illustration du livre: comprendre ou rever?,' in Henri-Jean Martin and Roger Chartier, eds., Histoire de l'edition francaise (Paris: Fayard-Cercle de la Librairie, 1983), 1: 501.
(10) These titles were assigned to craftsmen who applied for privileges to obtain exclusive publishing rights in Venice. Individuals were always given the same title although the tasks mentioned in the privileges might differ: this implies that specialties were not rigidly restricted either by law or in practice. Guilds which would tend to enforce rights to different tasks were not individually established for these professions until the sixteenth century.
In 1548-49 the Council of Ten invited printers and booksellers to establish a guild, but one was not officially created until 1567. Nevertheless, the phrasing of the guild Mariegola suggests some sort of organization was already established before 1567. There are, however, no records for guilds of woodcutters or printmakers in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.
There was apparently no separate guild for miniaturists. According to Essling, miniaturists were first included in the Fraglia dei Pittori in Venice in 1530. Favoro cites their entrance into the painters' guild as first documented in a Mariegola in 1574. See Victor Massena, Prince d'Essling, Bibliographie des livres a figures venitiens (Paris: Leclerc, 1892), 111: 112, n. 1; Charles Ephrussi, `Notes sur les xylographes venitiens du xve et du xvie siecles,' Gazette des Beaux Arts 1 (1890): 494-503; Horatio Brown, The Venetian Printing Press (London: J.C. Nimmo, 1891), 87; E. Favoro, L'arte dei pittori in Venezia e i suoi statuti (Florence: 1975), 41; David Rosand, Painting in Cinquecento Venice (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982); David Landau and Peter Parshall, The Renaissance Print 1470-1550 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), 9, 36-7.
(11) L. Donati, `Studio esegetico sul Poliphilo,' La Bibliofilia 52 (1950): 134-7; G. Pozzi, `Il Poliphilo nella storia del libro illustrato veneziano,' in R. Palluchini, ed., Giorgione e l'umanesimo Veneziano (Florence: L.S. Olschki, 1981), 71-107; Calvesi, Storia dell'Arte, 97.
Some scholars have felt that discrepancies between text and image in the Poliphilo indicate that the author could not have executed the figures. These discrepancies can, however, be explained under the stages of execution model as errors made by intermediate artists in translating the author's images. See Albert Ilg, Uber den kuntsthistorischen Wert der `Hypnertomachia Poliphili' (Vienna: W. Braumuller, 1872), 129.
(12) Printed by Joannes Rubeus for Lucantonio Giunta, 10 April 1947 (BMC v, 419; Goff O-185). Illustrated in Essling, Bibliographie, cat. 223, 220-6, and in Pozzi, figs. 1 and 2.
(13) Charles Mitchell, `Archaeology and Romance in Renaissance Italy,' in E.F. Jacobi, ed., Italian Renaissance Studies (London: Faber and Faber, 1960), 455-83.
(14) Felice Feliciano, `Raccolta di Rime,' Modena, Biblioteca Estense, ms. N.7.28. Described and illustrated in G. Castiglioni and Sergio Marinelli, Miniatura Veronese del rinascimento (Verona: Museo di Castelvecchio, 1986), 198.
(15) Vienna, Osterreischiche Nationalbibliothek, cod. 2597. For a discussion of attribution of the illuminations to Rene of Anjou, see O. Pacht, Die illuminierten Handschriften und Inkunabeln der Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek. Vol. 1, Franzosische Schule (Vienna: Verlag Der Osterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1974), 37-48.
(16) Pozzi contrasts the narrative focus of the Poliphilo woodcuts with the diffused quality of those of the 1497 Ovid.
(17) Emanuela Kretzuelesco-Quaranta, Les Jardins du Songe: Poliphile et la mystique de la Renaissance (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1976; 2nd ed. 1986).
(18) D.S. Russell, The Emblem and Device in France (Lexington: French Forum, 1985).
(19) See n. 7 above.
(20) L. Donati, `Polifilo a Roma: Il Mausaleo di Santa Costanza,' La Bibliofilia 70 (1968): 1-38, L. Donati, `Una marca tipografica di Francesco Jacopo della Spera ed il problema del Polifilo,' Accademie e biblioteche d'Italia 25 (1957): 246-61.
(21) Calvesi, Storia dell'Arte, 97-107, figs. 9-26; Maurizio Calvesi, Il sogno di Polifilo prenestino (Rome: Officina, 1980), figs. 93-8; Maurizio Calvesi, `Il gaio classicismo: Pinturicchio e Francesco Colonna nella Roma di Alessandro VI,' in S.D. Squarzina, ed., Roma: centro ideale della cultura dell'Antico nei secoli XV e XVI (Milan: Electa, 1989), 70-101.
(22) Charles Huelsen declined to decide whether the author actually saw antique monuments in Rome, since they could have been available through sketches. See his `Le illustrazioni della Hypnertomachia Poliphili e le antichita di Roma,' La Bibliofilia (August-September 1911): 167-76.
(23) Giovanni Pozzi, Francesco Colonna e Aldo Manuzio (Bern: The Monotype Corporation, 1962).
(24) Venice, Biblioteca Marciana, Ms. It. Z64 (+4824), fol. 233r. See Casella and Pozzi, Francesco Colonna, 152-3.
(25) See in particular the satyrs in illuminations in Venetian printed books printed by Jenson and attributed to the master of the London Pliny and Girolamo da Cremona, as in Plutarch, Parallel Lives, c. 1478 (New York, The Pierpont Morgan Library, PML 77565; Goff P-832), and Gratian, Decretum, 1477 (Gotha, Landesbibliothek, Mon. Typ. 1477, 2o 12; Goff G-366). See Lilian Armstrong, `The Hand-Illumination of Printed Books in Italy 1465-1515,' in J.J.G. Alexander, ed., The Painted Page: Italian Renaissance Book Illumination 1450-1550 (Munich and New York: Prestel, 1994), 35-47, and cat. entries 95, 96, and 97.
(26) A description of this exemplar may be found in Elisabeth Rucker, Die Schedelsche Weltchronik: Das grosste Buchunternehmung der Durer Zeit (Munich: Prestel, 1973). See also Adrian Wilson, The Making of the Nuremberg Chronicle (Amsterdam: Nico Israel, 1976).
(27) The Aratus text is in the Scriptores astronomici veteres (Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1499). Examination of the wording of privilege documents indicates that designers drew directly on the woodblocks and had them cut by others. See R. Fulin, `Documenti per servire alla storia della tipografia veneziana,' Archivio veneto 23 (1882): 155, item 141, and David Rosand, Titian and the Venetian Woodcut (Washington: International Exhibitions Foundation, 1976), 21.
(28) Ephrussi, `Notes', 498-9; Rosand, Titian and the Venetian Woodcut, 14-15. Because of the high quality of miniaturist work and the importance of the quality of the professional woodcutters, I disagree that the beauty of the Poliphilo woodcuts represents the introduction of panel painters to their production, as proposed in Landau and Parshall, The Renaissance Print, 35-8.
(29) On the attribution to Mantegna of certain manuscript illuminations, see Millard Meiss, Andrea Mantegna as Illuminator (New York: Columbia University Press, 1957), and J.J.G. Alexander, Italian Renaissance Illuminations (New York: Braziller, 1977), 54-9. On the attributions to Mantegna or Giovanni Bellini of the Strabo manuscript in Albi, see The Painted Page, cat. 29, and J. Fletcher, `The Painter and the Poet: Giovanni Bellini's Portrait of Raffaele Zovenzoni Rediscovered,' Apollo 124 (September 1991): 153-8.
(30) Mario Salmi, Italian Miniatures (London: Collins, 1957), 67. Lionello Puppi attributes it to Benedetto Montagna in `Appunti su Benedetto Montagna,' Arte Veneta (1958): 53-62, and in `Di Benedetto Montagna,' Arte antica e moderna (1960): 281-90. Attribution to Cima is summarized by Peter Humfrey, who rejects it, in Cima da Conegliano (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 191, cat. 232. G. Mariani Canova advances and discusses the current state of research on the Second Grifo Master in `Antonio Grifo, Illustratore del Petrarca Queriniano,' in G. Frasso and G. Mariani Canova, eds., Illustrazione libraria, filologia e esegesi petrarchesca tra Quattrocento e Cinquecento: Antonio Grifo e l'incunabolo queriniano G V 15 (Padua: Antenore, 1990), 195-8.
(31) This seems to be the case, for example, with the Morgan Aristotle of 1483 (New York, The Pierpont Morgan Library, Inc. ML 21193, fol. Ir; Goff A-962). Whereas Canova attributes this folio to the Second Grifo Master, Lilian Armstrong has attributed it to Bordon. See Canova, Illustrazione libraria, 196, plate 39, and Armstrong, The Painted Page, 43-44 and 190-205; cats. 96-101.
(32) G. Mariani Canova, `Profilo di Benedetto Bordon, miniatore padovano,' Atti dell'istituto veneto di scienze, lettere ed arti: Classe di scienze morali, lettere ed arti 127 (1968): 101; J.J.G. Alexander, `Venetian Illumination in the Fifteenth Century,' Arte Veneta (1970): 272; Lowry, The World of Aldus Manutius, 122; Armstrong, The Painted Page, 45-7. Canova's view that Cima is not Grifo, Grifo is not Bordon, and that the Grifo Master may be the artist of the Poliphilo illustrations is cited in a review by A. Martin of the international convention on Cima da Conegliano, Conegliano, 1-2 October 1993, in Kunstchronik 6 (June 1994): 322. G. Castiglioni rejects the attribution in `Frixi et figure et miniadure facte de intajo: Tra silografia e miniatura in alcuni incunaboli veneziani,' Verona illustrata 2 (1989): 24. See also U. Bauer-Eberhardt, `Cima, Benedetto Bordon e il Maestro delle Sette Virtu: nuove attribuzioni e coincidenze,' Venezia Cinquecento 4, 7 (January-June 1994): 103-25.
(33) Arthur M. Hind, An Introduction to a History of Woodcut (London: Constable, 1935), 2: 466-8; Massena and Ephrussi, `Notes,' 498.
(34) `. . . et deinde ha fatto [emphasis added] intagliar quelli in ditto legname.' See Fulin, `Documenti,' 155, item 141. See also J.M. Massing, `The Triumph of Caesar by Benedetto Bordon and Jacobus Argentoratensis: Its Iconography and Influence,' Print Quarterly 8, 1 (March 1990): 4-21. The privilege of the Isolario of Bordon also states that he went to great expense `come anchor nel far tagliar la forma de ciaschuna Isola' (Isolario de Benedetto Bordone (Venice: Niccolo Zoppino, 1534), fol. Aaiv).
(35) This more heavily defined and shaded style is found also in the woodcuts of a series of missals printed by Giunta of Venice and attributed to Bordon. Illustrated in J.W. Bradley, The Vallambrosa Missal of 1503 Illustrated by Benedetto Bordon Printed on Vellum (Edinburgh: Turnbull & Spears, n.d.). See also Lilian Armstrong, `Benedetto Bordon, Aldus Manutius and Lucantonio Giunta: Old Links and New,' I Tatti Studies, forthcoming.
(36) M. Billanovich, `Benedetto Bordon e Giulio Cesare Scaligero,' Italia medioevale e umanistica 9 (1968): 187-256; E. Ph. Goldschmidt, `Lucian's Calumnia,' in D.J. Gordon, ed., Fritz Saxl, 1890-1948: A Volume of Memorial Essays From His Friends in England (London: Nelson, 1957), 242-3.
(37) Lucianus Samosatensis, Opera (Vera historia) (Vienna, Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Inc. 4. G.27). Described and illustrated in The Painted Page, 207-8, cat. 104.
(38) Dublin, Chester Beatty Library, MS. 107, fol. 3v and 65r. Described and illustrated in The Painted Page, cat. 118.
(39) Petrarch, Le cose volgare (Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1502). Copies at Berlin, Staatsbibliothek, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Ald. Ren. Nr. 28, 5, 8o; New York, The Pierpont Morgan Library, 17585; and London, British Library, c.4.d.5. See H.K. Szepe, `The Book as Companion, The Author as Friend: Aldine Octavos Illuminated by Benedetto Bordon,' Word and Image 11, 1 (January-March 1995): 77-99, figs. 5, 11, and 12.
(40) Plinius, Historia naturalis (Venice: Jenson, 1472), copy at the University of Ulster, Coleraine, Ireland. See H.A. Feisenberger, `Contemporary Collectors XLIV: The Henry Davis Collection II: The Ulster Gift,' The Book Collector 21 (Autumn 1972): 348. This copy is also illustrated in Lilian Armstrong, `The Illustration of Pliny's Historia naturalis in Venetian Manuscripts and Early Printed Books,' in J.B. Trapp, ed., Manuscripts in the Fifty Years After the Invention of Printing: Some Papers Read at a Colloquium at the Warburg Institute (London: Warburg Institute, 1982), 97-106, and fig. 54.
(41) Szepe, `The Book as Companion.'
(42) Extensively illuminated Aldine octavos of 1501 and 1502 by Bordon are compelling indications of his continued involvement with the Aldine press. There are also a number of later and less elaborate but equally important illuminated borders in Aldines in the style of Bordon. Furthermore, Lilian Armstrong has published a letter of 1515 in which the humanist Andrea Navagero complained about the price of a Virgil, undoubtedly an Aldine, with a miniature in the book by a `Benetto,' most likely Bordon. She has also found a web of connections linking Bordon and Aldus through the Franciscan community of San Nicolo della Lattuga in Venice, and demonstrated that Bordon designed woodcuts for Lucantonio Giunta.
See the forthcoming articles by A. Dillon Bussi and L. Armstrong in I Tatti Studies; H.K. Szepe, `Benedetto Bordon and Modes of Illuminating Aldines,' forthcoming in I Tatti Studies; S. Marcon, `Una Aldina miniata,' in Aldo Manuzio e l'ambiente veneziano 1494-1515 (Venice: Libreria Sansoviniana, 1994), 107-33; Hesketh and Ward (Antiquarian Booksellers), Catalogue 15 (London: n.d.), item 34; Armstrong, The Painted Page, 47; Armstrong, `Old Links and New.'
(43) Canova, Illustrazione libraria, 101, n. 9.
(44) Fol. H71.
(45) Lowry, The World of Aldus Manutius, 125.
(46) Szepe, `Book as Companion,' 80-2.
(47) Book of Hours, Use of Rome, Newberry Manuscript -86 (234360). This manuscript is described in detail in P. Saenger, A Catalogue of the Pre-1500 Western Manuscript Books at The Newberry Library (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), 159-60.
(48) Cf. Massacre of the innocents, Chester Beatty MS W. 107, fol. 6v, illustrated in Canova, La miniatura veneta, fig. 112.
(49) S. Marcon, `Ornati da penna e di pennello: appunta su scribi-illuminatori nella Venezia del maturo umanesimo,' La Bibliofilia 89, 2 (1987): 121-43.
(50) Now in the Comites Latentes collection, on deposit at the Bibliotheque publique et universitaire, Geneva (Ms. 51), formerly Major Abbey Ms. 6767. Attributed to the Grifo miniaturist by J.J.G. Alexander, who dates the manuscript to 1509 on circumstantial evidence. See Alexander and A.C. de la Mare, The Italian Manuscripts in the Library of Major J.R. Abbey (London: Faber and Faber, 1969), 156-7.
(51) L. Donati, `Di una figura non interpretata di Stefano Pellegrini da Cesena,' in Studi Riminesi e Bibliografici in onore di Carlo Lucchesi (Faenza: Stab. Grafico, 1952), 45-51.
(52) Johannes de Ketham, Fascicolo de medicina (Venice: Johannes and Gregorius de Gregoriis, 1493/94). Catherine of Siena, Lettere (Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1500). On the classic style, see Szepe, `Desire,' 391, n. 50. The Fascicolo is illustrated in Hind, fig. 257, and the St. Catherine woodcut in Marcon, `Una Aldina miniata,' 111.
(53) M. Gallo, `Aldo Manuzio e l'Hypnertomachia Poliphili del 1499,' Storia dell'Arte 66 (1989): 156-7; Marcon, `Una Aldina miniata,' 108-10; Szepe, `Desire,' 384.
(54) Urbanus Bolzanus, Institutiones graecae grammatices (Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1498). Illustrated in Marcon, `Una Aldina miniata,' 122.
(55) Yet we know that he did not, at least initially, reap any profits, for in 1509 he appealed to the Council of Ten for a renewal of his ten-year privilege, since many copies were still left unsold. See Fulin, `Documenti,' 171. The woodcuts remained in the printer's shop as indicated by the `figure del polyphile, de iulio firmico, de iulio cesare' inheritance by Federico Torresani from Aldus Manutius the Younger in 1544. See Ester Pastorello, `Di Aldo Pio Manuzio: Testimonianze e documenti,' La Bibliofilia 67, 2 (1965): 220.
Helena K. Szepe is a member of the Department of Art History at the University of Southern Florida.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Author:||Szepe, Helena K.|
|Publication:||Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada|
|Date:||Apr 1, 1997|
|Previous Article:||Aldus and Greek learning.|
|Next Article:||Counterfeit Aldines and italic-letter editions printed in Lyons 1502-1510: early diffusion in Italy and France.|