Giorgio Vasari's Sala dei Cento Giorni: a farnese celebration.
In his notebook (Lo Zibaldone) and in the autobiographical section of his Le Vite, Vasari discussed the circumstances for this patronage, identified the personifications depicted, and explained the subject matter. In Lo Zibaldone, under the heading "Cose della Cancelleria 1545," Vasari first sketchily commented on some ideas concerning the program and the contract for this commission:
I remember how on March 29, 1546, the Illustrious, most Reverend Monsignor, Cardinal Farnese, hired me to paint al fresco the second hall of the chancery in the Palazzo di San Giorgio. Four walls of this hall should represent historical events and tabernacles, friezes, and ornaments with various figures, according to my design shown to his most holy Reverend, in which we agreed that on the wall facing us, which is dark, will be depicted a story danturiura gentibus [of the laws being given to the people]. All representatives from the Nations of the World come to the Pontiff in Rome for the peregrination and bring numerous tributes. In various areas of this wall and among the dignitaries stand Justice, Eloquence, Liberality, Industry, Merit, and Fecundity.
The wall that faces the church shows the Pope commissioning the building of Saint Peter's. In its foreground Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting present to the Pontiff a groundfloor plan to be executed, where the representation of the Vatican, with seven putti representing the seven hills, holds all the honors. In this scene are Merit and Geometry and, above them, Providence and Wisdom. Another story depicts the Pope rewarding Virtue, who gives dignity to many poor people. On the steps Envy is bound, and within the tabernacles are Magnificence and Piety and, above them, Fame and Eternity. Below in the tabernacles are three virtues: Merit, Religion, and Abundance.
On the third wall Concord, Peace, Victory, and Justice carry the Pope, illustrating the story of Peace created by the Pope and Christian princes. Fury is bound and the Temple of Janus is closed. Virtuous Love and Fortitude are depicted, as are Hilarity and Peace burning the arms of war. One of the tabernacles contains Charity and the other Concord.
On the last wall are tabernacles with the three theological virtues. All of this work I promised to do in one hundred days. He will pay me eight hundred and eight scudi on the tenth of July and will cover my expenses for two servants and a horse, as noted by the hand of Monsignor Giovio. The Bank of Montaguti has been ordered to pay me said amount. (5) (del Vita 22-25)
In his autobiography, Vasari elaborates on the description of the commission, focusing on the depictions of ancient and contemporary portraits:
In that same year  Cardinal Farnese proposed to paint the hall of the chancery in the palace of San Giorgio, and Monsignor Giovio, who wanted me to do this, got me to prepare designs, though they were never carried out. The Cardinal finally decided that the hall should be done alfresco, in a great hurry, by a certain date.
The room is more than a hundred palmi long, with a height and breadth of fifty. There is a large scene at the end of the first wall, and one side comprises two scenes of the second wall. Because there are windows along the third wall, only the upper portion has painted scenes. The fourth wall mirrors the first wall with a large scene. To avoid making a dado in the usual way for all the scenes,
I tried a new device of steps up from the ground, with a scene in each; I placed figures along the steps until they reach the level of the scenes.
It would be tedious to describe the little details, so I will confine myself to a brief description of the main points. The scenes represent the achievements of Pope Paul III; each scene contains his portrait. The first central scene represents the dispatchers from Rome, with numerous nationalities and embassies and many portraits of people asking favors and offering tributes to the Pope. Large figures, placed above the doors of the Sala, stand on each side: Eloquence, above whom are two Victories holding the bust of Julius Caesar; and Justice, above whom two other Victories hold the bust of Alexander the Great. At this same level, in the middle, is the Pope's coat of arms, supported by Liberty and Merit.
On the principal wall is the Pope rewarding merit, bestowing awards, knighthoods, benefices, pensions, bishoprics, and cardinals' hats. Among those who receive them are Adoleto, Pole, Bembo, Contarino, Giovio, Buonarotto, and other great men, all likenesses. In a niche stands a Grace with a cornucopia full of honors, which she is pouring out. The Victories above her hold the bust of the emperor Trajan. Envy is there, consuming vipers and painfully bursting with spite. Above is the coat of arms of Cardinal Farnese, supported by Fame and Merit.
In another scene Pope Paul is represented as intent upon his buildings, especially Saint Peters. Kneeling before the Pope, Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture receive a plan of Saint Peter's and orders to carry the commission out. Beside these figures a spirit points to his heart. Wealth and Plenty stand in a niche, with two figures holding the effigy of Vespasian. Religion stands in a niche separating two scenes; above her two Victories hold the bust of Numa Pompilius. The arms above are Cardinal San Giorgio's, who built the palace.
The other scenes opposite the dispatches of the court are Universal Peace in Christendom, achieved by this pope, with portraits of the emperor Charles V and Francis, King of France. Peace is burning arms, the Temple of Janus is closed, and Fury is chained. This scene is located between two niches containing Concord with two Victories above and the bust of the emperor Titus, and a Charity with numerous urchins. Two Victories above hold the bust of the emperor Augustus. Finally we see the arms of Charles V supported by Victories and Hilarity. The whole work is full of inscriptions and admirable mottoes, devised by Giovio. (Le Vite7: 678-81)
In his autobiography Vasari is very explicit in his description of this work and the circumstances surrounding its execution. He and his assistants--Battista Bagnacavallo of Bologna, Giovan Paolo del Borgo, Bastiano Fiori, Fra Salvatore Foschi of Arezzo, and the Spaniards Bizzera and Roviale--completed the decorative cycles for this room in one hundred days, thereby giving the hall its name: the Sala dei Cento Giorni. At the time of its completion, the room was severely criticized by Michelangelo, Paolo Giovio, Annibale Caro, and even Vasari himself, who realized that he had sacrificed quality for the sake of time (del Vita 23). Vasari admitted that he had "committed an error in consigning the execution [of the frescoes] to my young assistants, for the sake of having them complete [the sala) more rapidly" (Vasari, Le Vite 7: 680). (6) Aware of the time spent on this cycle decoration, Michelangelos comment on the artistic quality of the completed room was simply, "e si conosce" (it is evident). (7) Paolo Giovio and Annibale Caro reported his displeasure over the portraits to Cardinal Farnese. (8)
Despite its stylistic shortcomings, Vasaris decorative cycle is important to mid-Cinquecento art in Rome, to the development of decorative cycles in honor of the Farnese family, and, in particular, to the iconography of Pope Paul III. Of equal importance is its use of emblemata and mottoes in narrative scenes. Giorgio Vasari informs us that Paolo Giovio, a humanist in the Farnese court, was mainly responsible for the selection of the iconography and Latin inscriptions, for the Farnese imprese, and for invenzioni in the decorative program of the Sala. (9)
In this essay, I will first discuss how Vasari transformed the camera picta (painted room) into a theatrical setting, the painted walls of the room becoming illusionistic stages. Second, I will show how he established a formula for the decorative cycle with elaborate representations of narrative scenes (istorie) with Latin inscriptions, mottoes, coats of arms, personifications, and emblematic figures. Finally, I will explain how I interpret the Salas iconography. (10) Although Vasaris contemporaries criticized its quality, the significance of this work rests on the meaning of the paintings.
Vasari illustrates the theatrical frons scaenae of antiquity in the Sala. In 15 (11) an illustrated version of Vitruvius's Ten Books on Architecture became very popular, and Vasari, who had received a humanistic training, was certainly familiar with Vitruvius's section on the theater." Unlike their Greek counterparts, most Roman theaters were temporary wooden structures and only a few partially survived, such as the theater of Marcellus. The theater of Pompey, with its Portico of One Hundred Columns, was opened by Pompey in 55-52 BCE as the first Roman stone theater. (12) The porticoes contained trees and fountains and acted as a public gallery for painting and sculpture.
Vasari's interest in theatrical settings began to develop during his stay in Venice in 1541, when he was designing and painting stage settings for La Talanta, a comedy by his closest friend, Pietro Aretino. (13) His familiarity with the Venetian architect Sebastiano Serlio's theater design is evident in Serlio's Second Book of 1545. Years later, in 1565, Vasari translated the painted perspectival depiction of the Sala dei Cento Giorni into a fixed scene in the Salone dei Cinquecento of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. This portable theater could be disassembled, stored, and reassembled when needed during ceremonial festivities such as the entry of Johanna of Austria in Florence (Satkowski 107-12, Fig. 223). In 1570 Vasari carried further this concept of staging with the architectural structure of the Uffizi Gallery, thus creating an avenue as an ideal stage.
Vasari's awareness of ancient architectural history, his knowledge of present edifices, and his impresario techniques are evident in the Sala dei Cento Giorni. It is clear that the stage settings for the narrative in the frescoes reflect the affinity between the site of the palace and its theatrical function: Vasari knew that Pope Paul III's predecessor, Cardinal Riario (1478-86), who originally conceived of the Palazzo, held theatrical plays for the court of Rome, and that the Palazzo della Cancelleria rests on the ravine of the theater of Pompey. Thus Vasari set a stage for the unfolding of Giovio's iconographical apotheosis of the Pontiff, Paul III Farnese--a monument of Cinquecento illusionistic art and a sculpture gallery. (14)
Vasari gave his assistants drawings for the Sala, and they worked in an elaborate and fanciful manner. Although no large drawings have survived, several preparatory sketches dated 1546 are housed in the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, the Louvre Museum in Paris, the Biblioteca Reale in Turin, and the Uffizi in Florence. (15) The narrative takes place in a most unusual illusionistic space in which crowded figures are situated in painted architecture with trompe I'ceiL steps and stairways surrounded by simulated sculpture and decorated with an overabundance of allegorical motifs. The gesticulations, expressions, and movements of the figures are extravagant, exaggerated, and courtly, in the Maniera style of the mid-Cinquecento.
A few observations on the stage setting of the Sala dei Cento Giorni help us understand how Vasari's design reflects his assimilation of Roman and Venetian decorative schemes. The Sala dei Cento Giorni is rectangular, with a flat, wooden ceiling composed of sunken coffered squares created by the intersection of wooden beams (Figs. 2 and 3). The end of each beam is supported by a volute, which rests on the upper part of the wall. The east wall contains six large windows in the lower zone and six small ones in the upper. The north and south walls contain one bay each, the west wall two. The wall decorations are geometric and archi tectonic. They are treated not as painted, two-dimensional surfaces, but rather as plastic, architectural structures in which the imagery and real space can expand and contract as one unit--in short, as a stage setting.
The walls are divided into two horizontal zones, each in turn divided into three vertical areas. The upper zone is treated as a frieze. At each right and left is a portrait bust of an ancient emperor, framed by winged Ignudi, or allegories of Victory. Above each bust is a Latin motto inscribed in a scroll. In the center of this upper zone, seated allegorical female figures, framed by the wooden corbels, present an escutcheon. They can be identified by the attributes they hold and the Latin inscriptions written on the scrolls at their feet. Variations of grotesque motifs embellish the overall decoration. For the treatment of this zone, Vasari was inspired by Perino del Vaga's decorative scheme in the Sala Paolina, 1544-45, of the Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome. (16) Vasari replaced Perino's all'antica standing emperors with bust portraits, and, between the allegorical female figures where Perino selected a tondo containing ancient histories, he placed an escutcheon containing the papal coat of arms.
The lower and upper zones are separated by two broken pediments located at the ends of the wall. The architrave between the two zones supports an elaborate mask and festoon motif. In the lower zone, two painted tabernacles support the broken pediments. The tabernacle motif contains an open area or niche in which a standing religious personification projects toward the viewer. This motif derives from Vasari's observations and studies of ancient tabernacles in religious temples, such as the Pantheon, as well as his visual knowledge of early sixteenth-century drawings or sketches from the interior of the Pantheon, such as Menicantonio's sketch of the Interior of the Pantheon, 1513 (Sketchbook), and Raphael's drawing, Interior of the Pantheon, 1510-15. (17) This motif also derives from Vasari's observations, assimilation, and general knowledge of art works, such as the enthroned popes in Giulio Romano's Sala di Constantino, 1520s; Jacopo Sansovino's Loggietta, 1537; and Michelangelo's Medici Chapel, completed in 1534.
In the center portions of the lower zones, depictions of an istoria (dramatic narrative or dramatic scene) (18) are framed by Doric columns. The use of painted architecture or colonnades to frame or enclose a narrative scene was commonly understood in antiquity as a stage setting. This device was elaborated in the Quattrocento as a drama on the stage, for example in Francesco Cossa's and Cosme Tura's Salone dei Mesi, 1470s, and Raphael's The Healing of the Lame Man, a tapestry cartoon, 1515-17. Finally, it was adopted in the Cinquecento as in Giulio Romano's Sala di Constantino, and in particular, Perino del Vaga's Sala Paolina.
The istorie depicted on the walls are filled with stylistic quotations from past and present art. The dado (zoccolo or basamento) has been transformed. Vasari tried to create a new device by using trompe I'oeil steps that run from the center of the lower zone, where the narrative scene takes place, to the physical floor, creating the illusion that the viewer can step up and into the painted scene. His decorative scheme reflects an assimilation of Perino del Vaga's illusionistic steps in the frescoed doorways of the Sala Paolina and Michelangelo's staircase in the vestibule of the Biblioteca Laurenziana, 1524-34, Florence, (19) as well as Antonio Sangallo's and Sebastiano Serlio's studies of stage settings in the 1540s. (20)
Vasaris Sala as a camera picta with a continuous illusionistic "step up and into" motif is unprecedented in Cinquecento paintings. The trompe I'oeil effect of the steps is not the only element in the Sala that alludes to a stage setting. The projected tabernacles with religious personifications, the istorie framed by architectural elements such as columns and niches, and the decorative frieze with busts all'antica and papal coats of arms reinforce the motif. Vasari placed a didaskalia (written explanation for the visual imagery), or stage cue, in the middle of each staircase, to assist the viewer with the meaning of the istoria. Furthermore, the numerous combinations of visual imagery (allegories, all'antica bust portraits, personifications, and istorie) with textual explanation (Latin inscriptions, mottoes, and didaskalia) created for the Sala decoration provide the viewer with an illustrated emblem book. (21) Obviously, in the Sala, the painter also made use of humanistic and emblematic traditions in his portrayal of the Farnese celebration. With the literary assistance of Paolo Giovio's and Annibale Caro's invenzioni, Vasari developed a manner of composing images as a compendium of visual iconography for a camera picta akin to Alciato's and Cartari's literary practices. (22) Thus Vasari has painted a play enacted in a theatrical setting.
Several letters Vasari wrote to his patron, Cardinal Farnese, attest to Giovio's invenzioni, and Antonio Francesco Doni's letter to Lelio Torelli (Bottari and Ticozzi 5: 37), the chief legal advisor to Duke Cosimo I, clearly demonstrates the source for the Salas iconographical program. The description of the paintings in "Cose della Cancelleria, 1545" contained in Vasaris notebook, Lo Zibaldone, sheds further light on the analysis and meaning of the program. (23) The istorie in the Sala dei Cento Giorni emphasize the theme of papal supremacy along with themes of peace, temperance, prudence, and charity embodied in Paul III. The four scenes of the Sala dei Cento Giorni are The Treaty of Nice or Universal Peace in Christendom (Fig. 4), on the south wall; Nations Paying Homage to Paul III (Fig. 5), on the north wall; Paul III's Supervision of the Rebuilding of Saint Peter's (Fig. 6), and Paul III Awarding Benefices or The Creation of Cardinals (Fig. 7), both on the west wall; and The Theological Virtues or Cardinal and Theological Virtues (Fig. 8), on the east wall. The first two istorie--The Treaty of Nice and Nations Paying Homage to Paul III (south and north walls; Figs. 4 and 5)--are concerned with the secular or temporal powers of the Paul III, whereas Paul III's Supervision of the Rebuilding of Saint Peter's, Paul III Awarding Benefices, and The Theological Virtues (west and east walls; Figs. 6, 7, and 8) allude to the Pope's ecclesiastical authority and effectiveness. The four dramatic scenes depict events in the life of Pope Paul III, but only The Treaty of Nice (south wall; Fig. 4) relates to a precise historical event--commemorating the Pope's very important mediation between Charles V and Francis I in 1538.
It is obvious that the major theme is the glorification of Pope Paul III as a spiritual leader and humanistic ruler as written in the didaskalia on the steps of the walls:
* The Treaty of Nice or Universal Peace in Christendom (south wall; Fig. 4): In pace optimae artes excoluntur, igenia ad frugem coalescunt; publicae privataeque opes augentur (In peacetime, the best arts are cultivated; minds come together for useful purposes; public and private wealth are increased.)
* Nations Paying Homage to Paul III (north wall; Fig. 5): Aureum saeculum condit qui recto aequahilique ordine cuncta dispensat (He who dispenses all things justly and equitably founds a Golden Age.)
* Paul III's Supervision of the Rebuilding of Saint Peter's (west wall, bay 1; Fig. 6) : Magnificentiae studium cumpraeclarapietate coniunctum mortales coelo infert (Zeal for great deeds joined with conspicuous piety carries mortals to heaven.)
* Paul III Awarding Benefices or The Creation of Cardinals (west wall, bay 2; Fig. 7) : In summa fortuna nihilpraestantius quam benefici recte collati memoriam ad posterns extendisse (At the height of good fortune nothing is more outstanding than to have extended to posterity the memory of a benefit rightly conferred.)
Aspects of this pontifical glorification include a comparison with previous rulers, especially Roman emperors such as Julius Caesar, Augustus, Pyrrhus, Numa Pompilius, Trajan, and Vespasian, as well as Alexander the Great of Greece. This parallelism establishes the ancestry of the Farnese family and its connection with ancient rulers. The inclusion of personifications of virtues, such as Charity, Religion, Faith, and Justice, refers to the divine gifts given to Pope Paul III so that he might act and guide in a Christian manner. The Latin inscriptions and mottoes associated with the imagery add another dimension to the iconography. The analogies between the contemporary Roman Pope and the ancient Roman emperors interconnect not only iconographically but stylistically as well. Vasari consciously copied gestures and actions from all'antica Roman emperors' statuary to illustrate this paragone. The text guides the audience just as the chorus in a Greek or Ro man play informs the audience of the development of events.
Because of the fireplace, the south wall lacks the "step up and into" motif (Fig. 4). The lower zone contains the narrative scene of The Treaty of Nice or Universal Peace in Christendom showing the signing of the treaty in a landscape with classical ruins, alluding to the ancient city of Rome. A Victory figure follows the papal cortege, energetically waving a flag. Prudence, holding the key to the Temple of Janus, and Peace, burning the arms of War, and Victory, bearing a palm of triumph, together carry the enthroned Pope, who holds a laurel branch. The Pontiff blesses Charles V and Francis I and the many soldiers, who are warmly embracing each other in a sign of armistice: this papal gesture obviously imitates the extended arm of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius in the bronze statue on the Campidoglio. In the background the Temple of Janus is being closed while in the foreground Fury, a nude male enchained by the actions of Discord and War, is depicted sitting on the arms of War. The scene is framed by tabernacles containing the figures of Concord (Concordia) and Charity (Caritas). (24) Latin inscriptions appear below Concord--Res parvas auget et insuperabiles reddit (She builds upon small things and restores the insurmountable)--and below Charity--Christianae virtutis perfectum specimen ostendit (She holds out a perfect example of Christian virtue).
In the center of the upper zone, above the istoria, two busts of Roman emperors bracket Charles Vs coat of arms and are supported by seated figures of Felicity (Felicitas) and Hilarity (Hilaritas). Bust portraits crowned by Victory figures and honored by epitaphs or mottoes are located above each tabernacle. Vespasian, founder of the Temple of Peace, is portrayed above Concord with the inscription Templum pads condidit (He built the Temple of Peace). (25) The bust of Augustus (26) above Charity, who closed the doors to the Temple of Janus, bears the inscription Ianum clausit (He closed the Temple of Janus). These Latin inscriptions allude to political interventions and astuteness in establishing universal peace, and thus the inscriptions bring to mind these same traits in Pope Paul III. Like the emperors, the Cinquecento Pope has achieved peace.
The didaskalia at the base of the main scene and the flanking tabernacles with personifications of Concord and Charity clarify the meaning of the istoria. In pace optimae artes excoluntur, igenia ad frugem coalescunt; publicae privataeque opes augentur (In peacetime, the best arts are cultivated; minds come together for useful purposes; public and private wealth are increased): Pope Paul III strives to maintain these virtues with the aid of Constancy (Constantia) and Virtuous Love (Amor), represented by two painted statues that stand in niches on each side of the scene between the columns. Constancy is on the side of Concord, and Virtuous Love is close to the tabernacle of Charity. Each virtue needs the support of the other. As with the Roman ancestors, Pope Paul III's ability to maintain peace is achieved only with the help of Concord and Charity. (27)
On the opposite north wall, Nations Paying Homage to Paul III, or Pope Paul III dispersing Goods (Fig. 5), continues to illustrate the secular power of the Pope. His Holiness is accompanied by his two nephews--Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, Paul III's secretary of state, and Pier Luigi, a gonfalonier--and by his faithful secretary, Bartolomeo Guidaccioni. Surrounded by his entire court, he receives foreign dignitaries and accepts their tributes. The scene takes place in an audience hall. In the foreground, the Tiber is personified as a nude old man reclining on the steps. He is crowned with laurel and holds a cornucopia, and behind him two putti bear a wreath. This old figure on the trompe I'ceilstairway may also personify Rome crowned by Romulus and Remus; the Lupa can be seen at his feet. (28) Several parallels are evident: the origin and power of ancient Rome, as embodied in the Tiber, parallel the origin of the papacy in Rome (sedia apostolica), the powers military and diplomatic of the Farnese family, and the power of the Christian Church. Paul III is the spiritual and temporal leader who extends his blessing to all Christendom.
Behind this group stands Mercury, in a niche between two Doric columns. On the base of the fore column is inscribed the word Industry (Industrie!). Still in the foreground, a group of people are deeply engaged in discourse. They are elegantly dressed in Mannerist costumes. Some of them are standing on the steps, and others are seated. Behind them and in between the Doric columns, Merit (Merito), represented as an old man holding a laurel crown, occupies a niche. The word "Merit" is inscribed on the base of the front column. In the middle ground, His Holiness is enthroned, surrounded by his court. Across from them and between the colonnades, a crowd with exotic animals--including giraffes, elephants, camels, monkeys, and parrots--comes to greet Pope Paul III. The middle ground is separated from the background by an archway through which a Madonna and Child are glimpsed with Faith and Hope. The landscape back ground shows a group of horsemen approaching the audience hall. The inclusion of religious imagery and an entourage creates an analogy between the homage paid by the Magi and shepherds and the homage given to the Pontiff by members of all nations.
The didaskalia interprets the scene: Aureum seculum condit qui recto aequabilique ordine cuncta dispensa (He who dispenses all things justly and equitably founds a Golden Age). Paul III has created a Golden Age in the papacy through his Eloquence (Eloquentia) and Justice (Justitia), personified in tabernacles that appear on either side of the scene. The inscriptions allude to virtues of a good ruler: Eloquence--Segnes animos excitat iratos mulcet (She awakens sluggish souls and soothes angry ones); Justice--Maiestatis ac dictionis vim tuetur et fidem conciliat (She safeguards the power of majesty and speech and brings about trust). Near Eloquence and the enthroned Pope, Mercury symbolizes Industry as well as the Pope's actions. The results of Paul III's industrious efforts were good leadership and great achievements. Next to the tabernacle of Justice, Merit, located in a niche opposite Mercury, observes the offering of exotic animals by Greeks, Latins, and Germans. Their offerings and good deeds are well regarded by the Pontiff. According to Julian Kliemann, the elephant and giraffe were not gifts that Paul III received during his reign, but were an allusion to the paragone be tween the Roman emperor, Julius Cassar, and the contemporary ruler, Pope Paul III ("La Sala" 121-23). (29)
In the center of the frieze the papal coat of arms of the Farnese family is presented by Liberality and Abundance (Liberalitas and Copict). These personifications are located between the bust portraits of two ancient emperors, Julius Caesar (30) and Alexander the Great, (31) both framed by Victory figures. The portrait of Julius Caesar, located above the tabernacle of Eloquence, is embellished with the Latin inscription, Expedito vigore animi cuncta pervicit (Through her ready force of mind, she has conquered everything). Another inscription, Supra Garamantas et Indos protulit imperium (He extended the Empire beyond the Garamantes and Indus), belongs with Alexander the Great, whose bust portrait is above the tabernacle of Justice. The words allude to the contemporary expansion of the empire by Pope Paul III and to past extensions by Alexander; Pope Paul's given name, Alessandro, provides another correspondence with the Macedonian ruler. In antiquity Plutarch's De vitas impera established the parallels between Julius Cassar and Alexander the Great. In the Cinquecento Giovio and Vasari made Paul III analogous to the ancient rulers who conquered the world with eloquence and justice.
Paolo Giovio's and Giorgio Vasari's iconographical apotheosis of Pope Paul III continues on the adjacent walls, where the iconography of the west wall emphasizes the ecclesiastical power of the Pope. This large wall is composed of two bays and in each one an istoria evolves: Paul III's Supervision of the Rebuilding of Saint Peter's (Fig. 6, bay 1) and Paul III Awarding Benefices or The Creation of Cardinals (Fig. 7, bay 2). The Pope is honored for his diplomatic and temporal powers. In Paul III's Supervision of the Rebuilding of Saint Peter's, Paul III, as Moses or Peter dressed in Judaic clothes, comments on the architectural drawing presented to him by the liberal arts--Geometry, Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture (Fig. 6). They unfold a plan for the building of the basilica, as they receive orders to carry out the work. Saint Peter's is seen under construction in the background. The background also shows how, simultaneous to the building of Saint Peter's, other structures are demolished, such as the old mausoleum of Saint Andrew, the basilica of Constantine, and the presbytery of Rossellino. Others, according to Sangallo's new plan, are expanded, such as Bramante's vaulting and bay systems. All of these reconstructions are under Michelangelo's architectural guidance. In the loggia behind the Pontilf, Antonio da Sangallo (32) and Michelangelo make recommendations while studying the architectural drawing. In niches between the Doric columns stand the painted sculptures of Magnificence (Magnificentia) and Sincerity (Sinceritas). The didaskalia, Magnificentiae studium cum praeclarapietate coniunctum mortales coelo infert (Zeal for great deeds joined with conspicuous piety carries mortals to heaven), expresses Paul's intention to expand Saint Peter's as the new Temple of Solomon.
The reclining old man on the steps personifies the Vatican with its attributes--keys, papal tiara, canopy, and books--surrounded by youths who crown the figure with laurel. This personification, depicted as a nude old man holding the keys of Saint Peter, is surrounded by seven putti, who stand for the seven hills of Rome. Vasari's personification of the Vatican derives from the personification of Rome or the River Tiber, a well-known Roman sculpture located in front of the Senate building at the Campidoglio. (33) The painted statue of Sincerity behind this figure alludes to the papal attitude towards the construction of the new house of Christendom.
In the tabernacles personifications frame the scene: Opulence (Opulentia) with her motto, Optimo cuique exercendae virtutis instrumentum (For every good man, [Opulence is] an instrument for displaying virtue) on the right; Religion (Religio) with her inscription, Deus hominis maximosfacit (God makes men great), on the left. (34) Above the tabernacle of Opulence, Marcus Agrippa is portrayed in a bust all'antica with his motto, Ter cons Pantheon extruxit (In his third consul ship, he erected the Pantheon), Agrippa having been responsible for building the Pantheon. Parallels between Agrippa and Paul III are thus underscored: both were responsible for major religious constructions in Rome during their lifetimes; both rulers were concerned with the beautification of Rome.
Above the tabernacle of Religion is another bust alTantica of the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius, (35) who spiritually led his Roman people, as the inscription states: Ferocem victoris populum indicta Religione feliciter rexit (Having imposed the conqueror's religion, he successfully ruled a ferocious people). Again, the Cinquecento Pope is being compared with a Roman ruler. In this instance, both figures were religious leaders. Pope Paul III is seen as continuing the ancient Roman tradition of improving the populous aesthetically and spiritu ally. The Pope is not only an architect of edifices but, like God, also a spiritual architect. Giovio's placement of the emblem and coat of arms for Cardinal Riario, the builder of the Palazzo della Cancelleria, and of the figures of Providence (Providentia) and Wisdom (Sapientia) are by deliberate design. By facing Numa Pompilius and looking down at Paul III, Providence furnishes guidance to the Pope, as she has done for Numa Pompilius and Cardinal Riario. Wisdom faces Agrippa, and below her is the personification of the Vatican.
Religion is the only personification placed between two bays. Religion faces the other scene, Paul III Awarding Benefices or The Creation of Cardinals (Fig. 7). This second bay of the west wall continues the ecclesiastical theme--the spiritual power of the Pope. The didaskalia on each side of the steps describes the meaning of the scene: In summa Fortuna nihil praestantius quam benefici recte collati memoriam adposteros extendisse (At the height of good fortune nothing is more outstanding than to have extended to posterity the memory of a benefit rightly conferred). In a hypostyle hall the Pope is surrounded by prelates, poets, artists, and humanists, such as Giovio (profile with cane), Pole, Sadoleto, Bembo, Sangallo, and Michelangelo. The hypostyle columns represent the Temple of Solomon or the twisted Constantine columns. Figures interact between the columns while the Pontiff distributes awards, knighthoods, prebends, episcopates, and cardinals' hats. Vasari claimed to have drawn these portraits from life. Between the Doric columns, and framing the main scene, the niches contain figures of Virtue (Virtus) and Labor (Labor).
The tabernacle on the left of Religion contains the personification of Good ness or Benignity (Benignitas), scattering coins and carrying a cornucopia full of gifts. A globe at her feet, with her inscription Vividae crescentique virtuti ianuam pandit (She opens the door to bright and growing virtue), she opens the door to the flourishing of the papacy. Above this tabernacle in the broken pediment is the bust of Trajan, (36) with the inscription Mentis honoribus quirites exornavit (He adorned the Romans for their deserved honors). Trajan, like Paul, rewarded ac cording to the merits, labors, and endeavors of his subjects. In the center of the frieze, crowning the scene below, Fame (Fama) and Eternity (Eternitas) embrace the coat of arms of Cardinal Farnese, Pope Paul III's nephew. The didaskalia on the steps and the personifications allude to the Pontiffs granting the benefit of the office to his grandson, an act of nepotism causing envy that was later combated by good deeds during the Pope's reign. This visual concept and the text on the steps explain the placement of Envy, the reclining female nude eating vipers. Vasari's image is clearly prefigured by Alciato's emblem. (37) Envy's contorted pose, like Fury's on the south wall, derives from the Laocoon. Vasari creates an interesting visual and iconographical dichotomy between the actions of Envy and those of His Holiness. Captured and enchained by Virtue (in the above niche), Envy's movement is focused on a single hedonistic action: devouring snakes. Her behavior contrasts with the Pontiffs generous actions and with the Ignudi's comportment. They assist him in the dispersal of the gifts: two of them share and hold the yoke, a traditional symbol of Patience, as the personification of Labor in the above niche; another Ignudo stands to look at an empty cornucopia, a symbol of giving, while his companion sits on a full one. To illustrate the strong message of the didaskalia and to interpret the personifications in the tabernacles (Religion and Goodness), Vasari intentionally depicted the vipers next to the horn of plenty, juxtaposing self-centeredness and benevolence.
The structure of the east wall is dominated by windows and a landscape of the Roman campagna (Fig. 8). A broken frieze with five small, alternating attic windows with festoons is decorated with numerous all'antica trophies and fanciful grotteschi--a Maniera conceit of a triumphal cortege. The broken frieze pattern continues, alternating large windows with "step up and into" motifs. The steps lead up to a circular loggia supported by classical columns and decorated with four niches containing full-length painted sculptures of the three cardinal virtues--Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude--and Patience as Justice. In turn, these virtues pair off and frame personifications of Hope and Faith seated on monumental pedestals. The personification of Hope is flanked by Prudence (Prudentia) and Temperance (Temperantia), with the inscription: Alit animos et vividae virtutis nervos intendit (She nourishes spirits and strains the sinews of vigorous virtue). The personification of Faith is accompanied by Patience (Patientia) and Fortitude (Fortitudo), with the inscription: Sincera constantis animi puritate perficitur (She is perfected through the genuine purity of a faithful heart). Unlike the other walls, the east wall portrays a landscape of the Roman campagna, which can be seen through the circular loggia. It also contains three all'antica bust portraits in the lower zone. In the center, the portrait of Pope Paul III is situated between Hope and Faith. To the left of Hope is a bust portrait of Pyrrhus, (38) and to the right of Faith, Titus. (39) Therefore, at each end of the east wall all'antica bust portraits of Pyrrhus and Titus are seen with the Pontiff in the center. These represent important leaders in the arts and the military in ancient Greece and Rome, further sources of emulation for the Pontiff as examples of visionary, compassionate, and skillful leadership.
The iconography of both east (Cardinal and Theological Virtues) and west (Paul III Awarding Benefices and Paul III's Supervision of the Rebuilding of Saint Peter's) (40) walls alludes to the ecclesiastical and spiritual power of the Pontiff as a vicar of Christ on earth (Figs. 6, 7, and 8). Spiritual leadership necessitates, at times, military and political astuteness. The virtues assist His Holiness in carrying out his office: cardinal virtues--Fortitude, Justice (Patience), Prudence, and Temperance; and theological virtues--Hope, Faith (east wall, Fig. 8), and Charity (south wall, Fig. 4).
The iconography of both east and west walls emphasizes the Pope's ecclesiastical power. The south and north walls' iconography focuses on his temporal power and specific events of his reign. The three reclining figures on the steps (Envy, the Vatican, and Rome) and one inside the scene (Fury) add cogency to the sense of drama of the from scaenae and the meaning of the didaskalia. The Farnese Pontiffs spiritual and terrestrial successes, although challenged by adversaries' vain and megalomaniacal behavior (Envy), were accomplished through high-minded mediations and magnanimity (Vatican) on the part of the Pope, as well as through His Holiness's astute military and skillful political acumen. A return to the ancient pax romana thus established a Farnese Golden Age.
When visitors entered this hall, they were reminded in a dramatic manner of the activities of the Pope not only as a learned man and temporal
ruler who promoted the artistic beautification of his city but also as a spiritual leader who expanded the Christian doctrine. As Pontiff, Paul III was an ambassador of Christ on earth; as keeper of justice and peace, he was the leader of Christianity. The Sala dei Cento Giorni attests to Vasari's ability to stage visually and textually the significance of the papacy in the Cinquecento. Giorgio Vasari honored and immortalized his patron family and himself in the dedicatory inscription below the personification of Religion in the west wall (Fig. 7):
Alexandro Farnesio Card. Vicecancellario iubente quum expediti operis picturam non ab re nata praceps occasio postularet Georgius Aretinus centesimo die ita manus absolvit utproperantem obsequendi necessitas iure excuset nisi mira celeritas augeat dignitatem. M.D. XLW.
(At the command of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, Vice Chancellor, because the sudden occasion required a painted work not already begun, Giorgio of Arezzo completed the work on the one-hundredth day in such a manner that the obligation to obey would righdy have excused his haste were it not that his remarkable speed added dignity [to the work]. A.D. 1546).
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This paper benefited from the suggestions of Professors Iris Cheney, University of Massachusetts--Amherst, Gloria Fiero, University of Southwestern Louisiana, and Wolfram Prinz, Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main. Special thanks to Joseph J. Hughes of Missouri State University, and to Marco De Girolami, my nephew, for their generous assistance with the Latin translations. The ideas in this study were first presented at the South-Central Renaissance Conference in 1987. I am grateful to the National Endowment for the Humanities and the University of Massachusetts--Lowell for their grants to assist me in this research, and especially to Professor Tita French Baumlin for her constant assistance and invaluable comments.
(1) See Robertson 252 n 12 for Giovio's comment on Vasari's artistry: "un fattivo, espedito, manesco e resolutopittore" (an efficient, expeditious, handy, and energetic painter).
(2) Today, the condition of the paintings is mediocre, even though they were restored in 1940 after a fire that same year, and other minimal interventions have been made since. See Ronchini 2:121-27 and Schiavo 151-65.
(3) Gaudioso provides an excellent study of this commission. See also Harprath for a most informative iconographical discussion.
(4) See Partridge's "Divinity," "Sala I," "Sala II," and "Vignola" on this commission.
(5) In the Zibaldone on the verso of this folio, Ms. 4. C 7 Fil, there is a list with sketchy descriptions of the personifications in the Sala. Vasari used most of their attributes, but in some instances he did not, as I will indicate here to the reader with bracketed writer's notes. Please note that a variety of animals are associated with the personifications' descriptions. Probably Giovio and Vasari were both familiar with Valeriano's Hieroglyphics (Venice, 1521) and Horapolo, Hieroglyphica (Venice, 1543, illustrated edition). See Gonzalez de Zarate for the most recent translation from the Greek into Spanish of this emblematic book. My English translation of these sketchy notes is the first to appear:
Justice: with scepter of the stork and hippopotamus with ostrich's plumes--Julius Caesar [tenement]
Industry: caduceus, with Mercury's hat and wings, and the mirror and ermine--Pompeii [tenement]
Liberality: discarding jewels, coins, and the Lion--Alexander
The Great Abundance: the horn of plenty and lots of ornaments--the eagle--Pyrrhus [see n 38]
Merit: royal crown, pontifical mantle, nude man below
Honor: laurel crown, spoils triumphs, peacock--the Tiber
For Peace: tied-up Fury
Peace: burning the arms, holding an olive branch, dove with olive branch--Augustus--Trajan
Concord: broken rods and one unbroken bundle
Charity: children, fire, and pelican
Amor [Virtuous Love]: arch, arrows, face and hand, male and female doves
Hilarity: Bacchus crowned with grapes and satyr, satyr with grapes
Beatitude: wings and the shape of an angel, a rainbow and a celestial arch [This image does not appear in the Sala decoration.]
For the building construction [of Saint Peter's]: the Vatican [personification]
Religion: bundle of palms, scales and the four books, the Holy Spirit, the keys-- Numa Pompilius
Eternity: underneath the globe, lighted candle, the triangle--Deer
Fame: blowing one trumpet, holding the one on fire, a globe below Fame--Rhinoceros--Titus
Benignity: holding golden and silver rods, jewels and property--Marcus Agrippa
Courage: nude man with an open heart and sun rays surrounding the head--Lion [This personification does not appear in the Sala decoration.]
For the benefaction of virtue: Envy drops dead
Merit: the horn of plenty full of dignity that showers the world--Stork
Abundance: apron with fruits that fill up a horn of plenty--Ant
Study/Knowledge: books, solitude, strength of soul, floating in the air--Horse
Virtue: nude woman with mouth open so that the heavens can fill her body with grace--Phoenix
Wisdom: the goddess Pallas [Minerva] with all the instruments of war, books and weapons--Unicorn
Faith: baptizing a young child, on the left holding a cross with all the other sacraments [This personification does not show the baptismal action.]
Patience: the yoke around her neck and head bent down--Dog
Hope: anchor, Noah's dove holding the olive branch and the supplicant hand turned to the sky
Prudence: beautifying herself at the sphere [mirror], with the serpent, keys, and Janus's head
Imprese [Impresa]: eight with lilies, the shell, the arrow
(6) Translation from Vasari's autobiography: "As I have said, I did this as a young man without a thought except to serve this magnate, who wanted it done by a certain time, as I have said. Although I worked hard in the palling, and in making the cartoons, I confess that I was wrong to give the work to apprentices, to save time, for it would have been better to have toiled for a hundred months and to have done it myself. Even if I had not done as much as I desired for the cardinal's sake and my own honor, I should have had the satisfaction of having done it myself. But this mistake made me decide to finish everything myself, after my assistants did the preparatory work from my designs" (Vasari, Le Vite 7: 681). See also Bottari andTicozzi 5: 37 for the published letter of Antonfrancesco Doni, a Servite monk, to Lelio Torelli, a few months after the completion of this work, stating: "As I am in Rome ... I want to tell you about something new and beautiful of which you may have heard, though you cannot have seen it: I refer to the sala of the most reverend and illustrious Cardinal Farnese which was painted last year by the most excellent artist, Giorgio Vasari of Arezzo." See also Frey 1: 177, for further discussion.
(7) "Vuolsi che Michelangiolo, nel veder que opera e nell'udire ch'era stata fatta in cento giorni, dicesse: e'si conosce" (Vasari, Le Vite 7: 680 n 1).
(8) See Frey 1: 220-21 for the letter of May 10, 1548, from Annibale Caro in Rome to Giorgio Vasari in Florence. See Gombrich, Heritage 124-25 for an English translation of this letter.
(9) In his insightful articles, Julian Kliemann has explained how Vasari's depictions of the Farnese imprese reflect Giovio's descriptions in the Dialogo delle'imprese militari e amorose (126-27), and how his rendering of portraits and ancient busts alludes to Giovio's literary descriptions of famous portraits in his Gli elogi degli uomini illustri. See Kliemann, "La Sala" 121-23; Kliemann, "II pensiero" 197-223; and Robertson, "Paolo Giovio" 224-33. For further study on the imprese., see Bregoli-Russo 6-7. For a discussion on the concepts of impresa and device, see also Giovio, Dialogo-, Klein 124-50; Gombrich, Symbolic 160-80; and Russell, Emblem and Device.
(10) In my studies of Vasari's decorative cycles, I demonstrated the importance of Paolo Giovio in the formulation of the program (L. Cheney, Paintings). See also the significant studies of Jacobs; Kliemann, "II pensiero" 197-223; Schroter; Robertson, "Paolo Giovio" 224-33; Robertson, "II Grande Cardinale. "Moreover, note Solari for a biographical study on the Farnese family. See also the well-known pioneering studies of Pastor and Steinmann. The recent exhibition catalogue (Schianchi and Spinosa) discusses the importance of the Farnese as collectors and patrons of the arts.
(11) Vitruvius's books on architecture (c. 16-13 BCE) were first published with illustrations in 1511. See Morgan's translation (5; 137-54) for a discussion on Greek and Roman theaters. See also Blumenthal; Hartnoll 51-60; Kernodle; Nagler; and Strong.
(12) The theater of Pompey no longer exists, and today in its place stands the Palazzo della Cancelleria. A model of Pompey's theater and portico now exists in the Museum of Roman Civilization in Rome.
(13) Vasari arrived in Venice in December, 1541. By February, 1542, he had completed the decorations for the apparato for La Talanta with the aid of three assistants: Cristoforo Gherardi, Battista Cungi, and Bastiano Flori of Arezzo. For complete descriptions of the apparato in Vasari's letter written from Venice in 1542 to Ottavio de' Medici in Florence, see: Vasari, Le Vite 6: 223-26, 7: 670-75; Frey 2: 111-16. See also L. Cheney, Paintings 64-68, for a general discussion of this commission.
(14) Undoubtedly Vasari's Sala is a visual antecedent of Annibale Carracci's Farnese Gallery, 1597-1604, in the Palazzo Farnese, Rome, and reflects the stylistic assimilation of the decorations of Perino del Vaga in the Sala Paolina, 1544, in the Castel Sant'Angelo. See Dempsey 363-74; "Annibal Carrache" 269-311; and Pastoreau 431-55. See also n 3 for citations on the Sala Paolina.
(15) See Jacobs, "A New Drawing" 371-74, for the Dublin drawing. Although Davis has objected to the attribution of this drawing to Vasari ("Letter," 292-93), I support Jacobs's interpretation. See also Monbeig-Goguel 168-69 n 17 for the Louvre drawing RF 64 recto and verso; see Kliemann, "La Sala" 121-23 Fig. 141 for the Turin drawing inv. no. 15673, and 94 Fig. 143 for the Uffizi drawing 65 ORN. See also Barocchi 27-29, for another Uffizi drawing 6494F, a figure study for the Universal Homage.
(16) See Gaudioso 186-87, and, in particular, Schroter 76-99, for comparative analyses of Perino's and Vasari's sale.
(17) Domenico Antonio de Chiarellis, also known as Menicantonio, was capomaestro of the fabric of Saint Peter's and one of Bramante's assistants. See Wittkower 91-107, and, for illustrations of the interior of the Pantheon by both artists, 98.
(18) I am using the term istoria in the Albertian manner. In his treatise On Painting Alberti states that an "istoria will move spectators when the men painted in the picture outwardly demonstrate their own feelings as clearly as possible" (Alberti, Grayson trans.
75). Alberti's concept of istoria, later assimilated in Vasari's literary and visual works, is deeply rooted in the Renaissance humanistic tradition. The humanists' tendency to incorporate literary and theological meanings in their writings influenced Vasari's creativity by fusing into his emblematic imagery the literary and visual traditions. See Alberti, Spencer translation, 23-28, for a discussion of the origin and impact of Alberti's istoria.
(19) Folio 92 recto, Casa Buonarroti Museum, Florence, shows Michelangelo's three sketches for twin staircases, 1524. One, located in the lower part of the folio, differs from the others because it illustrates twin staircases connected by an eliptical one. See Wittkower 11-72, and, in particular, 29, (Fig. 20) for sketches of staircases. Michelangelo's influence on Vasari can be seen in the former's drawings for his Ufflzi stage study 2191A. See Davis, "Giorgio Vasari" 94.
(20) Both Cinquecento architects were concerned with reconciling Vitruvius's architectural descriptions with actual remains of ancient buildings. See Giovannoni for a discussion of Antonio Sangallo's large collection of ancient drawings at the Ufflzi, and Thomson 118-21 for an account of Serlio's major architectural contributions toward the popularization of ancient Roman architecture in the Cinquecento. Serlio's Libro Terzo was published in March, 1540, in Venice. In 1541, Vasari went to visit his close compatriot Pietro Aretino in Venice. Undoubtedly, both were aware of Serlio's publication.
(21) See Russell, "Alciati's Emblems," for an understanding of emblematic tradition in Cinquecento art and literature, and in particular, the importance of Andrea Alciato's Emblematum libellus cum commentariis (Lyon, 1531), since "it served as a manual to train readers in a particular approach to artistic artifacts" and "taught them to participate actively in the moralizing of visual arts" (549). See also Daly and Callahan, Andreas Alciatus-, Daly, Emblem Theory, Saunders; and Russell, "Emblems and Hieroglyphics" for an interpretation of how Renaissance humanists employed hieroglyphics as a vehicle for "redefining the symbolic process [of] the context of Neoplatonic thought" (228). See also L. Cheney, Giorgio Vasari: Artistic, for Vasari's development of a visual emblematic book. An emblem is composed of pictura, inscriptio, and subscriptio. Like an emblem, a painting is composed of an image (pictura), with a title (inscriptio), and it is based on a literary or historical text (subscriptio). Vasari accomplishes thisparagone (parallel) in the Sala where the pictura of an emblem corresponds to the depiction of the istoria-, the inscriptio becomes the head title of the personifications, and the subscriptio compares to the Latin didaskalia or honorific text.
(22) See Robertson, "Annibale Caro," for an analysis of how Vasari acquired his knowledge of iconography and emblems through his study of the works of Annibale Caro. In Le Vite Vasari praises Annibale Caro--poet, translator of classical literature, and secretary to Cardinal Farnese--for his invenzioni "cappriciose, ingeniose e lodevoli molto" (115-29). See also Caro, Lettere Familiari, for Caro's appraisal of Alciato's and Cartari's books as significant iconographical manuals. See also Giovio's Dialogo (1555), Vasari's prefaces from Le Vite (1568), and later Cesare Ripa, Iconologia (1603), for they concur that an invenzione or image should provide visual interest by showing beautiful elements, that its motto should be brief (two of three words or a line of verse), and that its meaning should be suggestively incomplete to intrigue or tease the viewer--in sum, a Maniera conceit.
(23) See n 4.
(24) Vasari's personifications for this Sala are also visual quotations from earlier decorative commissions, in particular, the Monteoliveto refectory of Sant'Anna dei Lombardi, 1545, Naples. See L. Cheney, "Vasari and Naples," for a discussion of how Vasari develops a visual and emblematic encyclopedia of personifications.
(25) See Graves 241-51 for an analysis of Vespasian's accomplishments.
(26) Graves 37-61 (Figs. 50, 51) has an evaluation of Augustus's Roman propaganda by employing artistic and military devices, such as the Cup of Boscoreale, 20 BCE (Rothschild Collection, Paris), illustrating Augustus's Victory and Clemency. The cup's representation of Clemency resembles stylistically Vasari's depiction of the Creation of Cardinals (west wall, bay 2).
(27) Many of Vasari's personifications are visual quotations from his early commissions in Venice and Naples, and from his own house in Arezzo. Vasari is creating a visual encylopedia or dictionary of images. See L. Cheney, Paintings 59-83.
(28) Vasari will employ again the motif of a reclining figure to symbolize the Arno River, or the personification of Florence, in two frontispieces. One is contained in his book on L'Architettura di L. B. Alberti, 1550, published in Florence by Lorenzo Torrentino (the same editor who published Vasari's first edition of Le Vite). The second appears in Cosimo Bartoli, Del mondo di misurare, 1564. See Corti 148 and Figs. 47a, b, c, d, respectively, for these frontispieces. Two studies presently exist for these frontispieces: a sketch (K.d.Z. 22-135) attributed to Vasari located in the Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin, and a finished drawing (349 ORN) kept in the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Uffizi.
(29) See also Donati; and Vasari, Le Vite 4: 96 and 401, for comments on the collection of exotic animals kept by popes: "tutti quegli animali che Papa Leone aveva: camaleone, i zibetti, le scimmie, i lioni, i liofanti et altri animali piii stranieriP See also Bregoli-Russo who states, "it was the norm that animals be included in the imprese of famous men" (7).
(30) Gaius Julius Caesar, 100-44 BCE. See Graves 11-46 for an appraisal of his accomplishments.
(31) Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon, 336-23 BCE), son of Philip II and Olympias of Epirus, second cousin to Pyrrhus, portrayed on the east wall of the Sala. See Weigall for an account of Alexander's life.
(32) The inclusion of Antonio da Sangallo the Younger is honorific, since the architect died on September 29, 1546, while the fresco was being painted.
(33) Vasari will again employ this motif of the reclining river god for the frontispiece of Le Vite.
(34) It is interesting that the Turin drawing shows Concord in place of Religion. I speculate that this change for a stronger emblematic symbol was a Vasarian pentimento or oversight not consistant with Giovio's iconographical design. See n 5, "Cose della Cancelleria, 1545."
(35) Numa Pompilius (715-673 BCE), legendary successor to Romulus as second king of Rome, had a peaceful reign, a Golden Age. He built palaces and temples as well as established many religious institutions and festivals, probably the reason Vasari placed his portrait above the tabernacle of Religion.
(36) See n 5. Once again Vasari is the only source for the identification of this portrait. In the iconographical list Vasari writes the name of Trajan after Augustus. The portrait of Trajan is at the corner of the south wall on which the portrait of Augustus is painted. A Roman emperor, Trajan (Marcus Ulpius Traianus, 98-117 CE), devoted vast sums of money to the beautification of Rome. His numerous projects in the Eternal City include the Forum where his Column commemorates his campaigns, new baths, and the foundation of the Biblioteca Ulpia. Pliny the Younger wrote a panegyric on Trajan's reign, which he described as memorable because of peace and prosperity. Probably Giovio and Vasari selected this ruler because of his artistic and humanitarian acts, which paralleled the Pontiffs. See Pliny, Epistle 10: 97.
(37) See Alciato, Emblem LXXI, for Envy's depiction: "To represent Envy and its irritations, one paints a hag who eats vipers with constant pain in her eyes. She eagerly eats her own heart and holds in her hand a staff of thorns which prick her hands day and night."
(38) See n 5 for Vasari's reference to the name of Pyrrhus in the iconographical program for the Sala. See also Kliemann, "La Sala" 121-23, who attests to this portrait's identification of Pyrrhus, King of Epirus (319-272 BCE). This romantic Greek leader, a second cousin of Alexander the Great, desired to be the Alexander of the West and hoped to revive that famous empire. Plutarch honors Pyrrhus for his personal courage, brilliant tactics, skill as a commander, and impressive military experience, at the same time acknowledging his numerous misfortunes. Pyrrhus also developed a substantial art collection from the spoils of the conquered cities. See Plutarch, Pyrrhus, I.c. The Farnese's interest in Roman history and ancient rulers derives from their love of collecting ancient art, in particular, coins. Their coin collection of uomini illustri contained two coins with the portrait of Pyrrhus. See Schianchi and Spinosa 424-25 Figs. 205-06.
(39) See n 5- Once again Vasari is the only source for the identification of this portrait. In his iconographical list, Vasari includes the name of Titus. The eldest son of the emperor Vespasian, Titus Flavius Vespasianus (Roman emperor 79-81 CE) was famous for the capture of Jerusalem in 79 CE, commemorated by the Arc of Titus in the Roman Forum. Like Augustus, Trajan, and Vespasian, Titus was concerned with the urbanization and beautification of Rome. He completed the Colosseum (begun by his father Vespasian) and built the Baths of Titus. During his reign dreadful catastrophes occurred--the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the three-day fire in Rome, and the outbreak of the plague. In The Twelve Caesars, an admiring Suetonius tells how Titus cured the plague by human and divine means. He tried many medical remedies and made personal sacrifices--stripping his own mansions and public edifices to assist his homeless people and giving generous help to those who suffered (Graves 257). Probably Giovio and Vasari selected these two rulers because of their artistic and humanitarian acts, which paralleled the Pontiffs pursuits.
(40) These images derive from previous conceits Vasari created in Venice and Arezzo. I have demonstrated elsewhere how Vasari repeats images, thereby creating a decorative formula or emblematic inventory (L.Cheney, "Giorgio Vasari's Chamber").
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|Author:||Cheney, Liana De Girolami|
|Publication:||Explorations in Renaissance Culture|
|Date:||Jun 22, 2014|
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