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  • Venise et Rome 1500-1600: Deux écoles de peinture et leurs échanges
  • April Oettinger
Michel Hochmann . Venise et Rome 1500–1600: Deux écoles de peinture et leurs échanges. Hautes Études Mé di é vales et Modernes 85. Geneva and Paris: Librairie Droz S. A., 2004. 664 pp. + 24 color and 114 b/w pls. index. illus. tbls. bibl. CHF 94. ISBN: 2–600–00933–7.

Hochmann's book explores how the artistic, intellectual, and cultural exchange between Venetian and Roman painters and patrons in the sixteenth century not only shaped the Venetian contribution to the course of painting "after Titian," but also the formation of seventeenth-century painters from the Caracci to Rubens. In a synthetic, four-part study that weaves together archival, literary, and visual evidence, Hochmann traces the complexities of this cultural exchange and its legacy, from the Venetian fascination with Rome and the ethos of Michelangelo and Raphael in the first half of the sixteenth century, to the emerging taste for the spontaneity and naturalism of Titian and Tintoretto throughout Italy in the wake of the Counter-Reformation.

Part 1 treats the genesis of disegno versus colorito. Hochmann argues that the notion of Venetian colorito grew out of a reaction against the tenets of the language debates in the first decades of the sixteenth century, when Bembo, Castiglione, and others encouraged poets to adopt the Tuscan literary language of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. Hochmann links colorito with a growing "anti-Petrarchism" on the part of Venetian writers, including Andrea Calmo, Maffeo Venier, and Giovanni Querini, who wished to "return Petrarch to his grave," reject the "rigid" Tuscan language, and reclaim their own native tongue (40, n.). Hochmann suggests that this return to the "naturalism" of the Venetian language coincided with a growing sense of nationalism in response to political events, such as the peace between Charles V and Clement VII (1530), while it also anticipated the writings of Pino, Vasari, and Dolce on the more spontaneous nature of Venetian versus central Italian painting.

In the same decades that saw the emergence of the debates concerning the nature of Venetian poetry and painting, patrons and painters had fallen under the spell of Rome. Part 2 examines the lure of Rome and its antiquities, and of Raphael and Michelangelo, through the eyes of Venetian nobles connected with the papacy. The first chapter in part 2 bears on how families such as the Grimani, the Corner, and the Pisani adopted the lifestyle of their courtly contemporaries in papal Rome, abandoning the sumptuary laws that traditionally governed the Venetian cittadino class and displaying their magnificence through their collection of antiquities and their patronage of central Italian artists. This fascination with Rome not only coincided with the reign of Andrea Gritti and his quest for a "New Rome" in Venice, but also with the Venetian taste for the classicizing sculpture of Simone Bianco and Tullio Lombardo. Meanwhile, Venetian painters encountered the work of Raphael and Michelangelo during their journeys to Rome (as in the case of Lotto, Sebastiano del Piombo, and Pordenone) and through the circulation of prints after the central Italian masters. Prints would be particularly important to Tintoretto, to whom Hochmann dedicates a chapter that explores the painter's [End Page 599] assimilation of Michelangelo's style into a poetic idiom more closely resembling that of Pordenone and Titian.

Hochmann identifies 1527 (the Sack of Rome) through the 1540s — the years that shaped the development of Tintoretto and Veronese — as the most active period of exchange between Venetian and Roman artists and patrons. Part 3 traces the Venetian sojourns of Roman and Tuscan painters including Salviati and Vasari, whose fresco decorations in Ca' Grimani at Santa Maria Formosa and Ca' Corner were facilitated by their connections with Venetian nobles. In the same years, Venetian artists such as Battista Franco and Girolamo Muziano journeyed to Rome to study with Michelangelo's pupils, and Titian made his famous Roman sojourn (1545). Although Venetian artists would learn much from their Roman contemporaries, their travels were also instrumental in the dissemination of Venetian naturalism, which would shape what Hochmann calls the "reform of painting" in the second half of the sixteenth century.



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pp. 599-600
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Archived 2009
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