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A window in the life and times of Jacopo Amigoni

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1 A window in the life and times of Jacopo Amigoni
Venus Disarming Cupid A window in the life and times of Jacopo Amigoni JACOPO AMIGONI Italian, Venice (active throughout Europe), 1682/ Venus Disarming Cupid oil on canvas, 1730s or 1740s Ackland Fund 86.47

2 Table of Contents Life and History of Jacopo Amigoni
Ownership and Patronage Friendship of Amigoni and Farinelli Political Context Natural vs. Achieved Social Context Cultural Context Genre: History painting Rococo Style and Examples Subject Matter Iconography Overview Bibliography

3 Jacopo Amigoni His international career began in 1715, ( )

4 A brief history of Amigoni’s life
Born in1685 and trained in Venice. He worked in European countries such as England, France, Bavaria, and Spain. Venetian history and portrait painter Painted portraits and large-scale decorative paintings. Known for his Rococo style. Influenced by Sebastian Ricci and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. He died in Spain in 1752. He worked for some years for the Elector of Bavaria and then came to London in 1730, where he painted several decorative cycles and portraits. In 1739 he returned to Venice with a small fortune, and in 1747 he went to Madrid as Court painter: Vertue records that news of his death there reached London just as his finest works - in St James's Square - were destroyed.

5 Major Events during the Life of Amigoni
Jacopo Amigoni ( ) in historical context Period characterized by Revolutions Religious tension Catholic foundation vs. Protestants sola scriptura undermined authority Theories by Locke, Hume, Berkley Locke’s Treatises on Government (1690) - if the gov’t breaks its contract, subjects free from obligations Scientific advances of Galileo and Newton natural philosophy Galileo disproved Ptolemaic model, Newton proved heliocentric Universal application of gravity and laws of motion inspire other ideas If the laws of physics can be applied everywhere, why not natural rights? 1733 John Kay invents flying shuttle – Industrial Revolution End of Absolute Monarchy Charles I in England – beginning of a series of Revolutions Louis XIV r On his heels the French Revolution Birth and rise of Voltaire (1694), Rousseau (1712), Kant (1724), Franklin (1706) Key advocates for Enlightenment thought Reformation and CR were years earlier but Europe divided by sections of Protestants (Calvinists, Puritans, Armineans, etc.) and Catholicism Newton made such revolutionary thought discoveries (ie gravity force applied to all things) led to Industrial Revolution

6 Historical Events continued…
These Revolutions contribute to the rise of Enlightenment thought Age of Reason Natural rights of man Much of Rococo is reaction against Absolutism towards Enlightenment Seen in the Amigoni Significant because it shows bridges two important ideological movements Humanism- man is the measure of all things

7 Ownership and Patronage
Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli, a famous opera singer of the time period, was a loyal patron and active advocator of Amigoni’s work He was also believed to be the original owner of Venus Disarming Cupid The two itinerant artist’s fed off each other’s mutual promotion which in turn helped boost the career of each within the art societies of the time. Contacts were essential to attaining success as an artist during this era.

8 Amigoni and Farinelli, also known as Carlo Broschi ( ) were friends, and Farinelli was thought to have owned the painting of “Venus Disarming Cupid” The two lived in London and Paris during the same times. Farinelli owned 23 of Amigoni’s paintings Amigoni painted many portraits of Farinelli

9 This is one of the many paintings of Farinelli that was done by AMigoni (now in Melbourne)
The Singer Farinelli and Friends Jacopo Amigoni

10 Ritratto di Farinelli 1734-35 Jacopo Amigoni
Painting that was done by Amigoni of Farinelli Ritratto di Farinelli Jacopo Amigoni

11 Political Context Much of the Rococo is a reaction against Absolutism
This picture of Louis XIV provides a good contrast between the two movements One major contrast is the natural versus the achieved This is portrayed in the comparison between the male form and the female form Contrast between male and female forms rebellion against political systems Portrait de Louis XIV 1701 Hyacinthe Rigaud

12 Natural vs. Achieved Forest vs. palace
Naked vs. robes God vs. King Female vs. Male Classical vs. Modern Innocence vs. power Natural rights vs. King’s prerogative Free from obligations Enlightenment vs. Absolutism The emphasis on the natural reflects the ideas of the natural rights of man (authority for this is from an ancient source)

13 Social Context After the death of Louis XIV, art shifts to salons and wealthy homes (upper class) Wealthy wish to concentrate more upon pleasures than responsibility Rebel against the rigidity and darkness of earlier baroque Exchange of moral obligation and serious events for fantasy and carefree atmosphere Art Demonstrated optimism due to advances and belief in social progression Francois Boucher The Fountain of Love c. 1748

14 A greater acceptance of sensuality is present throughout Europe.
This leads to a direct engagement of the viewer. Caravaggio. Cupid. c.1601

15 Rembrandt The Return of the Prodigal Son c. 1662

16 Cultural Context There were many constraints on painting at the time, especially the influence of the Académie Royale and the hierarchy of genres Many wealthy young men, from England in particular, traveled on The Grand Tour and collected artwork on their journey Extravagance of Italian Opera and emphasis on pleasure and the frivolity- Carnival in Venice Many Italian artists were gaining popularity with aristocrats from England who came on Grand Tour The desire for large scale history paintings switched to more portable works and commissioned portraits Political movement no longer supports Rococo but moves towards Neoclassical Modern Rome Panini The Académie Royale that began 1666 concentrated on the importance of classical tradition in painting. This was reinforced by the Grand Tour and the interest in antiquities. The hierarchy of genres was set by the Academie Royale, placing history painting as the most elite genre. Reference to religion, mythology, literature, or allegories. Amigoni’s painting in an example of a history painting because of the mythological subject and the reference to classical romanism. (Venus-goddess of love) Aristocrats and wealthy became interested in picturesque-rise in Rococo. Also a sort of idealism – seen in Venus’ perfect figure and often in history paintings as idealism of classical beauty or masculinity. Seen in portraits from Grand Tour in order to display the wealth/power of the aristocrats. History paintings were so large-scale and grand…as William Hogarth said “Our apartments are too small to contain them” so a popular movement to smaller scale paintings. Exemplified by the portable scale of Venus Disarming Cupid.

17 Genre: History painting
Mythology Grand events in Greek or Roman history Reference to literature and religion Idealization of human figure-classical Allegory/ideas

18 Bathsheba Bathing 1725 Sebastiano Rici
Bathsheba bathing, 1725, Sebastiano Rici. Another Venetian painter who had success in England Bathsheba Bathing 1725 Sebastiano Rici

19 Venus and Cupid, Giovani Antonio Pellegrini
Represents the success of other Venetian painters *This piece by Pelligrini is thought to have been a direct reference to “Venus Chastising Cupid” because of the similar positions and style theme in both paintings. Venus and Cupid Giovani Antoni Pellegrini

20 Elements of Rococo Style
Emerged in France during the early eighteenth century Very romantic Characterized by richness, lightness, and love Focused on carefree aristocratic life and lighthearted romance S-curves Often involves natural settings, cherubs, and peaceful scenes. Departure from Baroque’s church/state tradition Rococo style was characterized by a richness, lightness, and love. It was often set in nature and the exterior, and focused on the carefree aristocratic life and on lighthearted romance, rather than battles or religious figures as in neo-classicism. “Venus Disarming Cupid” is a prime example of Amigoni’s Rococo style, the S-curves are distinctive of Rococo paintings. Rococo painters used “delicate colors and curving forms, decorating their canvases with cherubs and myths of love” (Art). This describes Amigoni’s painting precisely. From the innocent cherubs in the background to the soft image of Venus that is graceful, lighthearted and peaceful. Even the act of “chastising” is made elegant because there is a lack of severity or harshness in her features as she holds the arrow away from young Cupid. The overall painting is deficient of any cruelty or insensitivity.

21 Vulcan Handing Venus the Weapons for Aeneas Francois Boucher
The Birth of Venus Francois Boucher Here are some works of the Rococo movement. Gives an overview of this genre. Vulcan Handing Venus the Weapons for Aeneas Francois Boucher

22 An Artistic Contrast:: Cupid Chastised by Mars
This contrasts the original painting of Cupid being disciplined by Venus because Mars would be a much harsher disciplinarian. He does not represent the femininity, love, and lightheartedness of Venus. “Cupid Chastised” An Artistic Contrast:: Cupid Chastised by Mars

23 Subject Matter and Iconography

24 Was kissing her, his quiver dangling down
JACOPO AMIGONI Italian, Venice (active throughout Europe), 1682/ Venus Disarming Cupid oil on canvas, 1730s or 1740s Ackland Fund 86.47 Ackland Art Museum Chapel Hill, NC The incident in myth that Amigoni depicts occurs in Book X of Ovid. Venus accidentally falls in love with Adonis when one of Cupid’s arrows grazes her chest. “…Once, when Venus’ son Was kissing her, his quiver dangling down A jutting arrow, unbeknown, had grazed Her breast. She pushed the boy away. In fact the wound was deeper than it seemed, Though unperceived at first…”

25 The beauty of a man, she cared no more
AMIGONI, Jacopo Venus and Adonis Date unknown Oil on canvas, 142 x 173 cm Alte Pinakothek, Munich Venus’s love with Adonis fascinates many artists, so it is a fairly common subject. (Impelluso 240) “…Enraptured by The beauty of a man, she cared no more For her Cythera’s shores nor sought again Her sea-girt Paphos nor her Cnidos, famed For fish, nor her ore-laden Amathus. She shunned heaven too: to heaven she preferred Adonis…”

26 Venus Venus was the Roman goddess of sensual love.
Venus’s nakedness and splayed body suggest both vulnerability to the arrow and the idealization of feminine beauty and sensuality by male artists during the Rococo period. (Heleniak 641; Goodman 323; Goodman 325) Venus

27 Cupid was the Roman god who caused people to fall in love with his arrows.
Artists commonly depict him as “a clever, somewhat impudent winged child”; occasionally punished for mischief (Impelluso 66). Cupid

28 Putti, or cherubs, are generally attendants of deities like Venus in European art of this period (Pierce 122). The winged children are derived from Christian angels (Whittlesey 62). In Rococo paintings, they lend an air of levity with their playful antics, making the painting pleasurable to look at (Pierce 122). Putti

29 Forest, Spring, and Summer
In art, the forest, especially a clearing, is a sacred and secluded place of unexplored femininity, nature, and regeneration (Battistini ). In art, spring and summer signify the rapture of love and marriage and fertility, respectively (Adler 793). Forest, Spring, and Summer

30 Red and pink signify the passion of love.
White creates a sense of innocence in this painting of Venus and Cupid to balance the sensuality in the painting. White: Drapery Color

31 The bow alludes to the moderation of instinctual drives (Battistini 343). Here it is a toy for the putto in the clouds; Venus’s passion for Adonis will be unrestrained. The arrows “allude to amorous glances that pierce the heart like darts” (Battistini 343). Bow and Arrows

32 Looking Back… This presentation has covered:
~the life of Amigoni and his place in history ~the relationship between Farinelli and Amigoni ~the cultural, political, and social contexts of Venus Disarming Cupid ~the genre of history painting ~elements of Rococo style ~the iconography and subject matter of Venus Disarming Cupid


34 Bibliography Blanning, T.C.W., ed. The Eighteenth Century: Europe New York, Oxford University Press, 2000. Department of European Paintings. "The Grand Tour". In Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2003) Elise Goodman, “Female Beauty and Adornment” Vol. 1, A-L; Helene E. Roberts, Ed., Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art., (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1998). E.S. Whittlesey, Symbols and Legends in Western Art: A Museum Guide, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1972). Galitz, Kathryn Calley. "The French Academy in Rome". In Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2003) Helene E. Roberts, Ed., Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art., (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1998). Hubala, Erich. Baroque and Rococo Art. New York: Universe Books, 1976. James Smith Pierce, From Abacus to Zeus: A Handbook of Art History, Fifth Edition (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1995).

35 Bibliography continued…
Kathryn Moore Heleniak, “Naked/Nude” Vol. 2, M-Z; Helene E. Roberts, Ed., Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art., (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1998). Lucia Impelluso, Gods and Heroes in Art, Ed.Stefano Zuffi, Trans. Thomas Michael Hartmann, (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust, 2002). Matilde Battistini, Allegories and Symbols in Art, Trans. Stephen Sartarelli. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust, 2005). Minor, Vernon Hyde. Baroque and Rococo Art and Culture. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1999. Pignatti, Terisio. The Age of Rococo. London: Cassell Publishers Limited, 1988. Shane Adler, “Seasons” Vol. 2 M-Z; Helene E. Roberts, Ed., Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art., (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1998). Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 95. (1964), pp

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