Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote: ↑
06 Jul 2019, 13:25
The Denver Art Museum owns the cassone, and they attribute it to Girolamo da Cremona. There is no more detailed analysis of the image that I can find in their bibliography, it seems to be merely a history of former owners and catalogue entries
Yeah, I was unsatisfied with "school of Mantegna" and looked up the painter as well and found this: "Girolamo first appears working alongside Taddeo Crivelli and other artists in Ferrara on the magnificent Bible of Borso d'Este, which was executed between 1455 and 1461. His art is most closely related to the Mantuan court painter Andrea Mantegna, who in 1461 seems to have recommended him to complete a missal for Barbara of Brandenburg, the wife of one of Mantegna's patrons, Ludovico Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua. Around 1468, Girolamo began illuminating choir books in Siena, a project on which he collaborated with Liberale da Verona. He also worked in Florence for a time before ending his career in Venice. By the 1470s, Venice had become a major center of the new technology of printing, and Girolamo worked there, primarily illuminating frontispieces for deluxe versions of early printed books, called incunabules. These miniatures are known for their playful and extravagant trompe-l'oeil conceits." Not sure what that leaves us with other than "school of Mantegna" after all.
Again, I was not denying influences between Mantua (Mantegna's home) and Florence (one of the works could have influences the other) and the only additional relevant info provided here is Girolamo - if the attribution is correct - also worked in Baldini's hometown (I think the two engravings share a compositional similarity - the Girolamo being an abbreviated version of the Baldini [or Baldini an elaborate version of Girolamo - the dating is vague for either piece], focusing on Cupid's acts and parents: rivalry with Apollo and his parents Mars/Venus; Mercury merely seems to be present in his herald role). And the halo/beard-vs-shaven was a tangent driven firstly by the odd disk shape and the placement of the terrain feature "on" the head like a halo, and secondly, by the German engraving comparable (an extreme youth with a symbol of the cross). But again, my primary interest is in the planetary gods theory - whether the love-attacked subject is with or without a halo (and without makes much more sense - conceding that point). At all events, the bound figure is supposed to be edifying figure from a Christian's perspective, within the context of Petrarch. As for Girolamo's bound victim - judging by the triumphal reliefs on Cupid's plinth, showing similarly generic bound individuals, it does seem a mere "everyman" is indicated in the flesh on the cart:
My tying of the Baldini figures to the planets begins with the almost exact reverse of the PMB "time"/Saturn figure (and Baldini's own triumph of the planets/children engraving cycle), but the Girolamo cassone proves without a shadow of the doubt that at least a classical god who is also a planetary god, Mercury, is depicted in the forward group of figures beneath Cupid, opening up the question as to whether the others are not also gods present in that group (and thus the two works merit comparison, especially with a figure in each, identified as Apollo by me and based on Petrarch, calling/gesturing up to Cupid). Mercury with the "Mantegna tarocchi" Mercurio:
The Mars in Mantegna's much larger Parnassus
painting has similar antica
armor as Girolamo's Mars, and even his son Cupid is by his side (versus above him, but of course Girolamo is not depicting a triumph of Mars, but of Love):
Ultimately it seems to me the Girolamo cassone scene is not planetary in its emphasis (just that all of the gods depicted can double as planets, yet the moon and Saturn are missing), but is instead a learned commentary on Cupid's mythology (typical of Mantegna's allegories): red-clothed Apollo is up front by the horses, which of course he is associated with, gesturing up to Cupid who has cursed him with an unquenchable love for Daphne (a figure dear to Petrarch), while below Cupid his father Mars looks and gestures with a hand down at Venus's vulva, which she in turn touches, or rather, almost hides in the manner of Eve, even though Venus is fully clothed. The entire painting thus has the hallmarks of an interpretatio christiana
of classical mythology, where the classical connotations of the madness of Love is associated with the taint of Original Sin....and in the train of Venus (Genetrix
) are stock examples of contemporary males - tainted progeny. There is no other female in this scene. Like the Venus with radiating vulva on the birthtray, here it is only men being driven mad by the goddess of love, albeit the action is being carried out by her son Cupid, but of course they work in tandem.
Mantegna has no work of the planets that I'm familiar with; Baldini does; hence the broadening of classical subject matter in the latter's work with the planetary inflection (paralleled in the contemporary "Mantagna Tarocchi", where the classical gods appear in the planetary order followed by the fixed stars, albeit Apollo appears a second time to cap the series of the 9 muses).