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The Ascension with Christ giving the Keys to Saint Peter
Relief by Donatello
|The Ascension with Christ giving the Keys to Saint Peter|
|Dimensions||40.9 cm × 114.1 cm (16.1 in × 44.9 in)|
|Location||Victoria and Albert Museum, London|
The Ascension with Christ giving the Keys to Saint Peter is a rectangular stiacciato marble relief sculpture of c. 1428–1430 by Donatello, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Its original commissioner is unknown; it is first recorded in the inventory of the Palazzo Medici in 1492 on the death of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and later in the inventory of the Palazzo Portinari-Salviati [it] in 1591.
It is an unusual subject, combining the Ascension of Christ and Christ's giving the keys of the kingdom to Saint Peter. It may form part of a series of works for private devotion which the artist produced at that time, but more probably it decorated the original altar in the Cappella Brancacci, or perhaps the base of the Saint Peter niche at Orsanmichele.
Depth of Field: the place of relief in the time of Donatello
21 Sep 2004 – 27 Mar 2005
Exhibition in Galleries 1, 2 and 3
Relief sculpture fascinates and perplexes, hovering between simple decoration and full-scale pictorial illusion. This exhibition examines the nature of relief at the beginning of the Renaissance period.
Installation view of Depth of Field: the place of relief in the time of Donatello
Photo: Jerry Hardman-Jones
Installation view of Depth of Field: the place of relief in the time of Donatello
Photo: Jerry Hardman-Jones
Installation view of Depth of Field: the place of relief in the time of Donatello
Photo: Jerry Hardman-Jones
Relief sculpture could be found on the surface of every kind of artefact in fifteenth-century Italy, a time when the distinction between fine and decorative arts hardly applied.
Works by Donatello (1386-1466) and his contemporaries were related to a wider material experience, as the show looked first at the contextual and historical range of the relief, and then at the viewer’s engagement with its subjects.
Depth of Field: the place of relief in the time of Donatello is the result of a unique collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum which military car insurance offered an unparalleled opportunity to borrow forty works, including 'The Ascension with Christ Giving the Keys to St Peter', the most important relief by Donatello in Britain, from the museum’s rich collections of fine and decorative art. Curators from both institutions have worked on this exhibition which will reflect their different specialisms, and aims to reveal the continuities of the Renaissance with both the medieval and earlier ages.
The exhibition opens with a wide-ranging introduction to the culture of relief, looking at the many places in which it could appear, highlighting some of the physical and conceptual reasons for its presence.
Moving through the galleries, Depth of Field turns to the theme of the Virgin and Child, a much loved subject. The exhibition offers the chance to compare works originally designed for very different places, by artists including Agostino di Duccio and Andrea della Robbia, as well as Donatello. Street Madonnas take their place alongside more precious and intimate icons, juxtaposing reliefs made for public or private devotion.
The final gallery focuses on Donatello’s exceptional carving, 'The Ascension with Christ Giving the Keys to St Peter'. This offers the viewer, who has now been acquainted with looking at reliefs, the opportunity to consider one of the most puzzling and anomalous relief works in the history of art.
An audio recording of Glyn Davies talk 'Ghiberti and the making of reliefs' is available in the Henry Moore Institute Research Library.
Henry Moore Institute
T: 0113 246 7467
Galleries: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am - 5pm
Research Library: Monday to Saturday, 10am - 5pm; Sunday, 1 - 5pm
Archive of Sculptors' Papers: Tuesday to Friday, by prior appointment
The recent exhibition, Depth of Field: The Place of Relief in the Time of Donatello, at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, focused on early fifteenth-century Italian relief sculptures from the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum. Organized by Peta Motture, Glyn Davies, and Stuart Frost at the museum and by Penelope Curtis, Martina Droth, and Stephen Feeke of the Henry Moore Institute, it icici internet banking login activation the first exhibition to focus on Italian early fifteenth-century relief sculpture, and it presented the subject in a provocative and innovative way. Its specific purposes were to explore how the sculptures might be reinstalled in the new galleries under design at the Victoria & Albert and to present them in a new light—literally and figuratively—by giving them the attention they deserve. The exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue of the same title featuring three short the ascension with christ giving the keys to st peter on the culture of relief in late medieval Tuscany by Davies, Donatello’s relief sculptures by Motture, and the history of collecting Italian Renaissance reliefs at the South Kensington Museum (V&A) by Droth, followed by succinct entries on all the objects in the show.
The exhibition aimed to accomplish more than to focus on its masterpiece, Donatello’s marble relief of Ascension with Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter (ca. 1428–30; cat. no. 45), hailed as the most important sculpture outside Italy by the greatest fifteenth-century sculptor. The installation in Leeds conveyed this hierarchy by isolating Donatello’s relief in the last room of the exhibition’s space. But to reach Donatello’s sculpture the visitor had to traverse two other rooms and absorb their messages, a directed traffic pattern that signaled the organizers’ attempt to accord equal importance to demonstrating the ubiquity and variety of sculpted relief in Italian urban centers during the early fifteenth century.
The first room of the exhibition established this context by displaying objects as diverse as a bishop’s crozier, a parade shield, a tomb slab, a wafering iron, and a mirror. Unique marble reliefs of religious narrative subjects, including the dramatic Lamentation by Bellano for SS. Trinità in Padua, were shown side-by-side with a variety of functional objects (for instance, chests in precious materials) purchased by wealthy Italians to celebrate social rituals such as marriage and death. The culture of gift exchange among the same economic class was represented by the portrait medals they had cast with their own likenesses and personal emblems to give to close associates, and by a colored-glass roundel of the Madonna and Child replicating the unique bronze relief that Donatello apparently created to serve the unprecedented dual function as a mold and as a gift for his doctor Giovanni Chellini. The first room also addressed issues concerning the antique and medieval origins of some forms of early fifteenth-century relief sculpture in Italy, such as the Roman coins that spurred the creation of Renaissance portrait medals, and the commonplace clay oil lamps and bowls that inspired relief techniques, and sometimes subject matter, in the later period. Medieval ivory plaques were included to represent a form of production and technique of carving that continued in fifteenth-century luxury objects like combs and chests, especially in the workshop of the Embriachi. Finally, the innovative types of carving and casting techniques inaugurated in such famous commissions as Ghiberti and Brunelleschi’s Florentine Baptistry competition panels (1400–1), Donatello’s St. George Slaying the Dragon at Orsanmichele, Florence (ca. 1417), and Donatello’s Miracles of St. Anthony from the Santo, Padua (ca. 1445–50) were evoked by nineteenth-century plaster casts that worked as surrogates for masterpieces that could not be borrowed (cat. nos. 1–5). In addition, these casts conveyed the fascination that early Italian reliefs by leading sculptors like Donatello and Ghiberti held for artists and collectors in later centuries. Their presence in the show also hinted at the practice of privileging commissioned bronze and marble religious narrative reliefs that became standard in nineteenth-century art historical discourse and led to the neglect of the replicated functional objects that were so important in the lives and devotional practices of fifteenth-century Italians.
In contrast, the second room was dedicated to relief sculptures of the Madonna and Child, the most common type of sculpture for private devotion. It displayed versions of the Virgin and Child in glazed terracotta, polychromed stucco and terracotta, and marble. Most were produced in multiples and were probably purchased readymade from workshops and then sometimes customized for the buyer. About a dozen of these relief sculptures were hung starkly against the room’s undecorated white walls, an installation that encouraged the viewer to look beyond their common subject and to reflect on their differences in technique, material, format, and figural interaction. Taken as a group, these sculptures revealed the vitality of the Byzantine icon tradition in fifteenth-century Italy. Most depicted the Virgin and Christ nestling their faces together affectionately in a rendition of the Glykophilousa composition, and they further stressed the figures’ humanity by baring Christ’s navel and genitals and by ringing his thighs with rolls of baby fat. Seeing all the Madonna and Child reliefs together created a powerful effect: one local visitor likened the experience of entering the room to a transition from the secular twenty-first century into a spiritual world.
The catalogue of the individual objects in the exhibition was edited by Curtis and organized according to their disposition in Leeds. Only by perusing these entries and absorbing their sequence can the interested reader who missed the exhibition appreciate the diverse questions that the exhibition’s organizers intended to raise by their selection of objects and display strategy. The catalogue illustrates almost all the regis jesuit high school in color, except for some marble reliefs, a choice most likely made because they read better in black and white. Most illustrations are small-scale, although Donatello’s Ascension with Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter is represented in a folding-out horizontal color image that mimics its proportions. Several previously published black-and-white photographs of the sculpture are also included to demonstrate how the intensity of lighting and changes in viewing angle alter the visual impression of the very low relief-carving technique invented by Donatello called schiacciato. An unusual feature of the catalogue is the illustration of some of the objects by small color plates inserted as separate pages into the text. Their miniature size means that they function as aide-mémoires rather than as visual documents, and their lack of mounting offers no protection for the images.
The brief introductory essays broach contextual problems. Davies aims to reintegrate Donatello’s famous examples of marble and bronze relief sculpture into their material culture to suggest how fifteenth-century Italians might have responded to these objects and to make us aware of our own quite different assumptions. He emphasizes that the contemporary sculptor and theoretician Ghiberti grouped together all paintings and sculptures representing narratives, defining them by content as istorie, andnot distinguishing them by technique as is the current practice. Davies sketches the medieval traditions of relief sculpture continued or adapted in the fifteenth century, countering our tendency to truncate developments by establishing separate historical periods. He reminds the reader that many sculpted objects were caressed for devotional purposes or for sheer physical delight, practices never allowed by present museums. These observations and the variety of objects in the exhibition’s first room demonstrate that the reactions of fifteenth-century Italians would have been conditioned by their visual and tactile familiarity with all sorts of relief sculpture created for practical or devotional purposes, experiences that cannot be reconstructed today. The gap between the fifteenth-century world and ours has been further reinforced by the predilection of later historians to focus on what were deemed artistic masterpieces in their time and to purposefully segregate these objects from an evaluation of their everyday context.
Motture addresses a related issue in discussing whether distinctions between the unique and the multiply replicated devotional relief mattered to fifteenth-century Italians interested in purchasing an image of the Madonna and Child. Not only were most buyers searching for an object that would stimulate piety rather than stand out for its aesthetic distinction, as she outlines, the production of a renowned sculptor like Donatello blurs any distinction between objects of very different value. The bronze Chellini Madonna (ca. 1456; cat. no. 24), one of the few securely documented sculptures by Donatello representing the Madonna and Child, was modeled on the reverse so that glass could be molded into reproductions of it, thereby collapsing any barrier between an unique object in an expensive material and cheap reproductions. She reminds us that Donatello pioneered such characteristic, influential fifteenth-century techniques as linear perspective and atmospheric perspective in relief sculpture, inspiring painters to adopt these devices. She considers how the Chellini Madonna’s placement of Mary and Christ within the illusion of an enclosing convex balustrade suggests the spatial complexity more elaborately developed in Donatello’s narrative reliefs. In some he exploited the three-dimensional possibilities of linear perspective suggested in the Chellini Madonna. In others like the Ascension with Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter, Donatello created effects of atmosphere and spatial recession by his innovative schiacciato technique whereby he carved forms so shallowly that they seem to change and move before the viewer’s eyes.
Droth outlines the unusual circumstances in which a single figure, John Charles Robinson, amassed the Victoria & Albert’s world-famous collections of early fifteenth-century Italian relief sculpture in the second half of the nineteenth century. Bucking the period’s disregard for this type of sculpture, Robinson exploited the museum’s foundation as a repository of applied and decorative arts to justify his unpopular selections. He then had to contend with the result that museum visitors and other scholars relegated the sculptures to the category of decoration. Robinson embraced the challenge of changing these perceptions and campaigned for the recognition of their significant content and artistic quality in a series of publications about the collections. The exhibition and catalogue carry on his mission by expanding his valorizing criteria to examine how relief sculptures, including those that are exclusively decorative and the work of artisans, were perceived by fifteenth-century Italians.
The title Depth of Field seems to have been intended to connote the multiple purposes of the exhibition and its catalogue. The exhibition was a showcase of the extraordinary richness of the Victoria & Albert’s collections of Italian sculpture and featured some of its masterpieces. The selection and juxtaposition of objects allowed inspection of the ways in which levels of relief were actually created—by hand or by cast—in a variety of materials. At the same time the show and its catalogue invite us to expand our range of investigation—to include objects that once fell outside the purview of art history and to extend our study into the period’s culture through an appreciation of these objects’ roles in the everyday life of fifteenth-century Italians. The exhibition was one of the first to comprise such a broad range of objects and to explore the cultural meanings and uses of relief sculpture. This puts it in the vanguard of analyses of Italian Renaissance material culture. The exhibition’s success in paying suitable homage to the most renowned sculptures in the collection and in integrating the latest scholarly interests into their display makes enthusiasts of Italian sculpture eagerly anticipate the reinstallation of these sculptures at the Victoria & Albert.
As in the Resurrection panel, Jesus is in red and white holding a banner with red cross on a white background. He gives his blessing to St Peter who is seated in a rock and raises both hands in surprise, and has a big smile on his face. St Peter is one of, if not the most important apostle. From very early Christian art, St Peter has been depicted with a short beard and usually bald on top, perhaps associated with the haircut of a monk.
Peter also has an oversized key resting in the crook of his elbow, a symbol used to identify him. The attribute of one or two keys reflects the story in the bible where Christ gives him the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
While journeying along with His Apostles, Jesus asks them: “Whom do men say that the Son of man is?” The Apostles answered: “Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets”. Jesus said to them: “But whom do you say that I am?” Simon said: “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God”. And Jesus answering said to him: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter [Kipha, a rock], and upon this rock [Kipha] I will build my church [ekklesian], and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven”. Then he commanded his disciples, that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ (Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-21).
The expressions on the faces of the people depicted in the Boppard panels are very special. The painting shows real people with real expressions which bring the scenes to life.
There are several other representations of St Peter on display in the Burrell Collection. An English 15th century window in the Hutton Drawing Room shows St Peter with two keys., but less usually, a good crop of hair on top. A crown in a thornbush and the initials H and E for Henry VIII and Elizabeth of York is one of the badges at the bottom (the left-hand diamond shaped pane).
Another panel, in the South-Corridor, shows the “St John the Evangelist and a Kneeling Soldier”. The panel depicts a soldier converting to Christianity during the Virgin Mary’s funeral procession. The soldier is in full armour holding jose alfredo gonzalez rodriguez the ascension with christ giving the keys to st peter branch given to him by St John, who stands on the left dressed in a white mantle over a red tunic. St Peter stands with his key behind the coffin of the Virgin Mary, covered with a red drape and bearing the initial ‘M’. The initials IHS (Jesus) radiates in a roundel on the upper right. The panel is English from the Norwich School and dates to the 15th century. The panel probably comes from the Church of St Peter Mancroft, Norwich, built between 1430 and 1455.
Another depiction of St Peter is in the Nottingham alabaster “The Ascension”, where Peter is centre right of the group watching Jesus rocketing up to heaven.
On a different object altogether, St Peter is shown in one of the orphreys (a form of highly detailed embroidery) on a chasuble made in England in the late 15th century and altered in the 18th century. It is in red silk velvet embroidered with large stylised sprays of lilies and other flower in silk floss and metal threads with metal spangles. The front is made from three sections of velvet and the back cut from one.
The flowers are worked separately with laid silk threads, metal threads couched in silk and split stitch details and appliquéd to the ground. The stamens and stems are worked in couched the ascension with christ giving the keys to st peter threads and split stitch. St Peter is on the back in an applied band embroidered with at centre front and back the ascension with christ giving the keys to st peter blue silk velvet worked in silk floss and metal threads using long and short stitches, padded satin stitch, straight stitch, raised-work and couched silk and metal threads. Peter is shown carrying both a key and a book.
Pietro Perugino (1450-1523)
Sistine Chapel Fresco: Christ Handing the Keys to Saint Peter
In 1478, not long after getting married, Perugino left Florence and moved to Rome. By 1481 he was suficiently well known to receive a prestigious commission from the papal court in the Vatican to decorate the newly built Sistine Chapel with a series of fresco mural paintings. Several other eminent artists worked on the Sistine frescoes, including Cosimo Rosselli (1439-1507), Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-94) and the Medici artist Botticelli (1445-1510). Perugino painted scenes from the life of Moses and from the life of Christ. His main aim was to achieve harmony and balance - a quality already apparent in his fresco of St Sebastian between Two Saints (1478, Church of S. Maria, Cerqueto) - but an even better example of this is his Sistine south carolina state parks on the beach Chapel picture - Christ Handing the Keys to Saint Peter (1481-2) - in which Perugino broke away from the doctrines of Piero della Francesca (Perugino's friezes of figures placed on various levels against an architectonic perspective are very different from Piero's geometrical characters surrounded by vast spaces). It was this picture, which was also greatly admired for the clarity, control and organization of its composition, that established the ascension with christ giving the keys to st peter Perugino's reputation.
Mature Paintings (1483-1500)
Perugino went on to receive many other important commissions in Rome, Florence, Perugia and elsewhere, and between 1490 and 1505 he was generally considered to be the finest painter in Italy.
In addition to producing his own works in the Sistine Chapel, Perugino collaborated with Pinturicchio (1454-1513) on the frescoes depicting Moses Journeying in Egypt and the Baptism of Christ. There is a hint of Pinturicchio's style in the busy pictorial landscape background of Perugino's St Jerome (National Gallery of Art, Washington DC), but it was undoubtedly Flemish painting which inspired the closely observed misty countryside of the beautiful Galitzine Triptych - a Crucifixion flanked by St Jerome and St Mary Magdalene (National Gallery of Art, Washington DC). It is worth remembering that the influential Portinari Altarpiece by Hugo van der Goes (14401482), now in the Uffizi, probably reached Florence around 1483.
With the Albani Torlonia Polyptych (Nativity with Saints, 1491, Torlonia Collection, Rome) a new rhythmical relationship the ascension with christ giving the keys to st peter appears between the two separate parts of the composition - the figures and the architectural setting - placed symmetrically around a central motif. This arrangement, which achieved universal popularity during the next five years, at a time when Perugino was working mainly in Florence, can be seen in such works as The Virgin Enthroned between St John the Baptist and St Sebastian (1493, Apple contact info usa, and The Virgin Appearing to St Bernard (Alte Pinakothek, Munich).
In 1494-95 he painted his Pieta (1494-95, Uffizi) for the church of San Guisto near Florence. (Note: A Pieta is a work in which Virgin Mary holds the body of her dead son, Jesus, while she mourns his death - the most famous one being the sculpture (c.1500) by Michelangelo.) Perugino's version is a superb example of his mature style. As with most of his paintings, the composition is balanced and symmetrical and all the figures are in the foreground. The space is severely defined by the architecture.
The tripartite fresco of the Crucifixion in the Church of S. Maria Maddelena dei Pazzi in Florence (finished around 1496) marks a further stage in Perugino's treatment of space; the appearance of a rhythmic, everyday landscape with broad, not altogether solid, fields, completely lacking in architectural perspective. The way in which the figures are arranged, often posed in untidy rows in the foreground of the picture, has been compared to the style of the Renaissance sculptor Andrea della Robbia (1435-1525) in his ceramic altarpieces. Further examples of this technique are The Virgin with Saints (P.N. Bologna), the Ascension in the centre of the polyptych for the church of S. Pietro at Perugia (Lyons Museum; the predella is in Rouen Museum), the murals of the Collegio del Cambio, Perugia (completed in 1500), and the Assumption for the Abbey of Vallombrosa (1500, Academy of Art, Florence).
Towards the end of the 15th century the td ameritrade near me now Raphael (Raffaello Santi) (1483-1520) came to Perugino's studio, and worked with him on the predella of the Fano Altarpiece (Church community banks of colorado online banking login the ascension with christ giving the keys to st peter of S. Maria Nuova, Fano). It was under Perugino's influence that Raphael painted The Spozalizio, The Marriage of the Virgin and The Coronation of the Virgin. But while Perugino's art had an important influence on the Urbino-born youngster, the latter also impressed his elder colleague. It was at Raphael's suggestion, for instance, that Perugino began to employ a more slender and more brilliant line than in previous years; see, for example, the two Prophets in the polyptych of S. Pietro (Nantes Museum), and the Pieta at the Clark Art Institute.
For the next 20 years Perugino's painting kept its languid and elegant harmony of line, but his style became increasingly anaemic and his inspiration dried up. The change is evident in such works as: The Adoration of the Magi (1504, Citta della Pieva, Oratory of S. Maria dei Bianchi); The Combat between Love and Chastity for the studiolo of Isabella d'Este (1505, Louvre); as well as Perugino's completion of the capital one 24 hour contact number (1504-7) for the Church of the Annunsiata the ascension with christ giving the keys to st peter in Florence, begun by Fra Filippino Lippi, the vault of the Vatican chamber (1507) where Raphael and his students later painted the Fire in the Borgo, and the fresco paintings at the Church of S. Francesco in Montefalco and the Church of S. Maria delle Lacrime de Trevi (1521).
Perugino's significant work was accomplished by the end of the 15th century. In 1506, he retired to Perugia. Although seen as one of the great figures of the Italian Renaissance, by then his style was considered to be old-fashioned - at least by the people of Florence. Nonetheless, he was one of the most important figures of the late quattrocento due to his part in transmitting classicism throughout Umbria (through Raphael), Tuscany (through Fra Bartolommeo) and northern Italy (through Francia and Costa). To be specific, the harmony and spatial organization of his paintings, along with his idealized figures, had a strong formative influence on the young Raphael and thus helped to pave the way for the art of the High Renaissance. In addition to his religious art, he painted portraits and mythological subjects. Many of his pictures have an easily recognizable sentimental style similar to the one adopted by Raphael in his early works. However, while Perugino continued to repeat this style, Raphael developed it into something far more robust and exciting.
Paintings by Pietro Perugino can be seen in some of the best art museums in Europe, including the Uffizi Gallery allpoint atm deposit cash locations and the Pitti Palace in Florence, and various Vatican museums.