Baroque Allegory

1911 Words8 Pages
yha Sud
Baroque Rome
F. Giacomini
December, 2014

Allegory of the Divine Providence

In the seventeenth century, the city of Rome became the consummate statement of Catholic majesty and triumph expressed in the arts, as evident through the Baroque style. Contradiction was inherent in the Baroque period; as it began, painting was governed by decorum, however, as the Baroque progressed, the Church saw art as a means to propagate the messages of the Counter Reformation. The popularity and success of the Baroque was encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church, which had decided at the time of the Council of Trent that the arts should communicate religious themes in both direct, and emotional involvement. The aristocracy saw the success of the dramatic
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In the case of the very famous Barberini family, the family developed their significance when Cardinal Maffeo Barberini was elected to the papal throne in 1623 with the name Urban VIII. Pope Urban VIII and the Barberini family had a large influence on the arts, as Urban VIII was a prominent patron commissioning many works. Some of the most substantial works commissioned by Urban VIII are in the Palazzo Barberini, including the two very famous ceiling frescoes: Allegory of Divine Wisdom completed by Andrea Sacchi, and the Allegory of Divine Providence completed by Pietro da Cortona. As art became a means of displaying triumphant power and societal influence, the work completed by Pietro da Cortona most successfully achieves this. Completed within the years 1633 and 1639, this ceiling fresco occupying the salon of the Palazzo Barberini is arguably the pinnacle of the dramatic, emotional, and intellectual tendencies of the Baroque period. Further, this work overwhelms the viewer due to the sheer size of the work, while also presenting an unmistakable statement regarding the significance of Urban VIII and consequently, the Barberini…show more content…
However, the artistic composition of the piece is undoubtedly due to Cortona’s inherent talent and ability to create a cohesive, aesthetically pleasing piece. Many sources suggest Cortona extensively reworked the piece after his return to Rome from Florence, however, Cortona’s preparatory drawings can offer insight as to whether or not the bulk of the piece was redone. Cortona’s contemporary, Baldinucci, claims that during Cortona’s absence, his pupils Romanelli and Bottalla convinced the Barberini that they should be allowed to complete the fresco decoration, thus prompting Cortona’s return to Rome. However, according to Boschini’s report, “the artist’s north Italian experiences inspired him to repaint the fresco in a more Venetian style.” However, some argue “neo-Venetianism was already present in Cortona’s paintings prior to 1637.” Regardless of the explanation, it is plausible that the “bulk of the fresco as it is seen currently was painted in 1638 and 1639,” as confirmed by the preparatory sketch Women and Children (seen above, 1639). Based on this particular
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