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Hidden in Plain Sight

Covert Criticism of the Medici in Renaissance Florence

by James O. Ward (Author)
Monographs XLVI, 352 Pages
Series: Medieval Interventions, Volume 6

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures
  • Acknowledgements
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Reading Machiavelli Rhetorically: The Prince as Covert Criticism of the Renaissance Prince
  • Chapter Two: Florentia capta: Michelangelo’s Sagrestia Nuova as Covert Critique of Medici Rule
  • Chapter Three: The Compagnia della Cazzuola as Locus of Opposition to Medici Rule
  • Chapter Four: An Academy of Misers: The Compagnie della Lesina and Antilesina as Loci of Opposition to Medici and Imperial Rule in mid-Cinquecento Italy
  • Index
  • Series index

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Figures

Fig. Int.1: Bertoldo di Giovanni, medal commemorating the Pazzi Conspiracy (Credit: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

Fig. Int.2: Renaissance medal commemorating Lorenzino de’ Medici’s assassination of his cousin Alessandro (Photographer: Andrew McCabe)

Fig. 1.1: Santi di Tito, portrait of Niccolò Machiavelli, Museo di Palazzo Vecchio (Photo: Alinari Archives, Florence).

Fig. 1.2: “Bruto lettore,” frontispiece, Rime of Rinaldo Corso (collection of the author).

Fig. 1.3: Raphael, Portrait of Leo X (Photo: Uffizi).

Fig. 1.4: Bronzino, portrait of Cosimo de’ Medici as Orpheus (Credit: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. John Wintersteen).

Fig. 1.5: Torso Belvedere, Museo Pio-Clementino (Credit: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 1.6: Piero di Cosimo, The Forest Fire, c. 1505, detail (Image © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford).

Fig. 2.1: Roman Sestertius of Vespasian showing Judaea capta (Credit: Courtesy of the American Numismatic Society)

Fig. 2.2: Roman Aureus of Domitian showing captured female (Credit: Courtesy of the American Numismatic Society) ← xi | xii →

Fig. 2.3: Roman Aes of Constantine showing bound male captive (Credit: Courtesy of the American Numismatic Society)

Fig. 2.4: Roman stele showing Germania capta (Credit: © GDKE, Landesmuseum Mainz—U. Rudischer)

Fig. 2.5: Raphael, tapestry showing grieving Florence from the Consigning of the Keys to St. Peter (Credit: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.6: Dacia capta, Rome, Capitoline Museum (Credit: B. Malter 2736/03)

Fig. 2.7: Lafrerey, Roma triumphans with Dacia capta and prisoners, Cesi garden (Credit: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

Fig. 2.8: Domenico de’ Rossi, Roma triumphans and prisoners (Credit: Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program)

Fig. 2.9: Charles Louis Clerisseau, Medici vase, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (Credit: Photograph © The State Hermitage Museum. Photo by Leonard Kheifets)

Fig. 2.10: Two chained prisoners, Mainz, Landesmuseum (Credit: © DeA Picture Library/Art Resource, NY)

Fig. 2.11: Peter Paul Rubens, The Triumphal Car of Kallo, Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (Credit: Photo by Frans Vandewalle)

Fig. 2.12: Rubens, detail of Fig. 2.11 (Credit: Photo by Frans Vandewalle)

Fig. 2.13: Gemma Augustea, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (Credit: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY)

Fig. 2.14: Sleeping Ariadne, Rome, Vatican Museums (Credit: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.15: Francisco de Holanda, sketchbook, Sleeping Cleopatra (Credit: Biblioteca Escorial)

Fig. 2.16: Mattei sarcophagus, showing flowing waters (Credit: D-DAI-ROM-984)

Fig. 2.17: Sleeping Ariadne, Rome, Vatican Museum (Credit: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.18: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Night (Photo: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.19: Roman sarcophagus with general and Sarmatians, Museo Pio Clementino (Credit: Scala/Art Resource, NY)

Fig. 2.20: Roman sarcophagus (detail of Fig. 2.19)

Fig. 2.21: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Day, detail of back (Photo: Alinari Archives, Florence) ← xii | xiii →

Fig. 2.22: Michelangelo, plan for the tomb of Pope Julius II (Credit: Uffizi)

Fig. 2.23: Roman sarcophagus showing Dionysus approaching sleeping Ariadne (Credit: D-DAI-ROM-29.402)

Fig. 2.24: Detail of Fig. 2.23. Roman sarcophagus showing Dionysus approaching sleeping Ariadne, detail of twisting male figure holding shell (Photo: D-DAI-ROM-29.402)

Fig. 2.25: Raphael, tapestry showing Leo in exile approaching the river Micio (Credit: Image courtesy of the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Rome)

Fig. 2.26: Michelangelo, drawing of Cleopatra (Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Source: Web Gallery of Art, Public Domain)

Fig. 2.27: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Night, detail (Credit: Reproduced with the permission of Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali/Raffaello Bencini/Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.28: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Day, detail of back (Credit: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.29: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Day, detail of face (Credit: White Images/Scala, Florence)

Fig. 2.30: Michelangelo, bust of Brutus (Credit: © Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY)

Fig. 2.31: Male profile from Palazzo Vecchio (Credit: Photo Scala, Florence)

Fig. 2.32: Michelangelo, carving of male profile from back of the Atlante slave (Credit: Galleria dell’ Accademia di Firenze)

Fig. 2.33: Bust of Brutus (Credit: © Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY)

Fig. 2.34: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Night and Day (Credit: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.35: Rubens, oil sketch, The Sorrows of War (Photo: Art Resource)

Fig. 2.36: Rubens, Two Captive Prisoners (Photo: Image courtesy of New York Social Diary)

Fig. 2.37: Detail of Fig. 2.35

Fig. 2.38: Detail of Fig. 2.36

Fig. 2.39: Torso Belvedere (Credit: Master and Fellows of Trinity College Cambridge, by permission)

Fig. 2.40: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Day, detail of back (Photo: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.41: Michelangelo, Victory, Florence, Bargello (Credit: Raffaello Bencini/Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.42: Michelangelo, Victory, Florence, detail of face of captive (Photo: Uffizi Gallery) ← xiii | xiv →

Fig. 2.43: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Day, detail of face (Credit: White Images/Scala, Florence)

Fig. 2.44: Michelangelo, Bearded Slave (Credit: Reproduced with the permission of Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali/Raffaello Bencini/Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.45: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Evening (Credit: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.46: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Dawn (Credit: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.47: Roman sarcophagus, showing reclining river god and two angels holding Medallion (Credit: D-DAI-ROM-29.398)

Fig. 2.48: Arch of Septimus Severus, detail, Rome (Credit: © Vanni Archive/Art Resource, NY)

Fig. 2.49: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Evening (Photo: Reproduced with the permission of Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali/Raffaello Bencini/Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.50: Tigris, Rome, Vatican sculpture court (Credit: D-DAI-ROM-34.14)

Fig. 2.51: Maarten van Heemskerck, sketchbook, reclining river god on sarcophagus with tortoises and a shell (Credit: bpk Bildagentur/Kupferstichkabinett, SMB/Volker-H. Schneider/Art Resource, NY)

Fig. 2.52: Francisco de Holanda, sketchbook, Sleeping Cleopatra (Credit: Biblioteca Escorial)

Fig. 2.53: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Evening, detail of face (Credit: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.54: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Dawn, detail of face (Photo: Reproduced with the permission of Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali/Raffaello Bencini/Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.55: Michelangelo, sketch for a tomb, showing reclining male figures talking to each other (Credit: © RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY)

Fig. 2.56: Michelangelo, sketch for a tomb, showing reclining male figures talking to each other (detail of Fig. 2.55) (Credit: © RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY)

Fig. 2.57: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Giuliano de’ Medici, detail of head showing dragon helmet and hand holding cloth (Credit: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.58 Juno Cesi, Capitoline Museum, Rome (Credit: B. Malter) ← xiv | xv →

Fig. 2.59 Michelangelo, drawing of female profile with headdress and braid (Credit: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.60 Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Dawn, profile (Credit: Fototeca Zeri)

Fig. 2.61: Michelangelo, sketch showing female profile, shell and male profile wearing a wolf’s head (Photo: Casa Buonarroti)

Fig. 2.62: Sarcophagus lid, showing two reclining female river gods (Photo: © Scala/Art Resource, NY)

Fig. 2.63: Niccolò Fiorentino, figure of seated Florence under a tree holding the palla (Photo: Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY)

Fig. 2.64: Vasari, portrait of Alessandro de’ Medici (Photo: Fine Art Images/Alinari Archives, Firenze)

Fig. 2.65: Michelangelo, sketch for a tomb, showing bound male captives as herms (Photo: Uffizi Gallery)

Fig. 2.66: Vasari, portrait of Alessandro de’ Medici, profile (Photo: Fine Art Images/Alinari Archives, Firenze)

Fig. 2.67: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Lorenzo de’ Medici, profile (Photo: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.68: Michelangelo, Victory, detail of Victor, profile (reversed) (Photo: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.69: Vasari, portrait of Alessandro de’ Medici, detail of hand holding the bastone (Photo: Fine Art Images/Alinari Archives, Firenze)

Fig. 2.70: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Lorenzo de’ Medici, detail showing hand holding coin (Credit: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.71: Bronzino, portrait of Alessandro de’ Medici, detail (Credit: Raffaello Bencini/Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.72: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Lorenzo de’ Medici, profile (Photo: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.73: Bronzino, Portrait of a young man (Credit: Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program)

Fig. 2.74: Victory and bound male captive from Triumphal Arch (Credit: G. Fittschen-Badura 68–78/01)

Fig. 2.75: Bartolommeo Ammannati, Virtue Conquering Deceit (Credit: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.76: Giambologna, Florence Triumphing Over Pisa (Credit: Alinari Archives, Florence) ← xv | xvi →

Fig. 2.77: Tomb of Cornutus, showing Etruscan Dis (Credit: D-DAI-ROM-97.751)

Fig. 2.78: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Giuliano de’ Medici (Credit: © Scala/Art Resource, NY)

Fig. 2.79: Medici Chapel, detail of frieze (Credit: Photo Scala, Florence. Courtesy of the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali)

Fig. 2.80: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Lorenzo de’ Medici, detail of cuirass (Credit: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.81: Michelangelo, Medici Chapel, Giuliano de’ Medici, profile (Credit: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 2.82: Etruscan tomb drawing showing bearded male figure in wolf’s helmet (Credit: Scala/Art Resource, NY)

Fig. 2.83: Michelangelo, sketch of bearded male figure in wolf’s helmet (Credit: Casa Buonarroti)

Fig. 2.84: Michelangelo, sketch of bearded male figure wearing dragon helmet (Credit: Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 3.1: Alciati, Emblemata, Tantalus reaching for the apples (Credit: By permission of the University of Glasgow Library, Special Collections)

Fig. 3.2: La Festa di San Giovanni, showing Baptistry and banners (Credit: Reproduced with the permission of Ministerio per i Beni e le Attività Culturali/Raffaello Bencini/Alinari Archives, Florence)

Fig. 3.3: Sandro Botticelli, The Story of Nastagio degli Onesti, detail (Credit: Copyright of the Museo Nacional del Prado/Art Resource, NY)

Fig. 3.4: Winchester Psalter, Hellmouth (Credit: © British Library Board)

Summary

Hidden in Plain Sight: Covert Criticism of the Medici in Renaissance Florence offers the first systematic study of an important and heretofore insufficiently-studied phenomenon in Renaissance Europe. Through a close examination of a wide variety of visual and textual materials, James O. Ward illuminates the means by which Florentine citizens—among them several of the most famous artists and writers of the time, such as Michelangelo, Machiavelli, and Vasari—managed, in an increasingly authoritarian political and cultural climate, to express their disaffection with the prevailing political and cultural status quo in relatively safe ways, while at the same time maintaining contact with those rulers whom they criticized, upon whom they often depended for their livelihoods. Ward’s volume thus offers new and provocative interpretations of some of the most famous works of Italian Renaissance visual and textual culture—for example, Michelangelo’s New Sacristy in Florence, Machiavelli’s Prince, and Vasari’s portrait of Lorenzo de’ Medici—which have traditionally been viewed by scholars of the period as encomiastic celebrations of their patrons’ power and prestige. The volume thus provides—besides its intimate view of power relations between some of Florence’s most creative artists and writers and those they served—fresh perspectives on the important question of patron-artist relations during the period.
Written in a style which is not too technical, the book is an ideal resource for specialists in Italian history, art history, literature, rhetoric, theatre studies, and the history of Italian academies, as well as a stimulating narrative for the educated general reader interested in the history of Florence, and its often fraught relations with its leading family, the Medici.

Details

Pages
XLVI, 352
ISBN (ePUB)
9781433137945
ISBN (PDF)
9781453918791
ISBN (MOBI)
9781433137952
ISBN (Hardcover)
9781433134289
Language
English
Publication date
2019 (May)
Published
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2019. XLVI, 352 pp., 98 b/w ill., 33 color ill.

Biographical notes

James O. Ward (Author)

James O. Ward received his Ph.D. in Italian studies from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently an independent scholar, living and working in New York City.

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Title: Hidden in Plain Sight