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Renaissance Studies

A «Festschrift» in Honor of Professor Edward J. Olszewski

Edited By Jennifer H. Finkel, Michael D. Morford and Dena M. Woodall

This Festschrift is dedicated to Edward J. Olszewski and was created by his former PhD students in gratitude and honor of a professor whose innovative and comprehensive research spans the Renaissance and Baroque periods. His research provided much insight to the arts, issues of patronage, conservation, and context. The text includes an array of topics conceived by each author while studying with Olszewski. His intense seminar on Michelangelo was the catalyst for many articles: Jennifer Finkel introduces new ideas regarding the proposed sculptural plan for the façade of San Lorenzo; Dena M. Woodall provides keen insight on the representations of genii on the Sistine Ceiling; Karen Edwards proposes the early creation of the figura serpentinata in Michelangelo’s own drawings and paintings; and Rachel Geshwind offers a new interpretation of his use of color symbolism in the Sistine Chapel. This seminar, and another on Mannerism, involved provocative discussion of the competitors of Michelangelo, where the foundation was laid for the much needed re-examination of Baccio Bandinelli’s Hercules and Cacus in Michael Morford’s article, which introduces the probability of Machiavellian influence, and Christine Corretti’s interpretation of Cellini’s Perseus and Medusa as the symbol of Cosimo’s I ideas of justice and the influence of women in his life. Olszewski’s own research on patronage, especially of the Ottoboni, mirrors Henrietta Silberger’s article on the collecting habits of Livio Odescalchi. Finally, Holley Witchey provides a personal experience in authenticating works of art in collections (a topic of interest for Olszewski) and ends her essay with a series of important questions for each of us to ask ourselves.


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Michelangelo at San Lorenzo: The Sculptural Program for the Façade JENNIFER FINKEL 7


Jennifer Finkel Michelangelo at San Lorenzo: The Sculptural Program for the Façade The year was 1516 in Florence. The Medici were recently back in power in their native city after an eighteen year exile; and Giovanni de’ Medici, the second son of Lorenzo il Magnifico, had been elected Pope Leo X just three years prior. In this year, in an atmosphere of relative discontent, dissention, and insecurity for the Medici in Florence, Leo X announced a competition to design a façade for his family’s parish church of San Lorenzo. The façade commission was irrefutably the most prestigious commission of the sixteenth century in Florence. In a fierce competition between Michelangelo, Antonio and Giuliano da Sangallo, Jacopo Sansovino, Baccio d’Agnolo, and Raphael, the Pope initially entrusted Michelangelo with the sculptural plan, while Ja- copo Sansovino and Baccio d’Agnolo were responsible for the architecture. The rivalry among the competitors continued but ultimately, Michelangelo prevailed: Leo X granted him the title capomaestro and assigned him the entire project for both the architecture and the sculpture. Having freed himself of collaborators, Michelangelo da solo would envi- sion an ingenious design, a solution that had eluded Renaissance architects up to that point: how to apply a façade with classical orders to the basilican plan church. Not only that, but Michelangelo’s façade was to be entirely made of marble⎯the first all marble façade since Roman antiquity. What was more was that this all marble façade would support nearly...

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