Ghirlandaio: Giovanna Tournabuoni

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Domenico Ghirlandaio Portrait of Giovanna de’ Tornabuoni, 1489, Madrid, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum/h6> Giovanna is shown in stiff profile illuminated by a searching light. Her sumptuous costume and elaborate hairstyle as well as the few objects displayed in the minimalist background are realised with hard-edged clarity. The rigid profile was a favoured format for Florentine portraits of […]

Claude: Landscape with the Ponte Molle

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Claude Loraine Landscape with the Ponte Molle, 1645, Birmingham, Museum and Art Gallery This is one of Claude’s most sublime paintings of the Roman campagna. The scene is suffused with the glorious golden light of the setting sun prompting a delicious yearning to experience such a view on such an evening. This is at the […]

Previati: Dance of the Hours

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Gaetano Previati Dance of the Hours, 1899, Milan, Fondazione-Cariplo The immediate inspiration for the painting was a short ballet The Dance of the Hours which appeared at the end of the third act of the opera La Gioconda, composed by Amilcare Ponchielli. It was first performed in Milan in 1876. But the iconography hails from […]

Botticelli: Primavera

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Sandro Botticelli Primavera, Late 1470s or Early 1480s, Florence, Uffizi Gallery To enter a room in the Ufizzi and come face to face with this stunning painting is a momentous experience. Seeing reproductions in print and online doesn’t prepare you for its scale – over 2 metres in height and well over 3 metres in […]

Perugino and Michelangelo – The Sistine Chapel

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Michelangelo and Perugino at the Sistine Chapel Michelangelo: The Sistine Ceiling Click on an image to Enlarge Some time ago I was part of a great stream of tourists visiting the Vatican, herded along a circuitous route through many beautiful rooms, loggias and passages including those decorated by Raphael. Eventually we all progressed through some […]