Report from the Front

Art criticism, sometimes with context, occasional politics. Published in hard copy 5-7 times a year. New shows: "events;" hard-copy rates & how to support the online edition: "works."

THE RENAISSANCE PORTRAIT

March 2, 2012

Tags: Donatello, Desiderio da Settignano, Masaccio, Botticelli, Antonio Rizzo

Desiderio da Settignano (Settignano, ca. 1430-1464, Florence). Bust of a Young Woman (Mariettta di Lorenzo Strozzi?). Ca. 1462. Marble. H. 20 5/8 in. Skulpturensammlung und Museum fuer Byzantinische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
Politics played a role in portraiture during the Renaissance, with women often immortalized as part of the marriage ceremony, especially when it signified the union of two ducal or wealthy houses. Potentates like the Medici commissioned portraits to consolidate & publicize their power, but fortunately all these politics are between six & seven hundred years old, and–as politics doesn’t wear as well as art–they are mostly forgotten, no matter how hard pomonian art historians try to revive them. What’s survived is the art, as seen in (more…)