Colnaghi Collections_Vol 01 - Page 85

vocabulary indebted to Michelangelo.2 The working of the large
eyes, characterized by deeply incised pupils and half-moon shaped
irises, is characteristic of works by Nola, and suggestive comparisons
can be drawn with his mature oeuvre, in particular with the
magnificent monument in the Neapolitan church of San Giacomo
degli Spagnoli, dedicated to the Spanish viceroy Pedro de Toledo
and his wife Maria Osorio Pimentel (see intro. fig. 11).3
Among the sculptures on this monument, the statue of Prudence
recalls the Mars in its dented and tightly folded metallic drapery
and fine hair, with locks appearing slightly tousled by a soft breeze.
Other comparisons can be made with Temperance, the praying
figure of the viceroy’s wife, and above all Fortitude (9.2), who wears
a similarly inventive and eccentric helmet; the thick plumage and
female figure resting on the crest also relates to the Trofeo in the
baths at Rocca Mondragone, attributed to Giovanni da Nola, with
Annibale Caccavello, and datable to the early 1550s.4
Da Nola’s evident interest in the art of armour was almost certainly
Fig. 2 Luis de Morales, Ecce Homo, ca. 1560-1570, oil on panel,
73 x 50.5 cm, Madrid, Museo del Prado.
reinforced by the arrival in Naples in 1541 of the magnificent
statue of Minerva carved by Giovan Angelo Montorsoli for the
Funerary Monument of Jacopo Sannazaro in Santa Maria del Parto in
Mergellina (fig. 9.3). The goddess’s helmet, in the form of a lion’s
head, probably served as a model for that of Fortitude on the Pedro
Fig. 9.1 Andrea di Pietro di Marco Ferrucci, Julius Caesar, ca. 1512-1514, marble,
68.5 cm high, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
da Toledo monument. Robert Gaston and Andrew Galdy have
also compared the sculpted helmet (fig.9.4) resting between the
tomb effigies of Don Pedro and his wife to a lion-shaped helmet
Naples for an extensive period and had a lasting impacting on
contemporary sculptors there.
Fig. 9.3 Giovan Angelo Montorsoli, Funerary Monument of Jacopo Sannazaro,
Naples, Santa Maria del Parto a Mergellina.
(fig. 9.5) presented to Charles V by his brother Ferdinand upon
Fig. 2 Luis de Morales, Ecce Homo, ca. 1560-1570, oil on panel, 73 x 50.5 cm,
Madrid, Museo del Prado.
While evidently influenced by the bust of Julius Caesar, Mars
his return from his campaign against the Turks in Tunis.5 Mars’s
helmet, with its fierce expressiveness, dragons, and all’antica figures
recalls all these examples.
presents a form of expression that is more modern, with a sharp
definition of the flesh and a distinct pictorialism in the chiaroscuro
The relationship to Montorsoli’s Minerva (ca. 1540-1541)
rendering of the facial features, elements that are typical of the two
and close affinities with the monument in San Giacomo degli
principal sculptors working in Naples during the second quarter
Spagnoli, of ca. 1545, suggests that Mars was executed towards
of the sixteenth century, Girolamo Santacroce and Giovanni da
the mid-1540s. At that time, Giovanni da Nola was famed as a
Nola; Mars would therefore seem to date towards the second half
sculptor of all’antica figures like the Mars, as demonstrated by a
of the sixteenth century.
passage in the comedic poem L’Altilia, set in Naples and written
between 1541 and 1543 by Anton Francesco Ranieri, a Milanese
In order to understand the style of the bust, it is necessary to consider
the legacy of Andrea Ferrucci in Naples. In this city, Giovanni da
Nola played a leading role in disseminating the Florentine’s artistic
poet who spent time in the city. One of the interlocutors of this
Fig. 9.2 Giovanni da Nola, Fortitude from the Funerary Monument of Pedro de
Toledo and Maria Osorio Pimentel, Naples, San Giacomo degli Spagnoli.
works proclaims: “And a certain fierceness accompanies all my
actions that makes me as terrifying as the god Mars, no?”


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