Colnaghi Foundation Journal 03 - Page 143

G I U LI O CAM PAG N OL A / Landscape, and Venetian illumination
GI U LI O CAMPAG N OLA / Landscape, and Venetian illumination
Benedetto Bordon represents an important figure in
relation to Giulio’s artistic trajectory and the two must
have known each other in Padua and subsequently in
Venice.26 In Padua, the Campagnolas certainly knew
Bordon’s brother-in-law and collaborator, Antonio
Maria da Villafora, the quasi-official illuminator of
ecclesiastical works for the Bishop of Padua, Pietro
Barozzi, who officiated at Giulio’s first tonsure and
was also a friend of Bernardo Bembo.27 When Antonio
Maria's adopted son, the illuminator Bartolomeo
Sforza, was imprisoned in 1515 for trafficking in
counterfeit money, Girolamo Campagnola lamented
the situation in a letter to the Paduan jurist Marco
Mantova Benavides, subsequently a collector of
Giulio’s work and major patron of Domenico
Fig. 5 / Giulio Campagnola,
Saturn, ca. 1500-1507,
engraving, 108 x 137 cm,
Paris, Musée du Louvre.
Fig. 6 / Gaspare da Padova,
Homer, The Iliad, ca.
1477-1483, Vatican City,
Biblioteca Apostolica
Vaticana, Ms. Vat. Gr. 1626,
fol. 2r (frontispiece).
Certainly by 1507, Giulio had artistic relations with
Sanvito, who sent the former (by then in Venice)
some engraved plates with the reliefs of the column
of Trajan and a watercolour by the since deceased
Gaspare da Padova of the famous Phaethon gem,
which might have supplied a model for the figure of
Saturn in Giulio’s print depicting the god (fig. 5). 23
In terms of how Giulio’s early figural language was
influenced by the Paduan milieu, Konrad Oberhuber
drew parallels between Giulio’s early engravings and
Gaspare’s work, citing for example the similarity
between Giulio’s Saturn and the representation of the
Priest of Apollo in a manuscript of the Iliad, which
was commissioned by Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga
and was a collaboration between Sanvito, Gaspare
da Padova, and the Greek scribe Giovanni Rhosos
(fig. 6). 24 Oberhuber also compared the figures and
depiction of movement in Giulio’s early Tobias and
the Angel to the miniatures executed by the prolific
Paduan illuminator, Benedetto Bordon in a deluxe
edition of the 1494 Lucian, now in Vienna, in which
narrative scenes are set in lush green landscapes
with mountainous backgrounds articulated in
shades of blue. 25
In Venice, Giulio and Bordon must have come in
contact through the latter’s range of activity in the
world of Venetian book publishing and printing.29
Bordon engaged in several aspects of the new book
trade, including the illumination of high-end printed
editions produced for patrician patrons and the
designing of woodcuts; both of these enterprises link
Bordon to the famous publisher, Aldo Manuzio.
Just after 1500, Bordon seems to have illuminated
several deluxe Aldine editions including a 1501
Martial, bearing the Mocenigo coat of arms, which
includes a miniature of the emperor Domitian
awarding honours to the author in an idyllic verdant
landscape, set against far-off azure mountains (fig.
7).30 Another Aldine edition that Bordon is known
to have illuminated was a 1514 Virgil for Andrea
Navagero, editor of the work, which was dedicated
to his and Giulio’s old friend, Pietro Bembo. The
latter’s involvement with this edition is indicated in
the dedicatory letter, where Aldo thanks Bembo for
supplying an accurate text of the Roman poet’s work.31
Giulio’s close association with this circle at the time is
indicated by a letter of 26 January 1515, from Bembo
to the Venetian humanist Triphon Gabriele, in which


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