Colnaghi Foundation Journal 04 - Page 20



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New light on Cecco Bravo, a Medici painter of mythology and landscape
New light on Cecco Bravo, a Medici painter of mythology and landscape
N OTES
1.
The German scholar Gerhard Ewald (1927-1997),
formerly Director of the Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart and
later Director of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in
Florence (1981-1992), contributed significantly to
the advances made in the study not only of Cecco
Bravo, but also Florentine painting of the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries. In chronological order
his publications on the artist are: Gerhard Ewald,
“Hitherto Unknown Works by Cecco Bravo,” The
Burlington Magazine 102 (1960): pp. 343-352; “Addenda
to Cecco Bravo,” The Burlington Magazine 103 (1961):
pp. 347-351; “Inediti di Cecco Bravo,” Antichità Viva
1 (1962): pp. 34-39; and “Unbekannte Werke von
Cecco Bravo, Sebastiano Mazzoni und Pietro Ricchi,”
Pantheon 22 (1964): pp. 387-399.
2. See Anna Rosa Masetti, Cecco Bravo pittore toscano del
Seicento (Venice: Neri Pozza, 1962). The monograph is
a reworking of the scholar’s thesis, defended in 1958 at
the Università di Pisa (supervisor Carlo L. Ragghianti).
3. Piero Bigongiari and Giuseppe Cantelli, Disegni di Cecco
Bravo, exh. cat. (Florence: Palazzo Strozzi, 1970).
4. Anna Barsanti and Roberto Contini, eds., Cecco Bravo
Firenze 1601- Innsbruck 1661 Pittore senza regola, exh. cat.
(Florence: Casa Buonarroti, 1999).
5. For the biography and entries on the paintings and
drawings by the artist, see Anna Barsanti in Il Seicento
fiorentino. Arte a Firenze da Ferdinando I a Cosimo III, 3
vols., exh. cat. (Florence: Palazzo Strozzi, 1986), I
(Pittura), nos. 1.190-1.200, pp. 354-373; II (Disegno/
Incisione/Scultura/Arti minori), nos. 2.272-2.282, pp. 308316; III (Biografie), pp. 48-51.
6. The valuable documents from the Montelatici archive
were first published in Anna Barsanti, “Nuove fonti
per Cecco Bravo pittore fiorentino,” Granducato 2
(1976): pp. 33-38; and subsequently published in full in
Anna Matteoli, “Documenti su Cecco Bravo,” Rivista
d’arte 42 (1990): pp. 95-146.
7. The copper measures 38 x 56 cm.
8. Ulderigo Medici, Catalogo della Galleria dei Principi
Corsini in Firenze (Florence: Tipografico Mariani,
1880), no. 302, p. 90. The work left Palazzo Corsini
after 1919, the year of the death of Tommaso, 6th
Prince of Sismano (1835-1919), who had maintained
the collection as described by Ulderigo Medici in
the family palace on via del Parione. An important
political figure and major patron of the arts, Tommaso
Corsini bequeathed to the Italian State the palace in
Rome including the art collection, now known as the
Galleria Nazionali di Arte Antica di Roma-Galleria
Corsini.
9. Federico Fantozzi, Nuova guida ovvero descrizione storico artistica- critica della città e contorni di Firenze (Florence: G.
e fratelli Ducci, 1842), p. 563.
10. See the Archivio Corsini, Florence (now held at the
Villa le Corti, San Casciano in Val di Pesa), room 15,
bay 6, shelf 6, insert no. 72: Nota dei quadri delle quattro
camere, et altro di chi sono manofatta il 27 maggio 1711,
quadri del marchese poi cardinale Neri Corsini, unpaginated,
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
no. 36. In this inventory mention is only made of an
oval copper by Cecco Bravo, while all later inventories,
from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries,
until the death of Tommaso Corsini, give the title as
“Le Nozze dei centauri.”
Filippo Baldinucci, Notizie de’ professori del disegno da
Cimabue in qua (1681-1728), ed. F. Ranalli, 6 vols.
(Florence: V. Batelli e compagni, 1845-1847), in the
anastatic reprint ed. Paola Barocchi, 7 vols. (Florence:
S.P.E.S, 1974-1975), IV, p. 141.
Among the most fascinating landscape drawings
by Stefano della Bella that relate to the painted
landscapes of Cecco Bravo, I would draw attention to
two works in the Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe
degli Uffizi: a large-scale work measuring 28.2 x 20.9
cm, inv. 363 P, (see fig. 6); and inv. 365 P, illustrated in
Anna Forlani Tempesti and Anna M. Petrioli Tofani,
I grandi disegni italiani degli Uffizi di Firenze (Milan:
Cinisello Balsamo, 1972), no. 83.
For the Nocturnal Carousel, see Mina Gregori, “Un
insperato incontro con Stefano della Bella,” in Paragone
557-561 (1996): pp. 163-167, and Mina Gregori,
Francesca Romei, and Gabriele Capecchi, Stefano
della Bella. Un dipinto riemerso dal buio dei secoli (Florence:
Falcini, 1997).
For an up-to-date bibliography and a different dating
of the painting, see Nadia Bastogi in Florence au grand
siècle entre peinture et littérature, eds. Elena Fumagalli and
Massimiliano Rossi, exh. cat. (Ajaccio: Palais FeschMusée des Beaux-Arts, 2011), no. 8, pp. 62-63.
The document is cited by Capecchi in Gregori,
Romei, and Capecchi, Stefano della Bella, p. 59 n. 25.
Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi, respectively inv.
1890/4973, and inv. 1890/4974. The Inferno is
connected to the events in the myth linked to Pluto
and Persephone related in Coppola’s tale, as was first
noted by Evelina Borea in La Quadreria di don Lorenzo
de’ Medici, eds. Evelina Borea, Anna Petrioli Tofani,
and Karla Langedijk, exh. cat. (Poggio a Caiano: Villa
Medicea, 1977), no. 27, p. 53.
“Nell’Ultimo luogo uscì il Coro di Venere… da lei
seguito su un carro trainato da cigni… e quando Giove
ordinò agli dei di festeggiare e si vide subito trascorrere
un baleno d’allegrezza per la scena, onde tutti
brillando di gioia cominciarono a ballare, a cantare,
e si sentiva in quest’armonia, come conoscendosi
eglino colmi d’inusitata letizia, volevano che ancora i
mortali godessero della loro felicità, perché è proprio
del bene il diffondersi, e il partecipare con gli altri…”
Francesco Rondinelli, Relazione delle nozze degli dei. Favola
dell’abbate Gio: Carlo Coppola rappresentata nelle reali Nozze
de’ Sereniss. Gran Duca di Toscana Ferdinando II e Vittoria
Principessa d’Urbino. Alla medesima Gran Duchessa di Toscana
(Florence: Massi & Landi, 1637), p. 46. Trained under
the Jesuits, Rondinelli was a member of the two most
important Academies in Florence at the time, the
“Apatisti” and the “Svogliati.” The publication of the
book that made him famous, La Relazione del contagio
18.
19.
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21.
22.
23.
24.
stato in Firenze negli anni 1630, e 1633, dedicated to
Ferdinando II, led to his appointment as Grand-ducal
librarian on 21 December 1635, a position which he
held till his death. Ferdinando II also appointed him
tutor of Vittoria della Rovere, who later choose him as
her almoner.
The account registers of Palazzo Pitti, published
by Malcolm Campbell, “Medici Patronage and the
Baroque: a Reappraisal,” The Art Bulletin 48 (1966): pp.
134-137, 145-146, app. nos. 86-88, 91-94, 96 n. 20,
reveal that in that period – from October 1637 to June
1638 – Cecco Bravo received without any break 400
scudi for “certi fregi” (certain friezes) painted in a high
room where Prince Leopoldo de’ Medici lived. For
some time now, I have thought that these works also
included the frescoes of the mezzanine which have
always been dated by scholars to the mid-1640s (see
Anna Barsanti in Barsanti and Contini, Cecco Bravo, p.
32), the only exception being Elisa Acanfora, who has
recently reconsidered the fresco (see Elisa Acanfora,
“Il soffitto di Cecco Bravo nella prima sala del Tesoro
di Salisburgo,” in Fasto di corte. La decorazione murale nelle
residenze dei Medici e dei Lorena. II. L’età di Ferdinando II de’
Medici (1628-1670), ed. Mina Gregori (Florence: Edifir,
2006), pp. 88-91.
Consultation of the books of Bartolomeo Corsini in
the family archive now kept at Villa Le Corti a San
Casciano in Val di Pesa revealed nothing.
Ferdinando gave a generous pension to Coppola,
who stayed as his guest at Palazzo Pitti during his
stay in Florence from 1634 to 1640. The poet quickly
tired of life at court, preferring to immerse himself
in his religious vocation. His literary masterpiece is
considered the sacred poem Maria Concetta, which
earned him the somewhat flattering nickname “Tasso
Sacro” (Sacred Tasso). The work was also written for
Ferdinando, as indeed was the poem Il Cosmo ovvero
l’Italia trionfante (1650).
Galileo had heard and approved of Coppola’s
Wedding of the Gods, as can be seen in a letter he wrote
to Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger in Arcetri
in January 1637 (now kept in the Archivio di Casa
Buonarroti in Florence (File 48, letter G, folder 929),
reproduced in Le opere di Galileo Galilei, XVII (Florence:
Tipografica G. Barbèra, 1906), no. 3426.
The ex-Corsini Wedding Celebrations of the Gods is
recorded among the lost works in Masetti, Cecco Bravo
pittore toscano, no. 27, p. 96.
The copper measures 32.5 x 22.4 cm.
The copper measures 39.5 x 31.5 cm, and the
inventory number 42 is written on the back of the
panel and the period frame.
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