Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Annunciation Carlo Crivelli

Carlo Crivelli is one of those painters about whose life hardly any information, traditional or otherwise, has come down to us. But about his artistic origin, with the exception of one questionable statement, there is an absolute blank; and we are reduced to the necessity of making his pictures tell their own story about the masters under whom he studied, and the school to which he belonged. These are conditions which expose the inquirer to many dangers and temptations; and the greatest care must be taken not to go beyond the facts contained in the pictures, or to allow the imagination to usurp the place of legitimate inference. Fortunately in the case of Crivelli some at least of the inferences, and perhaps those of most importance, are so clear, that we may feel some confidence when we make them that we have got near to the truth. Crivelli, as we shall see, whenever he signed a picture, never forgot to remind the world that he was a Venetian. Here then is our starting-point. When we consider that he left Venice early in his career, never apparently to return.

The most superficial glance at Crivelli's pictures would tell us that he has nothing in common with what is known as Venetian art proper, the school of the Bellini and Giorgione, of Titian and Tintoret. But long before the Bellini, Venice had its painters with a character and tradition of their own. While it is probably true that all Italian art is ultimately indebted to Byzantine inspiration, this influence was more direct in the case of Venice than elsewhere. At a time when, on the western side of Italy, the older forms of painting were being endowed with new life and undergoing a new birth, Venice with her Eastern connections preserved the artistic traditions of Constantinople. But Venice could not remain for ever unaffected by the astonishing progress which was being made by national Italian art, and early in the fifteenth century we find the old Venetiaift school in process of transformation under the influence of Umbrian and Veronese masters.* This new generation, reinforced perhaps by the infusion of a German element, had its leading representatives in the Vivarini of Murano. They, in their turn, were affected by the new centre of artistic teaching which had lately sprung up in Padua, associated with the name of Squarcione. Under the influence of each of these elements, the old Venetian school, the painters of Murano, and the school of Padua, Crivelli directly or indirectly came and we will endeavour now to show how his early pictures provide the evidence for this statement.

The Annunciation Carlo CrivelliThe Annunciation. Wood, 2'07" m x 1'46" m = 6 ft. 10 1/2 x 4 ft. 10 1/2. [No. 739.]

A street scene. To right a house with elaborate architectural ornaments and an open loggia above with birds and flowers. Through the open door is seen the Virgin kneeling, while over her head floats the Dove which has descended from the sky in a ray of light piercing the wall. On the base of the pilasters flanking the door is inscribed "Opus Karoli Crivelli Veneti 1486." In the street outside, facing a window, kneels the angel, with lily in left hand and blessing with the right. Beside him kneels St. Emidius, in cope and mitre, holding a model of the town of Ascoli. To left steps lead up to a house-door where a small group is talking. The street is closed by a richly-decorated arch through which is seen the city wall. Several small figures passing to and fro. On the face of the step at the bottom of the picture are the words "Libertas ecclesiastica" between three escutcheons: in the centre Pope Innocent VIII. ; right, the town of Ascoli; left, Prospero Caffarelli, Bishop of Ascoli.

Painted for the Convent of the Annunziata, at Ascoli, by order of the municipality, to commemorate the charter of 1482. (See p. 20.) It remained in the domestic chapel of the Frati till 1811, when it was removed, by order of the Government, to Milan, and deposited in the Brera. After 1815 it passed into private hands, and formed part of the Solly collection, whence it came in 1847 to Mr Labouchere (Lord Taunton), who presented it to the National Gallery in 1864.

This IMAGE (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1923 (in this case Circa 1486) are now in the public domain.

This file is also in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris) in this case Carlo Crivelli (c. 1435 – c. 1495), and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from December 31st of that year.

TEXT CREDIT: Carlo Crivelli By Gordon McNeil Rushforth

No comments:

Post a Comment