My website, MyGiorgione, now includes my interpretations of Giorgione's "Tempest" as "The Rest on the Flight into Egypt"; his "Three Ages of Man" as "The Encounter of Jesus with the Rich Young Man"; Titian's, "Sacred and Profane Love" as "The Conversion of Mary Magdalen"; and Titian's "Pastoral Concert" as his "Homage to Giorgione".
Monday, October 11, 2010
In my interpretation of Giorgione's La Tempesta as the "Rest on the Flight into Egypt," I admitted that the great difficulty was the nude woman. A "nude" Madonna is, as one scholar said, "unimaginable." Even though I argued that Giorgione stretched the envelope further than anyone else, there is evidence that the imagination of another great artist might have been moving in the same direction.
The contract for Michelangelo’s famous Pieta has strange wording which is usually overlooked.
“che ci faccia una pietra di marmo, cioe una Vergine Maria vestita con Christo morto, nudo in braccio, per ponere in una certa Capella.”
The strange wording is “Vergine Maria vestita.” Why would the contract call for a “dressed” or “clothed” Virgin Mary? Wouldn’t that go without saying? In 1497 was the young Michelangelo considering a “nude” Madonna for the Pieta?
It seems unimaginable but then there is the unfinished "Manchester Madonna" in the National Gallery in London. The Painting is a depiction of the return from the flight into Egypt since Mary and her Child have met up with the young John the Baptist who announces the mission of Christ.
Some have doubted the attribution to Michelangelo but it would appear that most scholars today accept it, Nevertheless, Augusto Gentili argued that the Michelangelo attribution is difficult precisely because of the Madonna’s exposed breast. Here is his description of the "Manchester Madonna".
“The general theme is the announcement of the Passion…In this context, it is entirely implausible that Mary should expose her breast, and even more implausible that she should expose it in such a way, having apparently snatched it abruptly from within her robe. Those wishing to support the controversial attribution to Michelangelo must take these disturbing anomalies into account.” P. 154.
"Painting in the National Gallery London," Augusto Gentili, William Barcham, Linda Whitely, Boston, New York, London, 2000.
What could have prompted Michelangelo to consider this dissheveled Madonna?