Essay 1 - Michael Finfer Malcolm Baker AHIS 121g February...

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Michael Finfer Malcolm Baker AHIS – 121g February 8, 2007 The Patronage of Portraiture: Pope Julius II and Rudolf II as Vertumnus The genre of portraiture can be reduced to one basic quality: the visual representation of an individual. The purpose of a portrait is to emphasize the importance, power, and virtue of the subject. This individual usually has wealth, influence, or a high social standing; in this case, the Pope Julius II and the emperor Rudolf II are portrayed by Raphael and Arcimboldo, respectively. Both figures were very notable in the world of art during their lives, each commissioning works from many of the most distinguished artists of their times. While both Raphael’s Pope Julius II and Arcimboldo’s Rudolf II as Vertumnus represent the patronage of powerful, influential leaders, the portraits differ significantly in their respective purposes. Each of the two portraits conveys its purpose and significance to the patron through its formal elements; Raphael’s Pope Julius II as a remarkable, significant representation of the Pope nearing the end of his life, and Arcimboldo’s Rudolf II as Vertumnus as a fantastical and striking portrayal and commentary of the powerful emperor. Each of these portraits was commissioned by the patron with individual or private viewing in mind. Similar to the le stanze private apartments Julius II commissioned Raphael to decorate, the portrait was not created with public exhibition in mind. This is true of most portraiture at the time; the works were used to define a legacy, and to verify the influence of those who commissioned them, rather than for public presentation. Most
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portraits created for collectors, these two examples included, were “of a personal or private nature” (Kaufmann, , 192). The two figures in these portraits are obviously very important individuals, in both the art world and otherwise, and in these portraits, “the grandeur and virtue of the ruler [was] to be represented” (Kaufmann, , 191). Pope Julius II is notable for his impact on the art culture of Rome, which resulted from his patronage. Julius II commissioned Raphael to paint le stanze , a series of rooms in the Vatican, including the famous wall fresco entitled the School of Athens (Honour and Fleming, The Visual Arts: A History, 471). Pope Julius II was such an important patron that Rome became the center of the European art world “for the first time since antiquity” under him (Honour and Fleming, 470). Rudolf II, an emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, was known as one of the most prominent collectors of private artwork in all of Europe. Artist and historian Karel Van Mander declared Rudolf II to be “the greatest art patron in the world at the present time” (Kaufman, , 185). Many prominent artists served his court, including Arcimboldo and the mannerist Bartholomeus Spranger (Kemp, The Oxford History of Western Art , 238). During this time, Prague became a significant and notable
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This note was uploaded on 05/05/2008 for the course AHIS 121g taught by Professor Baker during the Spring '06 term at USC.

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Essay 1 - Michael Finfer Malcolm Baker AHIS 121g February...

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