Two Images of Venus by Andrea Mantania

  The division of professions during the Renaissance continued the tradition of the Middle Ages. The social status of architects, painters, and sculptors was no different from that of ordinary craftsmen. Their creations were influenced by patrons and controlled by guilds. However, with the impact of humanism, the talents of individual art masters have been recognized by the world. They are eager to get rid of the control of guilds and obtain the protection of powerful patrons—becoming a court painter not only means a relatively stable income, but also Get rid of the constraints of guilds. There were also anecdotes of romance between powerful patrons and talented artists, such as Leonardo da Vinci dying in the arms of the King of France, and Emperor Charles V of Spain picking up a fallen stone for Titian. Paintbrush…
  However, the facts are not satisfactory. Most of the court painters are unknown, and only a few court painters are lucky enough to obtain the status of “courier”, and Andrea Mantania is one of them. In 1458, Andrea Mantania received an invitation from Ludovico of Mantua, who promised to give the painter a monthly salary of 15 ducats, but the painter had other jobs at the time until the spring of 1460. Only then did he formally join the Mantua court.

  In 1465, Andrea Mantania began painting the frescoes of the audience room (also known as the “Painting Room”) on the second floor of the Castel San Giorgio, depicting the Ludovico couple, children, courtiers and entourage attending various events. kind of activity. In order to make the picture more realistic, the painter adopted the “optical illusion” expression method. The curtains he depicted can be visually connected with the real curtains. He painted wonderful decorations on the simple dome, even in the center of the ceiling. Depicting a circular opening, mischievous Cupid, peeping maids, and a peacock are cleverly used in perspective.
  Andrea Mantania has a wide range of creative subjects, and he will create different styles of works for different patrons. He decorated the “Painted Room” with a grand narrative method, dedicated to the Zaga family, and created mythological works full of allegory for the female patron in a delicate and exquisite style.

  Isabella de Esther, the eldest daughter of Ercoli Esther, monarch of Ferrara, and queen Eleonora, was one of the few female patrons of the Renaissance. Andrea Mantania’s “Minerva banishing evil from the garden of virtue” painted by Andrea Mantania for Isabella’s small study in the Palazzo Carle is a wonderful work, and the painting style is more delicate and soft, in line with the female patronage. people’s aesthetics.
  In this work, the goddess of wisdom is expelling people who represent all kinds of vices from the garden of virtue. On the far left of the picture is Daphne who has turned into a tree, her painful facial expression symbolizes “abandoned virtue”; followed by Minerva in military uniform, she uses a shield to block Cupid’s arrows, and holds a broken sword in her right hand. Guns symbolize bravery and fearlessness. Under Minerva’s feet is the “lazy” without hands. He is dragged out of the garden by the servants. The monkey next to him is a symbol of “sensuality”, and the cloth bag on the monkey will release the devil. Venus is the god of love and beauty in Roman mythology, and is also the most beautiful woman depicted by painters in art history. However, Venus in this painting stands on a centaur, representing unrestrained desire. The centaur has the body of an animal and the mind of a human being, a wonderful combination of wildness and rationality. Botticelli in the 15th century once drew an interesting painting: the goddess of wisdom grabs the hair of the centaur, who looks frustrated and shrinks back, as if aware of his vulgarity. “Minerva Drives Evil Out of the Garden of Virtue” on the far right “greed” and “injustice” carry “ignorance” out of the garden, “ignorance” wears a crown on his head, ironically that he once ruled here. The image that symbolizes “righteousness, courage, and integrity” watches the battle in the garden from the clouds, indicating that chastity will surely overcome desire and virtue will return.

  The vocational training of Renaissance painters came mainly from workshops. Workshops emphasize the inheritance of experience rather than the study of theoretical knowledge, so painters often lack classical knowledge. When completing this symbolic work, the painter inevitably received interference and guidance from the patron. The complex conception of this painting also refers to the interpretation of Isabella’s courtier Parede da Sirisala, But Andrea Mantania’s precise figure modeling and expression of mountains and rivers all reflect the painter’s superb artistic skills.
  ”Parnassus Mountain” is another work created by the painter for Isabella. In this painting, Venus is no longer a symbol of desire, but the embodiment of love. If “Minerva Drives Evil Out of the Garden of Virtue” reflects Isabella’s moral choice, then “Parnassus Hill” shows Isabella’s musical literacy and love for classical culture—Isabella Sabella loves music and has collected several music books, even one of which was sponsored by her.
  Mount Parnassus is the domain of Apollo and the Muses. As long as Apollo plays the lyre, the Muses will dance. Their music can make Ares, the god of war, give up the war and the gods stop their disputes. . Apollo plays the lyre at the far left of the picture, and Mercury, the messenger god holding a panpipe on the right, supports the two sides of the triangular composition. Venus and Mars, the god of war, stand at the apex of the triangular composition arm in arm, symbolizing “love conquers war, and tranquility follows”. At the feet of Mars is the mischievous Cupid, who throws a long arrow at Vulcan, the god of smelting, to remind the god of smelting to pay attention to the relationship between Venus and God of War. Vulcan is the husband of Venus, his appearance makes the picture “hidden mystery”, maybe another story will happen in the peaceful garden.
  Andrea Mantania’s superb artistic expression skills and romantic imagination quickly conquered wealthy patrons. He served the Gonzaga court for 46 years and was awarded the honor of Francis II. knighthood. Although the knighthood does not bring additional income to the painter, it is enough to prove that the artist can obtain a higher social status by virtue of his extraordinary talent. Gradually, some humanist scholars began to associate painting, sculpture, and architecture with the liberal arts, with artists claiming that they worked for honor rather than money.

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