Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Poseur's Guide to Art: Lesson #3

How to tell Late Medieval art from Renaissance art in one easy, full-proof step.

Renaissance art:

Andrea del Sarto
Madonna col Bambino, Santa Elisabetta
e San Giovannino, c. 

Raffaello Sanzio
Madonna della Seggiola, c. 1513-14

Note how the infant Christ and child John the Baptist look, in turn, like an infant and a child.  And for all you Raphael fans out there, get really close to the screen because I need to whisper one of the dirtiest secrets in all of Cinquecento art historical analysis...closer...little closer...

Sarto's better.

There.  I've said it and I'm sticking to it.  And, no, the Sarto reproduction above doesn't do the real thing justice.  Ok, now that I've climbed under a table, let the blowback begin...

Medieval art:

Forget all the other differences you see.  The key is the bambino.  In each of these paintings,  the bambino looks 1) fully grown, and 2) much as I imagine Richard Nixon looked at the same age.  Unfortunately, we have no historical evidence that Nixon was ever actually an infant, so I can't do any side-by-side comparisons of Hannah Nixon col Little Dickie (Dickilino?).  However, in his three-volume Nixon biography, Stephen Ambrose definitively put to rest the rumor that Nixon was about 10 years old at birth, and wearing wingtips.

  Nixon at play in 1927.  He was 14 years old.

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