Artibus et Historiae no. 69 (XXXV)

2014, ISSN 0391-9064

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MARTHA DUNKELMAN - What Michelangelo Learned in Bologna (pp. 107–136)

This article focuses on the year that Michelangelo spent in Bologna when he was very young and on the quantity, weight, and depth of his response to the artistic world he discovered there in 1494 and 1495. It contends that the commission for figures for the Arca di San Domenico was of greater significance for the artist than is usually acknowledged and that he was strongly affected by the art and culture of the city. The impact of the sculpture of Jacopo della Quercia and of painters of the Ferrarese school is shown to be more profound than previously acknowledged. In addition, Michelangelo’s interest in Emilian terracotta Lamentation groups, particularly that of Niccolo dell’Arca, is discussed. The continuing importance of Bolognese sources is seen in the Madonna of the Steps, for which a later date is proposed than that traditionally ascribed to it. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Bolognese sources are presented as more logical sources for the St Peter’s Pietà than the Northern Andachtsbild groups that are usually cited. Re-capturing Michelangelo’s youthful receptivity to a new city changes our understanding of his early career.

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