Artibus et Historiae no. 76 (XXXVIII)

2017, ISSN 0391-9064

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STEFANIA PASTI - The Commission and Iconography in Pala Fugger by Giulio Romano (pp. 231–257)

This essay on Giulio Romano’s altarpiece in the Roman church of Santa Maria dell’Anima, has a double aim. The first one is to demonstrate, through a careful reading of the German literature and documents on the Fugger family, that the painting was not commissioned, as it has always been said, by the wealthy banker Jakob Fugger der Reich, who had never been to Rome, but by his nephew Anton Fugger, who was responsible for all the family business in Rome (the Papal Mint first of all) between 1517 and 1524. The second point is the analysis of the motif of a hen with chicks and an old woman with a spindle, in literature and in visual arts, from late Antiquity up to the Renaissance. The author demonstrates that both motifs are strictly related to the Fugger family and their home town of Augsburg, and that in Giulio Romano’s painting they bear a hidden message on the Fuggers’ Christian piety and protection of the weak. A majority of comparative material used in the paper is either unknown, or even totally unpublished, as, for example, the poem Gallina, written around 1515 by the scholar from the Fugger circle, Alardus Amstelredamus.

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