Artibus et Historiae no. 78 (XXXIX)

2018, ISSN 0391-9064

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BRAM DE KLERCK - Fra Bartolommeo: the Depiction of Landscape and the Use of Devotional Images (pp. 59–73)

In a discussion of Fra Bartolommeo’s God the Father altarpiece in Museo Villa Guinigi, Lucca, Madonna and Child with Saints in Besançon Cathedral, and Salvator Mundi in Galleria Palatina, Florence, it is argued that the depictions of small landscapes in the backgrounds of these paintings confront the devout beholder with the notions of the sinful world, the innocence of pagan peoples not yet converted, and the promise of religious salvation, respectively. A fourth case, the Annunciation in Volterra Cathedral, is characterised by an ingenious inversion of the painted realm as opposed to the real world. Observation of the background landscape forces the viewer to imagine himself to occupy a privileged position inside of the Virgin Mary’s dwellings.

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