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De l’autorité à la référence

 | 
Isabelle Diu
, 
Raphaële Mouren

Deuxième partie. Usages de la référence entre Moyen Âge et époque moderne

Pliny and the Art of the Ancients and the Moderns

Reading Naturalis Historia (Books XXXIV-XXXVI) in Florence in the Sixteenth Century (from the Anonimo Magliabechiano to Vasari’s Lives)

Eliana Carrara

Résumé

Cet article s’attache à la diffusion du texte de Pline, le Naturalis historia, tant sous forme d’éditions imprimées que de manuscrits, dans la Florence de la Renaissance. Il cherche à mettre en évidence sa transmission continue d’un milieu culturel à un autre, dans une succession ininterrompue allant du « volgarizzamento » de Cristoforo landino (1476) à la Lettre sur l’art des Anciens, insérée dans la seconde édition des Vies de Vasari (Florence, Giunti, 1568).
Cristoforo Landino (1424-1498) publia en 1481 la Divine comédie de Dante Alighieri accompagnée d’une « savante et charmante présentation ». Dans son texte, Landino y soulignait l’excellence des Florentins dans les domaines de la peinture et de la sculpture, mais il débuta par l’art des Grecs et Romains anciens, en citant le chapitre XV du livre XXXV du Naturalis historia, consacré aux origines de la peinture. Ce Florentin éduqué était tout à fait familier avec l’ouvrage de Pline l’Ancien, dont il avait édité la traduction en langue vernaculaire. Le texte de Pline, d’après la traduction de Landino, est également le point de départ d’une discussion approfondie sur les artistes de l’Antiquité développée dans un manuscrit anonyme conservé aujourd’hui à la Biblioteca nazionale centrale de Florence, connu sous le nom de Anonyme Magliabechiano. Le codex, probablement réalisé autour des années 1550, rassemble de nombreuses informations sur des artistes du Moyen Âge jusqu’à l’époque de sa rédaction – de Cimabue à Franciabigio (f. 43-94) –, tout en présentant un abrégé détaillé du texte plinien (f. 1-37).
Quel qu’en ait été l’auteur, il est important de porter attention à la transmission et à la circulation du texte de Pline dans l’Italie du xvie siècle, d’autant plus s’il ressort que sa composition eut lieu pendant ces années cruciales de la vie culturelle et littéraire florentine, qui sont de fait contemporaines de la genèse des Vies de Vasari. L’édition des Vies parue à Florence en 1550 présente, pour cette raison, un intérêt supplémentaire, car Vasari aussi bien que l’auteur anonyme utilisèrent Pline comme source. Les Proèmes (Proemii) se prêtent bien à une telle démonstration. Des preuves plus concrètes sont repérables dans la seconde édition des Vies (Florence, 1568) : l’élément clé de la présence de Pline est bien sûr la longue Lettre sur l’art des Anciens écrite par Giovanni Battista Adriani, un document regorgeant de références, et dont les sources sont variées : non seulement Pline, mais aussi Cicéron, Valerius Maximus, Suétone, Plutarque et Pausanias.

Note de l’auteur

I quote sixteenth-century texts according to the following criteria : u is distinct from v, j is transcribed as i ; accents, apostrophes and punctuation marks are used according to current usage, as are word division and capital letters. All abbreviations have been silently expanded. However, if an abbreviated reading is uncertain, added letters appear in brackets. All my amendments or additions are printed within square brackets. All translations are mine, unless otherwise indicated. I am very grateful to Raphaële Mouren and Bob Learmonth for their helpful suggestions.

Texte intégral

1In 1481 Cristoforo Landino (1424-1498), a prominent member of Lorenzo de’ Medici’s scholarly circle, published the Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri accompanied by « a learned and charming exposition ». In this text, before addressing the detailed commentary of Dante’s vast poem, Landino presents not only an impassioned defence of the great poet, but also a list of his countrymen who « were and are excellent in various disciplines ». He does not fail to mention Florentine excellence in painting and sculpture, beginning with Cimabue, but his story starts with the art of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Let us read the opening words of the text in question :

  • 1 « Resta la pictura, la quale appresso gl’antichi non fu mai in piccola stima. Scrivono gl’Egyptii l (...)

It remains to mention painting, which was never scarcely considered by ancient peoples. The Egyptians claim to have invented painting themselves, and that from Egypt it came to Greece ; but some Greeks say that it was found in Sicyon, others at Corinth. The first paintings consisted of a single line, outlining a man’s shadow. Then they began to paint with one colour, so this painting was called monochrome, which means of a single colour, because « monos » means single, and « chroma » means colour. Painting was not very ancient, because according to Pliny at the time of the Trojan War painters did not yet exist. The first painters in Greece were Serdices of Corinth and Telephanes of Sicyon. But Parrasius of Ephesus gave great dignity to painting. There followed several painters praised by many, among whom Apelles was the most famous, who was believed by all to be unsurpassed even in subsequent centuries.
But after reaching perfection, this art, like many others, almost disappeared during the servitude of Italy [i.e. during the Middle Ages] and the paintings of those centuries were expressionless and emotionless. Giovanni called Cimabue, born in Florence, was the first to find the natural features of the body and its proportion, which the Greeks call symmetry, and brought to life and gave gestures to the figures who seemed dead in previous painters ; he enjoyed a great reputation, but his name would have been greater if Giotto had not been born after him, who was a contemporary of Dante1.

  • 2 Pliny, Naturalis Historia (désormais NH), XXXV, 15. It should be noted that the Florentine writer b (...)
  • 3 Historia naturale di C. Plinio Secondo tradocta di lingua latina in fiorentina per Christophoro Lan (...)
  • 4 See the online catalogue of the British Library in London, at the following address : http://catalo (...)

2The rapid introductory analysis of Landino to the section on the artists, and those of this period (he mentions Donatello and Brunelleschi), originates from an easily identifiable Plinian source, i.e. Book 35 of Naturalis Historia, Chapter 15, devoted to the origin of painting2. The Florentine scholar was quite familiar with Pliny the Elder’s work : he had in fact edited the vernacular translation published in Venice by Nicolas Jenson in 14763, and then continually reprinted4.

  • 5 On the ms. Magliabechiano XVII 17 of the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale of Florence (henceforth BNCF (...)
  • 6 On f. 99-102 is a list of works of art in Rome while those in Florence are recorded on f. 103v ; on (...)

3Pliny’s text, according to Landino’s translation, is also the basis for an extensive discussion of the artists of Antiquity contained in an anonymous manuscript now in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale of Florence, known as the Anonimo Magliabechiano5. The codex, probably written in the 1540s, preserves in its second part an extensive collection of information about artists from the Middle Ages to the contemporary period, from Cimabue to Franciabigio (f. 43-94). On f. 1-37 it presents a comprehensive compendium of the Plinian text, which is worth analyzing with greater attention than it has been so far6.

  • 7 BNCF, ms. Magliabechiano XVII 17, f. 1v : « N° 3 Fu anticha l’arte in Italia, et in principio dedic (...)
  • 8 See C. Frey, Il codice Magliabechiano Cl. XVII, 17, contenente notizie sopra l’arte degli antichi e (...)
  • 9 « […] parmi maravigl[i]a, essendo in Italia sì antica origine di statue che ne’ tempi degli dii più (...)

4On f. 1v an annotation in the left margin reads : « [No. 3] Art existed in ancient Italy, and from an early date they dedicated statues of their gods made of wood and earth until the time when Asia was defeated7 » (Plate 1). Karl Frey, who entirely edited the Florentine manuscript, wondered what source this referred to8 ; we can answer for certain that it comes from Book 34, Chapter 34 of Pliny, as is shown by the version Landino’s version : « […] I am surprised that – although there were ancient statues in Italy – in their temples they dedicated idols of wood and earth, until the time Asia was defeated »9.

  • 10 The mention of the Chronicon of Eusebius of Caesarea is in fact repeated : see Vincenzio Borghini, (...)

5What in all probability puzzled the learned German critic, was the competent replacement of the ancient source : the writer of the Florentine manuscript did not transcribe Landino’s translation verbatim, but sought to assemble a complete work in itself ; on f. 1 he defines a possible sequence of the arts (first sculpture, and then painting), referring to Pliny, Book 33, Chapters 82-83, and on f. 1v he takes into account clay sculpture, based on sections 151-153 of Book 35 of Naturalis Historia. This modus operandi, compiling information scattered across three books (34-36) by Pliny into an coherent narrative, is used again for a series of artists, sculptors (Phidias is mentioned on f. 3 and Lysippus on f. 21) and painters (Apelles, f. 16 ), ordered as a list that points to a documented history10. Finally, women who were skilled painters (f. 36) are mentioned, followed by works unattributed to any particular master (f. 36v-37).

  • 11 See C. von Fabriczy, Il codice dell’anonimo Gaddiano…, p. 28-29. Bouk Wierda, « The true identity o (...)

6One might ask who the author of the manuscript was : I have no answer, although many identifications have been suggested (from Vasari to Giovanni Battista Adriani, just to mention two names we should keep in mind)11.

  • 12 BNCF, ms. Magliabechiano XVII 17, f. 2 : « […] Hipponacte scultore di viso bruttissimo » ; see Carl (...)

7What little I can add, avoiding any speculation, is that the writer of the manuscript displays a medium-to-high level of culture, but was not immune from serious mistakes. A significant example is visible on f. 2 (Plate 2), where he transcribes Chapter 12 of Book 36 of Pliny, but misinterprets the source and writes the following phrase : « […] Hipponactes sculptor with an ugly face ». The passage by Landino correctly states : « Hipponactes had a very ugly face. Which is why these sculptors portrayed him so as to make people laugh at his image. As a result Hipponactes was angry and wrote such biting verses against them, that it is believed that some of them hanged themselves12 ».

  • 13 See Richard Stapleford, « Vasari and Botticelli », in Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes (...)
  • 14 See C. Frey, Il Codice Magliabechiano Cl. XVII, 17…, p. 6.

8This gross misreading, confusing the poet with the Greek sculptor, is reason enough to reject the hypothesis that the Anonimo could be none other than Vincenzio Borghini himself, having the text written out by one of his copyists13. To further support my doubts, I can quote at least f. 3, where the famous statue of Olympian Zeus, by Phidias, is called by the epithet « Flashing Jupiter » (Giove Lampio instead of Giove Olimpio)14.

  • 15 See E. Carrara, « Gli studi antiquari del Borghini : ipotesi per nuove ricerche », in Schede Umanis (...)
  • 16 See W. Kallab, Vasaristudien, Wien/Leipzig, 1908, p. 178-207.
  • 17 BNCF, ms. Magliabechiano XVII 17, fol. 87r-v ; see C. Frey, Il Codice Magliabechiano Cl. XVII, 17…, (...)

9Such occurrences only shed further doubt on the identification of the Anonimo with Borghini, an extraordinary scholarly figure and an expert in classical sources15. Whoever the author of the Florentine manuscript was, it is important to note the transmission and circulation of Pliny’s text in sixteenth-century Italy, and more specifically during a crucial period for cultural and literary life in Florence, the time when Vasari started working on his Lives. Although critics tend to exclude any direct or indirect link between the Anonimo and Vasari16, one can hardly fail to remember that they were contemporary, that the Anonimo was familiar with the Florentine artistic environment, and that he knew both Vasari himself and Pontormo17.

  • 18 Le vite de’ più eccellenti architetti, pittori, et scultori italiani, da Cimabue insino a’ tempi no (...)

10Considering Vasari’s Lives were published in Florence in 1550, it is all the more interesting that both he and the Anonimo used Pliny. Vasari’s prologues (Proemii) offer crucial evidence for such an analysis, as focal points of his theoretical perspective and a brilliant demonstration of his writing skills18.

  • 19 See P. Barocchi, Scritti d’arte del Cinquecento, 3 vol., Milan/Naples, 1971-1977, t. I, p. 24-33 an (...)

11Vasari had firsthand knowledge of the Latin text, as is reflected in the ideas he expressed about art in the preface to Part Three of the Lives, the focal point of the Vite19. He wrote :

  • 20 See G. Vasari, The Lives of the Artists, translated with an introduction and notes by J. Conaway Bo (...)

They [i.e. the artists of the second period] could not quickly achieve the finish and certainty they lacked, since study produces a dryness of style when it is pursued in this way as an end in itself.
The artisans who followed them succeeded after seeing the excavation of some of the most famous antiquities mentioned by Pliny : the Laocoön, the Hercules, the great Torso of Belvedere, the Venus, the Cleopatra, the Apollo, and countless others, which exhibit in their softness and harshness the expressions of real flesh copied from the most beautiful details of living models and endowed with certain movements which do not distort them but lend them motion and the utmost grace. And these statues caused the disappearance of a certain dry, crude, and clear-cut style […]20.

  • 21 Le vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architettori scritte da M. Giorgio Vasari pittore e (...)

12More tangible evidence can be found in the second edition of the Lives, appearing again in Florence, in 1568, and published by Giunti21. Vasari writes in the Life of Andrea del Verrocchio :

  • 22 See G. Vasari, The Lives…, p. 239-240. « […] si cominciò al tempo suo a formare le teste di coloro (...)

[…] during Andrea’s lifetime [i.e. 1435-1488], people began to fashion inexpensive death masks [from this material, that is moulded terracotta], and over the fireplaces, doors, windows and cornices of every home in Florence, one can see countless portraits of this kind, which are so well made and lifelike that they seem alive. This extremely useful practice has continued from Andrea’s time to our own day, providing us with the portraits of many men depicted into the scenes painted in Duke Cosimo’s Palace. Certainly we owe an enormous debt for this to Andrea’s ingenuity, since he was one of the first who began to make use of this technique22.

13In reading Vasari’s text, it is difficult not to think of well-known occurrences in Book 35 of the Naturalis Historia. Pliny writes at the very beginning of the book :

  • 23 « Aliter apud maiores in atriis haec erant, quae spectarentur ; non signa externorum artificum nec (...)

In the halls of our ancestors it was otherwise ; portraits were objects displayed to be looked at, not statues by foreign artists, nor bronzes nor marbles, but wax models of faces were set out each on a separate side-board, to furnish likenesses to be carried in procession at a funeral in the clan […].
At any rate in my view at all events there is no greater kind of happiness than that all people for all time should desire to know what kind of a man a person was23.

14And right at the end of the book, speaking about « plastic » or clay sculpture (terracotta), Pliny observes :

  • 24 « Hominis autem imaginem gypso e facie ipsa primus omnium expressit ceraque in eam formam gypsi inf (...)

The first person who modelled a likeness in plaster of a human being from the living face itself, and established the method of pouring wax into this plaster mould and then making final corrections on the wax cast, was Lysistratus of Sicyon, the brother of Lysippus […]. Indeed he introduced the practice of giving likenesses, the object aimed at previously having been to make as handsome a face as possible24.

  • 25 A. Warburg, « Bildniskunst und florentinisches Bürgerturm (1902) », in id., Ausgewälte Schriften un (...)

15The images of ancestors, preserved in wax, clay or plaster (significantly, these materials are mentioned together both by Pliny and Vasari) were a repertoire of memory, visual and moral, and were designed to make a strong impact on the descendants of powerful Roman families. Similarly in Florence, at the time of Duke Cosimo, a custom was adopted that we know was favoured by the Medici dynasty at least from the days of Lorenzo the Magnificent : Aby Warburg’s essay on boti, the votive statues in Santa Annunziata, originates, in fact, from the presence of Lorenzo’s portrait in the frescoes by Ghirlandaio in the Sassetti Chapel in Santa Trinità25. Portraits became a visual link with history, and thanks to those images the identities of men otherwise known only through the written documentation of their actions, were reconstructed.

  • 26 The Giunti placed Adriani’s text at the beginning of volume III of Lives, printed in 1568, before t (...)

16The key point of the use of Pliny in the 1568 edition of Vasari’s Lives, obviously, is the long « Letter on the art of the Ancients », finished only in September 1567 by Giovanni Battista Adriani, and hastily inserted into the edition, by then well under press26.

  • 27 See Le vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori e architettori scritte da M. Giorgio Vasari, ed. K (...)
  • 28 See G. Vasari, Vite, I, p. 234 (comment).

17Critics have not been kind towards this work, which is composed of forty pages, a document full of references, with few quotations but saturated with information taken from various sources (not only Pliny). Suffice it to mention the harsh opinion of Karl Frey, who in 1911 wrote : « Adrianis Elaborat hat keinen selbständigen Wert », further calling it « unvollständing, unsystematisch und flüchtig »27. These definitions (« incomplete, unsystematic and superficial »), as Paola Barocchi has acutely noted, reflect scarce efforts to analyse the letter28.

  • 29 See Paola Barocchi, « Indice analitico del commento alla lettera dell’Adriani », in G. Vasari, Vite(...)
  • 30 See Dietrich Erben, « Die Reiterdenkmäler der Medici in Florenz und ihre politische Bedeutung », in (...)

18Calling Adriani’s text superficial is not only ungenerous, but inconsiderate. Indeed, the Florentine scholar sought to knowingly rewrite information taken from the Naturalis Historia. Pliny discusses the arts in Books 34-36, respectively dedicated to metals, earth and stone, describing the art of engraving on blocks of metal, painting and stone sculpture. Adriani, instead, organizes his text in a very different manner, free from any adherence to his Classical model (at the same time keeping in mind Greek sources, Pausanias and Plutarch, as well as further Latin authors, first of all Cicero and his De inventione, De oratore and Verrinae, but also Suetonius and Valerius Maximus)29. Indeed, he begins his analysis by considering the origins of painting, believed to be the oldest of arts. Then he examines the art of modelling clay and making sculptures in bronze and other metals. He ends his discussion with monumental marble sculptures, which are echoed in the works of court artists celebrating the Medici dynasty30.

  • 31 E. Carrara, « Giovanni Battista Adriani and the drafting of the second edition of the Vite : the un (...)

19Adriani’s Letter has been known until now only by the text printed in Vasari’s Lives. I believe I can claim to have discovered a handwritten copy with significant corrections made by the author (Plate 3)31.

  • 32 London, British Library, Additional ms. 10268, f. 62 : see D. Giannotti, Lettere a Piero Vettori pu (...)
  • 33 BNCF, ms. Magliabechiano XXV 551, f. 160 : the letter, unedited, is referred to in Vincenzio Borghi (...)

20In my opinion, the handwriting is convincingly similar to other texts signed by the Florentine scholar, both in his youth – a letter to Piero Vettori on January 17, 1543 – (Plate 4)32, and in old age – a text dated September 7, 1574, addressed to Vincenzio Borghini (Plate 5)33.

21I believe any future interpretation of the Letter should start from this manuscript, which testifies to corrections and variations made by Adriani himself.

Fig. 1. Anonimo Magliabechiano, On ancient and modern painters, sculptors and architects, Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, ms. Magliabechiano XVII, 17, f. 1v.

Fig. 1. Anonimo Magliabechiano, On ancient and modern painters, sculptors and architects, Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, ms. Magliabechiano XVII, 17, f. 1v.

Fig. 2. Anonimo Magliabechiano, On ancient and modern painters, sculptors and architects, Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, ms. Magliabechiano XVII, 17, f. 2.

Fig. 2. Anonimo Magliabechiano, On ancient and modern painters, sculptors and architects, Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, ms. Magliabechiano XVII, 17, f. 2.

Fig. 3. Giovanni Battista Adriani, Letter on the art of the Ancients, Isola Bella, Archivio Borromeo, ms. AD, LM, Adriani, G. B., f. 1.

Fig. 3. Giovanni Battista Adriani, Letter on the art of the Ancients, Isola Bella, Archivio Borromeo, ms. AD, LM, Adriani, G. B., f. 1.

Fig. 4. Giovanni Battista Adriani to Piero Vettori, Barga (Lucca), 17 January 1543, London, British Library, Add. ms. 10268, f. 62.

Fig. 4. Giovanni Battista Adriani to Piero Vettori, Barga (Lucca), 17 January 1543, London, British Library, Add. ms. 10268, f. 62.

Fig. 5. Giovanni Battista Adriani to Vincenzio Borghini, Florence, 7 September 1574, Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, ms. Magliabechiano XXV 551, f. 160.

Fig. 5. Giovanni Battista Adriani to Vincenzio Borghini, Florence, 7 September 1574, Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, ms. Magliabechiano XXV 551, f. 160.

Notes

1 « Resta la pictura, la quale appresso gl’antichi non fu mai in piccola stima. Scrivono gl’Egyptii la pictura essere loro inventione, et d’Egypto essere venuta in Grecia ; ma de’ Greci alchuni dicono ch’è trovata in Sycione, alchuni in Coryntho. Erono le prime picture d’una sola linea, con la quale circundavono l’ombra dell’huomo. Dipoi con un solo colore cominciorono a dipignere, onde tal pittura fu chiamata monocromata, .i. e. [id est] d’un solo colore, perché “monos” significa “solo”, et “croma” “colore”. Né fu molto antica, perché secondo Plinio ne’ tempi delle guerre troiane non si trovavono anchora pictori. E primi in Grecia furono Serdice Corynthio, et Telephane sycionio. Ma Parrasio ephesio la riduxe in grande dignità. Sequitorono dipoi molti da molti lodati, tra’ quali el primo grado tiene Apelle da tutti reputato etiam ne’ futuri secoli insuperabile. Ma tale arte dopo la sua perfectione chome molte altre nell’italica servitù quasi si spense ; et erono le pitture in quegli secoli non puncto atteggiate, et sanza affecto alchuno d’animo. Fu adunque el primo Ioanni fiorentino cognominato Cimabue che ritrovò e liniamenti naturali, et la vera proportione, la quale e Greci chiamano symetria, et le figure ne’ superiori pictori morte fece vive et di varii gesti, et gran fama lasciò di sé ; ma molto maggiore la lasciava, se non havessi havuto sì nobile successore, qual fu Giocto fiorentino coetaneo di Danthe » : see C. Landino, Comento sopra la Comedia, ed. P. Procaccioli, 4 vol., Rome, 2001, t. I, p. 240-242, in part. 240-241. On his relations with Lorenzo il Magnifico, see R. Cardini, « Landino e Lorenzo », in Lettere Italiane, XLV/3, 1993, p. 361-375 ; P. Scapecchi, « Cristoforo Landino, Nicolò di Lorenzo e la Commedia », in Sandro Botticelli, pittore della Divina Commedia, 2 vol., Geneva/Milan, 2000, t. I, p. 44-47 ; R. Leporatti, « Venere, Cupido e i poeti d’amore. Venus, Cupid and the Poets of Love », in Venere e Amore : Michelangelo e la nuova bellezza ideale. Venus and Love : Michelangelo and the new ideal of beauty, ed. F. Falletti and J. Katz Nelson, Florence, 2002, p. 65-89, in part. p. 66-67.

2 Pliny, Naturalis Historia (désormais NH), XXXV, 15. It should be noted that the Florentine writer believes that the birth of art is coincident with the birth of painting.

3 Historia naturale di C. Plinio Secondo tradocta di lingua latina in fiorentina per Christophoro Landino fiorentino…, Venetiis, opus Nicolai Iansonis Gallici impressum, 1476. See Martin Lowry, Nicholas Jenson and the Rise of Venetian Pusblishing in Renaissance Europe, Oxford, 1991, p. 130-132 ; R. Fubini, « Le Disputationes Camaldulenses e il volgarizzamento di Plinio : questioni di cronologia e di interpretazione (1995) », in Quattrocento fiorentino. Politica diplomazia cultura, ed. M. Lowry, Pisa, 1996, p. 303-332, in part. 314-316 and 328-329.

4 See the online catalogue of the British Library in London, at the following address : http://catalogue.bl.uk (ad vocem « Landino, Cristoforo »).

5 On the ms. Magliabechiano XVII 17 of the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale of Florence (henceforth BNCF) see : Vincenzio Borghini. Filologia e invenzione nella Firenze di Cosimo I, ed. G. Belloni and R. Drusi, Florence, 2002, p. 148-151 (entry cat. 4.8b, written by E. Carrara). The manuscript (f. 110 and 112) contains a copy of the Proemio to the Comento sopra la Comedia di Dante Alighieri by Landino, which enumerates the Florentine artists ; on f. 111 are transcribed brief notes taken from Landino’s commentary to book I of Horace’s Odes (Christophori Landini Florentini in Q. Horatii Flacci libros omnes ad illustrissimum Guidonem Feltrium magni Federici Ducis filium interpretationes incipiunt feliciter, [Firenze], Miscomini, 1482), f. XV (and particularly the annotation to verse 34 of Ode III) and from Pliny (Pliny, NH, XXXIV, 41). Horace’s text is analyzed by P. Fedeli, « L’esordio di Hor. Carm. 4. 2 », in Munus quaesitum meritis : homenaje a Carmen Codoñer, ed. G. Hinojo Andrés and J. C. Fernández Corte, Salamanca, 2007, p. 292-300, in part. 296.

6 On f. 99-102 is a list of works of art in Rome while those in Florence are recorded on f. 103v ; on f. 104 the names of some contemporary artists are listed : « Baldassarre da Siena, Caradosso […], Pompilio orefice, Benvenuto orefice […], Don Giulio miniatore » ; on f. 107-108 are mentioned works of art in Perugia, Assisi and Rome ; on f. 109 there is some information about Donatello (see f. 64vbis-65bis). The portion dedicated to ancient art was completely neglected in Cornelius von Fabriczy, « Il codice dell’anonimo Gaddiano (Cod. magliabechiano XVII, 17) nella Biblioteca nazionale di Firenze », in Archivio Storico Italiano, s. V, XII/3-4, 1893, p. 15-334 ; the edition by Annamaria Ficarra, L’Anonimo magliabechiano, Naples, 1968 (see especially p. 5-51) is careless. G. Becatti, « Plinio e Vasari », in Studi di Storia dell’Arte in onore di Valerio Mariani, Naples, 1972, p. 173-182 (reprinted in Giovanni Becatti, Kosmos. Studi sul mondo classico, Rome, 1987, p. 629-638) defines this text as a « schematic summary of Pliny ».

7 BNCF, ms. Magliabechiano XVII 17, f. 1v : « N° 3 Fu anticha l’arte in Italia, et in principio dedicorno ne’ templi de’ loro Idii le statue di legno et di terra sino a’ tempi che fu vinta l’Asia ».

8 See C. Frey, Il codice Magliabechiano Cl. XVII, 17, contenente notizie sopra l’arte degli antichi e quella de’ Fiorentini da Cimabue a Michelangelo, Berlin, 1892, p. 144, annotation to part 7 of p. 4.

9 « […] parmi maravigl[i]a, essendo in Italia sì antica origine di statue che ne’ tempi degli dii più tosto dedicassino le figure di quegli di legno o di terra insino a’ tempi ne’ quali fu vincta l’Asia » : Caio Plinio Secondo, De la historia naturale dal latino nella volgar lingua per il dottissimo huomo Messere Christophoro Landino fiorentino tradotta […], Venetia, per Marchiò Sessa, 1534, fol. CCXXXIIv column A.

10 The mention of the Chronicon of Eusebius of Caesarea is in fact repeated : see Vincenzio Borghini, Filologia e invenzione…, p. 150 and note 315 (catalogue entry by Eliana Carrara). On the work of Eusebius see Alden A. Mosshammer, The Chronicle of Eusebius and Greek Chronographic Tradition, Lewisburg/London, 1979, esp. p. 160, 265-266 and 318, note 21.

11 See C. von Fabriczy, Il codice dell’anonimo Gaddiano…, p. 28-29. Bouk Wierda, « The true identity of the Anonimo Magliabechiano », in Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, LIII/1, 2009, p. 157-168, believes the author of the manuscript is Bernardo Vecchietti (1514-1590), a scholar who lived under the Medici and a wealthy patron, among others, of Giambologna, an attribution which is to be rejected based on codicological comparison.

12 BNCF, ms. Magliabechiano XVII 17, f. 2 : « […] Hipponacte scultore di viso bruttissimo » ; see Carl Frey, Il Codice Magliabechiano Cl. XVII, 17…, p. 5. « Hipponacte fu di molto brut[t]a faccia. Il perché questi sculptori [scil. Bubalo et Antermo] posono la sua imagine per movere riso a chi la vedeva. Il che tanto fece sdegnare Hipponacte che lui con tanta amaritudine di versi gli seguitò che si crede che alcuno di quelli s’impiccas[s]i » ; see Pliny the Elder, De la historia naturale…, c. CCXLVv column A. The sculptors’ names are read as « Bupalus » and « Athenis » in modern editions (Pliny, NH, XXXVI, 11) : Caii Plinii Secundi Naturalis Historiae quae pertinent ad artes antiquorum / Plinio il Vecchio, Storia delle arti antiche, ed. S. Ferri, Rome, 1946, p. 224 ; Pliny the Elder, Storia Naturale. V. Mineralogia e storia dell’arte. Libri 33-37, ed. G. B. Conte, Turin, 1988, p. 526.

13 See Richard Stapleford, « Vasari and Botticelli », in Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, XXXIX, 1995, p. 397-408, taken up by Silvia Ginzburg, « Filologia e storia dell’arte. Il ruolo di Vincenzio Borghini nella genesi della Torrentiniana », in Testi, immagini e filologia nel xvi secolo, ed. E. Carrara and S. Ginzburg, Pisa, 2007, p. 147-203, in part. p. 178-179 and n. 84.

14 See C. Frey, Il Codice Magliabechiano Cl. XVII, 17…, p. 6.

15 See E. Carrara, « Gli studi antiquari del Borghini : ipotesi per nuove ricerche », in Schede Umanistiche, 2001/2, p. 57-75 ; ead., « Il ciclo pittorico vasariano nel Salone dei cinquecento e il carteggio Mei-Borghini », in Testi, immagini e filologia, p. 317-396 ; Valentina Conticelli, « Guardaroba di cose rare et preziose » : lo studiolo di Francesco I de’ Medici. Arte, storia e significati, Lugano, 2007, p. 6-7 and passim.

16 See W. Kallab, Vasaristudien, Wien/Leipzig, 1908, p. 178-207.

17 BNCF, ms. Magliabechiano XVII 17, fol. 87r-v ; see C. Frey, Il Codice Magliabechiano Cl. XVII, 17…, p. 108-109 in note ; C. von Fabriczy, Il codice dell’anonimo Gaddiano…, p. 86-87. On the Anonimo and his cultural milieu see Matteo Burioni, Die Renaissance der Architekten : Profession und Souveränität des Baukünstlers in Giorgio Vasaris Viten, Berlin, 2008, p. 114-121.

18 Le vite de’ più eccellenti architetti, pittori, et scultori italiani, da Cimabue insino a’ tempi nostri, descritte in lingua Toscana, da Giorgio Vasari pittore aretino. Con una sua utile & necessaria introduzzione a le arti loro, Stampato in Fiorenza appresso Lorenzo Torrentino impressor ducale del mese di marzo l’anno M D L ; for a recent overview of the 1550 edition see Vasari, gli Uffizi e il Duca, ed. C. Conforti, Francesca Funis and Francesca de Luca, Florence, 2011, p. 384 (entry cat. XV.14 written by Eliana Carrara).

19 See P. Barocchi, Scritti d’arte del Cinquecento, 3 vol., Milan/Naples, 1971-1977, t. I, p. 24-33 and LIX ; Antonio Pinelli, La bella maniera. Artisti del cinquecento tra regola e licenza, Turin, 1993, p. 105-109 ; Patricia Lee Rubin, Giorgio Vasari : Art and History, New Haven/London, 1995, p. 236.

20 See G. Vasari, The Lives of the Artists, translated with an introduction and notes by J. Conaway Bondanella and P. Bondanella, Oxford, 1991, p. 279. « Quella fine e quel certo che, che ci mancava [scil. agli artisti della seconda età], non lo potevan mettere così presto in atto, avvengaché lo studio insecchisce la maniera, quando egli è preso per terminare i fini in quel modo. Bene lo trovaron poi dopo loro gli altri, nel veder cavar fuora di terra certe anticaglie citate da Plinio de le più famose : il Lacoonte, l’Ercole et il Torso grosso di Belvedere, così la Venere, la Cleopatra, lo Apollo, et infinite altre, le quali nella lor dolcezza e nelle loro asprezze, con termini carnosi e cavati da le maggior’ bellezze del vivo, con certi atti che non in tutto si storcono ma si vanno in certe parti movendo, si mostrano con una graziosissima grazia, e furono cagione di levar via una certa maniera secca e cruda e tagliente […] » ; see Vite de più eccellenti pittori, scultori e architettori nelle redazioni del 1550 e 1568, ed. R. Bettarini and P. Barocchi (henceforth : Vasari, Vite, followed by volume number), 6 vol., Florence, 1966-1987, t. IV, p. 6-7. The reference is to Pliny, NH, XXXVI, 37 ; see G. Becatti, Plinio e Vasari…, p. 182.

21 Le vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architettori scritte da M. Giorgio Vasari pittore et architetto aretino, di nuovo dal medesimo riviste et ampliate […], 3 vol., in Fiorenza, appresso i Giunti, 1568. For a recent overview of the 1568 edition see Vasari, gli Uffizi e il Duca…, p. 386-387 (entry cat. XV.16 written by Eliana Carrara).

22 See G. Vasari, The Lives…, p. 239-240. « […] si cominciò al tempo suo a formare le teste di coloro che morivano, con poca spesa ; onde si vede in ogni casa di Firenze sopra i camini, usci, finestre e cornicioni, infiniti di detti ritratti, tanto ben fatti e naturali che paiono vivi. E da detto tempo in qua si è seguitato e seguita il detto uso, che a noi è stato di gran commodità per avere i ritratti di molti che si sono posti nelle storie del palazzo del duca Cosimo. E di questo si deve certo aver grandissimo obligo alla virtù d’Andrea, che fu de’ primi che cominciasse a metterlo in uso » ; Vasari, Vite, III, p. 543-544.

23 « Aliter apud maiores in atriis haec erant, quae spectarentur ; non signa externorum artificum nec aera aut marmora : expressi cera vultus singulis disponebantur armariis, ut essent imagines, quae comitarentur gentilicia funera […]. Quo maius, ut equidem arbitror, nullum est felicitatis specimen quam semper omnes scire cupere, qualis fuerit aliquis » ; see Pliny, NH, XXXV, 6 and 10. The quotation is from Pliny, Natural History, with an English translation in ten volumes. Volume IX. Libri XXXIII-XXXV, ed. H. Rackham, London/Cambridge, 1961, p. 265 and 267.

24 « Hominis autem imaginem gypso e facie ipsa primus omnium expressit ceraque in eam formam gypsi infusa emendare instituit Lysistratus Sicyonius, frater Lysippi, de quo diximus. Hic et similitudines reddere instituit ; ante eum quam pulcherrimas facere studebant » ; see Pliny, NH, XXXV, 153. The quotation is from Pliny, Natural History…, p. 373 and 375. See also The Elder Pliny’s Chapters on the History of Art, translated by K. Jex-Blake, with commentary by E. Sellers and additional notes contributed by Dr. Heinrich Ludwig Urlichs, Chicago, 1968, p. 176-177.

25 A. Warburg, « Bildniskunst und florentinisches Bürgerturm (1902) », in id., Ausgewälte Schriften und Würdigungen, ed. von Dieter Wuttke and C. George Heise, Baden-Baden, 1980, p. 65-97 ; E. Carrara, « Vasari e Borghini sul ritratto. Gli appunti pliniani della Selva di notizie (ms. K 783.16 del Kunsthistorisches Institut di Firenze) », in Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, XLIV, 2000, p. 243-291, in part. p. 248, n. 57, and M. Holmes, « Ex-votos : materiality, memory and cult », in The Idol in the Age of Art : Objects, Devotions and the Early Modern World, ed. M. W. Cole and R. Zorach, Farnham/Burlington, 2009, p. 159-182, in part. p. 170, n. 24.

26 The Giunti placed Adriani’s text at the beginning of volume III of Lives, printed in 1568, before the introduction of Part Three, because they had already completed the first volume. On the history of Adriani’s text and its placement in the various editions of the Lives, see G. Vasari, Vite, I, p. 232-235 (commentary by P. Barocchi) ; E. Carrara, « Giorgio Vasari, Giovanni Battista Adriani e la stesura della seconda edizione delle Vite : ragioni e nuove evidenze della loro collaborazione », in Opera nomina historiae, 2-3, 2010, p. 393-440.

27 See Le vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori e architettori scritte da M. Giorgio Vasari, ed. K. Frey, Munich, 1911, p. 224, n. 1.

28 See G. Vasari, Vite, I, p. 234 (comment).

29 See Paola Barocchi, « Indice analitico del commento alla lettera dell’Adriani », in G. Vasari, Vite, I, p. 386-415 (comment).

30 See Dietrich Erben, « Die Reiterdenkmäler der Medici in Florenz und ihre politische Bedeutung », in Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, XL, 1996, p. 287-361.

31 E. Carrara, « Giovanni Battista Adriani and the drafting of the second edition of the Vite : the unpublished manuscript of the Lettera a messer Giorgio Vasari in the Archivio Borromeo (Stresa, Italy) », in Journal of Art Historiography, 5, 2011, p. 1-21.

32 London, British Library, Additional ms. 10268, f. 62 : see D. Giannotti, Lettere a Piero Vettori pubblicate sopra gli originali del British Museum da Roberto Ridolfi e Cecil Roth, Florence, 1932, p. 170. To my knowledge, the document is unknown.

33 BNCF, ms. Magliabechiano XXV 551, f. 160 : the letter, unedited, is referred to in Vincenzio Borghini. Filologia…, p. 25-30 (27), entry cat. 2.4. written by E. Carrara.

Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1. Anonimo Magliabechiano, On ancient and modern painters, sculptors and architects, Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, ms. Magliabechiano XVII, 17, f. 1v.
URL http://books.openedition.org/enc/docannexe/image/3497/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 225k
Titre Fig. 2. Anonimo Magliabechiano, On ancient and modern painters, sculptors and architects, Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, ms. Magliabechiano XVII, 17, f. 2.
URL http://books.openedition.org/enc/docannexe/image/3497/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 215k
Titre Fig. 3. Giovanni Battista Adriani, Letter on the art of the Ancients, Isola Bella, Archivio Borromeo, ms. AD, LM, Adriani, G. B., f. 1.
URL http://books.openedition.org/enc/docannexe/image/3497/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 188k
Titre Fig. 4. Giovanni Battista Adriani to Piero Vettori, Barga (Lucca), 17 January 1543, London, British Library, Add. ms. 10268, f. 62.
URL http://books.openedition.org/enc/docannexe/image/3497/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 242k
Titre Fig. 5. Giovanni Battista Adriani to Vincenzio Borghini, Florence, 7 September 1574, Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, ms. Magliabechiano XXV 551, f. 160.
URL http://books.openedition.org/enc/docannexe/image/3497/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 162k

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