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The Sword of Judith

 | 
Kevin R. Brine
, 
Elena Ciletti
, 
Henrike Lähnemann

Visual Arts

16. Judith between the Private and Public Realms in Renaissance Florence

Roger J. Crum

Texte intégral

  • 1 Natalie R. Tomas, ”Did Women Have a Space?,” in Roger J. Crum and John T. Paoletti (eds.), Renaiss (...)

1In 1497, at a time of famine, three thousand women amassed in the Florentine Piazza della Signoria demanding the distribution of bread. Shouting ”Pane! Pane!” (Bread! Bread!), the women soon transformed their chant to ”Palle! Palle!” (Medici! Medici!). This transformation was understood as a call for the return of the exiled Medici, whose heraldic symbols were balls or palle. As the Florentine Security Commission tried to avoid a riot, one woman pelted a servant of the commission with stones after he had struck her daughter. The government eventually yielded to the women’s demands and ordered bread distributed throughout the city.1

  • 2 For the documents relating to the transfer, see Eugene Müntz, Les collections des Medicis au xve s (...)
  • 3 Tomas, ”Did Women Have a Space,” p. 312.

2Taking place in the central public and governmental space of Florence, this protest also transpired in the shadow of Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes (Fig. 17.1). Donatello’s work had been seized from the Medici Palace in 1495 and placed on the ringhiera outside the public Palazzo della Signoria in declaration of the city’s triumph over the Medici.2 Two years later, once the announcement was made that bread would be distributed, the protesting women of 1497, so a chronicler reports, ”took themselves off home,” appeased and silent.3 Just as the biblical heroine represented in Donatello’s statue had returned home to Bethulia after having killed Holofernes in his nearby camp, these latter-day ”Judiths” redomesticated themselves in quiet triumph after performing their heroism in the public arena.

  • 4 Leon Battista Alberti, The Family in Renaissance Florence, trans. Renée Neu Watkins (Columbia, SC: (...)

3Whether representing the act of killing Holofernes, or literally showing a subsequent return to Bethulia, Florentine representations of Judith all variously imply or directly reference the eventual return to domestication of the heroine. That these representations may have been more than merely narrative and may have been received among contemporary viewers as additionally resonating with their own social ideal of the domestication of women is likely, especially after moments in which women might have temporarily entered the public sphere. Fifteenth-century Florentines carefully guarded the chastity and public honor of their patrician women, with the walls, doors, and windows of the city’s palaces carefully monitored against any form of social violation. ”It would hardly win us respect,” announces one of the male interlocutors in Alberti’s fifteenth-century Della famiglia, ”if our wife busied herself among the men in the marketplace out in the public eye.”4 Judith’s return to a domestic context had therefore to conform to Florentine norms of social behavior and control.

  • 5 For portraits of Florentine women, see Patricia Simons, ”Women in Frames: The Gaze, the Eye, the P (...)
  • 6 For the most recent account of the political history of Florence, one that particularly speaks to (...)

4Alberti’s reference and other material from the social history of womenin Renaissance Florence have lent themselves to illuminating feminist approaches to images of women in the city’s art and visual culture. These approaches could easily be applied to an interpretation of the redomestication that is equally overt or implied in contemporary Florentine images of Judith.5 The focus of this essay, however, is less on feminist than political questions of how Florentines may have understood the shifting private and public roles of the Old Testament Judith narrative in relation to the particular private and public dynamics in Florentine culture. There was throughout Florentine history a continual negotiation between the public and the private realms in a society that was still navigating the uncertain urban terrain of its late medieval and Renaissance evolution.6 Commissioned, owned, and displayed by members of the same patrician, office-holding class who carefully guarded the balance of the private and public in their lives, images of Judith could not have been insignificant to this negotiation.

  • 7 For general reference to David and Judith as patron figures of Florence, see Bonnie A. Bennett and (...)

5Representations of Judith and Holofernes, like those of David and Goliath, are among the most familiar images from Renaissance Florence. Together with John the Baptist, patron saint of Florence, Judith and David had such a currency in Florentine art, particularly in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, that scholars have long interpreted them as coequal Old Testament protector figures of the city.7 David and Judith could easily have been engaged in this patriotic role for their biblical stories run along strikingly similar narrative and typological routes. Although unlikely figures for heroic and patriotic deeds, Judith and David emerge from sheltered private roles – Judith as a widow, David as a shepherd – to protect the weak against the strong, to avert disaster and subjugation for their people, and to be instruments of divine will in furthering the historical course of the Jews. Judith sets aside her mourning, dons her exquisite robes, and steps forward to save her native Bethulia against the Assyrian army of Holofernes; David similarly saves his people by setting aside his animal husbandry, employing his shepherd’s sling to greater purpose, and slaying the tyrannous Philistine Goliath.

6It is here, however, that the two biblical stories significantly part their ways: David continues in his public role, eventually becoming king, while Judith, almost Cincinnatus-like, returns to Bethulia and, after a period of leading her people in triumph, to a resumption of her old life as a widow on her husband’s estate. There, a private citizen, she dies at one hundred and five years of age.

  • 8 For the image of David in Florentine art, which was not strictly reserved to public imagery, see G (...)
  • 9 For the image of Judith in Florentine art, see Adrian W. B. Randolph, Engaging Symbols: Gender, Po (...)
  • 10 Ellen Callmann, Apollonio di Giovanni (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), p. 50, notes that Judith im (...)

7The different public and private conclusions of the David and Judith stories parallel a similar public–private divergence in representations of these Old Testament figures in Florentine art. Mirroring the public role of David in the later chapters of the biblical story, imagery of David in Florence had a strikingly public dimension. Notable among other works, Donatello’s marble David, his later bronze David, Ghiberti’s David panel for the Gates of Paradise, Verrocchio’s David, and Michelangelo’s David were all commissioned for or eventually brought into the public sphere. There is also Ghirlandaio’s image of David in fresco on the exterior of the Sassetti Chapel in Santa Trinita, itself a relatively public location though clearly decorated through the patronage of private families.8 By contrast, Florentine images of Judith were predominantly private and domestic objects. With the exception of Ghiberti’s representation of Judith on the Gates of Paradise (Fig. 16.1), which was obviously for public display, Donatello’s celebrated bronze group (Fig. 17.1), several examples from Botticelli and his circle (Fig. 16.2), a bronze statuette by Antonio del Pollaiuolo (Fig. 16.3), and two engravings attributed to Baccio Baldini (Fig. 16.4) all come from the private sphere or were clearly intended for reception in non-public, intimate environments.9 Joining this group are several representations from cassone panels, including an example attributed to the Master of Marradi in the collection of The Dayton Art Institute (Fig. 16.5), and Andrea Mantegna’s non-Florentine National Gallery of Art Judith and Holofernes (Fig. 16.6) that may have been owned by the Medici family and displayed in their palace.10

16.1. Lorenzo Ghiberti, Detail of Judith and Holofernes from the Gates of Paradise, 1425–1452. Baptistry, Florence, Italy. Photo credit: Timothy McCarthy/Art Resource, NY.

  • 11 For exceptions to interpreting David in relation to foreign aggression, see Roger J. Crum, ”Donate (...)
  • 12 See Crum, Retrospection and Response, pp. 110–138; McHam, The Art Bulletin, 83 (2001), pp. 32–47; (...)
  • 13 Najemy, A History of Florence, pp. 188, 190. For the relationship between Florentine culture and w (...)

8Scholars have long advanced various political meanings for Florentine images of David. As already noted they have predominantly focused on seeing David as a protector figure for Florence against foreign aggression.11 The same has been true with Judith imagery, but to a lesser extent, and largely these interpretations have been formulated in relation to the quite obviously political and Medicean raison d’être of Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes.12 Beyond Medicean party politics, political meaning could be explored for these images through an acknowledgment that Florence (almost like the biblical Bethulia) was almost constantly at war between the late fourteenth century and 1454, the date of the Peace of Lodi, and intermittently thereafter. It was also a society that was quite familiar with the experience of siege warfare, or at least the threat of such.13

16.2. Sandro Botticelli, Judith, ca. 1472. Uffizi, Florence, Italy. Photo credit: Scala/Art Resource, NY.

16.3. Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Judith, ca. 1470 (bronze with traces of gilding). The Detroit Institute of Arts/Gift of Eleanor Clay Ford, Detroit, MI. Photo credit: The Bridgeman Art Libra

16.4. Baccio Baldini, Judith with the Head of Holofernes. The British Museum. Photo credit: © The Trustees of the British Museum

16.5. The Master of Marradi, Florentine, Judith and Holofernes, 15th century. The Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, OH. Photo credit: The Dayton Art Institute.

16.6. Andrea Mantegna, Judith, 1491. National Gallery of Art, Widener Collection, Washington, DC. Photo credit: G.E.M.A. (Grande Enciclopedia Multimediale dell’Arte).

9There is yet an additional area, beyond the specifics of Medicean politics, warfare, or siege situations, in which political meaning might be established for Judith imagery, especially in relation to the predominantly private and domestic nature of these works. That is in the area of the tensions experienced by the office-holding class of Florentines between their ambitions and obligations to serve the city publicly and their reluctance and anxieties about not extending themselves too boldly beyond the private sphere.

  • 14 See Roger J. Crum and John T. Paoletti, ”... Full of People of Every Sort: The Domestic Interior,” (...)
  • 15 For the classic explication of civic humanism, see Baron, The Crisis.
  • 16 For these tensions and anxieties within the city, see particularly Nicolai Rubinstein, The Governm (...)

10From the political commentary of Dante’s Divine Comedy to the social castigations of Savonarola’s sermons and Machiavelli’s ruminations on the vicissitudes of political affairs in the city, it is clear that Florentines struggled to define the balance of the public and private in their lives. Mindful of any dangerously assertive projection of the self into an always volatile body politic, Florentines lived lives that were defined by cautious advances and hasty retreats across the permeable though fortress-like membranes of their domiciles.14 Even a cursory examination of Florentine politics through the formative years of the republic is sufficient to reveal that the development of civic humanism, particularly in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries with its prescriptions for public engagement and its support for the common good, was more an aspiration for an ideal state of affairs than a direct reflection of a much less attractive reality.15 Less an ”Athens on the Arno,” Florence was a problematic, suspicious environment in which even – or perhaps especially because – Florentines were never quite certain or confident that there truly existed a definable or definably safe separation between the public and private dimensions of their lives.16

  • 17 Crum, Retrospection and Response, p. 27.
  • 18 Giovanni Cavalcanti, Istorie fiorentine, ed. F. Polidori, 2 vols. (Florence: Tip. All’insegna di D (...)
  • 19 For Cosimo’s political character and concerns, see Dale V. Kent, Cosimo de’ Medici and the Florent (...)
  • 20 For Savonarola and his influence on Florentine politics, see Donald Weinstein, Savonarola and Flor (...)
  • 21 See Charles Seymour Jr., Michelangelo’s David: A Search for Identity (Pittsburgh, PA: University o (...)

11This problem came to a head in the fifteenth century as the private identityand motivations of the Medici family steadily and problematically blurred with their public ambitions for running of the city. On his deathbed Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici is reported to have urged his sons Cosimo and Lorenzo to maintain always a low public profile and to go to the Palazzo della Signoria only when summoned.17 Nevertheless, the contemporary chronicler GiovanniCavalcanti was quick to point out, surveying the whole of the problematic Florentine political landscape both before and after the rise of the Medici, that decisions of the republic were as often made at dining tables than in the proper halls of government.18 Cosimo de’ Medici would become famous for his ready protestations throughout his political career that he was little more than a private citizen, but such protestations were to no avail as contemporaries – most alarmingly those within the Medici party itself – increasingly voiced concern that the family was operating tyrannically beyond the private realm in the interest of subjugating to its factional will the common good of the city.19 The dramatic rise of Savonarola and the events surrounding the eventual expulsion of the Medici from Florence in 1494 are the culmination of this sentiment in the late fifteenth century.20 This was only followed by the great sculptural punctuation of this theme of tyrannical suppression in the early sixteenth century by the installation of Michelangelo’s David before the Palazzo della Signoria.21

  • 22 For the relationship among pride, discord, and the Medici party in the mid-fifteenth century, see (...)
  • 23 For a similar instance in which an iconography of a tyrant killer is directed to an internal as op (...)

12The rise of the Medici and their associates, and the mounting public anxiety surrounding their gradual and problematic merging of the public and the private, coincide with the aforementioned concentration of Judith imagery in Florentine art. This is unlikely to have been purely coincidental. While it is always risky to align broad political developments with specific religious imagery in specific examples of art, at least two aspects of the Judith story do correspond with notable contemporary anxieties to the extent that we can reasonably venture a suggestion that Florentines could have been both aware of and motivated by these factors when commissioning, collecting, or viewing such works of art. The first is that the biblical Judith is clearly a tyrant killer, a suppressor of Holofernes’s overweening pride. Since Florentines of the patrician class were deeply sensitive to the issue of pride and its negative repercussions for the political process, it is reasonable to assume that this awareness stood somewhat behind their commissions of Judith imagery.22 The second, as noted above, is that Judith notably redomesticates herself after her heroic act, and in so doing preserves the balance of the private and the public in her life and, most importantly, in the life of Bethulia. The sword of Judith running through Florentine imagery would thus seem at once to have presented this society – and the Medici and their associates in particular – with an awareness of the problematical realities and seductions of extending oneself into the public sphere (the prideful and tragic example of Holofernes) and a possible resolution of the private–public dilemma (the dutiful Judith with her willingness to return home and not assume further powers).23

  • 24 Francis Ames-Lewis, ”Art History or Stilkritik? Donatello’s Bronze David Reconsidered,” Art Histor (...)

13The history of Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes points the way toward examining this broader dimension and anxiety in Florentine society between the private and the public. That Donatello’s statue was originally a domestic work for the interior garden of the Medici Palace, and was only later transferred to the public Piazza della Signoria upon the family’s expulsion in 1494, makes it the exception – or an anomaly within the history of one work – that proves the generally private role of Judith imagery in Florence. But it is the exception that pointedly brings forward the tensions within that society between the private and the public. It would even seem that the Medici, when first they owned and displayed the work, may have consciously played upon the public and private dimensions and tensions of the Judith story by positioning the work in such a way that it could have been visible at times along the axis that ran from the street entrance of the building to the back garden where the statue was located.24 As we have reviewed, the Medici ascent in Florentine politics and society witnessed that family and its principal members constantly, carefully, and craftily maneuvering back and forth between their public roles and private retreats. An image like Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes, with its reference to a story in which the heroine herself moves from the private, to the public, to the private again, could only have resonated as a form of political self portraiture and wise self protection of the Medici against their detractors by means of the biblical model. By killing Holofernes Judith saved Bethulia from the prospect of tyranny at the hands of the Assyrians and then assiduously withdrew herself from the possibility of replacing that threat with any form of domination or rule of her own. The Medici, it seems, constantly had this lesson before them in the form of Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes and did, at least for a period, hold at bay a disastrous conflation of the public and private in their political lives.

  • 25 For this inscription, see Roger J. Crum, ”Severing the Neck of Pride: Donatello’s Judith and Holof (...)

14What is particularly striking about how the Medici dealt with this issue of the private and the public in Donatello’s statue is that they plainly dealt with it head on, cleverly raising the issue of the tension themselves that animated and disturbed their contemporaries, only to distance themselves simultaneously from the taint of any culpability. In other words, they took the fight directly to the enemy (largely members of their own political party who were inclined toward disaffection with the leading family and who regularly visited the Medici Palace to conduct business with the family) and diffused the issue in no uncertain terms. Of course, the Medici did this with the theme of the statue itself, a tyrannicide, but this they underscored by accompanying the work with the following inscription that dealt with the suppression of pride, the very vice that might lead the family to succumb to private interests at the expense of the common good: ”Regna cadunt luxu surgent virtutibus urbes caesa vides humili colla superba manu” (Kingdoms fall through luxury, cities rise through virtues; behold the neck of pride severed by the hand of humility).25

  • 26 Crum, Retrospection and Response, pp. 139–64; Roger J. Crum, ”Roberto Martelli, the Council of Flo (...)

15Elsewhere I have discussed how the theme of the suppression of pride with humility and, by extension, the matter of private interests subordinated to the common good was not limited to Donatello’s statue but ran as a leitmotif through several works in the main reception spaces of the Medici Palace.26 In this linking of imagery and theme through the semiprivate/semipublic spaces of the palace, there is ample evidence to support why the redomestication of Judith in Donatello’s statue would not have been an insignificant aspect of the story to the Medici and their associates. As noted above, the Medici faced periodic challenges and charges, from both within and beyond their immediate associates in their party or faction, that the family was assuming too much power in the city. Judith, as a tyrant killer and, most importantly in this context, as an exemplar of an heroic figure who serves but both withdraws and reserves power for others, would definitely have served the Medici as a suitable antidote to charges that the family was overextending its role in the city and treading dangerously on the public prerogative. In this regard, it is perhaps not insignificant that Donatello’s Judith was paired in the Medici Palace with the sculptor’s equally celebrated bronze David. The iconography and presentation of that group are extraordinary, and scholars have long been at pains to interpret the singular uniqueness of David’s modest, withdrawn, and even distant demeanor in this work when compared to more triumphant presentations of the Old Testament hero boy in works by the youthful Donatello, the mature Verrocchio, and the young Michelangelo. Perhaps the answer to this particular iconographic enigma in Donatello’s bronze David is that the sculptor and his patrons – in both the bronze David and the Judith and Holofernes, in which Judith similarly has a distant expression – were intent upon emphasizing more of the reserve than the assertiveness of the family in the public eye and arena of Florentine politics.

16While it would be useful to have similar corroborating evidence for what may have motivated other patrons and collectors of other Judith imagery in fifteenth-century Florence, such does not exist. We simply have the objects, but we do know that they belonged to a class of people who were contemporaries of the Medici, often social equals to that dominant family, and perhaps even on occasion political associates of Cosimo, his son Piero, and Piero’s son, Lorenzo the Magnificent. If even one of these categories includes those individuals who were responsible for the other representations of Judith in Florentine art, it is clear that we are dealing with people whose period mentality operated very much with a level of comfort in fronting and defusing the problem of the private–public tension in Florentine society and politics. Just as the Medici seem to have addressed this matter directly in Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes, the bronze David, and other works in their palace, so too their contemporaries may well have regarded it as prudent public posturing to emphasize similar private reserve by commissioning and collecting, contemplating, and asking others to contemplate, images of Judith in the private interiors of their often public palaces.

17As indicated, our best circumstantial evidence that these images of Judith may somehow have been drawn into contemporary concerns about tyranny and liberty and of the overextension of a family’s private concerns into the public arena comes from the vicissitudes in the political fortunes of the Medici family. Yet increasingly Lorenzo the Magnificent and, after his death in 1492, his son Piero so notably set aside any anxiety about holding any untoward advances into the public arena in check. The result must certainly have been that whatever may have originally motivated the iconography of Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes – and here I have suggested that it was pointedly to emphasize that Judith is heroic but is also a heroine who ultimately maintains the balance between the private and the public – that iconography had to have increasingly rung hollow and hypocritical as the house of the Medici and the house of the Florentine state became ever more one in the later years of the Medici regime in the fifteenth century. This very evident folding into one another of the private and the public, denounced by contemporaries in their charges of tyranny, came to a head in 1494 when Piero di Lorenzo de’ Medici was expelled from Florence on a wave of republican fervor and Savonarolan prophecy. That the Medici eventually so perverted the balance between the private and the public may go far in explaining why Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes was thereafter confiscated and placed outside the Florentine Palazzo della Signoria. Notably, the sculptor’s bronze David, also from the Medici Palace where it had been located in the courtyard, was installed in the more private reaches within the same public edifice. Only the Florentine patriciate, deeply familiar as it was with the history and meaning of Judith and David imagery in the city, could have appreciated the biting irony of this ” ”inverted” installation. It seems that in order to drive home the point that the Medici had offered both hollow rhetoric and deceitful actions with regard to the balance of the private and the public, the Florentines needed Judith to remain, at least for a period, on guard and in the public eye. That period soon turned into permanency with Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes never actually returning home to Bethulia as all images of Judith and Holofernes had variously implied when, in the earlier, halcyon days of the Florentine republic and the Mediciregime, there was still a glimmer of optimism (or merely a looking the other way in self-deception) that one’s privately driven actions and one’s model in the biblical, public-spirited heroine were in honorable alignment.

Notes

1 Natalie R. Tomas, ”Did Women Have a Space?,” in Roger J. Crum and John T. Paoletti (eds.), Renaissance Florence: A Social History (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), p. 312.

2 For the documents relating to the transfer, see Eugene Müntz, Les collections des Medicis au xve siècle (Paris and London: Librairie de l’art, 1888), pp. 100–04.

3 Tomas, ”Did Women Have a Space,” p. 312.

4 Leon Battista Alberti, The Family in Renaissance Florence, trans. Renée Neu Watkins (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1969); see also Jane Tylus (ed.), Sacred Narratives (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2001), p. 34.

5 For portraits of Florentine women, see Patricia Simons, ”Women in Frames: The Gaze, the Eye, the Profile in Renaissance Portraiture,” History Workshop 25 (1988), pp. 4–30. For the social history of women in Renaissance Florence in general, see Natalie R. Tomas, The Medici Women: Gender and Power in Renaissance Florence (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2003); Dale V. Kent, ”Women in Renaissance Florence,” in David Alan Brown (ed.), Virtue and Beauty (Princeton, NJ, and Woodstock, UK: Princeton University Press, 2001).

6 For the most recent account of the political history of Florence, one that particularly speaks to this tension between the private and the public, see John M. Najemy, A History of Florence 1200–1575 (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2006).

7 For general reference to David and Judith as patron figures of Florence, see Bonnie A. Bennett and David G. Wilkins, Donatello (Oxford: Phaidon, 1984).

8 For the image of David in Florentine art, which was not strictly reserved to public imagery, see Gary M. Radke (ed.), Verrocchio’s David Restored: A Renaissance Bronze from the National Museum of the Bargello, Florence (Atlanta, GA: High Museum of Art, 2003).

9 For the image of Judith in Florentine art, see Adrian W. B. Randolph, Engaging Symbols: Gender, Politics, and Public Art in Fifteenth-Century Florence (New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 2002), pp. 242–85. For Ghiberti’s Judith, see Richard Krautheimer, Lorenzo Ghiberti (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1982), p. 173; for Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes, see H. Janson, The Sculpture of Donatello (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1963), pp. 198–205; Roger J. Crum, Retrospection and Response: The Medici Palace in the Service of the Medici, c. 1420–1469, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, 1992, pp. 110–38; for Botticelli and Botticelli circle images, see R. W. Lightbown, Sandro Botticelli (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1978); for Pollaiuolo’s Judith, see Alison Wright, The Pollaiuolo Brothers: The Arts of Florence and Rome (New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 2005), pp. 329–34; Patricia Lee Rubin and Alison Wright with Nicholas Penny (eds.), Renaissance Florence: The Art of the 1470s (London: National Gallery Publications, 1999), pp. 268–71; for Baldini, see Rubin, Wright, and Penny, Renaissance Florence, pp. 268–71; Randolph, Engaging Symbols, pp. 268–69; for Mantegna, see Fern Rusk Shapley, Catalogue of the Italian Paintings (Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1979), pp. 296–97; Marco Spallanzani and Giovanna Gaeta Bertela (eds.), Libro d’inventario dei beni di Lorenzo il Magnifico (Florence: Amici del Bargello, 1992), p. 51: ”Una tavoletta in una chassetta, dipintovi su una Giudetta chon la testa d’Oloferno e una serva, opera d’Andrea Squarcione.” The name of Squarcione, another painter (like Mantegna) from Padua, was often confused with Mantegna.

10 Ellen Callmann, Apollonio di Giovanni (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), p. 50, notes that Judith imagery became common on cassone chests in Renaissance Florence, especially after 1450, ”when there is a marked upsurge in the expression of republican sentiment and opposition to tyranny.” For The Dayton Art Institute cassone picture, see Roger J. Crum, ”The Story of Judith and Holofernes,” in Selected Works from The Dayton Art Institute Permanent Collection (Dayton, OH: The Dayton Art Institute, 1999), p. 214.

11 For exceptions to interpreting David in relation to foreign aggression, see Roger J. Crum, ”Donatello’s Bronze David and the Question of Foreign Versus Domestic Tyranny,” Renaissance Studies, 10 (1996), pp. 440–50; and Sarah Blake McHam, ”Donatello’s David and Judith as Metaphors of Medici Rule in Florence,” The Art Bulletin, 83 (2001), pp. 32–47.

12 See Crum, Retrospection and Response, pp. 110–138; McHam, The Art Bulletin, 83 (2001), pp. 32–47; and Sarah Blake McHam’s essay in this volume (Chap. 17).

13 Najemy, A History of Florence, pp. 188, 190. For the relationship between Florentine culture and what might be called a ”siege” mentality, see Hans Baron, The Crisis of the Early Italian Renaissance (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1955).

14 See Roger J. Crum and John T. Paoletti, ”... Full of People of Every Sort: The Domestic Interior,” in Crum and Paoletti (eds.), Renaissance Florence, pp. 273–91.

15 For the classic explication of civic humanism, see Baron, The Crisis.

16 For these tensions and anxieties within the city, see particularly Nicolai Rubinstein, The Government of Florence under the Medici (1434–1494), 2nd edition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997); Dale Kent, The Rise of the Medici: Faction in Florence, 1426–1434 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1978).

17 Crum, Retrospection and Response, p. 27.

18 Giovanni Cavalcanti, Istorie fiorentine, ed. F. Polidori, 2 vols. (Florence: Tip. All’insegna di Dante), 1838–39.

19 For Cosimo’s political character and concerns, see Dale V. Kent, Cosimo de’ Medici and the Florentine Renaissance: The Patron’s Oeuvre (New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 2000). For the Medici and problems within their own party, see Arthur Field, The Origins of the Platonic Academy of Florence (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988).

20 For Savonarola and his influence on Florentine politics, see Donald Weinstein, Savonarola and Florence: Prophecy and Patriotism in the Renaissance (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1970).

21 See Charles Seymour Jr., Michelangelo’s David: A Search for Identity (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1967).

22 For the relationship among pride, discord, and the Medici party in the mid-fifteenth century, see Field, The Origins of the Platonic Academy.

23 For a similar instance in which an iconography of a tyrant killer is directed to an internal as opposed to an external audience in Florence, see Crum, ”Donatello’s Bronze David.”

24 Francis Ames-Lewis, ”Art History or Stilkritik? Donatello’s Bronze David Reconsidered,” Art History, 2 (1979), pp. 139–55; G. Cherubini and G. Fanelli (eds.), Il Palazzo Medici Riccardi di Firenze (Florence: Giunti, 1990); and Crum, Retrospection and Response, pp. 110–38.

25 For this inscription, see Roger J. Crum, ”Severing the Neck of Pride: Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes and the Recollection of Albizzi Shame in Medicean Florence,” Artibus et Historiae, 22 (2001), pp. 23–29.

26 Crum, Retrospection and Response, pp. 139–64; Roger J. Crum, ”Roberto Martelli, the Council of Florence, and the Medici Palace Chapel,” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, 59 (1996), pp. 403–17. A focus on pride and its suppression was not limited to Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes and other examples of the visual arts in the Medici Palace. Notably, Lucrezia Tornabuoni, the wife of Piero de’ Medici and the mother of Lorenzo the Magnificent, composed a sacra rappresentazione on the Old Testament heroine Judith and gave particular focus to the issue of pride in those writings. That Lucrezia was writing on Judith in the pivotal years between her husband Piero’s control of the Medici party and her son Lorenzo’s ascension to power after 1469 – years that very much tested the Medici’s ability to balance the public–private dimensions in Florentine politics – is clearly significant. For Lucrezia’s writings, see Tylus (ed.), Lucrezia Tornabuoni: Sacred Narratives, pp. 118–62; Fulvio Pezzarossa (ed.), I poemetti sacri di Lucrezia Tornabuoni (Florence: Olschki, 1978).

Table des illustrations

Légende 16.1. Lorenzo Ghiberti, Detail of Judith and Holofernes from the Gates of Paradise, 1425–1452. Baptistry, Florence, Italy. Photo credit: Timothy McCarthy/Art Resource, NY.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/1013/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 534k
Légende 16.2. Sandro Botticelli, Judith, ca. 1472. Uffizi, Florence, Italy. Photo credit: Scala/Art Resource, NY.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/1013/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,7M
Légende 16.3. Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Judith, ca. 1470 (bronze with traces of gilding). The Detroit Institute of Arts/Gift of Eleanor Clay Ford, Detroit, MI. Photo credit: The Bridgeman Art Libra
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/1013/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 595k
Légende 16.4. Baccio Baldini, Judith with the Head of Holofernes. The British Museum. Photo credit: © The Trustees of the British Museum
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/1013/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 737k
Légende 16.5. The Master of Marradi, Florentine, Judith and Holofernes, 15th century. The Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, OH. Photo credit: The Dayton Art Institute.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/1013/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 506k
Légende 16.6. Andrea Mantegna, Judith, 1491. National Gallery of Art, Widener Collection, Washington, DC. Photo credit: G.E.M.A. (Grande Enciclopedia Multimediale dell’Arte).
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/1013/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,0M

Auteur

Roger J. Crum is Professor of Art History at the University of Dayton where he has held the Graul Chair in Arts and Languages. He currently serves as the College of Arts and Sciences Liaison for Global and Intercultural Initiatives. A former member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Professor Crum has published on a variety of subjects ranging from the art and politics of Renaissance Florence to Hitler’s visit to Florence in 1938. He is the co-editor with John T. Paoletti of Renaissance Florence: A Social History (2008) and, with Claudia Lazzaro, of Donatello Among the Blackshirts: History and Modernity in the Visual Culture of Fascist Italy (2005).

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