Between Poetry and Painting: Giovanni Andrea dell' Anguillara's Metamorfosi as a Model for Genoese Baroque Poets and Painters

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Between Poetry and Painting: Giovanni Andrea dell' Anguillara's Metamorfosi as a Model for Genoese Baroque Poets and Painters
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  Giacomo Montanari 162 УДК: 7.046ББК: 85.155А43DOI: 10.18688/aa188-1-15 Giacomo Montanari Between Poetry and Painting: Giovanni Andrea dell’Anguillara’s Metamorfosi   as a Model for Genoese Baroque Poets and Painters e aim of this paper is to demonstrate how in Genoa, one of the greatest cities in which the new baroque culture rose, from the beginning and until the end of the 17 th  century, the Meta-morfosi’s book written by Anguillara was used both as a model by literates for their baroque rhetorical composition and by painters as a more comprehensible and “modern” source of the “Antico” for their works of art.As one of the most important sources of the Pagan mythological tradition and at the centre of the interest of great erudites as Francesco Petrarca and Giovanni Boccaccio during the 14 th  century, the  Metamorphosis  written by Ovid were one of the most read books in the Western Europe during the 15 th , 16 th  and 17 th  centuries. Nevertheless, the text by Ovid, read today by scholars, is probably not the text widespread in all courts, palaces, villas, and painters’ work-shops between the 16 th  and 17 th  century. In fact, as well demonstrated by Guthmuller in sev-eral papers, the srcinal Latin text was quite oen replaced since the 14 th  century by different  versions translating the text into the vernacular language. Especially during the 16 th  century, on the long wave of the success achieved by Ludovico Ariosto’s and Torquato Tasso’s epic po-ems, the text by Ovid was re-written by some Italian authors, such as Giovanni di Bonsignori, Giovanni Antonio Rusconi or Lodovico Dolce [5, pp. 23–56]. All of these versions, especially Rusconi’s one, were reprinted in a lot of editions and sold in a large number of copies all around Europe, but the most important re-writing of the  Metamorphosis  by Ovid, still used during all the 18 th  century and the principal source for mythological themes, is the one published in Ven-ice in 1561 by Giovanni Andrea dell’Anguillara [5, pp. 129–147]. Anguillara’s model is clearly Ariosto’s poetry, not only concerning stylistic choices but, as we will see, even in respect to the narrative plot of the mythological events [5, pp. 88–98; 14, pp. 276–293].Considering that the Anguillara’s Metamorphosis fame was quite a global phenomenon, it could be very interesting to search for the consequences of this important model in a delimited area, applying some limits in time and space to the research. Coming from seventy years of wellness and growth in richness, power, arts, and culture, the Republic of Genoa represents the ideal place in which new ideas of renovation can grow freely (even due to the particular form of government) into the hand of a communitas studiorum  composed by aristocrats, literates, and painters.  Западноевропейское искусство Нового времени  163 Indeed, at the beginning of the 17 th  century, Genoa was one of the most important Euro-pean cities in which the new Baroque culture developed. is new culture necessarily had to use a new language, based on two main lines of research: the strong inspiration to the antiquity models (the  Antico ) and the adherence to nature itself (the imitatio naturae ). In this climate of renovation, both literates and painters did their part to pursue those researches and wrote or painted their works of arts to show their new achievements. Anguillara’s poem seems to be indeed one of the most important sources (together with Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso  and Tas-so’s Gerusalemme Liberata ) for the literary production of Giovanni Vincenzo Imperiale, a rich member of Genoese aristocracy and a great literate [3, pp. 17–30], and, in particular, for the Stato Rustico , published for the 󿬁rst time in 1607 and then reprinted in Venice in 1613.Imperiale was one of the greatest collectors of paintings, sculptures and books during the whole 17 th  century in the Republic of Genoa. His library, recently studied and published entire-ly for the 󿬁rst time [26, pp. 269–282], shows active interest for Greek and Latin authors (such as Plutarch, Ovid, Giuseppe Flavio and others), for Ariosto and especially for Tasso’s works, to which the young Giovanni Vincenzo was called to write the introduction to the 1604 edition. e presence of Anguillara’s Ovid   in his library, as in the Giulio Pallavicino’s one (in two dif-ferent copies) and in many others Genoese palaces, attests the great importance of this literary work in the cultural landscape of the Superba  at the beginning and during the whole 17 th  cen-tury [25, pp. 41–52].e particular poetical choices, the stylistic background and the themes presented by Im-periale in his Stato Rustico  clearly show his debt to Tasso, Ariosto, and Anguillara; and at the same time is very evident his will of making a change in the traditional Italian “epic” poetry, inherited from the great models of the Greek and Latin authors such as Homer, Ovid, and Vir-gil. Inspired by these examples, Imperiale had to deal with new ideas growing into the Genoese cultural landscape: he thought that arts (for examples literary production or paintings, which he frequently compared in his poetical works) had to represent nature in a more clear way, describing with their media  (pen or brush, verses or colours, for example) what they can see in the world. ose new ideas, in particular this parallelism taken from the Oratian motto ut  pictura poesis , were brought by Giovan Battista Marino into his 󿬁rst work, such as the Dicerie Sacre  (printed in Turin in 1614) and developed on a larger scale in his most famous works: the Galeria  (1619) and the  Adone  (1623). e contacts between Marino and Genoa, in particular with Giovanni Carlo Doria and Giovanni Vincenzo Imperiale are well-known thank to some survived letters, but now it seems very clear that this link was not merely “diplomatic” relations with potential protectors: Marino was influenced deeply by Imperiale’s 󿬁rst works, which he considered as models for his future production [12, pp. 95–118]. In this way it is very easy to comprehend the legacy of Anguillara in Marino and in all the baroque culture of the 17 th  cen-tury: the models of Imperiale came directly from the great Italian tradition such as the Furioso  and the Gerusalemme , successfully mixed into the Ovidian myths re-written by Anguillara and all those themes and stylistic models arrived directly to Marino during his 󿬁rst formation as a literate [18, pp. 15–44]. At the same time, the double-face of personalities such as Imperiale as collectors and literate represents the other turning point: Imperiale personally deals with pain-ters, he knows their techniques, and shares his personal researches on the new ideas of imitatio naturae  and love for antiquity. Painters and poets, in the very 󿬁rst decades of the 17 th  century, in  Giacomo Montanari 164 Genoa, are simultaneously developing new lines of the baroque sensibility. Domenico Fiasella, Orazio De Ferrari, Luciano Borzone, Grechetto, and others were the young pioneers of the baroque painting, coming from the legacy of Luca Cambiaso and especially Giovanni Battista Paggi, who died in 1627 [32, pp. 231–305; 19, pp. 215–234]. During the decade starting from 1633 until 1643, the leadership of the Genoese “Literary Academy” completely changed. Giovanni Vincenzo Imperiale was sent in exile, and emerged the personality of Anton Giulio Brignole Sale, a great literate and the heir of a very power-ful family. In discontinuity with Imperiale, who thought and spoke about an equity between painters and poets, Brignole Sale started to claim the superiority of poetry introducing into his texts the rhetorical 󿬁gure of ekphrasis based on canvases painted by contemporary painters. In fact, describing those marvellous works of art with his baroque prose, Brignole Sale wanted to specify that words can go beyond the evocative power of images, describing even what the eyes can’t see or imagine and catch the viewer emotions in a complete way. Te model for this trouvaille  were the classical examples of authors such as Lucian and Pliny the Elder, but the aim was completely different: Anton Giulio wanted to became an unquestioned leader of the Genoa’s politic landscape, to force the Republic into a new politic line that aims to separate the destiny of Genoa from that of the Spanish Kingdom [22, pp. 351–389; 7, pp. 277–282; 35, pp. 297–302]. For this reason, Anton Giulio and his 󿬁rst pupil, Luca Assarino, tried to demonstrate with facts that poetry (so the literates) was the most important of the liberal arts instead of painting and other artistic expressions, very popular in the Genoa’s area. But the more interesting point is to verify that, in this climate of competition, the two rivals (poets and painters) took inspira-tions from the same source: Anguillara’s  Metamorphosis . Concerning this point, It is very im-portant to consider this canvas by the Genoese painter Orazio De Ferrari representing the myth of Latona urning the Men of Lycia into Frogs  (Fig. 1) because we can read its description in a text by Assarino, who claimed he was carefully describing the canvas. Comparing the painting with the Ovidian myth, we can observe that Orazio De Ferrari used in a very explicit way the text by Anguillara and not the classical Latin version: Ovid said that Latona raised both hands to the sky to ask for the Gods’ help, but (as we can see on the canvas) Anguillara wrote that she raised only one hand, because she was keeping her two young children, Apollo and Diana in her other hand. At the same time, the text by Assarino was inspired clearly by the poetical text by Anguillara, not by the Latin source and only partially by Orazio’s canvas. Anguillara, in fact, described with a lot of details the transformations of the men into frogs, a detail repeated in the same sequence by Assarino, but not completely depicted by Orazio De Ferrari. In Orazio’s canvas in fact only one man is turned into a frog, but on the contrary, both Anguillara and Assarino spoke about a “group transformation”: all the men who insulted Latona became frogs at the same time. e role of Anguillara’s text as an intermediary source that was used both by poets and painters is very visible in another interesting case study: the description of the can- vas owned by Agapito Centurione and painted by Domenico Fiasella, representing Venus and  Mars Caught in Adultery by Volcano . We have today two different ekphrasis  of this canvas, the 󿬁rst one written by Anton Giulio Brignole Sale in the book Le Instabilità dell’Ingegno , printed in 1635; and the second written by Luca Assarino in a letter published in 1637. Unfortunately, today we don’t know anything about the painting and it is impossible to read clearly the adher-  Западноевропейское искусство Нового времени  165 Fig. 1. Orazio De Ferrari. Latona changing the men of Lycia into frogs. c. 1640. Private collectionFig. 2. Giovanni Battista Carlone. Venus and Mars caught in adultery by Volcano. c. 1650. Pinacoteca Civica, Savona  Giacomo Montanari 166 ence of Fiasella’s work to the words written by Brignole Sale and Assarino. We can imagine it looked like something similar to the canvas by Giovanni Battista Carlone (painted around the same period, Fig. 2), but the descriptions lead us to argue that the work by Fiasella had a quite different composition. What we can consider, on the other hand, are the literary models used by the two Genoese literates: they merged the themes coming from Anguillara’s Ovid   and those linked to the poetical tradition of this love-theme (Homer and Lucian), but very few links can be seen with Marino’s  Adonis , where the poet describes in a long series of verses the mytholo-gical novel of the love between Venus and Mars.I think that the idea of a new baroque language that tries to go beyond the glorious tradition starting from its achievements can explain this phenomenon quite well: Marino’s baroque po-etry necessarily was born into the sensibility of literates who are still watching at the “classical” tradition and it is important to note that the influence went from them to him and not vice  versa, from him to them. In this case, we can state that Genoa was one of the most up to date European literary circles at the beginning of the 17 th  century, a model used by the most impor-tant personality of that century as a real  paradigma [20, pp. 29–39].If this statement is certainly true for the 󿬁rst four decades of the 17 th  century, the situation completely changed at the end of the Seicento. e decadence of the Spanish Kingdom, which enhanced the economic power of the Genoese aristocracy, and the new European leadership of the French King Luis XIV, changed the centrality of Genoa into something quite similar to a suburbs of the major cities at the end of the century: Paris, Rome, and Turin. Nevertheless, even if had ended the communitas studiorum  in which the idea of the baroque “revolution” in word and image took place, Anguillara’s book was still one of the most important sources for the Genoese painters. One of the greatest examples is linked to a cycle of three great canvases now owned by the Galleria Nazionale of Palazzo Spinola in Genoa and srcinally placed in Palazzo Spinola Adorno in Strada Nuova. e themes are obviously three myths taken from the  Metamorphosis , but the painters Gregorio and Lorenzo De Ferrari (father and son) kept their brushes incredibly close to the text by Anguillara. e great canvas representing the Birth of the Coral   or Perseus and Andromeda  for example (Ill. 21), represents Pegasus, absent in Ovid, but inserted as a similitude with the hippogryph ridden by Astolfo in the Furioso [14, pp. 283–285]. e winged horse is tied to a palm tree, as described by Anguillara, and Perseus is washing his hands with the sea water, perfectly adherent to the text, word by word. is adherence is  very strict even on the canvas describing Pan and Syrinx  , a great masterpiece by the hand of Gregorio De Ferrari (Ill. 22), realised in the last decade of the 17 th  century. Anguillara describes Syrinx’s escape from Pan using a metaphor: Pan is described as “hot” because he was inflamed by love passion, Syrinx fleeing is shown as “cold” because she fears to be raped by the faun. Gre-gorio De Ferrari perfectly follows these poetical indications: Pan is painted with ocher colours, representing him as a true earth-god full of feral instinct; Syrinx, on the contrary, is painted in white ivory colour with light blue shades, to represent her lack of love passion, her coldness, as Anguillara wrote. e third canvas, made probably together by Gregorio and Lorenzo, de-scribes  Mercury killing Argus  (Ill. 23) [39, p. 85]. Mercury is depicted in the precise moment in which he is leaving his syrinx and pulls out the sword to behead Argus while he is asleep. Anguillara narrates in fact that Mercury played and sang to Argus the myth of Pan pursuing Syrinx to make him fall asleep, creating a real link between the two mythological stories, a sort
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