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Russell, Sandra E.Donatello's Terracotta Louvre Madonna: A Consideration of Structure and Meaning
Master of Arts (MA), Ohio University, 2015, Art History (Fine Arts)
A large relief at the Musee du Louvre, Paris (R.F. 353), is one of several examples of the Madonna and Child in terracotta now widely accepted as by Donatello (c. 1386-1466). A medium commonly used in antiquity, terracotta fell out of favor until the Quattrocento, when central Italian artists became reacquainted with it. Terracotta was cheap and versatile, and sculptors discovered that it was useful for a range of purposes, including modeling larger works, making life casts, and molding. Reliefs of the half-length image of the Madonna and Child became a particularly popular theme in terracotta, suitable for domestic use or installation in small chapels. Donatello's Louvre Madonna presents this theme in a variation unusual in both its form and its approach. In order to better understand the structure and the meaning of this work, I undertook to make some clay works similar to or suggestive of it. This research allowed me some insight into the way this deep relief is constructed and led me to consider the possible physical context and function of the work. Considering the material aspects of the Louvre Madonna led me to see how the compositional focus on the veil and the specificity Donatello gave it suggest that this object is central to the meaning of the relief.

Committee:

Marilyn Bradshaw, PhD (Advisor)

Subjects:

Art History

Keywords:

Donatello; Madonna and Child; terracotta; terra cotta; Florence; Quattrocento; Louvre; Tuscany; Virgin and Child; relief; Stefano Bardini; Vettori; Tignano; Vigliano; San Lorenzo a Vigliano; polychrome; Courajod; veil; clay

Finkel, Jennifer HMichelangelo at San Lorenzo: The “Tragedy” of the Façade
Doctor of Philosophy, Case Western Reserve University, 2005, Art History
This dissertation considers Michelangelo’s intended sculptural program for the never-realized façade of the Medici parish church of San Lorenzo in Florence, and how its iconography related to the Medici, the Papacy, and the city of Florence. In 1516, Pope Leo X de’ Medici commissioned Michelangelo to complete both the sculpture and the architecture of the façade. This project, which Michelangelo claimed would be the “mirror of architecture and sculpture of all Italy,” was to be the most prestigious commission of the sixteenth century and Michelangelo’s most ambitious creation. But, for the Medici patrons, the sculptural program for the façade would have been the ultimate expression of Medici propaganda. Chapter one is a study of the history of San Lorenzo and generations of Medici patronage at their parish church. The sculptural program for the façade would have visually communicated the Medici dynasty and their destiny, and thus, the account of the San Lorenzo façade project starts here. Chapter two provides an overview of the façade commission and Michelangelo’s involvement on the project from 1516 to 1520. Chapter three is dedicated to Michelangelo’s architectural façade drawings for San Lorenzo, and his figural drawings for statuary that have been previously unassigned to a known project or connected to his other sculptural projects. These drawings are considered afresh in conjunction with the vast extant correspondence from this period, with the primary focus on Michelangelo’s concern for the sculptural decoration of the façade. Chapters four and five use the methodologies of iconography and iconology to reconstruct the intended plan for the sculptures on the façade. Michelangelo greatly enlarged the original sculptural program from ten over-life-sized marble statues, to eighteen freestanding over-life-sized marble and bronze statues, and nineteen relief panels. This expanded sculptural program relied on a calculated arrangement of the saints and their placement on the façade, which had specific meanings and connotations for the Medici, for Florence, and for the Medici in the papal court in Rome. Appendix A of the dissertation is a detailed chronological account of the façade project as extrapolated and compiled from more than three-hundred extant letters.

Committee:

Edward Olszewski (Advisor)

Subjects:

Art History

Keywords:

Michelangelo; Medici; San Lorenzo; facade; Pope Leo X de'Medici