The Protestant Reformation in Sixteenth-Century Italy

By Salvatore Caponetto; Anne C. Tedeschi et al. | Go to book overview

A COMMENT ON THE ILLUSTRATIONS HORS-TEXTE
1. The title page of Uno libretto volgare, anonymous translation of three writings by Luther (whose name is omitted), printed at Venice in 1525. It is the first known Italian translation of a work by the Saxon reformer (BNF, Biblioteca Guicciardiniana).
2. Second edition of the preceding one ( 1526), here attributed to Erasmus. The beautiful engraving representing the risen Christ between Saints Andrew and Longinus (the Roman soldier who, according to the Gospel of John, stabbed Jesus in the ribs), was inspired by Andrea Mantegna ( Royal Library, The Hague).
3. Title page of the Italian New Testament, translated from the Greek by Antonio Brucioli ( 1487-1566), published at Venice with the permission of the Venetian Senate by Lucantonio Giunti in 1530. It is dedicated to Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga, and represents the first Italian translation made from the Greek text published by Erasmus in 1516 (BNF, Biblioteca Guicciardiniana).
4. Title page of the second expanded edition of Celio Secondo Curione Pasquino in estasi, published in Italian in 1546 with the false imprint: Rome (BNF).
5. "The creation of Eve and of Jesus Christ, the Savior of humanity," is a preparatory drawing by Jacopo Carucci (Pontormo) for the great cycle of frescoes (no longer extant) from the principal chapel of the church of San Lorenzo in Florence, on which he labored for eleven years, from 1547 until his death. Pontormo, inspired by Valdesian spirituality, combined in a single composition, against every iconographic tradition, the first episode in the history of man and woman and the salvation won by the Redeemer, with the intention of "emphasizing in a symbolic synthesis the close parallelism existing between God's creative act and the new creation brought about by the regenerating sacrifice of Christ." On the basis of the Beneficio di Cristo and the last writing from the pen of Valdés, the brief catechism entitled Qual Maniera...,

The entire plan of the cycle appears to affirm precisely this: the Justification which in the Old Testament seemed a hypothesis impossible to realize, since man could not ransom himself from sin solely through the fulfillment of injunctions laid down by the Law, had become actually possible thanks to the soteriological act performed by the Son of God.... By eliminating from the entirety of the composition both the figures of saints, as well as that of the Virgin, Jacopo had also wanted to exclude any allusion to mediating forces, thereby affirming that the problem of forgiveness and that of one's relationship to God, so much discussed

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