Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • La giostra di Giuliano de' Medici (The Joust of Giuliano de' Medici): Title page (signature 1a)
    Author: Angelo Poliziano (Politian) (1454–1494)
    [Florence: Tubini, Alopa e Ghirlandi?, ca. 1495–1500]
    Book with printed text and woodcut illustrations; 7 5/8 x 5 1/2 x 3/8 in. (19.3 x 13.9 x 1 cm)
    Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1925 (25.30.22)

    The humanist scholar Politian, a protégé of Lorenzo de' Medici, was a leader in the use of the Tuscan dialect in poetry. His most famous poem, composed to commemorate the joust in 1475 of Lorenzo's brother Giuliano, is, among other things, a compendium of mythological tales drawn from Ovid and other sources. Politian provides a vivid description of the garden of Venus, where the little brothers of Cupid—those who concern themselves with the love affairs of ordinary people—sharpen their arrows on whetstones and cause even the fish to fall in love. A possible inspiration for many mythological images is the poet's account of the marvelous house of the goddess, adorned with representations of the loves of the gods.

    The image of a knight on horseback that opens the text of the Giostra is also found in another famous Florentine book, Jacobo de Cessolis' Libro di giuocho di scacchi (Book of the Game of Chess) of 1493 (43.37). Here it is meant to represent Giuliano, costumed for the joust.

    Related


    Not on view
    Move Separator Print
    Close
  • La giostra di Giuliano de' Medici (The Joust of Giuliano de' Medici): Title page (signature 1a)
    Author: Angelo Poliziano (Politian) (1454–1494)
    [Florence: Tubini, Alopa e Ghirlandi?, ca. 1495–1500]
    Book with printed text and woodcut illustrations; 7 5/8 x 5 1/2 x 3/8 in. (19.3 x 13.9 x 1 cm)
    Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1925 (25.30.22)

    La giostra di Giuliano de' Medici (The Joust of Giuliano de' Medici): Signature a6r
    Author: Angelo Poliziano (Politian) (1454–1494)
    [Florence: Tubini, Alopa e Ghirlandi?, ca. 1495–1500]
    Book with printed text and woodcut illustrations

    7 5/8 x 5 1/2 x 3/8 in. (19.3 x 13.9 x 1 cm)
    Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1925 (25.30.22)

    This woodcut appears in the text at the moment when Giuliano, who had previously devoted himself entirely to hunting and mocked the folly of lovers, beholds the beautiful Simonetta for the first time. That the two figures appear on a cloud suggests the delusive nature of the appearance that transforms Giuliano from a hunter into a captive of love. By conjuring up a phantom doe, Cupid had lured the young noble to the place where he met Simonetta.

    The "beautiful nymph," with her graceful contrapposto pose and flowing garments that recall depictions of nymphs and bacchantes in ancient Roman relief sculpture, is

    La giostra di Giuliano de' Medici (The Joust of Giuliano de' Medici): Signature c5r
    Author: Angelo Poliziano (Politian) (1454–1494)
    [Florence: Tubini, Alopa e Ghirlandi?, ca. 1495–1500]
    Book with printed text and woodcut illustrations

    7 5/8 x 5 1/2 x 3/8 in. (19.3 x 13.9 x 1 cm)
    Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1925 (25.30.22)

    Awakening from a bewildering dream, Giuliano prays to Minerva, under whose guise his beloved had appeared to him in the dream, for the strength to win the joust and thereby conquer his fair Simonetta. Although he thinks he is praying to Minerva, the statue is clearly labeled Cythera, one of the names by which Venus is known. It is Venus who has caused his dream and it is for Venus and Cupid that he will fight in the joust. The book ends prematurely at this point, having never been completed by Politian.

    Three years after the joust, both lovers were dead, Simonetta of an illness and Giuliano of an assassinatio

    La giostra di Giuliano de' Medici (The Joust of Giuliano de' Medici): Signatures c6v and c7
    Author: Angelo Poliziano (Politian) (1454–1494)
    [Florence: Tubini, Alopa e Ghirlandi?, ca. 1495–1500]
    Book with printed text and woodcut illustrations

    7 5/8 x 5 1/2 x 3/8 in. (19.3 x 13.9 x 1 cm)
    Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1925 (25.30.22)

    This early edition of the Giostra was published with Politian's Orpheo, a courtly entertainment written at the request of Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga during Politian's stay in Mantua (1478–80). In the dedication, the poet apologizes for the play's imperfections, noting that it was composed in two days and written in Italian in order to be understandable to the spectators. The narrative follows Ovid's account, but is set within a pastoral framework inspired by Virgil's Eclogues. Here we see, at left, Orpheus taming the wild beasts with his playing, while at right shepherds converse. On


    Move
    Close