Monday, January 18, 2016

European religious landscapes, 16th-18th centuries

Jacopo Tintoretto
Embarkation of St Helena
ca. 1555
Victoria & Albert Museum

Juan Bautista Maíno
Landscape with St Anthony Abbot
ca. 1612-14

In European painting the subject of landscape was traditionally subordinate to the urgent narratives of history and religion. Landscape began to break free and stand on its own in the 17th century, but we are not looking at any of those early freestanding landscapes here. Today's paintings instead show landscape backgrounds subject to the so-called pathetic fallacy  which held that nature expresses the mental states and moods of the humans inhabiting it.

Juan Bautista Maíno
St John the Evangelist on Patmos
ca. 1612-14

Juan Ribalta
St Matthew & St John the Evangelist
ca. 1625

Giambattista Tiepolo
Stigmatization of St Francis
ca. 1767-69

Francisco Camilo
Death of St Paul the Hermit
ca. 1649

Fra Bartolomeo
Noli me tangere
ca. 1506

Andrea Sacchi
Vision of St Romuald
ca. 1631
Vatican Pinacoteca

Gian Paolo Panini
Classical Ruins with St Paul Preaching
ca. 1735

Eustache Le Sueur
St Paul Preaching at Ephesus

In the foreground above, St. Paul cheerfully incites a bonfire of books. It is interesting that the Ephesians of Gospel Times are shown burning heaps of leather-bound codexes printed on paper with metal type, products of technologies that in the days of St. Paul were more than a thousand years in the future.

Pierre Patel
Landscape with Rest on the Flight into Egypt
National Gallery (U.K.)

Mateo Cerezo
Mystical Marriage of St Catherine

Juan Antonio Escalante
Communion of S. Rose of Viterbo
ca. 1667

Francesco Collantes
St Onuphrius
ca. 1645

I am grateful for the beautiful reproductions made available by Museo del Prado.