Jacopo Bassano and His Public
Moralizing Pictures in an Age of Reform, Ca. 1535-1600
AUTHOR: Aikema, Bernard
PUBLISHER: Princeton University Press
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Widely acknowledged as one of the first landscape and genre painters in Italy, Jacopo Bassano (ca. 1510-1592) was highly regarded during his career for his brilliant treatment of light and color and for his innovative rural themes. Although he can be viewed as a pioneer pointing the way to the Dutch landscape painting of the seventeenth century, this Venetian painter is less known today than many of his contemporaries. In this book, Bernard Aikema uses a contextual approach to perform a much-needed iconological analysis of Bassano's painterly production. By tracing a remarkably consistent use of imagery grounded in a spiritual perspective, Aikema seeks to change our conception not only of the importance of Bassano's oeuvre, but also of the original function and development of genre and landscape painting in Northern Italy as compared to that in The Netherlands.
Aikema argues that Bassano developed an imagery that expressed itself in an antithetical mode of representation--in which a good Christian way of life is contrasted with a materialistic concept of human conduct. The author challenges the common belief that Bassano switched to rural settings and genre painting late in life in order to satisfy art collectors' demands for "pastoral" and "low-life" subjects. Even in paintings where the religious scenes are hidden in the background or are lacking altogether, these works had a primarily spiritual function. Aikema shows how such paintings served as visual aids to the changing devotional needs in the second half of the cinquecento.
PUBLICATION DATE: 8/25/1996
CATEGORY: Art, History