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1 CHOOSING THE RIGHT PATH: RELIGIOUS AND MORAL INSTRUCTION IN THE ART OF CARAVAGGIO AND THE UT RECHT CARAVAGGISTI 1595-1630 By MATTHEW EUGENE PESZEK A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008
2 2008 Matthew Eugene Peszek
3 To my parents, Jim and Carol Peszek
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank m y parents, Jim and Ca rol for all their encouragement and support, my committee members, Dr. Robert Westin and Dr. Elizabeth Ross for all their advice, the UF in Rome Program for giving me the opportunity to spend six weeks in Caravaggios neighborhood and for making me more familiar w ith the Eternal City, the Ringling Museum Library staff for their willingness to help me with research and for letting me handle rare seventeenth-century emblem books, the Augustinian Fr iars of S. Anna dei Palafrenieri in the Vatican for their eager willingness to talk to me even though they had to prepare for a wedding, the Franciscans of St. Peters, the Jesuits of S. Ignazio, and Father Jorg e Olaechea of S. Paolo alla Regola for their advice in helping me determin e the next step in my life, all the priests of Rome I met, particularly the Ba rnabites of S. Carlo ai Catinar i and the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of S. Maria in Campitelli for th eir willingness to help break language barriers to encourage me and help me in any way they co uld whether it be in Italian, French, German, English, or hand gestures, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter for allowing me to see how these altars would have been used liturgically, a nd my friends, who kept up my spirits during the stressful times.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................6 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................................72 LIFE UNDER CALVINIST RULE........................................................................................183 THE CITY OF UTRECHT..................................................................................................... 324 THE COUNCIL OF TRENT AND IT S INFLUE NCE ON THE ART OF CARAVAGGIO.....................................................................................................................455 WORKS OF THE UTRECHT CARAVAGGIST I IN THE CHURCHES OF ROME .......... 756 SOCIAL VICE IN THE WORKS OF THE UTRECHT CARAVAGGISTI ......................... 827 CONCLUSION..................................................................................................................... 101LIST OF REFERENCES.............................................................................................................106BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................113
6 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts CHOOSING THE RIGHT PATH: RELIGIOUS AND MORAL INSTRUCTION IN THE ART OF THE UTRECHT CARAVAGGISTI 1595-1630 By Matthew Eugene Peszek December 2008 Chair: Robert H. Westin Major: Art History In the seventeenth century, Caravaggio challenge d the artistic establishment in Rome with numerous innovations regarding st ylistics and iconography in both genre and religious works. Most notably, Caravaggio is credited with bringing motifs of virtue and vice to art in Italy in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century. Th ese had been a more traditional northern theme from the Netherlands. Even after Caravaggios death in 1610, the motifs he introduced in Italy continued to be produced and carried over into the northern countries until about the 1630s. This study will focus on the art of Caravaggio a nd a group of Dutch artists from the city of Utrecht who went to Rome in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The Utrecht Caravaggisti eventually returned to Utrecht w ith the new caravaggesque iconography of social vices. This paper will attempt to show that the influence of Caravaggio played a major role in helping create a new iconography of virtue, or lack thereof, in the art of the Netherlands which brought religion and morals into peoples lives. The artistic revolution of Caravaggio caused the world to see art in an entirely different light and caused the Utrecht Ca ravaggisti to use this vision as a way to present pedagogical depictions of virtue and vice.
7 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Dutch art has long been associated w ith scenes of domesticity, landscapes, still life and genre works featuring daily life. The depiction of social vices such as cavorting with prostitutes and gambling with elements of cheating also plays a prominent role in Dutch art. Often, one gets the idea these paintings of sumptuous still life, c ity views, church interiors, domestic scenes, and ships in distress on the rocks seemingly reflect quotidian life in the Netherlands in the seventeenth century. The purpose of this study is to show the use of illicit imagery functions as a means of transmitting morals to the viewer by gi ving examples of how one should not behave. The manner though in which these morals were transmitted changes throughout the seventeenth century as will be seen in the art of Caravaggio and the Utrecht Caravaggisti. I propose that after the Revo lt of the Netherlands agains t Spain, while a seemingly intolerant atmosphere was created by the Calvinists towards Catholicism, art production continued nearly unregulated within the private r ealm. In the North, while ecclesiastical stances varied widely on the production and use of art, th ere were no official regu lations for what could and could not be produced. Unlike the Catholic c ontrolled areas of Europe such as Italy, Spain, and the Spanish Netherlands, there was no council su ch as the Council of Trent to moderate and control art production. In the Netherlands, a more informal type of social and artistic control occurred. A culture of shame was formed in chur ches in order to try and curb bad behavior, and by extension, illicit images. Instead of trying to totally purge these il licit images from both the public and private sphere, the Calvinists used these images to ins truct and delight the viewers into practicing and living Calvinist ideals and virtue s. Thus, while the large amount of works produced during the seventeenth century can be constr ued as illicit and inappropriate, they ultimately had one goal.
8 The main goal of these works was to first and foremost educate the viewer into avoiding these illicit activities. However, the way these work s helped teach the viewers morals changed over the course of the seventeenth century. For the purpose of this paper, the period will cover the very end of the sixteenth century until 1630 in the city of Utrecht wi th a visit to Rome due to th e important relationship the two cities had with one another. I put forward the idea that in the late sixteenth century, the paintings in the city of Utrecht followed more classicizing and overt biblical elements in terms of subject matter and iconography supported by numerous text s from antiquity, the Bible, and writings from the Protestant reformers. After the work of Caravaggio becomes known in the North by the Utrecht Caravaggisti, they return to the city of Utrecht and start to follow Caravaggios model in the depiction of social vices a nd transmission of morals. Thus the works of Caravaggio help change the communication of morals by means of classical and biblical sources to sources seemingly taken from off of the streets of Rome. This was done in order to reach a larger audience and also to appeal to the changi ng taste of the patron s of the works. The first chapter will discuss life under the Ca lvinists throughout the Netherlands. This will help give an idea of the Calvinist social policies and moral code that would be in effect and enforced, or attempted to be en forced, during the course of the seventeenth century. While some of the policies and activities mentioned in th is chapter occurred duri ng the mid seventeenth century it is still important sinc e it will help set up a framework for how the depiction of morals will be dealt with later in the century. The second chapter will give a background of the city of Utre cht regarding its ties to Catholicism. This will be relevant in understand ing the citys artistic importance in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centu ry. It is also in this chap ter that works depicting social
9 vices from the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century will be discussed. This chapter will illustrate how the early depictions of social vice in the city will differ from the social vices after the return of the Utrecht Caravaggisti in the 1610s. This will also show how the taste of the patrons changed over the course of time. The third chapter will deal with the early ge nre works of Caravaggio and will put the genre works into the context of seventeenth century Rome. A discussion on the Council of Trents position on art production will be discussed in this chapter as well and will be applied to both the genre works of Caravaggio and hi s later religious paintings. The fourth chapter will deal with the religi ous works of the Utrech t Caravaggisti in the churches of Rome. This chapter will help show how the influence of Caravaggios religious and genre paintings helped in the transmission of morals which will be a model that the Utrecht Caravaggisti will pick up on in their explicit religious works. The fifth chapter will talk about the genre works made by the Utrecht Caravaggisti after their return to Utrecht. Works from Gerr it van Honthorst, Dirck van Baburen, and Hendrick Terbrugghen will be the focus of this chapter. A discussion regarding the iconography and their relation to moralizing aspects will be paid particular attention to. Finally, in the conclusion, I will discuss how the use of illicit subjects, while vulnerable to the ire of Calvinist preachers and moralists, was absolutely pivotal to seventeenth-century Dutch art and its nature to moralize. Unlike the Cathol ic Churchs attempt to bring people back to the fold through displays of bombastic and theatrical religious art, the Dutch sought to help foster and encourage societys behaviors in accordance to the ruling Calvinists st rict view of life and morality. In order to accomplish this goal, the Dutch made use of illicit imagery which, while it could be argued, did not help fo ster Calvinist ideals, was meant to make people depicted in the
10 paintings look like fools in orde r to show the activities of the foolish and immoral in the seventeenth century. While the focus on maintaini ng morals was originally derived mainly from biblical and mythological subjects in the early sixteenth century, after the return of the Utrecht Caravaggisti and the influence of Caravaggio, the subjects were taken from daily life and were meant to help people relate to the foolishness of those depicted. This supports Eddy de Jonghs argument that the works both instruct and delight the viewers. As a result, paintings featuring illicit subjects helped create a culture that was educated and mindful of their behaviors and which helped teach and illustrate the morals the Calvinist preachers espoused in their sermons. Thus, these works were more than merely eyefuls of sins of the flesh and ot her earthly pleasures. Instead, these paintings were peda gogical tools that were meant to help the viewers maintain the morals of the fledging Dutch Republic. Scholars have debated the nature of Dutch pa intings of the sevent eenth century over the past thirty years.1 Currently, studies in Dutch art have had, according to Maret Westermann, a retrospective character.2 This is due to the fact that recen t publications have not only been of a historiographical nature regarding past receptions of Dutch ar t but also shows a resurgence of the debate over realism and seeming realism with the publication of Eddy de Jonghs most important studies translated into English.3 This thesis is written following Eddy de Jonghs idea that Dutch paintings were meant to instruct and delight Eddy de Jongh believes in the idea these paintings hold deeper meaning beneath thei r naturalistic representations of reality.4 There are 1 See Haverkamp, 510-519; Westermann, 2002a, 351-572, for more detailed information on the current status of research in Dutch art and for a better chronology of its development. 2 Westermann, 2002a, 366. 3 Ibid. 4 Franits, 1994, 130.
11 also those scholars who side with the American art historian, Sve tlana Alpers. Her controversial 1983 book, The Art of Describing criticizes the idea works hold deeper meaning since she argues the interpretative framework is derived from the system of interpreting Italian works of art geared more towards classical mythology, whic h Dutch art is not. Alpers and her followers argue that Dutch art doesnt disguise meaning beneath the surface as Eddy de Jongh and his supporters believes but shows onl y what the eye can take in.5 I follow de Jonghs view that these works hold a deeper meaning beneath thei r surface since contemporar y literature of the time alludes to that idea. For example, Franci scus Ridderus writes in 16 63 that one must not judge paintings by the figures they contain but by the art that is in them, and the witty connotations.6 To me, this statement says that while the content might be questionable, one must look at the deeper underlyi ng connotations the painting is trying to communicate since a painting is, according to Erasmus, able to speak to the viewer and influence ones behavior.7 This topic is a valid subject since it helps cont ribute to our understand ing of the culture and moral mindset of the seventeenth-century Netherla nds. In discussing the role of depictions of illicit subjects, we are able to acquire an understanding of what the Dutch felt were important facets and staples to their society. However, instead of praising these vices, Dutch preachers often vehemently condemned them. By c ondemning these behaviors, the preachers and moralists used these situations as a chance for education and tried to te ach people moral values through the use of ridicule and je st. Even though many preachers and writers were against using humor to instruct since they felt it could downplay the moral lesson8 some writers were in favor 5 Alpers, 24. 6 de Jongh, 1996, 39. 7 Freedberg, 1971, 241. 8 Westermann, 2002b, 47.
12 of limited humor. For example, Stephano Guazzos Civil Conversazione was published in Dutch in Alkmaar in 1603 and he says one should del ight [the] audience with witty and clever entertainment.9 Jacob Cats even says moderate humor is permissible but warns not to overdo it.10 As will be shown, witty and clever entertai nment will be a standard in these works but will also teach pedagogical lessons. This topic is also important since it help s us not only understand the mindset of the seventeenth-century Dutch but it also helps us understand our own mindset in the twenty-first century. Even though we live in a more secular world not dominated by church and religion as was the seventeenth century, it is possible to find links between their world and our contemporary one. For example, it is very comm on to see billboards advertising cigarettes and alcohol. Often these ads show people having fun but there are alwa ys health warnings attached at the bottom. While th ese billboards obviously want business, there is a sense one should not be engaging in the behavior. Even though the moralizing aspect has been lost to health warnings, a similar idea can be found in Dutch paintings as well. Most impor tantly, studying these depictions of social vices helps link us to a past civilization. Admittedly, while it is impossible to fully understand early modern Dutch culture, wo rks such as the ones discussed in this study will attempt to make sense of a culture seemingl y at odds with itself. This idea follows the thoughts of Simon Schama from The Embarrassment of Riches : Illuminating an interior world as much as i llustrating an exterior one [moving] back and forth between morals and matter, between the durable and ephemeral, the concrete and the imaginary the paradoxes crowd in so thickly that the culture [Dutch] seems almost to be designed as a contrapuntal agreement.11 9 Dekker, 15. 10 Ibid. 11 Schama, 24.
13 I think Schamas quote correctly illustrates the difficulty of interpreting these works since they seemingly contradict the values espoused in sermons. On one hand, the Dutch wanted to live a life of austerity and constancy. On the other ha nd, based on many treatises regarding morals and the many exhortations by preachers on the moral lives of their flock, many seemingly indulged themselves in earthly pleasures. Theref ore, I think one must be careful when viewing these works as just a depiction of daily life. Before delving into the discussion of the so cial vices, it is important to gain an understanding of how Dutch art was received and interpreted in the past. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, scholar ship on Dutch art focused on stylistics and early studies often focused on a particular city with specialties such as landscapes, architectural views, etc, and this was then broken down into the leading artistic figures, their workshops, pupils, and followers.12 It was during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that our m odern mindset of Dutch art was formed. It was in these early centuries that ma ny criticisms were levele d against the seventeenth century. For example, in the eighteenth century, Dutch viewers saw the Dutch Golden Age as a period of decline since Gerard Lairesse wrote in his Groot Schilderboek of 1707: One hardly sees a lovely salon or a splendi d room, however sumptuous it may be, that is not hung with beggars, brothels, pubs, smokers, mi nstrels, dirty children on the potty-chair, and even filthier and more awful things.13 This quote is important since it gives an idea of the criticisms directed towards Dutch art of the seventeenth century. To Gerard Lairesse, art of the Golden Age was filled with inappropriate subjects that did no thing to bring pride to the Dutch. The criticism of Dutch art as nothing but depictions of the lower and uneducat ed classes reveling in uncouth behavior was 12 Grijzenhout, 1999a, 2. 13 L. de Vries, 35.
14 further railed against by other writers in the eighteenth century. For example, in 1747 Horace Walpole said that the depicted figures are not hing but drudging mimics of natures most uncomely coarseness.14 Thus, the general view of Dutch ar t in the eighteenth century was one of displeasure due to the realism, the rejecti on of classicism, and the large amount of human vice. To an eighteenth centur y viewer, the abundance of vice would have been seen as uncultured and inappropriate. This view will ch ange in the later eighteenth century when Dutch art will become highly esteemed and pri zed due to its realism and simplicity.15 This view will carry over into the nineteenth century when the development of Art History as a serious academic discipline will help expa nd the idea the Dutch Golden Age was a high point in the history of art. Ini tially, in the nineteenth century, art historical research on Dutch art was done mainly by antiquarians and connoisseurs. Rather than focusing on interpretation, early studies were focused on an effort to distingu ish artists, identify their works, and gather information about their lives.16 This methodology follows the same processes that were used in the mid to late eighteenth century. As the discipline of Art Histor y developed, work was undertaken by mainly German and Austrians who began to focus on stylistics and the relationship of styles between one another. During this time, art hi storians also sought to dispel the myths about the artists personal lives a nd to quote Carl Vosmaer in 1863, to clear up the fables our precursors handed down to us, and to unearth new material so that our successors can write a history that is both true and complete.17 This quote shows an attempt to approach art history seriously, objectively, and free from romantic notions. Vo smaer is also interesting since 14 Grijzenhout, 1999b, 17. 15 Ibid., 28. 16 Boomgard, 166. 17 Ibid., 169.
15 he was one of the first to put forward the idea Dutch art was not as simp listic as previously thought. This view is supported se veral years later in 1874 by J. van Vloten, th e writer of one of the first surveys of Dutch art, who wrote: They had in mind no coarse reality, no crude physical notion of pe ople and things, which remained on the surface without pe netrating inner life, the soul itself. No, like the finest, most sublime Italian painters The Dutc h knew how to make their often humble subjects speak with a taste, a feeling, a poetry, that raises them to the highest rank of art.18 This quote is interesting since it sets the framework for the idea that there was a deeper idea present in Dutch art and not just a simple de piction of daily life. However, Vosmaers and Vlotens view that there was more to Dutch art than meets the eye and more than just a simple imitation of nature was not common for the ninete enth century. Most of their contemporaries from that time held the idea the realism of the wo rk was a true to life reflection of seventeenthcentury society and most characteristic of Dutch art. Relatively little attention was taken into what the painting was actually trying to say to the viewer. Thus, Vosmaer and van Vlotens views were ahead of their time since it would be about 100 years later when their views will start to be looked at more in depth through the le ns of iconology put forward by Erwin Panofsky in the 1950s and expanded on by Eddy de Jongh in the mid 1970s. Before Panofsky and de Jonghs work, art hist orians such as Alois Riegl and Heinrich Wlfflin began to look at the internal history of art. Whereas previously, scholars had focused on artistic attributions an d dates, Wlfflin and Riegl sought to look at the development of style to create an art history without names. This new way of examining art now required a careful and methodical viewing of the work. As a result the use of more objectiv e terminology such as linear and tactile was used to explain the development inst ead of the subjective terminology 18 Ibid.
16 used previously by critics and non art historians.19 This new methodology helped solidify art history as a serious academic discipline. The ap proach that both Riegl and Wlfflin developed and used would become a dominant form of art historical inquiry and analys is for a large part of the twentieth century and is still used today in the twenty first century albeit on a smaller scale. In addition to Riegl and Wlfflin who were concerned with the stylistic analysis and classification of art, there was another moveme nt around the same time in the early twentieth century. Frederick Schmidt-Degener put forward the idea the paintings were not just simple images of reality but were images of reality which reflected the needs and wants of the patron who wanted the painting to have special significance to them.20 Schmidt-Degeners idea will start a shift toward understandi ng the meaning of the works. This thought process will eventually lead to the devel opment of the field of Iconology in the 1950s by Erwin Panofsky. Iconology will become the predominant mode of in terpretation in the 1950s and 1960s and will be defined more clearly by Panof skys three levels of meaning.21 In the early twentieth century though, the stylistic investigation of the work was still considered the best method for analysis, and the iconographic aspects of the works were seen as inferior in comparison to the stylistic analysis.22 While there are numerous approaches to interpre ting Dutch art, in writing this paper from a socio-cultural standpoint, I will focus thematically on the depictions of soci al vices in Dutch art of the early seventeenth century in both religious and secular paintings. I intend to discuss how they served as a means of educating their viewers to avoid the behaviors of those depicted in the 19 Ibid., 179. 20 Ibid., 181. 21 de Jongh, 1999, 206. 22 Ibid., 182.
17 painting. Works depicting social vice were very popular at this time but it is important to remember: all of the fortune-tellers, gamblers, and cheat s, the innocent youths and those who exploit them, belong to one extended iconographic family. The paintings partake of the same themes woven into contemporary literature, ra nging from popular ly rics, poems and novellas to written and improvised plays. They speak vividly also, in the visual idiom of their time, of social problems and moral issues that were issues of daily concern.23 I think Gail Feigenbaum sums up the nature of Dutch genre paintings correctly in this quote since while the composition of these themes mi ght differ they all follow a tradition derived from contemporary literature and often make refe rence to daily life at the time. Although not in a true to life fashion as one might have seen it on the streets, the paintings do speak of these social vices and often try to addr ess the problems these vices caused through their depiction. It is in this sense that one can get an understand ing of the meaning of these works were to communicate. 23 Feigenbaum, 150.
18 CHAPTER 2 LIFE UNDER CALVINIST RULE Before the creation of the Dutch Republic in 1581, there was a b ackla sh against the Catholic Church regarding its various abuses such as the sale of indulgences and the perceived deviation from the Gospels. While the Calvinists differed from the Catholics, and even other Protestant sects, one of the largest problems Prot estant groups had with the Catholic Church was their supposed practice of idolatr y. To the Catholics, the use of images and sculptures in a liturgical setting aided in the devotion and veneration of a particular saint or feast. John Calvin and his followers were disturbed by the idolatry since if God was an imminent visitor because the Last Days were approaching, He would be particularly angry to see His people still tolerating idols in His holy places.1 While Martin Luther and his followers were indifferent towards the use of art as a pedagogical tool, and to a certain extent, promoted art as an educational means, the Calvinists felt it was their sacred duty to follow Gods will through their interpretation of the Bible. It was this reason which they used to justify the Iconoclasm of the 1560s in the Netherlands. In these systematic, yet, sporadic acts, groups of men went through the churches and pulled down all the decorations they could r each from the altars and walls. These acts not only spelled insult to the Catholic faith and Church but also to the Spanish Empire, who controlled the Low Countries at th is time. These annoyances to th e Spanish Empire were further irritated since an idea of religi ous tolerance to Protestant gro ups was spreading throughout the Dutch cities at this time. This was seen as out of the question by the Spanish since they were known for their strict adherence to Catholicism and Catholic doctrine. This idea of tolerance for heretic groups will eventually let the Northe rn Netherlands become known as a haven for 1 MacCulloch, 558.
19 persecuted groups of Lutherans, Anabaptists, Calvinists, and libertines.2 These problems to the Spanish Empire will prompt Philip IV of Spain to send the Duke of Alva to end the rebellion and restore Catholic orthodoxy. However, the conflict between the Duke of Alva and the Dutch, led by William of Orange will continue from 1567 until Alvas departure from the Southern Netherlands in 1572. On July 25, 1590, the States General of the seve nteen Dutch Provinces declared that the sovereign institution of this country has no overlord except the deputies of the Provincial Estates themselves.3 This created a separation between th e Northern and Southern Netherlands. While the Southern Netherlands was still unde r the rule of the Sp anish Hapsburgs with Catholicism as the official relig ion, the persecutions the Duke of Alva had initiated on a large scale ended. As a result, many Protestants of various sects were allowed to go to the Northern Netherlands where Protestantism had managed to gain footholds in many of the cities in the Provinces, although pockets of Ca tholicism still had influence. Even though the United Provinces were initiall y joined against the war with Spain, religion was still a contentious issue. Eventually, th e Reformed Church acquired the most power and followed a policy of relative tolerance throughou t the Northern Netherlands. The policy of toleration was enacted by the Union of Utrecht in 1579 which states in Article Thirteen that nobody shall be persecuted or ex amined for religious reasons.4 This newfound Freedom of Conscience allowed people to practice whatever religion they wanted in private, or in some cases, no religion at all. Thus, Article Thirteen of the Union of Utrecht allows for a sense of religious freedom which will lead the Dutch Republic to become a veritable mixing pot of beliefs 2 Maltby, 117. 3 Darby, 25. 4 Po-Chia Hsia, 2002, 2.
20 and confessions. This will help the Netherla nds become more diverse in terms of faith.5 While it is commonly thought the Northe rn Netherlands was an exclusiv ely Calvinist c ountry, that is not correct. Article Thirteen al lowed for the existence of sizeab le groups of non-Calvinists with the largest groups comprising Catholics, Mennonites, Anabaptists, Remonstrants, Lutherans, Jews, skeptics, mystics, libertines, and disse nters, who might actually outnumber the local Calvinist population in some areas.6 However, this idea of reli gious tolerance gives a utopian vision of a society. In reality, this idealistic view of religious toleration was not extended and applicable to all groups. On the contrary, the religious toleration was ma inly extended and appl icable to Protestant denominations.7 In the Northern Netherlands, Calvinism, despite being the most powerful of the Protestant sects, was the minority in regards to the size and number of actual adherents. In reality Catholics composed the la rgest but received the brunt of discrimination. While Protestant groups and other dissidents were tolerated und er the idea of Free dom of Conscience, Catholicism was outlawed and Cathol ics became second class citizens.8 This was demonstrated since a number of anti-Catholic legislation was passed throughout the seve nteenth and eighteenth centuries of varying degrees of severity and di scrimination. For example, Catholics could not worship freely and could not hold public offices. Even though these rules and legislative acts were often only enforced sporadically and une venly throughout the Prov inces, it still reflected the serious disfavor Catholic ism had among the Protestants.9 5 Spaans, 130. 6 Kaplan, 60. 7 Darby, 27. 8 van Nierop, 40. 9 Po-Chia Hsia, 2.
21 Even though Catholicism was officially outla wed by the Reformed Church, the religious authorities and the secular auth orities were often at odds with one another. During the seventeenth century, it was a fair ly common practice for the secula r authorities to either ignore the activities of Catholics or else ta ke bribes in exchange for worship.10 This idea of the conflict between religious and secular aut horities is also shown in the conflict over th e division of power between the two types of author ity. While the Reformed Church wanted to have religion and society closely regulated with a rigid theologica l order in place, the secu lar authorities of the cities usually, but not always, supported a milder form of Protestantism with less emphasis on religious dogma and a publicly protected Chur ch with no strict regulations on society.11 These opinions often caused rifts between the two par ties and will be a fairly regular occurrence throughout the seventeenth century. While it is commonly thought the Reformed Ch urch was the establis hed Church in the Netherlands that is not correct since it was not the official stat e Church and no one was required to join or attend its services.12 Judith Pollman has shown that a majority of the population in the Northern Netherlands were not official members of the Reformed Church, or with any Church for that matter. For example, in 1587, only abou t 10% or less of the population belonged to the Reformed Church.13 Pollman has also shown that between the years 1572-1620, only about 20% of the total population of th e Northern Netherlands was counted as full members of the Reformed Church.14 Therefore, one must be careful in labeling the Netherlands as either 10 Po-Chia Hsia, 1998, 85. 11 Israel, 369. 12 Kaplan, 61. 13 Pollman, 1993, 181. 14 Po-Chia Hsia, 5.
22 exclusively clandestine Catholic or Calvinist si nce people were free to attend the services of either denomination and were not bound to adhere to the rules of one partic ular faith. Instead, it is possible that many people only attended the sermons for moral edif ication and spiritual support with little or no regard for the doctrinal ag enda put forward. If an individual wanted to join a particular church then a catechumen would need to have religious instruction, make a public profession of the faith, and live a lifestyle in accordance with the doctrines of the faith and precepts of the congregation to which they belonged.15 As might be expected, there was usually a reluctance to join as an official member of a church whether it be Catholic, Reformed, or any other denomination. This was due to the simple fact there were no perks for joining a particular church. For example, it was not typically required fo r one to be a member of a particular faith to be baptized, married or buried in a ch urch headed by Catholics or Reformed.16 Thus, someone who was not a member of either church could he ar sermons for their own spiritual edification and also receive the Sacraments from the chur ch without becoming members and being required to live a certain lifestyle. While many were baptized in the Reformed Church, that did not make them official members since they would have ha d to make a public profession of the faith as well.17 Even though this view gives an idea that Calvinism was far reaching in the cities and towns, in the Netherlands, Calvinism was enforced sporadically. In other areas where Calvinism was more strongly favored such as in Switzerland, there was more emphasis on social control. For example, church services were held every day and four times a day on Sundays with punishments ensuing for late arrival, swearing, and going to inns and taverns.18 It is the authors 15 Spaans, 38. 16 Pollman, 1993, 182. 17 Pollman, 2002, 55. 18 Brusendorff and Hennington, 107.
23 opinion that this type of environment would have created an atmosphere of constant behavioral monitoring and this would have influenced artists since they would need to make sure their art conformed to the standards of the Calvinists. History has often made the Catholics a nd Calvinists, and even other smaller denominations, to be entirely separate entities, and while theologically, they are different, they were all similar in terms of morality. All th e denominations emphasized adherence to the Ten Commandments, and the moral teac hings of Jesus, and they all condemned frivolous lifestyles.19 Both Catholics and Calvinists railed agains t drunkenness, premarital sex, and the customs associated with the popular activity known as Kweesten or Night Courting.20 This was a common practice among youth in the seventeenth century where a young man spent the night in his girlfriends bedroom with the implied idea there would be no sex. Instead, they were to spend the night getting to know one another.21 Even though it was implied there was to be no sex, sex often did occur during this activity and while this was a relatively tolerated idea, the church authorities of al l groups condemned this practice since it often lead to premarital sex and pregnancy. While these denominations usually hated one another, constantly denounced each other, and tried to take adherents away fr om the opposing confession, most people were not affiliated with any of the churches, and even those who were considered members of the churches seemed to favor a common concept of Christianity that was theologically neutral. This form of Christianity was moralistic rather than dogmatic [and] stressed unity and decent behavior.22 Therefore, I think it is interesting th at while the common view was that Catholics 19 Kingdon, 4. 20 Tracy, 571. 21 Muizelaar and Philips, 13. 22 Pollman, 2002, 55
24 and Calvinists hated one another, it seems that the majority of people simply wanted religious unity and wanted to focus on living moral lives. To them, arguments over theological doctrine were secondary to living in harmony with one another. Theoretically, living under the Calvinist rule coul d be expected to have been a challenge to all but the most disciplined and ascetic. In ge neral, Calvinist sermons often dealt with opposition to extravagance and self-indulgence. Frequently, these sermons advocated a life of sobriety, simplicity, and quiet reserve. Sermons also usua lly spoke of the dangers of engaging in various social vices such as wearing jewelry on women, going to the th eater, dancing, smoking tobacco, gambling, drinking coffee and alcohol, and celebra ting the festivals of St. Nicholas and Twelfth Night due to their Catholic a ssociations and the frequent result of drunkenness and immodesty.23 Dancing was especially frowned upon by the Calv inist authorities since frivolous dancing parties, were seen as sins of the flesh and to the devout Calvinist, the dance hall was the antichurch.24 Preachers such as Willem Teellinck often railed against bright and flashy clothing as well since it showed ones frivolity and idleness.25 Authorities also often tried to ban mundane activities that could be c onsidered rather innocent. Therefore, gambling, dice, tric-trac, and ball playing came under attack since it showed idlene ss, went against the Bible and the Calvinist ideal of industriousness as a way of avoiding the sin of Sloth.26 Parlor games were also denounced such as the game, La Main Chaude (The Black Hand or Hot Cockles). In this game, a man put his head up a womans skirt, put his right hand behind his back, and then guessed who was touching his hand and spanking his bottom. The very idea of having a young man put his 23 See van Wagenberg-ter Hoeven, 65-96, for more information on the criticisms of the celebration. 24 van Deursen, 87. 25 Nevitt Jr, 113. 26 Haak, 76.
25 head under a womans skirt and then have someone spank his bottom threw the Calvinist ideals of reserve and modesty out the window. As a result, this game was vehemently denounced by Calvinist preachers, including one who said that a whores lap is the devils boat.27 Another popular parlor game was Vrouwtje kom ten hoof (Lady, Come into the Garden). The controversial aspect of this game involved bot h male and female players removing articles of clothing. According to Arnold Houbraken, this game was part icularly popular among the youth in the city of Dordrecht.28 Gambling was another social vice that was vehemently condemned by Catholics and Calvinists and other smaller sects si nce it could lead to bloodshed, broken families, domestic abuse, and verbal blasphemies due to losing money. Not only was gambling a social evil that was prevalent in the lower classes of society but it was also common in the upper echelons of society. In order to help their c ongregations avoid these evils, Calvinist preachers would often make use of puns and proverbs in th eir sermons to help th eir flock understand the moral lessons. In using these popular puns and pr overbs, it was the hope of the preachers that their congregants would be able to apply these sayings to their daily lives and reject participation in activities which would be c onsidered a fast track to Hell.29 While all of these rules regarding the curbi ng of social vice gives one the idea the Dutch Republic was a moral paradise free of vice and othe r social ills, that is an idealistic view and human nature does not allow for a society to be free from vice. In the early modern period, moral corruption in varying degree s of severity was present at all levels of society and often makes a frequent appearance in art. Even though art was technically frowned upon by many Calvinist preachers, it was still created in vast numbers. Since the Catholic Church was 27 C. Brown, 1984, 211. 28 Ibid. 29 Ibid., 53.
26 outlawed and went underground, the main patron of art prior to the Reformation was no longer the Catholic Church. The new patron of this period was not the Reformed Church but wealthy private citizens and art lovers.30 This new type of patronage will allow for more freedom for the artist to engage with differe nt types of genre, including th e depiction of social vices. However, this does not mean to say that no re ligious art was created anymore. Research has shown that Catholics and Protestants tended to differ on the types of paintings they had in their homes based on their relig ious confessions. According to John Loughman and Michael Montias, Catholics tended to pr efer New Testament scenes with an emphasis on Christs Passion, while Protestants preferred more Old Testament st ories and stories dealing with the public life and ministry of Christ.31 In a talk given at St. Augustines Catholic Church in Gainesville, Florida on February 26, 2008, Father Nicholas Gli sson, Ph.D presented a lecture on the History of Liturgical Architecture. In this talk, Father Glisson made the point th at Protestant churches in the early modern period took on a more didact ic approach with an emphasis on teaching to help their congregations live moral lives.32 It is the authors thought that even though the Reformed Church did not commission art, the sermons were often didactic in nature. As a result, this carried over to the commissioned art by the patrons since it would have fallen in line with the new emphasis on the teaching role of the Reformed Church. While Calvinists are usually seen as vehemently anti-art, this is not entirely true. Even though the teachings of John Calvin permeated all aspects of both secular and spiritual life and often stressed an austere and moderate life, at the same time, he also gave permission to enjoy 30 Baudouin, 16. 31 Loughman and Montias, 48. 32 Talk given at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Gainesville, Florida on February 26, 2008 by Father Nicholas Glisson, Ph.D
27 the beauty of Gods creation.33 Calvins insistence on modera te and prudent living carried over to all aspects of life since he believed exaggera ted luxury, whether it consisted of jewels, paint, or simply loud and costly fabrics, was conducive to impurity.34 While John Calvin condemned the decoration of churches with images of holy figures, he was not opposed to works of a secular nature. In his Institution of the Christian Religion from 1566, Calvin writes: Since there is no point in portr aying God in a physical likene ss, how much less should an image or idol of God be worshipped. It therefore follows that a painter should only represent what he has seen with his own eyes. And as the majesty of God is too exalted for human view, it should not be corrupted by phantoms, which have nothing in common with it. As to those who paint or engrave, there ar e stories to be represented, portraits, images of animals, townscapes, and landscapes.35 This quote is important since it explains that there is no reason to portray Gods likeness since his likeness is unknown. It also gives an idea of Calvins view that he was not totally against art but was against art that tried to depi ct God. This permissiveness of allowing things that can be seen is supporte d by Calvins insistence that one should be able to enjoy Gods creation since: If we consider for what end He created food, we shall find that he consulted not only for our necessity, but also for our enjoyment and delight. Thus, in clothing, the end was, in addition to necessity, comeliness, and honour; and in herbs, fruits, and trees, beside their various uses, gracefulness of appearance and sweetness of smell.36 In this quote, Calvin explains his reason w hy painting should be en joyed since there are other joys that God created for th e benefit of mankind. Also, in his Institution of the Christian Religion Calvin writes that works such as biblic al and mythological stor ies were permissible 33 Larsen, 49. 34 Ibid., 50. 35 C. Brown, 1986, 24-25. 36 Larsen, 50-51.
28 since history could profit by some promulgation or the learning one could take from it [works depicting appropriate subject matter].37 To Calvin, religious a nd mythological works were acceptable as long they were didactic in natu re and God himself was not shown since it was impossible to show a likeness of G od. While Calvin lent some support to the didactic uses of art, he was sure to say that while painting and sc ulpture may adorn our homes, the palaces of our cities, or their museumstheir secular and earthly character prohibits forever the access to the sanctuary.38 Thus, Calvin was only opposed to art in churches, but supported painting as a pedagogical tool, since it could be used as an educational lesson outside of the church. Even though Calvin was not wholly against pa inting, he was not the sole authority figure in the Reformed Church. Unlike Catholicism, wh ich has one central authority, there is no central authority in the Reformed Church. Instead, pr eachers usually worked in relatively autonomous congregations. This allowed the preachers to di ffer in their opinions on art and other matters regarding the rules and ascetic practices of the congregation. There were those preachers who were totally against art, those who took a view more in line with Calvin, and there were also those who took more liberal views.39 Preachers though, were not the sole authority in the congregation they headed. In the Reformed Chur ch, there were church councils made up of the pastor and a group of lay elders The lay elders would have been elderly or prominent congregants who were elected annu ally and who would be seen as exemplary models of piety for the congregation. Not only did th ese consistories help in estab lishing set rules for the behaviors for the congregation to follow, but they also he lped in maintaining so cial discipline among the community at large. Also, ofte n, these consistories worked as large network that would help 37 Lowenthal, 1986, 34. 38 Larsen, 56. 39 Spaans, 122.
29 monitor the behaviors of the locals in a particular area. Jonathan Israel explains the role of consistories and social control since: Backed by the neighbourhood watches, and supplied with additional information from the house-visits of the preachers a nd their assistan ts, the sick comforters the consistories kept up a relentless pressure, at all levels against immodesty, promiscuity, rowdiness, drunkenness, dishonest bankruptci es, and, not least, the lowcut dresses worn by a few fashionable ladies in courtly circles. The consistories we re not unaware that many, or most, cases of adultery and fornication went undetected. They nevertheless believed that where instances came to light it was vital to in vestigate, and bring pressure to bear [Its] major objective being to break up irregular liaisons, mobilizing social pressure to reduce offending individuals to peni tence and willingness to reform.40 As this quote suggests, the result of th is setup can be understood why there were differences in opinion regarding the uses of art since each congregation would have a different group dynamic. While the individual congregati ons might agree on general aspects of morality and doctrine that were universal to the Reform ed Church, the preachers and council members might differ on other personal matters such as art and what kind of art was acceptable and unacceptable and what kind of behavior was and was not permissible. Punishments for rule breakers usually focused on soci al stigma and community shunning. For example, people were often banished from the Lords Supper and denied communion since public exposure as unchaste, was not only harmful to ones repu tation and social standing, but damaged ones spiritual status.41 Thus, one congregation might take a mo re strict interpre tation of Calvinism and reject art outright while other congregations might take a more moderate approach and see the pedagogical value in art. Of course, consistories differed w ith one another on these types of decisions and were often subjective choices. Thus, there was no full proscription of painting among the Calvinists as one mi ght be inclined to think. 40 Israel, 685. 41 Ibid.
30 While these works might have had a didactic purpose, many Calvinist preachers were still vehemently opposed to art since th ey thought the art could encourag e lust and then followed the idea a carnal mind is enmity against God. (Romans 8:7).42 For example, the Calvinist minister, Dirck Raphaelsz Camphuyzen condemned the visual arts and said painting is the mother of all foolish vanities [and] is the wag in this worlds foolish farce.43 Camphuyzen denounced art further and called it the seductress of sight, eye temptation, the food of evil lust and villainous idiocy, venom for the eye, and the art of deception, which thrusts the heat of lust into the depths of the heart.44 Preachers and moralist writers also thought that art featuring social vices, particularly of a sexual nature, would, as the Dutch Humanist, Dirck Coornhert t hought, cause fiery unchastenes s, burning desires and hot sensuality.45 As a result, this would, as Gerard de Lairesse wrote, put a young and chaste virgin to blush.46 To many moralists and preachers, the main concern was that these works of featuring social vice would not help people reject the sinful activities but would serve as a temptation since they would be tempted to join in. In Jacob Cats Houwelick from 1625, Cats advises his reader to avoid lewd pi ctures painted in the service of l uxuria And let art not move you at all, for even in art lies evil.47 Thus, there was a fear the plan to educate would backfire since works of social vice would invite partic ipation rather than warn against it. 42 Halewood, 7. 43 Sluijter, 11-12. 44 de Jongh, 1996, 44. 45 de Jongh, 2000, 54. 46 Ibid., 55. 47 Lowenthal, 1995, 17.
31 On the other hand, while preachers such as Di rck Raphaelsz Camphuyzen were virulently opposed to the arts, there were also moderate preachers who supported the arts to a certain extent. For example, another Protestant preacher, Franciscus Ridderus wrote in his Nuttige Tijdkorter Reizende en andere Luiden of 1663 that one must not judge paintings by the figures they contain but by the art that is in them, and the witty connotations.48 In this quote, Ridderus takes the moderate approach to art and sees the di dactic value in using painting to help reach and teach the members of his congregation. This pa per will follow Ridderus view when dealing with the depicted works since it is the author s opinion that these works did function as pedagogical tools to the viewer, who would been middle class and wea lthy burghers of the cities. 48 de Jongh, 1996, 39
32 CHAPTER 3 THE CITY OF UTRECHT The city of Utrecht stands out am ong the othe r cities of the Northern Netherlands in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuri es. During the sixteenth centu ry, the Catholic Church was weakened in the Northern Netherlands due to years of anti-clericali sm and the spread of Protestantism. As a result, the cities of the northern Netherlands became more susceptible to Protestant leanings. This caused Philip II of Spain to write to the Pope, I cannot see how our religion [Catholicism] can be maintained in these states.1 Philips apprehension and uncertainty about the future of Catholicism in the Nether lands was supported by the fact that out of a population of about 3 million people, there were onl y Bishoprics at Arras, Cambrai, Tournai, Liege, and Utrecht. Of the five Bishoprics in the Low Countries, only Utrecht lies in the Northern Netherlands. This is possibly attributed to the fact that Utrecht was the largest city in the Northern Netherlands at the time. Thus, Ut recht would have been an ideal location to administer the smaller towns. The other bi shoprics were in the Spanish-held South.2 Due to the presence of only one Bishopric in the whole Northern Netherlands, that left the cities more vulnerable to Calvinist teachings than their s outhern counterparts. This is shown in the northernmost provinces of Zeel and and Friesland where Protestantism was the strongest, as opposed to cities of Utrecht a nd the Southern Netherlands, wher e Catholicism still maintained a foothold. As might be expected, with only one Bishopric to cover the entire Northern Netherlands, it is not surprising there were prob lems with territorial administra tion and clerical obedience. Due to the large area to administer, it would not have been possible to monitor all of the clergy to 1 Israel, 74. 2 Ibid.
33 make sure they were adhering to clerical vows and avoiding liturgical and doctrinal errors. There are numerous reports from this area that refl ect the lack of clerical discipline, particularly in regards to the vow of clerical celibacy and abstinence. Accord ing to Jonathan Israel, 25% of the clergy in the Northern Provinces kept concubines.3 Other criticism leveled against the Bishopric of Utrecht dealt mainly with poor clerical training and rampant absenteeism that was widespread throughout the whole church hierarchy. For exampl e, the Bishop of Utrecht, Georges van Egmond (15351559) was known for his worldline ss and the Bishop of Tournai, Charles de Croy (1525-1564) celebrated his first Ma ss in 1540 and then was usually absent from his ecclesiastical duties due to a lack of interest on his part.4 These issues with clerical life and the lack of enforcement of th e rules caused major problems for the Church which helped fuel criticism leveled against it. Part of this is due to the fact that the Bishop of Utrecht reflected the elite and worldly pre-Reformation bishop who often came from a wealthy and established family, had a keen interest in art, and who of ten commissioned numerous works for the churches in his diocese and himself. Due to the worldlin ess of the Bishop of Utr echt and his successors, this allowed the Bishopric of Utrecht to remain an important artistic center from the late sixteenth century until the early seventeenth century. Prior to the Reformation, the city of Utrech t was the oldest city in the fledging Dutch Republic and the nobility had played an important role in building its identity as a traditional city. This influenced the type of art that w ould be commissioned during this time. Unlike what may be previously expected, most of the Utrech t nobility lived within the city, although a few noble families lived or smaller estates or in sm aller towns around Utrecht such as Amersfoort, 3 Ibid., 76. 4 Ibid., 75-76.
34 Wijk bij Duurstede, and Rhenen.5 Often, these noble families had ownership of large tracts of land, held government offices, and were appoi nted as members to the Cathedral Chapter.6 For example, until the late sixteenth century, it was cu stomary for one of the citys two burgomasters to come from the nobility and this helped promote, as Alison McNeil Kettering says, an aristocratic consciousne ss among the magistrates.7 This could also create an elitist sense of art which will show in the art of the late sixteenth century in Utrecht. Even after Catholicism was officially outlawed in 1580, unlik e other cities in the Northern Netherlands, which had allowed for more social mobility among the classes, Utrecht remained a fairly conservative city which kept its traditions alive even though the Bishop had been removed.8 This was due to the presence of the nobility and their efforts to k eep their privileged positions. The ability to maintain its noble and traditional character helped dete rmine the artistic style that would be characteristic of Utrecht art of the late sixteenth century. In the late sixteenth century, artists who had previously enjoyed a rich source of commissions from the clergy quickly realized co mmissions from the Catholic Church were going to be few and far between.9 However, art was still commissioned for Catholic churches albeit in a secretive fashion.10 As a result of the loss of the Cat holic Church as the main patron of the arts, future commissions came from members of the nobility and elite members of urban society. While the Church commissioned religious works for the sacred interior and in aiding the liturgy, 5 Meierink and Bakker, 74. 6 J. de Vries, 56. 7 McNeil-Kettering, 14. 8 Ibid., 15. 9 Bok, 90. 10 See van Eck, 1993-1994, 217-234; van Eck, 1999, 70-94, for more information on clandestine Catholic churches in Utrecht.
35 the nobles and elite members of society commissi oned different types of works. In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, the elite of Utrecht society preferred not so much religious works but usually pastoral and mythological scenes f eaturing the endeavors of the pagan gods. These brightly colo red mannerist scenes reached th e height of popularity in the 1590s. These works, which were often produced for wealthy merchants and regents, often feature excessive nudity with frolicking deities. These were often seen as feasts for the eye and frequently came under fire by strict Calvinists.11 While this new emphasis on pastorals, mythology, and biblical themes found preponderance during th e late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, these works were also mean t to be pedagogical. Let us now examine the works of Joachim Wtewael as a fo rerunner to the Utrecht Caravaggis ti, who presents morals in a different manner. Unlike the Utrecht Caravaggisti who will focus on transmitting morals through the use of depicting daily life, Joachim Wtewael transm its morals through the use of biblical and mythological scenes wit hout much reference to daily life. It is thought that Joachim Wtewael was born ar ound 1566 in the city of Utrecht. He was a member of the Utrecht middle class since members of his family included an antiquarian, a lawyer, a canon at St. Peters in Ut recht, a notary, and a burgomaster.12 It is not known for certain whether or not Wtewael was a Catholic or Calvinist. Anne Lowenthal says it is likely Wtewael was baptized a Catholic since Utrecht was a Catholic stronghold and then remained Catholic until about 1595 when he became a sympathizer to Calvinist ideals.13 It is thought Wtewael sided with the Calvinists since he supported the Contra-Remons trants in the Utrecht city council and also supported the Stadtholder, Maurice of Na ssau, who was also a supporter of 11 Israel, 557. 12 Lowenthal, 1986, 27. 13 Ibid., 34.
36 the Contra-Remonstrants. Unlike the more liber al minded Remonstrants, who favored religious tolerance to non-Calvinists, the Contra-Remonstrants were in fa vor of strict Calvinism and rejected the idea of tole rance towards non-Calvinists, particularly Catholics.14 Also, in an anonymous letter to the jurist, Hugo Grotius, Wtewael is said to be very partial to the Calvinist religion.15 Wtewaels artwork also reflects Calvinist ideals since he follows John Calvins rule that it is permissible to depict biblical history as long as G od is not shown. It was also permissible to paint mythology since it could help educate. However, it is possible his artwork reflects more the artistic styl e and subject matter popular at th e time than Calvins views. Although, based on his Calvinist leaning and suppor t for Contra-Remonstrants, there is a chance he tried to follow Calvins views in art. The first work of Joachim Wtewael under discussion is Lot and His Daughters from 1595 and which is located in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This work is interesting since it shows what Lowenthal calls a moral dilemma. The idea of the moral dilemma will play an important role in the future work s of Wtewael and also in the work s of the Utrecht Caravaggisti. The work illustrates the story of Lot and his Daughters from the Book of Genesis (19:23-36). In the story, Lot is warned by angels to leave the city of Sodom be fore its destruction, along with city of Gomorrah, by God for its sinfulness. In th e story, Lot is warned not to look back at the destruction but to flee to the hi lls. Wtewael shows two episodes fr om the biblical story. In the distance, one sees the city of Sodom burning on the right. This refers to Genesis 19:24-26 where the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur a nd fire out of Heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, a nd all the inhabitants of the citi es, and what grew on the ground. 14 Ibid., 33. 15 Ibid.
37 While Wtewael portrays the sinful cities burning, he neglected to include Lots wife who was turned into a pillar of salt for disobeying God s order and looking back on the destruction. The focal point of the work is on Lot and hi s two daughters. This depiction focuses on Genesis 19:30-38 but the painting differs from the biblical account. The biblical account says Lot and his daughters lived in a cav e. In this work, Wtewael show s the trio just outside of a makeshift shelter that could be either the mouth of a cave or the hollowed out trunk of a tree. The viewer is witnessing the moment before in cest which will occur shortly between the father and his two daughters. The work shows the near ly nude daughters next to their father. One daughter reclines against him while he raises a tazza of wine a nd caresses her breast while the other daughter proffers up grapes. On the ground around the trio are a plethora of fruits such as grapes, melons, and various types of cheeses. These objects are interesting since they can give the idea of overt sexuality. For example, the walking staff with the tw o bottle gourds attached connotes the phallus and the ripe fruit can connote sexuality and the anticipation of the sexual moment. However, some objects create an ambigu ity that can be interpreted as either moral or immoral and this refers to the moral dilemm a Lowenthal addresses. As a result of the ambiguity concerning the actual symbolism of these objects, the overall interpretation of the picture is complicated. For example, the wine and bread can be inte rpreted as a symbol of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist which relates to Lot since he was seen as a prototype of Christ.16 However, the wine in the context of Lots stor y can be referencing the wine with the vice of drunkenness since wine was associated with not only intoxication but also lust and pleasure.17 16 Lowenthal, 1988, 15. 17 Ibid.
38 The grapes also can have an ambiguous meaning. For example, Eddy de Jongh says the manner in which the grapes are held could refer to the precariousness of a maiden s virginity since the slightest touch can smudge the purity of her virtue.18 De Jongh also says the bunch of grapes could suggest virginity when they are held by th e stem since the stem stands for marriage and a man and woman should only hold gr apes by the stem to show their moderation and control in regards to sex in marriage.19 When one looks at the daughter holding the grapes, she is not holding the grapes by the stem but is holding the bunch in her whole hand. This could refer to immorality and the excessive consumption of wine which could lead to a lack of judgment and regretful actions. Another ambiguous symbol in the work that can have either positive or negative connotations is the vari ous cheeses on the far left side of the composition. Like the wine, which could have both sacred and profane connotations, the ch eese could also have sacred and profane meanings. The cheeses might hold sacred meaning since Tertullian, the early Christian writer of the 3rd century, says the Incarnation of Christ was likened to the curd formation in cheese making.20 Previously, cheese in Dutch art was thought to refer to an important economic commodity to the Dutch Republic However, in the sixteenth and much of the seventeenth century, cheese was seen as a rather in digestible food due to the odor it gave off as it decayed.21 The cheeses could also represent put refaction since the work shows stacked cheeses in different stages of decay. The top chee se has become green and this could refer to the proverb Roemer Visscher would use in his Sinnepoppen (1614) which states, Soon ripe, soon 18 de Jongh, 1974, 174. 19 Ibid. 20 Lowenthal, 1988, 15. 21 Bruyn, 202-203.
39 rotten.22 Even though this proverb was put into print in 1614 and this work dates from 15971604, it is possible Wtewael might have been familiar with the actual saying or a similar one. The saying soon ripe, soon rotten, relates to the s ituation at hand since it refers to the imminent sexual contact that will soon become foul due to th e rancid nature of incest All of these objects around the trio present co mplications for the overall meaning of the work since the objects can all be presented as representing a sacred or profane nature based on the given context. When one looks at the composition of the figures one gets the idea the incest took place at one time with each daughter taking a turn with thei r father. In the written biblical account, the incest occurs on successive nights with one daug hter sleeping with their father each night. However, this is probably artistic license on Wtewaels part or possibly an iconographic convention since it would not be possible to show two successive nights on one canvas without breaking up the story. While it is easy to sa y the work is filled with incestuous sexual indulgence, the biblical st ory itself holds no erotic tones. Thus, this helps label the work as a pedagogical tool. However, this work activel y exploits nudity and sexual intimacy with the slung leg referring to sexual union.23 Thus, Wtewael might have been trying to gain the viewers attention by making almo st excessive use of sexuality in order to get the viewers attention and teach a possible moral. Engaging the viewer in a morally ambiguous and compromising position heightens the works relevance in transmitting a moral. In biblical exegesis, Lot is an interesting figure since he is a man who goes from good to bad and bad to good. For example, Lot is good since he agrees to leave with Abraham but then becomes bad when becomes selfish in choosing to split with Abraham and settle in Sodom. 22 Ibid. 207. 23 Lowenthal, 1986, 92.
40 When the angels visited, he was bad since he hesi tated in following the angels orders to leave Sodom but then obeyed them.24 This ambivalence fits the work since it relates to the moral dilemma Lowenthal stresses and by the ambivale nt meanings of the various objects. One on hand, Lot is a moral man since he is chosen by God to be saved from the destruction of Sodom and follows God and the angels order to leave the city without looking back. However, he becomes intoxicated and has sexual intercourse with his two daughters which cancels out his moral virtue. The daughters are also in their ow n moral dilemma as well. On one hand, they thought they were the only surviv ors and they said to one anot her in Genesis 19:31-33, Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father. To the daughters, they felt it was their duty to repopulate the earth and were totally ignorant to the fact only two cities were destroyed and not all of the cities on earth. Due to their ignorance, they both decide to sleep with their father and engage in an act they knew was wrong but which would ulti mately help repopula te the earth. To John Calvin and other commentators, this biblical story provides a perfect pedagogical tool since it is filled with ambivalence that could be used to contemplate and debate upon. Since Wtewael seems to have sympathized with the Calvinists, he follows this idea of allowing ambiguity to provide intellectual and moral debate. Wtewael portrays the incest of Lot and his daughters as an ambivalent act that exudes powerful sexuality with not only the positions and gestures of the figures but also the various ob jects holds ambiguous meanings since several of the items could have sacred or profane connotations. Calvin and Wtewael used this scene to show that while Lot was indeed sinful, due to his drunkenness and oblivious ness to the gravity of 24 Lowenthal, 1988, 14.
41 the sin, he could be redeemed since he did not commit incest out of pure lust.25 The daughters can even be exonerated from their fault since th ey were ignorant and thought they were doing a service for the good of mankind to try and repop ulate the Earth, despite knowing incest was wrong. To the pure-minded viewer, this is as an example of why one s hould practice temperance and abstain from drink, since it blurs the senses and judgment and makes one more prone to sin. If wine had not been involved, the incest would not have happened since they would have better judgment. Thus, this work is a successful ex ample of how Wtewael uses the idea of ambiguity to play upon the passions and conscience of the viewer in order to help them contemplate morals.26 It is this type of work, which holds a certain degree of ambigu ity that the Utrecht Caravaggisti will pick up on in order to use social vice as a moralizing tool. The Wedding of Peleus and Thetis from 1602 in Braunschweig is another work that follows the same kind of model as Lot and his Daughters The Wedding also makes use of ambiguities in order to help the viewer cont emplate the possible meaning while engaging the senses. This work is taken from the mythol ogical story of Peleus, who marries the Nereid, Thetis, and who invites all the Olympian gods to the wedding except Eris, the goddess of Discord. Eris is shown just to the left of the center of the table flying in just above Jupiter and Diana. The upper left area of the work shows a personification of Fame blowing her trumpet and beside her is the Judgment of Paris. The left foreground shows Vulcan taking a break from his forge and Neptune on a cloud. Just to the right of the center in the foreground is the woodland god, Pan, who is reclining and listening to the music being pl ayed by a nymph while Ceres stands beside him and holds a cornucopia. On the right side, Saturn is ea ting one of his children 25 Lowenthal, 1986, 92. 26 Lowenthal, 1988, 16.
42 and Hercules stands in his trad itional lion skin and holds a clu b. Hercules looks down just in front of him on Mars and Venus, who are embracing while a bacchante pours them some wine. The god of wine, Bacchus is entering with his drunken retinue just behind the bacchante while Apollo is riding in is his chario t while Iris sits on a rainbow. To add to the already packed scene, Wtewael decided to add in numerous nymphs an d putti which add to the crowd of over one hundred different figure s in different poses.27 This whole work is a warning against discor d and disparity since whenever discord and disparity overtake the natural powers, or b ecome powerful, then not only moderation is forgotten, but the whole comes undone and melts away[and as a resu lt,] dissolution can undermine lands, towns, cities, and each individual body.28 While this work is filled with nude bodies, hedonism, drunkenness, and sex, all of whic h might the give the viewer the chance to focus more on the bodily and physical aspects of th e work, the depiction of the Judgment of Paris in a smaller area of the canvas helps show view ers the dangers of indulgence, dissension, and poor judgment.29 This type of work would have been made for a wealthy and elite collector who was educated since a commoner woul d have had the education to decipher all the figures. These two works both represent a type of art that will go into a decline after the Utrecht Caravaggisti return and make art more populist and democratic as opposed to Wtewaels elitist and aristocratic style. Both of the works by Joachim Wtewael show an important step in how morals were transmitted to the viewers in the city of Utrecht. During the late sixteenth to early seventeenth century, before the Utrecht Caravaggisti returned to the city, depictions of social vices were 27 Lowenthal, 1986, 100. 28 Ibid. 57. 29 Ibid.
43 shown albeit in a different fashion. In order to try and follow Calvins idea that one could enjoy the simple pleasures of life but remain mindful to avoid frivolity, these works display a variable morality that helps characterize the Dutch mindset at this time. For example, while the Dutch prized money, domestic wealth, lavish feasts, an d creative endeavors in art, they were still encouraged to live a life of austerity, sobriety, piety, and to avoid frivolity.30 As a result, Joachim Wtewael paints works that create m oral dilemmas since th ey place figures in ambivalent situations and can be read in numer ous ways. Jacob Cats will follow this line of thinking in the later seventeenth century and say it is not rare that one and the same thing should be regarded as sometimes good, sometimes bad.31 As is shown in Lot and his Daughters and the Wedding of Peleus and Thetis both works tantalize the viewer in their depiction of overt intimacy and sensuality not only by the poses of th e characters but also by the attributes they hold and with the objects they may be surrounde d with. For example, the wine, grapes, and cheese in Lot and his Daughters can have Eucharistic and Christian meanings but can also have more profane references such as associations wi th lust and intoxication. This ambiguity on the part of the artist to leave works open for inte rpretation continued thr oughout the seventeenth century and was common in works meant for a pr ivate home since they tried to engage the viewer in the ways God reveals the complexities of life choices.32 It is also thought that the ambiguity of these paintings was necessary as marketing tools since works were often sold on the open market and the paintings needed to appe al to a wide range of patrons who would have had different tastes.33 Thus, a patron who bought a work su ch as one by Wtewael may not have 30 Ibid., 61. 31 Ibid., 59. 32 Wheelock Jr, 14. 33 Becker, 158.
44 the interest of interpre ting its morals in mind but instead, might buy it for the physical and erotic aspects of the painting. This line of thinking is in line with Wayne Franits view that the contemporary reception of paintings often reflected the tastes of the individual buyer where the buyer would have been able to see what he wa nted to see and not look for a specific program.34 This type of painting would have been popular in the city of Ut recht since it had not only a sizable Calvinist community but a sizable Catholic community as well. However, it is through the works of Caravaggio that a new method of tr ansmitting morals to the viewers will appear. This will be brought back to Utrecht by the Dutc h followers of Caravaggio such as Honthorst, Baburen, and Terbrugghen and by the early 1620s will spread to Amersfoort, Delft, and Haarlem.35 34 Franits, 1997, 119. 35 Slatkes, 1998, 38.
45 CHAPTER 4 THE COUNCIL OF TRENT AND ITS INFLUENCE ON THE ART OF CARAVAGGIO When we take a look at sevent eenth century art in Rom e, we get a similar but different view from the Catholic Church. Due to the upheaval caused by the Reformation, the Catholic Church called the Council of Trent. The Counc il lasted for eighteen years and was broken up into twenty-five different sessions dealing mainly with doctrinal and clerical issues but also dealing with art. In short, the goal of the Council, according to Pietro Bertano, the Bishop of Fano in 1547, was not to help those already lost to the Church [Protestants] [but] at least help those in danger of becoming lost.1 In general, the Council trie d to apply itself to restore ecclesiastical discipline, which has entirely collaps ed, and to amend the depraved conduct of the clergy and Christian people.2 A detailed history and analysis of the Council of Trent and its decrees is not possible here but there is much literature on the subject and a few helpful sources can be found in the footnote.3 The focus will be on the role the Council of Trent had on the visual arts. The Council of Tren t not only dealt with the visual arts and how they were to be presented but also dealt with the arts in general such as the written word.4 Since the Council of Trent dealt mainly with the reforms of the Cat holic Church and focused on theological doctrines, it is not surprisi ng art does not play a large role in the Council. Howeve r, along with the collapse of clerical discipline and lack of morals am ong the laity, there were c oncerns paintings could mislead people and help contribute to the lack of religious understanding. For example, there was concern works could present mixed message s to people since the paintings could be 1 Davidson, 1987, 9. 2 Ibid., 23. 3 For more information on the Council of Trent see Davidson, 1987; Black; Janelle, and The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent 1978. 4 See Black, for more detailed information.
46 vulnerable to doctrinal errors, blatantly wrong theo logical points, and inap propriate imagery that might arouse not the pious nature of a person but the lustful nature.5 This concern over the role of art merited a Decree made duri ng the twenty-fifth se ssion of the Council. The role of art is treated briefly in December 1563 in which the Decree, On the Invocation, Veneration, and Relics of the Saints, and on Sacred Images states: Moreover, let the bishops diligently teach that by means of the stories of the mysteries of our redemption portrayed in paintings and other representations the people are instructed and confirmed in the articles of the faith If any abuses shall have found their way into these holy and salutary obser vances, the holy council desires earnestly that they be completely removed so that no representation of false doctrines and such as might be the occasion of grave error to th e uneducated be exhibitedand all lasciviousness avoided, so that images shall not be painted or adorned with a seductive charm Finally, such zeal and charm should be exhibited by the bishops with regard to these things that nothing may appear disorderly or unbecoming and confusedly arranged, nothing that is profane, nothing disrespectful, since holine ss becometh the house of God.6 This quote sets up the framework that art was to take and what kind of art is appropriate and what the key goal of it should be. One of th e key players who set out to enforce the decrees of the Council was Pope Clement VIII, who demande d decorum in art and a strict adherence to moral character and virtue in accordance to the Council of Trent. Not only did Clement VIII enforce decorum in art but he also embarked on social programs meant to clean up the city of Rome. For example, he banned prostitutes from the Borgo near the Vatican, created a new Index of Prohibited Books to deal with heresy and doctrin al errors in the written word,7 and banned swimming nude in the Tiber lest it cause desire among passerby.8 However, while prostitutes were banned from the Borgo near the Vatican, it was realized prostitution was too widespread 5 Jones, 28. 6 The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, 1978, 216-217. 7 B. Brown, 277. 8 Varriano, 192.
47 and could not be stopped so prostitutes were fo rced into the Ortaccio near the Via Ripetta.9 For the purpose of this paper, Clement VIII was a vehe ment enemy of the profane in sacred art and was known to hate images of Mary Magdalene, St Lawrence, and St. Seba stian due to the often controversial poses and lack of clothing on them, even though they are shown in pious submission to the Will of God.10 This same enmity also applied to scantily clad Crucifixes and candlesticks whose shapes were seen as suggestive.11 However, bare flesh was not always an indicator of lasciviousness. Franco Mormando points out that Federico Borromeo would always reject the inclusion of nude fi gures, unless strictly demanded by the subject of the painting. Bare flesh was not necessarily c ondemned since it could relate to theological ideas such as prelapsian innocence, poverty, humility, and the total submission to Gods Will.12 Clement VIIIs insistence on keeping morality in the Church was put into practice on June 14, 1592 when he went through the churches of Rome and removed what he cons idered immodest and profane imagery from the altars.13 This act illustrates one of the tw o drawbacks to the Council of Trents decree regarding the visual arts. While the decree made it clear no lascivious works were to be displayed in a church, there wa s no set definition as to what was considered lascivious. As a result of this ambiguity, there was no universal way to determine if a work of art was considered appropriate or not. Thus, there could be no set ag reement among members of the clergy over what was considered tasteful. While there were differences over what was appropriate and inappropriate ther e were general ideas regarding wh at imagery was permissible. 9 Davidson, 1994, 94. 10 Ibid., 194. 11 Ibid. 12 Mormando, 117. 13 Ibid.
48 For example, depicting female breasts, while an o bvious culprit that could be a distraction in a church, was seen as permissible in depictions of the Virgin a nd Child and personifications of allegories.14 This made the decision of determini ng what was lascivious subjective and open to interpretation of the clergyman or religious order. Often, this meant the judgment was based on the clergymans own character, pe rsonality, and taste. An example of this subjectivism is the fact that Cardinals Gabriel Paoletti and Ch arles Borromeo would examine works with pagan imagery and censor the work if it was not relevant to the story but would let it go if the imagery was needed in order to teach the viewer Catholic doctrine.15 Another example is the acceptance of some of Caravaggios works in the churches of Rome. Several of his religious works were accepted and others were rejected due to issues of decorum and this was determined by the religious order that commissioned the work. For example, the Madonna of Loreto was accepted by the Augustinian Canons of S. Agostino but his Death of the Virgin was rejected by the Carmelite Friars of S. Maria della Scala. While the issue over appropriate and ina ppropriate art differed among the clergy and religious orders that was only one of the problems with the Decree dealing with the visual arts. The second drawback to Trents Decree on art th at I see is drawn from David Freedbergs observation that while various writers of the Count er Reformation will give examples on what is and isnt permissible in art, they only apply it to religious and history paintings. The writers usually do not deal with genre or still life.16 For example, still life can have hidden sexual symbolism under the guise of religion. In my opinion, that left many loopholes which artists 14 Hart and Stevenson, 81. 15 Findlen, 57. 16 Freedberg, 1993, 142.
49 could have used to get around the rules. This ab sence regarding what is suitable for genre will actually be applied by Caravaggio in his early years in Rome. However, while the definition of lascivi ous was vague with no way to ascertain a universal standard for art in the Catholic Chur ch, there were many Catho lic reformers who wrote against the perceived obscenity in art. Th ese writers, who were usually clergymen, wrote against the use of lasciviousness in art and how to avoid it. In order to avoid inappropriate depictions, manuals were issued that were meant to help artists follow the rules set out by Trent. For example, Cardinal Vicario, Girolamo Rusticcuci issued Per gli altari e pitture This treatise was designed to set regulations for art such as the requirement for artists to submit cartoons to religious authorities for approva l before proceeding. Those who did not submit preliminary sketches would face fines and other penalties.17 Cardinal Gabriel Paoletti was another reformer who reestablished the idea that another Index of Prohibited Books should be set up. Unlike the Index of Prohibited Books under Pope Clement VIII which dealt with heretical works, this new Index of Cardinal Paoletti would deal with imagery that was forbidden in art. However, this idea was never carried out. Ultimately, it was deci ded to keep things relatively simple by only censoring works that ran counter to the Catholic faith and promot ed heresy, false doctrine, and had questionable content.18 Even though there were attempts at trying to create a set system of what was and wasnt permissible, the thoughts of the Catholic reformers usually follow the same line of Protestant preachers in regards to profane art. Ambrosius Catharinus takes a similar stance to the Calvinist preacher, Dirck Raphaelsz Camphuyzen since Cathar inus says [pictures] had the effect of 17 B. Brown, 277 18 Ibid. 278.
50 arousing not devotion but every lust of the corrupt flesh.19 Pirro Ligorio said that images of Venus were filthy, obscene things, in the 1570s and Johannes Molanus wrote what is disgraceful to name is freely painted and presente d to the eyes. These subjects stand forth in public, in the taverns and marketplace, and are willy-nilly thrust on our view.20 In an 1971 article on Johannus Molanus De Picturis et Imaginibus Sacris, David Freedberg makes an interesting point since he uses this literary wo rk to show how many of the written works put out by reformers follow a similar model. For exampl e, Freedberg says thes e works often make use of the authors personal experien ces to form the foundation of their discourses. The writers then makes their criticisms based on th eir own ideas that indecent imag es causes a complete distortion of doctrine and makes people forget about the de votional and pious aspects the work was trying to evoke.21 This type of literary work differs from the Protestant writings since the Protestants believed the works themselves took away from th e devotional nature of worship and not just what was being depicted. While there are numerous examples of Ca tholic reformers condemning the use of inappropriate art for worship, even though they were not in favor of lascivious art they were in favor of use of art for worship since the Decree ca lled for art to educate the faithful. Men such as Johannus Molanus supported the use of art to teach the Catholic faith as long it was theologically correct and did not make excessive use of the profane to get its point across. Thus, while the goal of avoiding lasciviousness was paramount, the ultimate goal of the Decree was to help educate the faithful, and it was therefore im portant to get rid of details that might be 19 Ibid., 284. 20 Findlen, 65. 21 Freedberg, 1971, 231-233.
51 distracting to the overall di dactic message of the work.22 This view is supported by Cardinal Baronius who was a strong supporter of Counter Reformation spirituality. Cardinal Baronius believed images not only strengthened ones faith in God but also served as a witness to history, since these works strove to depict Christian hist ory as it was perceived to have happened, albeit in a grand and bombastic fashion.23 While the Catholics and Prot estants agreed that art was meant to educate, the Catholics seem to have ta ken a stricter stance si nce officially, paintings were not meant to entertain but educate.24 This important point runs contrary to Eddy de Jonghs assertion that Dutch works were meant to delig ht and educate. In my opinion, I think the Protestants in the North followed a similar model. Dutch Protestants also sought to educate their viewers but wanted the works to amuse since it allowed for a larger and less educated group to understand the doctrines and morals they were trying to put forward. Of course, the Counter Reformation is usuall y thought to have been enacted in Italy and that is true. Since the dynamics of the patron-painter relationship differed significantly after the Reformation in the North, it makes sense the Counc il of Trent did not have much influence in the Netherlands. However, I think John B. Kni pping is correct when he said the Counter Reformation took on a different shape and form in different parts of Europe. In general, Knipping says Italy was preoccupi ed with ostentatious displays, Spain showing extreme piety among the devout, and the Low Countries focusing on more realistic depictions of real life.25 This is interesting since in the Netherlands there was more focus on realistic depictions of life in order to help connect to the viewers and teach morals from a Calvinist viewpoint. Even though 22 Mayor, 101-105. 23 von Hennenberg, 137. 24 Janelle, 204. 25 Knipping, 2:2.
52 the Reformed Church was not a patron of the arts and the Decree of Trent from 1563 did not hold a lot of weight in the Netherlands, I think it is interesting that despite being theologically different, Catholics and Protestants approached art in much the same way. While Protestants differed among themselves on the didactic use of ar t, the Catholics and Pr otestants both agreed there was no place in art for profane and inapprop riate subjects. This idea, though, is relative. Unfortunately, both Catholics and Protestants were both ambiguous regarding what is appropriate and inappropriate. Due to the vagueness of the terms used, the decision to label something as inappropriate was left up to the vi ewer and religious authorities. This allowed artists much leeway in what they coul d depict and how they could depict it. Most important for this paper though is the fact both Catholics and Protestants wanted art to be educational for their viewers. However, while Catholics wanted the art to be educational for the purpose of teaching Catholic doctrine and inspiring piety, there was to be no humor whatsoever. On the other hand, th e Calvinists in the No rth, if they supported art, were not using art to expound solid Calvinist do ctrine but tried to expound Calvin ist virtues by means of trying to depict social vice in such a way that pers uades people to avoid il licit activities such as drinking, gambling, and cavorting with prostitutes. In order to get these ideas of living a virtuous life across, they sought to appeal to viewers by the use of humor and appealing to the more base senses by emphasizi ng the sinful nature of man.26 It is the authors opinion that Erasmus Institutio Matrimonii Christiani from 1526 fits this idea of paintings being used as pedagogical tools since a pictur e, silent though it is, can spea k, and its influence gradually creeps over the mind.27 I think this passage is import ant since Erasmus is showing the 26 Worcester, 89. 27 Freedberg, 1971, 241
53 importance of paintings and the effect they can have on a viewer. This follows the line of thinking that if the imagery is good, it will infl uence the mind positively, while bad imagery will have a bad influence. Even though the paintings lit erally are silent they do speak and I think it is through showing social vices that the moral meanings in the paintings will speak to the viewers and gradually and ideally help them lead edifying lives. It was in this context that the painter, Cara vaggio would make an appearance in the city of Rome and create a style that will be picked up by many followers, partic ularly, those from the Netherlands. When Caravaggio first arrived in Rome at the close of the sixteenth century, he had very little money and was in the center of a Ca tholic renewal with prea chers celebrating peace and the triumph of the Church over heresy thro ughout the city. However, Rome was far from a peaceful city. Instead, it was a violent and dirty city filled with mercenary soldiers mixing with the citys poor, charlatans, adventurers, swindlers, beggars, gypsies, and vagabonds.28 The wide variety of low life characters provided Ca ravaggio with many differ ent types of subjects during his early years, particul arly those showing cheating and fortune telling. Caravaggios depictions of these rugged type s appealed to the upper class pa trons who often had a fondness for low life scenes featuring the pe ople they would have seen on the streets of Rome on a daily basis.29 Let us first turn our attention to two work s by Caravaggio that were made soon after his arrival in the city when he was the epitome of a starving artist since he had little money and no major patron at this time. The Cardsharps from 1594 in the Kimbell Museum of Art is one of the early works which best exemplifies the social situation in Rome in the late sixteenth century. Despite efforts of a 28 Langdon, 44. 29 Ibid., 50.
54 renewed morality and spiritualit y, social vice was still rampant in the city of Rome and gambling was one of the main modes of recreation. Ga mbling was understood to be so widespread among the populace that not to engage in it w ould have been considered exceptional.30 At this time, there was a large transitory popul ation made up of mer cenaries and gamblers, particularly, card playing was a quick and easy diversion.31 Certainly, Caravaggio would have seen mercenaries playing cards in the many taverns and side street s of Rome and probably engaged in the activity himself. It is also possible that Caravaggio adopt ed several of the behaviors of these mercenaries due to their prevalence in the 1590s. These mer cenaries were rough-and-tu mble types who were known to bear arms within the city walls, wandere d throughout the streets and alleys of Rome in groups looking for fights, and often spent time in brothels and taverns drinking, gambling, and cavorting with prostitutes. Their behaviors mirror Caravaggios beha vior since the artist also had a rough lifestyle. Police record s show he was arrested in 160 5 for bearing a sword without a permit and assaulted a waiter who smarted off to him. He also had a group of friends who were also painters but were just as rough and tumble as the mercenaries, and who were known to have a penchant for women and social vice with a tend ency towards violence. Thus, this work looks like it could have been taken from one of Ca ravaggios trips to the local tavern in his neighborhood in and around Piazza Navona. This work is now located in the Kimball Mu seum of Art in Fort Worth, Texas and was only recently rediscovered in 1987 when it wa s found in Zurich, Switzerland and bought by the Kimball.32 Prior to its current home in the Kimba ll, it was originally bought from a picture seller named Valentino, who apparently sold his wa res next to S. Luigi dei Francesi, by Cardinal 30 Feigenbaum, 154. 31 Ibid. 32 Mahon, 12.
55 Francesco Maria del Monte in the late sixteenth century.33 It is not surprising that Cardinal Del Monte would have been familiar with Caravaggi os works since he lived in Caravaggios neighborhood with two residences, the Palazzo Fire nze and the Palazzo Madama next door to S. Luigi dei Francesi.34 Cardinal Del Monte can be seen as Caravaggios first important patron since he had a taste for this new genre of painting that featured the common people of the Roman streets. This work was first listed in Cardinal Del Montes collection in an inventory taken after his death in 1627, where it was then purchased by Ca rdinal Antonio Barberini. The work stayed in his collection until his deat h in 1671. The painting was then bequeathed to his nephew, Don Maffeo Barberini.35 The work features three half-length figures set against a light neutral background. The three figures are at a table playing cards while a backgammon board hangs precariously over the tables edge. Two of the figures are obviously in cahoots with one another and are in the process of taking advantage of a young man whose attention is focused on his cards. The bearded figure behind the dupe looks conspicuously at the vict ims cards and makes a hand signal to the figure whose back is turned to us. The young companion is about to pull a card out from behind his back. The costumes of the figures are interestin g since they help in the interpretation of this work. Some scholars such as Anitra Nettleton believe the cheaters are not in contemporary dress since the doublet on the young cheater relates to a characteristic of sixteenth century costume and also the fact that, with th e exception of a few religious wo rks, most surviving works of Caravaggio do not feature contemporary dress.36 Howard Hibbard though, believes these 33 Moir, 15. 34 Puglisi, 85. 35 See Mahon, 11-25, for a more detailed chronology of the work. 36 Nettleton, 60.
56 garments or similar ones might have actually been owned by Caravaggio, since Bellori writes that Caravaggio only wore the fi nest material and would wear it until it was falling off, Hibbard admits though it might not ever be possible to know how contemporary these clothes are.37 While it might be expected Caravaggio would have depicted his fi gures in contemporary clothing, the clothing these men are wearing is not contemporaneous with the time. Instead, these pieces of clothing would have been seen as out of style and out of date to a contemporary viewer on the street.38 One would have looked out of place if seen wearing clothing like that and would have drawn many stares. Not only would the bright and ga rish clothing of the cheaters connote an out-of-date flamboyant style, but th e clothing would have been considered more appropriate for carnival performers and fools. This is due to th e fact their clothing would have made them stand out thus making it more diffi cult for them to cheat and to be cheated by someone like that would show ones extreme i gnorance. The clothing of the young dupe, while expensive, is not as flamboyant but would still be considered out of style and suitable for clowns and fools. His expensive clothi ng could label him as the Prodigal Son which makes this work a depiction of the Parable. Thus, Caravaggio c ould be making a moralizing reference since he decided to place his cheaters and their young victim in fools clothing in order to help bring attention to the folly of cheating and the foolishness of playing cards. Other as pects that lead to a possible moralizing interpretation is the backgamm on board hanging over the edge of the table. Backgammon was a very popular game during Cara vaggios time and was played in both the North and South as a form of gambling. Backga mmon was often used as a moralizing tool and moralists were quick to point out the game provo ked violence. The fact the board hangs over the 37 Hibbard, 23. 38 Gregori, 217.
57 edge of the table could symbolize the precarious nature of fate since it may or may not go over the edge.39 This could relate to the chance of violence breaking out. However, the cards give an even more telling interpretation to the work. The card game these rogues are playing is Primero, which is an early forerunner to Poker. This game was extremely popular in the city of Rome but also played in other places such as Lombardy, Naples, Venice, France, and Spain. Each place had its own variations on the general rules but Rome was the place where the game had its liberty, its reputation, its decorum, its full numbers and figures, and all its parts.40 While no official rulebooks survive, scholars have been able to piece together the general rules from literary sources. The general rule of the game stipulates that 2-5 players could be used but 2-3 was the preferred manner of play. This explains the two younger players and the third accomplice. Cards above 7 are removed and each card has a value and the hand with the highest number of points of the same color won. The main goal of the game was to get the highest score of 55. Th e face cards are worth 10 points, cards from 2-5 are 10 points plus their value (for example, 212, 3-13, etc), aces are worth 16 points, and cards from 6-7 are triple their value. The club card the young cheat is about to pull is meant to trump whatever card the dupe puts down on the table. The significance of the cards has been investig ated and it is important to the interpretation of this work. Barry Winds shor t article on the card symbolism in Paragone from 1989 explains that the cards in play foretell the outcome of th e game which the viewer will not get to see but be able to infer. The cheater has an eight of hear ts, although Hibbard says it is a five of hearts, and an unknown club card behind his back which he is about to pull. In Cartomancy, or card 39 Wind, 16. 40 Feigenbaum, 156.
58 divination, the Club suit announces success, advantage, fortune, and money.41 This explains the cheats reason for pulling the cl ub. The eight of hearts is a ssociated with good luck and is therefore kept behind the cheats back. To get rid of it would be to get rid of good luck on your side. However, in the Cardsharps if we follow the rules of Prim ero and Barry Wind is correct that it is indeed an eigh t of hearts, it cannot be used since cards above 7 are removed. Therefore, it can be inferred the eight of hearts is not meant to be part of the cheating but is used as a good luck charm. However, even though the cheat ho lds cards that are in his favor, there is the potential for trouble. The four of diamonds on the table symbolizes foreboding and bad business.42 When taken all together, this work co uld be read as a type of warning on the precariousness of fate. The young cheat keeps an eight of hearts be hind his back in the hope that luck will be with him while getting ready to pull the club which will announce fortune and money. However, the presence of the four of diamonds on the table, the dagger hanging from the cheats outfit, and the hanging backgammon board all allude to the poss ibility of violence if the ploy doesnt work. It is also possible this work could allude to double-crossing as well since the cheater can become the cheat ed. It is sometimes thought the cheats accomplice is a member of the Romani, commonly known in the early modern period as gypsies. Contemporary literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries often portr ays the Romani as people who could not be trusted.43 This follows the tradition of anatomies of rogues and beggars who were admired as much as condemned for their furberia or craftiness.44 If indeed, the middle 41 Wind, 16. 42 Georges de la Tour 148. 43 See Olson, 69-81; Moffitt, 129-156, regarding the social construction of the negative perceptions of the Romani in the early modern period. 44 Langdon, 44.
59 aged man is a member of the group, he could be planning to help cheat the dupe and then cheat his younger accomplice and take the money for hims elf. This idea would follow early modern ideas on the perceived mistrustfu l nature of the Romani and the notion the Roman streets werea kind of theater wh ere only the cunning survived.45 However, this assertion cannot be known for sure and can only be hypothesized bu t which could help understanding the debate on the appeal and moral values of the painting. Helen Langdon takes a slightly different approach to this work and why it appealed to Cardinal Del Monte. Langdon thinks this work can be seen as an intellectual piece where aristocratic and scholarly collectors would have debate d its aesthetic qualities.46 It can also be seen as a work that warns of the tricks of the trade that were common in the streets of Rome but which also shows the cleverness of the cheaters and the ability of the painter to successfully show the cheating. For example, the hole in the accomplices glove was a common ploy used to help one feel and distinguish marked cards. This reflects the tricks of the trade and the ability to pay close attention to nature such as the hole in the glove to feel marked cards. This mix of cleverness and painterly ability pr obably appealed to Del Monte and led him to offer Caravaggio a place in his palace. The fact this lowlife wo rk was purchased by Cardinal Del Monte opens up the possibility of an elite type of fan club and also gives a glimpse into his personal life. It is well known that Del Monte was a ma jor patron of the arts and ha d an interest in esoteric knowledge. Thus, knowledge of the card symbolis m probably would not have been unknown to him and he probably would have been at least so mewhat familiar with Cartomancy. He probably would have had many opportunities to learn about it on the streets due to the many street vendors 45 Ibid. 46 Ibid., 50.
60 and fortune tellers in the area. It was also well known that despite being a social il l, card playing among the clergy, ranging from the simple parish priest to the cardinal s, was not uncommon. Gail Feigenbaum explains that Cardinals such as Del Monte, Pietro Al dobrandini, and Odoardo Farnese often played cards together, possibly in the same room as the Cardsharps .47 This would give an opportunity for learned men to come toge ther to discuss the moral and aesthetic qualities of the painting. The idea this work was part of an intellectual collectio n is also related to Aristotles Poetics where it is stated that if a work of a low subject such as gambling was done in a high manner, it could gain legitimacy and appeal to a sophisticated coll ector such as Cardinal Del Monte.48 Thus, this work could have appeal ed to Del Monte for reasons including fascination with the activities of the common people, the esoter ic knowledge of the cards, the ambiguity of the whether the plan will be a success or failure, and the realistic depiction of a popular game. Another work painted during Caravaggios early years which focuses on moralizing through social vice is the Capitoline Fortune Teller from 1596. This work was also bought by Cardinal Del Monte, presumably from the same picture seller near S. Luigi dei Francesi, and supposedly hung in the same room as the Cardsharps .49 Even though this theme had been known in the North since the fifteenth and sixtee nth centuries, Caravaggio can be considered the first Italian artist to introduce the theme of an attractive fortune teller ripping off an enamored youth in Italy.50 While the theme of using a figure thought to represent a gypsy in Italian art was 47 Feigenbaum, 154. 48 Ibid., 155. 49 Ibid., 168. 50 Ibid., 169.
61 fairly rare before Caravaggio, in other media from the early modern period such as songs, plays, and novellas, they make frequent appearances.51 The work features two half-length figures against a neutral background, which could possibly allude to the side of a building in the city of Rome, engaged in fortune telling. The young man is dressed in expensive, yet, out of st yle, carnival-like clothing which refers to his foolishness. The young man is holding his hand out as an attractive girl, who is commonly thought to represent a gypsy, lightly touches his palm for a reading. Unlike the dupes and cheats, the fortune teller is in contem poraneous clothing of the time which featured a heavy robe wrapped under one arm and fasten ed over the opposite shoulder.52 This clothing was commonly worn by women of Romani descent in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and this leads to the idea the depicted girl is a gypsy. However, unbeknownst to him, she is deftly removing his ring while they both maintain steady flirtati ous glances. Caravaggio once again shows his attention to detail with the deft sleight of hand the fortune teller uses to remove the youths ring. As she runs her three fingers over the youths ha nd, her middle finger ever so slightly removes the ring from his finger. This reflects the tric ks of the trade and shows his fascination with nature and attention to detail. This work differs from the Cardsharps since even though both young men are obviously unwilling victims, the youth in the Fortune Teller is a willing dupe, defrauded no less by his vanity in wanting to kn ow the future and by his gullibility and erotic responsiveness by the gypsys guile.53 Both of the Cardsharps and Fortune Teller are interesting works since they feature two low life scenes with figur es engaging in real life vices such as gambling in a tavern and having a palm read in a side street. At the time, palm reading 51 Ibid. 52 Ibid. 53 Moir. 56.
62 and other forms of divination were illegal due to their unchristian natu re. These two genre scenes were very popular since they fed on the popularity of questionable activities and allowed different types of variations as would be seen in the work of the Caravaggisti.54 Even though Caravaggio placed these figures engaged in realistic act ivities and settings, the figures and settings were po ssibly inspired by the Commedia dellArte and street theater, which was often performed at fairs and got its inspiration from daily life and mirrored human nature for didactic purposes.55 Both of these works deal w ith the common theme of deception and this relates to a staple theme of the Commed ia dellArte which often made use of an unwise character getting duped either in love or money.56 In order to create a moral, these works could be depictions of the Prodigal Son from Luke 15: 11-32. If one follows these interpretations, the youth can be seen as the prodigal son who spends his money on fine clot hing and other frivolous activities such as wine, women, an d gambling. It is possible Cara vaggio depicted the Parable of the Prodigal Son in contemporary times while weari ng out-of-style clothing to single him out to let the viewer know of his foolishness. Overa ll, even though these two genre scenes depict cheating by means of deception, they are not particularly realistic even though Hibbard said it is as if Caravaggio took people off th e street or out of the tavern.57 Instead, Alfred Moir says the two genre scenes have no past, an existential pr esent, and an undaunting future with action in Caravaggios paintings [showing] th e inevitable pause between viewer and challenge as if a director had commanded his actors to hold it.58 Thus, while the works show two activities that 54 Feigenbaum, 178. 55 Gregori, 215. 56 Ibid., 217. 57 Hibbard, 27. 58 Moir, 55.
63 were considered illegal in seventeenth century Ro me, the participants are shown to be fools. This could serve as a warning to those who engage in these activities that they might end up like the dupes in the painting if they continue in their practices. While the two genre works of Caravaggio are unique since they depict common social vices with a moralizing nature, th e later religious works of Carava ggio also are interesting. At the time of Caravaggios arrival, the Catholic Church was commissioning many works of art to decorate the churches. While the major churches such as St. Peters Basilica kept a conservative view towards art, the religious orders throughout the city had no single preference for art and orders such as the Oratorians, Franciscans, and Carmelites sought art that was simple, human, and naturalistic.59 This will suit Caravaggio since he followed the mantra that truth lay in the rendering of the tangible world.60 However, Caravaggio could also take things too far with his naturalistic renderings. While c ontroversial at the time, the re ligious works go about moralizing to the viewers by using common people to help illustrate theological doc trine. The following works will help inspire the Utrecht Caravaggisti during their time in Rome. Today, only one of Caravaggios three religious works discussed here is still in its original location although other religious works are still in the original locations albeit sometimes in a copied manner such as the Entombment currently in Chiesa Nuova. These works ar e interesting since th ey help illustrate the problem with the Council of Trents stance on art and what was allowed in a church and what was not. Caravaggios Madonna of Loreto is today the only one of the three religious works discussed still in its original location. The Madonna of Loreto is currently located in S. 59 Salerno, 17. 60 Ibid., 19.
64 Agostino, which is considered to be, as Howard Hibbard puts it, in the heart of Caravaggio Country just off Piazza Navona.61 This church was given to the Augustinians in 1286 and has remained in their possession ever since.62 This work was commissioned by the wife of Ermes Cavalleti on September 4, 1603, when she paid 500 sc udi for a chapel decoration on the first left aisle of the church. The work was installed in its current place in 1604.63 Caravaggio had acquired this commission since the patron and other members of the Cavalleti family were members of the Archconfraternity of Santissima Trinit dei Pellegrini.64 Prior to Ermes death on July 21, 1602, he had made a pilgrimage with ot her members of the Archconfraternity to the Virgins House in Loreto. This pilgrimage obvious ly had an effect on Ermes since he stipulated in his will that a chapel be bought and dedicated to the Madonna of Loreto in S. Agostino. This contract was signed by his wife and the Augustin ian Fathers of the church after his death on September 4, 1603 when Caravaggio was contracted for the decoration.65 It is believed this work is inspired from his pilgrimage to the Virg ins house in Loreto since it features the Virgin and Child standing in a doorway wi th light streaming in from th e side while two pilgrims, a middle-aged man, and an older woman approach fr om the right and kneel in reverence before them. This work caused quite a stir when it was first unveiled since Baglioni says the populace made a great clamor over the disparaging treatment of certain elements which should have been handled with more respect66 and Francesco Scannelli writes that: 61 Hibbard, 184. 62 Blunt, 6. 63 Moir, 120. 64 Spike, 149. 65 Ibid. 66 Spear, 189.
65 whoever looks at this painting must confess that the spirit of the pilgrims is well rendered, and shows their firm faith as they pray to the image in their pure simplicity of their hearts. On the other hand, it is evident that the painting lacks proper decorum, grace, and devotion; this in fact has already been observed by the best intellectuals and greatest masters.67 This quote reflects the fascination of the work with the populace since it does show adherence to the Council of Tren t but lacks the manner acceptable to what the Council decreed. The lack of proper decorum, grace, and devotion, with which Baglioni and Scannelli had problems is regarding the almost disrespectful treatment given to the Virgin and the seeming lack of respect expected of a work placed in a chur ch. For example, the pose of the man shows his rear end and muddy feet facing the altar. This is similar to Caravaggios Crucifixion of St. Peter from 1600 in the Cerasi Chapel in S. Maria del P opolo with the pose of one of the crucifiers in a similar position. When one looks at the Madonna di Loreto in this fashion, it is understandable why it would be controversial. However, when looks at it deeper, it becomes apparent Caravaggio was following the Decree of Trent whic h called for educating the masses in faith and doctrine except he used his own personal style in getting the message across. While the work was criticized for its lack of decorum and respect for its place in a church, particularly in regards to the bare feet, it is appropriate for the natu re of the work. Since Ermes Cavalleti went on pilgrimage to the Holy House in Loreto, he would have been like many pilgrims and probably took off his shoes as a sign of humility and respec t to the Virgin and Child. It could also be referencing the Papal Jubilee of 1600 in Rome wh ere an estimated 1.2 million pilgrims visited the city and that could mean the man and woman were pilgrims who came from afar to the Eternal City.68 Thus, this work could be either refe rencing Cavalletis personal pilgrimage or 67 Spike, 149. 68 Moir, 120.
66 referencing the Papal Jubilee of 1600. Either way, the barefoot pilgrim is following the tradition of approaching a holy place discalced and the dirt y feet could be a sign of a long journey and devotion. However, it is possible the depiction of the pilgrims is making reference to the large number of paupers and beggars in the city around 1601 which were so numerous that it is impossible to go anywhere in the ci ty without being surrounded by them.69 Thus, this once again shows Caravaggios devotion to attention to nature and the street life of Rome. Another reason this work was controversial at the time is that the Virgin Mary was identified to possibly be Lena. Lena seems to have been a prostitute and also Caravaggios girlfriend. A criminal complain t by a notary named Pasqualone in July of 1605, states that Caravaggio had apparently attack ed him on the side of the head for carrying on with her. Whether or not it was just talking or other activities is not clear but she is mentioned as Lena, who is to be found standing in Piazza Navona is Caravaggios woman.70 While the idea of the Virgin and Child standing in the doorway of the Holy House could relate to the idea of Cavalletis pilgrimage, to the average Roman vi ewer at the time; based on Lenas possible occupation as a prostitute, and the fact she is seen standing in a door way, which would look like many of the doorways in the cities of Rome with cracked stucco, holding a child, makes reference to her occupation as a possible prostitute. This idea gains more validity since it is known that Lena was a young woman at the tim e and was known in this area by the local residents who would have recognized her and maybe her child of whom the father is unknown.71 However, despite the controversy of using Lena as a model for the Virg in Mary and depicting pilgrims in a realistic and dirty fashion, Cara vaggio used this imagery to help teach the 69 Puglisi, 190. 70 Hibbard, 191. 71 Spike, 149.
67 uneducated populace simple doctrines of faith and humility. While the work was controversial, it was very popular with viewers since it brought a simple yet pr ofound religious experience to the people. The painting also portrays the Virgin and Child as a mother and child duo commonly seen in Rome that are approachable, compa ssionate, and responsive to the devotion of the faithful.72 This is demonstrated by the way both the Virgin and Child are intently looking down and focusing on the pilgrims in the painting and al so in the viewers space since viewers would be looking up to the Virgin and Child. This work is important since it br ought faith and religious experience to people and this followed Henry IVs in structions to St. Francis de Sales to write a spiritual guide in which religion should be s hown in all its native beauty, stripped of all superstition and scruple, pr actical for all classes.73 Here, Caravaggio has created a painting stripped of superstition and understa ndable to all social classes. I think Alfred Moir sums up this work nicely when he writes its chief message is one of hope of all Christians, however humble, whose faith is sufficient.74 When viewers saw this work and the piety of the pilgrims dressed in tattered and dirty clothes, th e viewers would have understood the importance of humility and the fact the Virgin and Child will look favorably on thos e whose faith is simple but strong as seen in the poses and countenance of the pilgrims. The Madonna of the Snake also known as Madonna dei Palafrenieri is also a work which follows the Decree of Trent but also has its share of controvers y. Originally, this work was commissioned by the papal stable grooms (palafrenier i) for their altar in New St. Peters. It was commissioned in autumn 1605 and finished April 1606 for 75 scudi. The work did not stay in St. Peters for long but was moved to the nearby church of S. Anna dei Palafrenieri. It was in this 72 Moir, 120. 73 Maxwell-Scott, 196. 74 Moir, 120.
68 church for two months before it was sold to Ca rdinal Scipione Borghese for 100 scudi where it remains today in the Borghese Gallery. It is commonly thought this work was rejected by the Fabbrica di San Pietro due to th e lack of decorum, but Catherin e Puglisi puts forward the idea there might have been a dispute between the pala frenieri and the Fabbrica over the rights to the altar which is why it was moved to S. Anna dei Pala frenieri. It is also pos sible the work was sold from S. Anna due to either the tempting offer of Cardinal Borghese or also maybe because the palafrenieri reconsidered the acceptance of a reje cted work by the Fabbrica and wanted to get rid of it in order to save face. Unfortunately, toda y the church is relativel y unimportant since the Palafrenieri sold the only painting of importance that they ever owned.75 The true reason why it ended up in the Borghese may never be known but it is possible the Fabbrica di San Pietro saw this as not following the Decree regarding decorum. Regardless of the reason for rejection, the work helps teach doctrines of the faith to help turn people away from heresy. The work shows a scene taking place in front of a dark background that could be in a room or outside. The Virgin Mary is holding up a nude Chri st and both are steppi ng on the head of a snake while St. Anne watches from further back in the shadows of the composition. The Fabrica di San Pietro found the work inappropriate a nd it was removed due to the way Caravaggio portrayed the Virgin. It is po ssible Lena was used as the model again. The work was seen as indecent since the Virgin is not shown wearing a matrons veil, mantle or robes but is in contemporary dress with her skirt up. Her position also clearly gi ves a view of her cleavage. Also, the fact Christ is shown nude, while not in itself controvers ial, is questionable due to his age. Usually, Christ is shown nude as a baby or a t oddler in art. However, in this work, Christ is shown as nude boy about five or six years of age. 75 Blunt, 15.
69 While the work was removed due to the lack of decorum, the work does in fact help teach Catholic doctrine to the viewers. The serpent is supposed to represent heresy and this could refer to the idea of the snake misleading Eve just before the Fall of Man just as heresy misleads others from the truth. This work not only references Genesis 3:15 where God tells the serpent, I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you bruise his heel.76 This is referring to Christ the Redeemer who will defeat the serpent while Mary assists in its de struction. In a Papal Bull promulgated by Pope Pius V in 1569, this idea was elaborated on wh ere the Virgin and Child crush the serpent together. This action thereby solidifies Ma rys role as a co-redemptorix for mankind. Caravaggio has taken both the biblical account and the Papal Bull to heart and shows both the Virgin and Child stamping out the threat of here sy from the Catholic Church. Caravaggio has managed to bring two theological ideas together and depicts them in a way that is understandable to the lay viewer without usi ng complex compositions to illust rate a theological concept. Caravaggio has kept his composition simple in orde r to get this idea across without distraction. That follows Trents Decree to keep art educa tional and without excessive distractions. The painting features no extraneous details but only three figures and a serpent. While the Virgin and Childs presence can be understood from a theological standpoint, St. Annes presence is not as clear. It is known though that St. A nne was the patron saint of the palafrenieri and this helps e xplain her presence in the wor k. However, it is possible the palafrenieri were not pleased w ith her appearance since she is seen as an old woman wearing common street clothes. On further examination, she holds a striking resemblance to the old woman in the Madonna of Loreto John Spike takes a view th at helps explain St. Annes 76 Puglisi, 193.
70 presence since he says that St. A nnes presence in this work is supposed to be set apart from the Virgin and Child in order to show a contrast. While the Virgin and Christ are the new Adam and Eve crushing the serpent and breaking Original Sin and death, St. Anne is supposed to represent humanity of the pre-Incarnation genera tions conceived under the reign of Death.77 This makes St. Annes presence as an old woman clearer since she represents the common people who have been saved by Christ and the Virg in through their destruction of the serpent and heresy. Thus, while the work was seen as indecent, Caravagg io has followed the Decree of Trent and taught people that through the destruction of heresy th rough Christ and the Virg in Mary, all could be saved as evidenced by St. Anne. Caravaggios most controversial work is his Death of the Virgin from 1605 and which is now in the Louvr. This work was commissione d by Laerzio Cherubini in June 1601. Cherubini was a close friend and neighbor to Cardinal Vincenzo Giustiniani who was also a prominent patron of Caravaggio and who also had numerous Caravaggios in his collection. The work was originally destined for the Cherubi ni family chapel, which is the second chapel on the left, in S. Maria della Scala but this work was never instal led in the church. S. Maria della Scala was started in 1593 for the Casa Pia, which was founded in 1563 by Pius IV to care for reformed prostitutes and was given to the Discalced Carmelites in 1597.78 Instead, when the work was presented to the Carmelites of the church, it wa s rejected outright and never installed due to the lack of decorum and controversia l nature of the work. The rej ected work was replaced with another Death of the Virgin by Saraceni. However, Caravaggios painting did not go to waste since Peter Paul Rubens bought it for the Duke of Mantua in 1607. In 1627/28, the work ended 77 Spike, 171. 78 Blunt, 110.
71 up in the collection of Charles I of England and after his execu tion, the work ended up in the collection of a banker named Jabach. The work then came to the collection of Louis XIV and then in 1793 came to the Louvr where it has remained ever since.79 The work features a theme in art known as the Death of the Virgin, although it is also known as the Dormition of the Virgin. This them e deals with the end of Marys life before her bodily Assumption out of the tomb and into Heave n. Traditionally, it was typical to portray the Death of the Virgin sleeping or in the process of about to either fall asleep or to die peacefully with dignity. Caravaggio has broken away from th is tradition. The Virg in is portrayed dead with her feet and arm hanging off the bed. Mary Ma gdalene sits in front of the Virgin and covers her face as she weeps. Apostles surround the Virg in with those closest to her weeping openly and focusing on her while the apostles nearer to the back talk to one another and move around. Following the fashion of the Madonna of Loreto and Madonna of the Snake the room in the Death of the Virgin focuses only on the death and leaves out other extraneous and distracting details that might take away from the moment. However, the large red curtain gives an idea of theatricality and unveiling a scene where the figures are frozen in poses. This supports Moirs assertion that the works of Cara vaggio, while realistic, have a st aged effect and the red curtain supports this since one gets the idea they are given a glimpse into a theater scene. Unlike the Madonna of Loreto which is still in its loca tion in S. Agostino, and the Madonna of the Snake which hung in St. Peters Basilica for two days before its removal to S. Anna dei Palafrenieri, the Carmelite Fathers ha d found this work inappropriate and refused to install it in their church. Instead of portraying the death of the Virgin as dignified, Caravaggio portrays her dying a common human d eath with little recogn ition of her divine status. There is 79 Moir, 128.
72 only a faint halo and no liturgical vestments or preparatory instruments to tend the body. Caravaggio has therefore downplayed her divine status to the ab solute minimum. Thus, aside from the barely visible halo, one gets the idea this is showing the death of a commoner since she is also wearing contemporary clothing. Not only is the Virgin portrayed as dead but she is shown with dirty bare feet and a bloated body. Ma ncini says the model for the dead Virgin was a dead prostitute from the Ortaccio of Rome since how much wrong the moderns do, if they decide to depict the Virgin, Our Lady like some filthy whore from the slums.80 It is possible Caravaggio deliberately showed a dead pr ostitute to scare the reformed women in the church from returning to their former lives. However, while the work was derided for its controversial depiction of a holy scene, Caravaggio manages to help bring a complex re ligious scene down to th e level of the common people and depicts a scene which they could relate to. By depicting the Virgin as a commoner, Caravaggio was evoking emotion on the part of th e viewer to follow the Apostles lead and be saddened by the death of the Moth er of Christ. However, while the scene is sad, the hope and knowledge of her Assumption into H eaven brings joy to those who believe and this is related to the very church the work was commissioned for. This idea of elevation to the heavenly realm is referred not only to the Madonna of the Step or Stair as in the churchs name but also due to the curtain being raised. Pamela Askew says th is work suggests the Virgins own capacity to elevate and raise the souls, hopes, an d prayers of humanity to heaven.81 I think Askew is right when she says the Virgin serves as a metaphorical step since it is thro ugh her Assumption that 80 Spear, 11. 81 Askew, 129.
73 the prayers of mankind can be taken to heaven a nd she can intercede on our behalf to her Son. This is elaborated on by the idea that: [Caravaggio] has, in the Death of the Virgin made it embrace precisely those elements that symbolically cast light upon the significance of the mortal life of the Virgin: the mystery inherent in all aspects of he r relationship to Christ, the importance she commands within the structure of the Church, and the hope th at she offers mankind within the Christian economy of salvation. Whether or not Cara vaggio personally embraced a belief in salvation, either for humanity or himself, is not relevant to the pur poses to which his art was directed. It can only be said that his invention of image was not less highly informed for being more closely related, physically and rhetorically, to actual and unadorned experience.82 Askews quote reflects the idea th at Caravaggio paid close attent ion to real life but whom also made sure to create a spiritual and epheme ral experience out of th e situation. Caravaggio was indeed unique to the Roma n art scene in the early seventeenth century. Throughout his career, he rejected the ideals of the High Renaissance and instead opted to appeal to the common people. His early genre works featuring scenes of gambling and fortune telling with the victims getting fleeced for their money pr obably struck a chord with the vi ewers since it mirrored life in the streets albeit in a st aged sense. Caravaggio took popular pastimes and often merged a moral into the scene that not only ma de fun of those who were getting cheated but also served as a warning to the viewer of the risks one faced when engaging in those activities. Caravaggios religious works function in a similar but more serious manner. Instead of focusing on social vices, Caravaggio took a populist appr oach and incorporated common st reet folk in his work in order to help teach morals and theological lesso ns to the viewer. While this approach caused controversy among the clergy due to their insi stence on following proper decorum, Caravaggios religious works do follow Trents Decree that ar t educate the viewers. Caravaggios works brought complex theological concepts down to th e level of the people. These theological 82 Ibid., 132.
74 concepts incorporate recognizable figures that help evoke and insp ire emotions such as simple yet profound piety, sorrow, hope, adoration, and thankfulness. These are the types of works the Utrecht Ca ravaggisti will see during their time in Rome and which they will use in the creation of some of their works for the churches of Rome. Caravaggio will play a significant role in how the Utrecht Caravaggisti portrayed their subjects, both in religious works and genre works. Let us now turn to the works of Utrecht Caravaggisti in Rome.
75 CHAPTER 5 WORKS OF THE UTRECHT CARAVAGGIST I IN THE CHURCHES OF ROME During the early seventeenth century, m any Dutch painters came down from the Netherlands through one of three main routes.1 Utrecht is an interesting city since more artists from Utrecht went to Rome than any other city in the Dutch Republic at the time.2 The Dutch who came to be known as the Utrecht Caravaggist i were a group of artis ts from the city of Utrecht who came to Rome in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centu ries. Most of them stayed in the city until about 1615, when they all returned back to their native Utrecht. Upon their return, they brought what th ey learned from Caravaggio and his Italian followers back to the Netherlands. While it is thought the Dutc h artists focused mainly on genre scenes, the Utrecht Caravaggisti did receive commissions from Roman patrons for chapels in churches and some of these works can still be seen today in their original loca tions. Before we turn to their genre works, let us take a br ief look at some of the Roman commissions done by the Utrecht artists, Gerrit van Honthorst and Dirck van Baburen. Gerrit van Honthorst was born November 5, 1592 to a Catholic family in Utrecht with artistic connections. His grandfather was the Dean of the Utrech t Guild of St. Luke in 1579, and his father was also a member of the Guild as we ll. However, Gerrit did not study with his father but with Abraham Bloemaert. Bloemaert is intere sting since he is the teacher of other Utrecht Caravaggisti such as Hendrick Terbrugghen and Di rck van Baburen. Relati vely little is known of Honthorsts early years in Ut recht, but it is known that he probably went to the St. Jerome Latin School. This school was run by Calvinists and it is where he woul d have been taught the Bible, Greek, and Latin literature. His classical education will influence his later works in their 1 Orr, 100. 2 Ibid.
76 classicizing elements in the 1630s, but th at is beyond the scope of this paper.3 It is not certain when he arrived in Rome, but Judson originally said he left for Ro me around 1610-12 and says later that Honthorst possibly left Utrech t by 1613 and was definitely in Rome by 1616.4 Honthorst stayed in Rome until 1620 when he returned to Utrecht and stayed there until 1627. He then moved to London to work for the court of Charles I of England. After the execution of Charles I, Honthorst returned to the Netherlands where he spent time in the Hague. He then returned to Utrecht in 1652 and remained there until his death in 1656.5 When Honthorst was in Rome, he picked up the patronage of Cardin al Benedetto Giustinia ni, who was the younger brother of one of Caravaggios main patrons, Cardinal Vincenzo Giustiniani. Vincenzo Giustiniani even extended the invitation for Honthorst to stay with him at the Palazzo Giustiniani right across from the Palazzo Madama where Carava ggio stayed and which is also near S. Luigi dei Francesi.6 Honthorst had the benefit of living in Caravaggios area, and it is therefore no surprise he would have seen Caravaggios wo rks. While Honthorst will be influenced by Caravaggios depiction of social vi ces, it is interesting to note that almost all of his Roman work is of religious subjects, while still paying tribute to Caravaggio. This is most seen in his work, the Beheading of St. John the Baptist in S. Maria della Scala. Unlike Caravaggios Death of the Virgin which was commissioned for a chapel in this church but never installed due to lack of decorum; Honthorsts work remains in the church to this day, in the first chapel to the right of the nave entrance. Documents show that Honthorst received two payments amounting to the rather low amount of 73 scudi for the work in the 3 Judson and Ekkart. 1. 4 Ibid., 6. 5 Spear, 110. 6 Ibid.
77 months of March and May.7 The painting is the main altarp iece in the chapel and shows John the Baptist with his hands clasped in prayer as an executioner is about to strike the fatal blow with the sword. To the left of the compositi on are two women, a young and old one. Salome is identified as the young woman since she holds the golden platter that will hold Johns head. The old woman standing next to her holds a torch, which serves as one of the two sources of illumination, and which not only illuminates th e scene but creates drama and tension by the flicker of light dancing across the figures. To the right of John the Baptist in the composition is the executioner who has a la ntern at his feet and is about to strike the fa tal blow. Honthorst has rendered the executioner realistically since he is shown taking a deep breath before swinging the sword. Barely discernible in the background are two figures w ho are witnessing the execution. The upper left corner of the composition shows an angel coming into the light with a Palm of Martyrdom. The two women are interesting figur es since they are similar to figures of prostitutes and procuresses that will figure into Honthorsts genre works. It is the authors opinion the two women in the pain ting speak directly to the main congregants of the church, namely former prostitutes. Since Salome and the older women refer to the prostitute-procuress system, which would have been a common memo ry for the reformed women, Honthorst is showing prostitution in a bad light, since he likens prostitutes to those responsible for the death of John the Baptist. This suggest s to the viewer that prostitutes have a wicked and evil nature, which brings shame to their occupation and likens Salome to a prostitute since she was able to extract a favor from Herod after doing a sultry dan ce. This work relates to the laity as a whole since Honthorst portrays prostitutes in a bad light and warns viewers to stay away from them since it shows a rejec tion of Christ. 7 Borsook, 271.
78 Unlike Caravaggios Death of the Virgin which was rejected outri ght, Honthorsts work was accepted. Both works of the artists both deal t with prostitutes but Honthorts painting falls more in line with decorum. While Caravaggio m odels the Virgin after a dead prostitute with no hint of grandeur, Honthorst k eeps his prostitutes modest. Du ring Honthorsts time, low cut dresses were often seen as the clothing of prostitutes in the Northern Netherlands but unlike his later genre works where cleavage a nd bare breasts of prostitutes will become co mmon, there is no cleavage on Salome in this work.8 She is completely covered with no hint of a prominent bust. Only her face and youth give a hint of her beauty and attractiveness. Honthorst clearly got his inspiration for this work from Caravaggios later works since he makes use of architectural space to create a setting for the scene. This is seen in Caravaggios Seven Acts of Mercy and Martyrdom of St. Matthew Honthorst follows Caravaggios idea of bringing the art down to the level of the lay viewer since the sett ing takes place outdoors in an area that could have been common to a Roman str eet and the ladies are dressed in contemporary dress. The work also functions as a pedagogical tool that caters not only to reformed prostitutes as a warning not to return to their former lives but also to the general populace on the perceived evil nature of prostitutes. Honthorsts final work religi ous work under discussion is The Mocking of Christ in S. Maria della Concezione.9 The painting is located in the firs t chapel on the right of the entrance on the left wall which is the same chapel as Guido Renis St. Michae l the Archangel from 1632 on the Altar. S. Maria della Concezione was built for the Capuchins under Cardinal Antonio Barberini, who was the brother of Pope Urban VIII, in 1626 and was consecrated in 1636.10 The 8 Manuth, 48. 9 Currently on exhibit in Fiamminghi e Altri Maestri in the Palazzo Ru spoli (July 1-September 10, 2008). 10 Blunt, 85.
79 painting shows three men in flamboyantly colored fools clothing which is anachronistic since the clothing is more suited to the sixteenth century and not the first century AD. The mockers are making faces and pointing at Chri st on the right side of the co mposition who has a pained look while soldiers behind the mockers are shrouded in darkness. This work can also be interpreted as a pedagogical tool, since it shows the laity that the dandy lifestyl e is not compatible with true Christian living; it is meant to show that those who live that lifestyle are no better than the Romans who mocked Christ. A m oral dilemma might also be pres ent in this work as well. The dandies are dressed extravag antly and look like they are succe ssful in life while Christ is dressed in simple and plain clothing. The mor al dilemma shows two lifestyles. On one hand, the dandy lifestyle reflects pleasure, extravagan ce, and the good life, while Christs simple clothing reflects a life of prayer and obedience. These two lifestyl es reflect the easy transitory nature of the dandy mode of living but which ends in death and emptiness in contrast to the hard life of Christ which will end in eternal life and paradise. Thus, the viewers are given a choice whether to follow the dandies in their mocking of Ch rist or to join Christ for the hopes of eternal life. Dirck van Baburen was another Utrecht artist who had commissi ons in the church of S. Pietro in Montorio. He was born in or near the city of Ut recht in the mid 1590s and headed for Rome around 1612. He returned to Utrecht in 1620 and shared a studio with Hendrick Terbrugghen but died four years later in 1624. Baburen was given a commission for the Chapel of the Pieta in S. Pietro in Mont orio. S. Pietro in M ontorio is a medieval church that was given to the Franciscans by Sixtus IV in 1472 and which was rebuilt with the help of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. As a result of this financial he lp, the church is still und er the protection of the
80 Spanish sovereigns.11 The Chapel of the Pieta is interes ting since Baburen seems to have shared the decoration of the chapel with a friend of his, David de Hae n, who did the lunettes but it was Baburen who did the main altarpiece. Baburens Entombment is similar in its modeling to Caravaggios Entombment which was in Chiesa Nuova but is now located in the Vati can Pinacoteca. Christs dirty and gangrenous feet are hanging very close to the altar and he looks truly dead. Ch rists left arm is limp and his middle finger points down which leads the viewers eye to instruments of the Passion lying on the ground and the tabernacle in the viewers space. The signifi cance of the hand pointing to the tabernacle is important for educating the populace since the painting is showing the entombment of Christ and the tabernacle is seen as a reposito ry for the Body of Christ. Thus, depositing the physical body of Christ in the tomb was analogous to depositing the bread and wine into the tabernacle. As a result of the use of simple gestures such as a pointing finger, Baburen has followed Caravaggios idea to keep things simple and made the theological lesson simple and understandable to the uneducated viewers. Both of these artists clearly got their inspir ation from Caravaggios church works. While there is more focus on naturalism in the works of Caravaggio, these works try to follow that model. While Caravaggios works were ofte n criticized for being too naturalistic and inappropriate for a church setting, the works of th ese followers managed to stay in the churches and were not subject to the criticisms. This s hows the works of Caravaggio and his penchant for harsh naturalism finally came to be accepted in religi ous art at this time since he had been dead for about eight years prior to these works, or it can be that these works did not break the rules of decorum, although they often came close. Un like Caravaggio who seem ingly relished being a 11 Ibid., 129.
81 rebel and testing the waters, the Utrecht Caravagg isti followed suit with the naturalism, but kept up the proper decorum in order to help teach morals biblical stories, and lessons to the general populace. While the Utrecht Caravaggisti got thei r inspiration from the religious works of Caravaggio to help teach morals, they also brought their newfound influence back to the Netherlands where they all focused on the creatio n of genre pictures which follow closely with the early works of Caravaggio.
82 CHAPTER 6 SOCIAL VICE IN THE WORK OF THE UT RECHT CARAVAGGISTI While the majority of Utrecht Caravaggisti works in Rome were religious in nature, their main contributions focus on the depiction of soci al vice among the lower cl asses. While Gerrit van Honthorst, Dirck van Baburen, and Hendrick Te rbrugghen went to Rome, they were not the only Dutchmen to go to the Eternal City. Prior to their departures, earlier artists such as Joachim Wtewael had gone to Italy during the years 1586-88 wh ere he was also inspired by the art of the period. What differentiates Wtewael from the Ut recht Caravaggisti is that Wtewael had gone to Italy when there was more focus on classicizing elements and subject matter with a mannerist tone. When the later Utrecht ar tists such as Honthorst, Babure n, and Terbrugghen went to Italy, Caravaggios life was drawing to a close but he was well known in artistic circles for his harsh naturalism. As a result of Caravaggios revolu tionary approach to art, many imitators followed, most notably, Bartolomeo Manfredi, who would develop what Joachim Sandrart would call in 1675, the Manfredi Method. This method include d using caravaggesque techniques such as the use of color and shadow, and themes dealing with the idea of gambling.1 Wittkower sums up Manfredis importance when he writes He [Manfredi] was one of the few close imitators of Caravaggio and interpreted the master in a rather rough style [since] it was Manfredi possibly more than anyone else who transformed Carava ggios manner into proper genre, emphasizing the coarse aspects of the latters art to the neglect of his other qualities.2 While Caravaggios genre works of cheaters and scheming fortune teller s have a theatrical and staged essence that hearkens back to the Commedia dellArte, th e works of Bartolomeo Manfredi follow a similar stance but the presen tation often features a darker and more tense 1 Dopo Caravaggio: Bartolomeo Manfredi e la Manfrediana Methodus 13. 2 Wittkower, 44.
83 version of the story. This allows one to sense an idea of the evil the vi ces espouse and promote. Mancini says Manfredi was one of Caravaggios close followers and he is recorded in Rome from 1616 to 1619. Manfredi focused mainly on genre scenes that were favored among northern caravaggisti such as the Frenchmen Valentin de Boulogne, Nicolas Tourni er and the painters from Utrecht.3 Also, unlike Caravaggio who dressed hi s genre figures in ou t-of-style clothing, Manfredi dresses his figures in contemporary clothing which would have helped the audience relate better.4 While Caravaggios early genre works he ld clear moralizing intent, the work of later caravaggisti, particularly Manfredi, tends to make the genr e works more secular in nature.5 For example, while Caravaggio takes the depiction of cheating and fortune telling to a new level of naturalism, albeit in a staged form, one does not see ardent seriousness in the faces of the characters. In the case of Caravaggios Fortune Teller one sees the nonchalant face of the dupe and the alluring gaze of the female fortune teller. When one looks at Manfredis Fortune Teller in the Detroit Institute of Art, one sees a very different scene. Unlike Caravaggios work where there are two figures against a lig ht neutral background; Manfredi places four figures against a darker background which helps empha size the seriousness and less th an noble intent ions of the street diviner. The two males are presumably th e dupes. One of them is getting his palm read while his companion eyes the woman, who is commonly thought to be a gypsy, to makes sure she doesnt try a sleight of the hand. It is po ssible they are both companions since they are wearing similar clothing and both ar e wearing hats with bright plumed feathers which symbolize their foolishness. The woman who is reading the palm stares off into space and supposedly divines his palm although it is more likely she is creating a diversion. Further back in the 3 Spear, 128. 4 Feigenbaum, 157. 5 Spear, 27.
84 composition is another woman who is presumably the companion of the fortune teller. This companions face is almost completely veiled in sh adow to hide her identity. She is deftly lifting the youths money purse from his pocket while he is engaged with the divination process on his palm. It is obvious that the young mans co mpanion, who was possibly asked to watch the fortune teller to make sure she di dnt try any tricks, is also d uped, since he focuses on the decoy while the real thief makes off with the money. Even though the fortune tellers companion is ripping off the unknowing victim, the dupes compani on is also taking the fortune teller to the cleaners since he is stealthily lif ting a hen from her bag. This act of stealing from the thieves is making reference to the gypsies supposed penchant for thievery since Anton Maria Cospi, in a handbook dedicated to the Duke of Tuscany wrote the [gypsy] women steal hens, and while they pretend to predict the future from the palm of hands, they steal purses.6 This work makes visible the perceived notions of early modern nega tive stereotypes of the qui ck and shifty nature of gypsies found in Rome and the seemingly uncanny ability for them to be one step ahead of their intended victims. This work also differs significantly from Caravaggios work. While Caravaggio takes a more lighthearted approach, since the youth is robbed by the flirtatious glance of a young woman and his phys ical attraction to her, the youth in this work is duped by more devious means, since he is double teamed and robbed of his money through the possibly fake act of the decoy and deft moves of the perpet rator. The darkness of the work also helps add to the devious plot and makes the work more foreboding than Caravaggio. This emphasizes the dangers of engaging in fortune te lling and suggests the d eceitful nature of th e activity and street diviners that were commonly held views in the early modern period. 6 Langdon, 51.
85 Valentin de Boulogne was a student of Manfre di who followed the style of his teacher by emphasizing the rough and coarse nature of the characters and follows the theme Caravaggio started in Italy of showing the lower class of Rome engaging in social vice. Not only was he influenced by the genre works of Caravaggio and Ma nfredi but he also seem s to have lived a life like those he depicted. It is know n that he led an irregular, b ohemian life, which reportedly led to his demise in 1632; overheated from tobacco and wine, he plunged into the Fontana del Babuino, took cold, and died.7 Like his teacher, Boulogne pl unged his gamblers into darkness, evoking a gritty tavern frequented by dangerous types.8 In Valentin de Boulognes Card Players in the National Gallery in Washington D.C, one sees a different take on Caravaggios Cardsharps This work features five characters dressed in military garb engaged in two different games. The far right character dressed in stripe d clothing is playing a ga me of dice with another man who is wearing a red brimless hat and who has his clothing hanging down from his shoulders. The man in the red brimless hat has just tossed the dice and both men are looking down at the result. Due to the seeming lack of clothing on the man in the red hat, it is possible the two men are playing for clothes. This c ould maybe explain the reason why he has less clothing on than his colleague. The center and left of the work feat ures three figures with two of them engaged in a card game. The figure whose back is turned to us and the figure standing behind the dupe are obviously working together si nce he looks at his companion and raises two fingers to show what the victim has. Meanwhile the dupe is completely engaged with his cards and is oblivious to what is going on around him. Upon closer examination, it is not possible to see what the card lying face up on the table is bu t it is possible it is either a club which would 7 Spear, 180. 8 Feigenbaum, 158.
86 symbolize success and money or it could be a spade which symbolizes death.9 However, when one looks at the card in the cheats hand, he is about to pull out a heart which would symbolize good fortune. Thus, this work is left ambiguous si nce the card on the tabl e can either spell out good or bad luck for the cheats. The swords they bear might relate to impending violence and the heart might relate to good luck and the succe ss of the scam. The dice players, on the other hand, can relate to the idea of the backgammon board in Cara vaggios work since the throw of the dice leaves the outcome up to fate. Assuming, the thrown dice are not loaded or tampered with, the outcome is unknown. This relates to the ambiguity of the card on the table of whether it is a club or spade and whether or not the scam will be a success or a failure. These types of works will influence the Utrecht Caravaggisti but will differ from the works of Manfredi and his followers in certain ways but still maintain a connection to Caravaggio. When Gerrit van Honthorst returned to Utr echt in 1614, he focused almost exclusively on the creation of caravaggesque works which dea lt with genre scenes. While Honthorst would mostly stay within the genre field, in his later ye ars, he will actually turn to more classicizing elements when he becomes patronized by royalt y. Caravaggios influence can be seen in Honthorsts Denial of St. Peter in a Private Collection in Engla nd. In this work, Honthorst has followed a prototype created by Caravaggio where a genre scene is taking place next to a religious scene and this is shown in Caravaggios Calling of St. Matthew in S. Luigi dei Francesi. In Honthorsts work, there are several gamblers, with the figure whose back is turned to the viewer in cahoots with the figur e standing behind the dupe since he is holding up two fingers from behind a cape. The dupe differs from prev ious depictions since he is not a foppish young man but an older man. Unlike the youth who is in fine clothing, this man is not wearing 9 Wind, 16.
87 expensive clothing but is in tatte red clothes. Also, unlike previ ous depictions, the dupe is not engaged in the game but is involve d with the scene on the right of th e canvas. St. Peter is in the process of denying his association with Christ to two soldiers and a woman who is holding up a candle which St. Peters hand blocks. While the denial is taking place, the cheats are taking advantage of the situation since th e dupe is temporarily distracted. The lighting in the scene is also very importa nt. Honthorst is known for his use of light and shadow which earned him the nickname Gherardo delle Notte, or G errit of the Night. By placing St. Peters hand over the candle to block the light coming to the viewer, one can sense there is a tense situation arising, since he is vehemently denying his association with Christ to the inquisitive soldiers. The candlelight cr eates an interesting drama between light and shadow which helps create a tense situation, a nd one can almost sense the danger St. Peter is trying to get out of as the flame dances across the faces of the figur es. The candlelight also plays a role in the gambling scene si nce it plunges the players into da rkness with less light falling upon them. As a result of less light on the gamblers the scene looks more nefarious and more devious since the flicker of the light over the faces of the cheaters crea tes a sense of drama that is more serious than Caravaggios rather lighthearted take on the scene. This scene has been somewhat influenced by Caravaggios Calling of St. Matthew since not only is a religious scene taking place next to a genre scene but it looks as if Honthorst decided to make the scene more dramatic by use of the time of day. In Caravaggios wor k, the use of gestures and subtle light which streams in from behind Christ creates a more poigna nt scene. In the actu al church setting, the natural light plays an important role since it merges with painte d light and comes in from above and behind Christ and shines on St. Matthew. Unlike Honthorsts work where tense drama and an effort to renounce Christ is shown, Carava ggio has shown an opening up and willingness to
88 follow Christ. This idea, along with the physical placement of the work in the church allows more light to stream in and cover the figures sitting at the table. It is possible Honthorsts work could have an interpretation that runs contrary to Caravaggios but still teaches a moral. While Caravaggios work could be read as a depic tion of one answering th eir vocation and their willingness to give up the ways of the world, Hont horsts seems to show a rejection of Christ by showing St. Peters rejection of Christ. This rejection of Christ is exemplified by the presence of the gamblers who are engaging in an activity that was criticized by both Catholics and Protestants, and this could show their unwillingne ss to stand up for Christ and defend him in his time of need. While Honthorst got his ideas of using shadow from Caravaggio, he differed from Caravaggio in terms of his ot her genre scenes. For example, two works featuring a Young Man and Woman Singing by Candlelight from 1624 in the Montreal Museum of Art and a work featuring a Young Man and Woman with no date in Braunschweig differs from Caravaggio since he is not known to have made any works similar to this. Both of thes e works feature a man and woman engaged in revelry. In the first work, a y oung man dressed in soldiers garb is with a bare breasted young woman. Both are singing from a songbook while a ca ndle is placed before the songbook thus blocking our view. This work could be referring to the revelr y in a brothel due to the openly erotic image of a bare breasted woman.10 This work represents an idea that love teaches singing which can be equated with love teaches sex which relates to the goals of a brothel. The candle could repr esent burning love and the idea of music and singing has long been associated with sex, or music making.11 This interpretation is possible since it shows the 10 Judson and Ekkart, 198. 11 Ibid.
89 figures bodies separated from the songbook, whic h presumably holds erotic songs, joined together with a candle that can represent the burn ing love. Thus, this work can show how erotic songs can help love grow and burn stronger which will ultimately lead to sex. This work is not meant to show divine love but physical love in all respects. The second work shows a similar compositi on but shows a young man and woman with a burning coal. The eroticism is much more blatan t in this work since it shows the mans desire expressed in his facial features. He is also looking down on his ri ght hand which is placed on the womans bare breast. However, the two figures are not portrayed as totally out of control with sexual excitement. Instead, they are shown as clean, attractive, and good-natured despite the placement of his hand. While previous imagery of this type had featured a young boy blowing on a firebrand, Honthorst had made this work more similar to the previ ous work since it shows both figures engaged in re velry of a more sexual nature. The burning coal is interesting since it is like the candle but unli ke the candle which burns slowly, th e coal burns quickly and is much hotter than a candles flame. The burning coal and candle is analogous to love since the burning coal is often very hot, fiery and short lived just as the infatuation with a pr ostitute in a brothel is often hot, fiery, and short lived.12 This differs from the love of a candle which is a more moderate type of love that burns slowly and steadily. This is the type of love one should strive for. The symbolism of the burning coal relates to various writings on love by authors such as Jacob Cats, Daniel Heinsius and Otto van Veen who all warn about the danger of carnal love.13 For example, Jacob Cats writes It shall soil or burn. Friend watch your handsThus I am in danger where I place my fingers; Your coal do es as a woman, she burns, or she soils.14 12 Ibid., 201. 13 Masters of Light: Dutch Painters in Utrecht during the Golden Age, 239. 14 Ibid., 240
90 However, while the writers warned of the kind of love Honthorst has depicted, the work gives the idea the two lovers are enjoying themselves and are not worried about the dangers of lust. Instead, they are living for the day. While th ese two works both differ from Caravaggio, they both deal with social vice and while there is a chance the imagery might indeed titillate the viewer just as the viewer is im plicated in a moral situation like Lot and His Daughters the subject matter and criticisms attached to these ty pes of images would have helped people realize the problems these types of beha viors could cause. Thus, the symbolism attached to the coal and writings by moralists would help attach morals to th ese works. As a result, that would help take away some of the eroticism although the physical aspects would still remain. The final work of Honthorsts to be discusse d in regards to social vice is an enigmatic work. The work is located in the A.L. Hertz Collection in The Hague and dates from 1623 and is known as the Steadfast Philosopher It is an interesting work since Caravaggio does not have any type of work which can be related to this. The work features a cl othed man and a woman. The woman is nearly nude and reaches out to h im with an inviting look. However, her advances are repelled by him and he seemi ngly just wants to spend his time reading and writing. Clearly, this work shows the attempted seduction of a man by a woman but it is unknown as to what the subject matter of this work actually is. In the past, it was thought the su bject matter shows either Phryne and Xenocrates or Joseph and Potiphars wife.15 Unfortunately, due to the lack of specific attributes of the figures, it is not possible to determine th e exact subject. I think each of the titles are possible since each deals with the theme of seduc tion. The story of Phryne and Xenocrates is taken from Diogenes Laertius Lives of Eminent Philosophers According to the story, Xenocrates was a philosophe r who came upon the courtesan, Phyrne. She came up with a 15 Ibid., 138.
91 story she was being chased and sought shelter at Xenocrates home w ith the intention of seducing him. Since he had only one bed, he offe red her the bed but would not share it with her but after her attempts at seduction failed she got up and left. If one looks at this story, the subject matter can be seen to match. It is possible Phry ne is wearing the sheet for modest covering and is trying to tempt Xenocrates into joining her between the sheets but he is reject ing her. It is also thought this story refers to Jose ph and Potiphars wife. This stor y is taken from Genesis 39:7-20 where the Captain of the Pharaohs Guard, Potipha r, made Joseph the steward of his household. Potiphars wife though, fell in love with Joseph a nd attempted to seduce him. She grabbed his robes and begged him to make love to her but he fled and left his r obes behind. Eventually, Potiphar found this out and had Joseph imprisoned. The depiction of this story in the work does not seem to fit as well as the Ph ryne and Xenocrates story. While Po tiphars wife fits the idea of reaching out to him and is about to grab his robe s, the large amount of books seems more fitting for a philosopher than for a stew ard of the household although it is possible a steward might need books to keep track of expenses. Regardless of th e subject matter, this work is interesting since it deals with seduction but urges the audience to reject lust and focu s on work and chastity just as the male subject in this work is doing. Thus, the idea of the sexual invitation and the rejection of sex helps gain the viewers atte ntion and gives a lesson that appe al to both intellectual and lay viewers since the story would have been familiar to the elite while the gestures would be easily understood by the lay viewers. Dirck van Baburen also did works of social vi ce after he came back to Rome. Prior to his return to Utrecht in 1620, Baburen had spent most of his artistic development in Rome where he had commissions at S. Pietro in Montorio. He liv ed with a fellow painter, David de Haen, where both were members of the parish of S. Andrea delle Fratte. S. Andrea delle Fratte was and still is
92 located in the artist quarter of the city where they were also close to S. Maria del Popolo.16 It is therefore possible Baburen was not only familiar with Caravaggios works but was also familiar with Manfredis works and maybe even knew him personally although this is not known for sure.17 Like the other Dutch artists who went to Rome and eventually returned to the Netherlands, Baburen had come back due to family reasons since his father died and his mother needed assistance to complete a land transaction. However, Baburens time in Utrecht was not to last long since he died on February 21, 1624 and was buried on February 28 in the Buurkerk in Utrecht. Even though he died young, Baburen managed to take a lot of what he learned from Caravaggios style and made it his own back in Utr echt in regards to depictions of social vice. Baburens Backgammon Players in the Stichting Wagner-d e Wit in The Hague shows influence of Caravaggio since he tran slates what Caravaggio shows in the Cardsharps and how Boulogne treats the subject matter as well. This work is considered one of the first depictions of gambling done by the Utrecht artists after the return.18 The work shows four figures engaged in a game of backgammon. Two of the three men are playing while anothe r bearded man watches the game while smoking a pipe. Behind the men is an older man who is in the process of finishing off a tankard of alcohol. The work differs from Caravaggi o since the backgammon board has become the focus of the work and not a game of cards which has been seen previously. The depiction of possible cheating is more sub tle here and the young play er holding the chalk for keeping score looks suspiciously at the pieces and the player who has one hand under his arm. The uniforms of the men connote them to be the average mercenary soldier due to their striped outfits and the helmet one of them is wearing. However, they all wear one piece of armor and 16 Slatkes, 1965, 7. 17 Ibid. 18 Feigenbaum, 161.
93 not of the same type either. Feigenbaum points out that one has donned the helmet, the other the breastplate, and the third the gorget and this could mean they were hired and not issued the same armor and therefore had to scavenge it from dead soldiers.19 This work can be interpreted as a warning against social vice since the wo rk makes use of drinking and gambling in one canvas. The work also groups the two vices together and associates the games with lowlifes who were known to be a mischievous and dangerous bunc h. Also, other themes such as the ages of man are shown since there is a mix of young, middleage, and old. Vanitas is also referenced by the smoker and which is often a subject used by mo ralist writers in the Netherlands at this time.20 The work also has more of Valentin de Boulogne s influence as well. Unlike Caravaggios rather theatrical display, one gets the idea this is a plausible situation that one might see in a tavern in the city of Rome. Thus, Baburen ha s taken Caravaggios theme of soldiers gambling and Manfredi and Boulognes harsh realism and cr eated a unique mix. This makes the work less theatrical but closer to life to show people engaged in a vice th at was seen as evil since it provoked violence, wasted money, and broke the Bi bles prohibition against games of chance. This is supported by the fact that after this work was made, a print by Crispin de Passe with couplets in Dutch says a cheater and gambler is a foul wretch, he drinks and gambles his money and beats his wife.21 Baburens Prodigal Son in the Gemldegalerie in Main z shows a mixture of a brothel scene, a concert, and festive drinking. This work is a double-edged sword since it serves as a feast for the eyes but at the same time serves as a warning. On one hand, there is a festive scene where a good time is being had by all. A young cav alier is looking at the viewer with a large 19 Ibid., 161-162. 20 Ibid. 21 Ibid.
94 smile while he embraces a beautiful young woman whos white dress is slipping down ever so much as to barely allow a glimpse of her bare br easts. The figure on the left has his back turned to us but looks at the viewer with a wide smile while playing a lute. The figure behind all the other figures is an old woman, probably the young er womans procuress, who is pouring a bottle of wine into a glass for the young man to drink. This work is interesting since it shows a mix of social vices which all relate to lustful sexuality. The young man embracing the half-naked woman is a obvious re ference to sexuality and eroticism but the wine also refers to drunke nness and sex since wine hinders judgment and makes one pursue unwise decisions. This was seen in earlier works such as Lot and His Daughters by Joachim Wtewael. The lute player also refers to sex and social vice since the lute follows the idea of to make music together. Music often lead to dancing which was seen as inappropriate to conservative Catholic and Calvin ist leaders since it did not show reserve and the movements of the dance could be provocative an d imitate sexual intercourse. The work probably takes place in a brothel a nd follows a fairly standard repr esentation of a brothel at this time. While prostitution was widespread, unlike other European cities wh ere prostitutes openly plied their trade, brothels were often disguised as taverns or music halls. Often, these establishments were not advertised as brothels but were often discre te since the women who worked in them often dressed as respectable women when not in the establishment.22 It was necessary for these buildings to be discrete since they could face fines and other penalties. Therefore, these buildings were not as they are today in Amsterdam but were inconspicuous. Israel makes the interesting point these brothels were similar to Catholic hidden churches 22 Israel, 683.
95 where many people knew where they werebut were tolerated as long as they stayed seemingly innocuous and caused no disturbance.23 Even though the subject matter creates an at mosphere of liberality and sexuality which invites the viewer to participate, there is anot her moralizing meaning to this work. This work hearkens back to the biblical story of the Prodi gal Son which is taken from Luke 15:11-32 where the younger son of a wealthy man squandered his inheritance on reckle ss living. This reckless living can be seen as the wine, wome n, and revelry in this work. This work is showing the part of the parable before the son rea lizes his mistake and goes to his father and says Father, I have sinned against H eaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son (Luke 15:21). In an act of ceaseless love, the father forgives him and exclaims for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found (Luke 15:24). There are many depictions of the Prodigal Son in seventeenth-c entury art and many works feature the prodigal sons partying ways. Even Hugo Grotius will admit the story of the Prodigal Son to be the most remarkable parable of all those delivered by our Savior, as being the most passionate and affecting.24 This will change with Rembrandt in the mid to late seventeenth century. Rembrandt Prodigal Son from 1669 will show a poignant scene of the father embracing his repentant son. The viewer who saw this work would have been acutely aware of the meaning. The painting shows pride before a fall since the key figure, who is probab ly the figure with the woman, is completely unaware of what the future holds, and he takes no c onsideration into what might come of his behaviors. Instead, he is to tally oblivious to the consequences and is only interested in merrymaking. To th e viewer, this work refers to the idea that one might forsake 23 Ibid. 24 Halewood, 53.
96 God and indulge themselves in earthly pleasures. Often, these figures are oblivious that earthly pleasures such as wine, women, and music are tran sitory and do not last forever. The father, who can also be interpreted as God the Father ha s an infinite amount of love for His children and is always willing to take them back when they are repentant. This wa s a very popular subject since it emphasized the point that joy shall be in Heaven our one sinner that repenteth, more than ninety-nine persons, which need no repentance. (Luke 15:7).25 It is the authors opinion that works which show the party lifestyle of the prodigal son had more app eal to the viewer since it alludes to activities enjoyed by many but which is meant to remind them these pleasures are transitory. Thus, this work agai n engages the viewer in a moral dilemma such as has been seen in the work of Wtewael, Caravaggio, and Honthorst The work also reminds the viewer of the importance of repentance and forgiveness which c ould be applied to dail y life since John Calvin wrote his Commentary on Harmony II that boundless goodness and inestimable forbearance of God, that no crimes, however aggravated, may deter from the hope of obtaining pardon.26 Hendrick Terbrugghen is the final Utrecht Cara vaggisti to be discussed in this study. Hendrick Terbrugghen was born into a wealthy Cat holic family in the Province of Overijssel near Deventer in 1588 but was taken to Utrecht as a baby. As a young teenager, he studied under Abraham Bloemaert and then left for Italy in 1603 when he was 15 years old. Terbrugghen spent ten years in Rome and then returned to Utr echt in 1614 where he was admitted to the Utrecht Guild of St. Luke in 1616-17. He remained in Utrecht until his death in 1629 at the age of 42.27 Terbrugghen differs significantly from his othe r Utrecht colleagues since unlike Gerrit van Honthorst and Dirck van Baburen, who had commi ssions in several Roman churches, there are 25 Ibid., 52. 26 Ibid. 27 Nicolson, 3.
97 no currently known works of Terbrugghens in the c hurches of Rome. That does not necessarily mean though that he didnt do any religious works for churches. Inst ead, it is possible there might be a mistaken attribution in a church somewhere. For the purpose of this paper, Terbrugghen is the Utrecht Caravaggisti who seems to focus the most on scenes of seduction and gambling which he undoubtedly got from Caravaggio. Terbrugghens Backgammon Players in the Centraal Museum in Utrecht features a unique kind of composition that has not been seen in Caravaggio or the other Utrecht Caravaggisti before. This work features three young men engaged in a game of backgammon. The men are soldiers due to the standard striped sleeves, helmets, and armor. Unlike Caravaggios Cardsharps the backgammon players faces, except fo r one of them, is hidden due to the low tilt of the helmet over their eyes. The gaze of th e three figures is focuse d on one particular chip which they are all closely examining. The exam ination of the chip could indicate cheating and this can spell violence. This is supported by the fact that the player on the right has his hand on his sword and looks as if he is about to draw the weapon in anger. The idea of impending violence was previously seen in Caravaggios Cardsharps albeit in a more subtle manner. Caravaggios Cardsharps shows a dagger hanging on the belt of the cheater but he is not reaching for it, instead, he is reaching for the club card. The idea of violence is more apparent due to the backgammon board hanging precariou sly over the table. Since backgammon was associated with violence and since it is a game of chance there is a possi bility the board could fall over. This could symbolize th e eruption of violence since all th e orderliness of the pieces is gone and control is lost which w ill lead to irrationali ty. In Terbrugghens work, the threat of violence is more apparent due to the hand clutching the sword while an examination is occurring. This work could not only be seen as a depic tion of a game of backgammon possibly gone bad,
98 which would appeal to a collector who reveled in th e lifestyle of the lower class, but it could also serve as an important pedagogical lesson. Si nce backgammon was routinely condemned by ministers of all confessions, viewers would have been aware of its evil and sinful associations but would have reveled in the ambiguous nature of the work si nce it leaves room to wonder what will happen next. The final work to be discussed is Terbrugghens Gamblers in the Minneapo lis Institute of Art. This work follows a sim ilar compositional model like in the Backgammon Players since the work features two men facing each other on either side of the table. A curious third figure is behind the two players and is glancing toward th e figure on the right. The two players are also soldiers due to the striped sleeves, breastplates, and helmets while the other figure is dressed differently. The third figure is wearing a plumed hat and differe nt clothing from the other two players. The figure is similar to other Terb rugghen works which features a young man playing a flute. The painting shows another scene with ch eating suspected since the third figure is looking at the figure on the right and poi nts to the dice and coins on the table. The figure on the right reacts to this news and fixes his glasses to better inspect the coin s and dice for possible fraud. It is assumed the old man with the glasses is the victim since glasses we re commonly seen as a symbol of moral and spiritual blindness.28 Thus, the victim further solidifies his blindness by refusing to leave the table but st ays. While investigating the co ins and dice, he is grasping the hilt of his sword in anticipation that he might need to use it. Meanwhile, the younger player looks directly at the older player and points at him and gestures to show that what the dice shows is legitimate. The legitimacy of the roll is que stioned since the dice shows a one and a four while the cards on the table show a one and four. It is possible the third figure is a companion or friend 28 Feigenbaum, 164.
99 of the old man and he suspects the dice might be ta mpered with. As a result, he is informing the older player who now examines th e dice closer to see if that claim is true while the younger player tries to convince him otherwise. The playing cards on the table also give an indication of the impending violence since an ace of spades is clearly seen on the table. The ace of spades usually symbolizes unhappiness and the spade suit as a whole represents anxiety, sorrow, and death.29 However, one sees that a heart card is underneath the spade suit and this can be seen as good fortune since the heart suit was taken to symbolize good luck. Howe ver, the heart is covered by a su it that spells disaster and the ace of spades which is clearly seen on the ta ble emphasizes the idea of trouble brewing. This shows that while there might be a chance of suc cess in the cheating, one is always against the odds and there will always be the possibility of violence and death if ch eating is uncovered. To the viewer who saw this work, they woul d not only have been reminded of a typical card game taking place in a tavern but the scene would have been clos e to life. At this time, the Netherlands was at war with Spain and it woul d have been very common to see soldiers throughout the Netherlands spending time in tave rns carousing with women and gambling when not fighting. As has been seen with works by Caravaggio, Honthorst, and Baburen, this work also holds a didactic message as well. On one hand, the work shows the evils of gambling and the social vices that go along with it such as the possibility of be ing cheated and physical violence that could cost one their life. On the other hand, this work serves as an intellectual type of puzzle since it is not totally apparent whether or not the younger players gestures of trying to prove his innocence is going to be bought by the su spicious older player. Also, the presence of the cards and their symbolism creates a type of s cene that can go either way. At first glance, bad 29 Wind, 16.
100 luck and violence seems apparent but the presen ce of the heart suit brings some chance of appeasement since that suit is associated with good luck. Thus, there is a chance the possible con will work but against heavy odds since the spade overshadows the heart. As a result, the interpretation of what will happen next is open to the individual viewer to discuss and debate.
101 CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSION This study has focused on the depictions of so cial vice in the art of Caravaggio and his followers, particularly in the Netherlands w ith the Utrecht Caravagg isti. This study has attem pted to show that while the Council of Tr ent and Calvinist preachers in Europe in the seventeenth century tried to curb depictions of various social vices, they ultimately had little control over what was depicted. Inst ead of trying to block all depict ions of social vice in art, the authorities seem to have reluct antly accepted these depictions in the hopes the works would help teach morals to their viewers even though there wa s always the risk the works would not be read for their moralizing aspects but their more earthly ones. The work of Caravaggio is important to this study since he is considered the first Ital ian artist to break away from the traditional iconography popular in the High Re naissance and Mannerism which tended to focus on religious works. Caravaggio rejected this and focused more on daily life in the city of Rome. When Caravaggio first arrived in the city, he cr eated several genre works most notably the Cardsharps and Fortune Teller These paintings were admired by elit e patrons such as Cardinal Del Monte and Cardinal Giustiniani due to their realism and reference to Aristotles Poetics which said lowlife if done right can be cons idered high art. While these wo rks both depicted daily life on the streets of Rome, to the eyes of Del Mont e and Giustiniani, these works not only gave a window to the lifestyle of the rabble of Rome but they also serv ed as pedagogical tools that not only appealed to the more base tastes of the patr ons but also taught importa nt lessons such as the evils of gambling and the risks of giving into fortune tellers a nd other diviners. These genre works, in addition to the religi ous works of Caravaggio, while controversial due to the nature of their execution and iconography, actu ally followed the Decree of the Council of Trent regarding the importance of teaching the viewers Catholic doctrine. While Caravaggio differed from other
102 artists who focused on theatricality and bombasti c displays to awe viewers, Caravaggio took a more populist approach and made the lower clas s a part of the religi ous experience in the painting. Previously, the lower classes were ex cluded from religious painting unless needed by the iconography. Caravaggio changed this by incor porating aspects the lower class could relate to and other social vices. Fo r example, placing figures in co ntemporary clothing and using real people as models. Thus, Carava ggio brought the spirit and essenc e of Counter Reformation to the people which was no different from what refo rmers were doing such as S. Filippo Neri with the Oratory and S. Carlo Borromeo with religious revivals. Caravaggios populist view of art and use of incorporating mora l and theological lessons in genre and religious works carried over to his fo llowers in various degr ees. While Caravaggios followers all tried to imitate him by means of his technique, the Utrecht Caravaggisti are the most interesting. The Utrecht Ca ravaggisti show Caravaggios infl uence in the city of Rome by also taking a populist approach to ar t in order to help bring a more personal religi ous experience to the viewer. They accomplished this by inco rporating people, who might have been local residents, in a work. This would have helped create a c onnection between the neighborhood inhabitants and the depiction in the work and bring religion to the people. The Utrecht Caravaggisti will also be inspired by the subject matter Caravaggio had focused on in his early years in Rome. While Caravaggio started the fascination with social vice, Bartolomeo Manfredi would be the one who would discover the potential of Caravaggios style for secular themes and thereby popularized a mode of painting which attracted numerous Northern followers.1 This new type of painting will also be an attraction to the Utrecht Caravaggisti and other followers from countries such as France. 1 Spear, 27.
103 Even though depictions of social vice were not rare in northern art in previous centuries, the Utrecht Caravaggisti capitalized on the m odel Caravaggio had put forward with the Cardsharps and Fortune Teller which often included ambiguity and esoteric knowledge for the patrons to discuss. Their focus on the depiction of social vice exploded upon their return to the city of Utrecht and this created a new type of genr e not seen before. Previously, art in the city of Utrecht was dominated by manne rist type works with a focu s on biblical and mythological scenes as a forum for explaining morals. This ty pe of art appealed to elite collectors but the Utrecht Caravaggisti changed this dynamic. The Utrecht Caravaggisti brought back the idea of a populist art that proved to be extr emely popular with the elite and mi ddle class buyers of art. As a result, in the early seventeenth century, the mannerist and elite style of Joachim Wtewael declined and a new style embodied with the sp irit of Caravaggio arose where morals where transmitted to the viewer through events and occurrences that would have been easily recognizable. These morals were of ten incorporated into scenes of daily life such as gambling or carousing in a tavern and which would have been recognizable to a viewer. Even though the external subject matter of these works often cam e under fire from minister s of both the Catholic and Calvinist confessions, these paintings helped teach morals to the viewers. Often, they make reference to biblical stories and le ave subtle clues that allude to the downfall of the figures in the painting due to their ignorance and insistence on taking part in the festivities. Overall, I think Spear sums up the significance of the Utrecht Ca ravaggisti nicely when he writes they [Utrecht Caravaggisti] substantiated the growing inclinat ion toward secularization of religious themes, supported the spread of genre s ubjects, and made a major contri bution to Caravaggesque art by enriching the possibilities of dramatic illumination.2 2 Ibid., 34.
104 The Utrecht Caravaggisti will also help inspir e later artists in the seventeenth century. While the popularity of the Utrecht Caravaggisti will only last for a rela tively short amount of time, it will still be made reference to in the wo rks of Johannes Vermeer since his mother-in-law, Maria Thins owned Baburens Procuress and which makes an appearance in two Vermeer paintings.3 However, by about 1630, caravaggesque works like those of Honthorst, Baburen, and Terbrugghen will no longer be produced. This was possibly influenced by the installment of Gijsbertus Voetius as Rector of the University of Utrecht in 1636 and who was the leader of strict Calvinism that ended the tolerance for luxurious activities previously enjoyed by the citizenry.4 Their influence will still be seen though in the works of later seventeenth-century artists such as Jan Miense Molenaer and Jan Steen. These two later artists will take the ideas of Caravaggio and the Utrecht Caravaggisti to make art more personal by including themselves and members of their families in the paintings. While the Utrecht Caravaggisti limited their works to mainly brothel and gambling scenes, Jan Miense Molenaer and Jan Steen will not only incorporate traditional themes such as quack doc tors and village feasts but will also include themes such as scenes with children and disord erly households that often make use of popular proverbs even though the use of prove rbs in art goes back earlier. These later artists, Jan Steen in particular, will become more of a storyteller and often incorporate himself in his works taking part in the activities or looki ng at the viewer with a knowing wink while chaos ensues around him. The incorporation of the ar tist in the work taking part in social vices and looking at the viewer helps bring the idea of teaching morals to the viewer to a new level. Steen and Molenaer will be unique since they become a promoter of buffoonery and vice an d create a world of 3 Slatkes, 1998, 42. 4 Spicer, 28.
105 possibilities in their paintings that holds both humorous and serious lessons.5 This shows Caravaggios original idea of tryi ng to bring morals to the view er by making use of quotidian life will still hold true throughout th e seventeenth but artists such as Jan Steen and Jan Miense Molenaer will elaborate on this id ea by incorporating themselves in the works to help create a deeper bond between them and the viewer. This link between Caravaggio and later seventeenthcentury artists still has to be e xplored further but I think this paper helps creates a jumping off point for further research. Overall, even though the subject matter of thes e artworks might have indeed been venom for the eye which thrust the heat of lust into the depths of the hear t, as Dirck Raphaelsz Camphuyzen maintained, these works did hold mora lizing messages. Even though their external subject matter might have actually been eye candy, the works did advocate what both John Calvin and the Council of Trent required; that they appeal to the viewers and teach morals. The use of social vice appealed to viewers yet also taught morals through biblical references and allusions. Caravaggio and the Utrecht Carava ggisti took this idea a nd made it their own by painting what they, their friends and neighbors would have seen on a daily basis. Thus, while these paintings often feature sins of the flesh and other earthly pleasures, these works serve as important pedagogical tools that not only helped people in the seventeen th century develop a sense of morality but also help the modern day viewer understand the moral code of the seventeenth century. 5 Chapman, 369-372.
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113 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Matthew Peszek was born in Elm wood Park, Illinois, and raised in Wheaton, Illinois. Matthew attended Indiana University Bloomington where he graduated in 2006 with a bachelors degree in general studies. Matthew then pursued graduate stud ies in art history graduated at the University of Florida where he earned his Mast er of Arts in December 2008. Matthew is single and currently lives in Gainesville, Florida but looks to forward to wherever the future leads him. Matthew gets his daily inspiration from not onl y the many people who give him encouragement and lead by example but also from a passage in Karel van Manders Groot Schilderboeck from 1604. In one of the final passages, Karel writes: My efforts have been my best and I have suffered not a little. Love made me begin, persist, and finish, this work.