Michelangelo as Pan?

Posted in on site by Editor on November 15, 2022

Joseph Vernet, detail of a sketch showing the statue of Pan (with fig leaf), by the Aurelian Walls that bounded the Villa Ludovisi to the north, 1737. From D. Cordellier, P. Rosenberg, and P. Märker, Dessins français du musée de Darmstadt (2007), 459.

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

I suspect many readers will find this series of postings about a Pan sculpture from Rome’s Villa Ludovisi of interest. Whatever the status of the attribution (itself intriguing), the statue clearly was linked with Michelangelo in the eighteenth century. CH

Hatice Köroğlu Çam, “A New Self-Portrait of Michelangelo? The Statue of Pan at the Casino dell’Aurora in Rome,” 3 parts, Archivio Digitale Boncompagni Ludovisi (2022).

Part 1: Correspondences” (20 March 2022).
Part 2: Testimonia: Sketches and Earlier Inventories” (12 September 2022).
Part 3: Reception” (5 November 2022).

From Part 1, at the Archivio Digitale Boncompagni Ludovisi:

Pan, attributed to Michelangelo at the Casino dell’Aurora. Collection †HSH Prince Nicolò and HSH Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi, Rome (Photo by T. Corey Brennan, October 2022).

A statue of Pan, for centuries located in the garden of Rome’s Villa Ludovisi, since 1901 has stood unprotected outside the southwest wing of the Casino dell’Aurora. Traditionally attributed to Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564), and once deemed of great monetary value (4000 scudi in a 1749 Boncompagni Ludovisi inventory), it undoubtedly exhibits characteristic features of the master’s sculptural language.

Yet most surprisingly there is no detailed study focusing on this statue. The most recent treatment, that of Maria Elisa Micheli (Museo Nazionale Romane: Le Sculture I.6 I marmi Ludovisi dispersi [1986]), fills not quite a page and a half. Micheli dismisses seventeenth- and eighteenth-century attributions of the Pan to Michelangelo, considering it instead “a modern work of the late sixteenth century.”

The verdict strikes me as too hasty. After comparing the stylistic language of the Pan to that of Michelangelo in a wide range of his sculptures, paintings, and drawings, I have come to the conclusion that even if the sculpture is not by Michelangelo, it highlights many features of his style to a remarkable extent. And those attributes are recognizable even given the fact that the Pan today shows an unfortunate loss of details, especially the face—clear when comparing historic photos of the statue (from 1885) with its present state. . . .

The full posting is available here»

Hatice Köroğlu Çam studied journalism for three years with a double major in art history at Istanbul University in Turkey and then received her BA in art history at Rutgers University (2022), where she wrote her honors thesis on “Decoding Michelangelo’s Passion: Laocoön and Tityus.” She interned at the Archivio Digitale Boncompagni Ludovisi in the Spring and Summer of 2022, which made possible a visit to the Casino dell’Aurora, the home of Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi, in July 2022. Hatice is currently on the staff of the museum store of the Princeton University Art Museum and plans to pursue her academic journey towards a PhD, including further research into the Pan project.

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

More information about the Archivio Digitale Boncompagni Ludovisi—initiated by T. Corey Brennan (Rutgers University) while Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the American Academy in Rome (2009–12)—is available here.

Call for Papers | The Mutability of Collections

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on November 15, 2022

From ArtHist.net and the Seminar on Collecting and Display:

The Mutability of Collections: Transformation, Contextualisation, and Re-Interpretation
Seminar on Collecting and Display
Institute of Historical Research, University of London, 7–8 July 2023

Proposals due by 30 November 2022

We invite proposals for papers reflecting on the ways in which the contents of collections are not permanent but may be subject to numerous mutations. Objects in collections are added, exchanged or disposed of, translated and transformed. Items can be moved to new surroundings and different decorative settings, resulting in altered contexts of display, meaning, and significance. The history of collections is more than a history of objects brought together by acquisitive owners; it is also a history whereby collectors and owners may re-interpret an inherited or purchased collection and re-arrange and complete it in accordance to their taste.

As is well known, the Medici amassed a collection that grew, was looted, regained, distributed over palaces and villas, and finally bequeathed to Tuscany as part of Anna Maria Louisa’s family pact in 1737. Obviously, the Medici’s treasures were not the only collection with a fragmented biography and that of Rudolf II would provide another famous example.In the nineteenth century, William Beckford added new layers of interpretation as he amassed his collections from a variety of different sources. Further translations and reinterpretations ensued when the first collection was dispersed and Beckford created a new collecting environment in Bath.

This session aims to explore the various issues underlying the mutability of collections, including
• the ways in which intentionality, taste, and the periodically fluctuating finances of collectors influenced the composition and display of a collection, sometimes more than once within a collection’s biography
• the ways in which fashion may have directed a collector towards particular groups of objects, as well as their alteration according to the taste of the time
• the ways in which collections may be reinterpreted and take on new meanings according to the spaces in which they were displayed
• the different associations and meanings given to individual objects through their changing representations, displays, or associations

We invite paper proposals of no more than 250 words, investigating the mutability of early-modern collections during their creation, transfer to new locations, transformation, or re-interpretation. Please send your proposals, along with a short bio (no more than 200 words) to collecting_display@hotmail.com by 30 November 2022.


%d bloggers like this: