Cover image for In Michelangelo's Mirror: Perino del Vaga, Daniele da Volterra, Pellegrino Tibaldi By Morten Steen Hansen

In Michelangelo's Mirror

Perino del Vaga, Daniele da Volterra, Pellegrino Tibaldi

Morten Steen Hansen

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$98.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-05640-1

236 pages
9" × 10"
42 color/109 b&w illustrations
2013

In Michelangelo's Mirror

Perino del Vaga, Daniele da Volterra, Pellegrino Tibaldi

Morten Steen Hansen

“Morten Steen Hansen’s impressively researched book finally makes sense of a series of dense, allusive paintings that have long resisted persuasive interpretation. But more than this, the book represents a sustained act of historical criticism: perceiving the ambitions that run through different projects and shining light on their inventiveness, virtuosity, and wit, Hansen makes his three subjects into newly attractive figures. This is a book that should change the way we teach and write about the period.”

 

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In the first decades of the sixteenth century, the pictorial arts arrived at an unprecedented level of perfection. That, at least, was a widespread perception among artists and their audiences in central Italy. Imitation, according to the artistic literature of the period, was a productive means of continuing the perfections of a predecessor. In Michelangelo’s Mirror reconsiders the question of Italian mannerism, focusing on the idea of imitation in the works of such artists as Perino del Vaga, Daniele da Volterra, and Pellegrino Tibaldi.

Michelangelo was praised as an unsurpassable ideal, and more than any other artist he received the flattering epithet divino. As the cult around him grew, however, a different discourse arose. With the unveiling of the Sistine Last Judgment in 1541, Michelangelo stood accused of having set artifice above the sacred truth he was meant to serve, effectively making an idol of his art. Hansen examines the work of three of the master’s most talented followers in the light of this critical backlash. He argues that their choice to imitate Michelangelo was highly self-conscious and related to the desire to construct their own artistic identities, either by associating their work directly with the ideal paradigm (Daniele), through irony and displacement (Perino), or by incorporating both approaches (Tibaldi).

“Morten Steen Hansen’s impressively researched book finally makes sense of a series of dense, allusive paintings that have long resisted persuasive interpretation. But more than this, the book represents a sustained act of historical criticism: perceiving the ambitions that run through different projects and shining light on their inventiveness, virtuosity, and wit, Hansen makes his three subjects into newly attractive figures. This is a book that should change the way we teach and write about the period.”
“In this tightly woven, thoughtful, highly instructive, copiously illustrated, and beautifully produced book, which all members of the Renaissance Society of America will want to read or, at least, peruse, Morten Steen Hansen shares his undisguised passion for Tibaldi in a winning manner.”
“[In Michelangelo’s Mirror] is a fundamental addition to the study of a complex period deserving of more attention, especially for its thorough account of Tibaldi, whose subtle and extraordinary frescos representing the myth of Ulysses in the Palazzo Poggi in Bologna may come as a revelation to some readers compared to the more accessible frescos of Perino and Daniele da Volterra in Rome. The sophistication of the book’s interpretative framework also makes it of interest to students of other periods.”

Morten Steen Hansen is Assistant Professor of Art History at Stanford University.

Contents

List of Illustrations

Preface and Acknowledgments

1 Mannerism and Imitation

2 Gigantum arrogantia: Raphael vs. Michelangelo in Perino del Vaga

3 Daniele da Volterra’s Contested Subject

4 Pellegrino Tibaldi’s Apologus Alcinoi

5 Painting and Counter-Reformation in the Poggi Chapel

Notes

Bibliography

Index

1

Mannerism and Imitation

Oh how truly happy our age, oh blessed artificers who could well be called so, since in your time the source of all brightness has illuminated the darkness of your eyes. This marvelous and singular artificer has made plain for you what before was difficult. Certainly you recognize and honor the glory of his efforts, which have taken away the bandage covering your minds’ eyes full of darkness, and he has shown you truth from the falsehood which clouded the most beautiful abodes of the intellect. Thank therefore heaven and try to imitate Michelangelo in everything you do.

The present book stems from a long-lasting fascination with the painted works of Pellegrino Tibaldi (ca. 1527–1596), by birth a Lombard but from an early age an inhabitant of Bologna. By 1550, when his spectacular frescoes for a Bolognese patron marked his emergence as an independent artist, he had begun to imitate Michelangelo demonstratively in his paintings, both through figural quotations and through a general assimilation of Michelangelo’s ideal of the human body. In doing so he embraced the aspects of Michelangelo’s art which had been deemed most controversial by his critics. The citations are always graceful and striking, and occasionally preposterous. Turning Homer’s Odyssey into mock epic, Tibaldi wrested Adam from the Sistine ceiling (fig. 63) to make him play the part of the blinded Polyphemus (fig. 108), while a bull attacked by Ulysses’ men strikes an expression lifted from a damned soul in the Last Judgment (figs. 1, 117). Imitation engenders a sense of irony that puts into question the artist’s relationship to both his sources and his own creations.

What Tibaldi did with and to the art of Michelangelo involved the complex reputation of the older artist by midcentury. Around the time when Tibaldi executed his early masterpieces in Bologna (and despite the assertions of some art historians, he was among the most important painters of the 1550s), Michelangelo’s reputation had diverged in two opposing directions. The first edition of Giorgio Vasari’s Vite of 1550 made him nothing less than the culmination, never to be surpassed, of the three arts of disegno, which Vasari defines as painting, sculpture, and architecture. Employing Christological references, he describes how God sent the artist, significantly named after an angel, down to earth to show the light to all future generations. Vasari’s ecstatic praise of Michelangelo was obviously part of his idealization of the cultural politics of Cosimo I, but one cannot reduce it simply to flattery of a patron, for a similar kind of panegyric took place outside of a Tuscan context. In 1553 Michelangelo’s affiliate Ascanio Condivi published a second vita of the artist, who was unhappy with the literary monument that Vasari had erected over him. Despite Condivi’s indirect claims that Vasari had been ill informed and lacked the familiarity with the artist necessary for a truthful representation, he was in complete agreement with him regarding Michelangelo’s historical destiny:

I have always held the opinion that the efforts and endeavors of nature have a prescribed limit, imposed and ordained by God, which cannot be exceeded by ordinary virtù; and that this is true not only for painting and sculpture but universally for all the arts and sciences; and that nature concentrates this effort of hers in one man, who is to be the example and norm in that faculty, giving him first place so that, from then on, whoever wants to produce something in art which is worthy of being either read or looked at is subject to the necessity that it be either identical to the work already produced by that first man, or at least similar to it and following the same course; or, if not, the more it departs from the right way, the more inferior it will be. After Plato and Aristotle, how many philosophers have we seen who did not follow them and were held in esteem? How many orators after Demosthenes and Cicero? How many mathematicians since Euclid and Archimedes? How many doctors since Hippocrates and Galen or poets since Homer and Vergil? And if indeed there has been someone who has exerted himself in one of these branches of knowledge and whose great aptitude enabled him to reach first place by his own efforts, nevertheless, because he found it already occupied and because perfection is none other than what his predecessors demonstrated, he either abandoned the undertaking or with good judgment dedicated himself to the imitation of those predecessors as the archetype of perfection. In our time this has been noted in Bembo, in Sannazzaro, in Caro, in Guidiccione, in the marchioness of Pescara, and in other writers and devotees of Tuscan verse, who, although they were of supreme and singular talent, were nevertheless unable by themselves to produce anything better than what nature had demonstrated in Petrarch, and they devoted themselves to imitating him, but so felicitously that they have been judged worthy of being read and counted among the good writers.

Since the image of Michelangelo’s humility and piety against assertions of the opposite played a central part in the biography, modesty must have prevented Condivi from mentioning Michelangelo by name as God’s elect vessel for perfection in art and architecture. The meaning, though, is clear enough in this indirect eulogy, in which the artist’s virtù and place in history are compared to those of Galen, Euclid, and Petrarch. To Condivi the place of the latecomers was necessarily secondary.

Next to such exalted panegyrics stood a very different discourse, triggered by the unveiling of the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel in 1541. The scandal it caused is too familiar to be rehearsed once more in detail (though I will return to it in the chapters that follow). As the century progressed, an increasing number of people came to think that Michelangelo had set his works of art above the sacred truth they should have served, effectively turning artifice into an idol, to the detriment of the salvation of his soul. We know from his writings that fears of this plagued Michelangelo late in his life.

Vasari’s triumphalist history of art, significantly first published during a jubilee, promoted the continuation through imitation of an artistic climax embodied above all by Michelangelo. To a critic like Condivi, more concerned with the reputation of his hero than with the future of art, beautiful painting also presupposed the imitation of Michelangelo, who, however, was “almost inimitable.” Somewhat paradoxically, Vasari in the 1568 edition of the Vite made a similar claim even as he insisted that artists “imitate Michelangelo in everything.” Michelangelo could also be seen as a destructive presence. Writing in the late 1520s, one anonymous author claimed that the Sistine ceiling showed how “all other painters were inferior to him [Michelangelo].” Vasari, in his reading of the allegorical figure of Night from the New Sacristy in San Lorenzo, commented that “it could also be that this is the night which covers in darkness those who for some time thought that they could, I will not say surpass but compare with him” (fig. 2). In De’ veri precetti della pittura (1587), Giovanni Battista Armenini would have it that the artist, upon entering the Sistine Chapel and seeing artists copying his work, exclaimed, “Oh, how many men this work of mine wishes to destroy.” Tibaldi, as we shall see, was invested in these different ways of thinking about the older master: as an ideal of imitation leading to artistic excellence, as a force crushing any competitor, and as a potentially transgressive figure in relation to heavenly matters.

Tibaldi’s involvement with Michelangelo’s art was arguably more dense and complex than that of any contemporary painter, but he was neither the first nor the last to develop a pictorial poetics centered on the imitation of the older artist. When in Rome from 1547 to 1550, Tibaldi served initially as the assistant of Perino Buonaccorsi, better known as del Vaga (1503–1547) and then for Daniele Ricciarelli, named after his native Volterra (1509–1565), who also had worked for Perino. Michelangelo’s biographers would have it that he was nothing less than God’s idea of perfection in painting, sculpture, and architecture as well as the guiding light for all later generations of artists. Around the time of Raphael’s death in 1520, few, it seems, would have subscribed to such an exalted view of Michelangelo’s historical destiny. Chapter 2 describes how Raphael’s supporters in Rome saw painting as polarized between him and Michelangelo, with Raphael surpassing the older artist in almost every respect. As a pupil of Raphael, Perino, like Giulio Romano, embarked on a self-fashioning in his teacher’s image, and eventually he made Michelangelo other to his art. From the mid-1540s Daniele turned his relationship with the works and person of Michelangelo into an overriding concern of his art. Claiming that there indeed could be a second Michelangelo, he encountered fierce criticism from his contemporaries, to the extent that what might be described as his artistic project has gone unnoticed. Informed by Perino’s irony and Daniele’s apparent overidentification with Michelangelo, Tibaldi circumvented a mirroring relationship between artist, work, and imitated model as he explored the parts of Michelangelo’s art which had proven offensive to certain beholders.

The next two chapters deal with broader aspects of the careers of Perino and Daniele, followed by two on Tibaldi’s Bolognese fresco cycles. In the decorations in the palace and chapel of the prelate Giovanni Poggi, Tibaldi introduced most of the issues in relation to Michelangelo as a painter that he would bring into play throughout his career in Italy and Spain. A Rome-centered account of the imitation of Michelangelo, covering the period from the 1520s to the time around Michelangelo’s death, has not previously been attempted, and I believe it can tell us something new about a culture that celebrated its own artistic belatedness. In the seventeenth century Giovanni Battista Agucchi claimed that Michelangelo’s art was more Roman than Florentine. Whether active in Rome, Genoa, or Bologna, the artists discussed here would have shared that bias, and hence there will be relatively little about Florence in the chapters that follow, even though, for obvious reasons, the city otherwise looms large in considering the artistic reception of Michelangelo.

Genealogical thinking about art in the sixteenth century was not limited to actual instances of apprenticeship. Bronzino, for example, stated in a letter to Michelangelo in 1561 that “having always learned from you all that I know and value, I therefore consider myself created by you, to be your disciple, and in sum, to be all yours.” One can imagine Daniele and Tibaldi expressing themselves in similar language, even as they and Perino worked in ways that went well beyond the relatively straightforward Vasarian scenario of the continuation of excellence through reverent imitation. While thinking about artistic genealogies in the early modern period was teleological, I use the term “genealogy” to describe a series of ideological and self-defining positions taken in relation to given (art-)historical situations through which artists retroactively constructed their own past.

Cinquecento notions about the relationship between the artist and the work shaped thinking about artistic genealogies. Leonardo da Vinci wrote that “each painter paints himself.” To him auto-mimesis was a weakness that had to be overcome, but during the sixteenth century it became increasingly common to see pictorial style as spontaneous self-expression, with direct bearing on the mental makeup, physical appearance, and comportment of its maker. Such thinking about relationships between artist and work coincided with the appearance of the self-conscious, self-referential, and highly stylized art known as Mannerism. With the death of Raphael, his pupils Giulio Romano and Perino del Vaga both explored a maniera that was graceful, seductive, and in all respects Raphaelesque, and both went on to become artist-courtiers no less successful than their former master. In Rome before the Sack of 1527, it was said of the young Parmigianino that Raphael’s soul had entered his body. The saying flourished, Giorgio Vasari tells us, because he appeared to follow the late artist not only in his art but also in his habits, as if these were two sides of the same coin. Parmigianino’s intense study of Raphael while in Rome suggests that he premeditated his own reputation. In Rome in the 1520s, imitation had become the means of an idealization of the self in the image of another artist, whose exemplarity could be seen reproduced in the art and persona of the follower. The imitators’ claims of a profound spiritual concordance did not preclude emulation. Parmigianino, for instance, might even be said to have surpassed Raphael with respect to grace.

It would be difficult to find an artist active in central Italy who did not on some occasion incorporate Michelangelo’s art. The kind of imitation examined here, though, is demonstrative in kind, and often polemical. Artists who in different ways aimed at reflecting Michelangelo on a profound level, even when irony and ambivalence were the preferred modes of expression, included Daniele da Volterra, Pellegrino Tibaldi, Marco Pino, Battista Franco, and Girolamo Muziano. These artists took Michelangelo for their major point of reference, against which each played out his maniera. Raphael was of course Michelangelo’s first great imitator, which raises the question of what the difference was between his approach to imitation and that of the Mannerists who came into maturity in Rome after his death. When Raphael, in the frescoes in San Agostino and Santa Maria della Pace, imitated the Sistine ceiling, he seamlessly incorporated Michelangelo’s grandeur and monumentality into his own facile maniera. As in his imitations of Perugino and Leonardo da Vinci, he mastered and subsumed the model into the fabric of his art. In the first bay of the Vatican loggia, the painter based his God the Father on that of Michelangelo in the nearby chapel, the undersides of God’s feet and his powerful buttocks surely revealing Michelangelo’s reading of Exodus 33:23 (figs. 3–4). In doing so he accommodated the source to his own style, less terribile but more gentle, and thereby paid tribute to Michelangelo’s representations of the older, forceful male body. The rest of the protagonists of the loggia do not have this kind of relationship to the Sistine ceiling, and within the economy of the work the imitation after Michelangelo’s scenes from Genesis is local, limited to the first bay. One might here compare Raphael’s approach to the Sistine ceiling with his use of ancient statues for individual painted figures, chosen, like Michelangelo’s God the Father, according to their beauty and decorum. Raphael’s imitations of Michelangelo, both regarding particular figures and broader appropriations of stylistic features, were transparent, but the success of the images did not rely on their recognition. But while Raphael often used art to hide art, the attention-seeking Mannerist imitations self-reflexively generated their own discourse, which might or might not have an obvious relationship to the other functions of a given image.

Imitation and Art History

The modernist rehabilitation of Mannerism pioneered by Walter Friedlaender and Heinrich Voss did not look fondly on Mannerism’s imitative aspect (just as this was played down in the early twentieth-century positive reevaluation of Seicento painting in favor of an unmediated naturalism against notions of eclecticism), presumably because of its associations with the state-sponsored painting of their own day. The Tuscan-Roman Mannerists were, after all, the first to claim as canonical the masters upon which the late academic tradition saw itself based. In John Shearman’s influential thesis from the 1960s of a “stylish style,” imitation served little more than a rarefied formalism in works that had unknowingly violated the happy union of form and content of the High Renaissance. Mannerist imitation, on the other hand, proved attractive to Arnold Hauser, who saw in the artists’ flooding of their images with the works of others an alienation between artist and work following socioreligious crises and early capitalist economics. This reading has since been challenged on historical grounds. At the end of the 1970s, Hessel Miedema published the first specialized study of the Mannerist pictorial quotation, though his reading of the importing of an “original” meaning from one image into another is too simple and does not account for displacements and irony. Writing about Bronzino, Stephen Campbell argues that the suppression of an artistic self through imitation could be a mere guise permitting the articulation of what for political reasons could not be expressed otherwise. None of the three artists considered in the present book were involved in a subtle critique of their secular and ecclesiastical employers, but the idea that an overidentification with another artist’s pictorial idiom could be simultaneously reverent and polemical is productive.

By the 1980s, scholars of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century painting had begun to consider Harold Bloom’s work of 1973 on the literary anxiety of influence. Bloom is now also cited by students of early modern painting, but it is worth noticing that to the critic, influence in the pre-Romantic period was generous and not anxiety-provoking. In a study published a decade after Bloom’s, Thomas Greene came to different conclusions regarding the relationships between Renaissance poets and their literary past by focusing on the humanists’ recognition of a radical difference between the pagan antiquity they were engaging with and the Christian culture of their own day. “The discovery of the ancient world imposed enormous anxiety upon the humanist Renaissance, but its living poetry represents a series of victories over anxiety, based upon a courage that confronts the model without neurotic paralysis and uses the anxiety to discover selfhood. The relationship to the subtext is deliberately and lucidly written into the poem as a visible and acknowledged construct.” Imitations in the works of the artists discussed here can well be seen as sharing in that transparency, and the different versions of selfhood that emerge from the works of Perino, Daniele, and Tibaldi came into being through the imitation of art. Unlike the humanists, Mannerist painters experienced belatedness in relation not to a remote pagan past but to their recently deceased teachers and, in Michelangelo’s case, to a living present: he remained an active force almost to the time of his death at the age of eighty-nine, something which presented his imitators with very different issues than those faced by the humanists. This could well have brought with it its own (pre-Romantic) anxiety. Significantly, the imitations after him considered in this study went well beyond Vasari’s relatively straightforward scenario of the continuation of perfections.

The study of pictorial sources and shared motifs is among the most common approaches to Cinquecento art. By far the majority of these writings remain tied to the concept of influence, which by definition indicates a recipient yielding to something coming from the outside. If the aim of inquiry is limited to the purely descriptive and to establishing chronology and attributions, this may not (though it very well might) be an obstacle. Otherwise the project is flawed because, as Michael Baxandall among others has pointed out, it takes agency away from the artist. Making a comparison to a game of snooker, with one ball touching many others and leaving the field changed, he described the way in which effective imitation did something to the imitated works and, in a way, “wrote” its own history. Baxandall’s observations have not, however, had much effect on scholarship on Italian Mannerism, here exemplified by a recent study. Francis Ames-Lewis and Paul Joannides, the editors of Michelangelo’s Effect on Art and Artists in the Sixteenth Century, define Michelangelism as influence and claim that “Michelangelo’s effect on sixteenth-century art has been closely considered from a theoretical point of view.” I would argue the opposite.

Imitation has played an important part in theoretical studies of Seicento painting. Recently, some scholars have begun to consider the art of the preceding century in a similar light. In the tradition of Eugenio Battisti and Raensselaer Lee, Klaus Irle ambitiously considers works of art and artistic writing in the light of ancient and early modern poetics. Our paths split when it comes to interpreting images, but I follow his assumption that imitation after other artists could be a means to shaping an artistic persona in the image of predecessors. Walter Melion’s writings on Hendrick Goltzius’s “Protean” virtue, the engraver transforming himself effectively into the artists whose works he reproduced, have been inspirational, and so has Tom Nichols’s work on Tintoretto’s insertion of himself in a canon of Venetian painting through a deeply ambivalent relationship to Titian. Tristan Weddigen considers Federico Zuccaro’s Michelangelism not only in formal terms but also as a certain ideal of license associated with Michelangelo that permitted a foregrounding of artistic subjectivity. Imitation in the “negative” is considered by Campbell in the case of Rosso Fiorentino, who, beginning in the 1520s, produced one of the first sustained critical engagements with Michelangelo. Campbell argues that Rosso, rejecting the possibility of a divine impetus behind artistic making, took necromancy as a metaphor for the animation of represented bodies that were subject to decay, sexual passions, and violence. In doing so he parodied any flattering comparison between human art and the deus artifex. The artists considered here were too enamored of the works of their predecessors and the benefits of imitation to resort to such an approach. If Rosso’s art was parodic, Perino and Tibaldi applied a more palatable and ambiguous irony appealing to their courtly audiences. Regarding sculpture, Catherine Soussloff points out that Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s biographers constructed an image of him as the Michelangelo of the new century. But whereas she is concerned with the artistic literature, my interest in such texts lies predominantly in the way in which they formulate historically relevant questions regarding artistic practice. Michael Cole calls attention to symbolic reversals in the imitation of Michelangelo where one might have least expected them, in sculpture produced by members of the Florentine Accademia del Disegno.

A few words must be said about the idea of a decline in later Cinquecento painting, because this decline has been particularly identified with the presence of Michelangelo. By the 1580s, the Carracci in Bologna, like many others to follow, had come to consider the notion of a continuation of excellences through the imitation of the disegno of Rome and Tuscany a theoretical dead end that had contributed to a decline of painting. To the first generations of Baroque painters and their critics, later Cinquecento painting that prioritized the study of art instead of nature had become too idealized and lacking in greatness. By using the term michelangiolisti in their written commentaries on Vasari, the Carracci expressed their opinion of the maniera statuina, a servile painterly style resembling little tinted statues rather than living nature. It would be anachronistic, though, to view the entire spectrum of Mannerist painting according to points of view formulated at the end of the century.

By the later nineteenth century, the critical reputation of much Mannerist painting was at its absolute lowest. In Die klassische Kunst (1898), Heinrich Wölfflin ended a chapter on Michelangelo with a note on the decline that followed the widespread imitation of the artist, which Wölfflin linked to a general spiritual crisis in Italian society. Michelangelo was not to blame, but “his effect was terrible.” Regarding Tibaldi, whom the Carracci admiringly imitated and whom Agostino praised as exemplary of decorum, and his early Adoration of the Shepherds (fig. 5), Wölfflin wrote, “When Pellegrino Tibaldi had to paint the farmers coming in from the fields to adore the child he mixed up everything: bodies of athletes, sibyls, and angels of the Last Judgment. Each movement is forced and the whole is composed in a ridiculous way. The picture appears as a mockery, and yet Tibaldi is among the best and most earnest.” Few today would insist on the decline theory, and yet it continues to rear its head in writings by prominent scholars. If Raphael’s “large studio produced only one great successor, namely Giulio Romano,” then Polidoro da Caravaggio and Perino del Vaga must necessarily be regarded as minor artists, unworthy of serious scholarly attention beyond studies of attribution and chronology tied to the interests of museums and the art market. Moreover, Tibaldi’s Adoration of the Shepherds has recently been characterized in terms that evoke Wölfflin’s harsh judgment a century earlier, while another scholar claims that due to their low quality Tibaldi’s Bolognese masterpieces can barely hold up to stylistic criticism. The reductionism of such statements aside, my real objections are that once an artist has been deemed mediocre by the art historian, serious thinking about the reasons for a given society’s fascination with the artist’s work is precluded.

The particular focus of my study has structured the selection of the works, and I have excluded several monuments that are still awaiting their critical due beyond descriptive formalist analysis. In the case of Perino this involves the early decorations in the Palazzo Melchiorre Baldassini in Rome, the majority of his altarpieces, and his most grandiloquent work, the sculpted ceiling of the Sala Regia, none of which speak to any noteworthy degree about his imitation of Michelangelo. In the case of Daniele no works are considered predating the mid-1540s, nor the few works he produced after that date in which the relationship to Michelangelo played no part, such as the landscapes added to Raphael’s loggia or the ceiling ornaments in the Lateran Basilica. Limitations of space made me exclude the frieze in the Palazzo Farnese, a number of his single paintings, and the vault of the Vatican Sala della Cleopatra, though all of these works could well have been included in the present narrative. With respect to Tibaldi’s imitation of Michelangelo, his works for Giovanni Poggi supersede his later production in terms of complexity and audacity. Hence I have limited the analyses to the Bolognese monuments. By the 1560s Tibaldi turned primarily to architecture and did not work exclusively as a painter until he took up residence at the Escorial (1586–96).The imitation of Michelangelo is the overarching theme of this book, but the works examined reveal other historical concerns of too great interest not to explore.

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