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Subject[ edit ] Perfidy, the victim, Calumny, Fraud and Rancour The figures are either personifications of vices or virtues, or in the case of the king and victim, of the roles of the powerful and the powerless. From left to right, they represent with alternative names : Truth, nude and pointing upwards to Heaven; Repentance in black; Perfidy Conspiracy in red and yellow, over the innocent half-naked victim on the floor, who is being pulled forward by the hair by Calumny Slander , in white and blue and holding a flaming torch.
The king extends his hand towards Calumny, but his eyes look down so that he cannot see the scene. Near him, on one side, stand two women—Ignorance and Suspicion. On the other side, Slander is coming up, a woman beautiful beyond measure, but full of malignant passion and excitement, evincing as she does fury and wrath by carrying in her left hand a blazing torch and with the other dragging by the hair a young man who stretches out his hands to heaven and calls the gods to witness his innocence.
She is conducted by a pale ugly man who has a piercing eye and looks as if he had wasted away in long illness; he represents envy. There are two women in attendance to Slander, one is Fraud and the other Conspiracy. They are followed by a woman dressed in deep mourning, with black clothes all in tatters—she is Repentance.
At all events, she is turning back with tears in her eyes and casting a stealthy glance, full of shame, at Truth, who is slowly approaching. A richly gowned Slander or Calumny , with her hair being dressed by her attendants, is being led by her slender, robed companion. The victim she is dragging, nearly nude and with his ankles crossed as if to be crucified, raises his hands in prayer.
Apelles then expressed his resentment of the peril in which he found himself in his painting. Without any description of the setting in Lucian or Alberti, Botticelli has imagined a throne room very elaborately decorated with sculptures and reliefs of classical heroes, creatures from ancient myth, and battle scenes.
The extensive reliefs around the room contain some quotations from earlier paintings of his, including the spalliere paintings of the story of Nastalgio degli Onesti, and his Return of Judith to Betulia. The living figures contrast in style with the statues, and are all thin and elongated in a rather mannered way. The movement of the narrative action across the picture space conflicts with the strong pull of the perspective to the back of the picture space.
Vasari says that the painting had been a gift from Botticelli, so if he had intended the painting for himself, he apparently changed his mind some time later. Savonarola was excommunicated on 12 May , but continued to preach until the Florentine government pressured him to stop, ceasing on 18 March He was finally executed on 23 May Hartt notes " Why not?
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