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Sandro Botticelli’s the Calumny of Apelles, Annotated Bibliography Example

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Annotated Bibliography

Rudolph Altrocchi. “The Calumny of Apelles in the Literature of the Quattrocento.” Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, 36, 3, (1921): 454-491.

Altrocchi attempts to determine the possible themes of the painting through a new visitation of classical sources which dated the work and placed it within a larger cultural framework. The customary legend states that, as a celebrated painter, the painting’s subject, Apelles, was accused of supporting a revolt, and was eventually cleared of the allegations. Each of the supporting figures plays an allegorical role in the moral balance of the dilemma. According to the author, the early criticisms were often available only in limited editions which needed to be translated correctly to be useful. Altrocchi’s closer inspection of the sources of information regarding.

Barbara Deimling and Sandro Botticellli. Botticelli: Taschen. (1994).

Deimling looks into the background of Botticelli and how his development as an artist overlapped with the changing religious philosophies and the increased emphasis upon symbolism as they entered the Renaissance, using stillness and movement and the depiction of light to draw attention to focus within the painting. His usage of colors draws elements of his detailed artistry into either the foreground or background, as necessary. Botticelli also uniquely manipulated actuality with common support elements which mirrored arches or the position of a focal figure, and more often than not his paintings centered on a human figure, if only as a symbolic form. Deimling offers many similar insights regarding Botticelli’s style and relevance within the broader scope.

John Gage. “A Locus Classicus of Colour Theory: The Fortunes of Apelles”, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes , 44 (1981): 1-26.

Gage presents The Calumny of Apelles as one of the earliest examples of satire. At the time during which Botticelli painted, the limited palette of this painting seemed to dull its impact, but later artists adopted it as a classical example of four-color theory. Gage also connects this movement to the common Renaissance belief in the four ‘humors’ of the blood, and the symbolic color encoding of each of the robed representative characters. Nonetheless, Gage explores the techniques of Apelles which Botticelli exploits to greaten the likeness to the subject’s original works.

Christiane L. Joost-Gaugier. “Ptolemy and Strabo and Their Conversations with Apelles and Protogenes: Cosmography and Painting in Raphael’s School of Athens.” The university of Chicago Press, (1998): 761-787

Indirectly, Joost-Gaugier reveals another possible motivation for Botticelli’s symbolic and technical choices for the composition of The Calumny of Apelles. The author illuminates an ancient competition of Apelles which may have inspired Botticelli to undertake his own personal quest to pay homage to Apelles both with the symbolic subject matter of the work and with the stylistic and color choices.

Marina Warner. Monuments & Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. (1985).

Warner frequently connects Botticelli’s works and The Calumny of Apelles in particular to specific themes which may have emerged at least in part from the painter’s personal life and professional influences. The author claims that this painting veiled a defense of Savonorola, whose moral and political persecution Botticelli sympathized with. In contrast to his most famous works, Calumny rests against an architectural background. The author implies that the muted colors and dry background reveal his hardened view of politics and public opinion. Warner draws particularly keen notice to minute details, such as Botticelli’s shame about nudes in Calumny.

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