Carmen C. Bambach, curator of drawings and prints, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. A fortuitous rediscovery of documents in the Florentine state archive that have been greatly misjudged in the past led to a reevaluation and affirmation of the central importance of Giuliano de’ Medici (1479-1516) as a patron of the arts. Giuliano, the overshadowed son of Lorenzo de’ Medici “The Magnificent” and brother of Pope Leo X, became Duke of Nemours on his marriage in January 1515. He touched the careers of Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo, the latter of whom immortalized the duke posthumously in the marble sculpture of his tomb in the Medici Chapel, San Lorenzo, Florence. He was the generous, carefree patron of uomini ingegnosi (brilliant men), whom he lavishly maintained in his household, according to the first-hand account of Francesco Vettori, brother to the duke’s maiordomo. In homage to Professor Sydney J. Freedberg who published a book entitled Circa 1600, this talk takes a close look at the year circa 1515 in the careers of these famous artists and their patron.
Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art
The Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art features distinguished scholars presenting original research. This annual lecture series offered by the National Gallery of Art began in 1997 and is named after the great specialist of Italian art Sydney J. Freedberg (1914–1997). Professor Freedberg earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1940, where he taught for 29 years until he was appointed chief curator of the National Gallery of Art in 1983.
Sydney J. Freedberg, Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Fine Arts, and acting director, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University. At the time of the exhibition Prints and Related Drawings by the Carracci Family, on view from March 18 to May 20, 1979, at the National Gallery of Art, Sydney J. Freedberg presented his observations on Lodovico Carracci (1555-1619), the oldest of the family of Bolognese artists that included cousins Agostino (1557-1602) and Annibale (1560-1609). Together the Carracci profoundly altered the course of Italian art in the later years of the 16th century and laid the basis for the baroque style that would dominate the century to come. In this lecture recorded on April 8, 1979, Freedberg opposes the perception of Lodovico as a flawed artist outdistanced by his younger cousins. Providing a more comprehensive account, Freedberg argues that the artist's expressive capacity- seen in his sensuous handling of paint, powerful evocations of form, and innovative chiaroscuro- was both his strength and defect.
Carl Brandon Strehlke, adjunct curator, John G. Johnson Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art. In 1895 Bernard Berenson (1865-1959), American art historian and connoisseur, published a long-awaited monograph on Renaissance painter Lorenzo Lotto; it was Berenson's first statement about the then relatively new science of connoisseurship. Toward the end of his life Berenson remembered that since writing that book, in which he had tried to regulate every knowable mood of an artist, he had almost never again "taken creative interest in the private, biological, and sociological lives of painters." As part of the Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art series, recorded on November 13, 2011, at the National Gallery of Art, Carl Brandon Strehlke explores why Berenson selected Lotto as an artist and as a subject for a study that he described as "an essay in constructive art criticism."
Kathleen Weil-Garris Brandt, professor, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University Little is known about the formative years of Michelangelo's career. Professor Kathleen Weil-Garris Brandt discusses the myths of Michelangelo's early life generated by his biographical authors. Citing Vasari and Condivi's narratives, Professor Brandt tracks Michelangelo's professional infancy, revealing cover-ups of the setbacks, mistakes, and failures that plagued his early artistic career. Rather than deceitful omissions, Professor Brandt thinks of them "like other myths, as narratives reconstructed in each epoch to serve their narrators." Recorded on November 23, 1997, at the National Gallery of Art, this program is the inaugural lecture in the Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art series.