Синьорелли Лука (итал. Luca Signorelli; 1445(50?) — 16 октября 1523) — итальянский живописец эпохи раннего Возрождения.
Родился и умер в Кортоне, в связи с чем некоторые источники называют его Лука из Кортоны. Ученик Пьеро делла Франческа, он испытал также влияние искусства Флоренции (Антонио Поллайоло). Увлёкся изучением анатомического строения человеческого тела. Работал во многих городах Средней Италии.
В 1481—1482 принимал участие в декорировке Сикстинской капеллы в Риме, написав фреску «Смерть Моисея».
Часто бывал во Флоренции, в 1490 написал для Лоренцо Великолепного картину «Воспитание Пана».
Italian painter from Cortona, active in various cities of central Italy, notably Arezzo, Florence, Orvieto, Perugia, and Rome. According to Vasari, Signorelli was a pupil of Piero della Francesca and this seems highly probable on stylistic grounds, for his solid figures and sensitive handling of light echo the work of the master. Signorelli differed from Piero, however, in his interest in the representation of action, which put him in line with contemporary Florentine artists such as the Pollaiuolo brothers. The Scourging of Christ (c. 1480), a signed processional banner for the church of S. Maria del Mercato at Fabriano, reveals his developed handling of anatomy.
He must have had a considerable reputation by about 1483, when he was called on to complete the cycle of frescoes on the walls of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, left unfinished by Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Perugino, and Rosselli. (Its is not known why these four artists abandoned the work in 1482, but it has been suggested that they simply downed tools because of slow payment.) Signorelli completed the scheme with distinction, but his finest works are in Orvieto Cathedral, where he painted a magnificent series of six frescoes illustrating the end of the world and the Last Judgement (1499-1504).
In the grand and dramatic scenes in Orvieto, inspired by the Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, he displayed a mastery of the nude in a wide variety of poses surpassed at that time only by Michelangelo. Vasari says that "Luca's works were highly praised by Michelangelo" and several instances of close similarity between the work of the two men can be cited; perhaps the most interesting is the enigmatic seated nude youth in Signorelli's Last Acts and Death of Moses in the Sistine Chapel, which is remarkably close to some of the Ignudi painted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the chapel a quarter of a century later.
By the end of his career, however, Luca had become a conservative artist, working in provincial Cortona, where his large workshop produced numerous altarpieces.
Signorelli respected the terms of the contract and worked at such a speed that even the Cathedral administrators must have been surprised. A year after the contract was signed, on 23 April 1500, the ceiling frescoes were finished and he was able to show his patrons his drawings for the side wall frescoes. The contract for these further paintings was signed a few days,later: he was to be paid 575 ducats for this second part. In 1502 the fresco cycle was certainly finished, although further payments to Signorelli are recorded as late as 1504.
In only three years, from 1499 to 1502, the decoration was planned and executed, with a speed and efficiency that is practically unique in the history of Italian art. As far as the subject matter is concerned, it is one of the most important subjects of Christian iconography. It is likely that for the ceiling frescoes (the groups of Apostles, Angels, Prophets, Patriarchs, Doctors of the Church, Martyrs and Virgins) Signorelli simply completed the programme that had originally been devised by Fra Angelico. But the frescoes on the side walls, although the basic subject would have been planned in accordance with the Cathedral's administrators and theologians, are wholly the product of Signorelli's fertile imagination. The side walls are covered with seven large scenes:
the Sermon and Deeds of the Antichrist,
the Destruction of the World,
the Resurrection of the Flesh,
The lower part of the walls is decorated with grotesque patterns and with busts of philosophers and poets alongside monochromes commenting their works, as well as illustrations from the Divine Comedy. The overall decoration is completed in the jambs of the windows and in the small chapel on the far wall by the figures of Archangels Raphael (with Tobias), Gabriel and Michael (weighing souls and subjugating the devil), by Bishop Saints Brizio and Constant, and the Lamentation over the Dead Christ with Saints Parenzo and Faustino.
1. It is quite likely that the Deeds of the Antichrist is intended as a reference to Savonarola, the Dominican friar hanged and burnt at the stake in Florence on 23 May 1498. In a 'Papist' city like Urbino, and in the case of an artist like Signorelli who had been a Medici protйgй and who thought of himself basically as a victim of persecution from the Florentine democratic government (a fact we learn from Michelangelo), this identification of Savonarola with the Antichrist is very plausible; it is also supported by a famous passage in Marsilio Ficino's Apologia, published in 1498, where the Ferrarese monk is again identified as the false prophet.
There is no doubt that Signorelli has given us a very convincing portrayal of the sinister and mysterious atmosphere evoked in the prophecies of the Gospels in the huge fresco showing the Sermon and Deeds of the Antichrist. Against a vast and desolate background, dominated on the right by an unusually large classical building, depicted in distorted perspective, the false prophet is shown disseminating his lies and spreading his message of destruction. He has the features of Christ, but it is Satan (portrayed behind him) who tells him what to say. The people around him, who have piled up gifts at the foot of his throne, have clearly already been corrupted by the iniquities the Gospel has warned us of. And, starting from the left, we have a description of a brutal massacre, followed by a young woman selling her body to an old merchant, and then more aggressive and evil-looking men. In the background of this scene all sorts of horrors and miraculous events are taking place. The Antichrist orders people to be executed and even resurrects a man, while a group of clerics, huddled together like a fortified citadel, resist the devil's temptations by praying. Lastly, to the left, Signorelli shows us how the age of the Antichrist is rapidly reaching its inevitable epilogue, with the false prophet being hurled down from the heavens by the Angel and all his followers being defeated and destroyed by the wrath of God.
That this scene is the masterpiece of the whole cycle (at least in terms of originality of invention and evocation of fantastic imagery) even Signorelli himself must have realized, and he has placed himself, together with a monk (traditionally identified as Fra Angelico) on the lefthand side of the composition.
2 According to the prediction in the Scriptures, the deeds of the Antichrist take place immediately before the end of the world, in those last days when 'the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken' (Mark, 13: 24-25).
For his description of the end of the world the artist had to make do with the narrow spaces on either side of the entrance door to the chapel. He was thus forced to divide the scene into two narrative sections. To the right he describes the first signs of the Apocalypse, which has been the object of prophecies since earliest times. In the foreground, in the lower part of the painting, he has shown King David and the Sibyl, as witnesses of Dies Irae. The stars go pale, fires and earthquakes sweep the earth, war and murder spread throughout the world. The lefthand section recounts the epilogue of this preannounced catastrophe. Demons looking like monstrous bats soar through the darkened sky, showering earth with flaming arrows; the last survivors fall under their shots, piling up on top of each other like broken dolls.
3 The account of the Apocalypse then continues with three large scenes, the Resurrection of the Flesh, the Damned and the Elect, and two smaller ones on either side of the chapel's window, Paradise and Hell.
It is primarily in this section of the fresco cycle that Signorelli has given free rein to his inventive genius. An inventiveness that, as Berenson said, made him one of the greatest of modern illustrators, and thanks to which his art is still an extremely important part of our figurative heritage. Despite the rhetorical devices, the theatrical ruses and the occasional contrived details, despite the limitations in his draughtsmanship and use of colour recognized by all modern critics, there is no denying that never before in Italian art had figurative ideas of such unforgettable power been used. Viewed all together the huge frescoes in the Orvieto chapel give an impression of overcrowding and of confusion which is far from pleasing. We have to isolate the individual details in order to grasp the greatness of Signorelli the 'illustrator' and the 'inventor' and therefore justify Berenson's statement. See, for example, in the Resurrection of the Flesh, the macabre but hilarious idea of the nude with his back to the observer who is carrying on a conversation with the skeletons; or the skulls surfacing through the cracks in the ground, who put on their bodies as though they were a costume, and become human beings once again.
4 The account of the Apocalypse continues with three large scenes, the Resurrection of the Flesh, the Damned and the Elect, and two smaller ones on either side of the chapel's window, Paradise and Hell.
It is primarily in this section of the fresco cycle that Signorelli has given free rein to his inventive genius. An inventiveness that, as Berenson said, made him one of the greatest of modern illustrators, and thanks to which his art is still an extremely important part of our figurative heritage. Despite the rhetorical devices, the theatrical ruses and the occasional contrived details, despite the limitations in his draughtsmanship and use of colour recognized by all modern critics, there is no denying that never before in Italian art had figurative ideas of such unforgettable power been used. Viewed all together the huge frescoes in the Orvieto chapel give an impression of overcrowding and of confusion which is far from pleasing. We have to isolate the individual details in order to grasp the greatness of Signorelli the 'illustrator' and the 'inventor' and therefore justify Berenson's statement.
Signorelli's fresco cycle in Orvieto is full of humor, grotesque inventions, erotic allusions and ribald jokes. There is no need to refer to the profane spirit of the Renaissance to explain this. On the contrary, these scenes fit in very well with the idea of the Cathedral as theatrum mundi, as the mirror image of the whole universe, and they are fully in the spirit of the religious plays of the time. Basically, neither Signorelli nor his patrons wanted to do without the enjoyment provided by story-telling, a typically Italian style based on humorous and imaginative details. But this in no way invalidates the dogmatic truth of the prophecies relating to the end of the world, which, especially in those turbulent years, really came across as a terrifying threat. It becomes quite understandable that Michelangelo would have been really interested in these Orvieto frescoes. But he in no way imitated Luca's work , (as Vasari would have us believe), for the spirituality and the moral content of the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel have absolutely nothing in common with the theatrical representation in Orvieto. Michelangelo perhaps found in Signorelli's frescoes a useful iconographical repertory, a catalogue of surprising and unusual inventions.
In any case the parts of the fresco cycle that would have attracted Michelangelo's curiosity most would certainly have been the scenes with devils and other imaginary figures, those scenes that were best suited to Signorelli's eccentric temperament, to his irony and macabre humour.
5 There is no doubt that Luca Signorelli's portrayal of the Elect is far less convincing than his fresco of the Damned. Despite his extremely accurate studies of the human body, his depiction of Paradise is no more than a conventional catalogue of good sentiments and the overall effect is one of unmitigated dullness. The same is true of the pair of frescoes depicting the Elect being called to Paradise and the Damned being plunged into Hell
6 In this scene nine angels show to the blessed the way to Heaven.
The scene of the Damned is constructed around the visionary, almost surrealistic, idea of these crowds of naked figures jostling for space along the banks of the Acheron.
In this representation, at the foot of two big mountains, along the shore of the Acheron, a devil with a white banner leads a group of damned. Other damned are in despair since they see Charon's boat getting near. Below there is Minos punishing a damned man. Above, two angels, one wearing a breast-plate and the other covered with veils, are watching the scene.
1 The panel of the Lamentation in its original arrangement, mounted in an antique frame with pillars in which were represented seven saints, once enriched the scenography of the high altar of the ancient church of St Margaret in Cortona. This was surely admired by Pope Leo X when, during a stop on his way to Bologna to meet Francis I of France, he visited the church in 1515. In the second half of the 1700s the painting was moved, deprived of its frame, and finally placed in the choir of the cathedral of its origin.
The Lamentation, a work done entirely the artist alone, reveals all the poetry of the painter even in the context of an unrefined style which may seem declamatory, scenic and rhetorical. In the predella that Signorelli probably painted with the help of his assistant, Gerolamo Genga, four scenes from the Passion of Christ are represented: The Prayer in the Garden; The Last Supper; The Capture; The Flagellation.
2 Luca Signorelli probably joined the team of the four painters (Perugino, Botticelli, Cosimo Rosselli and Ghirlandaio) who were commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV to decorate the walls of the Sistine Chapel by the suggestion of Perugino. Vasari implies that it was Sixtus IV who summoned Signorelli to work in competition with the other painters in his palace chapel. The fresco containing the last scenes from the life of Moses was attributed by Vasari to Luca Signorelli and Bartolomeo della Gatta. However, the question of authorship of this painting is unsettled.
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