JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
Yes, yes, I know this isn't the work of the beautiful Paolo Uccello, but it does remind me of his Battle of San Romano (ca. 1435, and 60 sq ft of brilliance) one of the great works by one of the leading early Renaissance artists. It is the spears, which is about the first thing that I see in Uccello--that and of course the horse rumps, which are part of the issue in William Gaddis' great American novel, The Recognitions, in which he discusses the famous "solids in Uccello". And he's right--there is little or no detail in some big splashes of color, as in the horses. Big, solid, colors--what in the world was Uccello thinking about using those great blocks, nearly 600 years ago?
This is a detail from the larger three-section image (below) which is itself a small detail from the 20-section whole of one of the most famous festival books of the mid-Renaissance, this the work of Nicolaus Hogenberg (c.1500-1539). Gratae et laboribus aequae posteritati. Caesareas sanctique patris longo ordine turmas aspice. The original was published in 1540 and excessively rare (very valuable) in the first and second editions--my copies come from much later, int he late 19th century. That said, it is at least a thrill to have them right there in front of you, in their great massiveness.
- [ The full original work can be seen at the British Library collection of Festival Books, the Coronation of Charles V http://special-1.bl.uk/treasures/festivalbooks/pageview.aspx?strFest=0086&strPage=049&print=1]
And the Battle of San Romano that I'm dreaming of:
[Source: the National Gallery, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/articulate/projects/bf/bf_painting.html]