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"Poussin, the Gasc Pendants and the Navis Ecclesiae:
A Case of Iconographic Attribution"



Article by Prof. Anthony Colantuono


Professor, Art in Seventeenth-Century Italy, France and Spain, and Director of Graduate Studies, Art History and Archaeology, Doctor of philosophy
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND

World-renowned art historian, specialist in Early Modern Italian Art History, history of modern art from the beginning of the Italian Renaissance to classicism, Professor Colantuono has received numerous grants and awards for his research, including the Two-year pre-doctoral "Rome Prize" at the American Academy in Rome (1983-85), the Robert Lehman Fellowship at Villa I Tatti (the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies (2002-03), Florence, Italy) and two NEH scholarships (summer 1990 and calendar year 2004).
Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park in the Department of Art History and Archaeology, his work deals with issues of interpretation, criticism, and theory in painting and sculpture, with an emphasis particular on the interplay of literary and pictorial theories and the technologies of visual rhetoric.
His books include Guido Reni's Abduction of Helen (1997), exploring the role of Reni's famous painting and other works such as instruments of diplomatic communication in the context of the Thirty Years' War; Titian, Colonna and the Renaissance Science of Procreation: Equicola's Season of Desire (2010), which shows that Titian's famous mytho-poetic paintings for the camerino of Duke Alfonso I d'Este of Ferrara (c. 1511-25) and the romance Franceso Colonna's literary work entitled Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (1499) were both intended as pedagogical allegories whose purpose was to instruct the reader/viewer in the pseudo-Aristotelian theory of "libidinal seasons" and the art of successful procreation. There is also a volume of essays, Critical Perspectives on Roman Baroque Sculpture (2014), co-edited with Professor Steven Ostrow (University of Minnesota), which deals with issues of interpretation and criticism of seventeenth-century sculpture.
His books, like his numerous articles and essays, including INTERPRETER POUSSIN METAPHORE SIMILARITE ET MANIERA MAGNIFICA, COMMEMORATING POUSSIN: reception and interpretation of the artist cover a wide range of subjects, in particular the rhetorical and logical structure pictorial concepts with Nicolas Poussin, an area in which Professor Colantuono has become a referent.
In recent years, much work has been devoted to a deeper investigation of the critical and theoretical foundations of Poussin's work by such prestigious scholars as Marc Fumaroli, Louis Marin, Elizabeth Cropper and, among the younger generation, Professor Colantuono.

Professor Colantuono’s article: Poussin, the Gasc Pendants and the Navis Ecclesiae: A Case of ‘Iconographic Attribution’ is exclusively on lesecretdepoussin.com


Iconographic source of the paintings
Iconographic source of the paintings : Navis ecclesiam referentis symbolum in veteri gemma annulari insculptum - Author Girolamo Aleandro


 

ABSTRACT

A pair of seventeenth-century European pendants representing Jonah and the Sea Monster and Christ Calming the Seas remainunattributed, but their design and coloring recall the early works of the great French master Nicolas Poussin. I demonstrate that the unknown painter’s iconographic argument also recalls Poussin’s mode of symbolic discourse. Poussin is not known to have produced seascapes of this kind, but the Gasc pendants may constitute evidence that he had played a previously unknown role in the development of the marine painting genre. The existence of a closely related Jonah composition by Poussin’s brother-in-law, Gaspard Dughet, underscores this possibility. While the artist’s pairing of Jonah and Christ is standard in exegetical typology, he has developed this commonplace into a novel Baroque concetto, in which the ships of Jonah and Christ are likened to the eternal ship of the Church. This conceit may also imply that the Church was somehow know even to the pagan world, reflecting the artist’s knowledge of an antiquarian discourse on the same topic—the NavisEcclesiae—published in 1626 by the Jesuit Girolamo Aleandro. The Younger, whose scholarship is known to have inspired some of Poussin’s iconographic inventions. Read the article