Flavia De Nicola deposited Nuove acquisizioni sulla prima attività romana di Michelangelo Buonarroti connessa con l’Umanesimo dei Pomponiani in the group Italian Art Society on Humanities Commons 2 years, 6 months ago
Young Michelangelo Buonarroti’s experience was deeply marked by his cult of Antiquity, reverberated in the creation of artworks such as the Sleeping Cupid and the Bacchus and shared with Raffaele Riario and Jacopo Galli, his patrons during his first stay in Rome (1496-1501).
The cardinal-camerlengo Raffaele Riario was an important promoter of the cultural challenge lead by the humanist Giulio Pomponio Leto, founder of the Roman Academy, and his followers: to arouse the glory and the forms of the antique theatre in Christian Rome also through the actual staging of dramas in Latin. The Bacchus, commissioned by the cardinal as inventor and protector of dramatics, was probably meant to be part of a well-planned figurative set constituted by antique statues which alluded to performances arts, set up in the courtyard of his new palace under construction, also intended as a scenic space.
Therefore, it is still necessary to re-evaluate the genesis and the essence of Michelangelo’s artworks, which took life from the Ancient and Renaissance literary and philosophical sources cultivated by the artist as also fostered by the Pomponians. The recognition of a reference to the ancient religious ritual of the Dionysian dance in the posture of the Bacchus, for example, is supported by its possible comparison with the figure of the musician in the lost painting by Luca Signorelli, the Education or Kingdom of Pan, executed for the Medici around 1490. It could be also reconsidered, in the historical context of the conflictual condition documented between the cardinal Riario and pope Alexander VI, the so-called “refusal” of the Bacchus caused by the intention to conceal those antiquarian contents of the artwork as they belonged to a sphere which was already judged as subversive and they could then become the suitable excuse to justify the aspire of the Borgias to the cardinal’s properties.