A Self-Portrait of Greco

Author(s): Edgar Wind
Reviewed work(s):
Source: Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol. 3, No. 1/2 (Oct., 1939 - Jan.,
1940), pp. 141-142
Published by: The Warburg Institute
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/750200 .
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MISCELLANEOUS NOTES
141
turban,
is all of one facture and
together
with the sea and
ships belongs
to the late
period.
It is not
possible
to see whether
the cloud of smoke on the
left,
which is a
later addition
by Titian,
covers
anything
different.
The nude woman on the
right
is the
part
of the
picture
which has most suffered and
no sure conclusion can be drawn as to its
date,
but as far as it is
possible
to
judge
she had been
repainted
in later Titian
style.
Two dark vertical marks under the
paint
of her
thigh may perhaps
be
pentimenti,
possibly
of her left
arm;
her
right
arm
conceivably
was
originally
further across her
body,
if a dark mark which runs from the
outside of the elbow to the inside of her
wrist is a
pentimento.
Her hair seems
originally
to have stretched further down
her back.
The stone slab in front of this
figure
has
at least been
painted
over in the late
period;
the stone behind with the cross and chalice
are also later. There are
pentimenti
of
branches
right
and left of the tree im-
mediately
above the head of the nude
figure;
the broken tree on the
right perhaps
originally
extended
beyond
the
break;
the
paint
of the
sky
across its
top
is
certainly
of the late
period.
It is difficult to see at
what
period
the snakes have been
painted,
but
they
are also
probably
late and are
certainly
all of the same facture.
NEIL MACLAREN
A
SELF-PORTRAIT OF GRECO
n a recent
publication
on
Greco,1
no
less than
I6
pictures
are listed as
hypothetical self-portraits. Though
there
is no evidence whatsoever to
support any
of these
conjectures,
the
majority
of the
portraits
chosen are of a similar
type,
and
give
a fair
impression
of what Greco
ought
to have looked
like,
to
satisfy
his modern
interpreters.
His
'imaginary portrait'
is that
of an ardent
mystic,
an ecstatic
visionary,
with the noble and delicate features
(though
he was a
Greek)
of a
Spanish grandee.
It is
not
surprising,
in view of this
ideal,
that
the one
portrait
which I think has a claim
to be
regarded
as a true
self-portrait,
has
not been
recognised
or
accepted
as such
by
the
majority
of students. It shows a fat
and
sluggish,
almost
amorphous
face with
a rather morose
expression (P1. 25a).
It has
always
been known that this head
represents
a
painter;
for it concludes the
portrait group
in the lower
right
corner in
one
of the
early
versions of the
"Expulsion
from the
Temple"
where it is
joined
to the
portraits
of Titian, Michelangelo
and Clovio.2
Titian's and
Michelangelo's
faces are
easily
recognised,
and that of the third man is
exactly
the same as on Greco's
separate
portrait
of
Clovio,3
his
patron
and master.
In
company
with Titian and
Michelangelo,
Clovio's
portrait
assumes a
programmatic
significance.
To combine the colour of
Titian with the
design
of
Michelangelo
was a famous Venetian
precept
of the
period,
to which
Clovio,
who was called a
piccolo
e nuovo
Michelangelo,
was bound to
subscribe.4
Greco's
discipleship
of Clovio
was
implicitely
a
discipleship
of Titian and
Michelangelo.
What then would be more
natural than to assume that the man who
follows Clovio in the
picture
is Greco himself
who thus
assigns
to his art its
legitimate
place
in a
genealogical
line of descent.
The visual evidence confirms our
argu-
ment. The
portrait
is not
only placed
in
the
right
corner of the
picture,
like an
artist's
signature,
but it also shows a feature
characteristic of
self-portraits
: the
artificially
hidden left arm which is
really
the
right
arm
engaged
in
painting. Moreover,
the man
points
to
himself:
the
typical gesture
of
self-portraits.
No
doubt,
all these features would have
been noticed
long ago
and
correctly
inter-
preted,
had not an
eighteenth century
author
started the tradition that this
figure
is
meant to be
Raphael.5
As a true eclectic
in
the academic
style
of his
century,
he
probably
felt that where Titian and Michel-
angelo
are
assembled, Raphael ought
not
to be
missing.
But this
hypothesis
must be
rejected,
not
only
because the features of
the man have no resemblance to those of
Raphael,
but also
because,
if
Raphael
had
been
represented,
he would have been
placed
before Clovio and not behind him.
Moreover, Raphael
is an artist who-in
contradistinction to
Michelangelo,
Titian and
I
Phaidon Edition.
2
Formerly Yarborough Coll.,
now Institute of
Arts,
Minneapolis, Minn., U.S.A.
3 Naples,
Museo Nazionale.
*
Cf.
Justi,
"Die
Anfinge
des Greco" in
Zeitschrift
f. bild. Kunst, 1897.
5
Catalogue of the
Buckingham Gallery, 1758 (cf. Justi,
loc. cit.).
142 MISCELLANEOUS NOTES
Clovio--had
no influence on Greco's
style.
Curiously enough,
the
spell
of the
I8th
century
tradition was broken for a short time
by
a man who then distrusted and recanted
his better
judgment.
In an article written
in
1897,
Carl
Justi
confessed that six
years
earlier he had believed this to be a self-
portrait by Greco,
but that Hermann
Grimm convinced him that it
represented
Raphael.1
One of the
arguments
used
by
Grimm and
accepted by Justi
was that the
hand
pointing
to the man
belonged
to Clovio
and not to the man himself. But this is a
view which will
hardly
be
accepted by anyone
to-day.
E. W.
1
Op.
cit.
A POUSSIN-CASTIGLIONE
PROBLEM
CLASSICISM
AND THE
PICTURESQUE
IN
I
7TH
CENTURY ROME
The
fact that Poussin was a Frenchman
and the veneration in which he was
held in France
during
the
century
after his
death tend to make us
forget
that for the
first half of his career he was
hardly
known
in France and was
purely
a member of the
Roman school.
Though
it is true to
say
that most French
painting
of the later
17th century
is a
development
from Poussin's
mature
classicism,
if we wish to
study
the
influence of his work before his
journey
to
Paris in
1642
it is
among
the
painters
of
Rome that we must look. Nor must we
confine our attention to the
purely
classical
artists of the Roman school. Poussin's
romantic Venetian classicism2 bore fruit
most
immediately
in the work of
painters
such
as Testa who
belonged
like Poussin to the
circle of Cassiano del
Pozzo;
but
many
other
artists whose
conception
of
painting
seems
at first
sight
to be remote from that of
Poussin can be shown to have been in-
fluenced
by
his work. Of the two leaders
of the
opposing
factions in Rome in the
middle of the
17th century,
Andrea
Sacchi,
the chief of the
academics, agreed
with
Poussin on
many points
of
theory,3
and
Pietro da
Cortona,
the head of the
baroque
faction, frequently
reflects
Poussin's
style
in his more classical canvases.
There
were, however,
other Italian artists
who did
not, properly speaking, belong
to the
Roman
school,
but who
yet
came under the
spell
of Poussin when in Rome.
Among
these one of the most
interesting
cases is
Giovanni Benedetto
Castiglione,
whose re-
lation to Poussin has never been satisfact-
orily
studied.
At first
sight Castiglione
would not seem
a
likely
artist to have been affected
by
contact with Poussin. His whole
training
was of a kind to
prevent
such an influence
from
'taking.' Castiglione
was
brought up
in the naturalistic tradition of Genoese
painting,
and was confirmed in the ten-
dencies thus formed
by
the influence of
Flemish naturalists such as Roos.4
Apart
from these sources the most
important
influence on his
development
was that of
Rembrandt,
which came
into
operation
through
the master's
early etchings, probably
in the
30's.5
In the field of
pure technique
it seems
likely
that the sketches of Rubens
and Van
Dyck
were not without their effect
on the
artist,
whose
rapid
brush
drawings
in thin oil
paint
on
paper
recall the methods
of the Flemish artists.
And
yet
it is certain that
Castiglione
was
deeply
affected
by Poussin,
for there are
instances of his
actually borrowing
from
paintings
of Poussin on
quite
a
large
scale.
The most
interesting
is
perhaps
the
drawing
of the
"Saving
of
Pyrrhus" (P1. 26a),6
which
is
largely
taken from Poussin's celebrated
picture
of the same
subject
in the Louvre.
There is also evidence that in the I8th cen-
tury
the two
painters
were
thought
of as
closely
related. The
English Connoisseur,
published
in
1766,'
for
instance,
describes
a
picture by Castiglione,
to which we shall
return
later,
as "in the
style
of Nicola Pous-
sin,
which master
(in
his latter
time)
he
particularly
studied and
imitated;
and he
succeeded therein so
well,
in this
picture,
both in the
composition
and
drawing,
that,
was not his name
upon it,
several of
the best
judges
have
declared, they
should
not
only
have taken it for a true
picture
2
For an
analysis
of Poussin's
early classicism,
cf.
the
present
writer's note on the "Et in Arcadia
ego,"
Art
Bulletin, XX, 1938, p. 96.
S
Cf.
this
Journal, I, p. 345
ff.
4
For a
general
account of
Castiglione's
life and
work cf. Delogu, G. B. Castiglione, 1928, and the much
more critical article by Lazareff, Staedel-Jahrbuch, VI,
1930, p. 96.
Of the
early
sources the most useful is
Soprani-Ratti, Vite dei
Pittori,
Scultori ed Architetti
Genovesi, 1768, I, p. 308 ff.
5
Dr. Munz has shown that it is
mainly
the
etchings
of before
1634
that affected
Castiglione.
Cf. Die
Kunst
Rembrandts
und Goethes
Sehen,
I934,
p.
26 ff.
6 Windsor
4018.
'
I,
p.
4-
25
a-Greco,
Self-Portrait with
Titian, Michelangelo
and Clovio. Detail
from the
"Expulsion
from the
Temple." Minneapolis,
Institute of
Arts
(p. 141)
: - ::
b--Titian,~~~~~
~~~~
"Rliio sucue by
Span.
Mard
rdo(.1