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Andrea del Castagno's Famous Women: One Sibyl and Two Queens

Author(s): Josephine M. Dunn


Source: Zeitschrift fr Kunstgeschichte, 58. Bd., H. 3 (1995), pp. 359-380
Published by: Deutscher Kunstverlag GmbH Munchen Berlin
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1482819
Accessed: 11-12-2015 20:12 UTC
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i. AndreadelCastagno.SixPortraits,
The QueensEstherandTomyris,
andtheSibyl.ca. I448.
Uffizi
Florence,

Josephine M. Dunn

Andreadel Castagno'sFamous Women:One Sibyland two Queens


In 1847,Andrea del Castagno's frescoof Famous
Men and Womenwas discoveredin theloggiaof
the ex-villa Carducci on the Via Guardavia in
Legnaia,Florence(Fig. i)'. The recoveredmural
comprisednine over life-sizedfigures,four of
whomhad beenidentified
by GiorgioVasariinhis
of
in
biographies Castagno 155oand 1568:Filippo
Scolari,Dante, Petrarcaand Boccaccio. In addition,the discoveryyieldedidentitiesforVasari's
unnamed>>otherknights<<(Farinatadegli Uberti
and Niccol6 Acciaiuoli), and revealedthe unexversionof thispaperwas presented
at
'An abbreviated
the 26thAnnual InternationalCongressof Medieval
Studies, Kalamazoo, MI, May 1991.

On the discovery:Giorgio Vasari: Le vite de' piiu


eccellenti
ed. Gaetano
pittori,scultorie architettori,
Milanesi, Florence 1878,2, 670-671, n. 4; Guido Carocci:

Gli affreschi
di Andreadel CastagnonellavillaPandolfinipressoFirenze,in Bollettino
d'arte8, 1907, 1-3.
An earlydescriptionof Castagno'sninefigureswas
publishedby Carlo Pini and Gaetano Milanesi in
AlcuniQuadri della GalleriaRinuccini,
Florence1832,
95-99.
2Le vitede' piiueccellenti
scultorie architettori,
pittori,

pected presenceof threeheroines:the Cumaean


Sibyl,Queen Estherand Queen Tomyris(Fig. 2)2.
The surprisingdiscoveryof women in the prothespiritofFrancescoAlbertini's
gramconfirmed
to Castagno'sfamosias an assemearlyreference
bly of >sibyls and illustriousFlorentines<3.Contrarily,most Cinquecentoauthorshad described
thefrescoas a male-populated
programinsummary accounts creditedby Castagno's twentiethcenturybiographers4.The latter,by failingto
mentionor discussCastagno'swomen,effectively
ed. RosannaBettarini,
byPaola Barocchi,
commentary
Florence1971,3, respectively,
354and 362.
3Fr.Albertini:
Memorialedi moltestatuee pitturedella
citti di Firenzefattoda FrancescoAlbertinipretea
Baccioda Monteluposcultore,
Florence1863,17.
see also the
4Besidesthe textof Vasariand Albertini,
authorsoftheLibrodiAntonioBilliandthe
anonymous
CodiceMagliabechiano,
Corneliode Fabrespectively:
riczy:Ii >Librodi AntonioBilli<e le sue copie nella
storico
italBibliotecaNazionaledi Firenze,inArchivio
iano, 5thser., 7, 1891,327-328,362; Carl Frey: II Codice
Magliabechiano CL. XVII.L 7,Berlin1892, 97-99.

359

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2.

Andreadel Castagno.Portraits
ofFamousMenandWomen.Ca. i448.Florence,
Uffizi

fueled the recently-advancedbelief that >the


womenhaveno specificroleto playinthecycleas
itnow stands<<5.Yet, evenacceptingthefragmented stateof Castagno's frescoof illustri,such an
assertionseems exaggerated.Merelythe centralized placementof theCumaean Sibyl,Queen Estherand Queen Tomyrison the long wall of the
paintedloggiasuggestsa moreimportantrolefor
the women than one of negligible,incidentalor
evensecondarysignificance.
Consideredas a formalunit,Castagno's trioof
heroic women clearlywas designedas a visual
to twogroupsofmales,distinquished
complement
5RobertL. Mode: The MonteGiordanoFamousMen
Cycleof CardinalGiordanoOrsiniand the>Uomini
Famosi< Traditionin Fifteenth-Century
Italian Art,
Ann Arbor 1970,207. Modern authorsomittingCastag-

no's trioofwomenas activecontributors


to thetheme

as threestatesmenand threeauthors.In thefeminine trio,as in each set of male worthies,two


membersofthegrouparedepictedinparleywhile
a thirdcommunicates
byglance,and sometimesby
with
an
audience
outside the triad.Acgesture,
Esther
and
Queens
Tomyrisaredepictcordingly,
ed in dialogue similarto that engagingFilippo
Scolariand FarinatadegliUberti,and thatanimatingDante and Petrarca.The CumaeanSibyl,Niccol6 Acciaiuoli and Boccaccio, by contrast,are
visualizedas lonerswithintheirrespectivetrios.
Furtherreciprocating
of
Castagno'spresentation
thestatesmen,
thethreeheroinesareidentified
by
include:Emil Schaeffer:
Ober Andreadel Castagnos
in
famosi,<
Repertorium
,uomini
fiirKunstwissenschaft
25, 1902, 170-177; MaritaHorster:CastagnosFlorentinerFresken1450-57,
in Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch
17,
83;eadem,Andreadel Castagno,Ithaca1980,29.
1955,

360

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Uffizi
3. AndreadelCastagno.The CumaeanSibyl.Ca. I448.Florence,

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name and deed in a tituluspaintedon the wall famosis.Less oftenremarkedis the raritywith
beneaththeirfeet.The textbeneaththesibylsuc- which each of Castagno's heroines has been
cinctlyintroducesheras the(Sibilla) Cumana que depicted in Florentinemonumentalart of the
and early fifteenth
century,and
prophetavitadventumCh(risti),thus associating late fourteenth
her with a signaleventin the lifeof Christ:His the maverick nature of Castagno's womanly
itself.A briefcanvassof Florentinedepiccoming6.The inscriptionwhich once described trinity
of
tion
each woman may sufficeto clarifythese
Esther
no
is
visible
on
the
restored
Queen
longer
surfacesofCastagno'sfresco,butnineteenth-cen- points.
turyscholarshipand an earlyAlinariphotograph Castagno's slendersibyl of Cumae introduces
revealtheexistenceof a titulusbefore1966:Ester the trioto which she belongs,posing easilyand
in thefourthpaintednicheoftheloggia
The salvatoryrole gracefully
Regina GentisSue Liberatrix7.
As
a figureof considerabledignity,she
is
the
to
Esther
rephrasedby
inscription (Fig. 3).
assigned
to
the
stands
untroubled
given
adjacentQueen Tomyris:Thomir[ ]
by thefurorand frenzyof divherearliestdescription
[ ]ra vindicavitse de filio e patriam liberavit ination,neitherresembling
suam8.Thus described,Castagno's heroinesare as an Apollonianecstaticnorhermanicprototype
women of deed construedas similarin success, memorablydescribedby Virgilin Book Six ofthe
stratagemor might to their achieving male Aeneid.Raisingherrightarm,she pointsheavenin the mural.Yet, as most scholars ward in a gestureconnotingthedivineimportof
counterparts
have remarked,they are a singular gathering her utterance.So, too, gesturethe sibyl on the
by virtueof theirgender,since women incon- tabernacleof St. Matthewat Orsanmicheleand
stantlyswelledthe ranksof humanachievement Ghiberti'ssibylsand sageson thebronzedoorsof
A closedbook,indicamarshalled in traditionalschemes of uomini theFlorentinebaptistery'o.
6The titulus,
dimezzata. Neither Horster, Joost-Gaugiernor
stilllegibleon theslightly
abradedsurface
no
ofthefresco,
first
wastranscribed
CreightonGilbertnote thatEsther'sinscription
byGaetanoMilanesi,
AlcuniQuadri della GalleriaRinuccini,
Florence1832,
longerexists:AndreadelCastagno,Ithaca1980;Castagno's humanistic
96.
programat Legnaiaand its possible
7 EarlyAlinariphotographs
inventor,in Zeitschrift
45, 1982,
(nos.50728, 1954 edition;and
fiirKunstgeschichte
Pt 2, no. 3802)revealEsther'smissinghand to have
274-286;and, On Castagno'sNine FamousMen and
Women:SwordandBook as theBasisforPublicServexistedbeforerestoration.
Visibleis a crudely-drawn
if
as
illusionistiFlorence,
ice,in Lifeand Death in Fifteenth-Century
hand,
stylus-wielding
painted
poised
ed. M. Tetel,R.G. Wittand R. Goffen,Durham1989,
callyon thestonelintelofthedoorbelow.Bothhand
of
and styluswere removedduringthe restorations
174-192.
8The missingsecondword in Tomyris'titulusis frag1966,as Prof.LeonettoTintorihasexplained(conversamented.
Visibletodayarethefinalletters,
>>ra,<<
tion,I980).Milanesihadrecordeda different
generalconfiguraMilanesi
as havingsignified>>Tartara.<<
tionforEsther'smissing
a cartello
in
limbbydescribing
ly interpreted
Tartaravindifirst
as >>Thomir
recordedtheinscription
thequeen'srighthand.This,ratherthanthelintelbecavit se de filio et patriamliberavitsuam:<<Alcuni
low,was reputedto haveborneheridentifying
titulus,
Florence1832,
AlcuniQuadri della GalleriaRinuccini,
Florence1832,
97.SubQuadridellaGalleriaRinuccini,
on theprogram
doesnotdisputethis
97. By 1900, whenWaldschmidt
sequentliterature
contemplated
Castagofthetext
recenttranscriptions
Estherseemsto haveacquireda writing
no's program,
transcription,
although
betweenmissingand exdo not distinguish
ofstylus,<<
instrument
described
as a >>type
theexistence
generally
tantletters.
of whichG. Richterlateracknowledged,
Andreadel
9RobertL. Mode: The MonteGiordanoFamousMen
to readthe
Castagno,Chicago1943.Horsterpreferred
Cycleof CardinalGiordanoOrsiniand the 'Uomini
objectin Esther'shandas thescepterby whichKing
Italian Art,
Ahaseurusgrantedherentrance
intothethroneroom:
Famosi' Traditionin Fifteenth-Century
AnnArbor1970.
Fresken1450-57,in WallrafCastagno'sFlorentiner
Richartz
'oThe sibylsarereproduced,
17,1955,83.
byGiuliaBrurespectively,
Jahrbuch
delCambioa Orsansultabernacolo
netti:Le statuette
in the
Hand and stylusaremoreproblematic
elements
Instides Kunsthistorischen
frescothanthepaintedinscription
whichalso accommichele,in Mitteilungen
tutesin Florenz34,1980,286 (Fig. 2), and 287 (Fig. 3);
paniedtheimagebefore1966,foritis entirely
possible
PrinceLorenzoGhiberti,
thattheoriginaltitulus
wastransposed
fromthe
and,RichardKrautheimer:
merely
ton1980, Platesi25a and I26a.
lowerto the upperwall as a base forEsther,newly
362

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Uffizi
4. AndreadelCastagno.QueenEsther.Ca. I448.Florence,
tiveofwisdom,is claspedagainstherleftthighin a
graspwhichdefiesanatomicalpossibilityand the
laws of gravity.
attributes
The absenceof identifying
particularas
the
Cumaean has been
izing Castagno's sibyl
remarked".Exceptingthe tituluspainted at her
feet,neithercostume,formnorgestureclarifyher
identityas prophetessor Cumaean Sibyl.While
herdressevokesantiquity,hergesturesgenerally
implyrhetoricand learning.Deprivedof thetitufromRaplittlein characterization
lus,she differs
hael's later tome-bearingPlato, whose heavendirectedhand impliesdiscourseon mattersmetaphysicalin theStanza della Segnatura.
Castagno's sibyl remainspossibly the earliest
identifiable
depictionof theCumaean prophetess
in themonumentalartof earlyRenaissanceFlorence. Florentineart,unlikeFlorentineliterature,

revealslittleinterestin the historicalfame and


symbolicvalue of Virgil'sCumaean seer during
the earlyfifteenth
century.Traditionally,her faandTiburtinesibylstidicsisters- theErythraean
moreoftenthanshe in Italhad been represented
centuian artof theelevenththroughfourteenth
ries'2.In Florence, these prophetesses,for instance,had beendisplayedon thesouthernfaceof
Giotto's campanilefrom1348throughI454,when
Donatello's vision-hauntedprophets replaced
them'3.In themoreintimatespace of thechapterhouse of theConventof St. Mark,theErythraean
sibylfiguredas lone womanin a sequenceof Old
Testamentseersassembledby Beato Fra Angelico
as a propheticframeforhissaint-populated
Crucifixionof 1441-42'4.Additionalsibylsembellished
Florentinepublic buildings,but few today are
identifiableby inscriptionor attribute.Among

italiane,
"AngelinaRossi: Le sibillenelleartifigurative
Pt.3,in L'Arte18,DecemberI915,430.
209-221; ,Pt.
JulyApril1915,
" ibid.,Pt.i,< L'Arte18,
2,,0
August1915,272-285;>Pt.3,<<December1915,427-458.

' GiovanniPoggi:II Duomo di Firenze,Berlini909,I,


'4

LVII-LVIII.
Reproducedas Figs.72and73inJohnPope-Hennesy's
Ithaca 2974, 205-206.
Fra Angelico,
363

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5. Esther,Ruth,Mary,Judith.1398-1401.Vault,Florence,Orsanmichele

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6. Esther.1398-1401.Vault,Florence,Orsanmichele

these,Lorenzo di Giovannid'Ambrogio'sgeneric
sibyl shared symbolic space with an unnamed
propheton thePortadella Mandorlaof theDuomo,and theOrsanmichelesibyls(variouslyattributedto Piero di Niccol6 Lamberti,Nanni di Bartolo di Rosso, Michelozzo and the young Donatello)assuredlywerein place and visibleto Castagno when he designedthe Carducci sibyl'5.It
seems,forthe mostpart,thatFlorenceprovided
Castagnowithfewmodelsbywhichto designthe
apparentlymaverickCumaean of Virgiliandescriptionand Neapolitanacclaim.
inGiuliaBrunetti:
Le statuette
sultaber'5Reproduced
inMitteilungen
des
nacolodelCambioa Orsanmichele,

Queen Esther, standingsilhouettedagainst a


ground of deeply-huedred stone, occupies the
compositionalheartof Castagno's trioofwomen
and standsas thefulcrumofthelongwallofillustri
(Fig. 4). Like thesibyl,she is young,beautifuland
- in all respectsmanifesting
the
finely-featured
ideal offeminine
animated
by
beautyconsistently
Castagno in the Villa Carducci. WifelyEsther,
unlikeCastagno'svirginalsibylof thefree-flowwhite veil
ing tresses,wears a shoulder-length
securedby a spiredcrown of gold and hemmed
by golden cloth.The queen bracesher lefthand
Kunsthistorischen
Institutesin Florenz,34,I980, 295,
Figs.17 andi8; 286, Fig. 2; 287, Fig.3.
365

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in the belt of her tunic,a preternaturally


long
thumb placed as if poised for support in the
girdingcloth,while the remainingfour fingers
splay from a seemingly boneless wrist and

lishcassoniand theJewishqueen oftenjoinedthe


companyofothervirtuouswivesculledfrompast
timesas modelsofconnubialconductandvirtue2o.
centuries,
Later,in thesixteenthand seventeenth
Estherfiguredmoreregularlyin panels and muhandI6.
Few paintedor sculptedimagesofEstherexisted rals,hervirtuesof characterprojectedin two oftin publicFlorence(1400-1450)to promptvirtuous repeatedscenes: Esther approachingAhasuerus
conductor to inspireCastagno's brush'7.To be and theBanquetofEsther".
sure,Estherregularlyhad appearedin illustrated Unlike the sibyl and Esther,Castagno's legenbibles as a suppliantbeforethe yieldingAhasu- dary Scythian,Queen Tomyris, sports armor
erus,or as victornearthehangedHaman'8.Yet,in clearlyvisiblebeneathhersleeveless,persimmonthemonumentalspaces of Florence,onlyFranco coloredrobe(Fig. 7). The metalencasingherarms
Sacchetti'squeen,paintedin thevaultsof Orsan- indicateshersoldieringrolewhilethecrownupon
herroyalstature.In herright
michele,introducedEsther to fifteenth-centuryherhead manifests
Florentines(Fig. 5). There,since1398-1401,
Esther hand,shebalancestheslendershaftofa longlance,
had been alliedwithJudithand Ruthas compan- which is lightlyclasped blade-pointdown. Like
ionsto theBlessedVirginin one ofthequadripar- Farinata'ssheathedrapier,whichservesas a prop
tite vaults of the church. While Judithraised forFarinata'spassive hand,Tomyris'weapon is
Holofernes'severedhead aloftas a trophy,Esther inactiveand shorn of menace.For cavalierand
held a lengthof rope by whichto hangthevan- queen, the momentof bellicoseendeavoris past.
quished Haman, kneeling captive at her feet Farinata'sCongressat Empoli has endedand To(Fig. 6)'9.
myris'battlewithCyrus of Persiais over.In the
By thelatefifteenth
century,Queen Estherhad Villa Carducci,sword and lance are quiet in the
enteredtherepertoire
of imageschosento embel- aftermath
ofvictory.
16

oftheroomby theinThe architectural


restructuring
clusionofa dooroccasionedpaintlossbyallofCastagno's donneillustri.
theCuInscriptions
accompanying
maeanSibylandQueen Tomyriswerepartially
abbreto
viated,whileEsther'stextpossiblywas transferred
thelintelabove.
MoreoverEsther'srightarmwas damagedfromelbow
to fingerduringthisprocess,suchthatEsther'sright
handno longerexists.Thelossis regrettable
particulardeterminants
ofcharacter
lysincehandsareexpressive
in Castagno'sceuvre.Each of Castagno'sfamosipossessestwo impassivehandsdesignedin gesturalcommunionto reveala uniquepersonality
andtointimate
a
withadjacentfigures.
conversational
That
relationship
Esther'shand did not restidle is an hypothesisin
accordwithCastagno'suse of the humanhand as a
elementin theVillaCarducci.
character-revealing
7Archbishop
ofFlorencecommended
Antoninus
Esther
to emulationby Florentine
maidens(Letteri9) in LetterediSant'Antonio
diFirenze,
archievescovo
presedutedalla sua vitascritta
da Vespasiano,
Florfiorentino,
ence1859,
byPaul SchuI65.Laterimagesaredescribed
der
bringin his Cassoni: Truhenund Truhenbilder
italienischen
Leipzig1923,no. 357-359,
Friihrenaissance,
369a.
butherdeed(Haman'sdeath)wasillustrat'8Not Esther,
ed inJewishand Christianbiblesof themedievalera.

See EdgarWind:The Crucifixion


ofHaman,inJournal
and CourtauldInstitutes
245oftheWarburg
i,1937-38,

248.
'IWerner Cohn: Franco Sacchettiund das ikonogra-

20

derGew6lbemalereien
vonOrsanphischeProgramm
des Kunsthistorischen
Instimichele,in Mitteilungen
tutesinFlorenz,8,1958,65-67;Eve Borsook:TheMural
PaintersofTuscany
fromCimabuetoAndreadelSarto,
Oxford1980,54-55.
Ronald Lightbown:Sandro Botticelli,Los Angeles

1978,208-210; Edgar Wind: The Subject of Botticelli's

inJournalof theWarburgand Courtauld


>Derelitta,<
de
Louis Reau:Iconographie
Institutes,
4, 1940,114-117;
l'artchretien,
de la Bible,I,
Paris,1956,>>Iconographie
Ancien Testament,y<
335-341;Hans Aurenhammer:
Vienna
Lexikonder Christlichen
Ikonographie,
I95967,I, 73.
A.
eine
von
21 Pigler:Barockthemen: Auswahl
Verzeichnissenzur Ikonographie
des 17.und I8.Jahrhunderts,
Budapest1974,i, >>Darstellungen
religi6senInhalts,<
Mean198-204.CompareMadlynKahr:Rembrandt's
ing,inOud Holland83,1968,63-68.Of thesacrerappresentazioniperformedrelatingthe story of Esther,
D'Ancona citestwo ofthefifteenth
The bulk
century.
ofhisexamplesaredrawnfromthesixteenth
andseventeenthcenturies,
Sacrerappresentazioni
deisecoliXIV,
XV, e XVI, Florence 1872, I, 129-166.

366

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...e

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t~:..~j
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It-

...
.....
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Ca. i448.Florence,
Uffizi
7. AndreadelCastagno.QueenTomyris.

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The partially-abraded
inscription
paintedbe- women.Throughstudyof Castagno'sCarducci
neathTomyris'feetattributes
two memorable patron,
laterPandolfini-Rinuccini
to
connections
deedstothequeen:vindication
ofherson'sdeath, thevilla,andthepolitical
ofFlorence
circa
temper
and theliberation
of herpeople.In fourteenth-145o-60,
shenotedthesimilarity
Esther's
between
andearlyfifteenth-century
ofherbi- andTomyris'
illustrations
each
the
titulus, describing queenas
no
theclimactic
momentof Tomyris're- liberatrix
ofherimperilled
nation25.
ography,
Although
of Cyrus'decapitated such role was ascribedby titulusto thesibyl,
venge- the submersion
headintoa vatofblood- invariably
is depicted22.Joost-Gaugier
deducedsalvational
ideasimplicit
is
a
the
to
of
Castagno'sScythian
queen,however, postprophecy
comingof Christ.
sibylline
heroine
kin
to
another
andthesalvation
themesofliberty
victory
psychically
pensive Accordingly,
Renaissance
Donatello'sbronzeDavid of ofnationsweremarshalled
to supportherintervictor,
of
as secularherowomen
1430-32.
pretation Castagno's
Historians
havepostulated
theexistence
ofaddi- ines analogousin deed to Castagno'sFarinata,
tionalheroines
to explainCastagno'sunusualse- suaepatrieliberator,
and FilippoScolari,relator
lectionofheroines,
andtheyhavedoneso insum- victorie theutocarum26.
discussions
of
content
lessonthe Morerecently,
Gilberthassuggested
mary
predicated
Creighton
certainpresenceof Castagno'striothanon the thatthewomenwereselectedto personify
the
assumedabsenceof unnamedheroines23.
asMore activeand contemplative
lifestylesthrough
andauthors27.
however,
typically,
Basing
Castagno'strioofwomenhas semblywiththestatesmen
visualbeenrelegated
toa symbolic
roleancillary
on Castagno's
tothat hisinterpretation
particular
ofthemalesas an assembly
the
ofhistorical
Floren- izationofeachheroine,
Gilberthasdescribed
tines.Prevailing
of
as
as
the
fresco
a
women
not
as
a
but
triad,
independent
interpretation
symbolic
Florentine
hastendedtotailor figures
in a program
as twofoursomes
staunchly
perceived
program
theiconographical
ofCastagno'swomen flanking
thelonecentral
ofQueenEsther.
figure
identity
to conformance.
accordCharacterized
as liberators
of The CumaeanSibylandQueenTomyris
the
three
their
thematic
foils
to
and
of
civic
and
as
were
people exemplars
duty virtiu, ingly
interpreted
thewomenhencehavebeenenvisioned
assuitable menwithwhomeachstood.Thesibyl,withbook
of
instruments
forCastagno'smen,thesix battle- in hand,joinsthreemenwielding
companions
Tobraveandbook-wise
of
sword
to
war,
bypen.
patriots24.
conveytemperance
thislineofthought,
Christiane
Joost- myris,withlancepoised,assembleswiththree
Following
of
deference
to epitomize
thelibertarian
focusof book-bearing
authors,
Gaugier,hasemphasized
thetituli
a themeforthemural
toreaffirm
thecivicnature
ofCastagno's pento sword.Suggesting

22Compare,for example,in A. Pigler:Barockthemen:


Zeitschriftfiir Kunstgeschichte45, 1982, 275; Emil
Schaeffer:
Das Florentiner
eineAuswahlvon Verzeichnissen
zurIkonographie
des
Bildnis,Munich1904, and,
17.undi8.Jahrhunderts,
CreightonGilbert:On Castagno'sNine FamousMen
Budapest1974,198-204.
23Mario Salmi:Gli affreschi
and Women:Swordand Book as theBasis forPublic
di Andreadel CastagnoriFlorinBollettino
idem:AnService,in Lifeand Death in Fifteenth-Century
trovati,
d'arte,35,1950,295-306;
Durham
drea del Castagno,Novara 1961, 26; Joost-Gaugier:
ence,ed. M. Tetel,R. G. Wittand R. Goffen,
atLegnaiaanditspos1989,174ff.
Castagno'shumanistic
program
25Castagno'shumanistic
atLegnaiaanditspossible inventor,in Zeitschrift
45,
program
fiirKunstgeschichte
sible inventor,in Zeitschrift
45,
1982, 275.
fiirKunstgeschichte
24Theirpoliticalandcivicnatureis projectedby:Werner
1982,274-286.
26ibid,274-286.
R. Deusch:Andreadel Castagno,K6nigsberg
1928,22;
27
MarioSalmi:Andreadel Castagno,Novara1961, 26; C.
On Castagno'sNineFamousMenandWomen:Sword
and Book as theBasis forPublicService,in Lifeand
W. Westfall:
In ThisMostPerfect
Paradise,University
Death in Fifteenth-Century
Park1974, 29; C. Joost-Gaugier:Castagno'shumanistic
Florence,ed. M. Tetel,R.
Durham1989,174-192.
G. WittandR. Goffen,
programat Legnaia and its possible inventor,in
368

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success.
Interthrough
literary
topoimetwithlittle
ofCastagno's
as a derivative
of
pretations
program
themedieval
of
the
Nine
Worthies
genre
promoted
thewomenas modelheroines
ofbiblical,
classical
andmodern
ofthree
times30.
Yet,as representatives
discrete
historical
thewomendo notconperiods,
formwellto thechronological
estabsequencing
lishedby thecanonof nineworthies
sincethey
eras:biblical
(Esther)
exemplify
onlytwohistorical
andclassical
In theVillaCar(sibylandTomyris).
heroine
served
asthecounterpart
ducci,nomedieval
ofSaintsElizabeth
ofHungary,
ofSweden,
Bridget
or Constantine's
Helen.Theparadigmatic
literary
scheme
oftheNineWorthies
to
seemed,
therefore,
rather
than
to
corroborate
the
dispute
symbolic
ofCastagno's
heroines
as merepersonificaweight
tionsofhistorical
time.
Interpretations
associating
Castagno'sheroines
withGiovanniBoccaccio'scelebrated
galleryof
illustrious
women(De mulieribus
claris,
I361-I375)

consonantwith fifteenth-century
ideals of civic
behavior(e.g., Matteo Palmieri,Della vita civile,
1430), GilbertconcludedthatFlorentinesviewing
the Carducci programwould have been encouragedto reconcilein a lifeofserviceto thepatriathe
equallyvirtuousactivitiesof swordand pen28.
Such a messageis plausible,indeed,forQuattrocento Florentinesocietyadvertised,throughart
and in literature,
the virtues,responsibilities
and
commendabledeedsofmenofswordandpen29.In
these programs,however,women generallydid
notappearas promptsto maleachievement
either
as authoror soldier.Why,therefore,
was not an
eminentmaleauthorchosenin thesibyl'splace;an
eloquentstatesmengivenEsther'srole;or,a worthywarriorselectedin Tomyris'stead?The original questionsremain:whywomenat all in Castagno's fresco,aridwhy thisparticularsibyl in the
companyof two easternqueens?
Even acceptingthepossibilityof libertarian
notionsprojectedby Castagno'swomenand thesix
Florentineswithwhom theygather,the trio remainsessentiallyenigmatic,
sincefourteenthand
Florentine
literature
unitfifteenth-century
rarely
ed the threein theunique camaraderieCastagno
was commissionedto paint.Moreover,considering the wide range of heroinesavailable to fifFlorentinesand fromwhichCastteenth-century
women
were
selected,how mightwe exagno's
the
decision
to
honor the Cumaean Sibyl,
plain
Queen Esther and Queen Tomyrisabove their
morepopularheroicsisters:thefreedom-fighting
virtuousLucretiaor valiantCamilla?
Judith,
Scholarswho soughtto elucidatethis question

on Boccaccio'streatise
Castgenerally
promoted
albeitpeculiar,
agno'strioas anintimate,
rephrashonorific
traditions
heingoflarger
commending
roesand memorable
deeds(De virisillustribus)
thethirdquarter
ofthefifteenth
during
century32.
the choiceto includewomenin the
Certainly,
interest
in
programcorroborates
Quattrocento
thedeedsofheroicwomen,butneither
inBoccaccio'sTrecento
norinlaterfifteenthbiographies,
translation
of Plutarch's
De mulieribus
century
nor in thelivesof famousmenand
virtutibus,
womenpennedby Petrarch
andhisfollowers
as
De virisillustribus
didthethreewomenappearas

28ibid,174-192.
29J.Dunn: Andrea del Castagno's,FamousMen and
ofPennsylvania
Women,<
1991.
University
30 On thecanonoftheNine Worthies:
HorstSchroeder:
Der Topos der Nine Worthiesin Literaturund
bildenderKunst,G6ttingenI971,especiallychapters4
and 5;J.von Schlosser:Ein veronesisches
Bilderbuch
unddiehifischeKunstdesXIV. Jahrhunderts,
inJahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen
Sammlungendes Allerto
Kaiserhauses16,1985,168.Withreference
h6chsten
thistradition
andCastagno'sfresco,
seeCreighton
Gilbert:On Castagno'sFamousMen andWomen:Sword
and Book as theBasis forPublicService,in Lifeand
Death in Fifteenth-Century
Florence,ed. M. Tetel,R.

G. Wittand R. Goffen,Durham1989,175.That the


Carducci women might also representthe three
meritoriousstates of femininebeing (virgin,wife,
mother)has escaped remarkby Castagno's bioNographers.
CompareIan MacLean:TheRenaissance
tionofWoman:A StudyintheFortunes
ofScholasticism
and Medieval Sciencein EuropeanIntellectualLife,
New York 1980);and, ShalamuthShar: The Fourth
Estate:A Historyof Womenin theMiddleAges,London 1983.
3'C. Joost-Gaugier:
Castagno'shumanistic
programat
Legnaia and its possibleinventor,in Zeitschrift
fiir
45,1982, 275-277.
Kunstgeschichte
32 ibid,274ff.

also proved unsuccessful'.Discussions focused

369

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thesymbolictrinity
commissionedby Castagno's

minedto clarifythelong-livedhistoryanduniversal natureofdivinerevelation.


The titulusspecifies
ofthe hergreatdeed as prognostication
ofthecomingof
Thus,in themain,scholarlyinterpretation
on civicideologyand Christ(qui prophetavit
frescohas focusedprimarily
adventumCh[risti]).This
literaryanalogywhile the parametersof icono- allianceofthesibylfromCumaewiththeannuncigraphicalpossibilityhave remainedunstretched ation of Christ's adventmighthave recalledto
by a less secularreadingof Castagno'swomen.In erudite Florentinesa literarypassage exerpted
medievaltheologicalliterature,
for instance,the fromclassicaltraditionand exegetically
popularwomen shareda richexegeticalheritageas coded ized by theearlychurchfathers:Virgil'sEclogue
symbolsof theOld and New Testaments.Yet the IV34.In fact,Castagno's Sibyl reflectsthistradiwere tionof exegesiswhichhad Christianizedthemestypologicaldimensionsoftheirpersonalities
notexploredto explaintheirinclusioninan appar- sage of Virgil's verse and raised sibyllineproprogramof local he- nouncementto highstatusthroughpatristiccomentlyachievements-oriented
roes. Such inattentionto theirsymbolicaspect mentary.
If,throughtheCumaeanSibyl,thesecuseemscurioussince Castagno's trioof women is lar dimensionsof the Carducci programrepreintroducedby a figureassociatedexplicitlywith sentedby thesix malesare expandedby Christoan eventdrawnfromthe historyof Christianity logical message,the selectionof Estherand Toratherthanfromthehistoryof earthlystatesand myrisas her companionsmightbuttresssuch a
menofswordand pen: theCumaeanSib- message.
striving
Most
discussionofCastagno'swomenas liber- Estherregularlyappearedin fourteenth-century
yl.
but neithersecularnor exegetihas initiatedwithanal- secularliterature,
atorsand freedomfighters
by titulias cal literatureyields a ready explanationfor the
ysisof Estherand Tomyris,identified
savioursof theirpeople. Does it not make sense, decisionto associateherwiththeCumaean Sibyl
however,to commenceanalysisof the triowith and Queen Tomyrisin Castagno'sfresco.In secuDante and Petrarchhad described
thesibyl,andto considerhersymbolicpotentialas lar literature,
itmightrelateto herunusualassemblywithEsther Ahasuerus'fearlessconsort,but neitherhad includedherin thefellowshipof heroismCastagno
and Tomyris?
The tituluspaintedbeneathCastagno'ssibylin- laterpainted.On two occasionsin Dante's Purgatroducesher neitheras the virginalcustodianof torio,Esther had appeared as one in a trio of
thethreebooks ofprophecyofferedforpurchase figures,but neitherof thesethreesomeswas apIn Petrarch'sTriumph
to KingTarquin,noras Aeneas' agedinterlocutor, propriatedby Castagno35.
to ImperialRome. Ratheris of Love, Estherwas portrayedas the beautiful
noras prognosticator
she a pagan figurerebaptizedby a churchdeter- captor of the love- smittenAhasuerus,but her
patron around I44833.

33On theidentity
of Castagno'spatron,seeJ.M. Dunn:
vecchie
Andreadel Castagnoe i Carducci:documenti
la villaCarduccidi Firenze,in Arnuoviriguardante

1967,21.Comparealso,MariaLuisaPlaisant:Un opus-

colo ineditodi Francescoda Fiano in defesadellaposer.2,103,1961-63,


esia,inRinascimento
146;and,R. S.
chivio storicoitaliano 147,Junei989, 252-275; and, eadConway:The MessianicIdea inVirgil,in Virgil'sMessianicEclogue,ed.J.B. Major,W.W. Fowler,R. Conem:Andreadel Castagno's,FamousMenand Women,<
way,London1907,1-48.
1991,chaptersio and ii.
Universityof Pennsylvania
35
Estherjoinedtwoclassicalqueens,ProcneofGreeceand
R.
Andrea
del
also
John
Castagno
Spencer:
Compare
ofdream-visions
revealed
AmataofRome,ina triptych
and His Patrons,Durham,N.C. 1991,
32-42.
to thewayfaring
La Divina Commedia,ed.
to medievalauthors
ideas were transmitted
Alighieri,
34Virgilian
2:cantoXVII,esp.lines
NatalinoSapegno,Florence1968,
Pseudo
through
Augustine'sCityofGod,andthrough
inthethird
cornice
ofPurga25-30, 186.Shealsoappeared
Augustine'sContraJudeos,Paganos,etArianosSermi
tothesinofwrath
inwhichMessianicprophecywas alliedto
de Symbolo,
torywhereHamanishangedas victim
trioof
thefourtheclogueand to theday of Last Judgment,
againstGod's ChosenPeople,anda triumphant
Ahasuhisdemise:>goodEsther,<<
victors
attends
WilliamL. Kinterand JosephP. Keller: The Sibyl:
?great
eris?and?justMordecai<<
andMedievalFay,Philadelphia
(ibid,186).
ofAntiquity
Prophetess
370

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successas liberatrix
oftheJewishnationappearsto bothChaucerandChristine
de Pisanlaterwould
havebeendue lessto herstrategies
and diplomacy aver39.
than to the Assyrianruler's slavish affection36. Primarily,exegeticaldiscussionof Esther renFew biblicalheroinesswelledBoccaccio's biogra- deredtypologicaland symbolicherroleas dutiful
claris, wife to a powerfulmonarchand as advocate of
phiesofheroicwomenin theDe mulieribus
and thebraveladieshonoredby medievalexegesis justice beforehim. As one who gave lifeto her
themfromHaman's perfidy,
-Judith,Deborah,Rebeccaand Esther- remained people by liberating
Estherprefigured
Ecclesia40.Her
conspicuouslyabsentin his treatise37.
life-nourishing
During Castagno's lifetime,the Dominican prayersbeforeAhasuerusalso were believedto
monk Antoninus had prescribedimitationof anticipateMary'sintercession
formankindon the
Estherby wealth-endoweddaughtersof upper- finalday of judgment4'.
Finally,as a Mariantype,
class Florentines,and in medievalhagiography her crowningby Ahasueruswas interpreted
as a
she had appeared as one of few Old Testament prefiguration
of theVirgin'scoronationin heavwivesselectedforemulationintheearlymartyrol- en42.Of theseinterpretations,
theformertwo corfiffamiliar
she
was
most
to
roborate
the
of
ogies38.Generally,
identity Castagno'sJewishqueenif
we assumethatthe titulusoriginallypaintedto
teenth-centuryaudiences through scriptural
exegesis and biblical illustration.Through the accompanyher was accuratelyrecordedby Miformer,her career was renderedanalogous to lanesi and documentedby the FratelliAlinari:
that of the savingJudith- as Isidore of Seville EsterRegina GentisSue Liberatrix.In the Villa
observed,Hrabanus Maurus confirmed,and as Carducci, Esther's statureas savior is lauded,

36 Triumphs,
ed. ErnstH.

Wilkins,Chicago1962,

22.

37The Estherwho appearsin BNCF, Cod. Magliabechiano II.II. 327 (formerlyCl. XIII, no. 122),Bk. 5,c. 76r-

attributed
to Boccaccio'scoma collectionoftreatises
pilation- is presentedin conjunctionwithideals of
conductand strength
whichtheDe mulieribus
claris
heroinesmanifest.Recognizedfor her ?beautyand
she is describedas an audacious,but
worthydress,<<
woman.Her greatdead- theliberation
ofher
reverent
that,as a
people - is recountedand we are informed
resultof her act,>>allof theprincesof Persiarender
honorto all theJews.<<
The authorcitesas his source,
the biblicalBook of Esther,and concludeshis short
biographicalentryon the queen withnoticeof her
symbolicstature:o...la qual HestersecondoHieronymo moralme[n]te
la chiesa;la qualeliberatutti
significa
li populi dal timoredella morteeternale.Et essendo
mortoHaman;el quale significa
el peccato;sono chiamatial co[n]vitodellenoze eternaletuttiglicieli.<On
Boccaccio'sZibaldone:FrancescoMacri-Leone:II Ziin Giornale
baldoneboccaccescodellaMagliabechiana,
storicodella letteraturaitaliana 1o, 1987,1-41.

Boccaccio'sfollower,
Domenicodi BordigalloofCreon thelivesofHebrewqueens,
mona,penneda treatise
a collectionof biographiesthatwould havefilledthe
lacuna in Boccaccio's De mulieribusclariswhich is
devotedto classicalandmodernparagons.On DomenF. Novati:La vitae le operedi Domenico
ico's treatise:
di Bordigallo,inArchiviovenetoi9,188o,5-45;and,L.
Torretta:II >Liberde clarismulieribus<
di Giovanni
del >Liberde clarismulieriBoccaccio,pt.3:I tradutori

italiana40,
bus,<in Giornalestoricodella letteratura

1902, 35-65.
38Letter19,in Letteredi Sant'Antonino,
1859,i65;Marc

Glasser:MarriageinMedievalHagiography,
inStudies
inMedievaland Renaissance
ed.J.A. S. Evans
History,
and R. W. Ungar,Vancouver1981,
14-~5.
in Patrologia
39 ,Allegoriaequaedamsacraescripturae,<<
Latina,83,116;>>DeUniverso,<<
3,I,ibid,III,66;Emerson
Brown:BiblicalWomenintheMerchant's
Tale: FemiandtheBeyond,in Viator5,1974,
nism,Anti-Feminism
387-412;The Book of the Cityof Ladies, trans.E. J.

Richards,New York 1992, 146-147.


on theBook of Es40In theprefaceto his commentary
ther,HrabanusMauruswrites:>>>LiberEsther,quem

Hebraeiinterhagiographa
annumerant,
multiplicatur
Christiet Ecclesiaesacramenta
in mysterio
contineti;
quia ipsaEstherinEcclesiaetypepopulumde periculo
in posteros..,<
celebremmittit
Exliberat,et interfecto
in PatrologiaLatina,ed.
positionin LibrumEsther,<<
L.-P. Migne,Paris1852,0o9,col. 635.Reau hasobserved
thatcommendations
of Esther,nationalheroine,are
lessChristian
thanJewishinterpretations
ofthequeen,
de l'artchretien,
Paris1956,
2,336.Esther's
Iconographie
appearancewithJaelandJudithin thebiblicaltrioof
theNine WorthyWomen,however,seemsto dispute
thisobservation.
humanae
41J.MarieGuichard:Noticessurle ,Speculum
Paris1849,24.
salvationis,<
42Esther'scoronationprefigures
thatof Mary in the
Biblia Pauperum,Hans Aurenhammer:
Lexikonder
Vienna1959-67,
Christlichen
2,336.
Ikonographie,

371

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-, t..t

-,--

.7=5

f., ( .
..C.

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?.

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............~

,I

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*jl-3

'!
-Lh.L11Ob

,A!,

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..

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Vs

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8. Flowering
ofAdam'srod;SibylandVisionofVirginandChild,
in SpeculumHumanaeSalvationis,
New York,
France,i5thcentury,
The PierpontMorgan LibraryM. 385,f.II

therebyrenderingher a femininecounterpartto
Castagno'sdapperFarinata,liberator.
Thus, like the Cumaean Sibyl, Esther easily
withina Christianized,or
mightbe interpreted
context,heridentitytypologically
Christianizing,
focusedon definingeithertheroleofMaryor the
Church.Whileherinclusionand hertitulusin the
Villa Carducciwell mightbuttressby association
theChristianizing
themeadvancedby Castagno's
sibyl,theinclusionofQueen Tomyrisis lesseasily
explainedin thesetheologicalcontexts.
For fifteenth-century
audiences, classical and
medievaltextsyieldedhistoriesand treatiseson

war roundlypraisingTomyris'strengths
as a miltactician.
had
Herodotus
first
these,
itary
Among
narratedthe eventsleading to the ignominious
deathofTomyris'adversary,
In
CyrusofPersia43.
and slightaltergeneral,nuancesofinterpretation
ations of the storyby laterauthorsdid not disof the warrior
prove this early characterization
as
The
Roman
moralizqueen Cyrus'vanquisher.
Valerius
Maximus
Factis
Dic(De
ing historian,

conLibriIX), forexample,
tisqueMemorabilibus

sidered Tomyris a stellarexemplumof venge43 The Historyof Herodotus,trans.GeorgeRawlinson,


Chicago195z,Bk. i, sec.I, 205-214, pp. 44-48.

372

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Mat,

i.

,,

J~e~~pi
tlu
~rLNr~
I~u5rrs~?4L*?b~p~
in~r~~rraj~ctCDP.,V
rhti-~jcn~d~A-.'SL-Z
?h~fN?~f~.~*p*r~lsfa~C~k~f~
~ ~
~-lirPL~f~~tuP&?"I
"p-:"2*'-40Ir ?
z~I~r~
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--too.~uz~~i.::
rt*~
~51?t1~~?~*~~l
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v~~~~~"'1~;"2;~~"zls
rE9~hC~~I;
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,-.
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f,.IZ 41
'F??
*.sftn*
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ty
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F.~~~~i7rjiP-~--~~w~`
rr g~i;g~p~*.~
41.A~
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Fl

Q~t~~r~A
.'RJ
. f?~9 ]~
~CZ
1?~L?PUF~
V ?:'7
OI;t:
?pprj~'~t~~tr~d'e"7
~r~~rh~r~~.:f'ff
.........
~pmc~'~S-~usf~t-r?Y~lL

1~;*1P5L~M~t~~~C~isU

et~~~.~j;

bilr;p~Fr~~
t;~lp4P~~JAIX

:j~~f!

9. MarybeforeChrist;EstherbeforeAhasuerus
inSpeculumHumanaeSalvationis,
New York,
France,I5thcentury,
ThePierpont
M.
f.
42
385,
MorganLibrary
ance44.In a textlegitimizing
thepassionforviolent biographyofTomyrisin theDe mulieribusclaris,
vengeance,he selectedTomyristo representnon- he studiedtheaccountsofValeriusMaximusand
Romans whose bloodlustwas sanctifiedby just Justinus(HistoriarumPhilippicarum)to provide
revenge.
Tomyriswitha compellingmotiveforrevengeby
the
Petrarch
had
considered
Trecento,
castingherson,Spargapises,as theinnocentvictim
During
of Cyrus' greedforpower46.
a
a
of
secular
ruler, figure
Tomyris praise-worthy
In a lettercongratulating
savoir-faire.
theEmpress
however,Tomyris'
During Castagno's lifetime,
Anna on the birthof a daughter,he includedthe heroismwas beingdisplacedbythatofherenemy,
century,
Xenophon's
Scythianqueen amongcelebratedwomenselected Cyrus.In theearlyfifteenth
as suitablerole models fora youngprincessand historyof Cyrus' careerwas popularizedby Itahumanists:LorenzoValla,Giovanni
futurequeen45.When Boccaccio decidedto pen a ly's foremost
44Ed., C. B. Hase, Paris 1832,2, 177-178.
45Le Familiari,
ed.VittorioRossi,Florence1968,4, Bk.21,

letter8,61-68,esp.64.

46Concerning
FamousWomen,trans.Guido A. Guarini,

New Brunswick
1963,104-1o6.

373

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The latter,paraAurispaand PoggioBracciolini47.


account
of
Cyrus' death
phrasingXenophon's
made
no
mentionof a
while battlingArtaxerxes,
Transformed
battlewithvaliantTomyris48.
to beconcome a modelofmoral,politicaland military
duct forthe Renaissanceruler,Cyrus no longer
stood as Dante's vaingloriousand greedyruler.
Rather,he becamea worthyexampleforaspiring
princesand reigningmonarchs,joiningparagons
ofmightcommendedin laterQuattrocentoliteratureDe regimineprincipe.
In justthisguise,heroic
Cyrus was painted in the salone of circa 1432,
commissionedby Cardinal Giordano Orsini for
his urbanpalace in Rome49.Here, Tomyrisdoes
not sharethefrescoedwall withCyrus,who figuresamongsuch historicalluminariesas Tarquin
theProud,Brutus,Romulus,and Numa Pompilius.
Whilenew evaluationsof Cyrus' statureas king,
soldierand herowerepromptingrevisionof Tomyris' role in his career,Tomyris,not Cyrus,
posed victoriousin theVilla Carducci,projecting
traditionalideas of Cyrus as a foe deservingof
defeat.There appears to be as littleregardfor
of Tomyrisin Castcontemporary
interpretation
mural
is
as
there
for
agno's
earlyQuattrocento
of Virgil'sChrist-predicting
sibreinterpretation
ylsO.This being so, I would like to suggestthat
tradition,not humanistinnovation,inspiredthe
selectionofTomyrisand thesibyl,and thattradition- throughChristianexegesis- maysupplyan

answer to the iconographicalriddlecollectively


posed by Castagno'schoicedonnefamosi.
While medievaland Renaissanceliteraturereveals the long-livedattentionpaid by medieval
exegetesto thesymbolic,Christianizedidentities
of the Cumaean sibyland Queen Esther,Queen
Tomyrisappearsto havegarneredmoreattention
fromscholarsfocusedon thesecularhistoryofthe
ancientworld.Thus,a collectivetypologicalreadingofCastagno'swomenseemsto be thwarted
by
the inclusionof the secularTomyris,just as an
inclusivesecularreadingof thewomen as liberatricesseemsto be contradicted
bytheadditionofa
Christian
sibyluttering
prophecy.These thematic
render
the
inclusionof Castagno's
complications
threeheroinesin theChristianizedSpeculumhumanaesalvationishighlysuggestive5'.
Throughthe
of
this
symbolic imagery
fourteenth-century
intheme
preachingtreatise,
perceiveddisjunctions
betweenCastagno's Christ-predicting
sibyl and
thenation-saving
queens dissipatesthrougha tyof
the
pologicalreading eachheroine.Specifically,
role
each
in
the
symbolic
Speculumsuggests
plays
thatthetriomightbe an important
thematicframe
fortheworthydeedsofFlorentinecitizens.Moreover,thisframeis consonantwiththecentralized
placementofthewomenat theheartofCastagno's
longwall.
In theSpeculumhumanaesalvationis,
Castagno's
threeheroinesprefigure
historicaland legendary
eventsin thelifeof Christ.The Sibyl,in chapter8

47DavidMarsh:LorenzoVallain Naples:The TransinBibliothbque


lationfrom
Xenophon's
>Cyropaedia,<

WittdiscussesTrecentodebateon Virgil'sfamouseclogue:ColuccioSalutatiandtheconceptionofthepoet
d' HumanismeetRenaissance
46,1984,407-420.Coluctheologusin the fourteenth
century,in Renaissance
cioSalutati
there-evaluation
ina letter
titled
30,1977,538-563.
anticipates
Quarterly
essepotissi- 510OntheSpeculumhumanaesalvationis:
docetvanam
J.MarieGui>Sepulcrorum
magnificentian
mumindignorum,<<
inwhich
hedescribes
chard:Noticessurle >SpeculumHumanaeSalvationis<,
Cyrus'tomb,
di Coluccio
ed.Francesco
Paris1840;Otto Brix:Ober die mittelenglische
OberNovati,
Salutati,
Epistolario
Rome1981-1911,
Letter5,I, 45-48.
in Pasetzungdes >SpeculumHumanaeSalvationis,<
48ErnstWalser:
Florentinus:
LebenundWerke,
lestra7, 1900, 11-12; JulesLutz and Paul Perdrizet:
Poggius
traduc1914,229-234.
Leipzig/Berlin
SpeculumHumanaeSalvationis:textecritique,
49RobertL. Mode:TheMonteGiordano
FamousMen
tionineditedejean Midlot(1448)...,Leipzig1907-O9;
L.
Orsiniand the>Uomini
M. Fr.Daniels:De SpeighelderMenschliker
BehoudeCycleofCardinalGiordano
Famosi<Tradition
in Fifteenth-Century
ItalianArt,
nesse,Tielt1949,LV-XLVII; AdrianWilsonandJoyce
Ann Arbor 1970, 266.
L. Wilson:A Medieval Mirror:SpeculumHumanae
thegenuine
nature
ofsibylline Salvationis,
Cicerohadquestioned
50o
1984;AvrilHenry:The
i324-I500,California
Patristic
oracles:
BardThompson:
UseoftheSibylline MirourofMansSaluacione,Philadelphia
1987.
Oracles,in ReviewofReligion25,1952, 130.RonaldG.
374

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dy~`afxd.m)i~trn~(tvcI

duo
rr
q

...........
.
"
........

ct

IV
~

.. ..".".
li,
.. ;M::

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fws?4fJ,-t

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Cyrus'headina vatofblood,
Io. JaelslaysSisera;Tomyrissubmerges
inSpeculumHumanaeSalvationis,
New York,
France,Irthcentury,
The Pierpont
M. 385,f.33
MorganLibrary
oftheSpeculum,is affiliated
withChrist'sNativiof His
ty and with two biblical prefigurations
miraculousbirth;Pharaohs'sdream,and thefloweringof Aaron's staff(Fig. 8). Castagno'ssibylof
Cumae paraphrasesthe messageof the unnamed
Speculumsibyl who foreseesa virginbirthand
predictstheadventofa child.Withfingerraisedin
towardsthe heavens,Castagno's
prognostication
faces
a shortwall of theCarduccilogprophetess
which
the
Madonna is depicted,a restive
giaupon
Christin hand.
Queen Estheralso appearsin theSpeculum,prean eventin thelifeofChristtypologically
figuring
relatedin Chapter39. She anticipatesan apocry-

phalevent:ChristshowingHis Fatherthewounds
of thePassion (Fig. 9). Signalmomentsin thelife
ofAntipaterand theBlessedVirginarealliedwith
themessageof Christ's
Esther'sdeed to reinforce
action: each protagonistpresentswounds emblematicof suffering
to One who is his, or her,
judge. The momenttargetedfor analogy in Esther'slifeis drawnfromChapter7 of theBook of
Esther,in which the biblical queen introduces
Ahasuerusto Haman's deceit.While Mary bares
her breasts to Christ,Esther persuades before
Ahasuerusto effectthe rescue of her people, a
deed visualizedas analogousto Christ'sredempvulnerum.
toryostentatio
375

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

ii.

AndreadelCastagno.Eve,MadonnaandChild,Adam.Ca. I448.Ex-VillaCarducci,Legnaia

Queen Tomyrisalso is includedin theSpeculum,


appearingas one ofthreepaganwomenselectedas
typesforChristand His Mother.Generallyinteras BocpretedinTre-and Quattrocentoliterature
caccio's thoroughlysecularand mightyheroine,
staturein
Tomyrisachievesan entirelydifferent
mirror
forthea
becomes
theSpeculum.She,too,
ological idea, thusjoiningthetypologicalfellowshipintroducedon Castagno'spaintedwall bythe
Cumaean sibyland Queen Esther.

In Chapter33oftheSpeculum,Tomyrisis reprein
sentedas thesaviorof herpeople,participating
of
beleaa typologyfocused on the liberation
guerednations(Fig. Io). Her liberatrix-colleagues
theBlessed
arean estimablefellowshipcomprising
who
the
who
routs
devil;Judith, vanquishVirgin,
es Holofernes;andJael,who slaysSiserato release
IsraelfromCanaaniterule.
Accepting Castagno's women as a collective
each fromthe
Christianizedtrio,and segregating

376

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Andreadel Castagno. Adam. Ca. i448.Ex-Villa Carducci,Legnaia

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4,
3".

..
.i ?:.
Ph
v

13. AndreadelCastagno.MadonnaandChild.Ca. i448.Ex-VillaCarducci,


Legnaia

panorama of Christologicaleventsrecountedin
the Speculum,the sibyl and two easternqueens
assumea remarkablycoherentand cogentmeaningas a group.They alludeto threekeymoments
inthestoryofsalvation:theIncarnation;RedemptionthroughthewoundsofthePassion;and,VictoryoverSatan.
If thesibyland two easternqueensmaybe interpretedsymbolicallyas a Christianizedtrio,their
inclusionin Castagno'sfresconeednotbe defined
solely in termsof the vernacularcivic argument
posed by the six males.While Castagno's statesmenand poetsexiston a planeof endeavorwhich
is contemporary,historicaland directedto the
acquisitionof earthlyrenown,the threewomen
turf,bound in
mightbe standingon lessterrestrial
deed to a redemptiveChrist.
ThroughtheCumaean Sibyl,theiconographical
dimensionsof the Carducci programclearlyare
expandedby theinclusionof Christologicalmesand completedin
sagewhich,in turn,is buttressed

the typologicalpersonaeof Estherand Tomyris.


This messagealso bindsCastagno'sheroinesto the
complementarytrio of figuresstandingon the
adjaccent painted short wall: Adam, Eve, and
Maryand Christ(Fig. ii). Discoveredin 1947,this
triohas beendescribedas >>separatedschematically as well as iconographically<<fromthe wall of
nineillustri,but a typologicalreadingof Castagno's heroineschallengessuch an assumption5".
AlreadyexpelledfromtheGarden- as theirgarand Adam's hoe attestmentsoffur,Eve's distaff
First
Parents
stand
as proudlyand casCastagno's
uallyas theirninecompanionsin thepaintedloggia. That which remainsof Adam's abbreviated
wilformrevealshim costumedin a knee-length
dernesstunicmade of thefurredpeltsof animals
(Fig. 12). He probablystood,as Eve continuesto
do, upon a low,squaredplinth(now lost),hisform
52

humanistic
at
C. Joost-Gaugier:
program
Castagno's
in Zeitschrift
Legnaiaand itspossibleinventor,
fiir

45,1982,
Kunstgeschichte

277.

378

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"::.9ii.:;......::: i!!! li
!i r:7!iiiis;?
..::i.
.i.:?::.
!i,..:

i}iiii

::

."

jii
81I

?r.i
..;.:,

,;:.i. .........

ii

:
.: :
l:l:.?i-i'::

s;;..-,.....,..--..

,ii,:rii
....'
.:ii.rrri~i.i~iii
::::
?.:i?::!::.
:

:%!

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14. AndreadelCastagno.Eve.Ca. 1448.Ex-VillaCarducci,Legnaia

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::,,,i
.

elevatedandthereby
fromCastag- calposturings
oftheFirstParents
aroundtheMadistinguished
nine
his
hand
donna
andChild.
no's
illustri.
Predictably, right
lightshaftofa hoe.
themes
ofbirth,
deathandtriumph
lyclaspsthecylindrical
Considering
envisions
Adamasa choric
on
the
over
Satan
which
the
fall
of
Adam
and Eve and
Castagno
figure
short
infunction
anddesign Christ'sIncarnation
on Castwall,hisrolecomparable
collectively
present
tothatofBoccaccio,
leftmost
on
the
to see the
figure
adjacent agno'sshortwall,it is notsurprising
wall.WhileBoccaccio's
instructs
theviewer CumaeanSibyl,as prophetess
oftheIncarnation
gesture
to regard
thebookhepresents,
Adamextends
his and heraldof thesecondAdam,facingthewall
in
a
of
a trioofimagesintegral
tothepurport
of
arm,
right palmupwards, gesturepresentation.bearing
Sopoised,
heacknowledges
thesublime
result
birth- herprophecy.
On theshortwall,first
andsecond
ed ofhistransgression:
Christin thearmsofHis creations,
first
andsecondAdams,aredisplayed
in
Mother
alsoisdirected
of figures
thesignificance
of whichis
(Fig.13).Yethisgesture
past a trinity
theMadonnaandChildtothelithe,
titulus
oftheCuyoungwoman acknowledged
bytheprophetic
whostands
ontheir
Eve
maean
Adam
and
Eve,theMaright: (Fig.14).
Sibyl.Together,
Shameneither
stainsthebrownormediates
the donnaandChild,andtheCumaeanSibylinauguEve.UnlikeCastagno's ratethestoryofredemption
whichfindsitssalvaproudstanceofCastagno's
sixFlorentines
and threeheroicwomen,shetoo toryconclusion
on thelongwallin thesymbolic
standsona lowplinth.
In gazingbeyondtheloggia forms
ofEstherandTomyris
as typesofChrist's
intothecourtyard
she
overSatan.
outside, turnsawayfrom Passionandtriumph
theMadonna,
andfrom
their
The message
bornebyCastagno's
three
Adam,from
progeny
unitedly
theninefigures
who laboredin herwake.More womenis important,
as surely
theircentral
placealonethanhercompanions
inCastagno's
she menton thelongwalloftheloggiamanifests:
the
mural,
withno figure,
communicates
actualorpainted,
in havocearnedforhumankind
byAdamandEve is
theinnerspaceofthepainted
loggia.Herdetached foiledby divineplan.Framedby six Florentine
and alienated
form- whichvisuallydivorceher heroes,
theCumaeanSibylandQueensEstherand
fromtheraceshehad>>destroyed
of
an
means
themselves
becomea frame
fortheworthy
by
Tomyris
the
her
ascribed
to
deeds
ofCastagno's
statesmen
andauthors.
Inunitapple/evil<<clarify persona
by
IfEvesignifies
lossofEdenandtravail,
titulus53.
pain ing thefamosiwiththeirhistorical
progenitors,
and deathforhumankind,
Adam- by gesture, Adamand Eve,thewomendefinethecareers
of
and
the
Florentines
in
an
modern
historical
context
comglance, possibly
through message
conveyed
- might
haveconnoted
thesalva- prisingheroicdeeds,moralvalor,and especially
byhislosttitulus
tionalcorollary
toherdeed:redemption
the Christian
IntheVillaCarducci,
through
redemption.
earthly
ofChrist.
Infact,
advent
be
visualand
deeds
well
be
Castagno
might
heavenly
promise might wedin
a
well-known
the
Andrea
del
of sixachieving
izing
iconographic
argument,
Castagno'sassembly
of
which
he
reinforces
the
and
men
three
women.
symmetry
by asymmetrisalvation-promissory
is fragmented,
anditsabbrevi53The paintedinscription
ated state has yielded various transcriptions:
Eva
M.
Om[ni]bus.Mater.Suasione.Sua. Genus.Peremit,
Horster:CastagnosFlorentiner
Fresken1450-57,in
17, 1955, 82; Eva Om[ni]Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch

bus. Mater.Suasione.Sua. Genus.Pere[n]at[malis],


M. Salmi:Gli affreschi
di AndreadelCastagnoritrovati, in Bollettinod'arte 35,1950,97; Eva Om[nium]
mater suasione sia genus peremit[malis], Robert
L. Mode: Re-CreatingAdam at the Villa Carducci,

in Zeitschrift
47, 1984,504. The
fiirKunstgeschichte
verbofthetitulus
fallsattheendoftheinscripmissing
tion,and is partiallyvisible.Clearly,two wordsfollow genus,as bothSalmi'sand Mode's transcriptions
report.The finalword mightbe a declensionof
the noun,malus,renderedas the ablativeof means.
Malus,oftenusedto pedagogicaladvantageinexegetical literature
bothas >apple<<and >>evil<<,
suitablyconcludesthethoughtinaugurated
by suasionesua genus
per[re]m[it].

Photo credits:i, 2, 3,4, 7 Alinari.- 5,6, 11,12,13,14GabinettoFotografico,Soprintendenzabeni artisticie storici

di Firenze.- 8,9,io The Pierpont


N. Y.
MorganLibrary,

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