Sixteenth Century Essays & Studies, Vol. 46
This volume sheds new light on the celebrated Italian artist and fresco. Art historians long have noted the circular composition around the figure of Christ, yet no satisfactory explanation has ever been offered. Here, against the background of the Renaissance, the author uses art historical methods with an interdisciplinary approach to resolve the meaning of the fresco’s iconography and circular composition.
Written in a clear, effective style, Sun Symbolism and Cosmology in Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment” contains some strikingly acute observations, careful examination of a wide range of both primary and secondary sources, an ambitious methodology, significant new research, and interesting conclusions.
I consider the book as a “must” not only for Michelangelo aficionados but also for anyone interested in the links between astronomy and art, as well as by the influences of cosmological perceptions on historical masterpieces.
—A. Heck, The Observatory
Theology, Cosmology, and Christian Iconography
Cosmology and Religion
Cosmology and Christian Iconography
Cosmology and theLast Judgment
The Meaning of the Last Judgment
Iconography of the Last Judgment
Origins and Early Examples
The Last Judgment in Northern Europe
The Last Judgment in the Italian Renaissance
Influence of Changes in Cosmology
Michelangelo’s Last Judgment
The Commission of the Last Judgment
Current State of Research
Christian Light Symbolism
Michelangelo and Catholic Revival of Early Christian Ideas
Michelangelo and Early Christian Iconography
Continuation of the Sun-Christ Tradition
Italian Renaissance Literature
TheDivina Commedia of Dante Alighieri
Sun-Symbolism and Cosmology in Dante
Michelangelo and Vittoria Colonna
Michelangelo and Neoplatonism
Michelangelo’s Hell and Plato’s Cave
Other Philosophical Sources; the Hermetic Writings.
The Importance of Copernicus
Tolnay, Copernicus, and Michelangelo
The Waning of Medieval Cosmology
Renaissance Predecessor of Copernicus
Neoplatonic Influences on Copernicus
Copernicus and His Writings
Copernicus in Art
Reaction of the Church
Clement VII and the Vatican Lecture
Paul III and the Heresy Question
The Central Point
Art Historical Method
The Centralized Format Around Christ
Fresco Construction—Formal and Iconological
The Symbolism of Revelation 19:16
Art Historical Interpretation
Hypothesis or Truth?
A Valid Framework
Appendix 1 Selected Versions of the Last Judgment
Appendix 2 Important Dates
Appendix 3 Letter of Nicholas Schönberg
Appendix 4 Copernicus’ Preface to De Revolutionibus
It is surprising to see how the author moves with ease in so many different fields, trying to find the central theme that inspired Michelangelo in organizing the composition of his large fresco.
—Astronomy & Geophysics
Successfully illustrates the history and general importance of solar symbolism in the Italian Renaissance—it is the first general study of this important topic—while suggesting the influence such symbolic genres might have had on Michelangelo.