Cultural Cocktail Hour

CCH Interviews the Getty’s “Miraculous Encounters” curator Davide Gasparotto, about a Pontormo art mystery!!

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Giorgio Vasari is pretty much the world’s first famous art historian. He was in the circle of Michelangelo, Pontormo,  Andrea del Sarto, and other world-class artists. Vasari book Lives of the Artists, first published in 1550, lays the foundation for art historical writing. Yet despite writing extensively about Pontormo, Vasari never once mentioned Pontormo’s resplendent painting, The Visitation.

Why not?

Once having viewed this mesmerizing painting, it would be impossible to forget it. Yet Vasari ignored it completely.

Some have speculated that since Pontormo painted it during a historic siege, there may have been political reasons for the mysterious omission. At the time Vasari’s patron, the Medici Duke was an adversary of Bartolommeo Pinadori, the patron for Pontormo’s “Visitation.”

Cultural Cocktail Hour’s Editor-In-Chief Leticia Marie Sanchez asks Davide Gasparatto, Senior Curator at the Getty to shed light on this art mystery.

CCH: “My question to you is a mystery. Why is this painting not in Vasari’s Lives of the Artists? Does it have to do with the patronage of the families, the Medici versus the patrons of Pontormo?

DG: “I think that probably Vasari did not know of this painting. This painting was in some ways executed during the dramatic moment of the siege. And then it probably was executed for a church or for a place that maybe was demolished, maybe destroyed. Then it ended up in this sort of very peripheral location. So Vasari didn’t know.

He didn’t know of its existence.

CCH: Thank you for clarifying this great mystery for us. Grazie Mille!


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