Message to the reader
Message to the reader

The readers of this issue are offered articles on a very interesting and original topic. These studies were prepared as a result of an open workshop «Imagining Power. Political Iconography of the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern Times» which was held in April 2022 by the Department of General History of Art of the Faculty of History. A visual image is one of the most effective ways to convey to the audience a moral instruction or an idea that should be perceived as a guide to action whether it be a theological dogma or a socio-political appeal. Since ancient times art has served as a visual means of representing power, its powers, ambitions, aspirations, using quite specific techniques and metaphors. The purpose of the workshop was to outline some of the ways and means used by the political iconography of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance using specific examples. The rich allegorical language developed by these eras and the variety of artistic media made it possible to discuss the image of the ruler as a hero and anti-hero, as the personification of virtues; universal formulas and motives that convey the idea of power; the role of a work of art as the embodiment of the political program, status or ambitions of the ruler; methods used by classical and modern political iconology as a special branch of the science of art and the science of images.

Article written by O.S. Smagol (Lomonosov Moscow State University’) is dedicated to the palaces of Ferrara of the 15th century and the representation of the power of the house of d’Este. It deals with monuments created at the dawn of the Renaissance, that is, in the era of Borso d'Este (1450-1471) such as the Palazzo Schifanoia and buildings belonging to the mature stage of the early Renaissance, during the reign of Ercole I d'Este (1471-1471- 1505) such as the Palazzo Francesco da Castello or Prosperi Sacrati. Basically, the researcher focuses on the semantics of the palace portal which she explores in a historical context and at the same time refers to the principles of ornamentation and the symbolic language that was used in the Quattrocento miniature of Ferrara. Their comparative analysis allows us to state that the motifs found in architecture and miniature are consonant and suggests that they had similar prototypes. Over the decades in both groups of monuments there has been a transition from the sporadic use of all'antica elements in the decoration, replete with the symbols of d'Este, to the developed antiquing compositions and characteristic images common to the court centers of Italy in the second half of the Quattrocento which testifies to transformation of the ontological paradigm of the era.

The article written by D.D. Kormanovskaya (Lomonosov Moscow State University) presents a detailed analysis of the engraving «Hercules at the Crossroads» by Jan Wieriks, made according to the drawing by Crispin van den Broek in Antwerp in the second half of the 16th century. The engraving is based on the classic plot from Xenophon's «Memoirs of Socrates» where the young Hercules makes a life choice between Virtue and Pleasure. However, the plot of the Dutch master undergoes a transformation – the place of Virtue is taken by Labor, while Virtue itself suddenly finds itself in the arms of Fortune. The author of the article makes an attempt to explain this shift in meanings, referring to the circumstances of the socio-political and spiritual life of the Netherlands during the period under consideration.

The motifs associated with the image of Hercules are also key to understanding the decoration program of the City Residence in Landshut which is the subject of the article written by M.A. Lopukhova (Lomonosov Moscow State). Founded by Duke Ludwig X of Wittelsbach in the 1530s, this ensemble is one of the earliest palace complexes in trans-Alpine Europe built in accordance with the Italian Renaissance fashion. The appearance of his «Italian building» was also influenced by its direct architectural prototype - the ensemble of Palazzo Te in Mantua built by Giulio Romano, and in general by those principles of monumental decoration that took shape in Italy during the period of high Renaissance and early mannerism. From the point of view of the program, however, his decorative repertoire covers themes and plots that are characteristic not only for the decoration of palaces and villas of the first third of the 16th century which had representative functions (mythological plots with allusions to the biography of the owner, horoscopes), but also for earlier monuments. Such is the theme of uomini famosi which goes back to Petrarch in the paintings of the salon of the palace, the so-called «Italian room». At the same time the neighborhood of the valiant men of the past and the allegory of Glory with the twelve labors of Hercules depicted on the walls of the hall can hardly be explained by humanistic rhetoric in the spirit of Petrarch alone. It is possible that the program of this interior is based on the prologue to Sallust's «Jugurthian War», the motto from which is also placed in the «Italian Hall». The Latin quote recalls the conflict between the three sons of Duke Albrecht IV of Wittelsbach, the successful resolution of which made it possible to maintain the relative integrity of the Duchy of Bavaria. The prologue contains reflections on human prowess and glory, on the diversity of the possibilities of the human spirit which can be personified by the famous men of antiquity, as well as on the choice of a worthy path by him - a motif that is traditionally associated with the image of Hercules.

The article of A.S. Hort (Higher School of Economics) is devoted to the engravings for Johann Russer's play «The Game of Raising Children» which demonstrate the relationship between book illustration and ideology, theater and judicial practice in the German lands of the late 16th century. Comparing the illustrations for Russer with biased graphics and painting, one can identify the tendentiousness of this cycle and determine its main functions: education of morals and propaganda of the power of the Habsburgs. The graphic cycle that accompanies the text of Russer's play turns out to be multi-layered in content. It is part of a propaganda complex that combines moralistic dramaturgy, motifs borrowed from real theatrical practice and the possibilities of printed graphics. The reflection of the inquisitorial judicial practice in the theatrical engraving confirms the prejudice of the author of the play and his desire to create through art a guide to the establishment of social order. In the German scientific tradition this illustrative cycle was studied mainly by theater critics and in this article for the first time an attempt was made to analyze the illustrations for the play from the point of view of the history of art, to highlight not so much its theatrical component but rather the iconography and artistic value of engravings.

The article of M.Yu. Toropygina (Russian State University of Cinematography named after S. Gerasimov – Research Institute of Theory and History of Fine Arts, Russian Academy of Arts) is adjoining this block of texts. It discusses the features of the visual solution of the «Game of Thrones» series which are directly related to the visual tradition and iconographic logic of the late Middle Ages. The researcher deals with the formal (the opposition of ice and fire in the color scheme of the series) and semantic aspects which can be the key to understanding the logic of its authors, as well as the iconography of the characters. The main theme of the «Game of Thrones» can be considered the study of the phenomenon of power the energy of which is personified by dragons and a special role in this struggle for power belongs to women whose path can be traced from the point of view of how their iconography is changing.

However, not only those types of art that are defined as «pictorial» are capable of embodying the idea of power but also architecture with its extremely abstract expressive language. So the article of P.I. Podoplelova (Lomonosov Moscow State University - Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts) examines the key elements and features of the architectural solution of the Villa Imperiale della Rovere, designed to express one of the semantic themes of the ensemble - the status of its owner. The villa was designed by Girolamo Genga and commissioned by Francesco Maria della Rovere, 4th Duke of Urbino and his wife Eleonora Gonzaga. Individuality, novelty and at the same time inclusion in tradition are present in the architectural forms of this northern Italian country residence, which is on a par with the most significant buildings of the Italian Renaissance. The ensemble demonstrates the changes that took place in the architectural language of early Mannerism, due to the fact that the elements of the representative structure became «speaking» and took on the function of verbal explanation. This process was based on a change in attitude towards architectural practice and the strengthening of the role of the customer at the stage of project development. The desire of the patron to participate in the creation of the future ensemble was to a large extent connected with the desire to express his ideas and ambitions in the forms of architecture. The main façade of Villa della Rovere, its volumetric and planimetric solution, order forms, architectural and sculptural decoration - all this sets out in detail the program of the complex, which embodied a kind of portrait of customers.

In addition to this block of articles the reader of this issue is offered two research materials on the problems of foreign policy and international relations. R.V. Karakhanova examines the dispute over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands (called the Malvinas Islands in the Spanish-speaking world) between Argentina and Great Britain which has been going on for about two hundred years. The archipelago which previously belonged to Argentina was declared by the British as their territory in 1833. The article highlights both the historical roots of the territorial dispute over the Falkland Islands and the influence of the Argentine-British relations on the «Falklands question» on the formation of Argentine foreign and domestic policy.

S.S. Manukov in his article considers the concepts of international arbitration and projects of an international organization for the protection of peace, developed by European and American politicians at the beginning of the 20th century. Particular attention is paid to the activities of ex-US Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, W. Taft, Secretary of State E. Root as well as representatives of the European political elite - British Minister R. Cecil, Judge W. Philimor, ex-Prime Minister of France L. Bourgeois etc.

The issue also contains traditional sections devoted to scientific life and scientific reviews of current publications.

In the «Conferences» section the reader can get acquainted with the results of two large-scale international scientific events. One of them is «The VI Martian Proceedings: Actual Problems of Ibero-American Studies» and the second is devoted to actual problems of the theory and history of art. In addition to these materials the issue publishes abstracts presented by the participants of the conference of students, graduate students and young scientists «The New World and the Old World: trajectories of cultural interaction».

In the «Reviews» section the reader is offered an analysis of Andrey Vinogradov's lecture course «Byzantine Architecture» presented by A.L. Rastorguev and the review of the book by G.A. Kosmolinskaya «F.V. Karzhavin and his album "Views of Old Paris"» prepared by E.A. Titova.

(c) 2022 Исторические Исследования

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