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PETER CRACK // A Renaissance ‘Menu’: Word and Image in a Sixteenth-Century Italian Drawing

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This article examines the content and significance of an inscription found on an Italian drawing in The Courtauld Gallery collection. The work of an unidentified sixteenth-century artist, the text records meals over the course of a nine-day period. The socio-economic data contained in this inscription provides an insight into daily life in the Renaissance and also workshop dynamics. Aside from contextualising the object in question, the aim of this article is to ask how word and image interact on the page.

 

Fig. 1: School of Raphael, Alexander the Great with his Physician (?), recto, pen and ink on paper, 21.5 x 20.8 cm, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London.
© The Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, London.

Fig. 2: School of Raphael, Classical or Mythological Subject, verso, pen and ink on paper, 21.5 x 20.8 cm, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London.
© The Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, London.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

 In 1952, Sir Robert Witt donated over 3,000 Old Master prints and drawings to The Courtauld Institute of Art in London.[1] Among this founding bequest was a sixteenth-century drawing that has variously been ascribed to the school of Raphael (1483-1520), Perino del Vaga (1501-47) and Gianfrancesco Penni (ca. 1496-1528) (Fig. 1 and Fig. 2).[2] On the recto is a sketch of a partially nude male reclining on a triclinium. A canopy hangs above the recumbent figure, while a vase and some unidentifiable food sit atop a foreground table. Although the central figure is already in the act of quenching his thirst, a man in all’antica costume offers up another drink. Two further attendants stand idly by, bookending the composition and communicating a familiar tenor of classical luxury. The verso also illustrates a scene from either classical history or mythology. Here we find four male figures, at least three of whom are identifiable as soldiers, including one shown attending to a pile of discarded armour. The three men to the left are each connected by a chain of glances and gestures, or possibly touches, which draws our attention to some unseen person or event. While the subjects of these drawings have long resisted identification, Rachel Hapoienu has recently suggested that the recto may in fact depict Alexander the Great with his Physician.[3]

Fig. 3: Michelangelo, List of foods with sketches, Corpus 117v. Archivio Buonarroti X578, Casa Buonarroti, Florence.
© The History Collection / Alamy Stock Photo.

Fig. 4: Leaf from Lorenzo Lotto’s Il Libro di spese diverse (December–March 1542), carta 152r.
© L’archivio storico della Santa Casa, Loreto / Bruno Longarini.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artists’ Diets

 The authorship and subject of these rather cursory but enigmatic drawings are not the primary focus of this article. Taking precedence here is an extensive inscription that features at a right angle to the ‘Alexandrian’ sketch. As is discussed in detail below, the text records meals over the course of a little over one week. Whether this information is concerned with the past or the future is difficult to determine. It may be a simple shopping list, not unlike Michelangelo’s (1475-1564) illustrated list of groceries now preserved in the Casa Buonarroti in Florence (Fig. 3).[4] Alternatively, the text may be an inventory of living expenses. Lorenzo Lotto (ca. 1480-1556/57) made many such lists in his detailed account book, the Libro di spese diverse (Fig. 4, 1538-56). To give one prominent example, Lotto documented the day-to-day expenses he had contributed to the household of his cousin Mario d’Armano, during work on the Saint Antoninus Altarpiece in Venice between 1540 and 1542.[5] Parts of Lotto’s Libro share much in common with The Courtauld inscription. His purchases included olive oil, vinegar, saffron, ham, pecorino cheese, sausages and much else besides.[6] Many entries are embellished with dates, amounts, weights and prices, which are recorded in soldi. The language employed in The Courtauld inscription – as well as the use of horizontal pen strokes at the terminus of several lines of text – suggests that, as in the Libro, a price or total may have originally completed the script.

Aside from these putative functions, The Courtauld inscription is of value to the study of daily life in the Renaissance and especially to that of sixteenth-century diets. Despite some losses resulting from trimming, the text remains largely legible (Appendix A). Over the course of nine days, approximately twelve servings of bread, seven of meat, six of fruit and vegetables, two of dairy and one each of fish and nuts are recorded.

Fig. 5: Annibale Carracci, The Bean-eater (ca. 1583-85), oil on canvas, 57 x 68 cm, Galleria Colonna, Rome.
© Granger Historical Picture Archive / Alamy Stock Photo.

Significant research has been carried out on Renaissance eating habits and not least concerning the links between food and social status.[7] The Courtauld ‘menu’, brief though it is, indicates a person of middling social standing. On the one hand, fava beans, which our author consumed one Friday morning, were traditionally a workers’ food. The fifteenth-century physician Michele Savonarola (1385-1468), for example, dismissed the ingredient as ‘è pasto da vilano’ (a meal for louts).[8] It was a prejudice that endured in the sixteenth century and can be discerned to a degree in Annibale Carracci’s (1560-1609) renowned picture of The Bean-eater (Fig. 5, ca. 1583-85). This rustic scene, then a novelty to Italian art, features a man dressed in peasant attire, eating the beans with shambolic abandon.[9] More generally, fruit, vegetables and raw foods were associated with gastro-intestinal putrefaction and ‘bad humours’ in contemporary treatises on diet and medicine. Baldassare Pisanelli, for example, in his Trattato della natura de’ cibi et del bere (1584), again singled out beans for disparagement. He considered the food particularly deleterious to those suffering from pre-existing colic pains: ‘però ella nuoce a quei che patiscono i dolori colici’.[10] Pisanelli reserved similar antipathy for chestnuts, again listed in The Courtauld inscription, which he deemed fit only for the impoverished ‘gente da montagna’ (mountain folk), who lived and worked among the chestnut groves of Bergamo.[11]  

Despite a tradition in the Galenic literature that codified a class dichotomy in nutrition, Laura Giannetti has questioned the assumption that greens were entirely spurned by the wealthy. She has traced the rehabilitation of vegetables in Italian gastronomy, concluding that ‘the traditional link […] between ideal social hierarchy and the consumption of vegetables and greens had been significantly broken by the end of the sixteenth century.’[12] One reason for the growing acceptance of a more varied diet was the rising price of meat in this period. By the sixteenth century the Italian populace had recovered from the effects of the Black Death. Between 1530 and 1600, for example, the population of Rome increased from approximately 30,000 to around 100,000.[13] And with increasing mouths to feed, meat became proportionally more expensive.[14] As one might expect, however, meat shortages did not trouble the very pinnacle of the patrician classes. Gino Fornaciari’s analysis of carbon and nitrogen isotopes in the bones of the Medici Grand Dukes and Aragonese monarchs indicates that their diets were extremely high in animal protein, while fruit in particular was largely absent from the table.[15]

Cheaper meats such as sausage, which are listed several times in The Courtauld inscription, were more widely available.[16] Although quality and prices could vary, the humble status of the sausage was sealed by its gendered associations and by predictable sophomoric humour. The Florentine Agnolo Firenzuola (1493-1543), for example, penned a song entirely in praise of the sausage. A burlesque effort, Firenzuola satirised the lowly associations of the food by elevating its merits to farcical heights.[17] But despite the appearance of certain ‘low-status’ foods in the present list, the seven servings of meat consumed across the nine days would indicate a level of wealth beyond that of the masses. This carnivorousness is also marked by a comparative lack of marine protein, which appears only once in the form of anchovies on Friday evening. It is tempting to conclude that the list was therefore composed away from Italy’s many maritime centres, but in lieu of further evidence the author cannot be situated to a specific region with any confidence.

We can reasonably conclude that the list originated in an urban setting. The manufacture of bread was a highly labour-intensive activity, which in towns was typically performed by specialist artisans.[18] Given the twelve servings of bread recorded here, it is highly likely that our author purchased ready-made loaves from producers equipped to meet the demands of an urban population. According to Elizabeth and Thomas Cohen, ‘ordinary Italians often ate their bread plain, in hunks, perhaps seasoned in peasant fashion with a bit of raw garlic or onion’, a characterisation that chimes with our inscription and again calls to mind the repast depicted in Carracci’s The Bean-eater.[19] Indeed, by a considerable margin in this period, bread was the staple food of most Italians and this again corresponded with contemporary dietary advice. In 1586, the physician Castore Durante (1529-90) recommended that bread should be served in a three-to-one ratio with meat and in a four-to-one ratio with fish, vegetables and fruit: ‘il cibo sia doppio al bere, il pane sesquiduplo all’oua, triplo alla carne e quadruplo ai pesci, all’herbe, & ai frutti.’[20] Bread was thought necessary to aid digestion, essentially balancing meals in proportion to the other food groups that were consumed. We have no indication of the size of portions represented here, but throughout the nine-day period bread and meats are recorded at a ratio of a little over two-to-one. Of course, aside from the supposed constitutional benefits of bread, the ‘staff of life’ had overt Christian connotations in Italian society.[21] It is worth noting that our author ate bread on both of the documented Sundays, with only bread and oil consumed on the second Sabbath. Moreover, as is often customary, meat was substituted for fish on Friday.

Given the sheet’s obvious links to an artist’s bottega, how does this diet compare with that of other sixteenth-century artists? Michelangelo’s shopping list mentioned above also features a great deal of bread (Fig. 3). Anchovies likewise appear in both documents, although Michelangelo also enjoyed two servings of herring. Wine, soup, vegetables and two portions of tortelli complete the Florentine’s list of desiderata. The latter dish stands out as somewhat unusual. With the partial exception of Naples, pasta had yet to become a staple in sixteenth-century Italy. Levels of adulteration could vary, but the refined wheat required for its manufacture inflated the price of pasta to around three times that of bread.[22] Typically enjoyed by the wealthy, or as an occasional treat, Michelangelo was presumably, and unsurprisingly, in an enviable financial position.

Fig. 6: Leaf from Jacopo Pontormo’s Il libro mio (11 March 1554), codice Magliabechiano VIII, 1490, 76r.
© Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze.

We can also compare The Courtauld ‘menu’ with the diet of Jacopo Pontormo (1494-1557), who recorded many of his meals between January and October 1554 (Fig. 6). Over a similar nine-day span, Pontormo consumed nine servings of fruit and vegetables, five of meat, and three each of dairy and bread (Appendix B). While both authors ate comparable levels of animal protein, Pontormo’s diet in this period contained markedly less bread, no fish and a great deal more salad. Pontormo is also more specific in his Diario, also known as Il libro mio, recording that his meat intake was either from goat or mutton. Furthermore, the artist provided a measure of psychological insight absent from The Courtauld inscription. Pontormo was nearing the end of his life when he penned Il libro mio and Elizabeth Pilliod has characterised him as ‘an artist who was obsessed with his diet, body, and emotions, a melancholic who preferred solitude to social interaction’.[23] Nevertheless, there are striking similarities between the two lists. Both authors included the days of the week, the part of day that the repast was taken and, of course, the food that was consumed. Aside from Pontormo’s remarkable introspection, the significance of these documents is perhaps in confirming what might otherwise have been an instinctive position: here were two successful artisans, living in an urban setting and subsisting on moderate diets, albeit with little danger of privation.

 

Paper in the Workshop: ‘Ut Pictura Poesis’

 In terms of artists’ regimens, at the opposite end of the spectrum to The Courtauld ‘menu’ and Pontormo’s Diario are accounts of La Compagnia del Paiuolo (The Company of the Cauldron), essentially a fine-dining club consisting of twelve Florentine artists. Led by the sculptor Giovanfrancesco Rustici (1475-1554) (Pontormo was notably absent from the group), the aim of the confraternity was to unite art with gastronomy.[24] This they achieved by hosting extravagant banquets. Each member was expected to present a highly elaborate dish to the assembled company, which would then be passed around for all to sample. Giorgio Vasari (1511-74) recorded the extraordinary culinary efforts of Andrea del Sarto (1486-1530) on one such occasion:

Andrea del Sarto presented an octagonal temple, similar to that of San Giovanni, but placed on columns; the pavement was a huge plate of jelly with a pattern of mosaic in different colours; the columns, which looked like porphyry, were long and thick sausages; the bases and capitals were of Parmesan cheese, the cornices of sugar paste, and the tribune was made of quarters of marzipan; in the centre was a choir lectern made of cold veal, with a book of lasagne that had the letters and notes of the music made of peppercorns; and the singers at the lectern were cooked thrushes standing with their beaks open, and with certain shirts used in cooking, made of fine pork cauls; and behind them, for the double basses, were two fat pigeons, with six ortolans as the sopranos.[25]

The rather more ordinary diet recorded in The Courtauld inscription provides an apposite counterpoint to Vasari’s biography of Rustici. And likewise it contrasts with a brief passage from Vasari’s vita of Perino del Vaga, an artist to whom this sheet has at times been associated. According to the biographer, or at least according to his later interpreters, Perino’s many appetites contributed to his premature death in 1547: ‘having ruined his constitution by the fatigues of his art and by the excesses of sex and eating, […] he fell dead of an apoplectic seizure in his forty-seventh year.’[26] Indeed, the supposed excesses of the likes of Perino, Rustici and Andrea del Sarto share a greater affinity with the classical trappings and conspicuous consumption depicted in The Courtauld drawing. Whereas the inscription attests to a mundane reality, the drawing proclaims a fantasy of luxury. The result is a poignant tension on the page between word and image, one of several such juxtapositions and interactions worth highlighting.

There is a fundamental divide between these elements with regard to their respective chronologies, legibility and possibly even authorship. The inscription, for example, evidently predates the illustration, being crossed out with broad pen strokes and partially obscured by the fictive canopy. Each intervention is also legible only at a different orientation, resulting in a degree of visual incoherence that reaffirms the chronological disparity as well as the possible presence of a second artist’s hand. This uncertainty aside, the sketches on both sides of the sheet are stylistically consistent and can reasonably be considered the work of the same artist. We can further deduce that the four figures on the verso were likely made before those on the recto. It stands to reason that our artist would not have drawn over a pre-existing inscription had one side of the page been blank and free to use. Paper was an increasingly affordable and thus plentiful resource in the sixteenth century, but it was a commodity nonetheless and unlikely to be wasted.[27] And it was precisely this act of recycling in the sheet’s provenance – the encasing of earlier textual information within the pictorial field of a valued art-object – that likely ensured the long-term survival of the inscription. Paper was not just a resource in and of itself; it was also a resource to which value could be added. Drawings could be circulated within or between workshops and, of course, were subsequently prized by collectors. Even these perfunctory sketches were self-evidently deemed worthy of preserving for centuries.

Though incongruent in terms of timeline and legibility, both word and image are equally successful in communicating an otherwise internal process of organisation. As has been outlined above, the inscription clearly bears witness to a person organising a particular aspect of their daily life. But likewise, the process of composing a pictorial scene, regardless of the intended subject, emerges on the page through the artist’s loose penwork, through the unresolved articulation of the figures and through certain puzzling details, such as the visual non sequitur of a drinking man being offered another libation. Image making in its initial incarnation exists on the page side-by-side with the rather more prosaic preoccupations contained in the inscription, just as practical tasks would have unfolded in the actual studio cheek by jowl with artistic endeavours. Intriguingly, this dual aspect of the Renaissance workshop is especially pertinent to another of the artists often associated with the drawing. Gianfrancesco Penni was also known as ‘il Fattore’ (the administrator) precisely because of the record-keeping duties he performed in Raphael’s studio outside of his artistic accomplishments.[28]

Fig. 7: Perino del Vaga, Figure Studies, verso, pen and brown ink on paper, 19.2 x 27.4 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington.
Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Fig. 8: Figure 1 rotated ninety degrees clockwise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The manifold uses required of paper, writ large in The Courtauld sheet, are, of course, also apparent in innumerable sixteenth-century drawings. But one particular example is worth highlighting in the present context. A drawing in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, again associated with Perino del Vaga, shares a close affinity with the present sheet in both form and content (Fig. 7 and Fig. 8).[29] As in London, the Washington page features several figure studies alongside an inventory of some sort.[30] Again the list comprises a variety of sundries, including food, cutlery, a tablecloth, pigments, brushes, and mixing bowls. All of which were presumably required for the smooth running of Perino’s studio. And so too can this be said of the adjacent figure studies of nude males in various martial poses. Indeed, the literature on the sheet has inclined to stress the preliminary nature of these drawings, as well as their presumed role in Perino’s design process for the Palazzo Doria frescoes in Genoa.[31] In both sheets, then, we find a range of mark making pertinent to an array of studio activities, each expressed, or rather organised, on a shared page.

Where the Washington and London sheets differ is in the physical separation of word and image. In the former object, the inscription and illustration do not overlap and each shares precedence on the page. This is not so of The Courtauld inscription. Instead, the superimposition of drawing over text renders the latter element comparatively redundant, at least so far as the artist was concerned. Relegated physically on the page, the result is a hierarchy of mark making: new over old, image over text, a fiction of antiquity over a document of the Renaissance.

Running contrary to these tensions, however, is a shared gastronomic theme. Across an indefinite period of time, a list of foods was paired with an image of drinking. Intentional or not, this epicurean leitmotif creates a dialogue on the page – either an author in communication with him or herself, or else two people interacting on a common space. Leonard Barkan has described the ‘remarkable range of disparate, intersecting, and sequential undertakings’ that can arise from the preservation and circulation of paper within the workshop.[32] For Barkan, this process of dialogue and transmission could also result in chance instances of ut pictura poesis (as is painting so is poetry), which provide an often-overlooked insight into the life of the workshop and mind of the artist.[33] Here those intersections are fundamentally corporeal in nature; word and image are connected through bodily function and consumption. That food and drink are the ‘subjects’ here is in one sense a pleasing coincidence, but for Barkan, once again turning to Michelangelo’s illustrated list of groceries, the fundamental significance of the alimentary experience necessarily rendered its expression through mark making, whether that be image or text, an exercise in futility:

It is no accident – looking back on the entire discourse of words and pictures – that the subject here should be food, since the experience of taste (like that of music) often stands as a goal beyond the reach of either pictura or poesis, at a site where the body possesses its own untranslatable discourse.[34]

It is a perspective eminently applicable to The Courtauld sheet and one that is perhaps enhanced by the gaps in our knowledge regarding the precise subject matter, function or authorship of either drawing or inscription. In lieu of these more fixed meanings, then, both word and image will continue to interact and inform the ‘reading’ of the other.

Appendix A:

The Courtauld Inscription: [35]

Domenica sera salsiza pane e sale = Sunday evening sausage, bread and salt

Lunedì matina 1 case [?] e pane = Monday morning 1 cheese [?] and bread

Lunedì sera 1 carne e carote = Monday evening 1 meat and carrots

martedì matina 1 pane = Tuesday morning 1 bread

martedì sera 1 carne e olio e … = Tuesday evening 1 meat and oil and…

merco[r]edì matina 1 pane___ = Wednesday morning 1 bread

merco[r]edì sera 1 carne e 1 sal [salsiza/sale?]… = Wednesday evening 1 bread and 1 [sausage/salt?] …

gobia matina 1 salsiza e carne e pa[ne?]… = Thursday morning 1 sausage and meat and bread[?] …

gobia a sera p [parum?] cipole___ = Thursday at night p [a few?] onions[36]

venare matina favva pane p [parum?] pepe e chastagnie___ = Friday morning beans, bread, p [a little] pepper and chestnuts

venare a sera ouva alice e salata = Friday at night egg, anchovies and salad

venare a sera peri agivani [a giovani?] ef pesa [le spese?] gioe[?] p [?] pese [?] chauli = Friday night early/fresh [?] p [?] pears, cabbage

Sabato matina p [parum?] pane___ = Saturday morning p [a little] bread

Sabato a sera m [?] charne pane S… = Saturday at night m [?] meat bread S…

Domenica sera pane___ = Sunday evening bread

domenica sera p [pane?] olio___ = Sunday evening p [bread?] oil

Lunidi matina pane___ = Monday morning bread

 

Appendix B:

Excerpt from Pontormo’s Il libro mio: [37]

E lunedì sera cenai uno cavolo e uno pesce d’uovo. = Monday evening I ate a cabbage and an omelette.

El martedì sera cenai una meza testa di cavretto e la minestra. = Tuesday evening I ate one half of the head of a kid and soup.

El mercoldedì sera l’altra meza fritta e del zibibo uno buondato e 5 quatrini di pane e caperi in insalata. = Wednesday evening I had the other half, fried, and a pretty big helping of zibibbo grapes, and 5 quattrini of bread, and capers in salad.

Giovedì mattina mi venne uno capogirlo che mi durò tucto dì, e capo debole. = Thursday morning I felt a dizziness that lasted all day; and even after I still felt bad and my head was weak.

Giovedì sera una minestra di buno castrone e insalata di barbe. = Thursday evening, a soup of good mutton and salad of goat’s beard.

Venerdì sera insalata di barbe e dua huova in pesce d’uovo. = Friday evening, salad of goat’s beard and two eggs in an omelette.

Sabato digiuno. Domenica sera, chef u la sera dell’ulivo, cenai uno poco di castrone lesso e mangiai uno poco d’insalata e dovetti mangiare da tre quattrini di pane. = Saturday, fasted. Sunday evening, which was the evening of Palm Sunday, I ate a little boiled mutton and salad, and had to eat three quattrini of bread.

Lunedì sera dopo cena mi senti’ molto gagliardo e ben disposto: mangiai una insalata di lattuga, una minestrina di buono castrone e 4 quatrini di pane. = Monday evening after dinner I felt very lively and agreeable. I ate a salad of lettuce, a thin soup of good mutton and 4 quattrini of bread.

Martedì sera mangiai una insalata di lattuga e uno pesce d’uovo. = Tuesday evening I ate a salad of lettuce and an omelette.

Thanks go to Adriana Concin, Ketty Gottardo and Scott Nethersole.

[1] See Denise Allen et al., Master Drawings from The Courtauld Gallery (London: Paul Holberton, 2012), 17-30.

[2] See object file D.1952.RW.2811 in The Courtauld Gallery Prints and Drawings Study Room, London.

[3] For this iconography, see Humphrey Wine, The Seventeenth-Century French Paintings (London: National Gallery Company, 2001), 230-33.

[4] See John Varriano, Tastes and Temptations: Food and Art in Renaissance Italy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011), 154-56.

[5] See Peter Humphrey, Lorenzo Lotto (New Haven: Yale, 1997), 139 and 177-79.

[6] Lorenzo Lotto, Il Libro di spese diverse (1538-1556): con aggiunta di lettere e d’altri documenti a cura di Pietro Zampetti (Venice: Istituto per la collaborazione culturale, 1969), 211-16.

[7] See Allen J. Grieco, ‘Food and Social Classes in late Medieval and Renaissance Italy’, in Albert Sonnenfeld (ed.), Food: A Culinary History from Antiquity to the Present (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), 302-12.

[8] Michele Savonarola, Libreto de tutte le cosse che se manzano, ed. by Jane Nystedt (Stockholm: Stockholms universitet, 1982), 38.

[9] See Sheila McTighe, ‘Foods and the Body in Italian Genre Paintings, about 1580: Campi, Passarotti, Carracci’, The Art Bulletin, vol. 86, no. 2 (June 2004), 301-23.

[10] ‘But she [beans] harms those who suffer from colic pains.’ Baldassare Pisanelli, Trattato della natura de’ cibi et del bere (Venice: Giovanni Battista Porta, 1584), 57.

[11] See McTighe, 318.

[12] Laura Giannetti, ‘Italian Renaissance Food-Fashioning or The Triumph of Greens’, California Italian Studies, vol. 1, no. 2 (2010), 12.

[13] See Jacques Revel, ‘A Capital City’s Privileges: Food Supplies in Early-Modern Rome’, in Robert Forster and Orest Ranum (eds), Food and Drink in History: Selections from the Annales Economies, Sociétés, Civilisations, vol. 5 (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1979), 37.

[14] See Ken Albala, Eating Right in the Renaissance (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), 188, no. 4.

[15] See Gino Fornaciari, ‘Food and disease at the Renaissance courts of Naples and Florence: a paleonutritional study’, Appetite, vol. 51, no. 1 (July 2008), 10-14.

[16] See Christopher Kissane, Food, Religion and Communities in Early Modern Europe (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018), 78-104.

[17] See Agnolo Firenzuola, Opere di M. Agnolo Firenzuolo, VI (Pisa: Niccolò Capurro, 1816), 273-76; for the tradition of ‘sausage poetry’ in Florence, see Karen Hope Goodchild, ‘Masaccio, Andrea Del Sarto, Il Lasca, and The Sausage School of Florence’, Source: Notes in the History of Art, vol. 36, no. 3 and 4 (Spring/Summer, 2017), 178-87.

[18] Elizabeth Cohen and Thomas Cohen, Daily Life in Renaissance Italy (Westport: Greenwood Press, 2001), 227.

[19] Cohen and Cohen, 227.

[20] ‘The food is twice the drink, the bread is two and a half times the eggs, triple the meat and quadruple the fish, herbs and fruit’. Roberto Peliti (ed.), Il tesoro della sanita: nel quale si da il modo da conservar la sanità, & prolungar la vita / opera nuova di Castor Durante da Gualdo (Rome: Stabilimento tipografico Julia, 1965), 47.

[21] See Ken Albala, ‘Historical Background to Food and Christianity’, and Heather Martel, ‘Dirty Things: Bread Maize, Women, and Christian Identity in Sixteenth-Century America’, in Ken Kalbala and Trudy Eden (eds), Food & Faith in Christian Culture (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011), 7-19, 83-103.

[22] See Silvano Serventi and Françoise Sabban, Pasta: The Story of a Universal Food (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), 73-77.

[23] Elizabeth Pilliod, ‘Ingestion/Pontormo’s Diary: Food and the Management of the Artist’s Melancholy’, Cabinet Magazine, vol. 18, no. 3 (2005), 7.

[24] For the history and dining habits of the company, see Tommaso Mozzati, Giovanfrancesco Rustici: le Compagnie del Paiuolo e della Cazzuola: arte, letteratura, festa nell’età della Maniera (Florence: Olschki Editore, 2008), 249-51.

[25] ‘Andrea del Sarto presentò un tempio a otto facce, simile a quello di San Giovanni, ma posto sopra colonne; il pavimento era un grandissimo piatto di gelatina con spartimenti di varii colori di musaico; le colonne, che parevano di porfido, erano grandi e grossi salsicciotti; le base e i capitelli erano di cacio parmigiano, i cornicioni di paste di zuccheri, e la tribuna era di quarti di marzapane; nel mezzo era posto un leggio da coro fatto di vitella fredda, con un libro di lasagne che aveva le lettere e le note da cantare di granella di pepe, e quelli che cantavano al leggio erano tordi cotti col becco aperto e ritti, con certe camiciuole a uso di cotte, fatte di rete di porco sottile; e dietro a questi, per contrabasso, erano due pippioni grossi, con sei ortolani che facevano il sovrano.’ Giorgio Vasari, Le vite de’ più eccellenti pittori scultori e architettori: nelle redazioni del 1550 e 1568, ed. by Rosanna Bettarini and Paola Barocchi (Florence: Sansoni, 1966), V, 482.

[26] The exact meaning of Vasari’s wording is ambiguous: ‘Dalle fatiche adunque dell’arte e da’ disordini di Venere e della bocca guastatasi la complessione, […] di mal di gocciola cascò morto, d’età d’anni 47.’ Vasari, V, 159-60.

[27] For an overview of paper production in Renaissance Italy, see Janet Ambers et al., Italian Renaissance Drawings: Technical Examination and Analysis (London: Archetype Publications, 2010), 1-5, 23-37.

[28] See John Shearman, ‘The Organization of Raphael’s Workshop’, Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, vol. 10 (1983), 48-49.

[29] See Esther Bick et al., Selections from the Collection of Esther S. and Malcolm W. Bick: Italian drawings (Hanover, NH: Hopkins Center, 1971), n.p.

[30] Inscriptions are a common feature of Perino’s graphic oeuvre. Prominent examples include Inv. 15803, Biblioteca Reale, Turin; Inv. 148, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Inv. 1718, Pushkin Museum, Moscow; D.1984.AB.21, The Courtauld Gallery, London.

[31] See Bick, n.p.; Brown University Department of Art, Drawings and Prints of the First Maniera: 1515-1535 (Providence: Brown University and Museum of Art, 1973), 60-61; Edmund Pillsbury and John Caldwell, Sixteenth-Century Italian Drawings: Form and Function (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974), no. 11; Harold Joachim and Suzanne Folds McCullagh, Drawings in the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979), 25-26.

[32] See Leonard Barkan, Michelangelo: A Life on Paper (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011), 41.

[33] See Barkan, 35-68.

[34] See Barkan, 85.

[35] Thanks to Adriana Concin for providing this translation and transcription.

[36] The bisected p character is one of the most common but also varied contractions of the period. Often denoting ‘for’, this does not accord with the usage here. The Latin word parum (a little) would make sense in certain instances, but the lack of consistency and use of the vulgate otherwise renders this conclusion unsatisfactory. See Adriano Cappelli, Lexicon Abbreviaturarum: Dizionario Di Abbreviature Latine Ed Italiane (Milan: Ulrico Hoepli Editore, 1979), 256-61.

[37] See Jacopo da Pontormo, Diario e commentario a cura di Roberto Fedi (Florence: Salerno Editrice, 1996), 47. For the English translation, see Pilliod, 7-9.

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