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Joško Belamarić ; Konzervatorski odjel u Splitu

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 8.803 Kb


str. 159-185

preuzimanja: 532


Puni tekst: engleski pdf 8.803 Kb


str. 159-185

preuzimanja: 559



April 27 1443 in logia magna communis on the main square in Šibenik was uncommonly solemn: close to the place where for the sake of enlarging the sanctuary of the cathedral a stretch of the Rector’s Palace had been knocked down, and where the famous apses of George of Dalmatia were starting to be built, the whole of the city curia of some thirty nobles headed by the chief magistrate and the Šibenik captain, Fantin de cha de Pesaro, with two of the most distinguished citizens, Sir Radichio Sisgorich and Sir Michaele Simeonich, with the prior of the
Dominican monastery Stephan Lipavic, the Trogir nobleman, and the procurator of the same monastery Dobroitus Johannis was assembled, in order to enter into a very unusual and exhaustive contract with the well-known Šibenik painter Nikola Vladanov, a contract that has to date escaped any detailed analysis from art historians. A good many of the people in the centre of the town must have for a moment stopped what they were doing in order to witness this important event and hear the city notary reading the contract aloud before the parties signed it. And
what did Nikola Vladanov bind himself to do? He solemnly promised and bound himself to: laborare, depingere et ornare Anchoniam capellae sctae. Mariae…What stands out in this contract and makes it different from so many others relates to the precise technical demand that Nikola should glue the canvas to the anchona support. That this is concerned with the transfer of a canvas from an old, clearly damaged wooden support to a new one, shows us the precise demand in which the painter was required by the contract to undertake the whole of the
operation described: non tangendo tamen facies neque manus figurarum / salvo in aliqua emendatione quae foret necessaria. The face and the hands were sacred and must not be touched, and what had to be done was in essence similar to the placing of a silver or gold cover over the painting, of which there are hundreds of examples. We could easily figure this to ourselves if we had this anchona in front
of us; I believe that we can identify the central part of this unusual picture that is today kept in the Dominican monastery in Trogir. It has been written of several times already, yet criticism has stopped at attributing it to an unknown Venetian painter of the end of the 14th century. The documents cited and a more detailed analysis of the actual picture enable us to realise what this is really about. The whole posing of this Madonna dell’umilita is undoubtedly trecento in its manner, and the faces of the Virgin and Child refer us to the wide circle around Paolo Veneziano, probably some time after 1346, when the Dominican monastery in Šibenik was founded. During one century the picture was damaged (perhaps as a result of the damp that has to
this day remained a problem in this monastery erected on the city walls on the coastline). Vladanov stripped the original canvas from the support, cut it out – as the X-ray image shows us, in which we can see the stitching with which the fragments of the original canvas were combined – and then pasted it onto a new wooden support. The only unusual thing is that he (in the first document in 1409 Vladanov is referred to as a woodcarver) composed the ground of the anchona of
three soft, ripened fir planks, with a horizontal and not the expected and logical vertical grain. A more detailed inspection of the painting persuades us that it was designed as a real chest for previous items. Around the head of the Madonna, on the ultramarine background, there was a real fireworks display of gold stars, vortical pastilie, golden beams. All this must have shimmered with supernatural beauty under
the light of the wax candles on the altar. The narrow strip of flowery meadow that we see looks like an illustration of some local Tacuinum sanitatis. Here we should not lose sight of the fact that in the continuation of the document there is detailed discussion of the tabernacle that Nikola Vladanov was to carve according to the drawing that he appended himself, and that magister Nicolaus debat inquarare auro this sumptuous wooden frame. What follows is equally as interesting. As well as the contract for the making of the anchona, and now its central part, we can find another important document.
Some twenty years later, the painter, just a little before his death, had to square accounts with clients who clearly had not paid him what they had contracted to pay. They agreed to have two appraisers give their judgement about the quality of the material and work put in. The appraisers were none other than the most distinguished Dalmatian master of the 15th century, George of Dalmatia, sculptor
and architect, master builder of the cathedral, and the Split man Marinello Vučković, who had attended Squarcione’s Paduan academy with Marco Zoppo, Carlo Crivelli and the Šibenik man Giorgeo Schiavone Čulinović, the son in law of George of Dalmatia. The two of them promised, in July 31, 1465, within eight days, or otherwise pay a penalty of 100 small pounds, to pronounce a judgement
on the value of the work of Master Nikola in anchona gloriosa Virginis Marie. The document would be worth reading and analysing in its entirety, but it will be enough for us to excerpt just the part in which the two masters mentioned say: dicimus et declaramus dictum magistrum Nicolaum meruisse pro lignamine per ipsum posito in dictum laborerium ac pro intaleo tabernaculi ducatos decem auri.
Item pro auro et argento, argentando, aurando toto tabernaculo predicto et figuras in quo furnit pecia circa mille, declaramus hoc debere ducatos decem. Item pro inzessando et ponendo in opus dictum aurum ducatos sex cum dimidio et pro azuro et aliis coloribus et pro ponendo in opus ipsos colores ducatos quinque. Et pro colorando tres figuras ducatos duos. Et pro lucro ipsius magistri Nicolai ducatos quatuor cum dimidio. Que omnia summe suprascripte capiunt in toto
ducatos triginta octo. Their valuation says that the value of the wood, with all decorative carving, was 10 ducats; the value of the gold and silver was also 10 ducats; the value of the work with the gold and silver was 6 ducats. The pigments were worth 5 ducats and the painting 2 ducats. Finally the painter’s profit should be 4 ducats. We can find the anchona in the visitations of the 17th century already split up. The Madonna was now under a silver screen in the middle of a new pale portante on the main altar, and was in the early 20th century removed from it. Is it actually necessary to say that in the couple of restoration operations to which the painting was subjected it would have been desirable if someone – the prior, the mayor, the conservator – had had an agreement with the restorers like that of 1443, according to which the operation was to be carried out at least: non tangendo tamen facies neque manus figurarum ?

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