Elizabeth Pilliod: Pontormo Returns
While previous scholars have advanced the discussion of the possible art-historical, religious and socio-political content of Pontormo's lost paintings in the choir of San Lorenzo, this work departs in substantial ways from their methods and conclusions. Re-addressed and re-answered are a series of crucial questions: When did Pontormo begin this commission, how did it progress, and who determined the overall program? How did it look? Why were the subjects depicted in the choir selected for inclusion? What was Vasari's intention in criticizing the paintings? My analysis and proposals rest on, among other materials, an intense study of his drawings and drawing techniques; a new re-contextualization of Pontormo's "Diary," including the identification of the people and events in that document; historical chronicles, medical handbooks, church manuscripts; archival documents; and the physical existence of the paintings. Recent theories involving the liminal, spectacle, motion, agency and picture-acts shed light on the power and functions of the images.
Elizabeth Pilliod is the author of Pontormo, Bronzino, Allori: A Genealogy of Florentine Art, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001; co-author of Italian Drawings. Florence, Siena, Modena, Bologna; Drawings in Swedish Public Collections 8, Stockholm: Nationalmuseum, 2002; and co-editor of Time and Place. Essays in the Geohistory of Art, Aldershot: Ashgate Press, 2005. She has been a Fellow at Villa I Tatti, the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence and a NEH stipend recipient. She contributed to the two 2010 exhibitions devoted to the Florentine artist Agnolo Bronzino (1503-1572) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, Bronzino as Draftsman, and at the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, Soprintendenza PSAE, e il Polo Museale della città di Firenze, Florence, Italy, Bronzino. Artist and Poet. She is co-author of Global Visions: A Global History of Art, for Pearson Publishing, in process and due out in 2016. Her monograph on the lost paintings of the sixteenth-century master Jacopo da Pontormo Pontormo Returns: The Making and Meaning of a Lost Renaissance Masterpiece, has been submitted for publication. She is Visiting Professor of the History of Art at Rutgers-Camden University.