Reviews - What do customers think about Anthonis Mor. Art and Authority?
intriguing and illuminating analysis Jun 30, 2008
Portraiture can seem straightforward enough, but Woodall's discussions in this sumptuously produced book make you see how strange and complex a business it is. I was led to this book by the wonderful 'Self Portrait: Renaissance to Contemporary' that Woodall co-authored with Antony Bond, and I wasn't disappointed. The 9th chapter in particular is a tour de force, with superbly illuminating discussions of 'Philip II in Armour' and 'Isabelle de Valois in Pink Dress', paintings it is easy to admire but still be puzzled by. I can't quite see what the previous reviewer is fussing about. Or rather, I can, but she has got some minor points quite out of perspective. This book lights up its subject.
Anthonis Mor and the Habsburg Court Portrait in the Renaissance May 31, 2008
This book relies on the author's 1989 doctoral dissertation, (Courtauld Institute, London), which remains unpublished. Rather than update her thesis (with new bibliograpy) and publish a much needed catalogue raisonné of Anthonis Mor's portraits, Woodall has opted to write a series of essays, or case studies, about this renowned painter, who led a brilliant, international career. Mor's principal patrons were princes, kings and queens of the leading Habsburg courts in Renaissance Europe: Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and Austria, as well as, aristocratic circles connected with these courts. Mor traveled frequently and visited Spain twice on artistic missions (in 1551-52 and 1559-1560), becoming the principal painter of the king of Spain, Philip II. Mor's most memorable portraits have remained, until today, veritable icons of these royal sitters (not unlike modern photos of pop stars) : for instance, the seated portrait of Mary Tudor (Prado Museum), Philip II's second wife, or Philip II himself, whose 1560 portrait (El Escorial), images the king as the victorious general of the Battle of San Quentin (1557). Woodall gives an in-depth reading of this quintessential Mor portrait (Ch. 9), but interpretations of the king's armor and its iconography are speculative.
As provocative as these essays promise to be, questions are asked, rather than answered. The myriad queries regarding Mor's prolific career and the objectives he set out to achieve in his court portraits, are not easily resolved. One case in point, Chapter 6 which centers on Francisco de Holanda's 1549 portrait treatise : Do Tirar polo natural. There is no evidence Mor ever met this Portuguese theorist, or whether Mor was even given the opportunity to read Holanda's manuscript, unpublished at the time of Mor's visit to the Portuguese court in the Spring of 1552. Mor's residency in Rome presents another problem, and Woodall's evidence is tenuous (Ch. 3). The study of Mor's portraiture and its impact at the Habsburg courts and elsewhere in sixteenth-century Europe is labyrinthine. Details about Mor's commissions, collaborators, workshop techniques, and even facts about Mor himself, as painter and courtier, need to be re-assessed. In order to understand the background of Mor's court milieu and his Habsburg patrons, research of letters, documents, payment accounts and royal inventories remains fundamental. Woodall undertook some study of primary sources for her dissertation, however, did not take this further. Recently published archival material provides a platform upon which historians can better understand the mechanics and dynamics of the Habsburg court, in which Mor (and other painters who worked closely with him) circulated. There are typographical errors (p. 143: fidelity), images lacking in quality and color (fig. 1) and historical inaccuracies: p. 213-14, Maria of Portugal was the daughter of John III, not Emmanuel I, and p. 219, note 76: Catherine of Austria never met her elder sister, Mary of Hungary. In short, Woodall has underscored for her readers that the state of the question of Anthonis Mor and Renaissance portrait studies is in a constant state of flux, and in need of more investigation.
Anthonis Mor van Dashorst (Antonio Moro) Alonso Sanchez Coello y el retrato en la corte de Felipe II The Development of Cathararine of Austria's Collection in the Queen's Household: Its Character and Cost Retrato de corte em Portugal: O legado de Antonio Moro (1552-1572) Cultural Links Between Portugal and Italy in the Renaissance Black Africans in Renaissance Europe Locos, enanos, negros y niños palaciegos: Gente de placer que tuvieron los Austrias en la Corte española desde 1563 a 1700Les arts en Portugal: Lettres adressées à la Société artistique et scientifique de Berlin, et accompagnées de documentsPhilip of Spain