Title :

Alciato's quince-eating bride, and the figure at the center of Bellini's Feast of the gods

Author :
CALLAHAN, Virginia Woods ;
Publication year :
Language :
English ;
Abstract :
In the foreground of Giovanni Bellini's Feast of the Gods (1511-1514; Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art) painted for the studiolo of Alfonso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, sit an embracing couple and other divinities; in this central pair the female figure has remained mysterious. Anthony Colantuono identified her as an image of the Earth. Paul Holbertson recently maintained that his candidate (Pomona) should have been recognized by the fruit she holds, as well as those in the bowl in front of her. But those fruits ... are quinces; and the quince was associated since classical times with epithalamic themes. Alciato's popular Renaissance emblem of the quince tree (Cotonea) derived directly from Plutarch's constant trading on the epithalamic character of the quince, which was conducive to a bride's good temperament, speech, and disposition. The bride whom Bellini shows through this device as preparing for her (renewed) nuptial with Pluto is therefore clearly to be identified as Persephone; and that circumstance also resolves the vexed question of the season which Bellini intended to represent: it is early autumn, as Persephone prepares to descend for her annual six-month residence in Hades, as the consort of Pluto, whose name means wealth (an indirect reference, perhaps, to the patron himself?). Such a possibility gains interest from the fact that Alfonso's son, Ercole II d'Este, was in fact the Ferrarese patron of Alciato. ;
Pagination/Size :
5 ill. (1 col.) ;
Topic :
French keywords :
Bellini, Giovanni, v.1430-1516 ; Coing ; Festin des dieux ; Iconographie ; Italie ; Peinture ; Perséphone ; Washington, DC (USA), National Gallery of Art ; 1500-1600 ; 1511-1514 ;
Descriptors :
Bellini, Giovanni, ca.1430-1516 ; Feast of the Gods ; Iconography ; Italy ; Painting ; Persephone ; Quinces ; Washington, DC (USA), National Gallery of Art ; 1500-1600 ; 1511-1514 ;
Document type :
Article ;
Source :
Artibus et historiae, 1997, 18, 35
INIST identifier :
24999213 ;
ISSN 0391-9064 ;
Provenance :
Bibliographie d'Histoire de l'Art ;
Publisher :
IRSA, Wien
Publisher country :