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Doorway - Doorway
  • Doorway
    Martini, Francesco di Giorgio, born 1439 - died 1501
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Doorway

  • Object:

    Doorway

  • Place of origin:

    Gubbio (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1475 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Martini, Francesco di Giorgio, born 1439 - died 1501 (probably)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Grey sandstone (<i>pietra serena</i>)

  • Museum number:

    101:13-1886

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 64, The Wolfson Gallery, case WE []

This doorway originates from the Palazzo Ducale at Gubbio. The palace was built for Federigo da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, about 1475-6 and was in large part completed by 1480. There is no agreement as to the architect responsible for it, who has been variously identified as Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Baccio Pontelli and Luciano Laurana.

This doorway formed the inner section of the doorframe of the main entrance to the great hall of the palace. The ornament was originally coloured and gilded, and there are traces of blue paint and gilding on the cornice and architrave. The left hand shield is charged with the Montefeltro emblem of an ostrich with an arrow-head, the central shield bears the arms of Montefeltro, and the right hand shield bears ermine. In the spaces between are distributed the letters FEDVX. The ermine relates to Federigo da Montefeltro's enrolment in the Order of the Ermine (1474), and the banner of the Church shown in augmentation in the centre refers to his appointment as Gonfaloniere of the Church in the same year.

Physical description

Doorway in grey sandstone (pietra serena). The jambs and lintel are decorated with a continuous curving stem, which rises from an acanthus plant at each side of the base and is covered with flowers and foliage. In the centre of the lintel appears a crowned eagle. Above is a frieze, carved with festoons of laurel , which pass behind three shields, hanging from nails. The festoons pass over the necks of two winged putti, who stand beside the central shield. The left-hand shield is charged with an ostritch holding in its mouth an arrow-head and a label inscribed...HADOTMI...The central shield bears the arms of Montefeltro . The shield is divided by a pale, charged with two crossed keys surmounted by a tiara, representing the banner of the church in the form of a pale augmentation. The tiara is encircled by a coronet. The right-hand shield is charged with an ermine, above which is a label inscribed NON MAI. In the spaces between these features are distributed the letters FEDVX. Above is a cornice.

Place of Origin

Gubbio (made)

Date

ca. 1475 (made)

Artist/maker

Martini, Francesco di Giorgio, born 1439 - died 1501 (probably)

Materials and Techniques

Grey sandstone (pietra serena)

Marks and inscriptions

FEDVX
Federicus Dux (Duke Federigo)

NON MAI
None Greater

Dimensions

Height: 466 cm, Width: 321.5 cm, Weight: 2292 kg

Object history note

Purchased in Florence (Gagliardi, £150) from the Palazzo Ducale at Gubbio.
An account of the acquisition of this and two other doors is given in a letter by J.C. Robinson dated 24th November, 1884. "When I went to to Italy, on behalfof the South Kensington and Birmingham Museums, three or four years ago, these most important works of Italian quattrocentro were brought to my notice in Florence, to which they had been removed from their original situation, in the old Palace of the Dukes of Urbino at Gubbio. The doorways had been taken down ...shortly before, by a Florentine dealer, who had sold them to the Duc de Chalunes, a French nobleman, who possesed a villa near Florence, where he proposed to re-erect them. The Duke, however died shortly afterwards and the doorways, though paid for, had not been delivered. The Duke's executors thereupon abandoned the intention of re-erecting them [...] It now appears that only a short time ago Signor Riblet, in partnership with with Signor Tito Gagliardi [...] finally succeeded in acquiring the doorways from the representatives of the Duc de Chaulnes, and Signor Tito Gagliardi immediately wrote to me"

Historical context note

The doorcase originally framed the principal entrance to the salone - or great hall - of the Palazzo Ducale at Gubbio. It's companion doorcase (290-1886) directly corresponded to it on the other side of the same wall. It can be established that 101-1886 was the inner section of the doorway meaning that 209-1886 was the outer section.
The palace was built for Federigo da Montefeltro Duke of Urbino between 1475-80. There is no general agreement as to the architect responsible for the palace, but he was almost certainly Francesco di Giorgio. Luciano Laurana and Baccio Pontelli have also been suggested, but whereas the first, a paradigm of refinement, is unlikely to have accepted the crudities of Gubbio, the second, a minor figure, is unlikely to have aspired to them.
The present doorcase was probably designed by Francesco di Giorgio: though depending on Laurana's known work at Urbino (for example Francesco virtually repeats Laurana's cornice from the Urbino Sala delle Veglie) it differs from it in being rather broader handled and in its omission of the habitual basal returns with which Laurana very properly informs his door jambs.
Though the doorway is skilfully carved, its most important aspect (in the era of Piero and Pacioli) was its proportions. The portal is a double square which gives the object a harmonious appearance.

Francesco di Giorgio (born in Siena, 1439–1501) was a painter, sculptor, architect, and engineer. He initially trained with Vecchietta and became accomplished in all the arts. His early works include cassone paintings and religious works in the tradition of Sienese painting. Eventually he assimilated stylistic traditions from Florence, noticeable in the plastic modelling of the figures in his monumental Coronation of the Virgin (1472–4; Siena, Pin.). As fortification engineer at the service of Duke Federigo da Montefeltro from about 1475, he may also have been involved in the design of the ducal palace at Urbino. Sculptures such as the Deposition (1474–7; Venice, S. Maria del Carmine) and the stucco relief with an unidentified classical scene (V&A, museum no. 251-1876), probably date from his time in Urbino.

Descriptive line

Doorway in grey sandstone (pietra serena)

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Pope-Hennessy, J. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria & Albert Museum (HMO 1964) pp 297-299 Cat no. 310
List of Objects in the Art Division, South Kensington Museum acquired during the Year 1886. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1887. pp.12
Laspeyres. Die Bauwerke der Renaissance in Umbrien. II. Berlin. 1883. pp. 31
Lucarelli. Memorie e guida storica di Gubbio.Città di Castello. 1888. pp. 555
Dennistoun. Memoirs of the Dukes of Urbino. I. London. 1851. pp. 163, 209-10, 212-13
Trollope, A. A Lenten Journey in Umbria and the Marches. London. 1862. pp. 79-82
Tesorone. 'La città di Gubbio e I soffitti del Palazzon Pamphyli.' Nuova Antologia. Ser.3. LI. 1894. pp. 481-505
c.f. Papini. Francesco di Giorgio architetto. I. Florence. 1946. pp. 148-50, 244, 250-1, n. 246
'Die Gemälde der Sammlung Eduard Simon, Berlin'. Pantheon. IV. 1929. pp. 450
Colsanti. Gubbio. Bergamo. 1905. pp. 102. n. 1
Salmi. 'Il Palazzo Ducale di Urbino e Francesco di Giorgio'. in Studi Artistici Urbinati. I. Urbino. 1949. pp. 42-3, 53-4. n. 75
Calzini. Il palazzo ducale di Gubbio. Arch. S.A. s. 2. I. 1895. pp. 369-79
Venturi. Storia dell' Arte Italiana. II. 1901. pp. 788-802
Venturi. Francesco di Giorgio. Rome. 1925. pp. 7-9, 13
Weller. Francesco di Giorgio, 1439-1501. Chicago. 1943. pp. 319
Budinich. Il Palazzo Ducale d'Urbino. Trieste. 1904. pp. 136
Colasanti. Gubbio. Bergamo. 1905. pp. 93-100
Maltese. 'Opere e soggiorni urbinati di Francesco di Giorgio'. Studi Artistici Urbinati. I. Urbino. 1949. pp. 68-9, 83
Hofmann. Bauten des Herzogs Federigo di Montefeltro. Zittau. 1905. pp. 146. fig. 1
Raggio, Olga. 'Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum'. Art Bulletin. 1968, vol.L. pp. 101

Labels and date

101-1886
Doorway
Grey sandstone (pietra serena)
Urbino; about 1475-80
This and the companion doorway (290-1886) originates from the Palazzo Ducale at Gubbio. The palace was built for Federigo da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, about 1475-6 and was in large part complete by 1480. There is no agreement as to the architect responsible for it, who has been variously identified as Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Baccio Pontelli and Luciano Laurana. The style both of the architecture and the ornament depends from that of the Palazzo Ducale at Urbino. The present doorway formed the inner section of the doorframe of the main entrance to the great hall of the palace. The ornament was originally coloured and gilded, and there are traces of blue paint and gilding on the cornice and the architrave. The left-hand shield is charged with the Montefeltro emblem of an ostrich with an arrow-head, the central shield bears the arms of Montefeltro, and the right-hand shield is charged with ermine. In the spaces between are distributed the letters FEDVX. The ermine relates to Federigo da Montefeltro's enrolment in the Order of the Ermine (1474), and the banner of the Church shown in augmentation in the centre refers to his appointment as Gonfaloniere of the Church in the same year. [2004]

Subjects depicted

Acanthus; Eagles; Arrows; Festoons; Shields; Leaves; Shield; Tiara; Nails; Putti; Coats of arms; Ostrich

Categories

Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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