Vivien Gaston reviews 'An introduction to Pontormo' by Jonah Jones

An introduction to Pontormo

by Jonah Jones

Mauro Pagliai Editore, €18 pb, 176 pp, 9788856403732

Having crossed the bustling Ponte Vecchio in Florence, the visitor soon encounters a small piazza with a shaded entrance to the church of Santa Felicita and gladly enters the cool grey stone interior. On the right, behind an iron gate, a painting of Christ’s Deposition 1526–28 illuminates a side chapel, beaming colours of neon intensity, aqua blue, raspberry, and lime green. Christ’s body is transported by a host of intertwined figures, yearning and dolorous. In a bodysuit of fluorescent pink, a youth crouches underneath Christ’s legs, yet he seems to bear no weight other than that of grief. Mary and her attendants bid farewell to Christ in a mesmerising dance-like ritual.

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Vivien Gaston

Vivien Gaston is an art historian, curator, and writer. She has published on subjects ranging from sixteenth-century Italian painting to eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century British and Australian portraits. She has curated two major exhibitions The Naked Face: self-portraits (National Gallery of Victoria, 2011) and Controversy: the power of art (Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, 2012). A third exhibition, Sublime Sea: rapture and reality, is forthcoming in 2019. She has been a lecturer in art history at the University of Melbourne and Monash University and is currently a Fellow in the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne.

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