Thursday, November 23, 2006

Platina and the Vatican Library

Melozzo da Forlì (Forlì, Italy, c. 1438-Forlì, November 8, 1494)
Pope Sixtus IV appoints Bartolomeo Platina prefect of the Vatican Library
c. 1477 (fresco) (Vatican Museums)
Fresco removed and transferred to canvas cm. 370 x 315

The best commentary is on the Vatican Museum website

"The fresco comes from one of the rooms of the old Vatican Library, founded in 1475 by Sixtus IV della Rovere (pontiff from 1471 to 1484).

Melozzo da Forlì, who had to Rome in 1475 and made his name in the Pontifical Court, illustrates the historical episode of the appointment of the humanist Bartolomeo Sacchi, called the Platina, as the first Prefect of the Library.

The main figures whose somatic characteristics are so strong that these can be considered real portraits, are placed within an imposing architecture that confers a monumental dimension on the scene, emphasizing its solemnity.

Platina, kneeling in the centre, receives the investiture and points the index finger of his right hand to an inscription composed by him that exalts the enterprises of Sixtus IV in the city of Rome.

Sixtus IV is seated on his throne on the right, among his cardinal nephews and lay nephews.

The apostolic pronotary Raffaele Riario is on his right, the future pope Julius II (pontiff from 1503 to 1513) standing before him, and Girolamo Riario and Giovanni della Rovere are behind Platina. "