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petak, 7. siječnja 2011.

Julije Klović

Portrait of Julije Klović, pointing to his Farnese Hours, by El Greco.

Juraj Julije Klović (1498 – January 5, 1578) was a Croatian Renaissance illuminator, miniaturist, and painter, born in Croatia, who worked in Renaissance Italy. He was also a priest. He is considered the greatest illuminator of the Italian High Renaissance, and arguably the last very notable artist in the long tradition of the illuminated manuscript, before some modern revivals.

Clovio was born in Grižane, near Crikvenica in Kvarner bay, in what was then the diocese of Modruš. Croatian sources claim that his name was probably Juraj Klović and the Catholic Encyclopedia states that his original name was perhaps Glović, while J.W.Bradley speculates that Clovio's surname was Glovičić.

He is said to have trained in Dalmatia, and to have studied afterwards at Rome under Giulio Romano, and at Verosia under Girolamo dai Libri. He excelled in historical pieces and portraits, painting in minute detail, much of which needs to be seen with a magnifying-glass, and yet contriving to handle his subjects with great force and precision. He worked in Venice, Florence and elsewhere, with a long active period in Rome where he died. He worked mostly for royal and clerical private collectors. His grave is in the Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli, the church containing Michelangelo's celebrated Moses.

Clovio arrived at Venice from Croatia at the age of 18. There he became a protégé of Cardinal Domenico Grimani and engraved medals and seals for him, as well as the Grimani Commentary Ms., an important early illuminated book (now Sir John Soane's Museum, London). By 1524 Clovio was at Buda, at the Hungarian court of King Louis II, for whom he painted the "Judgment of Paris" and "Lucretia". After Louis' death in the Battle of Mohács, Clovio travelled to Rome where he continued his career.

Clovio was a friend of the much younger El Greco, the celebrated Greek artist from Crete, who later worked in Spain, during El Greco's early years in Rome. Greco painted two portraits of Clovio; one shows the four painters whom he considered as his masters; in this Clovio is side by side with Michelangelo, Titian and Raphael. Clovio was also known as Michelangelo of the miniature. Books with his miniatures became famous primarily due to his skilled illustrations. He was persuasive in transferring the style of Italian high Renaissance painting into the miniature format.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder stayed with Clovio in Rome during his Italian trip of 1558; he executed a small medallion on a Clovio miniature (New York Public Library), but the six Bruegels in mentioned in Clovio's will have all disappeared.

An illuminated page from his Colonna hours, John Rylands Library, Manchester.

His most famous work is the Farnese Hours, completed in 1546 for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, which was nine years in the making (now Morgan Library, New York). He is pointing to this work in the El Greco portrait (above). This contains twenty-eight miniatures, mostly of Old and New Testament scenes, but with a famous double-page picture representing the Corpus Christi procession in Rome. It has splendid silver-gilt covers, although they are not by Benvenuto Cellini, as Vasari claimed. The British Library has his twelve miniatures of the victories of the Emperor Charles V, and other works. The Vatican library has a manuscript life of Frederigo III di Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, superbly illustrated by Clovio. The Towneley Lectionary is now in the New York Public Library and probably belonged to Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. Used during services, the book contained six majestic, full-page miniatures opposite miniature depictions of the Evangelists. The illustrations, introduced the relevant readings from the Scripture. They include the Resurrection and the Last Judgment.

Other illustrations by him are kept in libraries in Vienna, New York, Munich, and Paris, and other works are in many private collections. A small part of his work is viewable in Klovićevi Dvori ("Palace of Klović"), the art gallery dedicated to him in Zagreb.

According to a description written for publication by Antonfrancesco Cirni, he also designed many of the costumes for the famously elaborate wedding festivities of Ortensia Borromeo in March 1565, which were held in the Vatican and included a tournament in the Belvedere coutyard. Such duties were often expected of a Renaissance court painter. The costumes are carefully recorded in a series of anonymous etchings, some probably based on Clovio's design drawings.

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