Pisanello’da Ası (İdam)Şefik Görkey
Ası (idam), yüzyıllar boyunca sanatçıların da ilgisini çekmiştir. Giotto (1267/1277-1337), Ambroggio Lorenzetti (1285/1290 – 1348), Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519), Andrea del Sarto (1486 – 1531), Annibale Carracci (1560 – 1609), ilk akla gelen örnekler arasında sayılabilir. Yine İtalyan fresklerindeki cehennem betimlemelerinde de idam edilmiş figürlere sıkça rastlanır. Burada tıp tarihi açısından ilk akla gelen, sanatçının gerçek bir idam görüp görmediği, gördüğünü ne denli gerçekçi olarak bizlere aktardığı konusunda bir değerlendirme yapmak / yapmaya çalışmaktır. Pisanello’nun konumuzu oluşturan ası (idam) betimlemesi, Verona’da bulunan Sant’Anastasia Kilisesinin Pellegrini Şapelindeki “Aziz George ve Trabzon Prensesi” freskinde sol arka köşede yer almaktadır. Sanatçının günümüze ulaşan, freskleri için hazırladığı taslak çizimler arasında da ası sahneleri vardır. Freskte yer alan soldaki figürün boyun kısmındaki ipin durumu “atipik ası”, sağdaki figürdeki durumu ise “tipik ası”ya uymaktadır. Bu da Pisanello’nun gerçek hayatta idam edilen figürleri gördüğünü ve çok kuvvetli bir gözlem gücü olduğunu göstermektedir.
Hanging as a Form of Execution in PisanelloŞefik Görkey
Hanging as a form of execution has attracted the attention of artists for centuries, with Giotto (d. 1337), Ambroggio Lorenzetti (d. 1348), Leonardo da Vinci (d.1519), Andrea del Sarto (d. 1531), Annibale Carracci (d. 1609), and Pisanello (c.1395-c.1455) being among the first examples to come to mind. Executed figures are also frequently encountered in the depictions of hell in Italian frescoes. The first thing that comes to mind here in terms of medical history is to make an evaluation about whether artists had seen a real execution or not and how realistically they conveyed what they had seen. Pisanello’s depiction of a hanging located in the back left corner of the Saint George and the Princess of Trebizond fresco in the Pellegrini Chapel in the Church of Sant’Anastasia, Verona, North Italy, constitutes this study’s subject. The hanging scene sketches Pisanello prepared for this fresco have survived to the present day. The placement of the rope on the neck of the figure on the left in the fresco corresponds to an atypical hanging, while the situation of the figure on the right corresponds to a typical hanging. This shows that Pisanello had seen the executed figures in real life and had had a very strong power of observation.
Hanging as a form of execution has been practiced as a punishment for centuries and continues to be practiced in many countries today. Undoubtedly, this tragic method of punishment has attracted the attention of artists for centuries. Giotto (d. 1337), Ambroggio Lorenzetti (d. 1348), Leonardo da Vinci (d.1519), Andrea del Sarto (d. 1531), Annibale Carracci (d. 1609), and Pisanello (c.1395-c.1455) are among the first examples that come to mind. Executed figures are also frequently encountered in the depictions of hell in Italian frescoes. The first thing that comes to mind here in terms of medical history is to make an evaluation about whether artists had seen a real execution or not and how realistically they conveyed what they had seen.
Depictions of hangings in art are generally used as a symbol for the provision of justice. Images of hanging have often been depicted in relation to law, war, suicide, punishment, and lynching throughout history. In Christian iconography, depictions of executed figures can be found regarding the lives of martyrs and also in scenes of hell. The depiction of a hung Judas also frequently appears in scenes of hell. In the Late Middle Ages, the concepts of justice and judgment reached lay people as images through the depictions of the Last Judgment and Hell. The death penalty was certainly frequently among these descriptions as a method of punishment. For example, a group of executed figures is seen in Giotto’s Last Judgement scene in the Arena Chapel in Padua. These figures were hung on the gallows, as a reminder of the punishment for which they’d been executed. For example, liars were hung from their tongues, adulterous clergy and women were hung their genitals. Undoubtedly, these are symbolic hangings, as the organs cannot possibly carry the weight of the whole body. However, the depiction of the positions of the feet of executed figures corresponds to reality from the perspective of forensic medicine. The execution scenes found in the frescoes of Taddeo di Bartolo (c.1363-1422) in San Gimignano can be counted among examples to be given in this regard.
Executed figures can also be found in Italian frescoes regarding descriptions of secular subjects. Some secular frescoes contain execution scenes as symbols of justice. Perhaps the most well-known depictions of executions regarding secular subjects is Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s Allegories of Good and Bad Government in City and Country in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, Tuscany.
Pisanello (Antonio Pisano, c.1395-c.1455) is known as an Italian painter and medalist. He is thought to have likely been from Pisa and is known to have spent his first years as an artist in Verona. Because of his successful works, he went on to worked in the Vatican and the palaces of northern Italy. Unfortunately, most of his works have not survived. The Annunciation and St. George and the Princess of Trebizond frescoes, as well as other fresco fragments and sketches, are all that remain of his limited works that have survived to the present day. Pisanello is also known as the most important portrait medalist of the entire Renaissance period. Sources generally state that his success was based on his sharp observation skills. Pisanello went to Ferrara in 1438 and also made the medallion of the Byzantine emperor Johannes Paleologus (1392-1448), who was in the city due to the Ferrara Council that had gathered to unite the Eastern and Western churches. Sources mention Pisanello’s career as a medalist to have started with this work. Pisanello also made medallions for Gianfrencesco Gonzaga (1439-1440), Filippo Maria Visconti (1440), Francesco Sforza (1442), Lionello d’Este (1441-1443), Sigismond Pandolfo Malatesta (1445), Ludovico III and Cecilia Gonzaga (1447), Lodovico Gonzaga, Novello Malatesta, and Alfonso of Aragon. However, Pisanello most surely identified himself as a painter, as his name is mentioned on his medallions as PISANUS PICTOR. The artist died in 1455, with no documented work occurring after 1449.
Pisanello’s depiction of hangings located in the back left corner of the Saint George and the Princess of Trebizond fresco in the Pellegrini Chapel in the Church of Sant’Anastasia, Verona, North Italy constitutes the subject of the study. The sketches of the hanging scenes Pisanello prepared for this fresco have survived to the present day. These sketches and drawings consist of six executed bodies with two figures drawn on a single page and are found in the collection of the British Museum. Pisanello drew the figures from different angles and used them in the upper section of the Saint George and the Princess of Trebizond fresco. After being executed, the corpses of prisoners were known to exhibited on the scaffold for a while. Some of the sketches mentioned above are known to have been made after a certain period of time had passed due to the decomposition of the corpses. It is difficult to distinguish whether these two figures on the fresco represent the same prisoners drawn on the single page mentioned above. The hands of the figures in the drawings are tied behind their backs. Today, this position is defined as full judgment in forensic medicine terminology. In other words, this serves as another indication that the executed had been executed as a result of a given punishment. The position of the feet of these executed figures also corresponds to reality. The placement of the rope on the neck of the figure on the left in the fresco corresponds to an atypical hanging, while the situation of the figure on the right corresponds to a typical hanging. This shows that Pisanello had seen the executed figures in real life and had had very strong observation skills. Another drawing by Pisanello, found in the Frick Collection also includes executed figures. Taking off the clothes of those sentenced to death and exposing their naked bodies to the public before the execution was also practiced from time to time as a part of the punishment. In the Middle Ages, local courts in cities such as Florence and Siena could issue sentences for humiliating the convicted person by walking them around naked in public. The trousers of the figures in Pisanello’s drawings and frescoes were partially peeled off. This may have been done with the aim of dishonoring people as part of the punishment, as well as suggesting that they had been convicted of a crime such as rape, incest or homosexual intercourse. The presence of symbols related to the punishment of the executed persons in the hanging depictions makes us think that this option was also likely to have occurred.