This study proposes a first hypothesis of ambos catalogue, often fragmented or recomposed, made between the seventh and twelfth centuries in North-Western Italy, more or less well known, but never presented as a whole and compared with each other. It is an useful repertoire for future critical studies that take in consideration only one of them or that want to highlight the peculiarities of this liturgical artefact in comparison with those of other areas, for which a repertoire sometimes exists. the artifacts are presented in chronological succession, based on the updated critical debate concerning them, and are accompanied by technical and iconographic data. At the end of the two main sections of the essay, the one relating to the early medieval ambos and the one relating to the romanesque ambos, these are compared to evaluate recurrences, differences and transformations of form, material, origin, location and iconography. beside the most famous testimonies of this liturgical furniture, such as the triangular slab with peacock of San Salvatore in brescia or the ambo of Sant’Ambrogio in Milan, there are others less known, such as the convex slab of San Pancrazio in Montichiari or the masonry ambo of San Vincenzo in Galliano.
Thanks to the linking that connect art patronage and political communication in building and decorating of the civil late Medieval architectures, aim of this paper is the understanding of 14th century painting in Mantua territory in its specific historical and geographical context, with particular regard to decorative cycles located in fortified complexes. the relationship is faced through considering two contexts that emerge both because of their artistic value and their monumental relevance: Castel d’Ario and Villimpenta castles. In this framework provided by the historiographical and archaeological topic named secondo incastellamento, the analysis offers the chance to deepen the role of architectures in the socio-political communication and self-representation by the secular élites in the 14th century Mantua territory. the two case studies also offer the opportunity to build a dialogue between the disciplines of the Medieval art history and Medieval archaeology in the field of historical architectures analysis, building a bridge between different perspectives by means of the same interpretive key.
An unpublished relief from a private collection depicting the Madonna Enthroned with Child is attributed here to the workshop of the Master of the Loggia degli Osii, active between Milan, bergamo, Como and rovereto (trento) in the first decades of the 14th century. the author suggests that the sculpture was originally part of an otherwise unknown funerary monument, probably arranged as that of Aldrighetto Castelbarco (died in 1328). the relief gives the occasion to discuss the problem of the Master’s atelier: no certain data is available about this context – just as the identity of the sculptor remains unknown – but the relief presented here allows to better specify the personality of this master and to analyze the functioning of his workshop.
This article discusses a hitherto unpublished fresco from the Benedictine women’s monastery of Santa Maria Teodote in Pavia. The nunnery, of Lombard origin, was extensively renovated in the last uarter of the 15th century, as it joined the Cassinese Congregation (Congregation of Santa Giustina in Padua, one of the major 15th century reform movements among Benedictines in Europe). In addition to other works, including the famous oratory of San Salvatore completely frescoed in the early 16th century, a refectory was built in which an Assumption/Coronation of the Virgin was painted. This latter fresco, which came to light in 2018, shows an iconography that is very similar to paintings created by artists working for the male and female Franciscan Observance in Lombardy. This paper, besides rising the question of the commission of such a fresco, whose location in a refectory is highly atypical, presents comparisons with artistic choices made in other Benedictine women’s monasteries in Pavia and Lombardy during the same period: the nuns of Santa Maria Teodote were probably the commissioners of works characterised by originality and great modernity.
The well-known members of the Dattaro family (also called Pizzafuoco) worked in Cremona as architects since the first half of the Sixteenth century. Dattaro family architectural production in Cremona and Giuseppe activities in Mantua (1595-1590) have already been studied; little attention was instead paid to Giuseppe architectural tasks prior to his arrival at Vincenzo I Gonzaga court. recent archival researches have highlighted contacts between Giuseppe and brescia starting from the Seventies of the Sixteenth century; Giuseppe’s letters and drawings were found in Gambara family archives. Gambara are a feudal lords family with extensive properties in the areas between brescia and Cremona; their careful marriage policy made them one of the most important and powerful families of Venetian mainland territories. the letters that Giuseppe wrote to Nicolò Gambara describe his stays in Pomponesco, Maleo, Sabbioneta, up to Casale Monferrato; these documents provide interesting information about his professional background before arriving in Mantua. Nicolò also involved Giuseppe in some bresciaarchitectural projects, first of all the design of Pontevico church. Pizzafuoco’s Mantuan years are also discussed with short notes from the rich Gonzaga archive. the paper aims at updating the biography of the architect, recognizing the importance of Gambara family patronage and, in general, the role of brescia in the architectural context of the Northern part of Italy during the second half of the Sixteenth century.
Antonio Lupis was an Apulian clergyman and writer who lived in bergamo in the last three decades of the seventeenth century. Several of his books, like Il Plico (1675), Il dispaccio di Mercurio (1681), La segretaria morale (1687) and Pallade su le poste (1691), deal with artistic themes and give us interesting information about the painters and sculptors of that time. Some of his texts about bergamasque art have been already analysed: for example, a eulogy of Evaristo baschenis, a description of the Crossing of the Red Sea by Luca Giordano in Santa Maria Maggiore and the letters sent to Andrea Fantoni. In addition to these, the article examines unknown or little-known pages. An interesting letter sent to Luca Giordano, which has never been considered until now, documents the direct relationship between Lupis and the Neapolitan painter, while other letters concern Antonio Zanchi. Furthermore, in Lupis’ books we find precious information about the long bergamasque stay of the Florentine artist Bartolomeo Bianchini.
Giuseppe Nuvolone’s mythological paintings shed new light on the painter’s relationship with the brescia cultural setting in the last years of the 16th century, expecially with Fortunato Vinaccesi, man of letters and scientist, and the scholar Giulio Antonio Averoldi. the article specify a singular and unpublished correspondence between iconography and philology research and literary productions, in the height of the Lombard baroque. these correspondences have to be read in scientific perspectives and new concepts of the universe, where myths are interpreted in the name of science, especially towards astronomy, which has become an essential part of the new world view. In addition, the new course of research in the reinterpretation of mythology and above all the parallel astronomical explorations, open to an unprecedented “love discourse”, in accord to the prolific season of melodrama to the point of presenting synaesthesia with the inventions of librettists and musicians.
The discovery of the inventory of Matteo Forieri’s legacy suggested an in-depth study of the family’s collecting passions: paintings (in particular by Filippo Abbiati) and, in the case of Matteo’s son Giovanni, also coins, cameos and drawings. The authors has been transcribed and commented a Giovanni’s manuscript (Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana) text on an imaginary gallery, which includes paintings and presumably drawings depicting subjects of ancient and Biblical history, according to a chronological narrative path. The iconographic choices derive from an erudite culture, not unusual for the times, but expressed in completely original ways.
The article starts with the attribution to Ottavio Semino of a painting preserved in the church of San Martino at Greco, in the north-eastern suburbs of Milan. the ne w acquisition of the Ligurian painter ’s catalog offers an opportunity to reconsider the most important works he undertook during his long stay in Lombardy, since the decorations of Palazzo Marino, a crucial junction f or Milan in mid-16th century on which an adequate study is still lacking. In the same church of San Martino at Greco there is also a painting probably by a f ollower of bernardino Campi from the master’s models. Hence a reflection, starting from the known testimonies, on the practice of reusing bernardino’s drawings in his workshop, one of the most active and important in the Milan area in the late 16th century. the ‘digressions’ of the title include two little or no-known paintings by Gerolamo Ciocca, a prolific pupil of Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo whose catalog is being reconstructed.
The monumental statue of St. Matthias is located on the north side of the Milan Cathedral. the sculpture was carved between 1810 and 1811 by the bolognese artist Giacomo De Maria. this is one of the interventions for completion of the Duomo, sponsored and encouraged by Napoleon. In order to complete such a huge project the patrons had to employ also artists from other Italian Academies of Fine Arts, like De Maria, who was also regularly taking part to the local fine arts exhibitions. the discovery of accounting documents and letters made it possible to reconstruct the story of the commission from the terracotta maquette to the plaster model of reduced size, up to the finished statue. In the background, the Milan of this period where the artist lived and worked for almost a year, intertwining his life with those of his pupils Luigi Manfredini and Giovanni Putti, who were engaged in the decoration of the Arco del Sempione at the same time. De Maria’s candidacy was strongly supported by Camillo Pacetti, professor of sculpture at the brera Academy.
Luigi Secchi (1853-1921) was one of the most important artists between the 19th and 20th centuries in Milan. During his forty-year career, the sculptor, after the training that took place at the brera cademy and in the private studies of the masters of the Scuola di Milano, specialized in public monuments. His friend Luca beltrami played a fundamental role in promoting Secchi to public and private clients, involving him in many projects assigned to him. the artist quickly established himself as an excellent portraitist for his executive skills, the innate ability to grasp and faithfully represent the essential characters of the people with few strokes, both in official monuments and in commemorative portraits. Another line of work cultivated by Secchi was the study of the female figure, presented in plaster, marble and bronze. these sculptures reveal his fascination for the subject, interpreted in Symbolist style. Like many of his colleagues, Secchi worked for the Monumental Cemetery in Milan: in three decades he carried out thirteen works, two of which no longer exist. Nine funeral monuments (to which two medallions in the Famedio are added) representative of the two peculiar characteristics of the sculptor – impeccable portraiture and a preference for female subjects – are analyzed here for the first time, also with reference to some plaster models preserved in the Gallery of Modern Art of Milan.
A terracotta tile by Elia della Marra, depicting a Madonna and Child preserved at Corte Le Pezze (Castel d’Ario), contributes to enrich his catalog and his presence in the Mantuan territory. the sculptor renews the throne in a renaissance and antiquarian style, denouncing the knowledge and use of renaissance characters, with particular references to Andrea Mantegna. Moreover, because of the identified comparisons, it is possible to date the sculpture at the end of the sixties of the 15th century. the site where the sculpture was found is also briefly described. the position in which it is currently located is certainly not the original one, therefore the possibility remains open that the tile had not been commissioned for Corte Le Pezze.
The unpublished Saint Anthony of Padua with the Infant Jesus preserved in the oratory of the confreres adjacent to the parish church of Gerola Alta (Sondrio) updates the catalog of the Veronese painter Antonio Giarola called Cavalier Coppa with a late work, the only known with both the signature and the date (1659). Among the rare fixed points to reconstruct the artist’s career, it is placed in the most advanced phase of his path, when he works within the confines of the Emilian classicist culture learned thanks to a period of study spent in bologna (1621-1624 circa). the presence in Valtellina of a painting by Cavalier Coppa is probably due to the phenomenon of emigrants’ remittances; it would therefore be a donation to his church of origin of some inhabitant of Gerola who emigrated to Verona.