The painter Stefano da Pandino, lived and worked in Milan throughout the first half of the fifteenth century, in the late Gothic context at Visconti court. The present research focus on documents analysis and the systematic order of the historical, critical and literary sources about Stefano da Pandino in order to rebuilt his biographical profile and to study deeply his artistic career. Analyzed documents are kept in Milan State Archive and Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo Archive. Stefano da Pandino, whose name has always been linked by historicals to the first fifteenth century built phase of Milan Cathedral glass windows, was a member of the School of milanese painters of San Luca and he was probably head of an important medieval workshop, in contact with the most famous painters at that time as Michelino da Besozzo and Franceschino Zavattari. In fact, Stefano da Pandino’s first wife was Maddalena Zavattari, Cristoforo’s daughter and Franceschino’s sister. Thanks to documents and historical sources we have a lot of news on the glass windows of Milan Cathedral and other artworks by Stefano da Pandino. Nevertheless, it is not yet possible to define a corpus of artworks certainly refer to the painter; because they have not been preserved. Stefano da Pandino was probably born between 1385 and 1395 and died in Milan between 1458 and 1460. He had at least four male children, two of which are documented as painters: Cristoforo and Antonio.
This article discusses hitherto unpublished frescos from an observant Poor Clares monastery in Pavia, which date back to the late fifteenth century. An historical and iconographic analysis demonstrates that there was a strong bond with the local Observant convent of San Giacomo and with other male Observant houses in Northern Italy, particularly concerning a series of paintings dedicated to the Passion of Christ. The essay presents an examination of the iconographic relationship between the frescos in the nuns choir and several incisions by the Alsatian engraver Martin Schongauer as well as pictures by Vincenzo Foppa, Lorenzo Fasolo, Bergognone and other painters who worked in Lombardy and Liguria. Additionally the focus is set on the comparison between the iconographies of a mural painting in the dormitorium and precious miniatures, such as that of Antonio da Monza (who was himself an Observant Franciscan) and that of other artists who produced book illuminations for members of the Visconti and Sforza dynasty. Furthermore the artistic commissions for the monastery are considered in the light of contemporary artwork, with particular regard to the circulation of models and patterns in Northwest Italy. Finally the paper identifies desiderata and suggestions for future research.
Among the Baldironi family members, family involved in business trade in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth century, abbot Antonio (1628-1689) was one of the most relevant figures, who was been for a few years the agent of the State of Milan Congregation in Madrid. Thanks to him, his nephew Giuseppe (1635-1685) could reach the position of general financial Mayor and so begin the process of ennoblement of the family, shown also by the decoration of the villa own in Lissone. The house, decorated according to the taste of the Lombard notables families, has painting decorations of great value, in particular in some rooms at the ground floor, realized at the times of Giuseppe Baldironi, with the prevalence of a quadratura decoration, to be attributed to Francesco Villa with the help of painters specialized in the genres of battles and landscapes. Another room at the same floor has frescos of the same taste of the previous ones, but realized in a second time, probably wanted by Giuseppe’s son, Francesco, who was also the promoter of the building of the oratory connected to the villa, decorated with an altarpiece by Francesco Panza from Milan, now in the Church of Lissone, in mediocre conservative conditions.
The essay aims to offer a new reading of the canvas known as L’Amor sacro che calpesta l’Amor profano (Milan, Superti Furga collection) – a youthful work painted by Giovanni Stefano Danedi known as Montalto – after the discovering of the preparatory drawing and of a painting entitled Amor vincit omnia (Perugia, antiques market). Thanks to the study of two manuscripts related to the destroyed church of San Domenico in Cremona, it is possible to propose a different destination for the painting, before its arrival in the collection of the Counts Durini at the beginning of the eighteenth century, testifying the fortune that paintings of the same genre enjoyed in seventeenth-century Spanish Lombardy.
In 1806 Giuseppe Bossi (1777-1815) was commissioned a series of paintings by Gaetano Battaglia, a Milanese Napoleonic commander, in order to praise the literary champions of the Italian Nation. The Scuola letteraria italiana (Italian literary school) was supposed to have been made up of the Schools (or Apotheosis or Mounts) of Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio and Ariosto. As is so often the case with Bossi’s projects, even this one remained unfinished. This four-handed article highlights some pivotal literary and graphic pieces of information. In particular, thanks to these newly-rediscovered evidences it is now possible to know what the Mount of Petrarca looked like and to retrace its collecting and material history, until its destruction because of the bombs which devastated Milan in August 1943. In addition to that, the drawings inv. 1127 bis E 13 bis recto and verso kept in the Milanese Civico Gabinetto dei Disegni, Castello Sforzesco, and cat. 297, 364 and 368 in the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Accademia di Brera have been for the first time recognized as sketches for the Schools of Dante and Boccaccio: this makes it possible to imagine what the two compositions looked like (even if only partially). From the stylistic point of view, the only help comes for now from the Apotheosis of Ariosto kept at the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana (Milan), the one and only cartoon drawing from the original series which survived the centuries.
The large canvas The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew by Francesco Hayez was exposed in the Italian section of the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867. It had been painted a few years before, for the parish church of Castenedolo (Brescia, Italy) and the occasion offered it a great opportunity to be admired by the whole world. But the exhibition resulted in a nightmare. The canvas was not only seriously damaged during the journey, but while removed from the wall it was largely torn in the lower part. The parish board of Castenedolo, responsible for the painting, was highly alarmed at the news of the damage, but obtained only vague explanations from the exhibition board. The painting, back to Italy, had to be restored under the supervision of Hayez himself who brought back the canvass to Castenedolo with a handwritten document certifying the accuracy of the operation. All the documents, still in the archives of the church, report what really happened to the painting and underline the difficulties, in the second half of the nineteenth century, in organizing important art events and in moving masterpieces around Europe.