Un ciclo carolingio a Milano. Nuove ipotesi sulle pitture murali in San Satiro digital
formato: Articolo | ARTE LOMBARDA - 2012 - 1-2
A Carolingian cycle in Milan. New theories on the mural paintings in San Satiro MANUELA BERETTA Embedded in the complex urban and architectural stratification of Milan’s historic center, the church of San Satiro is the lone Carolingian monumental building in the area: its plan has been preserved, as has a cycle of mular paintings datable, for the most part, to the years of the foundation, which was ordered by Ansperto da Biassono (Archbishop of Milan from 868 to 881) within the so-called Insula Ansperti. Despite the defective conservation, it is possible to suggest a reconstruction of the original project – a task only inconsistently attempted so far by scholars – based on the recognition of “pairs” of figures on each of the four corners of the building. Such reading gives way to new theories on the identity of the portraited characters, and casts new light on the presence of figural elements such as the flowered cross – strictly connected with 9th-Century funerary painting – or the raceme decoration of the vaults, prompting an analogy with Carolingian cycles north of the Alps, such as the westwork of Corvey. All the collected data concerning composition, iconography, technique and style are put in relation with Ansperto’s patronage and the cultural scene in late-9th Century Milan: this reinvigorates the ipothesis, often rejected by scholars, of a homogeneous Carolingian cycle. The intent of this article is not to give a final answer to the questions surrounding the artwork, but rather to put such questions in a critical perspective, reconstructing the cycle in its complexity and opening up new lines of interpretation thanks to a broader basis of comparison, and thus to finally include the commission for San Satiro in a truly Milanese – and at the same time European – context.
Le maestranze di Galliano. Suggestioni e ipotesi in base alla lettura tecnica e stilistica delle pitture murali digital
formato: Articolo | ARTE LOMBARDA - 2009 - 2
Since information on painting workshops of the eleventh century is scarce, the reading of some details of style and execution can provide precious clues. From the analysis of the apse paintings in Galliano, a variety of languages and techniques emerges, which goes from the flesh tones to the application of the final highlights in white: hence it seems that the so-called ‘Master of the Apse’ was not a single fresco painter, but a team characterised by different styles but managing to obtain final coherent, balanced results. Another point that emerges is the articulated planning of the work: the different personalities seem to work side by side with an almost chaotic nonchalance made possible by the application of small patches of plaster in the pontate. All of these observations can also be made for the paintings in the nave, starting with the Scenes from the Life of St. Christopher, which critics have always isolated as the work of an easily identified fresco painter: instead, in the rendering of anatomical details, different typologies are also revealed here. They are hard to attribute to a single personality, and also find correspondences in other areas of the nave and in the apse, although never with the same quality of execution. With the exception of the Genesis cycle, perhaps, the only one with special characteristics that are close to the apse paintings, we can hypothesize the simultaneous presence of different personalities working on more than one cycle and probably on both walls.
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