On the occasion of the anniversary of its foundation in 1107, a series of contributions have appeared about the cathedral of Cremona, trying to clarify the long-standing problem of the chronology of the building, especially in relation to the possible damage suffered in the 1117 earthquake. Among the many problems, particular attention should be paid to the system of protiri currently present in the building: the one on the façade and the one in correspondence with the front of the north transept. It is necessary to return to the problem in order to review also some hypothesis that the Author had then put forward trying to cross the scarce indications provided by documentary sources with the philological analysis of the single sculptures and the historical events that concern the city in the 13th century. The result is a completely new picture, as regards the chronology of the protiri and, above all, an attempt has been made to clarify the reasons that have determined even within a few decades the double order typology of the façade. In addition to this, the analysis of the sculptures has drawn attention to a completely unexpected scenario concerning the activity in Cremona of Benedetto Antelami’s workshop, but also the roles played by Frederick II, Oberto Pallavicino and the Comune di Popolo.
Angelino da Lecco is remembered by critics for having probably carved in 1464 a Nativity identified in one of the hanging capitals of the small cloister of the Certosa di Pavia but he is known to most for the collaborate contract stipulated in 1473, the 15th of September together with Lazzaro Palazzi, Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, Giovanni Giacomo Dolcebuono and Giovanni Antonio Piatti, in sight of the realisation of the church façade of the monastery. In the numerous notes written between 1462 and 1467 in the Liber divisatus signatus A, an expense book of the Certosa di Pavia, he is mentioned for twenty-four occurrences between 1463 and 1466. From these expense notes, it is clear that Angelino is primarily engaged to produce standardized sculptural artefacts, that means serial elements aimed at the construction or completion of the architectural structures of the buildings. Some of these artefacts – at least those whose names are more known to us – are clear understandable and it is easy to identify their exact location («columnae», «archus», «claves»); others, on the contrary – being mostly technical words – result more ambiguous and opened to several interpretations («botazoli», «lapides a filo», «scossi», «capelli», «nascimenti»). Due to the reading of all the entries referring to Angelino in the expense register, it can now be easily deduced that the idea of a Nativity carved by him in 1464 – handed down by critics – originates from a misunderstanding. In fact, at the current state of research, no figurative sculpture works that can be assigned to the stonecutter have been found, neither in Certosa nor in the construction site of Duomo di Milano where its presence – also thanks to Duchess bianca Maria Visconti – becomes stable in 1464 in conjunction with the reduction of his compensations registered in Liber divisatus signatus A. Angelino’s activity at cathedral in Milan from 1464 is then documented until 1505 and he is also enrolled in the Scuola dei Santi Quattro Coronati from 1470 to 1503.
The baptism of Francesco Sforza, Count of Pavia and son of Gian Galeazzo Sforza and Isabella d’Aragona, is one of the most significant events of the years of the rise to power of Ludovico Maria Sforza, who cleverly managed the occasion as Duke of bari and godfather to the ducal heir. A letter dated 15th May 1492 is certainly connected with the baptism, and is well known because of the possible involvement of bramante in the design of the ephemeral architecture and other activities. Now it is possible to revise bramante’s role with new evidence and insights concerning the context of the celebrations for the baptism, thanks to a series of little-known and newly discovered documents.
A drawing for a fireplace, today preserved at the biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan (codex F 252 inf., f. 637), deserves to be again discussed for the mythological subjects which enrich its decorations and for its possible patrons at the beginning of the 16th century. the scenes and figures represented permit perhaps to recognize a cultural context other than the Milanese one, where scenes coming from classical mythology were less common. Moreover, the subjects suggest some discussions on the artistic relations between Milan and Mantua and Ferrara at the early cinquecento.
The paper proposes an analysis of the construction process as well as the reality of Villa Pliniana on the Como lake, providing some new archival information and a series of remarks, useful to discuss its position in the architectural production of the second half of Cinquecento in Lombardy, and the issues related to its design authorship. In comparison with previous literature, the roles of actors are better documented and the pre-existent structures, which have been incorporated in the new project and conditioned the geometry of the building, have been defined. the strength of the project is acknowledged in the ingenuity of the court facing the lake through the loggia, although some weaknesses of the architectural composition are also pointed out, which confirm as the author a practitioner like Giovanni Antonio Piotti, more likely than a cultivated architect. In order to support the proposed reasoning on authorship, new data are provided also regarding other buildings from the same period and region, such as the Jesuit church in Como and the “teatro delle acque” in Della Croce garden, riva San Vitale.
Federico Panza (1637-1705) is a painter who has remained substantially on the margins of the critics, despite the fact that since the Sixties of the last century Edoardo Arslan underlined the originality and quality of the rare known works, capable of electing him one of the most interesting active Lombard painters in the moment of transition between baroque and rococo. the little interest aroused by the artist is perhaps justified in being an elusive, poorly documented personality, marked by numerous losses and dispersions and “complicated” in the development of a fairly representative catalog of his painting. this contribution aims to take stock of the painter’s biographical and professional story, focusing on the salient stages of a production which, in its most significant testimonies (the paintings for the Marian cycle of the sanctuary of the Madonna of Miracles at San Celso in Milan and for the decoration of the central nave of the Certosa di Pavia), occupies a non-marginal place in the late baroque Lombard figurative panorama, by virtue of the convinced opening to eighteenth-century style formulas, the ability to deal intelligently with the contemporary experiences of Abbiati, Legnanino and Lanzani, as well as the original interpretation of the Lombard heritage of Andrea Pozzo.
The paper aims at bringing light to a previously unknown painting representing Saint Francis in Prayer, found in a private collection and ascribable to Giuseppe Antonio Pianca’s production for stylistic analogies. the substantial gallery dedicated by the artist to the representation of the Alter Christus stands out for the intense activity carried out during the central decades of the 18th century. Moreover, it is also an evidence for the retrospective stance that the unconventional and rebel artist, firmly tied to the previous century’s spirit, undertook with regards to the main characters of the Lombard seventeenth century, from tanzio to Morazzone and Cerano, revised on the base of Pier Francesco Guala and Alessandro Magnasco’s paintings. the painting examined here was probably originally conceived as part of a diptych together with a St. Joseph with the Child, from the Cavallini-Sgarbi collection. It presents the same foreshortened pose, similar physiognomic features and that dense brushstroke, typical of Giuseppe Antonio Pianca.
The use of reproductions in cheaper and easily malleable materials, such as clay and plaster casts, to facilitate the sculptor’s task is very ancient and the establishment of plaster cast galleries accompanied, especially during the nineteenth century, the birth of the major European museums. Among them, the Victoria and Albert Museum enjoys particular importance: his conspicuous collection of plaster casts also includes those derived in 1884 by Edoardo Pierotti from the marble funeral monument dedicated to Gaston de Foix, sculpted by Bambaia and today largely gathered at the Castello Sforzesco in Milan. In this article we try to better clarify the work of the well-known Milanese moulder, son of that Pietro Pierotti who already in 1860 provided Napoleon III the cast reproducing the Winged Victory of Brescia and who in 1872 formed those of the monument of Gaston, currently preserved partly in Brera and partly in the Museo del Castello Sforzesco in Milan.
A letter by baldassare taccone, now preserved in the section Autografi at the Archivio di Stato in Milan and sent from bologna on May the 30th 1498, gives news to Ludovico Maria Sforza on the setting for some statues, portraits of Ludovico and his son Massimiliano, maybe made of wax, inside the church of Santa Maria di Galliera in bologna. According to the text, the two Sforza’s portraits were life size, coloured and dressed and they were really verisimilar. the brief document represents an important case among the many actions of political propaganda and use of ducal images by Ludovico Sforza.
The aim of this essay is to point out the importance of a recently rediscovered Gaetano Previati’s painting: Angels. It was painted in 1882 and it is the first version of a subject afterwards repeted in 1892, 1895, 1914. It represents the funeral of a girl, but, as the title itself suggests, the protagonists of the painting are the young women dressed in white, who take up the middle and the right side of the canvas. the woman in the middle is probably a portrait and, with her bright presence and smiling face, she separates the carrying of the coffin on the left from the other women on the right, who clearly allude to the certainty of the resurrection. The author will return to this simple but symbolically evocative outline in Maternity (1885), which represents the opposite but complementary event. Only Previati’s deep faith in God allows him to do so, because to Lord only the death means new life, and so the same outline can be employed in representing Christ’s birth, whose death and resurrection destroyed the death itself forever.