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Nascita e diffusione di una rara iconografia dell’Immacolata Concezione: da Figino e Caravaggio a Bourdon e Quellinus II

digital Nascita e diffusione di una rara iconografia dell’Immacolata Concezione: da Figino e Caravaggio a Bourdon e Quellinus II
Articolo
rivista ARTE LOMBARDA
fascicolo ARTE LOMBARDA - 2009 - 3
titolo Nascita e diffusione di una rara iconografia dell’Immacolata Concezione: da Figino e Caravaggio a Bourdon e Quellinus II
autore
editore Vita e Pensiero
formato Articolo | Pdf
online da 03-2009
issn 0004-3443 (stampa)
€ 6,00

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Ambrogio Figino’s Madonna of the Serpent, placed in the oratory of the Immaculate at Sant’Antonio Abate in Milan, constitutes the well-known iconographic model for Caravaggio’s Madonna and Child with St. Anne (Madonna dei Palafrenieri) from the Borghese Gallery in Rome. The common subject was the Immaculate Conception, a thoroughly discussed theme, especially during the Counter-Reformation. Figino’s painting – which was in the painter’s house in 1591, and would be kept there until his death in 1608 – was probably an altarpiece rejected by the customers, perhaps destined to the church of San Fedele, where Milanese critic Giovan Paolo Lomazzo saw a «Madonna del serpe» by the same artist. It’s likely the Jesuits rejected it because of its ambiguous iconography: since the Child helps Mary smash the serpent, the beholders might have thought she was not able to defeat the Original Sin on her own, and so she had not been conceived immaculate. Such ambiguity probably played a similar role in the unfortunate events of Caravaggio’s Madonna dei Palafrenieri, which stayed in its place on Ste. Anne’s altar in the basilica of St. Peter in Rome for only a week. Successively, the same iconography would be used with completely opposite intentions: in France to support the Protestant refusal of the cult of Mary and Ste. Anne, in the Spanish Netherlands to spread the worship of the Immaculate Conception.

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