A memorial stone in the Castello Sforzesco, coming from the demolished Milanese church of Santa Maria Beltrade, is remarkable both for its contents and for its form. The 18 lines of the inscription (a beautiful example of minuscule introduced by an adorned initial I) relate the foundation of a chapel by magister Antonio de Solano, in the service of Bernabò Visconti, in which chapel the wife of the founder, Malgarina, was buried. The inscription is also certified by three coats of arms, here identified with those of Solano, Martignoni, Pietrasanta. The huge representation of a reliquary, here identified as that of the Holy Nail, precedes the text. This same reliquary is also represented in two luxury codices from Milan, one of them belonging to Giangaleazzo Visconti and the other one to Visconti’s ambassador in Rome, Anselmo Rozio. As the making of the memorial stone occurred one year after the clash of the schism, the prominence given to the reliquary, in the circle of Bernabò, appears meaningful. Also for Giangaleazzo the relic was instrumental at the time when he was engaged in the building of the new cathedral. At the same time Rozio’s book of hours (the famous Modena Book of Hours), where the representation of the reliquary is prominent, introduces the possibly first known image of the, later to be sanctified, Peter of Luxembourg, in so far paying witness to the disconfort of the Christian community at the time of the schism. At the same time, the coats of arms, gathered in the memorial stone, point to a precise circle of Milanese families, one of them connected to the recently founded Studium Generale of Pavia.
The ambrosian Psalter, Hymnarium and Martyrologium (Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett - Staatliche Museen, Hs. 78 C 16 and Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, ms. P 165 sup., ff. 1r-21v) is a 13th century Milan code abundantly illuminated: it enclose 15 miniatures in the Psalter and in the Hymnarium, along with 123 pages entirely historiated in the Martyrologium. In this latter the pictures of the saints’ life and martyrdom – which go always with the hagiographical narrations – possess a pervading narrative power: they often spread over more than one episode, going even along the lateral margin and the bas de page. Moreover the link between the text and the illuminated images is quite close, and their iconography is faithful to the narration in most cases. Given the strong stylistic resemblances between this code and the Paris Pantheon’s one (Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 4895; dated to 1331), it is possible to ascribe the miniatures to the Pantheon Master. Moreover, given their fewer monumental afflatus and qualitative endurance, they has been likely crafted by the Master’s workshop. Thanks to shape of certain garments, the miniatures can be dated between 1331 – the year recorded in the Pantheon code – and the end of the fourth decade of the 14th century, maybe not far from 1331. Since the manuscript lacks elements ascribable to religious orders, it has been likely crafted for an important Milan secular Church; maybe to the Cathedral itself, judging from the iconographic abundance.
Thanks to the discovery of some important documents related to the church of San Matteo alla Banchetta, placed in via Santa Maria Fulcorina, in the centre of Milan, it’s now possible to illustrate the history of the church, of the Fagnani family and of the great palace, now called ‘Palazzo Fagnani Ronzoni’, adjacent to the church. The documents also help us to recreate the dynamics linked to the decoration of the church before the radical changes of the baroque period. The members of the family have always kept good relations with the most important and powerful exponents of the nobility active in Milan. This aspect, well known for the 17th and 18th centuries, is true also for the medieval period. In particular during the second half of the 14th century, with Giovanni Fagnani, his wife Confortina da Brossano and their sons, the family lived a lucky period and also the church was enriched with different monuments. The most important and famous is that of Giovanni, now conserved in the Museum of Ancient Art inside the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, realized by the workshop of Bonino da Campione, the most sought-after sculptor of the period.
This essay is the natural continuation of the one published in «Arte Lombarda», 170-171 (2014/1-2) and dedicated to the Burgundian artist Vincenzo Volò, who moved to Milan during the fifth decade of the XVII century and who was the founder of the school of the Vicenzinis, a family-led workshop specialized in still-life paintings. Researches, which were carried out in civil and religious archives in Milan and Bologna from 2012 to 2014, brought a significant variety of unpublished documents to light. These findings allowed us to reconstruct the biographies of Vincenzo’s most notorious sons-apprentices: Margherita (known as Margherita Caffi), Francesca (called ‘la Vicenzina’), Giovanna (also called ‘la Vicenzina’ or ‘la Macagna’) and Giuseppe (who signed his works as ‘Giuseppe Vicenzino’). Their biographical and artistic experiences, collaborations with artists and some relationships with notorious clients, such as the ones with the prince Vitaliano VI Borromeo and with the cardinal Giberto IV Borromeo, are analysed by following their movements in the various Milanese parishes, in which they lived and where their baptismal, wedding and death acts from 1647 to 1716 are preserved.
The stay of Carlo Innocenzo Carloni (Scaria d’Intelvi, 1686 or 1687 - 1775) in Brescia, already known through the literary sources of eighteen century, has still be proven from cycles of profane frescoes in this city. Thanks to the comparison with the Notta delli Sbozzi, the original document in which the painter makes a list of his sketches, is possible to verify links with frescoes still existing or destroyed by now. Some considerations about connections between Carloni and Pietro Scalvini are furthermore proposed in this essay. The text begin with an analysis of the former Martinengo di Padernello palace, today Salvadego, in which the real presence of frescoes by Carloni, after the war destructions, wasn’t clear at all; now we can affirm that nine ceilings decorated by the painter are still visible in the building. In Gaifami palace, thanks to the comparison with Notta delli Sbozzi and the guide published by G. B. Carboni in 1760, the iconography of the seven vaults is clearer for the first time. The study of the little known Valotti palace, today Rampinelli Rota, now permit to identify three rooms probably decorated by the artist.
As soon as the Fascists came to power they promoted a reorganisation of the state, which included some significant building works. Important among these were the headquarters for Gruppi Rionali (Fascist neighbourhood groups) in built-up areas, with meeting places and offices for organising the political life and welfare of the population. These centres initially had makeshift quarters but it was soon necessary to have special buildings to replace the Socialist ‘Case del Popolo’, the headquarters of the Catholic associations and, during the war, the ‘Case del Soldato’, which had sprung up in their hundreds since the turn of the century. For some of its first new buildings, the Party called in Paolo Mezzanotte, an expert who had already made a name for himself in the first decade of the century and who found himself having to deal with constantly evolving situations in Milan, meeting rapidly increasing needs and changes. The classicist architecture of these initial buildings took inspiration from Pompeii and from Cinquecento and neoclassical Italian models. His first Fascist buildings reflected this, as is clear to see in the Casa Rionale Baracca in Milan, the Fascist Federal Headquarters for the city and province, and the Casa del Balilla in Gallarate. The experiment ended with the Milan Stock Exchange, a building for a different purpose but equally symbolic of the new order in public life, also designed by Paolo Mezzanotte. It was soon overtaken by Novecento, rationalist and Piacentini-style architecture, which the regime made its own and spread throughout the country in the following decade.
The events of the parish church of Vaiano Cremasco, from the late sixteenth to the late eighteenth century are considered, with particular attention to unpublished or little known facts from the literature. After a period where some interventions in the old building are made (in the sixteenth century, the altarpiece for the altar of the Madonna and the realization of some of the angels, gilded by Aurelio Buso; in the mid of the seventeenth century, the altarpiece of the Madonna del Rosario, by Giovanni Battista Botticchio and the Mysteries of the Rosary performed by a Procaccini painter), some important works for the reconstruction of the church are started. The new building was begun in 1660 by the architect «Carlo Lucin Ferrandi» (as it is named in the parish records), who can be identified with the Milanese Carlo Ferrando Lucino. The construction ends only in the early eighteenth century, when the indoor liturgical structure is completed. In the twenties of the eighteenth century, the new marble altar is finally erected. The plasterer Giovanni Domenico Ferroni works in the Madonna del Rosario Chapel, while the paintings of the Mysteries are made by the Milanese Tommaso Formenti; other two altars contain paintings of Giacomo Frisia. Of significant importance is the presence between 1745 and 1746 of Angelo Maria Beretta, a sculptor active in the Cathedral of Milan, possibly the author of the statues that characterize the façade, creating a lively dynamism of late Baroque. The stonemason Giuseppe Antonio Pirovano (paid between 1744 and 1753), born in Viganò (Lecco), worked with the Beretta, possibly for the decorative parts.
The paper investigates the Bolognese painter Jacopo Calvi, called Sordino (Bologna, 1740 - 1815), focusing on his works in Bergamo during the last quarter of the eighteenth century. Thanks to new documentary evidence, a lost artwork by Sordino is here attributed and analyzed within the cultural environment of the painter. The autor also examines how Calvi’s activity in Bergamo marked his work, becoming a turning point in his career. Throughout this significant phase the Bolognese painter extended his network, getting in touch with some of the most important academic and religious intellectuals of Bologna, Bergamo and Rome, such as Giampietro Zanotti or Giampietro Riva.
The collections of Museo Civico d’Arte Antica in Palazzo Madama include four sheets drawn in Turin in 1793 by the Bolognese artist Pietro Giacomo Palmieri during the last period of his career. Those drawings are a sophisticated collage of figures copied from Francesco Londonio’s etchings and evoke the effects of watercolor prints. Palmieri’s taste for emulation of printmaking technique and for pastoral subjects goes back to the time of his early artistic formation in Bologna. This interest increased during his stay in Paris, where his virtuosistic skills were admired by the most cultivated amateurs. As far as we know Turin collectors in 18th century were not so interested in Londonio, so the subjets chosen for the drawings here presented seem to be a real exception in that scenario. However Palmieri played an important role addressing collecting interests toward 17th century Netherlander graphics, primary source for Londonio. The analysis of those sheets allows to formulate some hypothesis about how Palmieri came into contact with Londonio’s work. It also permits us to state the stylistic choices he made in his last activity years.