A gilt copper statue of St Michael Archangel was positioned on top of the bell tower of the church of San Gottardo in Corte in Milano approximately in 1335. The episode is part of the policy of magnificence promoted by Orazio Visconti and theorized by Galvano Fiamma. According to the documents in Archivio di Stato di Milano, a new head was provided in 1735 by Giovanni Battista Guerra, along with other restorations; the statue was again restored by Luca Beltrami in 1887-8.
An unpuplished Renaissance Lombard panel with the Resurrection of Christ that was acquired by Frederick Stibbert (1838-1906) is currently exhibited in his historic house museum in Florence. This work was executed by a still anonymous provincial painter of Southeast Lombardy. The painting also portrays a small procession coming out from a church, which is decorated with an inscription and a civic coat of arms. These two decorative details have allowed to identify the provenance of the panel: the church of San Cassiano in Fontanella al Piano. Moreover the study of documents concerning both Frederick Stibbert and the history of the church and of the village allowed to reconstruct the history of the panel, from its birth to its life in the Florentine museum.
The first part of the essay concerns some of the events in the period 1476-1480, before the official creation of the scuola (confraternity) of Santa Maria presso San Satiro in Milan, when the neighborhood is already willing to take part to those operations – not merely constructive – concerning the parish church of San Satiro. It is only in the Eighties, however, that the dynamics and ambitions of the scuola clearly reveal themselves: some biographical notes on those personalities representing the leaders of the confraternity in this decade cast light on the change. Their profiles are very different, ranging from artisans and merchants – with a common element to be found apparently in the production and trade of metals – to nobility, the latter being represented significantly by one of Gian Giacomo Trivulzio’s brothers. The aim is to convey at least a partial depiction of the scuola – an extraordinary example of the dynamic Milanese society of the end of the fifteenth century – focusing also on the fundamental role it played as a patron in the construction development of Santa Maria presso San Satiro.
There is wide agreement that the advanced and innovative crypt of the Cathedral of Pavia built in the years 1488-1492, is one of the masterpieces of Bramante’s Lombard period. Little attention has been given to the staircases ingeniously fitted to the great thick walls between the crypt’s lateral pillars and the foundations of the two sacresties. Of special interest is the staircase that leads to the northern sacresty. Y shaped, the staircase’s first ramp reaches a polygonal landing from which, on the left, a ramp ascends to the level of the northern sacresty and, on the right, a ramp descends to the sacresty’s crypt, forming an angled view of both. It is likely that the corresponding upper squared spiral stair, like the corner staircases of the transect of the Milan Cathedral, were proposed by Bramante.
This article discusses an unpublished, anonymous sixteenth century drawing, a copy after a very famous invenzione by Michelangelo Buonarroti, the Pietà, which following his biographers, the artist made for a friend, the poet Vittoria Colonna. According to most scholars, Michelangelo’s Pietà was a so-called “presentation-drawing” and was to be recognized in a sheet nowadays at the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum in Boston, also known in drawn copies, prints and paintings. However, recent studies have produced new evidence that Michelangelo’s Pietà circulated also painted among the Spirituali group, suggesting that it was a painting rather than a drawing. Moreover some scholars propose to recognized an original Michelangelo’s painting in the one owned by cardinal Reginald Pole, now identified in the Ragusa’s Pietà. The unpublished drawing is in a private collection in Milan where it came from different collections including the one of the Sir Joshua Reynolds’ (1723-1792). The drawing presents some differences with the Boston drawing and more similarities with the Ragusa’s Pietà. This supports the thesis that not one but two versions of the Colonna’s Pietà existed. The second version seems to be recognized into the new discovered Ragusa’s Pieta and the Milan drawing. This last one would be destined to become a painting. This new drawing takes its place in the scholarly debate on Michelangelo’s Pietà, drawn or painted, and enriches it with a new iconographical source. Finally, the article tries to suggest some possible authorship among the artists, which were in contact with the Pietà at that time: Battista Franco, Giulio Clovio, Fermo Ghisoni. Ghisoni’s authorship specifically seems the most quoted since according to the sources he made some copies of Pole’s Pietà.
The main aim of this essay is the publication of the first catalogue raisonné of Ambrogio Besozzi’s drawings by following a rigorous method of classification which, in addition, implies where possible the reconsideration of their certain attribution to our Artist. The search starts with a letter sent by Father Sebastiano Resta to Lanzani; such a letter is written on the verso of a red chalk sketch showing The Cast in Bronze Serpent preserved at the Ambrosiana Library and wrongly attributed to Besozzi. Some relationships between Father Resta and Andrea Lanzani and then between Lanzani and Carlo Maratti are clearly inferred from the letter in which Besozzi and Federico Maccagno themselves are also mentioned. The four pen sketches on white paper of Warsaw’s Bonola Code, eight drawings of both profane and sacred subject at the Ambrosiana Library and a small charcoal portrait belonging to the Malaspina Gallery in Pavia are, with no doubt, attributable to our Milanese Artist. Other drawings at the Ambrosiana Library, once believed Besozzi’s own works, are now rejected from his corpus. Finally this essay mentions some Besozzi’s graphic works which are hard to be traced, that is, four drawings sold by auction in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and several preparatory studies for prints and engravings.
On the occasion of the exhibition «La vita fragile. Dipinti, ambienti, immagini di Martinitt, Stelline, Pio Albergo Trivulzio nella Milano del lungo Ottocento 1815-1915» the altarpiece painted by Luigi Pellegrino Scaramuccia called the Perugino (1621-1680) for the church of the Ospedale dei Poveri Mendicanti e Vergognosi della Stella in Milano was restored. This restoration made it possible to find on the canvas both the painter’s signature as well as the date of execution. These acquisitions have been the preamble for new archival searches whose outcomes are presented here. They made it possible to define the times and costs of the contract and, they enriched the small catalogue of the artist with an altarpiece previously unknown – the Madonna del latte of the Madonna delle Grazie Oratory in Cesate – whose genesis, as illustrated by the documents published here, is intimately linked to the Milan Orphanage.
This essay presents some of the news concerning the biography and the first activity of Filippo Abbiati, emerged on the occasion of the studies started recently for the painter’s monography, soon to be published, edited by the writer and Filippo Maria Ferro. More in detail some unknown information on his family are illustrated. In the paper there are also new information on the stay in Venice of the artist, where he arrived probably in 1667, after his dismissal by Karl von Liechtenstein Kastelkorn, client at Kromeríž from 1665 for the set up of his personal gallery. In Venice he collaborated with private clients, of whom results identified the glassmaker Andrea Trevisan, who committed to the artist the painting made for the Scuola di San Giovanni dei Battuti at Murano. Lastly in the essay it is underlined the preferential relation of the artist with the Cistercian order, of which it is a recent meaningful acquisition the painting with the Martirio di Sant’Andrea realized probably in the second part of 1686 for Lucedio Abbey, from direct interesting of the Father Pompeo Castiglioni.
The documents in the parish archive of Cerro Maggiore allow to give a name or doing some hypothesis about some of the local artworks, in particular wooden sculptures. The very fine statue of the Immaculate Conception made by the up to now unknown Giovan Battista Giarmaneli (or Germanelli) is placed among the artistic tendencies of the early XVIII century. A news resulted from the archivistic sources is the project of the Crucifix on the triumphal arc by Giovanni Antonio Cucchi of which no one knew of the collaboration for sculptural works; from the documents emerges also, as a carver a «Pedracino» who, in an hypothetic way, could be connected to Lorenzo Peracino, known until now only as a painter and modeller. It could be considered interesting the documentary attribution of the Crucifix to Antonio Bonacina, until known only as minor painter. At last the author analyses the statue of Our Lady of the Rosary, perhaps made from Giuseppe Antignati and his workshop.
The note as an instrument to fix learning caught from the primary knowledge source. Rodolfo Vantini, architect and engineer from Brescia, completes his studies at Pavia University in the early XIX century. Returning to his hometown, Vantini initiates an extensive study on architectural subjects; he analyses the best-known architectural treaties and volumes, most of which are present in his private library. Books are analysed by creating syntheses and graphic diagrams useful to understand architectural matters, but these notes are also composed to be consulted later in partial or complete replacement of volumes. The study performed on Andrea Palladio treaty, I quattro libri dell’architettura, is hear punctually investigated as an example of this working method. The paper intends to investigate the following aspects: main personal and professional reasons behind the study process; the impact of the learning method on Vantini professional activity; the criteria adopted for selecting volumes. These reflections best outline one of the most important figures of Brescia Neoclassicism.
Between the 18th and 19th centuries the constant relations between the Academies of Parma and Milan determine a reciprocal exchange of experiences and models that shapes the culture of the two towns. The contacts between the two institutes are particularly intense between 1820 and 1850, when the Academy of Parma is headed by the engraver Paolo Toschi, who is linked by long-lasting friendship with Milanese artists such as Giuseppe Molteni, Francesco Hayez, Massimo d’Azeglio and Giuseppe Longhi. Frequent exchanges between the two Academies occur at the level of academic teaching and competitions and on the occasion of Brera’s famous exhibitions. Various Lombard painters (Abbondio Bagutti, Luigi Tagliani, Napoleone Mellini, Demostene Macciò, Amanzio Cattaneo) receive prizes at the Academy of Parma, while few artists from Parma stand out in Brera’s prestigious competitions (painter Giovanni Tebaldi, architect Ermogene Tarchioni, engraver Antonio Costa) and exhibitions (painters Giuseppe Boccaccio and Francesco Scaramuzza, sculptor Tommaso Bandini).
The School of Arts and Crafts in Viggiù, Italy, was founded in 1872 under the patronage of the local mutual aid society called Società di Mutuo Soccorso. The school had its own charter and regulation. Documents that can be found in the historical archives of the Società di Mutuo Soccorso reveal the needs which leaded to its foundation. A critical review of such documents gives back a deep knowledge of the school teachings and their evolution from the early years to the first half of the 20th century. Participation of the Scuola d’Arte Industriale to local and national events, such as the Exhibitions, was generally well received and appreciated in Italy. Professor Giuseppe Ongaro had been the headmaster of the School of Arts and Crafts for more than fifty years (1888-1938). Under his direction, the school achieved recognition and a good reputation. Ongaro introduced an original teaching method that kept together the old local tradition with the new artistic tendencies of early 20th century.
The article describes an event which took place in November 1891. The protagonists were: Adolfo Venturi, a young government official at the Ministry of Education; Pasquale Villari, the Minister himself and Emilio Visconti Venosta, Minister of the Foreign Affairs. A very important and ambitious project was brought into discussion in Parliament: the drawing up of a list of the most valuable works of art still housed in private collections. The situation was chaotic. In the last years lots of objects of art, often very important ones, went out of Italy, most of them in an illegal way. At that moment there was not a general law about the exportation of works of art. There were only a few laws of the former states before the Unification, such, as the Papal State or the Republic of Venice. Actually there was a bill. But unfortunately still in discussion in Parliament. Adolfo Venturi immediately began to work at the list. But he needed help. So he got in touch with several scholars of history of art and colleagues of the Minister. He sent them a circular letter asking news about the private collections of the whole nation. In that letter he underlined that he had to list only the «cose di sommo pregio», especially those of the Renaissance period, namely the masterpieces. Conscious of the difficulty of the question, Minister Villari decided to contact Visconti Venosta, a member of Parliament, fine expert and collector himself of Renaissance «oeuvres d’art». The correspondence shows the kind of problems that the extension of the list creates. We must say that Visconti Venosta, who was helped in this complicated business by the famous art historian, Gustavo Frizzoni, worked hard also to present another important law relating to the gallerie fidecommissarie of Rome. Fortunately this law was approved, meanwhile the law of conservation (and about exportation) was approved some years later, in 1902.
Twentieth-century European avant-garde looked upon Byzantine art for inspiration, as they refused the neo-classic academic painting. Instead, Italian artists grew a deep aversion against Byzantium, as it appeared as the decadent civilization opposite to the classical Rome. All the same, the Fascist regime considered the Rome as its model. After Fascism had received a worldwide legitimation in the 1930s, such an attitude changed radically. The Italian artists accepted Byzantine art as a part of their own tradition; Ravenna was taken as the substitute of Byzantium in Italy. The novel love for Byzantine art is mirrored in the so-called «Muralismo», a movement Sironi, Carrà and others founded. Sironi mosaics and the more than one hundred works inside the Palace of Justice in Milan are the best examples of that acceptance of the Middle Ages in all its trends: inside the building, the article focuses on Martini’s bas-reliefs La Giustizia fascista and Severini’s and Santagata’s mosaics representing the codes and legislators of the past.