After an introduction to the story of the equestrian monument to Francesco Sforza, the discussion turns to the two drawings by Antonio Pollaiolo owned by Vasari which he thought represented Francesco Sforza. One of these drawings was surely that now in Munich, with Francesco trampling a soldier. The other drawing, now in New York, showing a rider leaping at a great naked female figure, is also almost invariably understood to be Vasari’s other drawing of Francesco Sforza. But Vasari’s description of the drawings appears to imply that the drawing with the female figure, erroneously identified by him as Verona, was significantly different from the New York drawing. The author examines the hypothesis that the New York drawing illustrates Federico da Montefeltro triumphing over Volterra in 1472 after the infamous sack: then, the Florentines showered him with gifts including a great horse and an elaborate helmet made by Pollaiolo, of whom Federico was very fond. The hypothesis that the equestrian monument shown in the New York drawing was intended for Federico’s mausoleum in his palace at Urbino is discussed: it may be – to judge from Vasari’s account of the drawings – that Pollaiolo had already made drawings for this project that differed from the New York drawing, and that the drawing owned by Vasari was not in fact the New York drawing.
The paper describes the story of a Milanese palace, not considered by modern literature as it was destroyed in 1943 bombings. It was inhabited by Luigi Cagnola, who restored it in Neoclassical forms, but above all it had been commissioned in 1565 by Senator Danese Filiodoni, a prominent figure in Spanish Milan. The elements that it is possible to ascertain on the basis of the retrieved documents are sufficient to draw a new and not negligible piece in the mosaic of the architectural production in Milan in that peculiar time of transition.
The article aims to complete the analysis of the artistic career of the modenese painter Camillo Gavasetti (Modena 1595 - Reggio Emilia 1630) through the study of his works, the analysis of already known documents and the retrieval of new attestations, starting from 1624 when Gavasetti managed to obtain the decoration of the presbytery of the Piacentine church of Sant’Antonino. Following this assignment, the painter moved permanently to the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza where he enjoyed some success: this is evidenced by both the inventories of the most important private collections of Piacenza and by the Farnese family collection itself. In addition, he received important commissions from religious institutions both in the Duchy and in Reggio Emilia, such as the fresco decoration he carried out in the Basilica della Ghiara. Furthermore, the attribution of various works to the artist allows us to clarify even more his activity which proves to be of excellent quality, as in the case of the canvas depicting Sofonisba drinking poison (Intesa Sanpaolo collection).
The study investigates the link between the world of the of late seventeenth-century theatricality and the pictorial cycle realized between 1683 and 1699 in the church of Sant’Alessandro in Zebedia in Milan. A key figure in the understanding of the relationship between these two areas is the creator of the iconography of the paintings, the Barnabite father Demetrio Suppensi. Professor of rhetoric, theatre theorist and author of dramatic texts and ephemeral celebratory apparatuses, Suppensi was indeed capable to pour these aspects of his production in the definition of iconographic models for the decoration of the church.
Paolo Landriani (1757-1839), scenographer and architect, active in Lombardy between the 18th and 19th centuries, mainly worked for Brera Academy and Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Therefore, his being a scenographer is well documented in about one hundred and twenty drawings collected by the publisher Giuseppe Vallardi in 1840, drawings brought together in four albums kept at the Gabinetto dei Disegni of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan. Some stage sets and perspectives present in D 14 of the Vallardi albums, among them unpublished ones, are the main topic of the essay in which a comparison is also made with drawings by Landriani himself kept at the of Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe of Brera Academy and with some 19th century engravings belonging to the Civica Raccolta delle Stampe Achille Bertarelli of Milan. By analysing such drawings, a common style and technique characteristics of Paolo Landriani are clear, i.e. an authentic neoclassical language, a special attention to ornamentation, the employment of brush and brown and grey wash, and a wiser use of light to convey atmosphere.
The article is the first complete biography of Giulio Carotti, one of the protagonists in the fervid cultural season that developed in Milan between the 19th and the 20th centuries. The research, based on mostly unpublished archival sources, highlights Carotti’s activity for Brera Academy and the Pinacoteca di Brera, as well as looks into his roles as an officer for Milanese institutions (Ufficio Esportazioni, Museo Patrio d’Archeologia, Commissione conservatrice), and explores his teaching experiences and his literary production (a list of Carotti’s publications is presented in the appendix). The biographical reconstruction – which is combined with Carotti’s ideas on the preservation and restoration of the Lombard cultural heritage and on the teaching of the History of art – also brings to the surface his connections with other prominent personalities such as Giuseppe Mongeri, Camillo Boito, Adolfo Venturi, Giuseppe Bertini, Emilio Visconti Venosta e Gustavo Frizzoni.
New documents enhance the knowledge of a little-studied art contest promoted in 1936 by the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano for the decoration of four monumental stained-glass windows. It is a collection of approximately 60 letters, part of the book collection entitled to Lodovico Pogliaghi (1857-1950) in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan. The letters were sent to the artist by the Cremonese painter Antonio Rizzi (1869-1940), his brother in law, between 1936 and 1940; they contain a detailed, first-hand account of the contest, as Rizzi participated in it and was given the assignment of decorating one of the four windows in collaboration with the painter Innocente Cantinotti; due to some unfortunate events, however, their task was never completed. The contest involved many personalities from the artistic and political world. An integrated analysis of Rizzi’s letters and some documents kept in the Veneranda Fabbrica archives allows an accurate reconstruction of the long and complex history of the contest and provides an interesting insight on all interactions, interests and political influences that surrounded public artistic enterprises in Milan in the second half of the 1930s.
The article proposes the attribution of the intriguing Portrait of a Gentleman from the Poldi Pezzoli Museum in Milan to the Bergamo-born painter Jacopo Negretti, known as Palma il Vecchio. Approached by critics alternately to Giorgione’s school or Titian’s youth, the portrait is characterized by a series of stylistic details – the shapely face, the milky complexion, the prominent chin and nose – which identify the author in the painter of Serina. The attribution to Palma il Vecchio is also confirmed by high quality details typical of the Venetian Renaissance found in other portraits of the painter; these characteristics allow to establish comparisons with other works by Palma – such as The Lute Player at Alnwick Castle and the Portrait of a Man at the Hermitage – but also with the portraiture of Giorgione and Titian. The restorations and radiographic analyzes, carried out in 2010, revealed that the first draft of the painting was inspired by Giorgione’s Double Portrait Ludovisi (Rome, Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Venezia).
The notary deed of confessio, preserved in the State Archives of Milan, between Caradosso’s brother Nicola Foppa and Antonio and Vittore Martinengo, dated 28 of November 1509, relating to a debt of 500 ducats, calls for a series of issues only partially identified. The absence of other documents leads us to formulate three possible hypotheses regarding the object of this large payment: the first one is to recognize in the notarial deed the payment for some parts (perhaps those in bronze) of the Martinengo monument for the church of San Cristo, now in Santa Giulia in Brescia, which had not yet been completed in 1509. A second more reliable hypothesis reads in the document the balance for jewels, silver, antiques or medals supply; another interpretation could relate the document to an unidentified funerary work for one of the churches in Brescia that were the mausoleum of the different branches of the family.
In the inventory of the assets of the suppressed convent of the Discalced Carmelites in Mantua, drawn up on 1 June 1782, the structure of the monastery and the adjoining church, recently rebuilt and dedicated to Santa Teresa, is precisely described. The entire convent, after its sale at auction, underwent profound transformations that led to its disappearance. The identification of a project intended for the mothers of Santa Teresa among the architectural studios of Count Ottavio Scotti of Treviso (1683-1748), never sufficiently investigated, now throws new light on the unclear and poorly documented events of a building and a community of nuns too soon forgotten in the religious and architectural history of the city of Mantua.