EARLY AND HIGH RENAISSANCE PERIODS.
Characteristics. Early School influenced by Squarcione (Paduan School), later by Leonardo da Vinci (Florentine School). Subjects religious; in best works a perfect treatment of light and shade ; color important; a peculiar refinement of sentiment and expression.
EARLY RENAISSANCE PERIOD, 1400-I500.
Vincenzo Foppa (- 1492), born in Brescia, and afterward living in Milan, is the first name of importance. It is probable that he studied in the school of Squarcione.
His works show the same study of the antique, the same taste for classic architecture and gilt stucco ornament that are found in the early Paduan School.
They are also marked by an unusual energy of expression, sometimes carried almost to the grotesque, and good outline drawing. His drawings have often been attributed to Mantegna (Paduan School).
Representative works :
FRESCO. “St. Sebastian ” and Altar-piece. Brera Gallery, Milan. ” Madonna and Child.” Municipal Museum, Milan.
Altar-piece. Savona Cathedral.
” Adoration of the Kings” (attributed to Bramantino) National Gallery, London.
Bramantino (Bartolommeo Suardi, about 14501526?) was so called from his study under Bramante, the architect and painter (uncle of Raphael).
The works of this artist are very unequal in merit ; some almost rival those of Mantegna (Paduan School), while others are of little value.
Many of his pictures are marked by a peculiar disposition of light entering from below. His heads have an abundance of wavy hair surmounted by fantastic headdresses.
Representative works :
” Madonna Enthroned,” ” St. Martin dividing his Cloak with a Beggar.” Brera Gallery, Milan. In this gallery are also several frescoes attributed to Luini which were probably painted by Bramantino.
Altar-piece. Ambrosian Library, Milan.
Ambrogio Borgognone (14451523) was a pupil of Foppa, but entirely original in his art. He has been called the Fra Angelico of this school, so devout are his works.
They bear a resemblance to those of Perugino (Roman School). His Madonnas are marked by extreme gentleness of expression. His coloring is pale and delicate, particularly in his early works. Later it is more rich and full.
. Representative works :
” Christ bearing the Cross.” Academy, Pavia.
Altar-piece. ” Marriage of St. Catherine of Sienna.” National Gallery, London.
” Enthroned Madonna.” Berlin Museum.
Altar-piece. S. Spirito, Bergamo.
Giovanni Antonio Beltraffio (14671516) was a pupil of Leonardo da Vinci and produced some works that have passed under that artist’s name.
His paintings possess the same broad, general treatment, full color, and strength of chiaroscuro that characterize his master. His faces are of the same type, but usually of a longer oval, and his treatment of the flesh tints is individual. Representative works :
FRESCO (formerly attributed to Leonardo and badly damaged). Sant’ Onofrio, Rome.
Several pictures in Poldi-Pezzoli Gallery, Milan.
Madonna. National Gallery, London.
Madonna. Gallery, Bergamo.
Marco da Oggiono (1470-1530), also a pupil of Leonardo, is of comparatively little importance.
His name is connected with Leonardo’s “Last Supper,” of which he made several good copies; one is now in the Royal Academy, London; one in the Brera Gallery, Milan ; and one in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg.
Most of his original paintings seem to belong to a period prior to Leonardo, so hard are they in style, and so cold and inferior in color.
Representative works :
” Three Archangels.” Brera Gallery, Milan.
” Salvator Mundi” (long bore the name of Leonardo). Borghese Gallery, Rome.
” Holy Family.” National Gallery, London.
HIGH RENAISSANCE PERIOD, 1500-1600.
Andrea Solario (1460?-1520?) was born in Milan and belonged to a family of architects and sculptors. He came very close to the manner and spirit of Leonardo in many of his pictures, though he lived at one time in Venice and came under the influence of that school.
The modelling of his figures, especially his hands, is remarkably fine. He excelled also in beauty of tone and in power of expression.
Some of his later works show such a decided Flemish character that it is thought he must have visited Flanders.
It has been difficult for critics to decide upon the author-ship of several pictures now believed to have been painted by this artist. Formerly they have been distributed among Leonardo, Giovanni Bellini, and Raphael.
” Virgin and Child with Saints.” Brera Gallery, Milan.
Ecce Homo,” Flight into Egypt.” Poldi-Pezzoli Gallery, Milan.
Portrait. ” Charles d’Amboise?” (long attributed to Leonardo). Madonna of the Green Cushion.” Louvre, Paris.
” Herodias.” Gallery, Vienna.
” Christ bearing the Cross.” Borghese Gallery, Rome.
Portraits in Brera Gallery, Milan, and National Gallery, London.
Bernardino Luini (1475?-1533), born at Luino, on Lake Maggiore, was early a pupil of Borgonone, but in his later life he established himself at Milan and was very powerfully influenced by Leonardo, the spirit and style of whose work he followed most closely. ‘ Through him we can really study this great master who has left so few paintings to the world.
Luini’s early pictures are often confounded with those of Bramantino, his later with those of Leonardo. They take very high rank by reason of their composition and technique, but more because of their grace, purity, and spiritual expression.
He never fell into exaggeration, as did so many of Leonardo’s followers. His women’s and children’s faces are most thoroughly charming because of the sweet, inward smile, the serenity, that marks them.
He painted in fresco, tempera, and oil. His wall paintings rank him among the first fresco painters, with so much freedom are they executed.
His best oil pictures are finished with great elaboration, are finely colored, and treated with forcible light and shade. Most important works :
FRESCOES. S. Maurizio, Milan.
Fragments of Frescoes. Brera Gallery, Milan. The most noted of these is ” Body of St. Catherine borne to the Tomb by flying Angels.”
FRESCOES. Church in Saronno.
” Madonna of the Rose-Trellis.” Brera Gallery, Milan. ” Crucifixion.” Church, Lugano.
Altar-piece. Cathedral, Como.
” Marriage of St. Catherine.” Poldi-Pezzoli Gallery, Milan.
“Daughter of Herodias.” Louvre, Paris.
” Christ disputing with the Doctors.” National Gallery, London.
“Modesty and Vanity.” Sciarra Gallery, Rome.
” Daughter of Herodias.” Uffizi Gallery, Florence.
” John Baptist playing with Lamb.” Ambrosian Library, Milan.
The last four paintings were long catalogued as works by Leonardo.
Gaudenzio Ferrari (14841546) was a contemporary of Luini, and though inferior to that artist was, at his best, a painter of much power and charm. His work is very unequal, his early pictures being much more tender and refined than his later, which are spoiled by the use of very violent colors, especially a crude red. He was influenced by Leonardo, and later by Raphael. He also followed Bramantino in his fondness for giving his figures fantastic headdresses and much hair, and for lighting his picture from below.
Representative works :
Altar-piece. St. Gaudenzio. Varallo in Piedmont.
FRESCOES. Sacra Monte, Varallo. Among these the most noted is the ” Crucifixion,” in which are eighteen strong, graceful, mourning angels, with fine expression.
Pictures in tempera. Cathedral, Como.
” Martyrdom of St. Catherine.” Brera Gallery, Milan. ” St. Paul.” Louvre, Paris.
Other names of some note in this school are Cesare da Sesto (1480?1524?), influenced at first by Leonardo, afterward by Raphael ; Andrea da Salerno (1480 ?-1530), who painted in Naples; Gianpietrino (painted 1493-1540), who imitated well the dreamy sentiment of Leonardo (whose pupil he was), painted chiefly half-length figures, and loved to clothe them in deep orange, almost scarlet draperies ; and Ambrogio de Predis (painted 14821514), who is especially noted for lovely and sympathetic portraits in profile (see Morelli’s ” Italian Masters “).