Study Of Art – Painters Of Milan And Verona

( Originally Published 1915 )

Vincenzo Foppa. fl. 1455—1492.

Borgognone (Ambrogio da Fossano). 1455?—1523.

Pisanello (Vittore Pisano). 1380—1456?

Liberale da Verona. 1451—1536.

Girolamo dai Libri. 1474?—1556.

Vincenzo Foppa, born in Brescia and a pupil of Squarcione, settled in Milan in 1456, where most of his work was done. Like other artists of his time, he was interested in the study of perspective and the human form, and was the teacher of the succeeding generation. He was employed by Sforza, and by the Medici in the decoration of their palace in Milan.

Borgognone, born in Milan and trained under Foppa, was a painter of deeply religious temper. He worked for many years at the Certosa of Pavia on frescos and altarpieces still in situ, and designed the figures for the inlaid choir-stalls. His early work is silvery gray in tone; later it has much richness and depth of color. The influence of his sentiment and his facial type are seen in the work of his pupil Luini.

Altichiero and d’Avanzo, the earliest painters of Verona, were much influenced by Giotto’s work in Padua.

Pisanello, pupil of Altichiero, was an artist of great originality. Many of his frescos in the churches of Verona have been destroyed, and only one or two altar-pieces by him remain, but his drawings show rare refinement and ability, and his medals are among the finest of Italy. His work in the Ducal Palace, Venice, with Gentile da Fabriano in 1421 influenced Venetian art, especially that of his friend Jacopo Bellini.

Liberale was trained as a miniaturist, his best work being done in Siena and Monte Oliveto. This training appears in his predella pictures in the churches of Verona.

Girolamo’s title ” dai Libri ” shows his inheritance from his father, whose illuminated choral books were famous. His color is rich and gay, his backgrounds often the hills of Verona, or lemon and orange trees with flowers and fruit.

NOTES ON THE PICTURES.

No. 289. Martyrdom of St. Sebastian.

Brera, Milan.

Fresco, figures nearly life-size. One of a cycle painted by Foppa in the church of S. Maria di Brera, Milan.

The point of view chosen by the artist for the drawing of his arch and the placing of the figures shows his interest in the technical problems of his art rather than in the story or the religious sentiment. St. Sebastian was a subject often chosen for its opportunity to study, with churchly sanction, the human form.

No. 290. Madonna and Child.

Poldi-Pezzoli, Milan.

This private collection, now given to the city, is rich in pictures by the painters of Milan. This panel shows the half-length figure, the child in human relation to the mother, the drapery behind drawn to permit the view of distant landscape, all points characteristic of the later school of Milan. Cf. C 33, 52.

No. 291. St. Catherine.

Poldi-Pezzoli, Milan.

St. Catherine (always a gentle and beautiful character) is a favorite subject with Milanese painters. This picture by Borgognone shows her with the symbols of her martyrdom.

No. 292. Marriage of St. Catherine.

National Gallery, London.

Tempera on wood, 6 feet 7 inches by 4 feet 3 inches. Painted by Borgognone for a chapel connected with the Certosa of Pavia. In composition, execution, and sentiment this is one of his most beautiful works. The legend of Catherine of Siena gathered to itself many elements from the story of Catherine of Alexandria, and both saints are represented as the ” Spouse of Christ.” Compare with Luini’s pictures of St. Catherine, C 36, 41, 43; also C 26.

No. 316. Madonna appearing to St. Anthony and

St. George.

National Gallery, London.

Tempera on wood, 1 foot 7 inches by 1 foot. One of the very few easel pictures by Pisanello. Painted at Ferrara between 1443 and 1448 for Leonello d’Este, whose medal by Pisanello is reproduced in the gable of the beautiful original frame. Below the artist has placed his own medal, with the Este coat of arms. St. George’s dress is an exact reproduction of the costume of a knight of the early fifteenth century. His horse’s head is seen over his shoulder. St. Anthony appears as a very aged man, his white beard painted with greatest care.

No. 317. Drawing.

Vallardi Collection, Louvre, Paris.

Executed about 1439. A study showing Pisanello’s talent for sympathetic portraiture, which, together with the freedom and suggestiveness of his drawing, has made his medals prized down to the present time.

No. 318. St. Martin dividing his Cloak with a Beggar.

Piccolomini Library, Cathedral, Siena.

An initial letter from a missal, probably one from Liberale’s numerous series of illuminations for the Convent of Monte Oliveto. The Piccolomini library has a very beautiful collection of illuminated manuscripts, arranged in cases about the room. Cf. 276.

St. Martin is still a delightful mediæval figure; the elaborate and sophisticated modeling of the nude figure shows the loss of the decorative instinct.

No. 319. Madonna and Child with St. Anne.

National Gallery, London.

Oil on canvas, 5 feet by 3 feet, of very careful, even minute execution. Painted by Girolamo dai Libri for S. Maria della Scala, Verona. It has been restored.

An unusually beautiful version of the difficult theme of St. Anne holding on her lap the Madonna and Child. The artist’s favorite orange tree is used as a background, with the distant Veronese landscape, and the angel musicians below, who often appear in his pictures.

No. 320. Madonna and Child.

Louvre, Paris.

A more developed example of the children’s forms and faces, but with the same rather unusual type of Madonna, and the favorite background of the tree. Morelli thinks this a work by Carotto under Girolamo’s influence. Other works are confused between the two painters.