Comune di Vicenza

Vicenza: città patrimonio dell'Unesco

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Mourning of the dead Christ

AuthorGiovanni Bonconsiglio detto Marescalco
Period(Vicenza? 1465 circa - Venezia? 1535/1537)
SupportoTavola, 178x159,6
InventoryA 12

The painting, signed by the artist on the rocks at bottom left and dating back to about 1495, represents a sorrowful Pietà: an intense and dramatic portrayal, its layout far from the traditional versions of the Mourning of the dead Christ. In fact there are none of the usual references to the landscape of the Holy Land; on the contrary, the image is brought up to date by being set in a landscape typical of the Vicenza area.

The livid body of Christ, daringly foreshortened (in a pose that often recurs also in the work of Andrea Mantegna) and lucidly investigated by the artist in great anatomical detail, rests in the lap of the Virgin, who is motionless, petrified by grief, creating a diagonal that draws the eye of the observer into the heart of the picture. The emotional involvement of the onlooker is made even more intense by the strong realism of the characters: especially Magdalene, in an elegant fashionable gown, in whose face streaked with tears we may perhaps recognise a portrait of the client’s daughter, and Saint John, whose monumental figure, with that of the Virgin, hints at Bramante.

It is the work of a young artist who feels the influence of Lombard painting and particularly of Bramante, and who has a good knowledge of the contemporary production of painting between Milan and Venice. However he has already developed a strong spatial sensitivity, as may be seen in the freedom of the composition, closed on the right by a rock formation and set on a base of stone.

The painting was originally placed in the third chapel on the right in thechurch of San Bartolomeo in Vicenza.

The work is enclosed in a frame of grey monochrome tempera on a blue background, perfectly harmonising with the colours of the painting, made by the artist himself. This frame probably corresponded to a similar one in stone, now reconstructed on the first altar on the right in the church of the Carmini in Vicenza.

This work belongs to the exhibition route:

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Musei Civici Vicenza - Museo civico di Palazzo Chiericati, Piazza Matteotti 37/39 Vicenza - phone (+39) 0444 222811 -

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