Artibus et Historiae no. 26 (XIII)

1992, ISSN 0391-9064

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LINDA WOLK-SIMON - The "Pala Doria" and Andrea Doria's Mortuary Chapel: A Newly Discovered Project by Perino del Vaga

Based on the discovery of a previously unknown drawing by Perino del Vaga, here identified as an idea for an unexecuted altarpiece commissioned by Andrea Doria, the article posits a "phase I" to the campaign to transform San Matteo, the Doria church in Genoa, into the admiral-prince's funerary chapel. Major work on this church was carried out in the 1540s, when Montorsoli redesigned the crossing and apse - the Pieta with saints and prophets in the choir and Doria's tomb in the crypt date from this campaign - but it now seems possible that Andrea Doria's plans for San Matteo were conceived in the 1530s and that these were entrusted to Perino, his court artist, then still resident in Genoa. Perino's altarpiece design shares a common theme with Montorsoli's more elaborate sculptural program, the triumph over death - an appropriate topos for a mortuary chapel - and, considered in the larger physical context of the church and its furnishings, both articulate Doria's ambition forhis eternal resting place. This ambition was at once the celebration of his earthly fame and his role as Defender of the Church, and the expression of his hope for salvation and eternal life after death.

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