Artibus et Historiae no. 56 (XXVIII)

2007, ISSN 0391-9064

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PIETRO C. MARANI - By and after Bramantino. Another version of the Artaria Pietà formerly in the Savoy Royal Collection

The rediscovered Pietà, which was once in the Artaria Collection in Vienna at the end of the 19th century and later disappeared, was attributed to Bartolomeo Suardi called Bramantino by Wilhelm Suida (1902, 1905, 1910, 1953), Roberto Longhi (1955, 1973) and Bernard Berenson (1968). Many copies and later versions of it are known. The Artaria panel and these copies were discussed again recently by the author in a monograph published in Paris in 2005. According to the more recent chronology of the works by Bramantino, the Artaria panel was then dated around the end of the 15th century. Now, another unpublished copy of it has been discovered in a private collection in Legnano, once considered to be the original by Pico Cellini (the famous Italian restorer and connoisseur) and coming from the Savoy Royal Collection in Rome (there until 1944 circa). In that painting, tempera on canvas, the detail of a face, in full view (not entirely visible in the Artaria panel and in the other versions), has been considered by Cellini the self-portrait of the artist. On the basis of that "portrait", Pico Cellini assigned the painting once in the Savoy Collection to a period following the Crucifixion now in the Brera Gallery in Milan, then considering it late in the artist's career. Discussing this proposal and presenting a new examination of the St. John in Patmos by Bramantino in the Borromeo Collection, the author dismissed that hypothesis and suggested for the Artaria panel and for the Borromeo St. John a new date around the very first years of the 16th century.

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