Paragone 123-124

Anno LXVI – Terza serie – Numero 123-124 (787-789) Settembre-Novembre 2015

Alessandra Giannotti: Alfonso Lombardi e Francesco da Milano: le sculture della controfacciata di San Petronio a Bologna
Massimo Francucci: Giovanni Giacomo Sementi tra Bologna e Roma


Per il pittore Cosimo Re (Gianluca Zanelli)
Una proposta per lo Stradanus disegnatore (Alessandra Baroni)
Per Giuseppe Agellio disegnatore (Mauro Vincenzo Fontana)


Marco Mantova Benavides, Tiziano e un ritratto a Konopiště (Enrico Maria Dal Pozzolo)


Through a systematic re-reading of archival documents, this article offers a precise review of the sculptures on the lateral portals of the inner façade of San Petronio in Bologna, clarifying the collaboration of Alfonso Lombardi and Francesco da Milano in the period 1527-1529. One can thus follow Francesco’s evolution from simple stone-cutter to sculptor, together with his brother Martino, in contact with the individuals who were active on the façade of the basilica, and in particular his contribution to the stone sculptures on the gables; the Saint Dominic begun by Zaccaria Zacchi in 1526 is also discussed. The author draws attention to the close interaction between Lombardi and Niccolò Tribolo, who was in Bologna between 1525 and 1527. Finally, a consideration of Alfonso’s stucco work on the gables provides an opportunity to assess how Tuscan-Roman decorative types (also adopted in these years by Giulio Romano at the Palazzo Te in Mantua) stood in relation to the Emilian terracotta tradition.

An analysis of the pictorial oeuvre of Giovanni Giacomo Sementi, here expanded and reconsidered in all its complexity, provides the occasion for giving the artist the independence he deserves, given that he is too often solely regarded as a pupil of Guido Reni. While the master’s influence was indeed constant, Sementi succeeded in interpreting it in personal ways, variously interacting with naturalism, the language of Lanfranco and French classicism. His path to emancipation led him away from Bologna to the court of Maurizio of Savoy in Rome, where he entered the orbit of the academies, an experience shared by the Bolognese theologian Luigi Manzini. His admission to the Accademia di San Luca was to improve his chances for commissions for public works, as proved by the two altarpieces formerly in Santa Maria Maggiore (including an unpublished one dedicated to Saints Joachim and Anna), but he died shortly thereafter, still at the peak of his career.

A substantial number of Genoese artists of the fifteenth century are only known through a very meagre surviving oeuvre, complemented by archival documents relating to lost works. Such is the case of the painter Cosimo Re (son of Bernardo Re and active in Genoa between February 1459 and May 1471), the author of two panels, Saint Thomas Aquinas in his study with a Dominican nun supplicant (Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, NY, Village of Southampton Collection) and Saint Anne Enthroned with the Virgin and Child (Genoa, Diocesan Museum). To these works there may now be added a panel with Saint Dominic (private collection), originally the right lateral element of a dismembered polyptych. Like the panel in the Parrish Art Museum (1471) this probably came from a site belonging to the Dominican order in Genoa, and it can therefore be dated to the latest period of Cosimo Re’s known career.

Since it appeared for the first time in 2004, the oil study with the Head of Saint John the Baptist has attracted scholarly interest, though without securing convincing authorship. Initially ascribed to Bartolomeo Passarotti because of a certain correspondence in facial type with the Saint Anthony of Padua in the Capuchin church in Parma, datable to about 1575, the work has more recently been placed in the circle of Francesco Vanni. Seeking to underline the differences in style and technique between this study and Vanni’s accepted graphic oeuvre, the author proposes instead to attribute the Head of the Baptist to Johannes Stradanus (Jan van der Straet, called Giovanni Stradano, 1523-1605), who would have carried it out in preparation for the large altarpiece formerly in the Baccelli Mazzinghi Chapel in Santa Maria Novella, Florence; it is also suggested that the study is part of a presentation cartoon for the finished work. In conclusion, the essay offers a hypothesis for the identity of the patrons (Pietro, Baccio and Girolamo Baccelli) and the occasion for which the project was commissioned (the commemoration of their ancestor, the Blessed Angiolino).

Having abandoned his native Sorrento in his youth to join Cristoforo Roncalli’s vibrant workshop in Rome, Giuseppe Agellio succeeded more than other pupils in earning praise and respect from the great Tuscan master. Indeed during the intense years that preceded Pomarancio’s departure for Loreto in 1605, the available documentary evidence shows him to be a prominent collaborator, and a disciple entrusted with extensive freedom of expression. Yet notwithstanding the reputation Agellio built up for himself in his own day, he is no longer given any independent consideration. Starting with a re-reading of the role he played in San Silvestro al Quirinale, and taking advantage of new additions to his graphic oeuvre, the article seeks to reshape the painter’s profile in a manner that better fits his true historical importance, as well as adding a few more elements to the picture we have of the internal dynamics of the Roncalli workshop.

The article presents the only painted portrait we know of the jurist Marco Mantova Benavides, who together with Pietro Bembo played a leading role in the world of collecting in sixteenth-century Padua. The painting is in the Bohemian castle of Konopiště, forming part of a series of portraits of the Obizzi family, whose residence near Battaglia Terme, not far from Padua, housed part of Benavides’ collections; its style points to the authorship of the principal local portraitist of the last quarter of the 1500s, Francesco Apollodoro, called il Porcia. The artist lived in the area that included the palazzo of the jurist, with whom he is recorded to have been in contact in 1573. The prize item in Benavides’ quadreria was Titian’s portrait of him, which was placed in the entrance of his private “museo”. It has been supposed that the picture could be identified as Titian’s portrait in the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, but the present rediscovery proves that the sitters cannot be the same. It is suggested here that the canvas in Konopiště, which depicts the jurist aged between 55 and 60 (i.e., in the period 1545-1550), might thus depend on the lost prototype.

Paragone Arte 125
Paragone Arte 122