Madonna of Mercy

Antonio Boselli1495 - 1495

Bagatti Valsecchi Museum

Bagatti Valsecchi Museum
Milano, Italy

Boselli in his early years painted this fresco in 1495 in the apse of Sts. Vincent and Alexander in Ponteranica (a small city in the area of Bergamo) for a confraternity of disciplinati, as is evidenced by the presence of kneeling white-covered praying individuals, some of whom have flails and whose bloodied backs can be seen through openings in their robes. The Madonna of Mercy in the center, who spreads her protective mantle over the kneeling donors and her robed devotees, is aided by angels and flanked by the saints Peter and Mary Magdalen. This iconographic theme was widespread in 15th century Lombardy. Tassi (1793) did not mention the work; Cavalcaselle (1871) was the last to note its presence in situ. The painting was removed and applied to canvas in July of 1885, then installed in the Bagatti Valsecchi home where its location remained ignored, except for the 1918 work of Toesca on the house and its collections. Only in 1991, during the preparations for the opening of the museum, was the presence of the fresco again noted (Angeleli; D Marchi). It was brought to the attention of English-speaking Renaissance and confraternity scholars by Starleen K. Meyer in the early 21st century. The fresco remained in place until the winds of WWII threatened Milan. It was removed for safety, applied to wood, and taken to a family country home. After the war, it was reinstated in the room, the current narrow frieze of stylized clouds surrounding it was added in the mid 1960s, and it is still displayed--as are all other objects in the museum--in its original place, thus contributing to the authentic "time capsule" ambiance.

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  • Title: Madonna of Mercy
  • Date: 1495 - 1495
  • Location: Ponteranica, Italy
  • painter and sculptor: Antonio Boselli
  • Physical Dimensions: w335 x h233 cm
  • Bibliography: Chiara de Capoa, "n. 306. Madonna della Misericordia tra i Santi Pietro, Maria Maddalena, angeli musicanti e donatori"
  • Provenance: The Bagatti Valsecchi Museum owns all rights to text and images. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. For all other uses of the images, please contact the museum, thank you.
  • Type: fresco
  • Rights: The Bagatti Valsecchi Museum owns all rights to text, images and videos. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. For all other uses, please contact the Museum, thank you.