The Angels in Milan Duomo Museum

Angels (1515-1525 e anni quaranta-cinquanta del XVI secolo) by Pietro da VelateVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

The four harlequin panels depicting Kneeling angels in prayer are part of a larger group which was originally located in the frame of the Crucifixion scene in window V19 (later modev to window V05).

Angels (1515/1525) by Pietro da VelateVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

The history and attribution of these panels were made difficult as a result of heavy restoration work in the 19th century, probably by Felice Dell’Acqua, who played around with the glass tiles, creating a patchwork effect.

It is possible to see the contributions of two of the great masters fairly clearly: one indicating the school of Leonardo identifiable as Pietro da Velate, and the other of German influence discernable as Corrado de Mochis.

The first panel is among the oldest of the group as can be seen from the many pieces of drapery that can be dated to the early 16th century and from the heads of the two angels.

A lot of reworking has been carried out on the grisaille, which make the perception of the panel more cumbersome. In the course of recent restoration, the lead sutures on the head of the angel situated at the bottom has been removed, and the legibility of the grisaille in particular has been improved.

It is possible to recognize the hand of a master from Leonardo School, dating back to the late 15th century, Pietro da Velate, even though various attributions have been suggested over the years, including Biagio Arcimboldi or Jacopino de Mottis.

Angels (1515-1525 e anni quaranta-cinquanta del XVI secolo) by Pietro da VelateVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

The second panels representing Angels appears weighed down by the many incongruous tiles, above all fragments of wings and drapery (a bust of an angel, in red, is found overturned on the right of the upper angel).

However, it is possible to recognize a head from the early 16th century (clearly coming from a different painting) which can be attributed to Pietro da Velate (the one from the angel at the bottom) and there are a lot of areas that appear to be of German origin of a slightly later date.

Strong "typological similarities" can be inferred "with the figures of the panels of the glass window of the New Testament carried out by Currado de Mochis and his assistants Giovanni de Croxis and Alessandro di Anversa on Dürer's paintings." (Pirina, 1999).

Angels (1515-1525 e anni quaranta-cinquanta del XVI secolo) by Pietro da VelateVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

In the third panel of the group, as well, there are numerous incongruous parts, particularly at the top on the right and the left, remounted on the door.

The head belongs to the early 16th century—with the exception of the curious cap, probably a detail of a sleeve that can be dated much later— ...

... the drapery and the angel's upper wing located at the top and part of the clothing, the feet, and some pieces of the wing that is situated at the bottom, attributed to Pietro da Velate.

The face of the angel at the bottom is, however, attributed to the German master Corrado de Mochis who is identified as being responsible for parts of the angels and the panels with the stories referring to after Christ's death.

Angels (anni quaranta-cinquanta del XVI secolo) by Corrado de MochisVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

The last of the four panels has been the least tampered with, however at the top left and on the sides, there are incongruous fragments and the grisaille has been renewed.

The design and execution are probably also by Corrado de Mochis.

Read more on Milan Cathedral Remixed.

Credits: Story

For further information: see "Milano. Museo e Tesoro del Duomo", catalogo generale, Silvana Editoriale, 2017.

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