Intended for private devotion, the so-called "anconette" were created during the 14th century and spread widely in the 15th century, adapting the figurative language to the growing needs of expressiveness, naturalistic mimicry, emotional verisimilitude required by modern society and culture.

Virgin with Child and young St. John by 15th-century artistCollezione Fondazione Cariparma

The gold background of the primitives gives way to the landscape, to the view of the city, with the waterways that accompany the eye towards the background.

Virgin with Child and young St. John by Tucci Biagio d'AntonioCollezione Fondazione Cariparma

Sweet gestures are intertwined with loving gazes, revealing an atmosphere of gentle intimacy responding to the religious sentiment cultivated at the time also in the home.

In the background a hilly landscape stands out against the clear sky; in the rarefied atmosphere one can distinguish turreted architectures, a couple of wayfarers and the figure of San Francesco receiving the stigmata.

Nativity (1510/1511) by Ludovico MazzolinoCollezione Fondazione Cariparma

Mazzolino was appreciated for his devotional paintings, of small size and marked originality, sometimes extravagant, for his personal interpretation of nature, typical of coeval Ferrara painters.

Almost hidden in the background landscape, with miniaturist finesse, he paints autonomous sketches: the torture of Saint Catherine of Alexandria.

and of Saint Peter Martyr

while Saint Catherine of Siena is receiving the stigmata.

Virgin with Child, St. Joseph, young St. John and St. Elizabeth by School of Benvenuto Tisi alias GarofaloCollezione Fondazione Cariparma

In the painters' workshops it happened that the master's prototypes were replicated by the students and placed on the market. Copying was the best way to acquire the "hand" of the master, the modern know-how.

VIrgin with CHild and three saints by Girolamo da SantacroceCollezione Fondazione Cariparma

The sacred conversation is immersed in a sunny landscape against the backdrop of a lively port city that recalls Venetian painting often evoked by Girolamo da Santacroce.

The saints are lavishly dressed and styled according to women's fashion of the mid-16th century. The choice, certainly responding to the needs of the client, to represent all female figures is peculiar.

Christ carrying the cros between St. Jerome and a Franciscan saint by Prospero FontanaCollezione Fondazione Cariparma

Prospero Fontana's production ranges from myth to literature, from science to collecting and sacred art. The painting is characterized by intertwining glances and gestures between the characters,

represented with a plastic and vigorous physiognomy. There are references to Parmigianino in the figure of Saint Jerome and in the definition of the expression of the faces.

Conversion of St. Matthew (1625/1635) by Giovanni Gaspare LanfrancoCollezione Fondazione Cariparma

Very enigmatic is the canvas by Giovanni Lanfranco which represents the vocation of St. Matthew in a group portrait.

Probably a portrait of a family of bankers, Lanfranco stages a sort of sacred representation perhaps with exorcising intentions on the part of the clients.

St. Peter martyr by Andrea Bartolo Senese (Siena, 14th - 15th century)Collezione Fondazione Cariparma

The Dominican clothes, the book, the palm of martyrdom and the blood that drips from the head identify St. Peter Martyr, opponent of heresies, who in the 13th century was assassinated by followers of Catharism.

You can see the impalpable rectangles of gold leaf that the painter applied to the background specially prepared to make it adhere and the signs of the metal punches used to decorate the halo frames are evident.

Saint Louis of Toulouse by Cristoforo Caselli alias Temperello (Parma, 1461 - 1521)Collezione Fondazione Cariparma

Saint Louis of Toulouse belonged to the blessed lineage of the Angiò: the crown at his feet alludes as a sign of the renunciation of the throne of Naples to enter the Franciscan order.

His iconography shows a very young saint, in consideration of his early death at the age of only twenty-three. He holds the crosier in his hand and wears the bishop's miter embellished with stones and pearls on his head.

Equally sumptuous is the cope, which stands out for its volume, forming large surfaces of enameled color on which figures of saints stand out: among them we recognize Paul and Peter, decorating the edge of the sacred vestment.

Credits: Story

Text by Fondazione Cariparma and Artificio Società Cooperativa

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