Stories from the New Testament

Stained-glass window V05

Stories from the New Testament (last quarter of the 15th century-first half of the 16th century) by Niccolò da Varallo, Antonio da Pandino, Cristoforo De Mottis, Agostino De Mottis, Vincenzo Foppa, Pietro da VelateVeneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano

A sublime example of Milanese glass art from the second half of the 15th century, the stained-glass window V05 illustrates episodes from the New Testament, depicting events from the life of Jesus Christ.

The artwork is located along the southern side of Milan Cathedral and brings together panels that were formerly part of the great absidal stained-glass window dedicated to New Testament stories, number V19.

The change of position took place during the 1830, the panels were made by Giovanni Battista Bertini and sons workshop.

Vincenzo Foppa is identified as the creator of the cartoons, while Cristoforo and Agostino de Mottis likely took care of the manufacture.

The upper part of the stained-glass window is attributable to Corrado de Mochis, on cartoons by Pietro da Velate and by an as-yet unidentified master, possibly foreign.

The window—as admired today—consists of 33 sections and, by means of a varied narrative style, depicts episodes central to the life of Christ, as told within the Gospels.

The Gospel story

The panels reflect the cultural climate of the Sforza period. The bright and balanced coloring fulfills an educational function, with surprising expressivity within the figures. The stained-glass window is made up of a collection of luminous sections, which create a great visual impact.

The story unfolds from bottom to top, left to right, key moments from the life of the Messiah are to be found: the stained-glass window opens with the Annunciation and the Visitation.

The archangel Gabriel visits Mary and announces her the birth of Christ: "He will be great and will be called the Son of the most High." (Luke 1:32)

The Virgin Mary expresses astonishment and anxiety through her gestures…

Following is a section depicting the birth of Jesus…

Angels accompany the Holy Family during the flight to Egypt to escape danger: Herod wants to have all male children under two years of age killed…

Among other entirely recognisable episodes, we find Baptism of Jesus, Jesus on Mount Tabor, and Jesus Heals the Paralysed Man, which are considered to have been created using images by Vincenzo Foppa.

In the upper register, the brilliant greens of the trees behind Jesus, depicted on Lake Tiberias, are striking...

… followed by Christ's encounter with the adulteress.

Follows The Resurrection of Lazarus and the diptych displaying the Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem contain some 19th-century renovations.

The episode of The washing of the feet is depicted within the upper part, originally divided in two sections, one of which is currently kept at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Representations of other episodes, such as Jesus Drives the Merchants out of the Temple, also have great narrative effect, as does The Judas Kiss, within which the style of another artist—Pietro da Velate—is evident.

The apostle Peter, bowed and suffering, takes up a more theatrical pose, as do the figures surrounding him.

The diptych dedicated to The Last Supper is presented in a style that is very close to the sections dedicated to the Washing of the Feet, namely a distinctly late Gothic style.

Moving on from the representation of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and Mocking of Jesus, the Crucifixion opens up, with the despair of the pious women, the pain of the Magdalene, and the savagery of the soldiers.

Above all, Jesus on the Cross: the Messiah is flanked by panels of the Good thief and the Bad thief, a 19th-century work by the Bertini studio. The two originals antelli are currently kept within the Duomo Museum.

Trilobed terminations close off the upper part of the stained-glass window, with a yellow Sun...

... God the Father and the Moon.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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