Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Room XIII - Sienese Painters and Leonardo

Vault: “God says to Abraham he will be the father of a multitude of nations” about 1612 by Antonio Viviani aka il Sordo
“The Three Fates” about 1545 Marco Bigio
“An ancient description allows to attribute the mysterious painting, long considered a work of Sodoma, to the Sienese painter Marco Bigio. The work depicts the three Fates busily spinning the destiny of men, accompanied by a large group of allegorical characters. On the right, Clotho, who presides at birth, place the thread from the spindle; on the left Lachesis spins the thread turned red to signify the physical love of maturity, which is also alluded by the young black woman with four breasts, symbol of fertility. Atropos the Fate in the center, cuts the thread of life decreeing the time of death. In the background one can see the tree of Adam and Eve, another dead tree with a bird of prey perched, and a skeleton with a scythe, the symbol of vanitas. The old man with the hourglass, Allegory of Time, holds in the fold of his dress medals with names of historical figures, such as those on the ground, over which two little boys are squabbling. The three different metals - gold, silver and bronze - allude to the different value of characters: the birds that populate the scene will pick up from the river Lethe, represented in the background, only the coins with the names of men worthy of immortal fame, and not those with the names of those who fall into oblivion” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Rape of the Sabine Women” about 1507 and “Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine of Alexandria” about 1540 by Giovanni Antonio Bazzi aka Sodoma (1477/1549) from Vercelli but active in Siena
“Uncertain and discussed is the origin of the nickname 'Sodoma' that appears in documents from 1512 and with which Bazzi himself signed several times. It seems however out of the question that it would have referred to the artist's sexual preferences. Although of imaginative temperament, bizarre and unconventional, he lead a life morally irreproachable, he enjoyed the esteem and friendship of the most remarkable personalities of his time and was appointed by Pope Leo X with the title of 'Knight of Christ'. The nickname (...) was probably a pseudonym that (...) seems to derive from a humorous misunderstanding in the Tuscan dialect of his accent from Piedmont ('su'nduma!' = Come, let's go!)” (Enzo Carli - Biographical Dictionary of Italian Treccani)
“Madonna and Child with St. John” about 1530 by Domenico Beccafumi (1486/1551)
“Extraordinary brightness of contrasts in a continuous vibration of light and shadow, as Sanminiatelli expressed, seeing in the work the most restless interpretation of the expressive hermetic characteristics of Leonardo” (Lorenza Mochi Onori)
“Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine” about 1520 by Girolamo Genga (1476/1551)
“St. Catherine of Alexandria” about 1540 by Callisto Piazza da Lodi (1500/61)
“Madonna and Child with Sts. Elizabeth and John” by Martino Piazza da Lodi (about 1475/1530) artist who was in charge, together with his brother Callisto, of an important workshop in Lodi
“Madonna and Child with Sts. Nicholas and Catherine of Alexandria” by Bartolomeo Neroni aka Riccio (about 1500/71) in style similar to that of Sodoma

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