Sunday, 9 June 2013


“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” - Maya Angelou

Vincenzo Foppa (1430 – 1515) was a Renaissance painter from Northern Italy; an elderly contemporary of Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519). He was born at Bagnolo Mella, near Brescia in the Republic of Venice. He settled in Pavia around 1456, serving the dukes of Milan and emerging as one of the most prominent Lombardy painters, eventually returning to Brescia in 1489.

His style shows affinities to Andrea del Castagno (1421 – 1457) and Carlo Crivelli (1435 – 1495). Giorgio Vasari (1511 – 1574) claimed Foppa had trained in Padua, where he may have been strongly influenced by Andrea Mantegna (1431 – 1506), who was an innovative perspectivist painter. During his lifetime, Foppa was highly acclaimed, especially for his skill in perspective and foreshortening. His important works include a fresco in the Brera Gallery of Milan, the Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, and a Crucifixion (1435) in the Accademia Carrara of Bergamo. Many of his works have been lost. In addition to major fresco cycles and altarpieces, he also painted touching images of the Madonna and Child for private devotion.

Foppa was influential in the styles of Vincenzo Civerchio (1470 – 1544) and Girolamo Romanino (1484 – 1562). His work now in the Uffizi Gallery, Madonna and Child with an Angel, has been said to reveal the artist’s “complex cultural personality” (Kren and Marx, Web Gallery of Art). It shows an influence from Northern European painting, specifically Flemish, additional to his Italian traditions.

“The Young Cicero Reading” of about 1464 is a delightful work of Foppa’s, showing the Roman philosopher as child reading (rather anachronistically) a book. It is the only surviving fresco from the Banco Mediceo, Milan. In 1455 Francesco Sforza gave the Palazzo to Cosimo de’Medici, who had it lavishly restyled. Foppa, the leading Lombard master of the quattrocento period, was commissioned to fresco the courtyard. The “Young Cicero Reading” may have been intended to accompany the Virtues as an emblem of Rhetoric, one of the Liberal Arts. Set in the open courtyard for four hundred years, the fresco was removed, c.1863, framed and extensively retouched, which explains some of the compositional inconsistencies which are now apparent. It is now exhibited in the Wallace Collection in London.

No comments:

Post a Comment