Antelami and his times

In this section, the first after the Late Antiquity, are brought together stone fragments from the Po river valley area, sculpted in the XII and XIII centuries, amongst which shine the reliefs created in 1178 by Benedetto Antelami for the now dismantled Pulpit of Parma Cathedral.

The three surviving capitals, true masterpieces of Italian Gothic art, show evident references to contemporary sculpture from Northern France purified through punctual citations from the antique, recognisable in the illusionistic treatment of the forms and the classical canons used for the human figure and clothing.

Another document of great interest is the XIII century capital from the now destroyed Santa Maria of Monte Oliveto: it bears the inscription “Ubertius Ferlendi me fecit”, of witness to the precocious management of modern art in the West. The work is therefore no longer an anonymous manifestation of the divine but a symbol of the creative capacity of the humans (in this case probably the creative mind of the commissioning agent and not yet the artist).

The ancient wooden door of St Bertoldo, which can also be seen here, comes from the destroyed Convent of Sant’Alessandro which used to be on the site of the Teatro Regio. The precious decoration of leaves and branches inhabited by fantastical animals riassumes the characteristics of the Romanesque universe where classical themes are crossed with ideas coming from bestiaries of central Asia.

Photo credits
Giovanni Hänninen