Art in Parma 1300 – 1400

Between the XV and XVI centuries the artists who came to prominence in Parma, while responding to the requests of either a religious client or the ‘gothic’ society still linked to courtly culture, began to look towards Milan, Venice and Bologna seeking new stimuli and updating. A significant example is the Parma painter Jacopo Loschi who, in his Madonna and Child on the throne and the God the Father giving a Blessing, signed and dated 1471, depicts the Throne creating a metaphysical space where the figures are embellished with precious drapery in the late gothic taste: a refined composition illustrating contact with Lombard, Venetian and Bolognese painting.

Even the anonymous master working in the fortress of Roccabianca looks to Lombardy, bearing witness to the wish of the nobility to act as patrons of the arts. It is, however, only with the successive generation that Humanism would really establish itself in the city: clear references to Bellini emerge also in the paintings of Filippo Mazzola, father of Parmigianino, where Venetian citations can be found revisited in the light of the complex Cremonese culture favoured by his master, Francesco Tacconi.

Similarly, in the great altarpiece of Cristoforo Caselli of 1499 painted for a Cathedral chapel, the chromatic splendour, the refinement of the clothes and ornamentation, the quantity of gold and the clarity of the design are all part of a repertory of elements learned directly during his stay in Venice from 1489 to 1495. The painting of Alessandro Araldi is more eclectic as he mixes experiences from Bologna, Tuscany and Umbria.

Josaphat Araldi, an artist of rare quality, paints San Sebastiano enveloped in drapery, re-evocating an approach towards perspective and a naturalistic vision which in the background seascape already acknowledges Nordic painting.

Photo credits
Giovanni Hänninen

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