Art in Lombardy 1400-1500

On the cusp of the XIV and XV century within the provincial area of Parma there were numerous cultural exchanges and ‘contaminations’ between Lombardy and the religious patrons commissioning art works.

This can be seen in the two sculptured slabs in Carrara marble attributed to Giovanni Antonio Amadeo with scenes from the Old and New Testament created for the side altars of the Church of Santa Maria de Schola Dei, the Charterhouse of Parma. The extraordinary working of the marble, which seems to have been moulded as though it were wax with pleating, folding and delicate excavation, is typical of Lombard sculpture at the end of the ‘400.

Significant parallels with both Lombard painting and jewellery from the last decade of the XV century can be seen in the small, elegant gold altarpiece inscribed on a glass tablet with the Madonna in adoration, Saints Francesco and Chiara. The work was possibly commissioned by the Pallavicino family as their coat of arms supported by two angels can be seen at the centre of the lunette. The small ‘tondo’ or round painting by Bernardo Butinone showing a saint with a book comes instead from the Sanvitale collection. Together with two others both with figures of apostles, preserved in the Longhi Foundation in Florence, were probably part of a predella or frame.

From the beginning of the ‘500 comes the religious painting by Bernardo Zenale and his studio: together with Butinone, these artists are two of the most significant exponents of Lombard painting from the early Renaissance.