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Il ciclo dei temi macabri a Clusone: problemi critici e iconografici

Valerio Terraroli
Arte Lombarda
nuova serie, No. 90/91 (3-4) (1989), pp. 15-41
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43132046
Page Count: 27
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Il ciclo dei temi macabri a Clusone: problemi critici e iconografici
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Abstract

The cycle on the external facade of the Oratorio dei Disciplini Bianchi in elusone (Bergamo) represents a singular case in Lombard artistic production in the second half of the Quattrocento because of attributional questions and its iconographical complexity. The themes are strictly «macabre», and the three traditional subjects, The Meeting of the Living and the Dead, The Triumph of Death and Dance of Death, are arranged in three superimposed registers. They appear to be connected to the theme of the Sins and miraculous images of the Virgin. The cycle is dated to 1485 according to an inscription in the Triumph of Death. The author, traditionally recognized as Giacomo Borione of Albegno who executed the pictorial cycles on the interior of the Oratorio, is identified as an artist — perhaps not Lombard — familiar with the methods of Mantegnesque/Ferrarese painting and French and German engraving. A series of documentary and stylistic comparisons as well as the iconographical choices and solutions to compositional problems employed make this clear. Then, the evolution of the three macabre themes is traced. Special attention is given to the specifically Italian one, the Triumph of Death, which was connected, on the one hand, to the revival of the concept of the classical triumph and Petrarchan poetry and, on the other, to carnival floats and sacred representations. Finally, two recently discovered, unpublished pictorial cycles are presented: a Dance of Death in the Church of St. Sylvester in Iseo (Brescia) and Death Triumphant in the monastery of Polirone in San Benedetto Po (Mantua). They confirm the diffusion of French (Guyont Marchand) and Mantegnesque (Zoan Andrea from Mantua) engravings around 1480-1490.

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