Master of the Stockholm Pietà
- Master of the Stockholm Pietà
- Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine with the Infant Saint John the Baptist and angels
- oil on canvas
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While his corpus does indeed derive from Sodoma’s youthful work, the artist does not appear to conform to typical Italian Renaissance models, and his figures are liberated from the constraints of conventional form. His acute attention to small details, such as the fine highlighting of the Madonna’s hair, or the jewels in Saint Catherine’s headpiece here, betray the distinctly northern foundation of his painting style.2 The pronounced muscularity of the Infant Saint John is more typical of northern models. Rather than soft, rounded limbs expected of Italian Renaissance infants, here the muscles of Saint John’s legs are like those of a miniature adult. A similar treatment can be found in Christ Child in the London Holy Family. Zeri proposed that the Master of the Stockholm Pietà was of northern origin working in Lombardy, but eschewed the popular innovations of Raphael, Michelangelo and Fra Bartolomeo, in favor the “Germanising movements.”3 It is no coincidence that the painter’s Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John and two Saints (formerly on the art market in Rome) was previously attributed to both Sodoma and Rosso Fiorentino due to the anti-classical approach and the idiosyncratic manner of execution.4 The artist's figure types are evidently inspired by Leonardo's Milanese models, and the existence of paintings by the Master of the Stockholm Pietà hailing from prominent collections in that city, such as those of Cesare Monti, Manfredo Settala, and Giovan Battista Visconti, strongly suggest that the artist may have been present there.5
We are grateful to Prof. Francesco Frangi for suggesting an attribution of this lot to the Master of the Stockholm Pietà. Frangi will include the painting in a forthcoming publication.
1. F. Zeri, “The Master of the Stockholm Pietà”, in Burlington Magazine, XCII, 565, 1950, pp. 110-111.
2. Ibid. p. 111.
5. F. Frangi, in Pinacoteca Ambrosiana. Dipinti dalla metà del Cinquecento alla metà del Seicento, Milan 2006, pp. 238-241, n. 298-299.