This graceful figure of a female saint exhibits the characteristics of Lombard sculpture from the second half of the 15th century. The drapery in the ‘cartaceous’ style, which is reminiscent of crumpled paper, is distinctive of this period in Northern Italian Renaissance sculpture, and is particularly associated with Antonio Mantegazza (d. 1495) who, along with his brother, Cristoforo (d. circa 1481), collaborated with Amadeo (circa 1447-1522) on the sculptural scheme for the Certosa di Pavia. Observe the mantle which flows from the clasp at the chest down to the hips and envelops the legs in a storm of card-like folds, through which a subtle contrapposto
emerges as the left knee projects forward. This drapery scheme, together with the pose, finds a strong parallel in the Apostles
from the facade of the Certosa di Pavia (see those illustrated by Fadda, op. cit.
, figs. 94-95, 97). Note also the similar thin feet, splayed apart, with raised heels. It has long been held that Amadeo adopted the ‘cartaceous’ style following his interactions with the Mantegazza brothers. However, the style was also employed by another of his collaborators, with whom he worked more closely, Giovanni Antonio Piatti (fl. 1473-1479/80). In the present marble, the execution of the chemise underneath the mantle, belted at the chest, with tight striated folds, bunched above the belt, is very close to the Annunciata
from the Fondazione Cavallini Sgarbi, published by Sgarbi as by Piatti or Antonio Mantegazza (op. cit.
, pp. 160-161). The large scale of the present figure, combined with the dynamic pose and active drapery, ensures an extraordinary sense of presence. The head, however, whilst finely carved, is probably a replacement (a fracture is visible at the neck), and compares with that of the Angel of the Annunciation by Alceo Dossena (1878-1936) in the collections of the University of Pittsburg (inv. no. 2016.2.2).
E. Fadda, 'Ancora sui Mantegazza', Nuovi studi: rivista di arte antica e moderna, vol. ii, 1997, pp. 63-77; V. Sgarbi, La scultura al tempo di Andrea Mantegna tra classicismo e naturalismo, Milan, 2006, pp. 160-161