ANDREA MELDOLLA, CALLED SCHIAVONE
Zara circa 1510 - 1563 Dalmatia
oil on canvas
47 by 57⅞ in.; 119.4 by 147 cm.
Franco Steffanoni, Bergamo;
Private collection, Bergamo.
F.L. Richardson, Andrea Schiavone, Oxford 1980, pp. 66, 155, cat. no. 250, reproduced fig. 198;
G.A. Dell'Acqua, "Il Manierismo a Venezia," in Arte Veneta, XXXV, 1981, p. 294;
R. Pallucchini, Da Tiziano a El Greco: per la storia del Manierismo a Venezia, exhibition catalogue, Milan 1981, p. 136, cat. no. 34, reproduced;
G.B. Tiozzo, "Un inedito Gesù dinanzi a Pilato dello Schiavone,'" in Notizie da Palazzo Albani, XII, 1983, p. 160, note 2;
E. Rama, in La pittura in Italia. Il Cinquecento, Milan 1988, vol. II, p. 768;
A. Romani, "Pariegesi aretine. Testi, schede e note biografiche intorno a pietro Aretino," in Quaderni di Filologia e Critica, IX, Roma 1991, p. 179, note 100;
L. Bartolotti, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, Rome 2009, vol. LXXIII, p. 270;
L. Puppi, "Andrea Schiavone nella bottega di Tiziano: in margine ad un ineditto 'Ecce Homo,'" in Cuadernos de arte de la Universidad de Granada, XL, 2009, p. 49, note 41;
L. Puppi, in Tiziano, Bordon e gli Acquaviva d'Aragona. Pittori veneziani in Puglia e fuoriusciti napoletani in Francia, exhibition catalogue, Foggia 2012, p. 284;
E.M. Dal Pozzolo, in Splendori del Rinascimento a Venezia: Schiavone, Tra Parmigianino, Tintoretto e Tiziano, exhibition catalogue, Venice 2015, pp. 375-376, cat. no. XII.3, reproduced.
Venice, Palazzo Ducale, Da Tiziano a El Greco: per la storia del Manierismo a Venezia, 1540-1590, September - December 1981, no. 34;
Venice, Museo Correr, Splendori del Rinascimento a Venezia: Schiavone, Tra Parmigianino, Tintoretto e Tiziano, 28 November 2015 - 10 April 2016, no. XII.3.
Andrea Schiavone, an immigrant to Venice from Dalmatia, was trained in the studio of Bonifazio Veronese, He was a highly versatile artist, and in addition to small mythological scenes and portraits, he also specialized in large-scale history and religious works, of which the present canvas is exemplary. Likely dating to circa 1558-1560, this dramatic and richly colored Ecce Homo is a mature painting by the artist who seems here to have loosely drawn stylistic inspiration from Titian's monumental 1543 canvas of the same subject in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna inv. no. 73). In composition, it also compares closely to the artist's articulations of a similar theme, Christ before Pilate, which is known in no less than three versions.1
According to old inventories and records, Schiavone explored the subject of Ecce Homo on a few occasions. It seems plausible that the present painting may be the one recorded by Ridolfi in the collection of Cristoforo Orobono: "An Ecco Homo held by a chord by a soldier with other people around, depicted before Pilate with much piety, not only very controlled in form, but of very strong palette and of varied composition, in truth amongst the most marvelous things seen by me by Andrea."2 While this description seems to illustrate this canvas almost exactly, the number of lost versions of this subject hinders certainty.
1. These versions are recorded in the Royal Collection at Hampton Court Palace (canvas, 80 by 125 cm), the National Museum of Stockholm (canvas, 126 by 194 cm), and the Accademia in Venice (canvas, 104 by 170 cm). Richardson 1980, respectively cat. nos. 260, 288, 291, all reproduced.
2. As translated "un Ecce Homo, tenuto con fune da un soldato con altri intorno, rappresentato con molta pietà dinanzi a Pilato, regolatissimo non pure nella forma, ma di fortissimo colorito e di varia inventione, fra le cose da me vedute in vero delle mirabili d'Andrea." C. Ridolfi, La Maraviglie dell'arte ovvero le vite degli illustri pittori veneti e dello stato, revised edition, vol. I, Padua 1835, p. 335