The National Museum of Art of Romania
Bramantino - Pietà
Artwork description
Bartolomeo Suardi
(Bergamo, c. 1465 – Milan, 1530)
Italian school
Oil on wood
102 x 80 cm
Inv. 7988/22
Artwork location
European Art Gallery, 1st floor, room 1

Bramantino painted this altar piece sometime around 1512-1515, at the height of his career. The scene is set just outside the walls of city whose buildings are clearly visible. This is perhaps one of the most beautiful and comprehensive cityscape ever imagined by Bramantino. The artist seems to imply the ideal city is a most befitting backdrop for the Pietà, suggestive of the Redeemer’s incorruptible perfection.

Note the surreal, otherwordly quality of the painting in which Christ’s Lamentation and the architectural vista share the picture plane in almost equal proportions.

It was approximately at the same time that Lady Despina, wife of Wallachian ruler Neagoe Basarab, ordered a small icon representing the Descent from the Cross, a theme close to the Lamentation. Though different in both scale and approach, both paintings are highly original and prompt us to pause to understand the manner in which Western Catholic and Eastern Orthodox artists visually illustrate contemporary ideas.

 

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