San Zeno Altarpiece.The lateral compartments



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San Zeno Altarpiece.The lateral compartments

Andrea Mantegna  >  San Zeno Altarpiece

In San Zeno Altarpiece, Andrea Mantegna inserts eight patron saints from Verona, almost all portrayed as reading or holding a book, a clear reference to the importance of intellectual life under the Benedictine concepts. 

Left Compartment

The saints portrayed on the left compartment are, from left to right: Peter, Paul, John the Evangelist, and the patron Zeno, to whom the opera is dedicated. Zeno is in an important position: he is to the right of the Madonna and he wears bishop’s clothes. He can be recognized even if he is portrayed without a fish, his traditional attribute. The scholars have not yet been able to identify to which subject the three medallions, seen on the top of the pillars, refer to. 


Right Compartment 

In the right compartment, again starting from the left, the first figure besides the Madonna is Saint Benedict, very similar to the one that Mantegna had already painted in the San Luca Polyptych. Then follow saints Lawrence, Gregory and John the Baptist, and for them the artist seems to keep the traditional attributes with which they are known. Also in this panel, the medallions are difficult to interpret: two figures unidentified can be seen on the medallion on the back pillar; two others on the one behind Saint Lawrence. In the last one however, we can recognise a scene of the “Tritone con ninfa”.
It refers to the classical images of the marine divinity and which Mantegna will re-take in the painted decoration of the Gonzaga Castel, near Mantova.

A. Cocchi

Trad.: A. Sturmer


 

Bibliography

Lionello Puppi Cianfrusaglie reperti e un talent scout in: Il Romanzo della pittura. Masaccio e Piero. Supplemento al n° 29 de "la Repubblica" del 2.11.1988
Claudia Cleri Via Mantegna. Art eDossier n.55. Giunti, Firenze. 1991
La Nuova Enciclopedia dell'Arte Garzanti.
AA.VV. Moduli di Arte. Dal Rinascimento maturo al rococò. Electa-Bruno Mondadori, Roma 2000
A. Blunt Le teorie artistiche in Italia dal Rinascimento al Manierismo. Piccola Biblioteca Einaudi, Giulio Einaudi Editore, Torino 1966
G. Cricco, F. Di Teodoro, Itinerario nell’arte, vol. 2, Zanichelli Bologna 2004
G. Dorfles, S. Buganza, J. Stoppa Storia dell'arte. Vol II Dal Quattrocento al Settecento. Istituto Italiano Edizioni Atlas, Bergamo 2008


 

 

Tags:Alessandra Cocchi, A. Sturmer, altarpiece, St. Zeno, renaissance, painting.

Stile:Quattrocento.

Per saperne di più sulla città di: Verona

 



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