Gaudenzio Ferrari - Vercelli - 1528 To 1536
( Originally Published 1908 )
EARLY in 1528 Gaudenzio went to live at Vercelli. He was probably led by both family and business reasons to make this move. He had recently married again, and it is possible he preferred to start his new menage in another town, and one where he had many friends and where he expected to find fresh work for his brush, and in this he was not disappointed. On October 13 of that year he signed a contract with the noble Lady Dorothea, widow of Renier Avogadro de Valdengo, to paint an ancona for the fourth chapel in the Church of the Holy Trinity at Vercelli. This church was destroyed in later years, and the ancona has disappeared ; but we learn from the contract that the subjects chosen were the Nativity and various saints, viz., St. Roch, St. Sebastian, St. Anthony, and St. Christopher, saints who were specially invoked against the plague. The ancona was to be decorated and gilded in a similar manner to one that Gaudenzio had executed for the Church of Sant' Eusebio, and he was to receive 36 écus d'or for it.
The next year saw the beginning of his work for the Church of St. Christopher at Vercelli, which, taken as a whole, undoubtedly ranks as the greatest creation of his brush. This church belonged to the Order of the Umiliati, and had been for some time under the control of the Corradi family, Counts of Lignana and patricians of Vercelli, on the condition that the Provost appointed by that family took the habit and professed the rules of the Order. The church had been recently rebuilt during the administration of the Provost Nicolino Corradi, who, however, died before it was finished. Leo X., on May 4, 1519, continued the rights to the family in favour of a certain Andrea Corradi. Andrea was only eight years old at the time, and during his minority his father, Giovanni Angelo Corradi, as guardian of his son, administered the affairs of the Order and finished the church. Shortly before his son came of age he entered into negotiations with Gaudenzio for the decoration of the church. In a contract signed on June 27, 1529, Gaudenzio not only undertook to paint an altar-piece for the high-altar, with its shell or casing, but also to paint the vaulting above in fresco.* Gaudenzio was to receive in payment the sum of 150 gold écus and three sacks of corn. On July 3, 1529, we find that he gave the contract for the frame to a certain Maestro Nicolo di Vaillate, a Milanese carpenter who 'was then living at Vercelli. He was to make it after a design given by Gaudenzio, to finish it in six months, and to receive 35 écus in payment. Both picture and frame were ready and in place by the beginning of 1530. Alterations and changes were made on the high-altar in later days when a different taste prevailed. Gaudenzio's altar-piece, shorn of its carved frame, is now in the choir, where it was placed about 1623.
It is interesting to note how far the movement of the day had carried Gaudenzio along the new paths of artistic expression. Up to a certain period he was distinctly a reactionary, and only his great gift for movement and action distinguishes him from the old Milanese School. We have followed his gradual evolution, and, as we have just seen in the Como "Flight into Egypt,"* a new and a powerful influence had come into his life. In the picture we are now studying the impression of Correggio's peculiar qualities is as strongly shown, only, being in oil on wood, Gaudenzio's rich colouring is better preserved. The scheme of light and shade is distinctly Correggio's-namely, a dark background, and a sort of searchlight turned on to the group from the front. The lively colouring is subdued by the shadows which are thus strongly emphasized.
The picture represents the Madonna and Child seated on a bank and surrounded by saints. To the left are St. John the Baptist, and St. Christopher carrying another Child-Christ on his shoulder, while to the right we have San Nicolo di Bari and the Blessed Orico, founder of the order, whose bones lie under the high-altar. In the corner kneels a figure in the robes of the Order, which probably represents the young Provost Andrea. In the background is an orange-tree covered with fruit, which gives the popular name to the picture, which is known as " La Madonna delle Arangi." " Putti " are playing about the branches, two of whom are eagerly studying a scroll, and others are holding back a curtain. This in itself is not a new motive in Gaudenzio's compositions, but these particular curtains, both in colour, proportions, and folds, recall Raphael's " Madonna di San Sisto," which was at that time at Piacenza. Two little fellows in the foreground are making music. There is a spontaneity and freedom in the action of these "putti" which gives them a lightness and a vivacity that go far to palliate their too clumsy build. The type of child which Gaudenzio painted under the influence of Luini has given place to a less refined type, and we shall see these rotund little people, with rolls of flesh instead of firmly modelled limbs, appear constantly in the works of his last years.
We have no documents relative to the frescoes representing scenes from the life of St. Mary Magdalen, and the fine " Crucifixion " over the altar of this chapel, but we know they were finished by November, 1532. On December 2, 1530, Gaudenzio signed a contract to paint an ancona for the Church of St. Mark at Vercelli, which was to be ready in six months,* and towards the end of 1531 he began negotiations for an ancona for the Duomo at Casale, which was partly executed during the first half of 1532. It must therefore have been during the year 1530, the autumn of 1531, and the autumn of 1532, that the frescoes in this chapel were painted.
They have suffered much injury in the course of years, and more than once were threatened with destruction. When the Spaniards assaulted Vercelli in 1638, a cannon-ball broke the wall* and partly destroyed three of the scenes depicted. Later on a project to pull down the church, as it interfered with the fortifications of the town, was decided upon, but the Frati appealed to the Cardinal Maurice of Savoy to intercede, and the church and all it contained were saved. But, in spite of retouching and damp, what remains of the frescoes is sufficient to show that Gaudenzio maintained a very high standard throughout. His large decisive brush is handled with a masterly dexterity. Life and vivacity are never lacking, but he shows more restraint than is usual in the composition, while the individual figures are superbly painted.
Gaudenzio depicted on the wall four scenes from the life of the Magdalen. They are in two rows, and represent the following subjects :
1. The Magdalen listening to Christ preaching in the Temple.
2. Christ at the house of Simon the Pharisee, and the Magdalen at His feet.
3. The Magdalen at Marseilles.
4. The Magdalen being carried to heaven by angels.
Above, in the centre, is a sibyl holding a scroll, and below is an angel holding up a cartouche, on which is a long inscription in Italian describing the above subjects.
Below is a tablet with the following inscription in Latin :
JO: ANGELUS EX CORRADIS LIGNANE
PR. ANDREÆ PREPOSITI ET
NICOLAI HUJUS TEM[PLI
CONDITORIS PRONEPOS SACELLUM
HOC DIVE M. MAGDALENE
The two upper frescoes are half destroyed, but we have some idea of the composition from two small penand-ink drawings which are now in the collection of the Avocat Borgogna at Vercelli, and which were done previous to the bombardment in 1638. We find that in the second scene there were two windows in the background, through which we see the Magdalen going to visit the tomb of Christ.
But the best-preserved and, I think, one of the most interesting frescoes Gaudenzio ever painted is No. 3. Like so many compositions of the period, we have several episodes in the same fresco. In the foreground is a fine group of figures, splendidly painted, while in the background fact and fancy are charmingly blended, and in the little scenes depicted the painter tells the story with his usual vivaciousness. In one place we see the Magdalen, with her little band, welcoming the Prince of Marseilles on his return from his pilgrimage, with the news of his son's restoration to life ; in another she is preaching from the steps of the Temple to Diana; while further on the accident to the young man is taking place. Beyond and behind stretches a fanciful landscape, towns and temples, water and mountains, and castles on crags, a fairy world of romance. We have a good example of the value of tones in the way the gray sheen of the water shows up the little group at the landing-stage, and the effort of the boatmen pushing the boat off is clearly defined.
The two figures kneeling in the foreground are obviously portraits of Vercelli patricians, probably members of the Corradi family. The old-gold-coloured mantle lined with white fur, and the auburn hair and beard of the man, make a rich and harmonious scheme of colour, while the modelling of the heads is excellent. The bony structure of the skull is admirably felt, and the roundness and solidity of the muscles are firmly and strongly drawn. The technique of the two men kneeling to the right is equally interesting. Tradition says that they are portraits of Gaudenzio and the young Bernardino Lanino, who had recently become his pupil.* There is every reason to accept this statement, for on comparing these heads with the well-known frescoes in San Nazzaro in Brolio at Milan, painted by Lanino during the winter of 1545-46, we find they are distinctly the same types, only much younger. The youthful vivacity in Lanino's face is cleverly rendered, while on the face of the older man is a graver, more care-worn expression.
In the group to the right, the inspiration of the artist is unhampered by portraiture, though one recognises that the head of St. Maximian was painted from a favourite model. There is a wonderful feeling of spirituality in the Magdalen's face and gestures, and the hands are almost transparent. Gaudenzio never cared to represent the starved asceticism so popular to the fifteenth-century artists, and in later life he errs considerably in the other direction. In this, however, he is only reflecting the general spirit of the late Renaissance, when material and distinctly opulent forms superseded the more refined types of an earlier ideal. The sheath, and not the blade, became the purpose of art, and it is only Gaudenzio's sincerely religious nature that enables him still to endow his figures with a spiritual elevation, which is the keynote of his life.
The fourth fresco was ruined by the cannon-ball which pierced the wall and destroyed a great part of the central group. This represented the Magdalen rising to heaven, supported by angels, and the part which escaped destruction is still interesting to study. One angel supporting the feet of the saint is most remarkable. The feeling of quick motion, like the dart of a bird, almost takes one's breath away. In the background is a fanciful representation of the Estrel Mountains, and little scenes representing the last hours of the Magdalen's life can still be made out. The cartoon for this fresco is in the Albertina Library at Turin.
The last and most important of this series is the " Crucifixion " over the altar of the chapel. Though the details naturally recall Gaudenzio's previous paintings of this subject, it excels them all by the beauty of the technique, while its position, facing down the church, enhances its impressiveness. We find the same scheme of composition as in the Canobbio picture, namely, of lines converging towards the central figure, and the light radiating from it to the group of the fainting Virgin to the left. The figures of the Redeemer and of the penitent thief are very fine. In the latter, especially, the dead weight of the lifeless body is admirably felt, while the anatomy shows that it was not ignorance of the human form, but deliberate intent, which made Gaudenzio rarely paint the nude. The angels are not so interesting as the rest, though the draperies are good ; but, as usual, this part of the composition is not satisfactory, as it is overcrowded. Poignant agony and acuteness of grief are there, but the violence of the actions detracts from the solemnity and dignity of the scene.
In the lower part of the picture the group of the fainting Virgin is well painted. Though the type of the Madonna is not so beautiful as on the screen at Varallo, or so noble as that in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie at Milan, the face is far superior in technique. Gaudenzio had long ago abandoned the hatching of his earliest fresco work, and we have here a brush which is soft and fluid, depicts the slightest undulation, and makes each face a network of delicate chiaroscuro.
Some of the finest figures in the crowd are those of the soldiers on horseback. That of Longinus is particularly good. The modelling of the head, neck, and arms is excellent, while the draping of the cloak and the general pose of the figure are full of grace and dignity. The soldier to the right is an equally striking figure. He wears the huge head-dress with feathers we find in German and Swiss pictures of this century, and was possibly painted from some officer commanding in the Emperor's army, and stationed at Vercelli. With his red beard and steel armour, he makes a fine bit of colour.
The St. John and the Magdalen are more insignificant, and though the soldiers gambling are well painted, the composition is rather confused. The portrait of an elderly man kneeling to the left is probably that of Giovanni Angelo Corradi, who died before the completion of the work.
The frescoes on the other side of the church are equally fine and in a far better state of preservation. The contract was signed on November 3, 1532, by Gaudenzio and the new head of the Order, who is now called " the Reverend Sieur Andrea Corradi, Provost of St. Christopher." Gaudenzio undertook to paint the Assumption of the Virgin, and such scenes from her life as should be agreed upon by the Provost and himself. The painting was not to be in any way inferior to that of the frescoes in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalen, and he was to begin the work in the spring of the following year, and to receive 8o écus d'or in payment.
During the intervening months he must have been at Vigevano, where he painted a " Descent of the Holy Ghost " for the chapel in the Ducal Palace. In the list of expenses for the first four months of 1533, kept by the Intendant Giovanni Aloysio for the Duke of Milan, is the following entry : " A Maestro Gaudenzio pittore in Vigevano lire 63." This picture is praised by Lomazzo, and was evidently an important work ; but it has disappeared, and I have been unable to trace it. It is certainly not the picture in the collection of the Prince Hercolani at Bologna, which, however, is an interesting atelier work done some fifteen years earlier.
In the Chapel of the Virgin in the Church of St. Christopher at Vercelli, Gaudenzio arranged the scenes on much the same plan as in the chapel opposite. The " Assumption " is over the altar, and corresponds in dimensions with the " Crucifixion " on the other side of the church, while the side-wall is divided into four spaces. As the window is shorter on this side, the space beneath it is of sufficient height to admit of an extra composition, which consists of a fine group of figures representing St. Catherine of Siena, St. Nicholas of Bari with two ladies kneeling, who were probably members of the Corradi family. Beneath them is the following inscription :
R. P. FR. ANDREAS EX CORRADIS
LIGNANÆ. HUJUS ECCLESItE
PRIEPOSITUS, SACELLUM HOC
VIVENS FIERI CURAVIT
The head of St. Nicholas is obviously done from the same model as the head of St. Martin in the Turin Gallery. There is the same sharp nose, small, compressed mouth, and ridge across the forehead, only in this fresco he is a trifle older and stouter. It is a refined face, full of kindness and humour, and was probably the portrait of some ecclesiastic living at Vercelli.
Over the window is a Sibyl with a scroll, much injured, but very similar to the one in the chapel opposite. The following scenes were chosen for the rest of the wall :
1. The Birth of the Virgin.
2. The Sposalizio.
3. The Nativity.
4. The Visit of the Magi.
The first scene is slightly injured by damp. The subject is treated in a homely manner, and the peasant women, busy over the child in the fore-ground, are simply and naturally grouped. In the background is a charming figure of a little maid bringing in food, while the expression of anxious inquiry depicted on the face of the nurse bending over St. Anna is excellent. She has brought her the boiled egg which it is still the custom in Piedmont and Lombardy to give the mother as soon as she can take refreshment. In the background is the angel appearing to St. Joachim and St. Anna.
No. 2 recalls the Como " Sposalizio." The grouping is practically the same, and there is the same element of exaggeration in the attitudes of the disappointed suitors. The one to the left is in the same whirling pose as in the Como picture, and in his green and yellow tights he is an even more fantastic figure, both as regards colouring and attitude. There is a great advance in the technique of the Vercelli fresco, and the general scheme of colouring is light and harmonious.
The expression and pose of the Virgin have a certain quiet and simple beauty. The finest heads in this group are, however, those of the three women standing behind her. To the extreme right is a 'singularly beautiful and dignified woman of mature years. Next to her is another head of great distinction, while the one looking over the Virgin's shoulder, with her sweet expression and starry eyes, is a particularly winsome personality. The careful delineation and the refinement of the features show that they are portraits, probably of members of the Vercelli aristocracy, as they are very different from Gaudenzio's usual types. In this series it is obvious that the Virgin is done from a very beautiful model of the peasant class.
In the background is the Temple, and to the left is a small group representing the Presentation of the Virgin. These little figures are lightly sketched in, but the attitudes are admirable, that of St. Anna being particularly good.
No. 3 represents the Nativity, and is the most completely satisfactory of the series. It is the finest work of this subject painted by Gaudenzio in the " maniera moderna," as Vasari calls it. The compos - tion, technique, and feeling are of the highest order, and the nearest approach to it is the Dorchester House " Nativity," which takes the same high place as a panel picture as this does as fresco work. The Madonna in the Arona " Nativity " stood supreme in a byegone world of a calmer devotional atmosphere. Though her features show a delicate emotion, she does not, how-ever, possess the intense dramatic qualities that vivify the interesting figure in the Vercelli work. Both pictures are fine works of art, but as different in style as in technique. The beauty of face and gesture and the grand sweep of the Madonna's cloak are wonderfully fine in the fresco we are now studying. The somewhat clumsy type is redeemed by the simplicity of the attitude, and elevated by the beauty and intensity of the feeling.
What we have already mentioned about Gaudenzio's technique is very apparent in this fresco, and the modeling of the old shepherd's head is a good example of his skill in chiaroscuro. The angels making music are amongst the most perfect he ever painted. The landscape is roughly but admirably indicated. The sharp line dividing off the little scenes above, though it cuts into the sky, has a certain constructive value in separating the Annunciation and the Presentation, which are depicted in architectural surroundings, from the wild, lonely landscape beneath.
The fourth scene represents the Visit of the Magi, and is composed differently from the rest. The figures of the kings and their retinues fill the foreground and middle distance, and cover the space allotted to this picture. There is no distant background with little scenes, as we have seen in the other frescoes. The composition is original, but rather overcrowded and confused, and the subject has given Gaudenzio another opportunity to introduce in the figures of the three kings fine portraits of Vercelli magnates in all the bravery of Renaissance dress. The nobleman standing to the right, in his brown and gold surcoat slashed with green, and the richly dressed young man getting off his horse and doffing his plumed cap, to the left, are superbly painted.
The strength and breadth of treatment, combined with a keen insight into character, make it a matter of regret that Gaudenzio neglected this branch of art, for he here shows himself to be the equal of any portrait-painter of his day.
The kneeling Magian, in his shot mauve and yellow mantle, is also fine, but the fresco has suffered from damp and has been retouched. In the collection be-longing to the Avocat Borgogna at Vercelli is a painting in oils which is believed to be the original sketch for this fresco. In its present condition it is difficult to recognise Gaudenzio's brush, but it has a special interest, as it contains more figures to the right than the space of the wall allowed of.
The horses are badly done, as Gaudenzio never could paint or model horses with any success, and he probably left them to his assistants to finish. He had undertaken to paint all the figures himself in these frescoes, but in this particular scene there is much inequality, and some of the heads are painted by another hand. This is, however, the only one of the series in which this is noticeable.
We will now turn to the "Assumption of the Virgin" over the altar of the chapel. With all its faults, it may rank as the finest representation of this subject. The composition may lack the simplicity of Titian's great work at Venice, but it far exceeds it in the intense and subtle qualities of expression and feeling. The Correggiesque influences are noticeable, but the fervour and rapture that pervade this great work are far more vigorous and human. The intensity of devotion expressed furnishes an upward lift for thought and imagination. But though the spiritual expression on her face recalls St. Placida in Correggio's picture at Parma, this beautiful Madonna is Gaudenzio's own creation, as, rapt in ecstatic self - surrender, she floats upwards, drawn by an irresistible force, ending her earthly existence in the spirit of her first utterance, " Behold the handmaid of the Lord ; be it unto me even as thou wilt."
Above the Virgin's head is the Almighty holding a crown, while all round her are " putti " and clouds. Though nothing can destroy the distinction of the principal figure, the general effect is crowded and con-fused. The type of " putti " is unpleasing, and these muscular and rubicund children, in their violent attitudes, go far to destroy the spiritual atmosphere of the scene.
In the lower part of the picture are the disciples, drawn on a slightly larger scale to emphasize the distance from the group above. The heads are the usual types found at this period of Gaudenzio's art. The faces are full of awe, amazement, and grief. The gestures of the hands are rather monotonous. They are of a coarse type, well drawn, with the artist's usual peculiarities. Though much of the detail is unsatisfactory in this fresco, the dramatic qualities and` the powerful technique, combined with sincerity and depth of feeling, not only save it from the deadening influences of mannerism and fleshiness, but also raise it to a very high place in the realm of imaginative art.
As we have seen from the inscription, these frescoes were finished in 1534. On July g of that year Gaudenzio makes a final arrangement about the altar-piece for Casale, which we have already mentioned,* and which he undertook to finish by the next September. The remains of this work now hang in the Cathedral of Casale Monferrato, but are hardly worth visiting, as they were badly injured by fire in the eighteenth century. The central panel, representing the Baptism of our Lord, now hangs in the second chapel to the left of the west door. The St. John recalls the St. John in the Varallo screen, but here wears a red cloak. The figure of Christ is quite spoilt by sentimentality. Some smaller fragments hang in the choir, but the damage done by the fire and the subsequent restoration have quite ruined the original work.
We now come to Gaudenzio's last great masterpiece, the Choir of Angels, in the dome of the pilgrimage Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli at Saronno. Gaudenzio had already begun negotiations relative to this piece of work, for in the contract which he signed at Milan on September 28, 1534, mention is made of a design which he had already submitted for the approval of the deputies of the sanctuary. In this document the terms are more generous than usual. The deputies undertake to give lodging and wine for himself and his assistants, and to pay for the scaffolding and for the replastering of the surface of the dome where necessary. In return Gaudenzio undertakes to start work at the end of Easter week in the following year, and not to begin anything else till it was finished. He was to receive 200 scudi d'or, and there are the same conditions relative to the judgment of an expert, when the work is completed, that we have found in previous contracts. The beauty of the work is such, however, that we are not surprised to find that Gaudenzio eventually received 250 scudi d'or. He must have taken about a year over it ; for though he was back at Vercelli on October 4, 1535 (which is the last mention of him in that town), the entries in the Saronno archives show that the final payments for the frescoes were not made till June ii and November 17, 1536.
The cupola at Saronno displays some of Gaudenzio's finest qualities, and this in spite of the fact that he was undoubtedly helped by his assistants in the execution of these frescoes. The idea was probably inspired by Correggio's domes at Parma, but the composition of this one is entirely Gaudenzio's work. In the centre is the Almighty in a circle of cherubim and seraphim, from which radiate flames and rays of light. Though not as a rule using gesso in this work, Gaudenzio uses both carving and gesso for this group. Below is a ring of " putti " in every attitude of ecstatic joy. They are rather injured by damp and by cracks in the plaster, but are on the whole well preserved. They were done in part by Gaudenzio's assistants. The majority of the figures in the crowd of angels were painted by Gaudenzio himself, but a certain number of the heads lack the lively touch of his own brush. His chief assistants were probably his son Gerolamo and his pupil Bernardino Lanino. They had been working under him since about 1532, and we shall find them still working under him a little later at Varallo.
In these frescoes we find Gaudenzio's usual gay but harmonious scheme of colouring -- yellows, browns, greens, mulberry reds, grays and whites, with blues sparsely introduced. Though he is always inclined to make the draperies too voluminous, they are well manipulated and beautifully painted. The varied kinds of musical instruments are very curious and most effectively introduced. Among the many beautiful figures is one of an angel blowing bagpipes. This noble and dignified figure, in a dark-green dress and pale-reddish mantle, is one of the finest in this work. Next it, to the right, Gaudenzio has painted the youthful head with flaxen ringlets we have met with before notably in the Novara " Last Supper " and in the St. Christopher frescoes at Vercelli. Another figure of special interest is an angel with an S-shaped trumpet. The actin is a trifle too vigorous, but the swirl and flow of the pinky draperies are charming. Next it, to the right, in dark-green robes and brown mantle, is the beautiful figure of a singing angel rapt in adoration.
But the supreme quality of this great work is the extraordinary life that pervades it. As we stand below and look up at this busy throng animated with a holy joy, we can but marvel at the astonishing vitality and movement, and it almost seems that we hear the rustle of this swarm of angels. The intense excitement and tension shown in every face, the energetic and heart-whole devotion of each single angel to its own particular function in this vast throng, the whole painted with strength, simplicity, and directness—all these qualities combine to make this cupola one of the most remark-able works in Italy.
Gaudenzio probably left Vercelli in 1536, for in that year the French invaded Piedmont, and, after taking Turin and some other towns, menaced that place. The unsettled state of the country would be sufficient reason. for him to move up into the Valsesia.
There is very little left of his other works at Vercelli. The anconas painted for the Churches of St. Mark and of the Holy Trinity have quite disappeared. Gone, too, are the frescoes of a Madonna and Child in the Church of San Nazarro, and those in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. The famous frescoes representing the life of St. Roch, and painted on the façade of the Church of St. Thomas as an ex voto against the plague for the people of Vercelli, were already perishing from exposure in 1672 when Cusano saw them, and they have now quite disappeared. In the Church of St. Francis is a fine picture of Sant' Ambrogio, now in the first chapel to the right of the west door; but the " Conversion of St. Paul " seen by Lanzi in this church has gone. In the Badia of Sant' Andrea, the picture once over the high-altar, representing the Madonna and Child with St. Francis and Santa Clara, is no longer to be found ; but in the sacristy there are still the remains of a fresco of the Madonna and Child with three " putti " playing on musical instruments. It is very much injured, but the " putti " have still a certain charm.
A small picture representing the Nativity is in the Archbishop's Palace at Milan. It is painted in oil on wood, and belongs to the Vercelli period. The composition is very similar to the big fresco in St. Christopher, only the Madonna is kneeling on the right, and a little St. John is kneeling by her. Three angels playing musical instruments, and St. Joseph kneeling to the left, complete the group, over which stand St. Jerome and St. Christopher. In the back is a charming landscape with a lake and mountains, which recalls the view of Lake Maggiore from Luino. The surface of this panel is, unfortunately, much injured and blackened, but the colouring must have been of great brilliancy. The draperies are well painted, and the reds, yellows, browns, and greens, give a warm effect, while the chiaroscuro is intensified by a bright light which is thrown on the figures from the left.
Gaudenzio is known to have painted a banner for the Society of Masons belonging to San Germano, a village about seven miles from Vercelli. A bad copy is now in the Royal Castle of Rivoli. Many works were once attributed to him in the Vercelli district. Those that still remain are not his work, but show that he had influenced a number of smaller artists who were working in that neighbourhood long after he had left.