Francesco Bonsignori - inv. 1591

Francesco Bonsignori (c. 1460-1519)

Half-length figure of a Saint
1505-1510
  
39,1 x 33 cm
1879 bequest Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli
Inv. 1591

Perugino Room
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The saint is in three-quarter pose against a light-blue sky, with long hair down to her shoulders held by a band of pearls. This is a small part of an originally much larger work, probably a Virgin and Child with Saints. It is in good condition despite some cracking, above all in the top part of the canvas. It is not possible to identify the saint with any certainty due to a lack of attributes, although her hairstyle might indicate Mary Magdalene.
Francesco Bonsignori was a leading artist in Veronese painting between the end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century. His style was strongly influenced by Mantegna, imbued, though, with a sense of light that reveals his knowledge of the Venetian painting of Alvise Vivarini and Giovanni Bellini. In his mature works, a search for monumentality and sculptural qualities links him to Bartolomeo Montagna, a contemporary from Vicenza.
This painting shows the artist’s considerable skill in rendering the volumes of the figure through delicate chiaroscuro passages. Bonsignori was especially favoured as a portrait painter and as such was engaged at the court of the Gonzaga in Mantua for many years. This work can be dated to his period in Mantua and was probably painted between 1505 and 1510.

S.G.C.