Giovan Francesco Maineri - inv. 1602

Giovan Francesco Maineri (c. 1460-post 1506)

The Flagellation of Christ
20 x 14,9 cm
1879 bequest Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli
Inv. 1602

Palma Room
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For its small size and the use of parchment, the work was perhaps originally destined to illustrate an illuminated codex or was part of the decoration of an object for private prayer. Due to abrasions and veiling of the paint, it is not easy to read today. However, its quality can be appreciated in the fineness of certain details, such as the gold highlighting in the clothes of the tormentor on the left or in the background architecture. The work has thus been assigned to a painter of a certain importance, active in Ferrara between the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century, Giovan Francesco Maineri.

In the middle of the composition, Christ bound to the column slightly bends his upper body, whose proportions recall those of classical sculpture, and turns a highly sentimental look towards the spectator. The sculptural pose of his tormentors, and in particular the foreshortening of the one on the left, gives the small work an air of monumentality in line with the development of late 16th-century art. A loggia can be seen behind the column, decorated with bas-reliefs and sculptures, similar to the works of another important painter from Ferrara, Ludovico Mazzolino. Numerous people, defined by sophisticated chiaroscuro, watch the scene from above: notice how the light coming from behind on the left just touches the columns of the loggia and strikes the head and shoulders of one of the onlookers. Its stylistic characteristics make this one of Maineri’s later works, datable perhaps to the beginning of the second decade of the sixteenth century.