Giovan Battista Moroni - inv. 1579

Giovan Battista Moroni (1520/1524-1578)

Saint Michael Archangel
56,5 x 41,1 cm
1879 bequest Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli
Inv. 1579

Palma Room
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The archangel, depicted three-quarters, turns his face towards the viewers, placing his hands on the hilt of his sword while holding a set of scales at the same time (both attributes of Saint Michael).
Trained in the Brescia workshop of Alessandro Bonvicino called Il Moretto, Moroni was one of the most renowned protagonists of Bergamo painting during the sixteenth century. His contemporaries particularly acclaimed his skills as a portrait painter, distinguished by the typical realism of the Lombard pictorial tradition and by a capacity for psychological insight into his sitters that few in his period could rival. Titian himself was known to praise him and to recommend his name for important commissions.
This work allows us to evaluate Moroni’s style in a sacred theme. The figure of the angel, in its slightly arched stance, reveals the artist’s attention to examples of Mannerist art and leads to a dating in the 1550s. The anatomical details are executed in a decided chiaroscuro, typical of this artist: note the detail of the collarbone and the neck, or the way in which the arm and hand are rendered in perspective. Great attention was also paid to the material aspect of the objects depicted, like the light-coloured under-garment with black stripes.