Cesare Tamaroccio - inv. 307
The Virgin turns her gaze towards the spectator, while holding Jesus looks at the young Saint John the Baptist.
Cesare Tamaroccio signed the work on the hem of Mary’s mantle. In the past the signature was held to be apocryphal, but recent restoration (2005) has confirmed its authenticity. This is an important piece of information, since this painting is the only one known signed by the artist.
The style of the work reveals typical features of Bolognese painting at the beginning of the 16th century. Tamaroccio probably came from Bologna and might have taken part in the decoration of the oratory of Santa Cecilia, the most lively context for painting in Bologna at the turn of the century (1505–1506), where Lorenzo Costa, Francesco Francia and Amico Aspertini, among others, worked on the frescoes.
In this panel, Tamaroccio faithfully follows models of Lorenzo Costa, but the delicate rendering of the complexions and the attention to the landscape are typical of the first decade of the 16th century. The Virgin’s serene face, the Perugino-like landscape and fashionable details such as the long veil, covering also the Child, show a close affinity with Bolognese painting.