Bernardino Lanino - inv. 3164
This work is linked to The Burial of Saint John the Baptist (inv. 3163), The Preaching of Saint John the Baptist against Herode (inv. 25) and The Banquet of Herode (inv. 26).
Like other two paintings by the same artist hanging in the same room, these two canvases show many areas of colour loss due to the particular technique the artist used: tempera on untreated canvas. The oxidised pigments hardened and turned to dust, eventually falling from the canvas, leaving large empty areas visible.
In The Decollation of Saint John the Baptist the executioner, his back turned, places the head of the saint on the plate held by Salome, while the saint’s body lies lifeless on the ground.
In The Burial three men in the foreground lower the saint’s body into the tomb during the funeral rites, celebrated by many priests and clergymen, with singing and incense.
The two canvases were part of the doors to the altarpiece by Bernardino Gatti in the Cathedral in Vigevano and, originally, other scenes from the saint’s life were to be included. Bernardino Lanino was paid for them in December 1550.
They are late works by the artist from Vercelli, a pupil of Gaudenzio Ferrari, who worked in Piedmont and Lombardy and who collaborated for a long time in Milan with Bernardino Luini.