Martyrdom or Beheading of a Saint (Paul?)
tempera and gouache on parchment, initial “B” cut to shape (185 x 160 mm.)
Northeastern. Italy, Veneto, c. 1510-20
STRIKING RENAISSANCE MINIATURE IN THE STYLE OF ANTONIO MARIA DA VILLAFORA
This striking Renaissance cutting in an initial “B” shows a saint kneeling in a landscape awaiting his execution by beheading. A panoramic blue-green northern Italian landscape, set with hills and trees, recedes into the background. Many features suggest that the artist was formed and worked in northeastern Italy where the impact of classicism was less profound and came later than in Tuscany and Rome. The metallic, dry treatment of the figures; the sparse, blue-green landscape, barren in the foreground; and the decorative vocabulary of the initial recall artists working in the Veneto and Ferrara in the last decade of the fifteenth century and the first decade of the sixteenth century.