Twelve Heads

Italian (Lombard) Painter Italian

Not on view

These twelve heads are from a series of at least forty-four panels that decorated the ceiling beams and upper walls of a small room in the palace of San Martino Gusnago, not far from Mantua. Whether they were commissioned by the military commander Francesco Secco or by Eusebio Malatesta, the Jewish advisor of Duke Federigo II Gonzaga, cannot be said. This type of ceiling decoration was especially popular in northern Italy. Only one of the figures can be identified with any likelihood: the one in the costume of a Venetian doge appears to be Marco Barbarigo (doge 1485–86). They were probably painted between 1500 and 1515 and in the insistent perspective of the architecture reveal the influence of the outstanding Milanese painter-architect Bramantino.

Twelve Heads, Italian (Lombard) Painter (first quarter 16th century), Tempera on wood

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