Milan, Lombardy, and Siena 1470-1540
The display in this room compares and contrasts Sienese, Milanese, and Lombard painting in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. While the two schools of painting exhibit distinctive characteristics which reflected the geo-political divisions of Renaissance Italy, there were also artistic connections. Sodoma, for example, who spent most of his career in Siena was clearly influenced by Leonardo.
Leonardo da Vinci resided in Milan between 1483 and 1499. His position as court artist to Duke Ludovico il Moro, enabled him to make crucial developments as an artist, for example painting his famous Last Supper there between 1492 and 1498. Leonardo came to exert an enormous influence on subsequent generations of Lombard artists. Ambrogio de Predis was his business partner during his early years in Milan and came to adapt his innovations in modelling the figure. Marco d’Oggiono served in Leonardo’s studio in the 1490s and was profoundly affected by his chiaroscuro. As was Bernardino Luini, who became the city’s most famous painter in the early decades, and helped shape Lombard painting for the new century.
The Sienese display seeks to show how two artistic traditions co-existed in Renaissance Siena and the variety of commissions requested of artists in this period. Many Sienese paintings were realised using an entirely ‘Renaissance’ vocabulary, that is one that looked to ancient Rome and contemporary Florence. Other Sienese painters drew upon medieval precedents. Viewers might be surprised to learn that Saint Sebastian (1480-1495) by Matteo di Giovanni was painted, at the least, five years after Saints Fabian and Sebastian (about 1475) by Giovanni di Paolo.