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Morazzone, study for the figure of Christ in the Cappella della Condanna

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PIER FRANCESCO MAZZUCCHELLI called IL MORAZZONE, (Morazzone 1573 - Piacenza 1626) STUDY FOR THE FIGURE OF CHRIST IN THE CAPPELLA DELLA CONDANNA AT THE SACRO MONTE OF VARALLO.
Brown wash over black chalk, heightened with white gouache, gray-green paper; 182 x 193 mm. Numbered in pen 66 at the top left corner. Inscribed Giorgione in pen at the bottom right corner. Unidentified watermark, possibly anchor in a circle.
PROVENANCE: Nathaniel Hone (1718-1784) Lugt 2793.
This unpublished drawing is preparatory for the figure of Christ as appears in the fresco of the vault of the Cappella della Condanna at the Sacro Monte in Varallo ( 1610-1616). See J. Stoppa, Il Morazzone, Milano 2003; cat. no. 47.

Morazzone was the son of a master mason, who took him in Rome in 1592. There the artist was influenced by Ventura Salimbeni and Cavalier d'Arpino. In Rome he painted some canvases and his first frescoes. By 1598 Morazzone had returned to Lombardy, where he became one of the region's principal painters. His Roman training contributed to his classical style, and the pietist and mystical Counter-Reformation teachings of Saint Charles Borromeo encouraged mysticism and pathos in his art. In Lombardy, he painted frescoes for the Cappella del Rosario in San Vittore in Varese (1599), and worked in some of the Sacri Monti of the Alps. His frescoes in the sacred shrines in the northern Italian Alps, designed to stimulate faith through realistic, life-size, theatrical tableaux, remain his outstanding achievements. In a triumph of illusionism, his painted scenes fully integrate with the polychrome terracotta sculptures. This activity began with the Ascent to Calvary (1602–1606) chapel in the Sacro Monte of Varallo where he was influenced by Gaudenzio Ferrari. In 1608-1609 he completed the Flagellation chapel in the Sacro Monte of Varese then returned to Varallo for the Ecce Homo chapel (1610–13) and for the chapel of the death sentence of Christ (1610-1616). Last of this series is the Porziuncola chapel (1616–20) in Sacro Monte of Orta. His other frescoes include the Cappella della Buona Morte in San Gaudenzio in Novara and some Prophets in the Piacenza Cathedral, completed after his death by the Bolognese painter Guercino. He also painted altarpieces for many churches in Northern Italy and canvases for private collectors. He collaborated with Giovanni Battista Crespi (Il Cerano) and Giulio Cesare Procaccini in the painting of the Quadroni of San Carlo Borromeo for the Duomo of Milan.

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