Blessing Christ

Filippo Mazzola (1460 ca.-1505)
15th century, Oil on canvas

The painting shows a three-quarter-height Blessing Christ, his right hand raised in the act of blessing whilst the left hand holds the globe; the cross is partly visible behind the wooden parapet, on which the monogram-signature of the artist (with the initials) can be seen. Christ is wearing a red gown and a blue cloak.  The painting, with tempera on a tablet, shows the link between Filippo Mazzola (father of the

better-known Francesco) and Renaissance layouts, and a return to clear-cut references to Venetian art.   Filippo was the pupil of Cremona artist Francesco Tacconi (1440 circa-post 1490). He mainly worked in the area between Parma and Piacenza. There is documentation of a journey he made to Venice, where it seems he went to study what would later turn out to be the main stylistic reference points: Antonello da Messina (1429 or 1430-1479) for the suspended atmosphere and fixed expressions, Giovanni Bellini (1433 circa-1516) and Alvise Vivarini (from 1442 to 1453-1505) for his dry, markedly linear approach.