Filippo Mazzola (1460 ca.-1505)
15th century, Oil on panel
This small painting is signed with the monogram of the artist, Filippo Mazzola from Parma, in the centre on a kind of parapet, beyond which the bust of the Blessing Christ stands out against a uniformly dark background. The artist is the father of the celebrated Francesco Mazzola, known as Parmigianino. Little is known about him; what is certain is that he travelled to Venice. Beyond any historical records, this is clear in his painting, which shows the influence of the religious painting of Giovanni Bellini and the portraiture of Antonello da Messina. The work also attests to his interest in Flemish painting, as evidenced by the frontal composition and the severity of the visual language, which his knowledge of Venetian art softens in the rendering of the effigy of the Salvator Mundi. He is an accurate painter, and in this fine work he turns to a model that both the Flemish and Venetians had used many times in paintings intended for private devotion.