The Life and Works of Vittorio Carpaccio

By Pompeo Molmenti; Gustav Ludwig et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
CARPACCIO'S SOURCES OF INSPIRATION AND PREDECESSORS. THE PAINTINGS OF "THE LIFE OF THE VIRGIN" IN THE SCUOLA DEGLI ALBANESI

THE Scuola of the Albanians was dedicated to S. Maurizio and S. Gallo, but their first and principal Patroness was the Blessed Virgin.

The influence that the cult of the Virgin Mary exercised upon the institutions, customs and Art of the Middle Ages and of the Renaissance has been so elaborately dealt with in a recent treatise that we do not wish to repeat here points already noted.1 An account with particular reference to pictorial representation of the less well-known evolution of the Legend of The Life of the Virgin may not, however, come amiss.

The Synoptic Gospels and that of S. John say but little concerning the Mother of Jesus. The Divine Light which flows from the Redeemer places His Mother, as it were, in the shade. Jesus Himself merges His Filial Devotion in His Great Love for Mankind, and the domestic feeling disappears, as it were, before the Divine Mission that He accomplishes upon earth.

When Christianity, overcoming every obstacle, spread abroad, and the Church was firmly established, popular fancy added to the gesta of Apostles, Saints and Martyrs the mournful tales of feminine suffering, amongst which the story of the benign and grief-stricken Virgin, glorified by the sentiment of Motherhood, stands conspicuous.

For the Story of the Virgin we must again turn to The Golden Legend of da Voragine, which, although it does not deal with her separately, yet relates the principal facts concerning her Life in connection with the various Feast-days dedicated by the Church to her veneration.

Some examples will enable us to understand better the methods

____________________
1
Venturi A., La Madonna. Milano, Hoepli, 1900.

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