This rare example of early fifteenth century Venetian sculpture depicts the resurrection of Christ from the tomb, his arms wide open and his palms turned towards us exposing the wound in his chest and the stigmata.
This rare enchanting example of early fifteenth century Venetian sculpture depicts the resurrection of Christ from the tomb in a profoundly moving way, his arms wide open and his palms turned towards us exposing the wound in his chest and the stigmata. The rangy acanthus leaves and the stepped sharply outlined tabernacle framing the scene are strongly reminiscent of the decorative elements present in the oeuvres of the sculptor referred to as the Master of the Mascoli Altar, a name derived from the marble altarpiece of the Virgin and Child with Saint Mark and James in the Mascoli Chapel of St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice. Nearly identical naturalistic foliage can be found in other altarpieces, such as the one signed by Andrea da Giona, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York or even the very similar though far less exquisitely executed altarpieces of Vescovato presumed to the work of the Genovese Gaggini's. However, this relief with its elegant composition, its linear drapery, and the positioning of Christ together with the tomb in a forward plane, more convincingly matches the late international Gothic style of the Mascoli Altar.
The Master of the Mascoli Alter
The name of this unknown master was derived from the marble altarpiece of the Virgin and Child with saints Mark and James in the Mascoli Chapel at the St Mark's Basilica in Venice. Above the altar is an insciption dating the foundation of the chapel to 1430. Both the figures as well as the architectural frame of the altar were probably commissioned at that time. The relief of the Virgin and Child with Two Angels in the Corner Chapel of the Santa Maria dei Frari (Venice), is also commonly presumed to be by this Master. Typical of both works is the tightly pulled drapery that reveals the lines of the body, accenting the pose and movement of the figures. The conventional Gothic frames were probably designed and executed by Venetian masons.
There has been some debate about the style of the works attributed to the Mascoli Master. According to most scholars the master was a Venetian and he has been identified with a number of celebrated sculptors, in particular with Pierpaolo dalle Masegne, Giovanni Buon and Bartolomeo Buon. Others have argued the master was a Florentine on the basis of stylistic parallels, most notably with the works of Lorenzo Ghiberti. The Mascoli Master's works in Venice influenced a number of artists in Venice during 15th century, including for example Bartolomeo Buon.
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