Christ on the Road to Calvary
44.5 cm x 21.6 cm (17 1/2 in. x 8 1/2 in.)
Attributed to Giovanni Ambrogio Bevilacqua
(Milan (?), Italy, circa 1460 – 1516)
Medium and Support:
Tempera on wood panel
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
If not a significant agent in the development of Milanese painting, Bevilacqua does epitomize the complicated situation of that school at the close of the 15th century. On the one hand, through appropriations from more innovative compatriots like Foppa and Bergognone, his style reflects a wide range of progressive elements, from the leading painter in North Italy, Mantegna, to early Netherlandish painting. On the other, these appropriations are subsumed by the school’s traditional concerns with rich decoration and material splendor, and there is no sign of the influence of long-time resident Leonardo da Vinci. Praised by the early chroniclers of Milanese painting, Bevilacqua was nearly forgotten until his rediscovery as a coherent personality in recent decades.
This panel confirms a painter of conservative cast but narrative gift and considerable refinement. The only example of his work in this country, it must have been served as part of a portable altarpiece for private devotion.