The Early Renaissance

(Renaissance  Art Map)


Bernardino Butinone

Bernardo Zenale



During the rule of the Dukes Borso and Ercole d'Este, the Schifanoia fresco cycle of the Months of the Year was painted in Borso's palace in Ferrara. It was executed by the leading painters of the 15th century school of Ferrara - Cosme Tura, Francesco del Cossa, and Ercole de' Roberti. Based on the 14th-century theme of the Triumphs and the older "work of the Months of the Year, the lavishly illustrated cycle borrows from the astrological texts of the time, using their symbols and icons. There was a previously unknown freedom in the depiction of the allegorical scenes, which makes use of a wide field of reference, from courtly occupations to antiquity, all expressed in brilliant colour. The perspective, too, always bold in its foreshortening effects (in the style of Mantegna, is impressive, and the works are, overall, lively and imaginative.


Between I464 and 1468, Vincenzo Foppa (c.1427-1515) painted the frescos for the ancestral chapel built by the Medici banker Pigello Portinari behind the apse of Sant'Eustorgio in Milan. The chapel was a fusion of architecture, sculpture, and Milanese painting, typical of style that flourished during the reign of the duke, Francesco Sforza. It celebrated St Peter Martyr, standard-hearer of the Dominican order and a model of life for the patrons buried within. Foppa elaborated the humanistic language typical of Lombardy, with its compositional clarity and simplicity, understated realism, straightforward naturalism, and brilliant colours. Bernardino Butinone and Bernardo Zenale, two artists from Treviso, were later commissioned to collaborate on painting The Stories of St Ambrose in the Grifi Chapel in San Pietro in Gessate, a church linked to the reformed Benedictines of Santa Giustma. The story unfolds in continuous sequences, displaying Zenales mastery of perspective and composition and revealing the influence of the Sforzas. Butinone's nervous and metallic figurations seem closer to the house of Este, which governed Ferrara, Modena, and Reggio. The family was linked with Ludovico il Moro of Milan through his wife, Beatrice d'Este.

Bernardino Butinone

(b c. 1450; d Treviglio, before 6 Nov 1510).

 Italian painter, lombard school. He was the son of the painter Jacopo Butinone of Treviglio. His training was probably based on the study of such painters as Andrea Mantegna, Cosimo Tura, Francesco del Cossa, from whom he learnt an expressive and refined style, and Vincenzo Foppa. The earliest works, probably from the early 1480s, include a panel of the Crucifixion (Rome, G.N.A. Mod.), in which the incisive drawing and dramatic atmosphere suggest Mantegna’s influence. Also from this period is the Virgin and Child with Angels (Milan, Gallarati-Scotti priv. col.), inspired by Tura and Cossa. Butinone is documented in Milan from 1484, probably the year he painted the triptych of the Virgin and Child with SS Leonard and Bernardino of Siena (Milan, Brera), which reflects the realistic style of Foppa.


Crocifisso tra Maria e San Giovanni


The Adoration of the Shepherds


The Massacre of the Innocents





Madonna and Child

c. 1490
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan





Bernardo Zenale

(b Treviglio, c. 1464; d Milan, 10 Feb 1526).

Italian painter and architect. In 1481 Zenale was already a qualified master and a member of the Scuola di S Luca, the painters’ guild, in Milan. In 1485 he and BERNARDINO BUTINONE were hired by Simone da San Pellegrino and other officials of S Martino, Treviglio, to paint a large altarpiece for the high altar (in situ); the carving of the frame was sub-contracted to Ambrogio and Giovanni Pietro Donati. By January 1491 the altarpiece had been installed, and Zenale and Butinone made a final payment to the Donati brothers. The two-tiered polyptych, in an elaborate pedimented frame, shows the Virgin and Child, St Martin and the beggar and other saints. The architectural setting for each group, shown in steep perspective, is festooned with swags and encrusted with decorative patterning.


Madonna Adoring the Child with Musical Angels




St John the Baptist

St Alberto Carmelitan

Madonna and Saints



La Circoncision avec Fra Jacopo Lampugnani en donateur



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