Andrea Mantegna

Madonna in glory with Saints John the Baptist, Gregory the Great, Benedict and Jerome

The Castle Gallery houses a work by Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506), one of the main exponents of Renaissance figurative art. Mantegna, the court painter for the Gonzagas from 1460, is documented as having made a great impression on Galeazzo Maria Sforza, for his frescos in the Bridal Chamber of Mantua's Ducal Palace, carried out in 1474. At the bottom of this former altarpiece of the Olivetan Church of Santa Maria in Organo in Verona an angel is holding a parchment bearing the artist's signature and the date of 15th August 1497, which refers to the festival of the church's patron saint, the Ascended Virgin Mary, : “A. MANTINIA PI/ A[N] GRACIE/1497 15 / AUGUSTJ” (Andrea Mantegna, painted in the year of grace 1497, 15th August). Acquired from the Trivulzio Collection in 1935, the altarpiece is a work of great interest, in which the Paduan master creates an immense composition with, at its centre the Virgin sitting within a luminous almond frame surrounded by cherubs. The absence of a throne alludes to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven. The four saints, John the Baptist, Gregory the Great, Saint Benedict and Saint Jerome are seen from a lower perspective rendering them both solemn and monumental. Towards the bottom a group of angels are depicted before an organ, the emblem of the church in Verona for which the altarpiece was painted. The scene is framed by two luxuriant trees heavy with fruit.

The Madonna with Saints John the Baptist, Gregory the Great, Benedict and Jerome can seen in Room XXIII of the Castle Gallery.