The circumstance critique of the "Master of the Presepio" is connected to that of the "Master of Castelsardo", hour identified in to cagliaritano's Gioacchino Cavaro 1. The connection between the two, in fact, results so much evident that, for some verses, their work could be confused. The confrontation between the two artists is today possible solo through the only attributed work certainly to the Master of the Presepio, that is the retablo to represent the deriving Nativity from the church of S. Francis in Stampace to Cagliari and today guarded beside the National Gallery of the city (fig. 1).
A painting of vast dimensions (mt. 3,32x2,60) is dealt with, to which they are missing the polvaroli. The first to describe this painting it was Giovanni Spano in his Guide of the city of Cagliari, which for the last turn it he saw situated by chapel of patronage of the Carnicier family 2. On the 1870 this painting, together to other, he had carried beside the Royal University, then on the 1889 assigned definitely at the commissary to the Royal Museums and Excavations from Sardinia put it next to the Palace of the Seziate; finally more recently, has stayed collocated beside the National Gallery of Cagliari 3. The Painting is constituted of three vertical portions to manner of double tryptic, with a platform to the base. In the central compartment have represented the Nativity and the Crucifixion; in the right compartment have represented Caterina Saint of Alessandria and Sant'Antonio abbot; while on the left one Chiara Saint and St. Pietro. On the platform from left to the right have represented the Andrew, Agostino and Baptist Giovanni Saints, Christ on Compassion, better James, Nicola to Bari and Pantaleo Saints.
The style by this artist results, as before exposed, connected intimately with that of Gioacchino Cavaro, so much that from many comes considered an artist tied to his active school beside the district of Stampace in Cagliari between the end of the XV and the beginning of the XVI century. Despite this punctual identification, sol very manifest, the work of this artist hears again much more than those Italianish of his school-chief, of the "sabor de la tierruca", like he wrote the Goddard-King in the 1923, symptom to a tighter connection doesn't sole with Sardinia, but rather with the current Catalan that had in the island like first exponent Joan Barcelò, active to Cagliari and Sassari to steed between the XV and the XVI century 4. If, in fact, the St. Pietro and the balusters by the retablo of the Presepio are from connect at that of Tuili (1500), work of Gioacchino Cavaro 5 (fig. 2), the Crucifixion stays more connected at that of the retablo to the Visitazione with Joan Barcelò (post 1485), deriving, not at random, from the same place of that by the Presepio.
The vivacious and strong colours result neat, deprived o the shadowed "leonardesco" which, instead, he marks those by Gioacchino Cavaro, nearer to the express concepts from Piero della Francesca and Antonello da Messina, that they had the posthumous expression in the circuit of the Roman painting with Pier Matteo d'Amelia and that they in Sardinia find definite reference in the work with the Master of Sanluri and Giovanni Muru 6. Two current of painting, one district Catalan from alight colours, neat contours and a popular appearance which he became wide above all in the lowest layers of the population also with illustrious examples; an other italian's more cultured and refined awkward to the Roman picture and laziale, to which Zeri he connected Pietro Cavaro and the Master of the Glasgow Adoration and Johannes Hispanus 7 also and to which the Master of Coteta 8 also connects.
The Master of the Presepio stays tied up in narrow manner to the current Catalan and he particularly takes themes and expressive tied up sonority to the big Jaime Huguet that he in the 1451 painted, he is not forgotten, a retablo for Sardinia 9, without be missing, naturally to precise Piedmontese tied up recalls o the work of Giovanni Canavesio also he, like also Bernat Martorell and Miquel Nadal, tied up to Sardinia and inclusive in the pictoric circuit Sardinian-course of the end o the XV century to which he belongs, also if in measure relatively minor, Gioacchino Cavaro 10.
The appearence almost caricature it by the figures, united to the made with the drape so severe and square, he makes the figures by ours tied up tightly to those to Jaime Huguet, much more than those to Gioacchino Cavaro, but he stays indisputable the connection between the two Sardinians, so much more that, very probably, they operated in the same school, the one like teacher, the other like student. Despite, in fact, a connection so narrow with the Master of the Presepio with the Catalan contemporary art, a more pronounced awareness is warned prospectic directly derived from him illuminated examples of Gioacchino Cavaro's in him. But, despite the manifest attempts of imitation, the figures not knoll firmly to earth, but they stay like "he suspended", like thy are independent and to one stele as regards the prospectic-grate.
Results evident, in fact, like the compartments of the Saints Pietro and Anthony abbot by the retablo of the Presepio derives directly from that of Tuili (enough compare the cloth behind to the Saints, the pavement of azulejos and the baluster to rhombuses) also if in this case an awareness is warned clean prospectic, determined from a representation plane and clear connected with the examples mantegnesco's and berruguettiano's of italian origin.
The Master of the Presepio, in the his only known work, stays more attentive than other to the funds in gold that result very worked embossed, and through which the work, as a whole, becomes sparkling and precious, like a diadem of ornate gold of precious stones. The same colours, to violent tracts, underlines a more attentive formulation to the dramatic and emotional effect of the work, which not to that prospectic and harmonic.
A connection so narrow between Catalogna, Sardinia and to small measure with Italy (above all Piedmont and Liguria) and Fiandre is also warned in a big Crucifixion preserve next to the Rijksmuseum to Amsterdam (inventory: SK-A-3105). A table of centimeters is dealt with 176,8 for 186, bequest of P. A. Gildemeester, Egmond aan den Hoef, in the 1930 11(fig. 3). In this table has represented Christ crucifix between the two robbers, with in low to left Maria Virgo term from Giovanni and to the right the feet of the cross. On everything dominates the figure of the Christ crucifix realized according to the canons of Gioacchino Cavaro, enough a confrontation between this and that of Tuili or Castelsardo for become account which the same model is dealt with, immediately also if, on this case, the surrender volumetric results less strong, the figure is skinnier and thin, the more relaxed abdomen. But a look all field on the figure makes it as intimately connected with those of the school of Stampace to the first hour from don't leave entrance uncertainties on the aboriginal origin by this painting. Seems almost that any figures have stayed realize from different hands by what has realized the Crucifix, also if on wide measure it expects the work stays homogeneous, like if to Master has derived here and there from a repertory which to his eyes became available immediately and which the buyers did sure reference. In the faces so wide and flat, almost caricature them resents the a neat huguetiano's influence, as like the scene to the feet of the cross seems to repeat a visited theme already from the Canavesio on the Crucifixion by Briga Marittima (1492) and a great deal known in Mediterraneo circle, above all in Sardinia where he finds be in the Barcelò (retablo of the Visitazione, post 1485), is in Gioacchino Cavaro (retablo of Tuili, 1500), same is the Master of the Presepio, also if with modality not of the all identical.
These aspects, therefore lets glimpse a Sardinian derivation by this stayed Crucifixion still unpublished and more precisely connected to the so-called "Master of the Presepio", active in Sardinia around at 1500, that is on connected with that of Tuili, the same could not tell of the Crucifixion from Amsterdam, which results tied up more with the retablo of Castelsardo (1490) and with precedents work of which is been able to only suppose the iconografy being today disappearances (the retablos paintings for Sardinia by Jaime Huguet in the 1451, by Miquel Nadal and Bernat Martorell in the 1452, by Giovanni Canavesio in the 1472, etc.). The dating of the Crucifixion from Amsterdam is therefore reasonably inclusive between the 1490 and the 1500, that is between the dating of the retablo of Castelsardo and that of Tuili.
A felt thanks expression it to the General Director and to Mr. Geert-Jan Koot head of the Library of the Rijksmuseum for the polite cooperation and for the supply of the photographic material that I publish.
L. AGUS, Gioacchino Cavaro, Il Maestro di Castelsardo, Cagliari, 2000.
G. SPANO, Guida della città e dintorni di Cagliari, 1861, p. 174.
L. AGUS, pp. 73, 74.
C. ARU, Un documento definitivo per l'identificazione di Giovanni Barcelo, in: "Annali della facoltÓ di Lettere e Filosofia", UniversitÓ di Cagliari, III, 1931, pp. 169-178.
L. AGUS, pp. 29-30.
L. AGUS, p. 49 ss.
F. ZERI, Two early Cinquecento problems in South Italy, 1. An "Adoration of the Magi" in the Glasgow Art Gallery, in: "The Burlington Magazine", XCVI, 1954< ; R. LONGHI, Johannes Hispanus, "Proporzioni", II (1948), f. 202-208; "Paragone", XI, Novembre 1950, f. 23.
C. RAGGHIANTI, "Sele arte", VIII, settembre-dicembre 1959.
L. AGUS, p. 12.
P. SANTUCCI, La pittura del '400, Torino 1992, pp. 245 ss.
All the paintings of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, f. A3105, p. 697.