Madonna and Child with St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist
Fresco transferred to canvas, 170 x 190 cm
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
by FOPPA, Vincenzo
(b. 1427/30, Brescia, d. 1515/16, Brescia)
Inscribed "MCCCCLXXXV DIE X OCTVBR" on the lower fillet of the parapet, originally in the sacristy of S. Maria di Brera, it was removed in 1808 when the church was dismantled. The fresco was formerly attributed to Bramantino.
This fresco is fundamental to Foppa's career. The simple surface divisions of his earlier work have been replaced by representations of fully three-dimensional architecture. The grandiose barrel vault of sculptured profiles, set in medallions in the tympanums, shows the influence of Bramante. The fullness of the compositional forms and their spectacular effect, as well as the triumphant character of the Madonna, reveal Foppa's intimate lyric qualities. His lyricism is seen at its strongest in the harmonies of subdued blues, reds and greens, and in the silvery chiaroscuro of Mary's face, which is a miraculous transformation of light into substance.