Country: ITALY
ITALIAN CHRISTMAS STAMP DEPICTS HOLY FAMILY BY POLIDORO DA LANCIANO By Giorgio Migliavacca A € 0,95 Christmas stamp was issued by Italy on 21 November 2015 for Christmas mail use; the stamp depicts the Virgin Mary with Child, St. Joseph and St. Catherine of Alexandria, a painting of the school of Venetian Renaissance master Polidoro da Lanciano, part of the collection of Bergamo’s Accademia Carrara. The stamp indirectly celebrates the 500th birthday of Polidoro da Lanciano. His date of birth has been questioned and it would seem that he was more likely born in 1510; in fact he was admitted to the guild of Venetian painters in 1530 which would have been rather improbable for a 15 year old adolescent. In his last will in 1565 he stated that he was “about 50 years old”, indicating the even he was not sure of the exact date of birth. Polidoro Lanzani (also known as Polidoro de’ Renzi, aka Polidoro da Lanciano, aka Polidoro Veneziano)) was born in Lanciano near Chieti in 1515, his grandfather was a famous artist specializing in ceramics. With a declining economy in his hometown, he moved to Venice at a very early age. There he remained and worked for most of his life; in Venice he married Angelica, an older woman, who died in 1532. He later married Elena Buzzacarini, a woman from Padova who gave him a son, Giovanni Antonio. The young Polidoro did some of his apprenticeship at Titian’s workshop, and he surely worked at Vecellio’s school. Savoldo, Titian and Bonifacio Veronese had a strong influence on his style. His paintings are not signed. Most of his paintings depict religious subjects such a saints, Christ, the Descent of the Holy Ghost, and a series of paintings depicting the Holy Family. During the late 1800s some of his paintings were erroneously offered by London auctions as the work of Titian. Polidoro’s most famous painting “The Descent of the Holy Ghost” was attributed to Bonifacio Veronese, first, and later to Titian. In the mid-1600s painter and art historian Carlo Ridolfi and later on, Marco Boschini, set the record straight. According to recent research, in 1648 Ridolfi started a gossip about Titian suggesting that from time to time the great master would forget to lock the room where he kept his prized things; his assistant (among them Polidoro) would access the room to make copies of the paintings. At some point Titian started to rework his assistants copies and pass them as his own work. According to Ridolfi, this would explain why many of the unsigned paintings by Titian assistants have been attributed to him. These rumors seem have been questioned by critics, but there remains for the fact that Titian’s workshop did actually produce replicas of his most successful paintings. At his death, in 1565, Polidoro’s financial situation was rather pitiful; however, he had inherited some land from his father, and in due course his widow, stepson and son moved to Lanciano. One of his paintings at the Louvre in Paris is positioned very close to Leonardo’s Mona Lisa. Polidoro’s paintings can be admired at museums in London, Vienna, Berlin, Budapest, Paris and Cleveland. He died in Venice in 1565 after suffering from “fever” for over six months.
Item Id #: 013314