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Pellegrino Aretusi was a Modenese, the son of
Giovanni Aretusi, a painter of Modena employed by
the Estensi for painting shields, trappings for tourna-
ments, coffers, and the like, in the last years of the
fifteenth century. Both father and son, instead of

1 Cf. Venturi, op. cit., pp. 196-198 ; G. Agnelli, Ferrara e Pomposa,
pp. 48-52 ; Gruyer, I. pp. 364, 365. Morelli, Italian Faintcrs, II.
p. 138, was the first to dispute Garofalo's authorship and a.ssign the
«'«^iling to Ercole Grandi.

^ Op. cit., p. 198.


Ercole Crandi



To face pdf/e 132


their surname, were called Munari, from a mill at
Panzanello rented by the former. As early as 1483,
Pellegrino is described by a local poetaster of Modena,
Giovanni Maria Parenti, as giovane bcllo e degno ne la
pittura} The pictures attributed to him are not very
clearly distinguished from those of his slightly older
fellow-townsman, Francesco Bianchi, whom, as an
artistic personality, he somewhat resembles. It is
curious to observe that, in each of the four, the figure
of St. Jerome appears. His earliest extant work,
according to Signor Venturi, is the Madonna and
Child with four Saints in the Museum of Berlin,
formerly attributed to the school of Padua, which has
all the characteristics of Ferrarese painting in the
Quattrocento. Next to this, if his, would come a
picture in the Casa Rangoni at Modena, in which,
under the patronage of the Baptist and St. Jerome,
Count Niccolo Rangoni and his wife, Bianca Bentivoglio,
are worshipping the Blessed Virgin and the infant
Christ ; a work, at one time ascribed to Francia,
which was evidently executed before 1500, the year
of Count Niccolo's death. Another picture at Modena,
attributed to Pellegrino by Signor Venturi, is the
altarpiece in San Pietro, already described, which I
find myself in agreement with Mr. Berenson in re-
garding as the work of Francesco Bianchi. On the

1 Venturi, La Pltiura ^f dcnesc ncl sccolo XV., p. 390.


other hand, the picture at Ferrara, the Madonna and
Child with St. Jerome and St. Geniinianus, is un-
questionably by Pellegrino, and the only authenticated
example of his art that has come down to us. It is
mentioned in the chronicle of Tommasino de"* Bianchi as
having been painted in 1509 for the church of the
Battuti, afterwards Santa Maria della Neve, in Modena,
and encased in a frame richly decorated by Bartolommeo
Bonascia/ The picture, with its rich colouring, its bas-
reliefs, its putti making music, and its types, is strongly
reminiscent of Costa ; and it is highly probable that,
after learning the rudiments of painting from his own
father at Modena, Pellegrino studied under Costa and
Francia at Bologna.

According to Vasari, Pellegrino in later life went to
Rome, and worked under Raphael in the decorations
of the Loggie of the Vatican. He would seem to
have executed frescoes in various Roman churches, of
which no traces now remain. After Raphael's death,
he returned to Modena, where, in 1523, he was
assassinated by the relations of a certain Giuliano
Bastardi, whom his son had killed in a street brawl.'^

Michele Coltellini, or Cortellini, is a very inferior
Ferrarese painter of the same epoch, who had probably

1 Cronaca Modcnae dl Tommasino de" Bianchi^ I. p. 64. The
frame had been made twelve years before.

2 Vasiu-i, iV. pp. G50, 651 ; Venturi, op. cit., p. 390.


Pei.legrino Munari


Tu/uce pa(/e 134


studied under Lorenzo Costa. The picture in five
compartments at Ferrara, formerly attributed to Costa,
is a feeble and somewhat archaic production, in which
the little episode of St. Anthony and St. Paul dividing
a loaf of bread has alone a certain naive attractiveness.
Coltellini's figures are bony, flat, and badly propor-
tioned ; his colouring usually poor. A Death of the
Blessed Virgin, signed and dated 1502, has passed
from the Santini collection into the public gallery
of Bologna ; a picture of the risen Christ with adoring
Saints, painted during the pestilence of 1503, pestis
tempore,^ is at Berlin. The least unattractive of
Coltellini's works is the Madonna and Child with
St. Catherine, St. Michael, St. Jerome, and the Baptist,
of 1506, formerly in the Santini collection, in which
the types and general compostion imitate Costa with
some success, and show, too, that the painter was
influenced by Francia. A picture formerly in Sta.
Maria in Vado, and now in the pinacoteca of Ferrara,
more doubtfully attributed to Coltellini, has some
effective colouring and a striking landscape background,
and is altogether later in style ; its apparent date,
1542, may be a misreading for 1512. Coltellini was
still living in 1535.

Another unimportant painter of this epoch is
Stefano Falzagalloni, by whom are several works in the

1 Cf. Frizzi, Storia di Ferrara, IV. p. 214.


pinacoteca of Ferrara, including a Madonna and Child
with St. Roch and St. Anthony Abbot, painted for
S. Maria in Vado in 1530.^ Benedetto Coda, who seems
to have been a Ferrarese by birth, and is said to have
died at Ferrara in 1520, worked mainly in Romagna
and the Marches. He was probably a pupil of Niccolo
Rondinelli, that rather mediocre disciple of Giovanni
Bellini who brought the influence of the latter into
those regions. Coda's pictures at Ravenna and Rimini,
executed in the second decade of the sixteenth century,
can hardly be ranked among the genuine productions
of the Ferrarese school.^ The same applies to
Francesco and Bernardino Zaganelli, the two painters of
Cotignola, a town which Ercole I. had succeeded in
annexing to the duchy of Perrara. Though Ferrarese
subjects, their art is more akin to that of the
provincial painters of Central Italy, and they are
eclectics of a mediocre character. Francesco Zaganelli,
the less unimportant of the two, probably studied under
Rondinelli or Marco Palmezzano, and came later under
the influence of Francia. His brother Bernardino was
his assistant in some of his earlier works, and died

1 There was apparently anothar painter of this name, who died in
1500. Gf. Baruffaldi, I. pp. 155-157. Neither can be identified with
the Stefano da Ferrara mentioned by Vasari (III. pp. 407, 638) as a
friend of Mantegna, to whom Ercole Roberti's picture in the Brera
was formerly ascribed.

2 Cf. Gruyer, II. pp. 355-357.


before him. Their earliest known picture is one
painted in 1499 for the Osservanti of their native town,
now in the Brera. Francesco was working as late as
1527, while Bernardino's activity seems to have ended
in 1509.

A painter who, though apparently a native of Pisa,
must be regarded as belonging to the Ferrarese school,
is Niccolo Pisano or Niccolo da Pisa.^ We find him
at Ferrara in 1499, competing with Lorenzo Costa
and others for the decoration of the choir of the
Duomo. In the following years he was much employed
by Duke Ercole ; but none of the pictures now attri-
buted to him can be proved with certainty to be his,
and they exhibit great variation in style. In 1502,
una anemia a Suor Liicia, " an altarpiece for Suora
Lucia,"*"* in honour of St. Catherine of Siena, was
commissioned from him by the Duke. It is possible
that this is the remarkable picture in one of the
sacristies of the Duomo, representing St. Catherine
taking under her protection two richly attired nobles
and a number of Dominican nuns.^ Another picture,
an ancona made at the Duke"*s orders in 1504, "a le
suore de Santa Maria de Gratia"' (that is, for the

1 Cf. Venturi, L'artc fe/rarcse nel periodo di Ercolc I. d'Este, iii.
pp. 393-395 ; Cittadella, Documenti ed illustrazioni, pp. 72, 73 ;
Gruyer, II. p. 137.

2 Cf. Baruffaldi, II. (Appendix), p. 561. The picture look? Inter
and is, perhaps, a copy.


Mortara nuns already mentioned), cannot now be traced.
A Deposition from the Cross, signed " Nicholo,*" in
the Bologna gallery, and another representation of the
theme with the forged signature " Ferancia " in the
Corsini gallery at Rome, are usually attributed to him.
Both these pictures are Ferrarese or Bolognese in types
and colouring, but do not suggest the same painter ; in
the latter, a woman, rushing in with outstretched arms,
somewhat recalls similar figures in the later works of
Francia, and the last gleam of sunset against the
lowering sky after a day of tempest is well rendered.
On the other hand, a rather characterless altarpiece in
the Brera, from the oratory of the Compagnia della
Morte at Ferrara, said to have been painted by Niccolo
Pisano in 1512,^ suggests Venetian influences. Far
finer than any of these is the great altarpiece painted,
according to the inscription, in 1520, for the chapel
of the Giraldoni family in San Niccolo at Ferrara, now
in the possession of Lord Wim borne. This striking
work, formerly attributed to Ortolano, has been assigned
by Signor Venturi to Niccolo Pisano.'^ It represents
St. Joseph presenting the infant Christ to the Blessed
Virgin, attended by the " Quattro Santi Incoronati,''
the five martyred patrons of the stone-cutters'* craft :

1 Cf. Cittadella, o-p. cit., p. 73.

2 Exhibition of Works of the School of Ferrara- Bologna, Burling-
ton Fine Arts Club, pp. 21, 22. Cf. Baruffaldi, I. pp. 173, 174 ;
Luderchi, pp. 101, 102.


Castorius, Claudius;, Symphorianus, Nicostratus, and

Siniplicius.^ The types somewhat recall those of

Francia, but the landscape, the colouring, and the

drapery suggest the later generation of Ferrarese

painters, as also does the whole treatment of the scene.

We have, perhaps, too little evidence to tell whether

Niccolo Pisano was capable of producing so fine a work.

If he did, we must take him as an artist who was

trained like others in the school of Francia and Costa,

and afterwards developed upon the lines of the mastei"s

to whom we come in the following chapters. He was

still working in 1528.

We are on surer ground with the " glow-worm '' of

Ferrarese painting, Lodovico Mazzolino, whose work,

markedly personal and distinctive in character, belongs

entirely to the sixteenth century. He was born at

Ferrara about 1481, the son of a certain Giovanni

Mazzolino. Vasari states that he studied under Costa

at Bologna, and Baruffaldi adds that he left that

1 The painter has glossed over the difficulty, of how the four
"Santi Incoronati" should actually be^te, by leaving the fifth un-
crowned and alnnost hidden in a corner. This curious puzzle, which
is already found in the seventh century, is due to a confusion or
blending of two different legends : that of four unnamed Roman
soldier?, coronati or "crowned with martyrdom" in Rome under
Trajan ; and that of the five stone-cutters named above, who were
put to death in Pannonia by Diocletian in 305, for refusing to make
pagan idols, and whose cult was associated with thnt of the four
earlier martyrs. Cf. Grisar, Roma aUafine del Mondo antico, pp. 163,


master's school in consequence of the quarrels arising
out of his rivalry in love with a fellow-pupil. Morelli,
on the other hand, first suggested Domenico Panetti
as his master, and Mr. Berenson more recently makes
him a pupil of Ercole Roberti, afterwards " influenced
by Costa and Dosso." We find his name for the first
time in 1504, the last year of Duke Ercole's reign,
when he was painting in the church of the Angeli,
and in subsequent years he appears to have been a
favourite painter of Lucrezia Borgia, in the decoration
of whose rooms in the Castello he took a large share.
The dates on his extant pictures range from 1509,
that of the triptych in the Berlin Museum, to 1526,
on the Circumcision at Vienna.

The majority of Mazzolino"'s pictures, which are verv
numerous and full of repetitions in subject, motives, and
accessories, are small in size, very carefully finished,
peculiarly rich in colour, and frequently fantastic in
the types. They represent exclusively Holy Families,
Sacre Conversazioni^ and scenes from the New Testament.
The fiery complexions of his men are copperish red in
hue ; the faces of his women are wax-like, with eyes
usually half-closed. Their brilliant robes have violet
shadows, and are often heightened with gold.^ More
frequently, instead of landscapes, he gives us symmetrical

1 Cf. esrecially Venturi, Ludovico Mazzolino, in Arch. Stor. deW
Arte, III. (1890).


architectural backgrounds, decorated with bronze or
cream-toned marble bas-reliefs, which " at once enrich
the composition, and add force and harmony to the
deep tints of red, green, blue, orange, and murrey
clustered in the raiment of the figures."" ^ His wonder-
fully attired Angels, as notably in the Holy Family
with St. Nicholas of Tolentino in the National
Gallery, are a creation of his own, and seem the
denizens of some romantic fairyland. Characteristic of
his art are such motives as that of the little St. John
defending his lamb from the advances of a monkey —
an animal curiously dear to the Ferrarese painters.
Almost the only picture of large dimensions, that has
come down to us from his hand, is the Nativity in
the pinacoteca at Ferrara, with a black and a white
Abbot in attendance, an unattractive work in which his
fiery colouring and eccentric types seem more incon-
gruous on this larger scale ; the influence of Costa and
Francia is apparent in the figure of the Divine Child
blessing His Mother. His later pictures show that,
naturally towards the end of his life, he was strongly
influenced by Dosso Dossi.

Mazzolino probably spent the greater part of his life
at Ferrara ; but in 1524 he was working at Bologna,
where he painted two important pictures, Christ
among the Doctors (which Vasari extolled as the best

1 National Qallery ; Official Catalngvc.


of his productions) for the Caprara chapel in San
Francesco, and the " Tribute Money " for the inde-
fatigable Girolamo Casio. These works are now at
Berlin and Posen/ He was painting again in Ferrara
in 1526, and apparently died in the autumn of 1528, a
victim to the pestilence that devastated the city. His
last will and testament, dated September 27, 1528,
couched in a singularly devotional spirit, shows that he
left a widow, Giovanna, and two daughters, Claudia
and Cornelia, and that he was to be buried in his
parish church of San Gregorio.^

1 The tympanum and predella of the picture for San Francesco,
representing the Eternal Father and the Nativity, are in the gallery
at Bologna.

2 Cittadella, Documenti ed iUustrazioni, p. 54.



" Almost at the same time,'" writes Vasari, " that
Heaven made a gift to Ferrara, nay, to the world, of
the divine Lodovico Ariosto, the painter Dosso was
born in the same city ; who, albeit he was not so rare
among painters as Ariosto among poets, nevertheless
bore himself in such wise in that art that, besides his
works being held in high esteem in Ferrara, he also
deserved that the learned poet, his familiar friend,
should make honoured mention of him in his most
famous writings. Whereby the pen of Messer Lodovico
has given greater renown to the name of Dosso than
did all the brushes and colours that he consumed in all
his life." ^

Messer Giorgio is obviously alluding to the well-
known stanza, among the additions made by the poet
in the final edition (1532) of the Orlando Furioso, in
which Dosso and his brother are named as two of the
nine greatest painters of the Renaissance :

1 Vite. ed. cit., V. pp. 96, 97.


" E quei che furo a nostri di, o sono hora :
Leonardo, Andrea Mantegna, Gian Bellino ;
Duo Dossi ; e quel ch'a par sculpe e colora,
Michel, piu che mortale Angel divino ;
Bastiano ; Raphael ; Titian, c'honora
Non men Cador che quei Venetia e Urbino ;
E gli altri di cui tal I'opra si vede
Qual de la prisca eta si legge e crede." ^

The spiritual kinship between Dosso Dossi and
Ariosto, the painting of the one seeming the counter-
part of the other's poetry, was noticed by their con-
temporaries. Paolo Giovio, in his Fragmentimi Trium
Dialogorum (written, as already stated, in 1527),
characterises Dosso as urbanum ingenium — urbanUas
being one of the qualities that he especially ascribes to
the Orlando Furioso} Mr. Berenson well says : " The

1 "And those Tvho were in our days, or now are : Leonardo, Andrea
Mantegna, Gian Bellini ; two Dossi ; and he who equally sculptures
and paints, Michael, Angel divine more than mortal man ; Sebastian ;
Eaphael ; Titian, who honours not less Cadore than they Venice and
Urbino ; and the others of whom we see such work as is read and
believed of the classic age." (Orlando Furioso, xxxiii. 2).

2 Giovio's words have a certain significance as the first contem-
porary criticism of Dosso, written while he was still at the height of
his career : " Doxi autem Ferrariensis urbanum probatur ingenium cum
in justis operibus, tum maxime in illis quae parerga vocantur. Amaena
namque picturae diverticula voluptario labore consectatus, praeruptas
cautes, virentia nemora, opacas perfluentium ripas, florentes rei
rusticae apparatus, agricolaruni laetos fervidosque labores, praeterea
longissimos terrarum, marique prospectus, classes, ancupia, venationes,
et cuncta id genus spectatu oculis jucunda, luxurianti, ac festiva
manu exprimere consuevit " {op. cjY., p. 124).


court poet and tlie court painter were remarkably alike
in the essence of their genius. They were both lovers
of * high romance," and both had the power to create it —
the one in verse, the other in colour — with a splendour
that perhaps many other Italians could have equalled,
but with a fantasy, a touch of magic, that was more
characteristic of English genius in the Elizabethan
period than of Italian genius at any time." ^

Giovanni di Niccolo Luteri, to give Dosso Dossi his
proper name, was some five years younger than Ariosto,
and was born about 1479. His brother Battista was
born a few years later. They were the sons of Niccolo
di Lutero, spenditore of Duke Ercole I., and Jacopina
da Porto, his wife. It is a little doubtful whether
their usual appellation is derived from the family
having originally come from Dosso in the Trentino,
or, as seems more probable, from the fact that they
possessed property at another Dosso, a little place in
the territory of Pieve di Cento. There seems no
reason for questioning the tradition that Giovanni at
least (if not both the brothers) received his first
artistic training under Lorenzo Costa at Bologna.
This apprenticeship under Costa was probably brief.
BarufFaldi asserts that, finding Costa too much
occupied with other pupils to give them individual
attention, the brothers obtained leave from the Duke

1 The Study and Criticism of Italian Art, I. pp. 31, 32.



to travel, and spent six years at Rome and five at
Venice.^ This would roughly correspond with the
gaps in the documentary evidence concerning their
activity, but seems contradicted by the complete
absence of any Roman influences in Giovanni's
pictures, save in the one or two instances when
he is deliberately copying from Raphael. More
plausible is the almost contemporary statement of
Lodovico Dolce, in his Dialogo della Pittura, which
is said to have been inspired by Titian himself, and
in which he represents Pietro Aretino saying of the
two Dossi : " One of them stayed here at Venice for
some time to learn to paint with Titian, and the other
in Rome with Raphael "" ; though he adds that " in-
stead they adopted such a clumsy manner that they
are unworthy of the pen of so great a poet as
Ariosto.""^ It is possible, however, that, in the case
of Battista, this refers to a later epoch, as there is
documentary evidence that he was in Rome, apparently
working under Raphael, in 1520, and he was there,
most likely, from 1517 to 1524.

Traces of Costa's influence may be discerned in
the work of Dosso Dossi. In the former's admirable
portrait of Battista Fiera in the National Gallery, we
seem to find Dosso's whimsical but powerful style of

1 I. p. 251.

2 Dialogo della Pittura intitolato V Aretino (Venice, 1557), p. 9v.

i :








portraiture in germ, and the figure of St. John in
Costa^'s altarpiece, in the same collection, distinctly
anticipates the pose and character of Dosso'*s similar
presentment of the Evangelist in the great picture from
Sanf Andrea now in the pinacoteca at Ferrara.

We have no documentary evidence of Dosso**? pre-
sence in his native city until 1517, when both he and
Battista first appear in the ducal service.^ He may
well have gone to Venice before 1506, when Costa's
school was broken up. But, when the League of
Cambrai bore fruit in war, and Duke Alfonso him-
self, in 1510, took the field against the armies of the
republic, Venice became an intolerable place of resi-
dence for a subject of the House of Este, and Dosso
joined his former master at Mantua. There is docu-
mentary evidence of his presence there in 1511 and
1512. No traces remain of the work that he
executed for the Gonzaga ; but his stay at Mantua
has left its mark upon the history of art, for it was
probably there that Correggio, then a youth of
eighteen, fell under his influence.^ On the death of

1 The documents published by Venturi, 1 due Dossi, in the Arch
Star. deU'Arte,Y. (1892), pp. 440, 441, show that the painter was
called " maestro Dosso " as early as 1517, that is, from the beginning
of his connection with the court of Ferrara. It is thus clear that
the statement, occasionally made, that he did not adopt the name
and style of "niagister Dossus" until 1532, is incorrect. His
brother was similarly known as " maestro Baptista," or " M. Baptista
di M. Dosso." 2 Cf. BorenBon, oj). cit., pp. 40, 41


Julius II., in 1513, hostilities ceased. The Duke of
Ferrara, released from his desperate struggle for the
very existence of his duchy, had leisure to follow the
traditions of his house as a patron of art. Dosso
returned to Ferrara, and became Alfonso's chief
court painter, his personal qualities and genial dis-
position rendering him persona grata with his
sovereign. In 1517, we find him going to Florence
" per facende del Signore,""* and in Venice, on similar
ducal business, in the following year, when he had
dealings on behalf of the Duke with a " messer Luigi
Vicentino,*" who was probably Luigi da Porto, tlie
novelist to whom the world owes the ultimate source of
Shakespeare''s Romeo and Juliet. From 1518 until
1541, he seems to have been kept in constant em-
ployment, first by Alfonso and then by his successor,
Ercole II., and, save for some frescoes executed in the
early thirties of the century, for Cardinal Bernardo
Clesio, at Trent, and for Francesco Maria della
Rovere in the Villa of Monte Imperiale, near Pesaro,
his work was mainly confined to the territories
of the Estensi. Battista Dossi appears to have re-
turned from Rome in 1524.^ Henceforth the two

1 Venturi, op. cit., docs. 2 and 12.

* There is a gap in the record of dncal payments to him from
November 13, 1517 (when he is first mentioned), to October 1, 1524
(when he renppears). Venturi, op. cit., docs. 2 and 48. A letter
from JLlfonso Paolucci to Duite Alfonso shown that, at the beginning


brothers usually worked together at the commands of
Alfonso, albeit most unwillingly, as the younger was
of a jealous and malicious disposition, and so envied
his elder's success and reputation, that the two were
hardly on speaking terms with each other.

The predominant influence in Dosso's earlier and
better work is that of Giorgione, probably derived
directly from that master at Venice. A little later,
he was similarly impressed by Titian, both by personal
contact and by the presence of several of his master-
pieces at Ferrara. Afterwards he gave full scope to
his own somewhat fantastic genius, not always with
the purest taste, and, towards the end of his career,
seems to have been slightly touched by his younger
contemporary, Parmigianino. While remaining always
essentially Ferrarese in his art, he developed into a
colourist unrivalled out of Venice, and acquired a
peculiarly poetical treatment of light and shadow,

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