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Statues from Krk by a Master from Campsa’s Workshop

Gordana Sobota Matejčić ; Ministarstvo kulture - Uprava za zaštitu kulturne baštine, Konzervatorski ured u Rijeci

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 692 Kb

str. 167-176

preuzimanja: 781



In 2005, during the composing of the Inventory of the Moveable Cultural Heritage of the Church and Monastery of St Francis of Assisi at Krk, three wooden statues were found in the attic. These had once belonged to a lavish Renaissance triptych at the centre of which was a figure of the Virgin (107 x 45 x 27 cm), flanked
by the figures of St John the Baptist (c. 105 x 28 x 30 cm), an apostle with a book (c. 93 x 32 x 22 cm), and, in all likelihood, St James the Apostle. A trace of a small left foot in the Virgin’s lap indicates that the original composition was that of the Virgin and Child. It is highly likely that these statues originally belonged to the
altar of St James which mentioned by Augustino Valier during his visitation of the Church of St Francis of Assisi in 1579 as having a pala honorifica . Harmonious proportions, fine modelling of the heads, beautifully and confidently carved drapery of the fabrics, together with almost classical gestures, all point to a good master
carver who, in this case, sought inspiration in Venetian painting of the 1520s and 1530s. When attempting to find close parallels in the production of Venetian wood-carving workshops from the first half of the sixteenth century, without a doubt the best candidates are two signed statues from the workshop of Paolo Campsa de Boboti: the statue of the Risen Christ from the parish church of St Lawrence at Soave in Italy, dated to 1533,
and the statue of the Virgin and Child in a private collection in Italy, dated to 1534. To these one can add a statue from the Gianfranco Luzzetti collection at Florence, which has been attributed to Campsa’s workshop. Judging from all the above, the statues from St Francis’ might be dated to the 1540s. In the parish church of Holy Trinity at Baška is a wooden triptych
which, according to a nineteenth-century record, was
inscribed with Campsa’s signature and the year 1514.
When Bishop Stefanus David visited the Chapel of St Michael at Baška in 1685, he described in detail this wooden and carved palla on the main altar dedicated to St Michael, noting that the altar is under the patronage of the Papić family who had founded it and made considerable donations to it.
The high altar in the Church of St Mary Magdalene at Porat, also on the island of Krk, has a polyptych attributed to Girolamo and Francesco da Santa Croce.
Until now, it has been dated to 1556 - the year of the
dedication of the altar and the church. However, more
frequently than not, a number of years could pass between the furnishing of an altar and its dedication. With this in mind and having re-analyzed the paintings, the polyptych can be dated as early as the previous decade. Until now, the Renaissance statue of St Mary Magdalene (105 x 25 x 13 cm), originally part of an altar
predella but today housed in the Monastery’s collection, was not discussed in the scholarly literature save for its iconography. Based on the morphological similarities between the statue of St Mary Magdalene and the three statues at Krk, it can be concluded that they were carved by the same master carver.
Written sources inform us that after 1541 Paolo Campsa was no longer alive. Great differences between the works signed by Campsa have already been the subject of scholarly debate and it is known that due to high demand, his workshop included a number of highly skilled wood carvers. In the case of Krk, perhaps the master carver was an employee at Campsa’s workshop who outlived him and who, after its closure, went his
own way and was considered good enough to be hired by fellow painters from the Santa Croce workshop.
Installing a statue in a predella was a rare occurrence
in sixteenth-century Croatia and Venice alike. Even in the case of Campsa. Reliefs were used more frequently. However, this arrangement was customary on contemporary flügelaltaren in the trans-Alpine north.
It ought to be considered whether this northern altar design might provide a trail which would lead to a more specific location of a possible master carver.

Ključne riječi

wooden sculpture, sixteenth century, Krk, Porat, Paolo Campsa, workshop

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