BRAMANTE, Donato
(b. 1444, Fermignano, d. 1514, Roma)

Man with a Broadsword

c. 1481
Fresco transferred to canvas, 285 x 127 cm
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

From the old house of the Panigarola family, later owned by the Prinetti, where it decorated the so-called Barons' Hall. Detached and removed to the Brera Gallery in 1901. It is likely that this painting, as well as the entire fresco cycle, was commissioned by Gottardo Panigarola, Chancellor to Gian Galeazzo Sforza, Duke of Milan. According to Lamazzo, the cycle portrays the most famous men-at-arms of the time; Pietro Suola the Elder, Giorgio Moro da Ficino and Beltrame.

A certain exuberance in the architectural details of the niche, as well as the lucid, incisive form of the drapery and the hair, show the probable influence on Bramante of north Italian art. The example of Melozzo da Forli and Mantegna is also apparent. Bramante's desire to make the figure heroic, and the frozen violence of the Roman pose, give the composition a remote rarefied air.