BRAMANTINO
(b. ca. 1465, Milano, d. 1530, Milano)

Holy Family

c. 1520
Poplar panel, 61 x 47 cm
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Constructed on a series of triangular rhythms heightened by the violent tension of the drapery, which seems to absorb the figures, the composition has a rarefied atmosphere. Every gesture assumes an almost hieratic dignity, and every figure tends to take on an architectonic fixity. The figure of the Christ Child violently escapes from this formal severity. The audacious, almost explosive gesture of his arms seems to introduce the more serene and contemplative effect of the background, in which unreal, almost stage-set buildings stand out against the luminous sky. The buildings recall Bramantino's work as an architect and architectural theoretician. Of his work in this field, only the mausoleum for the Trivulzio family in Milan has survived.