FERRARI, Gaudenzio
(b. ca. 1475, Valduggia, d. 1546, Milano)

High altar

San Cristoforo, Vercelli

The old Humilitati monastery of San Cristoforo in Vercelli was entrusted to the aristocratic family of the Corradi di Lignano in the fifteenth century. In the early sixteenth century Provost Nicolini Corradi had the old church torn down and a replacement built. Andrea Corradi's assumption of office as provost in July 1529 was accompanied by an elaborate campaign of decoration. The new church was decorated with a retable for the high altar and two fresco cycles in the transept, in the Cappella dell'Assunta and the Cappella della Maddalena, all by Gaudenzio Ferrari. The artist had returned to Vercelli in 1528 after a long period of activity in Varallo.

Ferrri's altarpiece shows the Madonna encircled by saints: St Christofer, the patron saint of the church is on the left, accompanied by John the Baptist; on the right is St Nicholas, the name saint of the donor of the church, Nicolino Corradi, and the blessed Humilitati monk Orico, the original founder of the monastery. Kneeling next to Orico is a portrait figure of another Humilitati monk, probably the new provost, Andrea Corradi. The figures are placed in a natural paradise filled with fruit.