LUINI, Bernardino
(b. 1480, Luino, d. 1532, Milano)

Crucifixion and Scenes from the Life of Christ

Santa Maria degli Angeli, Lugano

The partition in Santa Maria degli Angeli in Lugano was frescoed in 1529 by Bernardino Luini. In contrast to early examples, Luini unites the entire wall into a single picture plane. To achieve a huge, overwhelming scenographic effect, Luini relinquished any division of the wall into small parts. The view looks through an illusionistic architectural frame to an enormous, crowded panorama of the Crucifixion. In the foreground, the crosses, Christ's death, and reactions of people push right up to the viewer, as if to the edge of a stage. Small, separate subsidiary scenes are arranged in the background landscape. In a symmetrical arrangement, three episodes on the left that preceded the Crucifixion are contrasted with three episodes on the right that followed Christ's death.