BEMBO, Benedetto
(active 1462-1489 in Cremona)

Bianca Pellegrini's Journey to the Castles of Pier Maria Rossi

c. 1460
Golden Room, Castello di Torrechiara, Torrechiara

The paintings in the four compartments of the cross-ribbed vaulting supplement the subject matter of the walls but are subordinate to it. Here we see Bianca Pellegrini's progress through the realm of her beloved. She wears a pilgrim's cloak on top of a richly brocaded dress, a pilgrim's hat hanging on her back and she carries a staff and bundle. Larger than life and backed by a lapis lazuli sky patterned with small gold rays, she strides through a landscape conceived as a 360-degree panorama. In each compartment, directly above the pilgrim's head, there is a sun, originally in gleaming metal but now black, sending out further rays. Since Bianca's figure appears in each compartment, one has the impression that hers is an endless pilgrimage. In each of the vaulting scenes she is flanked by tiny castles left and right, all of which belonged to Pier Maria Rossi. Each castle, identified by name, stands atop a mountain peak, in the midst of a fertile landscape, or next to a river, and behind are the snow-covered peaks of the Apennines. The rivers and mountains are also labeled. This is the earliest geographic panorama in art history.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.