(b. ca. 1453, Fossano, d. 1523, Milano)

St Agnes

Detached fresco, 170 x 90 cm
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

This fresco is from the church of San Satiro, Milan. After its discovery in 1865, the fresco cycle to which this work belongs was detached and progressively moved to the Brera during the late nineteenth century.

Similar to the St Catherine of Alexandria, this composition shows its refinements in the architectural framework rather than in the ornamentation of the subject. The figure of the saint is harmoniously constructed, with her arms in subdued counter-movement, one lightly bent and the other extended. The turn of the head is admirably shown and harmonizes with the movement of the body. Incorporeal, Agnes emerges as if freeing herself from the large, circling folds of her dress, which is much lighter and more diaphanous than the silk of the big sleeves. She appears to emerge not only from the sumptuous garb but also from the niche in which she stands. Her hand touching the pilaster decorated with intarsia emphasizes the three-dimensional space of the architectural background.

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