FOPPA, Vincenzo
(b. 1427/30, Brescia, d. 1515/16, Brescia)

Miracle of the Cloud and Miracle of the False Madonna

c. 1468
Sant'Eustorgio, Milan

Highly illusionistic frescoes by Vincenzo Foppa bring the walls to life in the Portinari Chapel of the Sant'Eustorgio in Milan. Their primary subjects are the Annunciation and Scenes from the Life of St Peter Martyr. The picture shows the frescoes on the right wall of the chapel. In these frescoes Foppa cunningly exploits scientific perspective and clear, rich colour to place figures and architecture into deep illusionistic space. According to legend, the black thunder-cloud in the upper sky was a blessing to the crowd which had been suffering in the blazing August sun.

The scene on the left represents the saint preaching. Here the figures diminish in size according to their distance from the viewer and their reactions to his preaching are subtle and varied. On the right Peter Martyr steps up to an altar with the Eucharistic host in his hand to reveal what seems to be a statue of the Madonna and Child but is actually an idol.

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