MASTER of the Castello della Manta
(active 1410s in Piedmont)

View of the north wall

1411-16
Fresco
Sala Baronale, Castello della Manta, Saluzzo

The citadel at Manta was erected in the 1300s at a strategic point in what was once the border region between the marquessate of Saluzzo and the duchy of Savoy. The house of del Vasto ruled here from 1091 to 1601. The paintings of the Great Hall (Sala Baronale) on the second floor were commissioned by Valerano Bastardo di Saluzzo (c. 1375-1443).

The room contains two picture cycles, the Fountain of Youth and the Nine Heroes and Nine Heroines, one across from the other. The frieze-like sequence of scenes with the Fountain of Youth in the centre is on the long south wall. The second frieze fills the north wall, and like the other cycle, it overlaps the two end walls. Its first and last pairs of figures appear on the west and east walls, respectively.

Until the 1960s the frescoes were attributed to the Avignon painter Jacques Iverny. Then the attribution was changed to the Turin court painter Giacomo Jaquerio (c. 1380-1453). However, both attributions were questioned by later scholars and at present we can speak of the painter as simply the Master of the Castello della Manta.




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