(b. ca. 1450, Modena, d. 1518, Modena)

Adoration of the Child

Pigmented terracotta
Duomo, Modena

The decisive development in Mazzoni's style, the shift from allusive naturalism to the use of reality itself, is shown in two works of about 1485; the Adoration of the Child (Duomo, Modena) and Lamentation (San Giovanni Battista, Modena). In both works Mazzoni subordinated mechanical mimesis to drama, reformulating the inert data furnished by casts into facial expressions and gestures of poetic eloquence. Also apparent in these works is a fluidity of movement and lyrical introspection reminiscent of Giovanni Bellini. Finally, in the best-known of his groups, the Lamentation (1492; Sant'Anna dei Lombardi, Naples) made for the Duke of Calabria (later Alfonso II), Mazzoni achieved a formal monumentality and grandeur of mood that reflects the humanist climate of the Neapolitan court and the artist's exposure to Classical sculpture and contemporary Tuscan art.

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