Castagno Prints

My family has been partaking in many projects around the house (as I’m sure is happening in many homes right now!) and normally they result in a more organized space, but one project in particular led to some cool new room decor as well as an opportunity for learning! In going through many boxes just sitting in our basement, my mom stumbled upon a few religious art prints that had been given to her a while ago. Two of these beautiful prints just happened to match the color scheme of my bedroom. How wonderful is that?!

I immediately was struck with the beauty of these paintings, and by looking at the texture of the paint, I had a feeling they were frescoes. Being new to the world of art history, I had briefly heard about Andrea del Castagno only through looking at his Last Supper in comparison to da Vinci’s. An Italian painter from Florence during the early 1400s, del Castagno’s well-known works consist largely of frescoes, and in looking into him more, I learned that these two paintings were most definitely frescoes (which made me happy to have guessed correctly!).

Andrea del Castagno's Madonna di Casa Pazzi

Madonna di Casa Pazzi (Madonna of the Pazzi House) was an altarpiece at the chapel of the Trebbio di Santa Brigida Castle. The Virgin Mary is depicted here on a throne holding the child Jesus, surrounded by two children bringing flowers and garland to the Madonna and Child, as well as saints Girolamo and Giovanni Battista. Two angels suspended upside down are holding up a beautiful gold and red drape that serves as the background of this composition. What I thought was a moon above Mary (haha!) is actually a place where the work was damaged in the removal process, but it most likely originally held a coat of arms, a window, or a table, according to different sources.

Andrea del Castagno's Crocifissione

The Crocifissione (Crucifixion) is a fresco in the Refectory of Sant’Apollonia, a convent of cloistered nuns. The delicacy of this scene is partly due to the lack of good conservation, but it also seems to be painted with muted tones to produce a gentle work of art for only feminine eyes to see. This was painted alongside the Burial and Resurrection of Christ, and above the Last Supper, one of the more famous works by del Castagno. Two angels flank the dying Jesus on the cross as devoted disciples, including his mother, Mary, mourn his death at his feet.

These two beautiful prints now hang in my bedroom, unfortunately without frames for the moment. I’ve decided to put them on cork boards to match my quote board that I made last summer! These were such a brilliant find. I’m so excited that I not only get to look at them everyday, but that I know more about them!

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