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Sculpture

The sculptures collection of the Municipal Museum constitutes a fundamental source to understand Piacenza’s figurative culture in the 12th and 13th century

The rooms where sculptures are displayed belonged to ‘Appartamento alla Cantonata’, inhabited by the duke from 1676 and subsequently bequeathed to the Court Examining magistrate.
There are remarkable Romanesque sculptures, statues and reliefs belonging to the so called “Scuola of Piacenza”; the term indicates some works, not necessarily only from Piacenza, characterised by the union of stylistic elements belonging to Wiligelmo and Benedetto Antelami’s schools (1150 - 1230 approximately.), both working at the decorations of the Duomo of Piacenza. Exhibits also include some commemorating epigraphs, dedications and headstones dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries. Most of the works of art displayed belong to Mons. Bissi’s collection.




Madonna col Bambino (Madonna with Child)

Madonna col bambino
Follower of Benedetto Antelami (?) First half of the 13th century Limestone, cm. 150,5x62,5x59
Origin: Santa Maria di Piazza Church, previously in San Francesco church and in a niche of Palazzo Gotico (Gothic Palace).


The sculpture originally belonged to the church of Santa Maria de’ Bigulis, which was destroyed in 1281 to earn building space for Palazzo Gotico. The Madonna and child were then applied to the western façade of the building; subsequently the sculpture was moved to an aedicule over the central balcony of the façade (1597). After that, in 1812 it was put in San Francesco church and eventually located in a purpose built niche on the façade of the Municipal Palace.
The sculptor seems to know the works in the Baptistery of Parma and the style of Benedetto Antelami’s school, even though the garments are heavier and  the bodies clumsier.



Atlas

Telamone

Anonymous sculptor, first half of the 12th century Istrian stone, cm. 43,5x27x56 Unknown origin

Origin of this sculpture is unknown, but resemblance with the naked atlases from the Duomo of Piacenza led to the hypothesis that it might have been one of the decorations of the Cathedral central portal.
The work is stylistically similar to Wiligelmo’s school, and may therefore be attributed to the schools working in the cathedral building site and probably arriving from Modena.



Agnus Dei

Agnus Dei

Anonymous sculptor, first half of the 12th century Sandstone relief, cm. 34,5x47x14 Origin: Provost’s building in the cathedral of Piacenza

The relief represents the crucifix lamb with an aureole, surrounded by natural decorations, (grape vine, with grapes and acanthus ornaments on the left, a stylized rose on the right).
Previously attributed to a group of sculptors from Modena working in the Cathedral, by considering the calligraphy ductus of the details and the resemblance with the capitals of San Savino Church, it is highly probable that it was  carried out by a group of sculptors from Lombardy.

 


 

"Benvegnù"  slab

"Benvegnù"  slab, first half of the 14th century - Sandstone relief , cm. 55,5x75,3x12,5
Origin: Castle of  Montechiaro, subsequently belonging to the Cortesi collection of Piacenza (1829), and Bissi collection (1838)


It was initially located over the gate of Montechiaro Castle. It represents two people, presumably the castellans, welcoming a group of people, and  there is an inscription in vernacular on the top, which has become typical of the hospitality of Piacenza: “Segnoereri . sie . tuti . gi benvegnu ./. e zascaun . chi . che . vera . sera . ben ./. vegnu . e ben . recevu” (Sirs, you are all welcome, and whoever comes will also be welcome). This artifact is a very è rare medieval example of figurative relief with a caption in vernacular. A similar inscription may also be seen on an epigraph witnessing the construction of the Castle of Vigolzone, located near the Castle of Montechiaro, and both belonging to the Anguissola family; since the Castle of Vigolzone dates back to1330, it may be supposed that the ‘Benvegnu’ also has a similar date, i.e. the first half of the 14th century.

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