Mary and St. John the Evangelist Mourning

Thumbnail Image
Andrea da Saronno (sculpting) and Alberto da Lodi (painting and gilding)
Mary , Virgin , St. John the Evangelist , Mourners , Crucifix , Crucifixion
These painted wood sculptures, which currently stand high above the ground in niches on either side of the great arch framing the high altar of the Santuario della Beata Maria Vergine dei Miracoli in Saronno. Originally, the mourning Mary and St. John the Evangelist would have flanked a crucifix, which has been lost but was described in by a visitor later in the sixteenth century. This crucifix may well have been made by the same artists who created the mourners: Andrea da Saronno sculpted the wood in 1527-8, and Alberto da Lodi painted and gilded the figures in 1529. (It was standard practice for polychrome sculptures to be collaborative works, sculpted by a sculptor, and then painted and gilded by someone who also painted on flat surfaces.) Mary's gestures -- her hands glasped in prayer and mouth open in lament, are common for such scenes, but John's gesture of holding a cloth to his face as if to wipe away a tear is unusual -- generally men are shown mourning in less emotive, more meditative ways, whereas women are shown as tearful. The rays that form halos were surely added later, and these sculptures were probably repainted multiple times over the centuries, as others were in the same church. They did not appear to have undergone restoration when these photographs were taken in 2018, and so the polychromy visible here is likely later repaint. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
External DOI