Storia dell’arte n. 155-156 – Nuova Serie 1/2 | 2021
La Lucrezia del Bramantino
Ancient sources testify that Bramantino had portrayed Lucretia in several redactions. A specific iconographic genealogy numbers four specimens. The goal of this essay is to demonstrate that one of them, formerly in the Gropallo collection in Nervi (Genoa), now in a private collection in London and never exhibited, although not unknown to the literature on the artist, is to be considered the archetype of this series, so that the common belief that Bramantino’s original Lucretia was lost must be corrected. To this purpose, the author traces history and ownership of the various redactions, and concentrates his analysis on the Gropallo specimen, submitted to a scrutiny mainly based on the methodologies of the so-called technical art history. The Gropallo painting has undergone an extensive diagnostic campaign, revealing an underdrawing only compatible with an original. Unquestionably this Lucretia’s preservation is far from ideal, although a thorough restoration has compensated as much as possible; but also considering that Bramantino’s paintings are comparatively rare, it seemed appropriate to add to his catalogue this Lucretia, made after the painter’s homecoming from his stay in Rome in 1508-1509, and comparable to the Saint John the Evangelist Borromeo and the Saint Sebastian in a Milanese collection.