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Empire

| Madonna and Child, Two Angels, Detail of St Simon Stock |

Michele Bellanti (1807-1883)

Madonna and Child, Two Angels, Detail of St Simon Stock

Artist
Michele Bellanti (1807-1883)
Date
1850-53
Size
211 x 78 cm; 167 x 77 cm; 74.5 x 75.5 w/frame
Technique
Pencil, chalk and charcoal on paper
Location
Empire Gallery – In Search of the Truth
These detailed full-scale cartoons or preparatory drawings for one of the side altarpieces at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Mdina, shed light on the academic discipline applied by this Maltese ‘Purista’ artist to complete his large painting. These pencil-over-red-chalk drawings, executed to scale, were used to transfer the figures onto the canvas so that they were inserted in exact proportion to the composition he would have prepared. Although Bellanti formed part of the local Nazarene tradition in art, his style is less rigid. By means of these drawings, we witness how Bellanti revives the Renaissance tradition of using cartoons to prepare for a large-scale painting or fresco commission. We are indeed very fortunate that these cartoons survive, as many were usually destroyed after serving their purpose.

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