Macerata and Carlo Crivelli

Marcerata is a city in central Italy in the Marche region.

Carlo Crivelli who was born in 1435 was an Italian Renaissance painter who spent most of his life in this Marche region. He died at the age of 60 but left some well appreciated works of art. His main work was on alter pieces. A special exhibition of some of his fine work was held in the Palazzo Buonaccorsi.

A typical street in Macerata. Opposite this large poster was a Roman size double door leading to a court yard dominated by the statues of three Greek gods. The two exhibition areas lead off from this entrance.

Let us look at Jesus being held by his mother and see what Carlo Crivelli may be trying to convey.

Here Jesus is clutching Mary as if surprised. Mary is looking straight at us with a sad expression. The cross in the halo showing the destiny of Jesus.
Isaiah 53:6-9
‘and on Him was put all our sins…and he was killed for our sins…but he was innocent. ‘(Sandy’s understandung)
Matthew 1:21
An angel talks to Joseph and says:
” Mary will have a son , call His name JESUS: for he shall save His people from their sins.” A Father told what to do and what his son will do. Then an interesting part of a verse in
Revelation 13:8
” the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”
A plan for this child , since the world was made , here He is pictured sitting in His mother’s arms.
It was said that ‘Carlo Crivelli had a strong linear decorative sense and was a brilliant colourist.’ I was able to stand within a foot of the painting. No one else was present. Such a quiet moment.
This painting is filled with symbolism. The carnation linked with rituals of engagement… the cherry for Christ’s blood. The cucumber something Crivelli used next to his name to show it was his work when people couldn’t read. Mary has a crown showing her status as a queen. The meaning of the trees: the left with leaves the resurrection the right leafless the death of Christ.
The nursing Madonna.
Crivelli shows the child detaching itself from the mother’s breast as if we have distracted Him. Mary tries to hold Him back. A painting trying to give an understanding of the real birth of Jesus with her as mother now breast feeding.
Matthew says :” all this was done that the words of the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled.
A virgin will have a child, a son , God with us.”
Matthew 1: 22,23 ( Sandy’s understanding)
He (Jesus) taught His disciples and this is what He said about what was going to happen to Him : ” The son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after they have killed Him , He shall rise the third day.” Mark 9:31

Here in this painting Crivelli explores the theme of pain in gestures. Mary has tears, John screams, Mary Magdalene looks at the wound in His hand. The angels are crying too.

Then look at the man’s face in the funerial candelabra it is very possibly a self-portrait of Crivelli. It was such a privilege to stand so close and appreciate this art.

There were also some fascinating paintings in the main art gallery.

Both these were painted by Federico Zuccari born 1539/1541 died 1609. I was fascinated to see how an artist portrayed other artists.

I again was alone in this part of the gallery and found the experience very special.

Allegory ( a picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning) of time.
I guess you can decide.

Thank you for being with me a little while. Here is something said by Debasish Mridha: ” A mother’s love is more beautiful than any fresh flower”

Sandy 🙂

6 thoughts on “Macerata and Carlo Crivelli

  1. What wonderful detail you captured in the paintings Sandy! Thank you for sharing it with us 🙏🏻


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