Italian museum discovers painting by Renaissance master Andrea Mantegna in its collection

The Art Newspaper | Hannah McGivern

The Accademia Carrara in Bergamo, Italy, has discovered a “new” painting by Andrea Mantegna hidden in plain sight in its own collection. The curator Giovanni Valagussa re-attributes the tempera on panel work, Resurrection of Christ (around 1492-93), to the Renaissance master in the museum’s complete catalogue of 110 paintings from the 14th and 15th centuries, Dipinti Italiani 1300-1500, which is published by Officina Libraria.

The artist’s name is written in pen or fine brush in capital letters on the back of the wooden panel; the script appears to date from the same time as the painting. The work was recorded as an original Mantegna—“The Resurrection of Our Lord; six figures that are among the beautiful works by this illustrious master”—in an 1846 catalogue of the collection of Count Guglielmo Lochis, a trustee and later honorary director of the Accademia Carrara. A document from the same year indicates that the painting was also restored at the time. Lochis died in 1859, bequeathing his villa and its art to Bergamo, and the Resurrection was among 240 paintings moved to the museum in 1866.

Over the years, however, different art historians downgraded the attribution. Ironically, it was Giovanni Morelli, the collector and great theorist of connoisseurship charged with overseeing the transfer of Lochis’s works to the Accademia Cararra, who first cast doubt on the quality of the Resurrection. Morelli’s belief that the painting was “all ruined by restoration work” led early 20th-century art historians to suggest that the composition was conceived by Mantegna but actually executed by his studio or by his son and pupil Francesco. The American specialist of the Italian Renaissance, Bernard Berenson, relegated the painting to the category of “copies of lost works” in the 1930s…read more

Image: Resurrection of Christ (around 1492-93) has recently been re-attributed to Andrea Mantegna. Accademia Carrara, Bergamo