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Francesco Denanto

Francesco Denanto was an Italian painter and woodcutter of the Renaissance period.
He was born in Savoy, but worked in Venice from 1520 to 1532, and is said to have been a disciple of Titian. Among other wood-cuts by him, there is a large one representing Christ healing the Lame Man. He worked in Venice and Bologna.

DENANTO (de Nanto, by Nanto), Francesco. – Son of a Iacopo and of Savoyard origin, as is learned from the subscriptions of his carving works – “Franciscus lacobi Denanto sindit” “Franciscus Denanto de Sabaudia” (but the place of origin should be Nantua, in the current department of the Ain ), D. was operative in the first half of the sixteenth century in northern Italy, most likely in Venice and Bologna. In the absence of documentary and literary news on this xilograph, its activity can only be reconstructed on the basis of incisal production.

The only chronological reference period is given by Ludovico Ariosto’s picture frame, which is on the penultimate sheet of the Furious Orignation issue, published in Ferrara by Francesco Rosso from Valenza in 1532 and which, however, may be earlier than this date. The other xilographs that we have received belong to the previous decade, according to the majority of scholars, and are from inventions by Bolognese or active artists in Bologna: Francesco Francia, Amico Aspertini, Girolamo da Treviso il Giovane. His main work consists of a series of at least thirteen woods with scenes of the Life of Christ, carved on Girolamo’s drawings from Treviso and dated for stylistic characters of inventions, as Zava Boccazzi (1958) points out in the period between 1520 and In 1525, that is to say, the early period of Girolamo’s Bolognese activity, which precedes the execution of his monochrome paintings with the Miracles of his. Antonio da Padova in the Guidotti Chapel in S. Petronio (1525-26).

In the xylographic series are evident, unlike the painting cycle, Venetian reminiscences: the characteristic relationship between the figures, the scarcely architectural elements and the backdrops of Giorgionese ascension landscape, as well as the unmistakable typology of the characters, refer to the first known paintings by Jerome, Datable between the end of the second decade and the beginning of the third, like the canvases with Agar and the angel and Isaac who blesses Jacob of the Musée des Beaux-arts in Rouen.

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At the eleven xilographs of the series cataloged by the Passavant (1864, pp. 213 pp.), All signed – the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Magi, Healing of the Gothic, Christ and Samaritan, the entrance to Jerusalem, the Lavender of the Feet, the Crucifixion, the Deposition in the Tomb, the Resurrection, Christ and the Magdalen, the Ascension – you must add two more signed pieces reported by Nanni (1963), depicting the Adoration of the Shepherds and the Last Supper, of which There remain the woods and the nineteenth-century trolls of the Lombardy typist Soliani. The name of the inventor “Hieronimus Tarvisius (Tervisius) pincsit” is found in prints with the Samaritan and the Last Supper.

Instead, they do not belong to the Life of Christ of the Venetian painter a signed engraving depicting the Holy Family with the ss. Sebastiano, and Rocco, added by Passavant (1864, no. 23), and the other signed xylographs that Passavant resumed from Nagler (1860) with the Preaching of the Baptist and the Decollation of the saint incorrectly included in the series and linked to Girolamo by Treviso by Kristeller (1922). While the Holy Family denounces its dependence on France, it has been clarified that the Baptist Preaching and Circumcision, which is not signed but surely autograph, published by Venturoli (1982), dates back to 1520-25, are derived from Amico Aspertini’s drawings , An artist whose reports are well-known with graphic-editorial production (see Romano, 1981, p. 52, 5); And it is believed that even a very rare xylography, signed by the Nagler to the fresco of the Camposanto of Pisa, depicting the life of the anacoreti in the desert, is based on a copy made by the Bolognese painter. The double thread that frames the Baptist stories and Circumcision and the matching of the measurements could also indicate their belonging to a lost or unfinished aspertinian series. Finally there is a xylography with the Conversion of s. Paul, published by Karpinski as a derivation by Girolamo Genga, but which more likely, as the Oberhuber had already suggested, a composition of the same Aspertini. Still a drawing of France seems to inspire a print with S.John Battista in half signed form, which perhaps has a pendant in the incision depicting Christ in hell, of the same collection, which presents a similar framing.

D.’s production has been constantly linked to the Venetian artistic environment, where the xilographer is likely to have started his activity among the many craftsmen involved in book engraving and illustration. His wide and robust engraving language, the use of long parallel crosses and crossed in dense differentiated textures and other technical features reveal the study of the Twelfth-century models of the second decade and the young xylographs of Domenico Campagnola; But above all, Venetian is the tendency “to a tonal and coloristic transcription, to be achieved with every break made available by the very possibilities of the specific engraving. Denanto was used for the black and white graphical resources of a pictorial palette based on Dotted, twisted, burrs and the like, laid out clearly on the bottom of the bark. ” However, regardless of his relationship with Girolamo da Treviso, there is no evidence of D.’s activity or contact with the Venetian environment. The attribution proposed by Nagler (1860) of a great Landscape with Egypt’s “tizianesque” escape, marked with the monogram “DN”, has no precise foundation and can not be assigned the xylography depicting a Landscape with four putti , With the same monogram, which appears as a rough combination of elements derived from works by Domenico Campagnola. It does not even seem sustainable to attribute to D. the beautiful portrayal of Ariosto by Tiziano’s design, published in the Ferrara edition of Orlando in 1532, and not so much for the quality of the carving, above its usual level, but Because this woodcut is free from the tarnatures on the signed frame in which it is inserted and which also served for the volume frontend, possibly carved by D. for a previous edition.

Hence, the hypothesis of a mostly Emilian activity of D., attested not only by the paternity of inventions, but also by the presence of a large group of its woods in the collection of the ancient grand-ducal printing of Soliani in Modena, now in the Estense Gallery

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