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Polyptych of the Oak

Confraternity of Our Lady of the Castle - Diocese of Savona-Noli


Polyptych of the Oak (Liguria)

  • Confraternity of Our Lady of the Castle - Diocese of Savona-Noli

    The Polyptych of the Oak of the Oratory of Nostra Signora del Castello in Savona is the work of Vincenzo Foppa (Brescia 1427/1515), who made use of the collaboration of Ludovico Brea from Nice and some carving masters. This work was commissioned by the Savona Cardinal Giuliano Della Rovere, future Pope Julius II, for the Cathedral of Savona.

    Completed in 1490, the Polyptych was placed in Savona, as an altarpiece in the ancient Cathedral. It is a complex work, a wooden structure of great effect, not common for its large dimensions. The various parts, from bottom to top, are characterized by that ideological meaning that the client dictated to the painter, that is the idea of the triumph of God and the Church.

    At the center is the theme of adoration: the future Pope Julius II is kneeling at the throne of Mary; on the left and on the right John the Baptist and the Evangelist want to be the exaltation of the man touched by the Grace of God: in the upper register, in the niches in the center, there are St. Peter and two archangels; on the sides, the four Doctors of the Church: Ambrose and Augustine (right) Jerome and Gregory (left) represent the triumph of man who is perpetuated in the Church. Above, the tabernacle with the Redeemer is the exaltation of man and God together (with the Evangelists: Mark and Luke on the right, Matthew and John on the left). Everything culminates in the statue of Jesus who holds the world and blesses. In the central panel there is the seated Madonna, with the Child on the finely carved throne, surrounded by musician angels.

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