Passions & Places

The Camerino School

Girolamo di Giovanni
e la scuola di Camerino

It was under the lordship of Da Varanno that the city of Camerino came to experience a flourishing and lively period culturally. Between the 14th and 16th centuries it was home to what Federico Zeri described as "the most remarkable painting school of the Le Marche". Girolamo di Giovanni, early follower of Pietro della Francesca, is considered by critics as the most important exponent of the Camerinese Renaissance.

The artist departed from his Tuscan learnings in order to develop and elaborate upon his own style of painting as expressed in the fresco representing the Madonna con il Bambino e Santi (Camerino, Sant' Augustin Church), his first signed piece of work (1449). A formation based upon the lessons of light and perspective learned from the Tuscan master. 

Along with the new spatial and light conceptions, they nevertheless remain gothic residuals (note the presence of the small figures of the committees). After a period spent in Padova in the site of the Hermits, placing by the side of Andrea Mantegna in the Storie di S.Cristofo (1450), he returned to his home town under the service of Da Varano, a gentleman from Camerino since it was during this period that many artists were recalled to decorate the rooms of the Ducale Palace.

The adhesion to the style of Piero della Francesca can also be perceived in the Madonna della Misericordia (1463), conserved in the Civic Pinacoteca of Camerino. The figure of the Virgin, hieratic and serene, emanates an idea of protection towards its faithful and seems in turn to protect the environment in which it’s placed, a panelled ceiling Renaissance chapel. Some years earlier (1455-62) he completed probably his most famous work: 

on a panel (also conserved it in the Camerino’s Pinacoteca), in which he reveals his home town roots of Padova in the landscape, recalling the marble elegance of Mantenga. The influence of the urbinate culture remains fundamental though and one can see that the Virgin’s room is the representation of the Chapel of Forgiveness in Urbino’s Ducale Palace. The column on the first floor almost marks the passage, the connection between two dimensions: physical space and metaphysical space, where the sacred event is placed. In the lunetta soprastante, with the Deposizione, the artist portrays himself in the figure of the man with a hat who can be seen under the arms of Christ.

Remaining in the Le Marche region, we can admire the works of other masters of the Camerinese school, protagonists of a flourishing artistic period in Camerino. In particular, Cola di Pietro and Arcangelo di Cola, early masters of the Camerinese school, Carlo da Camerino, Olivuccio da Ciccarello and Giovanni Boccati. The latter being remembered above all for his frescoes of the Ducale Palace of Urbino, the praiseworthy Polittico in the church of Sant' Eustachio in Belforte del Chienti, and the Crucifixion  fresco separated from the Church of S. Maria di Raggiano of Camerino and today exhibited in the Civic Pinacoteca of the village. It is here where the only remaining work of Arcangelo di Cola is kept, the Madonna in trono con Bambino e angeli. In the council room of the town hall of Mondavio there is also a panel representing the Madonna con Bambino, attributed to Carlo of Camerino.
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