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GIOVANNI DA MODENA
 AND THE RELAUNCH OF THE VITA-PANEL IN THE QUATTROCENTO  
Fabio Massaccesi

 

ABSTRACT

This paper investigates a little known group of fifteenth-century vita retables from Bologna, taking as its starting point the painting of Saint Bernardino da Siena, executed by Giovanni da Modena in 1451, now in the Pinacoteca Nazionale of Bologna. The painter took as model a well established but much older form, that of the vita retable, to exploit to the full the saint’s life. How binding was such a thirteenth- and fourteenth-century prototype on the painter called to depict the recently canonized saint? And were there specific reasons behind the use of such models? New archival discoveries shed light on these questions in addition to the function and patronage of Giovanni da Modena's Bernardino da Siena.