Marco Zoppo (1433 – 19 February 1498) was an Italian painter of the Renaissance period, active mainly in Bologna.

Image of Saint Paul

He was born in Cento.[1] He was a pupil of the painter Lippo Dalmasio then for a few years with Francesco Squarcione around 1455. He was a contemporary of Andrea Mantegna. He painted a number of variations of the Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints while he was in Bologna. Francesco Francia was one of his pupils. He died in Venice to where he had left after working for Squarcione.

Artistic career edit

The oldest document in which Marco Ruggieri, known as lo Zoppo, appears, dates back to 1452, when the young painter, living in his native Cento, is entrusted with the gilding of a statue of the Virgin and Child. The following year lo Zoppo is documented in Padua, in the workshop of the ‘tailor and embroiderer’ Francesco Squarcione, whose adopted son he will soon become.

During these Paduan years, Zoppo is strongly influenced by the art of Donatello, who had recently finished the impressive bronze altarpiece of the Basilica del Santo, and of the contemporary work of Nicolò Pizolo and Andrea Mantegna, both employed in the family chapel of the Ovetari. As witness to his particular predilections, a few works survive, strongly influenced by the expressive physicality of the Tuscan sculptor and by the perspective solutions refined by the two Paduan painters in the Ovetari workshop. Among these are the Wimborne Madonna, named after a former owner, now preserved in the Louvre, and the Colville folio in the British Museum.

By September 1455 lo Zoppo is no longer in Padua, but in Venice where he appears in court against his adoptive father, Squarcione, with whom he breaks all personal and legal ties.

It is possible that Zoppo returns promptly to Bologna, perhaps already by 1456. The painter executes many important works there, among which a painted Crucifix, preserved today in the Museo dei Cappuccini, and the ‘Retablo’ for the high altar of the Church of San Clemente in the Collegio di Spagna, completed in collaboration with the engraver Agostino De Marchi from Crema.

One very ambiguous and disputed picture is the Head of the Baptist in Pesaro, linked to Marco Zoppo following Berenson’s attribution, but also given to Giovanni Bellini, as proposed instead by Roberto Longhi. Longhi's theory has been contested by Berenson in 1932, by Cesare Brandi in 1949 and by Robertson in 1960, but strongly defended by other important academics, such as Rodolfo Pallucchini and Alessandro Conti.

List of works edit

External links edit

References edit

  1. ^ Hugo Chapman, Padua in the 1450s: Marco Zoppo and His Contemporaries, 1998.
  • Farquhar, Maria (1855). Ralph Nicholson Wornum (ed.). Biographical catalogue of the principal Italian painters. London: Woodfall & Kinder. p. 234.
  • Grove Art Encyclopedia excerpt