Venetian sculptor, Tabernaculum with angels

Venetian sculptor, Tabernaculum with angels, marble, second half 15th century (inv. n. 1086)

The work was acquired in Venice by Giuseppe Bossi and entered the collection of the National Museum of Archaeology before 1864 together with other important collections belonging to the secretary of the Brera Academy. Although in a fragmentary state and missing the central element, possibly a sculpted religious figure, the work can still be appreciated. Subtle layers of marble in low relief form a rigorous perspective scaffolding. Within this illusory yet measured renaissance space two groups of cantor angels subtly stand out from the background on either side of a central chamber. The refinement of the reliefs, the conscious capacity to render poses and physiognomy and the classic composure of the scene give context to the work, but are not sufficient to dissipate the doubts on the identity of its author. The soft working of the barely raised surfaces and the virtuosity in the representation of the descriptive details interplayed with variations pregnant with significance suggest the author should be sought among the masters who were active in the last two decades of the 15th century in Venice.