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Barnaba da Modena


ca. 1328 / 1330 in Modena

One Work by Barnaba da Modena


Barnaba da Modena, born in Modena around 1328/30, is first documented in Genoa on 13 October 1361, when he concluded a contract with Angelo da Firenze about the latter's temporary collaboration in his workshop. A similar agreement was made with Barnaba da Siena in the following year. Additional documentary mentions attest not only Barnaba da Modena's continuous residence in Genoa, but also a series of important commissions which have not survived. The painter appears to have received his artistic training in the Emilia region before moving to Genoa. The series of his signed and dated works begins with the Städel 'Madonna' from 1367. In addition to an elegant use of line and compositional density, all his paintings exhibit gold highlights applied in the manner of arabesques as a consistent design element ('Madonna', 1369, formerly Berlin, Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum; 'Madonna' from S Domenico in Rivoli, 1370, London, National Gallery; Lucia polyptych, 1372, Turin, Galleria Sabauda; altarpiece with Coronation of the Virgin, Trinity, Madonna and Child, and donors as well as a Crucifixion, 1374, Murcia, Cathedral; 'Madonna', 1377, Alba, S Francesco; polyptych with Madonna and Saints, 1386, Lavagnola, S Dalmazzo). Around 1380 he appears to have had an intensive encounter with Tuscan painting - in 1379 he had declined an offer to complete a fresco cycle in the Camposanto in Pisa - which resulted in a heightened interest in the rendering of volumes and space. Barnaba da Modena's work found a rich following in Ligurian art, not least in Pietro Gallo, Rufino d'Alessandria, Taddeo di Bartolo and Niccolò da Voltri; translated into a simplified and more compact stylistic idiom, his pictorial inventions continued to be influential up into the early fifteenth century.