Paroto's polyptych in the Pieve di Cemmo
One of the best masterpieces we can find in the province of Brescia is the polyptych painted in 1447 by the Maestro Paroto, or Parotus, a late gothic painter unknown and forgotten for years. The artwork has gone around the world, even in Paris and New York, and finally has come back to Italy. You can admire the original in Brescia and a remarkable life-size copy in Cemmo di Capo di Ponte (Brescia, Italy), in the Pieve di San Siro, a church built in the XI century following the style of the Lombard Romanesque architecture.
According to the description made by the owners in a leaflet, that you can find free in the Pieve, "The altarpiece consists of nine panels painted in tempera: in the centre, the madonna and Child, with the figure of the donor kneeling at her feet. On the side panels, the Saints: Syrus, John the Baptist, Michael, Stephen, Louis of Toulouse, Apollonia and Agatha. Originally, the polyptych carried a crucifix at the top, which, today, is in a private collection. and, there were two more panels depicting the Announciation, with the Angel and the Virgin. There is no trace of this panels today. Until the 19th century it was possible to read a legend on the polyptych, a dedication restored by Fenaroli, attesting to the fact that the piece was the work of Maestro Paroto, finished on Easter,, 1447 and commissioned by Francesco Afro de Treviso, archpriest of the Pieve of Saint Syrus in Cemmo, Valle Camonica, where it remained until 1852. Among the most important works of the 15th century in Italy, this polyptich is rare testimony t a crucial moment in the history of painting in Brescia, which, at the time, was enlightened by the presence in the city of "foreign" artists like Gentile da Fabriano, Jacopo Bellini, the Vivarini and the Bembo. The very beautiful painted panel show that Paroto was a cultured artist, in tune with the times, linked to the elegant and refined world of the international gothic, and not indifferent to the influence of Michelino da Besozzo, Stefano da Verona and Bonifacio Bembo. There is only one other known work by this artist, exhibited today in the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum in Milan. Thanks to its acquisition by the CAB Foundation at Sotheby's, the London auction house, the polyptych returned to Italy in July, 2012. The CAB Foundation has been dedicated for years to the recovery and preservation of the artistic and historic heritage of Brescia and its surrounding territory".
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