Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Annigoni and the Cadaver

Inspired by the blog entry "Cadaver on the Cross" over at Gurney Journey, I thought I would relay the story of Pietro Annigoni's use of a dead body for a crucified Christ figure in two of his works. As told by Micheal John Angel, in 1939 Annigoni was painting a number of frescoes in the Monastery of San Marco when he heard about the death of a 30 year old Sicilian in a motorino accident outside Florence. Needing a model for Christ, he asked the authorities for the body on the condition that the monks at San Marco would take care of the burial. He strung the body up in his studio where rigor mortis started to set in while he sketched away. These sketches were worked up into a cartoon that he used for this fresco:

Thirty years later, Annigoni used the same cartoon for his fresco of the Deposition and Resurrection at the church in Ponte Buggianese, a small town just outside Florence:

1 comment:

James Gurney said...

Wow! That's an amazing story. Annigoni was an amazing artist, and I remember seeing a ceiling mural by him at the little-known Westerfield estate in Millbrook, NY.