Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli, “Giampetrino”, Christ Carrying the Cross, c. 1510-30, National Gallery, London, oil on poplar, 60 x 47 cms.
Just a thought of my own, which has been bothering me all this term as I’ve been teaching a course on Leonardo da Vinci. Presumably the reason Giampetrino wasn’t included is that somewhere along the line the decision was made to confine the exhibition to Leonardo’s first Milanese period, hence eliminating Giampetrino’s involvement, although Leonardo may have jotted his name down – “gian petro”- on a list dating from about 1497, in the Codex Atlanticus. True, Giampetrino’s copy of the master’s Last Supper is included; but if the parameters of the exhibition had been extended, we could have had more Giampetrino and painters like Solario and even Luini, who are all represented in the holdings of the National Gallery, their Portrait of a Venetian Senator and Christ Amongst the Doctors, respectively. There wouldn’t have been any negotiations or politicking needed about these works as the museum owns them.It could also be argued that the second Milanese generation’s art provides more of an insight into the master’s influence than the likes of Marco d’Oggiono and Boltraffio- certainly the former, who is one of the most mediocre painters Italy ever produced! Surely Giampetrino’s Christ could have been accommodated; after all, the Leonardo cartoon- which has been traditionally dated to 1506-8, was chronologically re-located to the end of the first Milanese period- 1499-1500, presumably to justify its inclusion within the show.
As for the Giampetrino’s Christ Carrying the Cross, Michael Daley says, “Not only is it as closely related to Leonardo’s imagery and methods as has been acknowledged, it is arguably the best preserved Renaissance picture in the National Gallery.” It seems strange that it wasn’t included then. Still, it’s now out of the reserve collection, and available to view in a – one hopes!- quieter part of the gallery.