The rediscovered Masterpiece
The recent studies, realized in conjunction with the publication of the Accademia Carrara Complete Catalogue of Italian Paintings of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries by the curator Giovanni Valagussa, attest the paternity of the Resurrection of Christ to Andrea Mantegna and dating the work to 1492-1493 .
The work, not currently exhibited, will soon be restored.
A small cross on the lower edge of the table brings with it the resolution of this long and tortuous history of attributions, true or presumed. The careful direct observation of the work has in fact allowed us to recognize the high quality level of the painting, already attributable to the Master itself, but, as it happens with works and authors of this magnitude, it is necessary to have a certain proof.
A small cross on the lower edge, under the stone arch, had to find a continuation and therefore a correspondence in a missing portion of the painting. The research has developed in this sense in the search of a cut part and the hypothesis that the table should develop in height has now been confirmed and is the proof of attribution.
Besides, the small cross is identical to that of the banner of Christ above; it is very likely therefore that the table was really very high and narrow and that in the lower part there was space for another standing figure, probably inside the limbo, which presumably could be Christ.
After a series of comparisons, the continuity between the cross and the rod that holds it – as well as the perfect coincidence in the powerful definition of the rocks of the arch, which has its beginning in the upper table and continues – allowed the identification of the lower half : Descent of Christ to limbo already at Princeton in the collection of Barbara Piasecka Johnson. (Andrea Mantegna, Descent at Limbo, 1492, tempera and gold on panel, 38.8 x 42.3 cm, private collection).
The small cross is therefore the key and it emerges that the Resurrection of Accademia Carrara is a painting by Andrea Mantegna in person.