LOMBARDIA - Milano - Cathedral
FILE : Milan Duomo 25
TITLE : Stained glass w. of St. Catherine of Siena (middle-up) with the Life of the Virgin from the birth tto the annunciation (middle-down)

LOCATION: Milan Duomo window n XI

DIMENSIONS: 4 lancets window enclosed by three-foiled windows and a rose: height 2254 x 393 cms. Rect. Panels 118 x 74 cms; three-foiled 72 x 65 cms

PROVENANCE: Milan Duomo. Original location (s VII wind.)

CHRONOLOGY: 1562-1567

AUTHOR(S): Corrado Mochis from Cologne (planning and execution from the middle to the top; execution of the bottom); Giovanni da Monte (planning of the bottom); Pietro Angelo Sesini (collaborator).

ASSIGNMENT: The Confraternity of St. Catherine School entrusted the window of St. Catherine of Siena as the last part to be finished in the chapel dedicated to her; the bottom with the Life of the Virgin is wished for by Carlo Borromoo to complete the "Marian cycle" in Duomo .

SUBJECT(S): Stories of St. Catherine of Siena : 15a) The birth of Catherine and her twin sister Joanna (C. Mochis) ; 15b) The Blessing Christ appears to her while she is with her brother Stephen (C. Mochis) ; 15c) For devotion she stops in a hermit place (C. Mochis) ;15d) At the age of seven she makes vow of virginity before the Vering Mary (XIX cent.); 14a) Her mother tells her husband the wise words of Catherine(C. Mochis); 14b)She opposes to her relatives that want her to get married, Catherine cuts her hair (C. Mochis); 14c) Out of spite her family keeps her busy working in the kitchen (C. Mochis) ; 14d) Her father finds her while praying and sees a dove above her head (C. Mochis) ; Catherine tells her family her decision to be faithful to God (C. Mochis); 13b) For health benefit she is taken to the hot springs and she takes her place at the source to afflict the flesh (C. Mochis); 13c) She converts some women (C. Mochis); 13d) Her mother goes to the Domenican nuns to ask for a habit for her daughter (C. Mochis); 12) The saint is sick and is visited by her sister before joining the Domenican Order (C. Mochis);12b) and 12c) She is received in the Domenican Tertiary nuns (dyptich), (C. Mochis) 12d) She prays at the Crucifix (C. Mochis); 11a)The saint receives stigmates (P. Bertini); 11b) She heals a poor invalid (C. Mochis); 11c)She goes to Avignon as ambassador of Florence (C. Mochis); 11d)Jesus appears and gives her the marital ring (P. Bertini); 10a) She teaches to the sisters (C. Mochis); 10b)She frees a possessed person (C. Mochis); 10c) She goes to Pisa where religious men and laics are waiting for her (C. Mochis); 10d)She dies surrounded by her dearest disciples (C. Mochis); 9a)She appears as an angel before a roman matron at the point of her death (XVI cent.); 9d) The funerals of the saint in the church of the Domenicans in Siena (C. Mochis); The Life of the Virgin from the birth to the Annunciation: 1a,1b,2a and 2b) Joachim’s offer at the temple (G. da Monte);1c,1d,2c, and 2d) The angel of the Lord appears to Joachim in the desert (G. da Monte); 3a) The return of Joachim (G. Da Monte);3b) The embrace between Joachim and Ann (G. Da Monte);3c) and 3d) The birth of Mary (dyptich), G. Da Monte; 4a)and4b)Presentation of Mary at the Temple (dyptich), G. Da Monte;4c and 4d) The wedding of the Virgin(dyptich), G. Da Monte;5a and 5b) Annunciation (dyptich), G. Da Monte; 5c and 5d) Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth (dyptich), G. Da Monte; 6b) The return of Joseph (P. Bertini); 6c)The birth of Jesus (P. Bertini); 17a,17b,17c,17d,16a,16b,16c and 16d) Grotesquerie (trophies of flowers and fruit interlaced with winged little angels, leonine protomes and blinded masks) (three-foil w.) a work by C. Mochis; 6a,6d,7a,7b,7c,7d,8a,8b,8d,9b and 9c) Grotesquerie (puttoes climbing grapes of fruit, withered faces with blind orbits, winged little angels in a frame) (mixtilinear panels) by C. Mochis; Rose w. with corolla traceries: Grotesquerie (heads of cherubs interlaced with racemes of leaves) (C. Mochis). An overall view of the upper registers.

NOTE: As for the XV cent. stained-glass windows of the Milan Duomo the ufficial numeration by C.V.M.A. is kept even if, for some of them, the hagiograohic stories can start to be read from the top rather than from the bottom or viceversa. That for the different location assigned to each panel in the window.

CRITICAL NOTES: The upper window with the Passion of St. Catherine of Siena (1562, as from the date M.D. LXII in the early figs on the sides of the gothic pendiment) it’s a work by Conrad Mochis from Cologne (sheets and transposition on the glass); the iconography (module of the glass in the saints cycles) and style ( the lombard pictorial realism) are close to the staind-glass windows of St John Damascene (see Duomo n.5), St. Eligius (see Duomo n.6) by Niccolò da Varallo (1479-1488), and to the Arcimboldi’s St. Catherine of Siena (1549-1556) (see Duomo n. 25). The bottom with the Life of the Virgin from the birth to the Annunciation (1565-1567) is by Giovanni Da Monte (sheets) (see Duomo n.), Conrad Mochis from Cologne (execution) and Pietro Angelo Sesini (collaborator) (see Duomo n.); it presents stylistic analogies (incisive and calligraphic drawing) with the Northern art of the engraving (Dürer); chromatic sobriety; the module of the composition with great scenes (double register). Recent surveys in Germany helped me in reconstructing the biography of Conrad Mochis from Cologne and his family, He is from Muchhause, today Rommerskirchen (22 km northway from Cologne) he first serves his apprenticeshipwith at his father Johanne Mussche‘s glass workshop, (1482-1535) in Heumarkt (one of the most important market place of Cologne). The workshop is inherited by Johanne and Cecily Mussche in 1500 and confiscated in 1535 for not paying the inheritance tax . Conrad Mochis (1525-1569) artistically was born in Milan in 1544, where he arrives at together with his two "famuli" (Giovanni de’ Croxis and Alexander of Antwerp), required by the Fabbrica del Duomo to re-establish the glass yard. His artistic excursus is confirmed by monthly payments that followed one onether uninterruptedly (1544-1569): The cycle of the Passion, 1544-1549; 1562-1569, finished the window with the rose (see Duomo n.); Contract of work, 1548, Mochis is entrusted Magister invetriarum templi maximi Mediolani working exclusively for the Milan Duomo; St. Catherine of Alexandria, 1549-1556 (see Duomo n.); St. James the Older, 1562-1565 (see Duomo n.); St. Catherine of Siena, 1562-1567 (see Duomo n.); The Glories of the Virgin, 1565-1569 (see Duomo n.). He died (31 August 1569) in misterious circumstances, during a fire in his glass workshop (Cascina in Camposanto)

Extremely interesting the decorative part made of the mixtilinear panels of the traceries and of the rose, both because, together with the St. Catherine window (see Milan – Duomo 4),it is the only rose of the XV and XVI cent. windows still present in the Milanese cathedral, and for it is one of the most significant examples of window with gotesquerie motif.

CONDITIONS: in good conditions, in spite of the many repainting. The whole decorations (sforamine and rose window) conserve their authenticity untouched. First restoration in the XVII cent (G.B. Lampugnano). Iconographic rearrangement of the Can. Luigi Zerbi (3 nov 1881) in function of the "integrating" restoration by P. Bertini (18781-1890), necessary also for the damage due to a violent hailstrom (13 June 1874). 1968-72 Ven. Fabbrica del Duomo, Directed by Arch. E. Brivio: the dusting, the cleaning of the glasses with detergent stuff based on polyphosphates, the washing with distilled water, partial re-leading, replacement of the frames in iron with others in bronze-marina. Remaking of the protective nets with frames in bronze-marina and mesh in copper wire. No counter- window. The original XVI cent. panel with the Flagellation of the saint, work of Biagio Arcimboldi, now conserved in Duomo Museum in Milan, was found by E. Brivio in the crypts of Duomo during the restoration works

BIBLIOGRAPHY: see Bibl. Milano, Duomo – XVI century stained-glass windows

PHOTOGRAPHIC CREDITS: photographic files Laura Monciardini

EDITOR: Laura Monciardini, (March 1998)