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Montefalcone Appennino, Town Hall, Mayor's Office - Pietro Alamanno,

Madonna with Child

The reasons that led Pietro Alamanno and his family to move from Austria to Italy are still unknown as are the various stages of his training. Most probably the artist from Gottweig began painting in his native land, but did his final training around 1477 alongside Carlo Crivelli. After the death of his master, Alamanno obtained numerous commissions all over the Marche and thanks to his refined skill, achieved lasting fame. The Madonna with Child is a polyptych painted for the church of the monastery of the Reformed Minors of Montefalcone Appennino between 1470 and 1475, currently conserved in the Town Hall. The work, which is enclosed in a bright Gothic frame, has six panels arranged in two rows. In the middle of the lower row the Virgin is depicted on a throne with the Baby in her lap raising his hands towards his adoring mother. The vermilion cloth hanging behind Mary's shoulders and the crossed ribbon around Jesus' halo pre-announce the Redeemer's Passion, whilst the juicy apple placed on the throne recalls the reason for that supreme martyrdom. On the far left Saint Catherine of Alexandria is depicted with a crown on her head to remind us of her royal origins. Whilst in her left hand she grips a sword, in her right she holds the toothed wheel on which she was tortured before being decapitated by order of Emperor Maxentius. Alongside her stands Saint John the Baptist, wearing a humble camel-hair habit. In  his left hand he holds an unfurled scroll, in which we read “Ecce Agnus Dei” and with his right index finger he is pointing at the Baby. On the far right of the lower row is Louis of Toulouse, recognisable thanks to his bishop's robes and his cloak decorated with heraldic lilies, worn over his habit to remind us of his royal descent. Alongside him Saint Francis of Assisi is depicted with his habit and cincture, his hands joined in prayer and the wounds of his stigmata visible. At his feet is a small friar of the Reformed Minors, who, on his knees and in a praying position holds a scroll on which is written: “Non est verus amator Virginis qui renuit eius conceptiones celebrare”. In the middle of the upper row the Pietà is depicted, whilst on the left are Saint Anthony of Padua and Saint James. The former is recognisable from his Franciscan habit, the candid lily and the closed book in his hands, whilst the latter is easily identifiable from his stick, his pilgrim's hat and the volume that alludes to his evangelical mission. On the far right, Saints Bernardino and Bonaventure stand side by side.  The Saint from Siena, wearing the habit of the Order of Friars Minor, spent his life spreading with humility the cult of the Name of Jesus which won him in iconography the attribution of the Christogram. Saint Bonaventure, who is wearing his cardinal's robes over the habit of the Order of Friars Minor, holds a small model of a church in one hand and a book in the other.