December 4th, 2017

Francesco Del Cossa

I'm reading Ali Smith- which led me by steps it would be tedious to enumerate to the frescoes of Francesco del Cossa in the Palazzo Schifanoia in Ferrara.

Cossa is an almost forgotten painter. When Vasari came to write about him in his Lives of the Artists he mixed him up with someone else- and we know very little about him except that he complained to the patron who commissioned the Ferrara frescoes (in a memo that has survived) that he wasn't being paid enough- which was the truth. The frescoes illustrate the months of the year and by happy chance Cossa- who was by some margin the best of several painters employed on the job- got allotted March, April and May- which allowed him to revel in imagery expressive of the primaveran energies of the early renaissance.  Shifanoia translates as No More Boredom and that's what Cossa's paintings seem to be saying- "the golden age has come again and we're going to be happy and productive for ever and ever."