Altobello Melone

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Portrait of Gentleman (Cesare Borgia) by Altobello Melone, Accademia Carrara, Bergamo
Narcisse at the fountain

Altobello Melone (c. 1490-1491 – before 3 May 1543)[1][2] was an Italian painter of the Renaissance.


Melone was born in Cremona. His work merges Lombard and Mannerist styles. In Cremona, he encountered the elder Girolamo Romanino. He was commissioned in December of 1516 to fresco the Cathedral of Cremona, work which continued till 1518. His contract required that his frescoes be more beautiful than his predecessor, Boccaccio Boccaccino. He worked alongside Giovanni Francesco Bembo and Paolo da Drizzona.[3] Francesco Prata was influenced by Melone.

Melone contributed frescoes to the Cathedral of Cremona in 1516. The Lamentation in the Brera[4] comes in all probability from the church of Saint Lorenzo in Brescia and dated 1512. The stylistic convergence with Romanino is particularly obvious, such that the contemporary Venetian Marcantonio Michiel describes the Cremonese painter as a disciple of Armanin.

Moreover, in his masterpiece frescoes, Melone aims to be an interpreter of the anticlassicismo and “expressionist” language emerging in the work of Romanino. The seven scenes realized by Altobello evince a new forcefulness - Massacre of the Innocents is emblematic and manifest in the gestures and in the grotesque transformation of the faces.

Selected works[edit]

  • Madonna with Child and St John (c. 1510) - Accademia Carrara, Bergamo
  • Adoration of Child (c. 1510) - Kunsthaus, Zürich (warehouse)
  • Madonna with Child (c. 1511) - Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan
  • Lamentation over dead Christ (1512) - Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
  • Transfiguration -Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest
  • Portrait of Gentleman (Cesare Borgia) - Accademia Carrara, Bergamo
  • Embrace of Lovers -Gemäldegalerie, Dresden
  • Embrace of Lovers -Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest
  • Adoration of Child (1512–1514) - Museo Berenziano, Cremona
  • Portrait (1512–1515) -Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
  • Lamentation over Dead Christ -Archiepiscopal Picture gallery, Milan
  • Christ Bearing the Cross (c. 1515) - National Gallery, London
  • Mercy - Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, Brescia
  • Road to Emmaus (c. 1516-1517) - National Gallery, London
  • St Helena Travels to Jerusalem in Search of Sacred Cross - private collection
  • Frescoes in Cremona Cathedral (1516–1518)
    • Flight to Egypt
    • Massacre of the Innocents
    • Last Supper
    • Washing of Jesus' Feet
    • Agony in the Garden
    • Capture of Christ
    • Jesus in front of Caiphas
  • Adoration of the Shepherds (c. 1518) - Frescoes detached, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
  • Resurrection (c. 1517) - Private collection
  • Simonino from Trento (c. 1521) -Castello del Buonconsiglio, Trento
  • Madonna with Child (1520–1522) - Accademia Carrara, Bergamo
  • Madonna with Child, Saint John and San Nicholas - Civic Museum Wing Ponzone, Cremona
  • Narcissus at Fountain - Stadel Art Museum, Frankfurt
  • Saint Prospero, Bishop of Reggio Emilia - Hatfield House
  • Madonna del Gatto, - Church of San Nicolò, Isola Dovarese, province of Cremona, Lombardy


  1. ^ Died before 1543: Paoletti 2005:384; "Melone at Artcyclopedia". Retrieved 5 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "Melone at University of Oxford - Ashmolean Museum".  (Others date it "before 1547".)
  3. ^ Dizzionario, Volume 1, by Stefano Ticozzi.Page 429
  4. ^ [1][dead link]


  • Freedberg, Sydney J. (1993). Pelican History of Art, ed. Painting in Italy, 1500-1600. Penguin Books Ltd. pp. 373–375. 
  • Paoletti, John T. (2005). "16. Lombardy: Instability and Religious Fervor". Art in Renaissance Italy (3rd ed.). Gary M. Radke. London: Laurence King. p. 384. ISBN 1-85669-439-9.