Urbino’s nativity by Federico Brandani, “in nomine sanctae sculpturae”
Sculptor Federico Brandani (1520-1575) is mostly known for the stucco nativity he created for the 16th-century Oratory of Saint Joseph in his hometown, Urbino.
The work is made up of splendid, real-size figures, with “the sharpest of draping, shapes that recall Correggio’s nobility and Raphael’s grace, or even Michelangelo’s dangerous anatomical science; each figure set with great elegance and variety…” (translated from C. Grossi, “Comentario degli uomini illustri di Urbino, 1856).
Author Pietro Giordani (1774-1848) – mentor and friend to the young Giacomo Leopardi – once wrote in a letter to a dear friend of his:
“My Brandani is absolutely worth a visit, he is worth running to Urbino (when you can): ‘praecipio tibi in nomine sanctae sculpturae’ [I command you in the name of the holy scriptures, editor’s note] that you see that nativity, which I consider beautiful and most endearing” (October 27th, 1813).
We wish to extend Giordani’s invitation to all of you.