Ioannes Andreas de Magistris, Madonna and Child with St. Roch and St. Sebastian

Church of St. Fedele, Como, Italy

As usual, St. Sebastian is pictured almost naked with arrows piercing his body. St. Roch's portrait is also traditional. He carries a pilgrim's staff and hat, and on his collar is a "veronica" badge signyifying pilgrimage to Rome and a scallop shell for his pilgrimage to Campostella. He directs the viewer's gaze to the bubo on his thigh, the initial symptom of bubonic plague; he and Sebastian were commonly invoked in time of plague. One non-traditional feature of Roch's portrait is the twist of cloth at the top of his staff.

The fresco is dated 1504 on the second riser of the podium and signed with the phrase Ioannes Andreas de Magistris pinxit, "painted by Giovanni Andrea di Magistri." I have not been able to identify this artist. The Madonna is pictured very much as in those of Antoniazzo Romano's Madonna and Child with Saints and another Madonna by Antoniazzo (lived 1430-1510) studied in Everett. The present fresco continues the 15th-century practice of picturing the child naked, though in this case with the genitalia hidden behind the right thigh.

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Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.