Madonna and Child with Saint Bruno in a Doorway

WAG 1995.238


The drawing appears to be a study in reverse for a small painting (now in Munich Alte Pinakothek and there attributed to Parmigianino) possibly created in 15234-35 for the abbot of the Carthusian monastery in Pavia, Italy. St. Bruno being the Carthusian Order's founder. Like many of Bedoli's works the drawing was once thought to be by Parmiginanino, Bedoli's great mentor and relative by marriage, from whom he took his middle name, and whose style and compositions he closely imitated, as this tender red-chalk study shows. Bedoli particularly favoured the medium of red chalk, employed in this drawing with a light feathery stroke, which deftly increased the drawing's mysterious air. Bedoli was the most popular artist in mid 16th-century Parma, because he was versatile, industrious and reliable. Works like this could be used to evoke an emotional response through the representation of motherhood, domestic life and religion. They also reinforce the traditional role of women in Italian Renaissance society.