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Cimiez and Bréa's retables

The Pieta by Brea | Franzrycou / CC-BY-SA
Abbey Franciscan Cimiez monastery

Do you know Louis Bréa? In the 15th century, in Nice, a painting school was founded: the "Primitive from Nice". They were Italian or born in Nice and inspired by Italian paintings.

The most famous were Jean Miralhet, Jacques Durandi, Jacques de Carolis and... Ludovico Brea (born in Nice in 1450). Cimiez church displays 3 of his paintings!

His first work was the Cimiez Pieta (1475), a blend of Italian and Flemish influences. A real masterpiece! It’s a triptych on a golden background, with the Virgin Mary sitting, praying, with Jesus lying down on her knees. 8 little angels fly around her.

On the left: saint Martin sharing his coat! A funny detail: his grey horse seems pretty stiff, too skimpy in his wooden wing! On the right, saint Catherine. Do you notice, this inscription?

It says: Hoc opus fecit fieri condam Nobilis Martinus de Rala cujus Executor fuit Nobilis Dms Jacobus Galeas 1478 Die 25 junii et Ludovicus Brea pinxit, which means "Noble Martinus de Rala ordered this work. Noble Jacques Galéani made it as my wishes, on June 25th 1475 and Ludovico Bréa was the painter."

Now, the second painting, the Crucifixion (1512): oh, what a pretty Renaissance detailed landscape in perspective! Near Jesus, Mary-Magdalene, with a saint who strikes his chest with a stone, and two bourgeois nicely dressed.

On the left, Mary in saint John’s arms. There, in the lower part of the retable, we have 4 little scenes about Passion, including Jesus' arrest. Last but not least, the last painting, the Descent of the Cross (1475)...

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!