Discovering the Corpse of Jacopo de' Pazzi
(bottom right) “O. Borrani 1864”
Odoardo Borrani was initially interested in historical paintings, with particular references to events regarding the Florentine Renaissance. The painting evokes an episode linked to the anti-Medicean conspiracy at the hands of the dei Pazzi family in 1478: the discovery of the corpse of Jacopo, one of the figures at the forefront of the conspiracy, by an agitated crowd; with the city walls in the background and beyond them, the green Florentine hills. The landscape section occupies half of the composition, revealing the painter’s interest in nature; in fact, he was one of the first to paint in the open air, around Florence and in the Apennines near Pistoia, with his friend Raffaello Sernesi. He was involved, together with other artists, in the renewal of art and in the building of a unified Italy. Borrani soon joined the “Macchaioli group”, applying a new style of painting light, volumes and colours even to historical subjects. Already the composition of tis painting shows an evident attention to the rendering of the bold contrasts in chiaroscuro that animate the layout, adding a natural “contemporary” feel to a scene in costume.