"Antwerp workshop, Ancona of passion; mid-16th century, oak wood carved, painted and gilded; oil on board, 296 x 220 cm (closed); 296 x396 cm (open); 33.4 cm thickness"

At Annone di Brianza in the Church of St. George, you can admire the "ANCONA DELLA PASSIONE" (altarpiece of the Passion), an altarpiece painted and gilded carved wood cabinets. The great altarpiece adorned the right side chapel of Saint John the Baptist, whose construction dates back to the first half of the century XVI at the behest of Annoni, one of the most authoritative families of Milan of the sixteenth and seventeenth century that took care of organising transport between Italy and the North. Giovanni Angelo Annoni (for years he lived in Flanders while holding the seat of Antwerp of the society while the brothers Giovanni Andrea and Giovanni Francesco resided respectively in Milan and Lucern, while remaining connected to the village brianzolo where originated their family) is the link between the Polittico (Polyptych) of Annone and Antwerp workshop engaged in its implementation in the years 1559-60.

Behind closed doors on the right side by a background of nordic flavour the orderer is portrayed praying and flanked by Saint Andrew as a St. George the Dragon fighter occupies the first floor left. The image of the valiant knight testifies among other things the ancient Church as the destination for the altarpiece. On the Predella (dais), separated by pilasters finely carved, painted episodes of the last supper, of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane and the kiss of Judas with the capture of Jesus. This narrative sequence introduces the dramatic story of passion that unfolds within the Ancona real with a series of richly carved relief scenes. Slowly one by one you are profiling in their surprising richness of detail the Ecce Homo followed by scrounging and crowning with thorns in the lower register and the ascent to Calvary with a fall of Christ and Veronica, the crucifixion and the Deposition in the upper one.

To sign the tale is again the painting with the resurrection and last judgment respectively represented on the inside of the doors left and right. The structure of the Polittico of Annone is a Mannerist version of the traditional scheme used at Antwerp in the second four hundred shops where the Central scene, usually the crucifixion, is surrounded by other scenes from the passion painted and carved.

Here the last moments of Jesus's life are structured on three levels, the "predella" and the overlying series of niches, all closed at the top by a large frame to "serliana".

The vast repertoire of classical light adds expressiveness agitated and caricatured typically carved scenes while the Nordic characters who crowd the grotesque decoration of pilasters and pillars, plinths and rich capitals of the columns and the "putti ignudi" are mixed with numerous details physiognomical view loads of unnatural emotions.

Art historians have found structural affinity, narrative and stylistic tightening of the Polittico of Annone with other magnificent altars North Europeans. Well as their timing, painted between 1555 and 1560, attests to the inbreeding of our Polittico with those examined and currently visible in Belgium and in Denmark. The recent restoration of Ancona at the Diocesan Museum made the discovery at multiple points in the famous brand of Antwerp, representing two black hands, that certifies the origin from a shop in that city. Is easy to imagine how the arrival of Ancona in country has shaken the soul of the faithful arousing in them a strong sense of wonder and awe. In 1560 he remained there until the early 1970s when it was relocated first to the parish church and then, for safety reasons, in the parish house where he was kept until 1999 when it was taken for the Ambrosian art exhibition at the Diocesan Museum on the occasion of the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, to return to its original home on 18 July 2017.

Housed in the former Church of St George, built on a hill the backdrop, is an authentic jewel of religious devotion to the small local community; cross the threshold and walking paths you can approach in prayer to this work stunning, true testimony of an ancient faith that still never ceases to amaze us and question us.