DEPOSITION – Ortolano 1515
Art historians have been able to date the present work, exposed in the Borghese Gallery, by comparing its subject matter with that of Ortolano’s Deposition, now in the Galleria di Capodimonte in Naples: in both paintings the figure of St Christopher is crossing the river in the left background, and three crosses can be seen on the right.
The comparison with the Naples Deposition has allowed the present painting exposed in the Borghese Gallery to be dated to 1521 (Delia Pergola, 1955), although this date has now been brought forward to c. 1518 (Ballarin, 1994).
Because of the presence of the saint il has been hypothesized that the paint¬ing comes from the church of San Cristoforo degli Esposti, in Ferrara, or, in the same city, that of the Serviti, which was destroyed in 1599. However, the devotee with a black robe and cap, kneeling in the right foreground. suggests that the altarpiece comes from the church of the Visi- tazione di Maria Vergine della Porta di Sotto, known as the Madonnina, in Ferrara, from where it was removed in 1607 and replaced by a copy.
In 1622 the painting was already recorded in Scipione Borghese’s collection and the inventory of 1650 as¬signed it to Ortolano. Subsequently, the inventory of 1693 ascribed it to Bramante, while the 18th-century one of the paintings in the Palazzo Bor-ghese in Campo Marzio gave it to Garofalo: this attribution remained unchanged until the fidei-commissum of 1833. Eventually Paola Della Pergola ascribed the painting to Ortolano. as Adolfo Venturi had already done