Belgramoni Tacco Palace, Piano nobile (first floor)
The Renaissance collection presents a selection of works of art from the second half of the 15th century to the 17th century, when portraiture still showed the last remnants of the classically perceived celebration of individual meritorious mayors of Koper. Upon the renovation and furnishing of the Town Square in Koper in the 15th century one finds orders of figural artefacts made of fired clay (the so-called terracotta). The most beautiful one is the fragment of a relief by Antonio Rossellino “Madonna and Child”. “Constantine's Tondo” and the statue “Madonna and Child” come from the precious inventory of the newly-built Loggia (“lobia nova”) in Koper, which had been built in elegant Gothic forms by Tomaso da Venezia and Nicolὸ da Pirano between 1462-64. For exterior and interior furnishings the Great Council soon began choosing new, Renaissance-inspired furnishings.
The symbolical blessing of an important building in the north wing of the Platea Comunis, with a purely Renaissance votive image, signifies the first great Tuscan salutation to the town. The image is ascribed to a sculptor, who fostered older patterns of the soft style together with Renaissance ones. Donatello (1383-1466), one of the protagonists of the new trends, left behind a legacy in Padua in the middle of the century, which also enriched the workshop of our master. Perhaps this work of art is also directly connected to the prestigious furnishings on the façade of the Loggia, namely the three tondi with images of emperors, which had been commissioned by the town's worthies, proud of their history. The terracotta bearing the image of Constantine testifies to the fast that at the end of the 15th century the town was living in the new spirit of the time and was enthusiastic about antiquity. In the case of the furnishings of the upper façade of the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary the order was entrusted to the best carvers in Venice, who finished their work in 1498.
In the everyday life of the town, too, the spirit of freemen was prospering in the ranks of the elite nobility, who were united in “Compagnia della Calza” and organised entertaining performances and formal receptions following the example of Venice. The town's scholars socialised with one of the most educated men of the time: the Bishop of Koper, Jacopo Valaresso (1482-1503). The coastal towns are being enriched inside their churches with important works of art, signed by Vivarinis, Bellinis, Paolo Campsa, Cima da Conegliano, Vittore and Benedetto Carpaccio, the Santacroce painters ...
The Renaissance collection lacks the work “Solemn Entrance of Mayor Sebastian Contarini into the Cathedral”, which was painted in 1517 by Vittore Carpaccio. This “first European group portrait” presented the source for all subsequent celebratory and self-celebratory manifestations. This painting is one of the many works of art that had been taken to Italy in 1940, accompanied by a promise that they would be returned after the War, which has yet to be fulfilled.