Cristoforo Majorana, f. 1470-1500
A miniaturist who was active at the court of the Aragonese of Naples and that of Andrea Matteo of Acquaviva, the first attestation of his autonomous work free from collaborations with the bottega dates back to October 13, 1480, in a document that testifies his service to Ferrante d’Aragona for the illustration of a codex containing the Explanatio Psalmorum of St. Augustine (London, British Library, Add. 14781). In the same year he worked on a codex with the Life and fables of Aesop (Valencia, Biblioteca Universitaria, ms. 758) in which the stylistic characteristic of Majorana is also present, which would counter a formation in the bottega of Nicola Rapicano, occuring in the seventies of the same century. We often find the hand of Majorana in codices written by the copyist Gianrinaldo Mennio, intended for Alfonso Duke of Calabria, such as a Macrobius, Saturnaliorum liber primus, Commentarius in somnium Scipionis, made in 1472 (Valencia, Biblioteca Universitaria, ms. 484-2-55).
The decorative repertoire of the miniaturist is characterized by antique architectural frontispieces that are decorated with putti that have somewhat frowning and agitated expressions. This likewise appears in the De rerum natura by Lucretius (ms. Barb. lat. 154) in which the emblem of Andrea Matteo III Acquaviva of Aragon, Duke of Atri. The style of the prolific artist also shows influences from the classic taste of Venetian and Roman codices, elaborating frontispieces with candelabra decorations that return to the intentionally antiquary manner of Gaspare da Padova, as can also be seen in the works of Pontano, De principe, De oboedientia, Dialogi Charon fragmenta, made for Alphonsus, Duke of Calabria, illustrated immediately after 1472 (ms. Urb. lat. 225), at a time when Majorana was still active in the Rapicano workshop.
DE MARINIS, La biblioteca napoletana, pp. 103-110; TOSCANO, Gaspare da Padova, p. 529; TOSCANO, Majorana Cristoforo, pp. 718-721; TOSCANO, La bottega di Cola, pp. 30-32, 40-42, 49, 51-52, 54.