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Alessandro Conti

(b Florence, before March 12, 1446; d Lucca, 1496).

Italian painter and illuminator. He was a Camaldolite monk; his appointment, from 1470, as Abbot of Agnano, Arezzo, and Val di Castro, Fabriano, was disputed, since he never resided at either abbey. His work is known from a signed triptych of the Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints (1460–67) in SS Martino e Bartolomeo at Tifi, Arezzo (in situ). It shows the influence of the most fashionable Florentine artists of the time, such as Neri di Bicci, and such artists from the Marches as Giovanni Boccati and Gerolamo di Giovanni da Camerino. The most noteworthy aspect of the altarpiece, however, is its chromatic quality. This undoubtedly derives from the work of Piero della Francesca and has made it possible to identify Amedei as the collaborator to whom Piero entrusted the small predella scenes and pilaster figures of the polyptych of the Misericordia (Sansepolcro, Pin.), a work that can be dated by the final payments made in ...


William Hood

[Fra Giovanni da Fiesole; Guido di Piero da Mugello]

(b nr Vicchio, c. 1395–1400; d Rome, Feb 18, 1455).

Italian painter, illuminator and Dominican friar. He rose from obscure beginnings as a journeyman illuminator to the renown of an artist whose last major commissions were monumental fresco cycles in St Peter’s and the Vatican Palace, Rome. He reached maturity in the early 1430s, a watershed in the history of Florentine art. None of the masters who had broken new ground with naturalistic painting in the 1420s was still in Florence by the end of that decade. The way was open for a new generation of painters, and Fra Angelico was the dominant figure among several who became prominent at that time, including Paolo Uccello, Fra Filippo Lippi and Andrea del Castagno. By the early 1430s Fra Angelico was operating the largest and most prestigious workshop in Florence. His paintings offered alternatives to the traditional polyptych altarpiece type and projected the new naturalism of panel painting on to a monumental scale. In fresco projects of the 1440s and 1450s, both for S Marco in Florence and for S Peter’s and the Vatican Palace in Rome, Fra Angelico softened the typically astringent and declamatory style of Tuscan mural decoration with the colouristic and luminescent nuances that characterize his panel paintings. His legacy passed directly to the second half of the 15th century through the work of his close follower Benozzo Gozzoli and indirectly through the production of Domenico Veneziano and Piero della Francesca. Fra Angelico was undoubtedly the leading master in Rome at mid-century, and had the survival rate of 15th-century Roman painting been greater, his significance for such later artists as Melozzo da Forlì and Antoniazzo Romano might be clearer than it is....


Phyllis Pray Bober

(b Bologna, 1474–5; d Bologna, Nov 19, 1552).

Italian painter, sculptor, illuminator, printmaker and draughtsman . He was born into a family of painters, and his youthful facility reportedly astonished his contemporaries. His work developed in the Emilian–Ferrarese tradition of Ercole de’ Roberti, Lorenzo Costa the elder and, above all, Francesco Francia. Until the re-evaluation by Longhi, critical assessment of Amico’s oeuvre was over-reliant on literary sources, especially Vasari’s unsympathetic account of an eccentric, half-insane master working so rapidly with both hands (the ‘chiaro’ in one, the ‘scuro’ in the other) that he was able to finish decorating an entire house façade in one day.

Longhi presented Amico as a creative master whose expressive intensity and sensitive use of colour rescued Bolognese painting of the early 16th century from sterile echoes of Raphael. Today Aspertini is viewed as an influential precursor of Mannerism, and his highly individual study of antiquity has been brought to the fore by the publication of his sketchbooks. Amico was not a mere imitator of ancient artists, but their imaginative rival, whether in his grotesques derived from the decorations of Nero’s Domus Aurea in Rome (e.g. the Parma sketchbook and the borders of his ...


Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time.

Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....


Isabel Mateo Gómez

(b ?Toledo; d 1595).

Spanish painter, miniaturist, sculptor, architect and writer. He belongs to the Toledan school of the second half of the 16th century. The son of the painter Lorenzo de Ávila, he developed a Mannerist style that is smooth and delicate and derives from his father’s and from that of Juan Correa de Vivar and of Francisco Comontes (d 1565). He worked as painter to Toledo Cathedral from 1565 to 1581 and was painter (Pintor del Rey) to Philip II from 1583. He acted frequently as a valuer for the work of other artists.

Between 1563 and 1564, in collaboration with Luis de Velasco, Hernando de Ávila painted the retable of the church of Miraflores (Madrid Province) with the Life of Christ and the Life of the Virgin (untraced); these are probably among his earliest works. He was commissioned to paint the retables of St John the Baptist and the ...


Ailsa Turner


(b Florence, Oct ?14, 1425; d Florence, Aug 29, 1499).

Italian painter. Belonging to the generation of Florentine painters that followed Domenico Veneziano and Fra Filippo Lippi, he worked all his life in Florence and kept a notebook of commissions. He experimented with painting techniques, sometimes with unfortunate results. His sense of pattern and decoration was particularly suited to the design of mosaic, intarsia and stained glass.

Baldovinetti was the eldest son of a wealthy merchant and rejected the prospect of a career in commerce to become an artist. In 1448 he enrolled in the Compagnia di S Luca and the following year began to keep a notebook of commissions and transactions. His earliest attributable works, c. 1449, form part of the decoration of the doors of the silver cupboard (Florence, Mus. S Marco) formerly in the chapel of the Annunciation in SS Annunziata, Florence, for which Baldovinetti painted the Marriage at Cana, the Baptism and the Transfiguration; their traditional iconography was possibly determined by ...


Fiorella Sricchia Santoro

(di Giacomo di Pace)

(b Cortine in Valdibiana Montaperti, 1484; d Siena, between Jan and May 1551).

Italian painter, sculptor, draughtsman, printmaker and illuminator. He was one of the protagonists, perhaps even the most precocious, of Tuscan Mannerism, which he practised with a strong sense of his Sienese artistic background but at the same time with an awareness of contemporary developments in Florence and Rome. He responded to the new demand for feeling and fantasy while retaining the formal language of the early 16th century. None of Beccafumi’s works is signed or dated, but his highly personal maniera has facilitated almost unanimous agreement regarding the definition of his corpus and the principal areas of influence on it. However, some questions concerning the circumstances of his early career and the choices available to him remain unanswered. The more extreme forms of Beccafumi’s reckless experimentation underwent a critical reappraisal only in the later 20th century.

The primary sources of information concerning Beccafumi are Vasari’s biography (1568) and archival findings, mostly 19th century, relating to the artist. Vasari, although a direct acquaintance of Beccafumi in his last years and in a position to gather information from mutual friends, was, predictably, unreliable in regard to his early career. According to Vasari, Mecherino, the son of a poor farmer named Giacomo di Pace, became the protégé of ...


Italian, 15th century, male.

Active in Venice,c. 1443–1490.

Painter, manuscript illuminator.

Leonardo Bellini was the nephew of Jacopo Bellini and cousin of his sons Giovanni and Gentile, all three of whom were painters. A contract dated 1443 documents Leonardo as an apprentice to Jacopo, with whom he lived. Although a few panel paintings have been attributed to him, Leonardo was primarily active as an illuminator. He seems to have specialised in adding miniatures to ...


(fl 1388; d after 1450).

Italian painter and illuminator. Milanese writers from the humanist Uberto Decembrio (1350–1427) to Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo in the 16th century described Michelino as the greatest artist of his time. He was especially praised for his skill and prodigious talent in the naturalistic portrayal of animals and birds. Records of payments made in 1388 to a ‘Michelino pictore’ who painted scenes from the Life of St Augustine in the second cloister of the Augustinian convent of S Pietro in Ciel d’Oro, Pavia, are thought to be the earliest references to the artist. He was still resident in Pavia in 1404, when the Fabbrica (Cathedral Works) of Milan Cathedral decided to consult him as ‘the greatest in the arts of painting and design’. The frescoes in S Pietro in Ciel d’Oro and a panel by Michelino dated 1394 that was in S Mustiola, Pavia, in the 17th century have not survived, but two of the manuscripts with illumination firmly attributed to Michelino date from his time in Pavia: St Augustine’s ...


Nicole Reynaud

(b 1457; d Tours, 1521).

French painter and illuminator. He worked in Tours towards the end of the 15th century and was an official painter to Louis XI, Charles VIII, Louis XII, and Francis I. Despite the absence of Bourdichon’s name from contemporary historical writings, he enjoyed the highest reputation in his own day. This is clear not only from the rank of those who commissioned work from him and from the sumptuous quality of his surviving works but also from the sheer quantity of works he produced, which implies that he had assistants to help him keep up with demand. Having already worked for Louis XI for two years, Bourdichon succeeded Jean Fouquet as Peintre du Roi in 1481. He was in favour at court and well regarded by Charles VIII, who had a workshop set up for him in the castle at Plessis-lès-Tours and provided generous dowries for his daughters; the painter enjoyed a long official career and lived in considerable comfort as a landowner. Bourdichon received a regular wage as ‘painter and valet de chambre in ordinary’ and was mentioned in the royal accounts, mainly with reference to the numerous functional decorations and temporary creations for which he was responsible. His name also appears in connection with designs for coins, stained-glass windows, and silver or gold plate. He received a considerable number of commissions for paintings on wood, particularly of the Virgin in glory, and for various portraits. Only one of Bourdichon’s panel paintings is known to survive (see §1 below), but far more of his work as an illuminator is extant. As his success brought him both imitators and subcontractors, it seems appropriate to reduce his corpus to those manuscripts that are most similar to his only documented work, the Grandes Heures of Anne of Brittany. His activities as an illuminator are otherwise poorly documented; the only works mentioned are the ...


Anna Maria Ferrari


(b Oreno, nr Monza, c. 1480; d Milan, Jan 19, 1524).

Italian painter. In 1490, aged 10, he joined the workshop of Leonardo da Vinci in Milan. In his notebooks Leonardo described him as a ‘lying, obstinate, greedy thief’ but also considered him an able pupil. He was nicknamed Salaì (or Salaino, the name of a demon) because of his lively and irascible character. He remained with Leonardo for about 30 years. In 1499 he accompanied him to Mantua, Venice and Florence. By 1505 he had achieved some fame as a painter; Alvise Ciocha, an agent of Isabella d’Este, Marchesa of Mantua, described him as ‘very able for his years’ and invited him to advise Pietro Perugino who was working for her. He accompanied Leonardo to Rome in 1513 and three years later to France, with Francesco Melzi.

In 1519, following his master’s death, Salaì settled in Milan on property that Leonardo had bequeathed him. He died a violent death. An inventory of his possessions shows that he inherited many works by ...


(fl 1486–1523).

Italian illuminator, painter and sculptor. He was principally active as an illuminator and ran a workshop of considerable repute in Bologna. In 1486 he collaborated with Martino da Modena (fl 1477–89) on the decoration of choir-books for S Petronio, Bologna, and this contact with Martino undoubtedly influenced his style. In 1509 and 1511 and then in 1522 and 1523 he and his collaborators received payments for the illumination of a number of choir-books for the same church (Bologna, Mus. S Petronio).

Cavalletto’s only surviving signed and dated work is a full-page miniature of the Coronation of the Virgin (1523; Bologna, Mus. Civ. Med.), from the statute book of the guild of merchants and drapers of Bologna. The miniature, with the Virgin enthroned on a podium in a columned room, is strikingly monumental in its conception. Here, as in the best of Cavalletto’s work as an illuminator, the marked influence of the Ferrara school fused with the traditional style of Bologna is apparent. Also attributed to Cavalletto are the frontispiece miniature of the statute book of the College of Jurists of Bologna representing the ...


Libby Karlinger Escobedo

Illustrated manuscript (Chantilly, Mus. Condé, MS. 597/1424) of the Inferno by Dante Alighieri, probably made in Pisa c. 1345. Dante’s Inferno is the first part of his Divine Comedy, written sometime between 1308 and 1321, in which Dante himself, guided by the Roman poet Virgil, travels through the nine circles of Hell, encountering a variety of notable historical figures guilty of the various sins associated with each successive level. The many surviving manuscripts attest to the popularity of the text; more than 600 copies survive from the 14th century alone, including the Chantilly manuscript.

The Chantilly manuscript contains the Inferno as well as a Latin commentary on the text by Guido da Pisa. Most of the manuscript’s 55 miniatures accompany the commentary, though their iconography is drawn from the Inferno itself. The Chantilly manuscript is among the earliest illustrated copies of the Inferno and the only known illustrated copy of Guido da Pisa’s commentary. The manuscript includes the arms of the ...


Kristen Lippincott

(fl 1480–?1500).

Italian painter and illuminator. A Virgin and Child (Ferrara, Pin. N.), signed and dated Antonii Cicognarii Pictura anno domini 1480, shows him to have been an extremely feeble painter at that date. Longhi (1934) and Ruhmer (1957) proposed that Cicognara had played a substantial role in the decoration of the Salone dei Mesi in Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara, 11 years earlier, but this thesis seems unlikely and has not been generally accepted. His earliest certain work is as a miniaturist in Cremona, where he illuminated two Antiphonaries and a Psalter for the cathedral between 1482 and 1483. The miniature of Isaiah on fol. 3r of the Psalter (Cremona Cathedral, Cod. IV) is signed and dated 1483. He is also documented in Cremona on 17 December 1486 and 31 May 1487, painting in S Rocco and in the Ospedale della Pietà. In 1490 he signed and dated a ...


Lucinda Hawkins

[Giorgio; Klovic, Juraj]

(b Grisone [Grizane], Croatia, 1498; d Rome, Jan 3, 1578).

Italian painter and illuminator of Croatian birth. The most important illuminator of the 16th century, he was a ‘Michelangelo of small works’, according to Vasari. Many of his documented works are dispersed or untraced, and some attributions are controversial, but his secure oeuvre gives a clear idea of his stylistic influences and development. Although much of his inspiration came from Raphael and Michelangelo, he developed his own visual language, brilliantly translating their monumental forms for work on the smallest scale.

Educated in his native Croatia, Clovio came to Italy at the age of 18 to study art. He began his training in Venice and spent several years there in the service of Cardinal Domenico Grimani and his nephew Marino Grimani. During this period he visited Rome, where he met Giulio Romano and studied with him. This stay in Rome, as well as his experience of the art collections of the Grimani, which included many works by northern artists, notably Dürer, strongly influenced his artistic development. Around ...


Gabriele Bartz

[Jacobo; Jacobus]

(fl 1398–1404).

South Netherlandish painter. He came from Bruges and is known only through written sources, the earliest of which places him in Paris in 1398, when he dictated instructions on the production of colours to Johannes Alcherius. Alcherius reproduced Coene’s instructions, with information from other French and Italian painters, in a treatise of 1411. In 1399, on Alcherius’s recommendation, Coene was one of the three consultants summoned to Milan to advise on the construction of the cathedral (see Mason, §IV, 3, (iii)). In a surviving contract, Coene was required to produce a drawing of the cathedral, from the base to the tip. In 1407 it was recorded that Jacques Raponde, acting for the Burgundian dukes Philip the Bold and John the Fearless, had paid on Philip’s behalf the sum of 20 francs to Coene in 1404 for a Bible in Latin and French. Coene worked on this commission with ...


Filippo Pedrocco

(b Murano, 1561; d Venice, 1605).

Italian painter. He was first taught by his father, Michele Corona, an illuminator, and later entered the workshop of Master Rocco, a copyist of antique works, but the main influences on his development were the works of Titian, Veronese and Jacopo Tintoretto. Between 1577 and 1585 Corona painted three grisailles for the Sala del Maggior Consiglio in the Doge’s Palace, Venice. These were rather clumsily modelled on the work of Veronese, but they nevertheless secured Corona the commission to decorate the walls of the same room with the story of the Doge Enrico Dandolo (destr.).

Corona’s oil paintings depicting Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem and Christ before Caiaphas, executed before 1585 for S Giuliano, Venice, clearly show the influence of Tintoretto in the crowds of figures and the dramatic use of chiaroscuro. His period of greatest activity was in the 1590s, when he worked in S Giovanni Elemosinario, Venice; his paintings there include a ...


Charles M. Rosenberg

[Taddeo da Ferrara]

(fl 1451; d Bologna, by 1479).

Italian illuminator and painter. Bertoni hypothesized a Lombard origin for the artist on orthographic grounds, and Crivelli’s style seems to support this, although at least 20 years of his working life were spent in Ferrara. The earliest surviving document concerning Crivelli is his personal account book for 1451–7 (Modena, Archv Stor.). Ljuba Eleen (DBI) calculated that during this period Crivelli was engaged in more than 100 projects. In carrying out these commissions, he employed a sizeable shop of apprentices and assistants, including Cristoforo Mainardi (fl 1454) and Jacopo Filippo d’Argenta. In 1452 Crivelli contracted to illuminate ‘uno trato sopra lo evangelio di san zoane che fe santo agostino’ for Novello Malatesta. This has been identified with a copy of St Augustine’s Sermons on the Gospel of St John (Cesena, Bib. Malatestiana, MS. D.III.3).

In 1455 Crivelli received his most important commission, and until 1461, with Franco dei Russi, he was responsible for the illumination of the ...


[Bissucio; Bisuccio]

(fl 1421–81).

Italian painter and illuminator. Son of the Lombard painter Michelino da Besozzo, he is documented in 1421 as his father’s assistant in Milan Cathedral. Shortly afterwards he travelled south, arriving in Naples by 1438, when he painted the panel depicting St Anthony of Padua (Naples, S Lorenzo), of which only the crown of angels at the top remains. In S Giovanni a Carbonara (Naples), probably towards the end of the 1430s, he worked in the chapel of Sergianni Caracciolo, painting scenes from the Life of the Virgin and scenes of Hermitic Life, with the painter Perrinetto da Benevento and assistants. Leonardo can be credited with the Nativity, inscribed below with his name, the Annunciation, the Coronation of the Virgin and the last of the Hermit scenes. Probably later, in the same church, Leonardo also painted some figures of saints in the Mausoleum of King Ladislas. From 1454 Leonardo is documented as court painter to ...


Patrick M. de Winter

[Girolamo di Giovanni dei Corradi]

(fl 1451–83).

Italian illuminator and painter. He probably trained in the circle of Francesco Squarcione in Padua. It is possible that Girolamo is the Gerolamo Padovano described as illuminating manuscripts for S Maria Nuova, Florence, in Vasari’s Vita of Bartolomeo della Gatta. Girolamo’s first known works are an historiated initial P showing the Baptism of Constantine (1451; Paris, Mus. Marmottan) and a letter M inscribed Ieronimus. F. with St Catherine before Maxentius (London, V&A, MS. 1184), both probably excised from the same Antiphonal. The style of these compositions is eclectic and includes figures with little articulation that appear to derive from Antonio Vivarini’s types, combined with studied spatial effects probably learnt from Donatello’s main altar at the basilica of S Antonio, Padua. A subsequent but near contemporary work possibly by Girolamo is the miniature of St Maurice in the Life and Passion of St Maurice (1452/3; Paris, Bib. Arsenal, MS. 940, fol. 34...