Sunday, 24 April 2016


“In essence the Renaissance was simply the green end of one of civilisation’s hardest winters.” - John Fowles

Pinturicchio, original name Bernardino di Betto di Biago (born c. 1454, Perugia, Romagna Italy – died Dec. 11, 1513, Siena, Republic of Siena) early Italian Renaissance painter known for his highly decorative frescoes. He was born in Perugia, the son of Benedetto or Betto di Blagio. He may have trained under lesser known Perugian painters such as Bonfigli and Fiorenzo di Lorenzo. According to Vasari, Pinturicchio was a paid assistant of Perugino. The works of the Perugian Renaissance school are very similar; and paintings by Perugino, Pinturicchio, Lo Spagna and a young Raphael may often be mistaken one for the other. In the execution of large frescoes, pupils and assistants had a large share in the work, either in enlarging the master’s sketch to the full-sized cartoon, in transferring the cartoon to the wall, or in painting backgrounds or accessories.

By 1481 Pinturicchio was associated with the Umbrian artist Perugino, whose influence on him was to be permanent. It is generally agreed that he assisted Perugino on some of the frescoes (“Journey of Moses” and the “Baptism of Christ”) in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican (1481/82). In the 1480s he worked in the Bufalini Chapel in Santa Maria in Aracoeli and in Santa Maria del Popolo (both in Rome).

Pinturicchio’s most important work of this period was the decoration of the suite of six rooms in the Vatican known as the Borgia Apartments for Pope Alexander VI between 1492 and 1494. In these frescoes he retains Perugino’s figure types but lacks his clarity of conception. Instead, Pinturicchio relies on brilliant, often jarring colours, gilding, and ancient Roman ornamental motifs. Pinturicchio’s last major works were the 10 scenes from the life of Pope Pius II painted (1503–08) in fresco in the Piccolomini Library in Siena. In these, space, colour, and detail are handled with a crisp proficiency that may have influenced Raphael.

The Ashmolean Museum (University of Oxford), Biblioteca Ambrosiana (Milan), the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Courtauld Institute of Art (London), the Denver Art Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum (University of Cambridge), the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Louvre, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the National Gallery, London, Palazzo Ruspoli (Rome), the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana (Milan), Princeton University Art Museum, Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, the Vatican Museums and the Museum of Fine Arts (Budapest) are among the public collections holding works by Pinturicchio.

Above is “The Anunciation” a fresco in the Baglioni Chapel, in the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore commissioned in 1500 by Troilo Baglioni to the artist Pinturicchio.

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