Botticelli 1445 – 1510
Canaletto 1697 – 1768
Caravaggio 1571 – 1610
da Vinci 1452 – 1519
Donatello 1386 – 1466
Fra Angelico 1395 - 1455
Giotto 1267 – 1337
Michelangelo 1475 – 1564
Pinturicchio 1452–1513
Raphael 1483 – 1520
Tiepolo 1696 - 1770
Tintoretto 1518 - 1594
Titian 1488 – 1576
Veronese 1528 – 1588

1267 – 1337 Giotto
1386 – 1466 Donatello
1395 - 1455 Fra Angelico
1445 – 1510 Botticelli
1452–1513 Pinturicchio
1452 – 1519 da Vinci
1475 – 1564 Michelangelo
1483 – 1520 Raphael
1488 – 1576 Titian
1518 - 1594 Tintoretto
1528 – 1588 Veronese
1571 – 1610 Caravaggio
1696 - 1770 Tiepolo
1697 – 1768 Canaletto


Michelangelo di lo dovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475 – 1564), commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet and engineer. Despite making few forays beyond the arts, his versatility in the disciplines he took up was of such a high order that he is often considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with his rival and fellow Italian Leonardo da Vinci.

Michelangelo's output in every field during his long life was prodigious; when the sheer volume of correspondence, sketches and reminiscences that survive is also taken into account, he is the best-documented artist of the 16th century. Two of his best-known works, the Pietà and the David, were sculpted in his late twenties to early thirties. Despite his low opinion of painting, Michelangelo also created two of the most influential fresco paintings in the history of Western art: the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling and The Last Judgement on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Later in life he designed the dome of St Peter's Basilica in the same city and revolutionized classical architecture with his invention of the giant order of pilasters.

Uniquely for a Renaissance artist, two biographies were published of Michelangelo during his own lifetime. One of them, by Giorgio Vasari, proposed that he was the pinnacle of all artistic achievement since the beginning of the Renaissance, a viewpoint that continued to have currency in art history for centuries. In his lifetime he was also often called Il Divino ("the divine one"), an appropriate sobriquet given his intense spirituality. One of the qualities most admired by his contemporaries was his terribilità, a sense of awe-inspiring grandeur, and it was the attempts of subsequent artists to imitate Michelangelo's impassioned and highly personal style that resulted in the next major movement in Western art after the High Renaissance, Mannerism.

Michelangelo was born in 1475 near Arezzo, in Caprese, Tuscany. His father, Lodovico di Leonardo di Buonarotti di Simoni, was the resident magistrate in Caprese and podestà of Chiusi. His mother was Francesca di Neri del Miniato di Siena. As genealogies of the day indicated that the Buonarroti descended from Countess Matilda of Tuscany, the family was considered minor nobility. However, Michelangelo was raised in Florence and later, during the prolonged illness and after the death of his birth mother, lived with a stonecutter and his wife and family in the town of Settignano where his father owned a marble quarry and a small farm. Michelangelo once said to the biographer of artists Giorgio Vasari, What little good I have within me came from the pure air of your native Arezzo and the chisels and hammers.

Against his father's wishes (in fact to persuade him to take up a more honorable profession, his father would beat him), after a period of grammatics studies with the humanist Francesco d'Urbino, Michelangelo chose to continue his apprenticeship in painting with Domenico Ghirlandaio and in sculpture with Bertoldo di Giovanni. On June 28, 1488 he signed with an already famous painter a contract for three years starting in 1488. Amazingly enough, Michelangelo's father was able to get Ghirlandaio to pay the young artist, which was unheard of at the time. In fact, most apprentices paid their masters for the education. Impressed, Domenico recommended him to the ruler of the city, Lorenzo de' Medici, and Michelangelo left his workshop in 1489. From 1490 to 1492, Michelangelo attended Lorenzo's school and was influenced by many prominent people who modified and expanded his ideas on art, following the dominant Platonic view of that age, and even his feelings about sexuality. It was during this period that Michelangelo met literary personalities like Pico della Mirandola, Angelo Poliziano and Marsilio Ficino.

In this period Michelangelo finished Madonna of the Steps (1490–1492) and Battle of the Centaurs (1491–1492). The latter was based on a theme suggested by Poliziano and was commissioned by Lorenzo de Medici. After the death of Lorenzo on April 8, 1492, for whom Michelangelo had become a kind of son, Michelangelo quit the Medici court. In the following months he produced a Wooden crucifix (1493), as a thanksgiving gift to the prior of the church of Santa Maria del Santo Spirito who had permitted him some studies of anatomy on the corpses of the church's Hospital. Between 1493 and 1494 he bought the marble for a larger than life statue of Hercules, which was sent to France and disappeared sometime in the 1700s. He could enter again the court after on January 20, 1494, Piero de Medici commissioned a snow statue from him. But that year the Medici were expelled from Florence after the Savonarola rise, and Michelangelo also left the city before the end of the political upheaval, moving to Venice and then to Bologna. He did stay in Florence for awhile hiding in a small room underneath San Lorenzo that can still be visited to this day. In this room there are charcoal sketches still on the walls of various images that Michelangelo drew from his memory.

Here he was commissioned to finish the carving of the last small figures of the tomb and shrine of St. Dominic, in the church with the same name. He returned to Florence at the end of 1494, but soon he fled again, scared by the turmoils and by the menace of the French invasion.

He was again in his city between the end of 1495 and the June of 1496: if Leonardo considered Savonarola a fanatic and left the city, Michelangelo was touched by the friar's preaching, by the associated moral severity and by the hope of renovation of the Roman Church. In that year a marble Cupid by Michelangelo was treacherously sold to Cardinal Raffaele Riario as an ancient piece: the prelate found out that it was a fraud, but was so impressed by the quality of the sculpture that he invited the artist to Rome, where he arrived on June 26, 1496. On July 4 Michelangelo started to carve an over-life-size statue of the Roman wine god, Bacchus, commissioned by Cardinal Rafaelle Riario; the work was rejected by the cardinal, and subsequently entered the collection of the banker Jacopo Galli, for his garden.

Subsequently, in November of 1497, the French ambassador in the Holy See commissioned one of his most famous works, the Pietà. The contemporary opinion about this work — "a revelation of all the potentialities and force of the art of sculpture" — was summarised by Vasari: "It is certainly a miracle that a formless block of stone could ever have been reduced to a perfection that nature is scarcely able to create in the flesh."

The contract was stipulated in the August of the following year. Though he devoted himself only to sculpture, during his first stay in Rome Michelangelo never stopped his daily practice of drawing. In Rome, Michelangelo lived near the church of Santa Maria di Loreto: here, according to the legends, he fell in love (probably a Platonic love) with Vittoria Colonna, marquise of Pescara and poet. His house was demolished in 1874, and the remaining architectural elements saved by new proprietors were destroyed in 1930. Today a modern reconstruction of Michelangelo's house can be seen on the Gianicolo hill.

Michelangelo returned to Florence in 1499–1501. Things were changing in the city after the fall of Savonarola and the rise of the gonfaloniere Pier Soderini. He was asked by the consuls of the Guild of Wool to complete a project started 40 years before by Agostino di Duccio that had never materialized: a colossal statue portraying David as a symbol of Florentine freedom, to be placed in the Piazza della Signoria, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Michelangelo replied to the commissioning by completing arguably his most famous work, David in 1504. This masterwork definitively established his fame as sculptor for his extraordinary technical skill and the strength of his symbolic imagination.

Also during this period, Michelangelo painted the Holy Family and St John, also known as the Doni Tondo or the Holy Family of the Tribune: it was commissioned for the marriage of Angelo Doni and Maddalena Strozzi and in the 17th Century hung in the room known as the Tribune in the Uffizi. He also may have painted the Madonna and Child with John the Baptist, known as the Manchester Madonna and now in the National Gallery, London.

Michelangelo was invited back to Rome in 1505 by the newly appointed Pope Julius II and was commissioned to build the Pope's tomb. However, under the patronage of Julius II, Michelangelo had to constantly stop work on the tomb in order to accomplish numerous other tasks; due to such interruptions, Michelangelo worked on the tomb for 40 years. The finished tomb is located in the Church of S. Pietro in Vincoli in Rome. One such interruption was the commission to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which took four years to complete (1508 – 1512). According to Michelangelo's own account, reproduced in contemporary biographies, Bramante and Raphael convinced the Pope to commission Michelangelo in a medium not familiar to the artist, in order that he might be diverted from his preference for sculpture into fresco painting, and thus suffer from unfavourable comparisons with his rival Raphael. However, this story is heavily discounted by modern historians and contemporary evidence, and may be merely a reflection of his own perspective.

Michelangelo was originally employed to paint the 12 Apostles, but protested for a different scheme, and eventually completed the work with over 300 Biblical figures in a composition which has attracted many different interpretations. His figures showed the creation, the creation of Man, the creation of Woman, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the drunkenness of Noah and the Great Flood. Around the windows he painted the ancestors of Christ. On the pendentives supporting the ceiling he alternated seven Prophets of Israel with five sibyls, female prophets of the Classical world, with Jonah over the altar. On the highest section Michelangelo painted nine episodes from the Book of Genesis.

In 1513 Pope Julius II died and his successor Pope Leo X, a Medici, commissioned Michelangelo to reconstruct the façade of the basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence and to adorn it with sculptures. Michelangelo agreed reluctantly. The three years he spent in creating drawings and models for the facade, as well as attempting to open a new marble quarry at Pietrasanta specifically for the project, were among the most frustrating in his career, as work was abruptly cancelled by his financially-strapped patrons before any real progress had been made. The basilica lacks a facade to this day.

Apparently not the least embarrassed by this turnabout, the Medici later came back to Michelangelo with another grand proposal, this time for a family funerary chapel in the basilica of San Lorenzo. Fortunately for posterity, this project, occupying the artist for much of the 1520s and 1530s, was more fully realized. Though still incomplete, it is the best example we have of the integration of the artist's sculptural and architectural vision, since Michelangelo created both the major sculptures as well as the interior plan. Ironically the most prominent tombs are those of two rather obscure Medici who died young, a son and grandson of Lorenzo. Il Magnifico himself is buried in an unfinished and comparatively unimpressive tomb on one of the side walls of the chapel, not given a free-standing monument, as originally intended.

In 1527, the Florentine citizens, encouraged by the sack of Rome, threw out the Medici and restored the republic. A siege of the city ensued, and Michelangelo went to the aid of his beloved Florence by working on the city's fortifications from 1528 to 1529. The city fell in 1530 and the Medici were restored to power. Completely out of sympathy with the repressive reign of the ducal Medici, Michelangelo left Florence for good in the mid-1530s, leaving assistants to complete the Medici chapel. Years later his body was brought back from Rome for interment at the Basilica di Santa Croce, fulfilling the maestro's last request to be buried in his beloved Tuscany.

The fresco of The Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel was commissioned by Pope Clement VII, who died shortly after assigning the commission. Pius III was instrumental in seeing that Michelangelo began and completed the project. Michelangelo labored on the project from 1534 to October 1541. The work is massive and spans the entire wall behind the altar of the Sistine Chapel. The Last Judgment is a depiction of the second coming of Christ and the apocalypse; where the souls of humanity rise and are assigned to their various fates, as judged by Christ, surrounded by the Saints.

Once completed, the depictions of nakedness in the papal chapel was considered obscene and sacrilegeous, and Cardinal Carafa and Monsignor Sernini (Mantua's ambassador) campaigned to have the fresco removed or censored, but the Pope resisted. After Michelangelo's death, it was decided to obscure the genitals ("Pictura in Cappella coopriantur"). So Daniele da Volterra, an apprentice of Michelangelo, was commissioned to cover with perizomas (briefs) the genitals, leaving unaltered the complex of bodies. When the work was restored in 1993, the conservators chose not to remove all the perizomas of Daniele, leaving some of them as a historical document, and because some of Michelangelo’s work was previously scraped away by the touch-up artist's application of “decency” to the masterpiece. A faithful uncensored copy of the original, by Marcello Venusti, can be seen at the Capodimonte Museum of Naples.

Censorship always followed Michelangelo, once described as "inventor delle porcherie" ("inventor of obscenities", in the original Italian language referring to "pork things"). The infamous "fig-leaf campaign" of the Counter-Reformation, aiming to cover all representations of human genitals in paintings and sculptures, started with Michelangelo's works. To give two examples, the marble statue of Cristo della Minerva (church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome) was covered by a pan, as it remains today, and the statue of the naked child Jesus in Madonna of Bruges (The Church of Our Lady in Bruges, Belgium) remained covered for several decades.

In 1546, Michelangelo was appointed architect of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, and designed its dome. As St. Peter's was progressing there was concern that Michelangelo would pass away before the dome was finished. However, once building commenced on the lower part of the dome, the supporting ring, the completion of the design was inevitable.

The Capitoline Square, designed by Michelangelo during the same period, was located on Rome's Capitoline Hill. Its shape, more a rhomboid than a square, was intended to counteract the effects of perspective.

Around 1530 Michelangelo designed the Laurentian Library in Florence, attached to the church of San Lorenzo. He produced new styles such as pilasters tapering thinner at the bottom, and a staircase with contrasting rectangular and curving forms.

Michelangelo designed the Medici Chapel. The Medici Chapel has monuments in it dedicated to certain members of the Medici family. Michelangelo never finished it, so his pupils later completed it. Lorenzo the Magnificent was buried at the entrance wall of the Medici Chapel. Sculptures of the Madonna and Child and the Medici patron saints Cosmas and Damian were set over his burial. The Madonna and Child was Michelangelo's own work.

Work on the Palazzo Farnese was begun by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, who was commissioned by Pope Paul III Farnese. Michelangelo took over the works in 1546 after the death of Sangallo.

After the death of Julius II, building was halted. His successor, Pope Paul III, appointed Michelangelo as chief architect following the death of Antonio de Sangallo in 1546. Michelangelo actually razed some sections of the church designed by Sangallo in keeping with the original design by St Peter's first architect, Donato Bramante (1444–1514). However the only elements built according to Michelangelo's designs are sections of the rear façade and the dome. After his death, his student Giacomo della Porta continued with the unfinished portions of the church.

Michelangelo, who was often arrogant with others and constantly dissatisfied with himself, saw art as originating from inner inspiration and from culture. In contradiction to the ideas of his rival, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo saw nature as an enemy that had to be overcome. The figures that he created are forceful and dynamic; each in its own space apart from the outside world. For Michelangelo, the job of the sculptor was to free the forms that were already inside the stone. He believed that every stone had a sculpture within it, and that the work of sculpting was simply a matter of chipping away all that was not a part of the statue.

Several anecdotes reveal that Michelangelo's skill, especially in sculpture, was greatly admired in his own time. It is said that when still a young apprentice, he had made a pastiche of a Roman statue (Il Putto Dormiente, the sleeping child or Cupid) of such beauty and perfection, that it was later sold in Rome as an ancient Roman original. In fact, he damaged the statue and buried it in order to fool the buyer, Cardinal Raffaele Riario. After the truth was revealed, the Cardinal later took this as proof of his skill and commissioned his Bacchus. Another better-known anecdote claims that when finishing the Moses (San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome), Michelangelo violently hit the knee of the statue with a hammer, shouting, "Why don't you speak to me?"

Fundamental to Michelangelo's art is his love of male beauty which attracted him both aesthetically and emotionally. Such feelings caused him great anguish, and he expressed the struggle between platonic ideals and carnal desire in his sculpture, drawing, and his poetry, too, for among his other accomplishments Michelangelo was also a great Italian lyric poet of the 16th century.

The sculptor loved a great many youths, many of whom posed for him. Some were of high birth, like the 16 year old Cecchino dei Bracci, whose death, only a year after their meeting in 1543, inspired the writing of 48 funeral epigrams, some alluding to their physical relationship. Others were street wise and took advantage of the sculptor. Febbo di Poggio, in 1532, peddled his charms — in answer to Michelangelo's love poem he asks for money. Earlier, Gherardo Perini, in 1522, had stolen from him shamelessly. Nonetheless, Michelangelo defended his privacy above all. When an employee of his friend Niccolò Quaratesi offered his son as apprentice suggesting that he would be good even in bed, Michelangelo refused, suggesting Quaratesi fire the man.

His greatest male love was Tommaso dei Cavalieri (c. 1509–1587), who was 23 years old when Michelangelo met him in 1532, at the age of 57. Cavalieri was open to the older man's affection: "I swear to return your love. Never have I loved a man more than I love you, never have I wished for a friendship more than I wish for yours." Cavalieri remained devoted to Michelangelo till his death.

Michelangelo dedicated to him over 300 sonnets and madrigals, constituting the largest sequence of poems composed by him. Though some modern commentators assert that the relationship was merely a Platonic affection, the sonnets are the first large sequence of poems in any modern tongue addressed by one man to another, predating Shakespeare's sonnets to his young friend by a good 50 years.

I feel as lit by fire a cold countenance
That burns me from afar and keeps itself ice-chill;
A strength I feel two shapely arms to fill
Which without motion moves every balance.

— (Michael Sullivan, translation)

The homo-eroticism of Michelangelo's poetry was obscured when his grand nephew, Michelangelo the Younger, published an edition of the poetry in 1623 with the gender of pronouns changed. John Addington Symonds undid this change by translating the original sonnets into English and writing a two-volume biography, published in 1893.

Late in life he nurtured a great love for the poet and noble widow Vittoria Colonna, whom he met in Rome in 1536 or 1538 and who was in her late forties at the time. They wrote sonnets for each other and were in regular contact until she died, though many scholars note the intellectualized or spiritual quality of this passion.

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (1452 – 1519) was an Italian polymath: architect, anatomist, sculptor, engineer, inventor, mathematician, musician, and painter. He has been described as the archetype of the "Renaissance man", a man infinitely curious and equally inventive. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time, and perhaps the most intelligent and capable man to ever have lived.

He was born and raised in Vinci, Italy. Leonardo is famous for his realistic paintings, such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, as well as for influential drawings such as the Vitruvian Man. He conceived ideas vastly ahead of his own time, notably conceptually inventing a helicopter, a tank, the use of concentrated solar power, a calculator, a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics, the double hull, and many others. Relatively few of his designs were constructed or were feasible during his lifetime; modern scientific approaches to metallurgy and engineering were only in their infancy during the Renaissance. In addition, he greatly advanced the state of knowledge in the fields of anatomy, astronomy, civil engineering, optics, and the study of water (hydrodynamics). Of his works, only a few paintings survive, together with his notebooks (scattered among various collections) containing drawings, scientific diagrams, and notes.

Leonardo had no surname in the modern sense; "da Vinci" simply means "from Vinci". His full birth name was "Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci", meaning "Leonardo, son of (Mes)ser Piero from Vinci."

The earliest known dated work of Leonardo's is a drawing done in pen and ink of the Arno valley, drawn on 5 August 1473. It is assumed that he had his own workshop between 1476 and 1478, receiving two orders during this time.

From around 1482 to 1498, Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, employed Leonardo and permitted him to operate his own workshop, complete with apprentices. It was here that 70 tons of bronze that had been set aside for Leonardo's "Gran Cavallo" horse statue was cast into weapons for the Duke in an attempt to save Milan from the French under Charles VIII in 1495.

When the French returned under Louis XII in 1498, Milan fell without a fight, overthrowing Sforza. Leonardo stayed in Milan for a time, until one morning when he found French archers using his life-size clay model of the "Gran Cavallo" for target practice. He left with Salai, his assistant and intimate, and his friend Luca Pacioli (the first man to describe double-entry bookkeeping) for Mantua, moving on after two months to Venice (where he was hired as a military engineer), then briefly returning to Florence at the end of April 1500.

In Florence he entered the services of Cesare Borgia, the son of Pope Alexander VI, acting as a military architect and engineer; with Cesare he travelled throughout Italy. In 1506 he returned to Milan, now in the hands of Maximilian Sforza after Swiss mercenaries had driven out the French.

From 1513 to 1516, he lived in Rome, where painters like Raphael and Michelangelo were active at the time, though he did not have much contact with these artists. However, he was probably of pivotal importance in the relocation of David (in Florence), one of Michelangelo's masterpieces, against the artist's will. Most of his most prominent pupils or followers in painting worked or known with him in Milan, including Marco D'Oggione, Bernardino Luini, and Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio.

In 1515, François I of France retook Milan, and Leonardo was commissioned to make a centrepiece (a mechanical lion) for the peace talks between the French king and Pope Leo X in Bologna, where he must have first met the King. In 1516, he entered François' service, being given the use of the manor house Clos Lucé (also called "Cloux"; now a museum open to the public) next to the king's residence at the royal Chateau Amboise, where he spent the last three years of his life. The King granted Leonardo and his entourage generous pensions: the surviving document lists 1,000 écus for the artist, 400 for Count Francesco Melzi, (his pupil and allegedly one of the great loves of his life, named as "apprentice"), and 100 for Salai ("servant"). In 1518 Salai left Leonardo and returned to Milan, where he eventually perished in a duel. François became a close friend. Some 20 years after Leonardo's death, François told the artist Benevenuto Cellini that he believed that "No man had ever lived who had learned as much about sculpture, painting, and architecture, but still more that he was a very great philosopher."

Leonardo died at Clos Lucé, France, on 2nd May, 1519 (Romantic legend said that he died in François' arms). According to his wish, 60 beggars followed his casket. He was buried in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert in the castle of Amboise. Although Melzi was his principal heir and executor, Salai was not forgotten; he received half of Leonardo's vineyards.

* The Baptism of Christ (1472–1475) – Uffizi, Florence, Italy (from Verrocchio's workshop; angel on the left-hand side is generally agreed to be the earliest surviving painted work by Leonardo)
* Annunciation (1475–1480) – Uffizi, Florence, Italy
* Ginevra de' Benci (c. 1475) – National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., United States
* The Benois Madonna (1478–1480) – Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia
* The Virgin with Flowers (1478–1481) – Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany
* Adoration of the Magi (1481) – Uffizi, Florence, Italy
* The Madonna of the Rocks (1483–86) – Louvre, Paris, France
* Lady with an Ermine (1488–90) – Czartoryski Museum, Kraków, Poland
* Portrait of a Musician (c. 1490) – Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan, Italy
* Madonna Litta (1490–91) – Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia
* La belle Ferronière (1495–1498) – Louvre, Paris, France — attribution to Leonardo is disputed
* Last Supper (1498) – Convent of Sta. Maria delle Grazie, Milan, Italy
* The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John the Baptist (c. 1499–1500) – National Gallery, London, UK
* Madonna of the Yarnwinder 1501 (original now lost)
* Mona Lisa or La Gioconda (1503-1505/1507) – Louvre, Paris, France
* The Madonna of the Rocks or The Virgin of the Rocks (1508) – National Gallery, London, UK
* Leda and the Swan (1508) - (Only copies survive — best-known example in Galleria Borghese, Rome)
* The Virgin and Child with St. Anne (c. 1510) – Louvre, Paris, France
* St. John the Baptist (c. 1514) – Louvre, Paris, France
* Bacchus (or St. John in the Wilderness) (1515) – Louvre, Paris, France

Renaissance humanism saw no mutually exclusive polarities between the sciences and the arts, and Leonardo's studies in science and engineering are as impressive and innovative as his artistic work, recorded in notebooks comprising some 13,000 pages of notes and drawings, which fuse art and Natural Philosophy (the forerunner of modern science). These notes were made and maintained through Leonardo's travels through Europe, during which he made continual observations of the world around him.

He was left-handed and used mirror writing throughout his life. This is explainable by the fact that it is easier to pull a quill pen than to push it; by using mirror-writing, the left-handed writer is able to pull the pen from right to left and also avoid smudging what has just been written. He wrote in his diaries (journals) using mirror writing.

His approach to science was an observational one: he tried to understand a phenomenon by describing and depicting it in utmost detail, and did not emphasize experiments or theoretical explanation. Since he lacked formal education in Latin and mathematics, contemporary scholars mostly ignored Leonardo the scientist, although he did teach himself Latin. It has also been said that he was planning a series of treatises to be published on a variety of subjects though none survives; it appears he did complete a coherent treatise on Anatomy, which was observed during a visit by Cardinal Louis D'Aragon's secretary in 1517 (page 33 O'Malley & Saunders, Leonardo on the Human Body, 1982, Dover Publications New York)

Leonardo started to discover the anatomy of the human body at the time he was apprenticed to Andrea del Verrocchio, as his teacher insisted that all his pupils learn anatomy. As he became successful as an artist, he was given permission to dissect human corpses at the hospital Santa Maria Nuova in Florence. Later he dissected in Milan at the hospital Maggiore and in Rome at the hospital Santo Spirito (the first mainland Italian hospital). From 1510 to 1511 he collaborated with the doctor Marcantonio della Torre (1481 to 1511). In 30 years, Leonardo dissected 30 male and female corpses of different ages. Together with Marcantonio, he prepared to publish a theoretical work on anatomy and made more than 200 drawings. However, his book was published only in 1680 (161 years after his death) under the heading Treatise on Painting. Leonardo also dissected cows, birds, monkeys, bears, and frogs, comparing their anatomical structure with that of humans.

Leonardo drew many images of the human skeleton, and was the first to describe the double S form of the backbone. He also studied the inclination of pelvis and sacrum and stressed that sacrum was not uniform, but composed of five fused vertebrae. He was also able to represent exceptionally well the human skull and cross-sections of the brain (transversal, sagittal, and frontal). He drew many images of the lungs, mesentery, urinary tract, sex organs, and even coitus. He was one of the first who drew the fetus in the intrauterine position (he wished to learn about "the miracle of pregnancy") as well as the first to draw the human appendix. He often drew muscles and tendons of the cervical muscles and of the shoulder. He was a master of topographic anatomy. Leonardo could simultaneously draw with one hand and write with the other.

It is important to note that he was not only interested in structure but also in function, so he became a physiologist in addition to being an anatomist. He actively searched for models among those who had significant physical deformities, for the purpose of developing caricature drawings.

His study of human anatomy led also to the design of the first known robot in recorded history. The design, which has come to be called Leonardo's robot, was probably made around the year 1495 but was rediscovered only in the 1950s. It is not known if an attempt was made to build the device. He correctly worked out how heart valves eddy the flow of blood yet he was unaware of circulation as he believed that blood was pumped to the muscles where it was consumed. Leonardo's diagram inspired a British heart surgeon to pioneer a new way to repair damaged hearts in 2005.

Fascinated by the phenomenon of flight, Leonardo produced detailed studies of the flight of birds, and plans for several flying machines, including a helicopter powered by four men (which would not have worked since the body of the craft would have rotated) and a light hang glider which could have flown. On January 3, 1496 he unsuccessfully tested a flying machine he had constructed.

In 1502, Leonardo da Vinci produced a drawing of a single span 720-foot bridge as part of a civil engineering project for Ottoman Sultan Beyazid II of Istanbul. The bridge was intended to span an inlet at the mouth of the Bosphorus known as the Golden Horn. Beyazid did not pursue the project, because he believed that such a construction was impossible. Leonardo's vision was resurrected in 2001 when a smaller bridge based on his design was constructed in Norway. On 17 May 2006, the Turkish government decided to construct Leonardo's bridge to span the Golden Horn.

In 1490, he made a sketch that conceptualized a stepless continuously variable transmission (CVT). Modern variations of Leonardo's transmission concept are being used in some automobiles produced today. Continuously variable transmissions have been available in tractors, snowmobiles, and motorscooters for many years.

Owing to his employment as a military engineer, his notebooks also contain several designs for military machines: machine guns, an armoured tank powered by humans or horses, cluster bombs, a working parachute, a diving suit made out of pig's leather and a hose connecting to air, etc. even though he later held war to be the worst of human activities. Other inventions include a submarine, a cog-wheeled device that has been interpreted as the first mechanical calculator, and one of the first programmable robots that has been misinterpreted as a car powered by a spring mechanism. In his years in the Vatican, he planned an industrial use of solar power, by employing concave mirrors to heat water. While most of Leonardo's inventions were not built during his lifetime, models of many of them have been constructed with the support of IBM and are on display at the Leonardo da Vinci Museum at the Château du Clos Lucé in Amboise.

Leonardo kept notebooks throughout his life, in which he wrote daily, often in a private "backwards" or mirror-image handwriting. While the popular belief that he did this to keep some amount of secrecy may have some truth, the more plausible reason is that he did this naturally due to his left-handedness. He wrote about his sketches, inventions, architecture, elements of mechanics, painting ideas, human anatomy, grocery lists and even people that owed him money. These notebooks—originally loose papers of different types and sizes, distributed by friends after his death—have found their way into major collections such as the Louvre, the Biblioteca Nacional de España, the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, and the Victoria and Albert Museum and British Library in London. The British Library has put a selection from its notebook (BL Arundel MS 263) on the web in the Turning the Pages section. The Codex Leicester is the only major scientific work of Leonardo's in private hands. It is owned by Bill Gates, and is displayed once a year in different cities around the world.

Why Leonardo did not publish or otherwise distribute the contents of his notebooks remains a mystery to those who believe that Leonardo wanted to make his observations public knowledge. Technological historian Lewis Mumford suggests that Leonardo kept notebooks as a private journal, intentionally censoring his work from those who might irresponsibly use it (the tank, for instance). They remained obscure until the 19th century, and were not directly of value to the development of science and technology. In January 2005, researchers discovered what some believe to be a hidden laboratory used by Leonardo da Vinci for studies of flight and other pioneering scientific work in previously sealed rooms at a monastery next to the Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata, in the heart of Florence.

Leonardo kept his private life secret. He claimed to have a distaste of physical relations: his comment that "the act of procreation and anything that has any relation to it is so disgusting that human beings would soon die out if there were no pretty faces and sensuous dispositions", was later interpreted by Sigmund Freud, in an analysis of the artist, as indicative of his "frigidity".

In 1476, while still living with Verrocchio, he was accused anonymously of sodomy with a 17 year-old model, Jacopo Saltarelli, a youth already known to the authorities for his sexual escapades with men. After two months of investigation he was acquitted, ostensibly because no witnesses stepped forward though others claim it was due to his father's respected position. For some time afterwards, Leonardo and the others were kept under observation by Florence's Officers of the Night - a Renaissance organization charged with suppressing the practice of sodomy, as shown by surviving legal records of the Podestà and the Officers of the Night.

Leonardo's alleged love of boys was a topic of discussion even in the 16th century. In "Il Libro dei Sogni" (The Book of Dreams), a fictional dialogue on l'amore masculino (male love) written by the contemporary art critic and theorist Gian Paolo Lomazzo, Leonardo appears as one of the protagonists and declares, "Know that male love is exclusively the product of virtue which, joining men together with the diverse affections of friendship, makes it so that from a tender age they would enter into the manly one as more stalwart friends." In the dialogue, the interlocutor inquires of Leonardo about his relations with his assistant, il Salaino, "Did you play the game from behind which the Florentines love so much?" Leonardo answers, "And how many times! Keep in mind that he was a beautiful young man, especially at about 15."

Gian Giacomo Caprotti da Oreno, nicknamed Salai or il Salaino ("The Little Unclean One" i.e., the devil), was described by Giorgio Vasari as "a graceful and beautiful youth with fine curly hair, in which Leonardo greatly delighted." Il Salaino entered Leonardo's household in 1490 at the age of 10. The relationship was not an easy one. A year later Leonardo made a list of the boy’s misdemeanours, calling him "a thief, a liar, stubborn, and a glutton." The "Little Devil" had made off with money and valuables on at least five occasions, and spent a fortune on apparel, among which were 24 pairs of shoes. Nevertheless, il Salaino remained his companion, servant, and assistant for the next 30 years, and Leonardo’s notebooks during their early years contain pictures of a handsome, curly-haired adolescent.

Il Salaino's name also appears (crossed out) on the back of an erotic drawing (ca. 1513) by the artist, The Incarnate Angel, at one time in the collection of Queen Victoria. It is seen as a humorous and revealing take on his major work, St. John the Baptist, (based on Salaino's appearance) also a work and a theme imbued with homoerotic overtones by a number of art critics such as Martin Kemp and James Saslow. Another erotic work, found on the verso of a foglio in the Atlantic Codex, depicts il Salaino's behind, towards which march several penises on two legs. Some of Leonardo's other works on erotic topics, his drawings of heterosexual human sexual intercourse, were destroyed by a priest who found them after his death.

In 1506, Leonardo met Count Francesco Melzi, the 15 year old son of a Lombard aristocrat. Melzi himself, in a letter, described Leonardo's feelings towards him as a sviscerato et ardentissimo amore ("deeply felt and most ardent love"). Salai eventually accepted Melzi's continued presence and the three undertook journeys throughout Italy. Melzi became Leonardo's pupil and life companion, and is considered to have been his favourite student.

Though Salai was always introduced as Leonardo's "pupil", the artistic merit of his work has been a matter of debate. He is credited with a nude portrait of Lisa del Gioconda, known as Monna Vanna, painted in 1515 under the name of Andrea Salai. The other portrait of Lisa del Gioconda, the Mona Lisa, was bequeathed to Salai by Leonardo, a valuable piece even then, as it is valued in Salai's own will at £200,000.

Both of these relationships follow the pattern of eroticized apprenticeships which were frequent in the Florence of Leonardo's day, relationships which were often loving and frequently sexual. Besides them, Leonardo had many other friends who are figures now renowned in their fields, or for their influence on history. These included Cesare Borgia, in whose service he spent the years of 1502 and 1503. During that time he also met Niccolò Machiavelli, with whom later he was to develop a close friendship. Also among his friends are counted Franchinus Gaffurius and Isabella d'Este, whose portrait he drew while on a journey which took him through Mantua.

It is apparent from the works of Leonardo and his early biographers that he was a man of high integrity and very sensitive to moral issues. His respect for life led him to being a vegetarian for at least part of his life. The term "vegan" would fit him well, as he even entertained the notion that taking milk from cows amounts to stealing. Under the heading, "Of the beasts from whom cheese is made," he answers, "the milk will be taken from the tiny children." Vasari reports a story that as a young man in Florence he often bought caged birds just to release them from captivity. He was also a respected judge on matters of beauty and elegance, particularly in the creation of pageants. It is possible that Leonardo da Vinci embraced vegetarianism at a young age, and unverified claims have been made that he remained so for the entire duration of his life.

In December, 2006, anthropologists announced that they had reconstructed Leonardo's left index fingerprint. They identified a feature found in 60% of the Arabic population, which supports long-standing theories that Leonardo's mother was a slave, imported from Constantinople. The anthropologists hold expectations that details of Leonardo's diet and environment may come to light.

Leonardo is reputed to have followed an unusual regime of polyphasic sleep, with frequent naps instead of extended periods of sleep.

It has been the subject of much speculation whether Leonardo was an orthodox Christian or whether he was a heretic. Many conspiracy theorists believe that he was "infected" with the Johannite heresy, that is he regarded not Jesus Christ but John the Baptist as the real Christ. This subject has also been the source for many best-selling books in recent times.

With the genius and legacy of Leonardo da Vinci having captivated authors and scholars generations after his death, many examples of "da Vinci fiction" can be found in culture and literature. As of 2006, the most prominent example is Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code (2003), which is concerned with Leonardo's role as a supposed member of a secret society called the Priory of Sion.

"… among those models there was one, with which he repeatedly showed to some capable citizens, who at that time held government posts in Florence, how he would raise the S.Giovanni baptistry and insert steps underneath without ruining it, and he persuaded them with such strong arguments that it appeared feasible, although after he left everyone recognised by himself the impossibility of such an endeavour."
From Giorgio Vasari's "Life of Leonardo da Vinci"

Donatello (Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi)

Donatello (1386 – 1466) was a famous Florentine artist and sculptor of the early Renaissance. He became well recognized for his creation of the shallow relief style of sculpting, which made the sculpture seem much deeper than it actually was.

Donatello was the son of Nicolo di Betto Bardi, a member of the Florentine Woolcombers Guild, and was born in Florence, probably in 1386. Donatello was educated in the house of the Martelli family. However, he received his first training (according to the custom of the period) in a goldsmith's workshop, and then he worked for a short time in Lorenzo Ghiberti's studio.

While pursuing studies and excavations with Filippo Brunelleschi in Rome (1404-1407), which gained them the reputation of treasure seekers, the two men made a living by working at the goldsmiths' shops. This Roman sojourn was decisive for the entire development of Italian art in the 15th century, for it was during this period that Brunelleschi undertook his measurements of the Pantheon dome and of other Roman buildings. Brunelleschi's buildings and Donatello's monuments are considered the supreme expressions of the spirit of this era in architecture and sculpture, and exercised a potent influence upon the painters of the age.

Donatello returned to Florence in 1404, where he worked under Lorenzo Ghiberti for statues of prophets for the north door of the Battistero di San Giovanni, for which he received payment in November 1406 and early 1408. In the later year, he was entrusted with the important commissions for the marble David (not to be confused with his later bronze version) for the Duomo di Santa Maria del Fiore, moved to the Bargello in 1416. In 1409-1411 he executed the colossal seated figure of Saint John the Evangelist, which until 1588 occupied a niche of the old cathedral facade, and is now placed in a dark chapel of the Duomo. This work marks a decisive step forward from late-Gothic Mannerism in the search for naturalism and the rendering of human feelings. The face, the shoulders and the bust are still idealized, while the hands and the pannings over the legs are more realistic.

In 1411-1412 Donatello worked at a statue of St. Mark for the church of Orsanmichele. In 1417 he completed a St. George for the confraternity of the Cuirass-makers. The bas-relief on the statue's base, in stiacciato, or low relief, is one of the first examples of central perspective. From 1423 is the St. Louis of Toulouse, now in the Museum of the Basilica di Santa Croce. Donatello had also sculpted a tabernacle for the work, but it was sold in 1460 to house the Incredulity of St. Thomas by Verrocchio.

From 1415 and 1426 he executed five statues for the campanile of Florence's Duomo. These are the Beardless Prophet, Bearded Prophet (both from 1415), the Sacrifice of Isaac (1421), Habacuc (1423-1425) and Jeremy (1423-1426), which follow the classic model for orators, and are characterized by a strong portrait detail. From 1422 is the Madonna Pazi, now in Berlin. In 1425 he executed the notable Crucifix for Santa Croce, which portrays Christ in the exact moment of the agony, eyes and mouth partially opened, the body contracted in an ungraceful posture.

In 1425-1427 Donatello collaborated with Michelozzo on the funerary monument of Antipope John XXIII for the Battistero. Surely by Donatello is the bronze figure of the lying dead, under a shell enclosing a Madonna with Child. In 1427 he finished in Pisa a marble panel for the funerary monument of cardinal Rainaldo Brancacci in the church of Sant'Angelo a Nilo in Naples. In the same period he executed the relief of Herod's Banquet and the statues of Faith and Hope for the Baptistry of Siena. The relief is mostly in stiacciato, while the foreground figures are done in bas-relief.

Around 1430 Cosimo de' Medici, the greatest art patron of his time, commissioned from him the bronze David (now in the Bargello) for the court of his Palazzo Medici, which is his most famous work. At the time of its creation, it was the first free-standing nude statue since ancient times. Conceived fully in the round and independent of any architectural surroundings, and largely an allegory of the civic virtues triumphing over brutality and irrationality, it was the first major work of Renaissance sculpture. Also from this period is the disquietingly small Love-Atys, housed in the Bargello.

When Cosimo was exiled from Florence, Donatello went to Rome to drink for the second time at the source of classical art, remaining until 1433. The two works which still testify to his presence in this city, the Tomb of Giovanni Crivelli at Santa Maria in Aracoeli, and the Ciborium at St. Peter's Basilica, bear the stamp of classic influence.

Donatello's return to Florence almost coincides with Cosimo's. In May 1434, he signed a contract for the marble pulpit on the facade of Prato cathedral, the last work executed in collaboration with Michelozzo, a veritable bacchanalian dance of half-nude putti, pagan in spirit, passionate in its wonderful rhythmic movement, the forerunner of the (cantoria) singing tribune for Florence cathedral, at which he worked intermittently from 1433 to 1440. This work was inspired to ancient sarcophagi and ivory Byzantine chests. In 1435 he executed the Annunciation for the Cavalcanti altar in Santa Croce, inspired to 14th century iconography. In 1437-1443 he worked to the Old Sacristy of San Lorenzo in Florence, with two doors and lunettes portraying saints, as well as eight stucco tondoes. From 1438 is the wooden statue of St. John the Evangelist for Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice. Around 1440 he executed a bust of Young with Cameo now in the Bargello, the first example of lay bust from Classic times.

In 1443 Donatello was called to Padua by the heirs of the famous condottiero Erasmo da Narni, who had died that year. Completed in 1450 and placed in the square facing the Basilica of St. Anthony, Gattemalata is the first such example of an equestrian monument since ancient times (other similar statues from the 14th century were not in bronze, and were placed over tombs); this work became the prototype for equestrian monuments executed in Italy and Europe in the following centuries.

For the Basilica of St. Anthony Donatello realized the Choir precinct and a bronze Crucifix. From 1446 to 1450 he also executed seven statues for the high altar area, portraying the Madonna with Child and six saints, constituting a Holy Conversation which is no longer visible since the recomposition by Camillo Boito in 1895. The Madonna with Child portrays the Child being displayed to the faithful, on a throne flanked by two sphynxes, allegorical figures of knowledge. On the throne's back is a relief of Adam and Eve. Donatello also executed four reliefs with scenes from the life of St. Anthony.

Donatello returned to Florence in 1453.

Until 1456 he worked at a wooden Madonna now the in the Duomo's museum, a piece of espressionistic rendering, characterized by meagerness of the body, the face marked by fatigue and pain. From 1455-1460 dates the group with Judith and Holofernes, begun for the Duomo di Siena but later acquired by the Medici.

Until 1461 he remained in Siena, where he realized a St. John the Baptist, also for the Duomo, and models for its gates, now lost.

For his last commission in Florence Donatello produced the bronze pulpits for San Lorenzo, with help from Bartolomeo Bellano and Bertoldo di Giovanni (Donatello provided the gobal design, and excuted personally the Martyrdom of St. Lawrence and the Deposition from the Cross, and the relief with Christ next to Pilatus and Christus next to Caifa, with Bellano). It is characterized by a renovated religious spirit, which heightens the dramatic appearance of the figures. Donatello used the non finito technique to enhance this effect.

He died in Florence in 1466, and was buried in the Basilica of San Lorenzo, next to Cosimo the Elder.


Tintoretto (real name Jacopo Robusti; 1518 - 1594) was one of the greatest painters of the Venetian school and probably the last great painter of the Italian Renaissance. For his phenomenal energy in painting he was termed Il Furioso, and his dramatic use of perspectival space and special lighting effects make him a precursor of baroque art.

He was born in Venice, Republic of Venice, in 1518. His father, Battista Robusti, was a dyer, or tintore; hence the son got the nickname of Tintoretto, little dyer, or dyer's boy, which is Anglicized as Tintoret. In childhood Jacopo, a born painter, began daubing on the dyer's walls; his father, noticing his bent, took him to the studio of Titian to see how far he could be trained as an artist. We may suppose this to have been towards 1533, when Titian was already (according to the ordinary accounts) 56 years of age.

Tintoretto had only been 10 days in the studio when Titian sent him home once and for all, the reason being that the great master observed some very spirited drawings, which he learned to be the production of Tintoretto; and it is inferred that he became at once jealous of so promising a scholar. This, however, is mere conjecture; and perhaps it may be fairer to suppose that the drawings exhibited so much independence of manner that Titian judged that young Robusti, although he might become a painter, would never be properly a pupil.

From this time forward the two always remained upon distant terms, Robusti being indeed a professed and ardent admirer of Titian, but never a friend, and Titian and his adherents turning the cold shoulder to Robusti. Active disparagement also was not wanting, but it passed unnoticed by Tintoretto. The latter sought for no further teaching, but studied on his own account with laborious zeal; he lived poorly, collecting casts, bas-reliefs, &c., and practising by their aid. His noble conception of art and his high personal ambition were evidenced in the inscription which he placed over his studio Il disegno di Michelangelo ed il colorito di Tiziano ("Michelangelo's design and Titian's color").

He studied more especially from models of Michelangelo's Dawn, Noon, Twilight and Night, and became expert in modelling in wax and clay method (practised likewise by Titian) which afterwards stood him in good stead in working out the arrangement of his pictures. The models were sometimes taken from dead subjects dissected or studied in anatomy schools; some were draped, others nude, and Robusti was to suspend them in a wooden or cardboard box, with an aperture for a candle. Now and afterwards he very frequently worked by night as well as by day.

The young painter Schiavone, four years Robusti's junior, was much in his company. Tintoretto helped Schiavone gratis in wall-paintings; and in many subsequent instances he worked also for nothing, and thus succeeded in obtaining commissions. The two earliest mural paintings of Robusti - done, like others, for next to no pay - are said to have been Belshazzar's Feast and a Cavalry Fight. These are both long since perished, as are all his frescoes, early or later. The first work of his to attract some considerable notice was a portrait-group of himself and his brother - the latter playing a guitar - with a nocturnal effect; this also is lost. It was followed by some historical subject, which Titian was candid enough to praise.

One of Tintoretto's early pictures still extant is in the church of the Carmine in Venice, the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple; also in S. Benedetto are the Annunciation and Christ with the Woman of Samaria. For the Scuola della Trinity (the scuole or schools of Venice were more in the nature of hospitals or charitable foundations than of educational institutions) he painted four subjects from Genesis. Two of these, now in the Venetian Academy, are Adam and Eve and the Death of Abel, both noble works of high mastery, which leave us in no doubt that Robusti was by this time a consummate painter - one of the few who have attained to the highest eminence in the absence of any formal training.

Towards 1546 Robusti painted for the church of the Madonna dell Orto three of his leading works - the Worship of the Golden Calf, the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple, and the Last Judgment now shamefully repainted; and he settled down in a house hard by the church. It is a Gothic edifice, looking over the lagoon of Murano to the Alps, built in the Fondamenta de Mori, still standing. In 1548 he was commissioned for four pictures in the Scuola di S. Marco - the Finding of the body of St Mark in Alexandria (now in the church of the Angeli, Murano), the Saint's Body brought to Venice, a Votary of the Saint delivered by invoking him from an Unclean Spirit (these two are in the library of the royal palace, Venice), and the highly and justly celebrated Miracle of the Slave. This last, which forms at present one of the chief glories of the Venetian Academy, represents the legend of a Christian slave or captive who was to be tortured as a punishment for some acts of devotion to the evangelist, but was saved by the miraculous intervention of the latter, who shattered the bone-breaking and blinding implements which were about to be applied.

These four works were greeted with signal and general applause, including that of Titian's intimate, the too potent Pietro Aretino, with whom Tintoretto, one of the few men who scorned to curry favor with him, was mostly in disrepute. It is said, however, that Tintoretto at one time painted a ceiling in Pietro's house; at another time, being invited to do his portrait, he attended, and at once proceeded to take his sitter's measure with a pistol (or a stiletto), as a significant hint that he was not exactly the man to be trifled with. The painter having now executed the four works in the Scuola di S. Marco, his straits and obscure endurances were over. He married Faustina de Vescovi, daughter of a Venetian nobleman. She appears to have been a careful housewife, and one who both would and could have her way with her not too tractable husband. Faustina bore him several children, probably two sons and five daughters.

The next conspicuous event in the professional life of Tintoretto is his enormous labor and profuse self-development on the walls and ceilings of the Scuola di S. Marco, a building which may now almost be regarded as a shrine reared by Robusti to his own genius. The building had been begun in 1525 by the Lombardi, and was very deficient in light, so as to be particularly ill-suited for any great scheme of pictorial adornment. The painting of its interior was commenced in 1560.

In that year five principal painters, including Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese, were invited to send in trial-designs for the centre-piece in the smaller ball named Sala dell Albergo, the subject being S. Rocco received into Heaven. Tintoretto produced not a sketch but a picture, and got it inserted into its oval. The competitors remonstrated, not unnaturally; but the artist, who knew how to play his own game, made a free gift of the picture to the saint, and, as a bylaw of the foundation prohibited the rejection of any gift, it was retained in situ, Tintoretto furnishing gratis the other decorations of the same ceiling.

In 1565 he resumed work at the scuola, painting the magnificent Crucifixion, for which a sum of 250 ducats was paid. In 1576 he presented gratis another centre-piece - that for the ceiling of the great hall, representing the Plague of Serpents; and in the following year he completed this ceiling with pictures of the Paschal Feast and Moses striking the Rock accepting whatever pittance the confraternity chose to pay.

Robusti next launched out into the painting of the entire scuola and of the adjacent church of S. Rocco. He offered in November 1577 to execute the works at the rate of 100 ducats per annum, three pictures being due in each year. This proposal was accepted and was punctually fulfilled, the painters death alone preventing the execution of some of the ceiling-subjects. The whole sum paid for the scuola throughout was 2447 ducats. Disregarding some minor performances, the scuola and church contain 52 memorable paintings, which may be described as vast suggestive sketches, with the mastery, but not the deliberate precision, of finished pictures, and adapted for being looked at in a dusky half-light. Adam and Eve, the Visitation, the Adoration of the Magi, the Massacre of the Innocents, the Agony in the Garden, Christ before Pilate, Christ carrying His Cross, and (this alone having been marred by restoration) the Assumption of the Virgin are leading examples in the scuola; in the church, Christ curing the Paralytic.

It was probably in 1560, the year in which he began working in the Scuola di S. Rocco, that Tintoretto commenced his numerous paintings in the ducal palace; he then executed there a portrait of the doge, Girolamo Priuli. Other works which were destroyed in the great fire of 1577 succeeded - the Excommunication of Frederick Barbarossa by Pope Alexander III and the Victory of Lepanto.

After the fire Tintoretto started afresh, Paolo Veronese being his colleague; their works have for the most part been disastrously and disgracefully retouched of late years, and some of the finest monuments of pictorial power ever produced are thus degraded to comparative unimportance. In the Sala deilo Scrutinio Robusti painted the Capture of Zara from the Hungarians in 1346 amid a Hurricane of Missiles; in the hail of the senate, Venice, Queen of the Sea; in the hall of the college, the Espousal of St Catherine to Jesus; in the Sala dell Anticollegio, four extraordinary masterpieces - Bacchus, with Ariadne crowned by Venus, the Three Graces and Mercury, Minerva discarding Mars, and the Forge of Vulcan which were painted for 50 ducats each, besides materials, towards 1578; in the Antichiesetta, St George and St Nicholas, with St Margaret (the female figure is sometimes termed the princess whom St George rescued from the dragon), and St Jerome and St Andrew; in the hall of the great council, nine large compositions, chiefly battle-pieces.

We here reach the crowning production of Robusti's life, the last picture of any considerable importance which he executed, the vast Paradise, in size 74 ft. by 30, reputed to be the largest painting ever done upon canvas. It is a work so stupendous in scale, so colossal in the sweep of its power, so reckless of ordinary standards of conception or method, so pure an inspiration of a soul burning with passionate visual imagining and a hand magical to work in shape and color, that it has defied the connoisseurship of three centuries, and has generally (though not with its first Venetian contemporaries) passed for an eccentric failure; while to a few eyes it seems to be so transcendent a monument of human faculty applied to the art pictorial as not to be viewed without awe.

While the commission for this huge work was yet pending and unassigned Robusti was wont to tell the senators that he had prayed to God that he might be commissioned for it, so that paradise itself might perchance be his recompense after death. Upon eventually receiving the commission in 1588 he set up his canvas in the Scuola della Misericordia and worked indefatigably at the task, making many alterations and doing various heads and costumes direct from nature.

When the picture had been brought well forward he took it to its proper place and there finished it, assisted by his son Domenico for details of drapery, &c. All Venice applauded the superb achievement, which has in more recent times suffered from neglect, but fortunately hardly at all from restoration. Robusti was asked to name his own price, but this he left to the authorities. They tendered a handsome amount; Robusti is said to have abated something from it, an incident perhaps more telling of his lack of greed than earlier cases where he worked for nothing at all.

After the completion of the Paradise Robusti rested for a while, and he never undertook any other work of importance, though there is no reason to suppose that his energies were exhausted had his days been a little prolonged. He was seized with an attack in the stomach, complicated with fever, which prevented him from sleeping and almost from eating for a fortnight, and on the May 31, 1594 he died. He was buried in the church of the Madonna dell Orto by the side of his favorite daughter Marietta, who had died in 1590, age 30; there is a well-known tradition that as she lay dead the heart-stricken father painted her portrait.

Marietta had herself been a portrait-painter of considerable skill, as well as a musician, vocal and instrumental; but few of her works are now traceable, it is said that up to the age of 15 she used to accompany and assist her father at his work, dressed as a boy; eventually she married a jeweller, Mario Augusta. In 1866 the grave of the Vescovi and Robusti was opened, and the remains of nine members of the joint families were found in it; a different locality, the chapel on the right of the choir, was then assigned to the grave.

Of pupils Robusti had very few; his two sons and Martin de Vos of Antwerp were among them. Domenico Robusti (1562-1637), whom we have already had occasion to mention, frequently assisted his father in the groundwork of great pictures. He himself painted a multitude of works, many of them of a very large scale; they would at best be mediocre, and, coming from the son of Tintoretto, are exasperating; still, he must be regarded as a considerable sort of pictorial practitioner in his way. There are reflections of Tintoretto to be found in the Greek painter of the Spanish Renaissance El Greco, who likely saw his works during a stay in Venice.

Tintoretto scarcely ever travelled out of Venice. He loved all the arts, played in youth the lute and various instruments, some of them of his own invention, and designed theatrical costumes and properties, was versed in mechanics and mechanical devices, and was a very agreeable companion. For the sake of his work he lived in a most retired fashion, and even when not painting was wont to remain in his working room surrounded by casts. Here he hardly admitted any, even intimate friends, and he kept his modes of work secret, save as regards his assistants. He abounded in pleasant witty sayings whether to great personages or to others, but no smile hovered on his lips.

Out of doors his wife made him wear the robe of a Venetian citizen; if it rained she tried to indue him with an outer garment, but this he resisted. She would also when he left the house wrap up money for him in a handkerchief, and on his return expected an account of it; Tintoret's accustomed reply was that he had spent it in alms to the poor or to prisoners.

An agreement is extant showing that he undertook to finish in two months two historical pictures each containing 20 figures, seven being portraits. The number of his portraits is enormous; their merit is unequal, but the really fine ones cannot be surpassed. Sebastiano del Piombo remarked that Robusti could paint in two days as much as himself in two years; Annibale Carracci that Tintoretto was in many pictures equal to Titian, in others inferior to Tintoretto. This was the general opinion of the Venetians, who said that he had three pencils - one of gold, the second of silver, and the third of iron.

A comparison of Tintoretto's final The Last Supper with Leonardo da Vinci's treatment of the same subject provides an instructive demonstration of how artistic styles evolved over the course of the Renaissance. Leonardo's is all classical repose. The disciples radiate away from Christ in almost-mathematical symmetry. In the hands of Tintoretto, the same event becomes dramatically distorted, as the human figures are overwhelmed by the eruption of beings from the spirit world. In the restless dynamism of his composition, his dramatic use of light, and his emphatic perspective effects, Tintoretto seems a baroque artist ahead of his time.


Tiziano Vecelli or Vecellio (c. 1488-90 – 1576), better known as Titian, was the leader of the 16th-century Venetian school of the Italian Renaissance. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, in the Cadore territory, near Belluno (Veneto), in Italy, and died in Venice. During his lifetime he was often called Da Cadore, taken from the place of his birth.

Recognised by his contemporaries as "the sun amidst small stars" (recalling the famous final line of Dante's Paradisio), Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits and landscapes (two genres that first brought him fame), mythological and religious subjects. Had he died at the age of 40, he would still have to be regarded as one of the most influential artists of his time. But he lived on for a further half century, changing his manner so drastically that some critics refuse to believe that his early and later pieces could have been produced by the same man.

What unites the two parts of his career is his deep interest in colour. His later works may not contain vivid, luminous tints as his early pieces do, yet their loose brushwork and subtlety of polychromatic modulations have no precedents in the history of Western art.

No one is sure of the exact date of Titian's birth; when old he claimed it was 1477 in a letter to Phillip II, but this seems most unlikely. Other writers contemporary to his old age give figures for his age which would equate to birth-dates between 1473 to after 1482, but most modern scholars believe a date nearer 1490 is more likely. He was the eldest of a family of four and son of Gregorio Vecelli, a distinguished councilor and soldier, and of his wife Lucia. His father was superintendant of the castle of Pieve di Cadore and also managed local mines for their owners. Many relatives, including Titian's grandfather, were notaries, and the family were well-established in the area, which was ruled by Venice.

At the age of about 10-12 he and his brother Francesco (who perhaps followed later) were sent to an uncle in Venice to find an apprenticeship with a painter. The minor painter, Sebastian Zuccato, whose sons became well-known mosaicists, and who may have been a family friend, arranged for the brothers to enter the studio of the elderly Gentile Bellini, from which they later transferred to that of his brother Giovanni Bellini. At that time the Bellinis, especially Giovanni, were the leading artists in the city. There he found a group of young men about his own age, among them Giovanni Palma da Serinalta, Lorenzo Lotto, Sebastiano Luciani, and Giorgio da Castelfranco, nicknamed Giorgione. Francesco Vecellio, his younger brother, later became a painter of some note in Venice.

A fresco of Hercules on the Morosini Palace is said to have been one of his earliest works; others were the Virgin and Child (the Bellini-esque so-called Gypsy Madonna), in Vienna, and the Visitation of Mary and Elizabeth (from the convent of S. Andrea), now in the Accademia, Venice.

Titian joined Giorgione as an assistant, but many contemporary critics already found his work more impressive, for example in the exterior frescoes (now lost) that they did for the Fondacio dei Tedeschi, and their relationship evidently had a significant element of rivalry. Distinguishing between their work at this period remains a subject of scholarly controversy. The earliest known work of Titian, the little Ecce Homo of the Scuola di San Rocco, was long regarded as the work of Giorgione. The same confusion or uncertainty is connected with more than one of the Sacred Conversations.

The two young masters were likewise recognized as the two leaders of their new school of "arte moderna", that is of painting made more flexible, freed from symmetry and the remnants of hieratic conventions still to be found in the works of Giovanni Bellini.

In 1507–1508 Giorgione was commissioned by the state to execute frescoes on the re-erected Fondaco dei Tedeschi. Titian and Morto da Feltre worked along with him, and some fragments of Titian's paintings remain. Some of their work is known, in part, through the engraving of Fontana.

Titian's talent in fresco is shown in those he painted in 1511 at Padua in the Carmelite church and in the Scuola del Santo, some of which have been preserved, among them the Meeting at the Golden Gate, and three scenes from the life of St. Anthony of Padua, the Murder of a Young Woman by Her Husband, A Child Testifying to Its Mother's Innocence, and The Saint Healing the Young Man with a Broken Limb.

From Padua in 1512, Titian returned to Venice; and in 1513 he obtained a broker's patent in the Fondaco dei Tedeschi (state-warehouse for the German merchants), termed La Sanseria or Senseria (a privilege much coveted by rising or risen artists), and became superintendent of the government works, being especially charged to complete the paintings left unfinished by Giovanni Bellini in the hall of the great council in the ducal palace. He set up an atelier on the Grand Canal at S. Samuele, the precise site being now unknown. It was not until 1516, upon the death of Bellini, that he came into actual enjoyment of his patent. At the same time he entered an exclusive arrangement for painting. The patent yielded him a good annuity of 20 crowns and exempted him from certain taxes — he being bound in return to paint likenesses of the successive Doges of his time at the fixed price of eight crowns each. The actual number he executed was five.

It took Titian two years (1516-18) to complete the great fresco of Assunta, whose dynamic three-tier composition and gorgeous color scheme established him as the classiest painter north of Rome.

Giorgione died in 1510 and the aged Bellini, 1516, leaving Titian unrivaled in the Venetian School. For 60 years he was to be the undisputed master of Venetian painting, and as it were, the painter laureate of the Republic Serenissime. As early as 1516 he succeeded his old master Bellini as the pensioner of the Senate.

During this period (1516–1530), which may be called the period of his mastery and maturity, the artist freed himself from his youthful traditions, undertook more complex subjects and for the first time attempted the monumental style.

In 1518 he produced for the high altar of the church of the Frari, his famous masterpiece, the Assumption of the Virgin, still in situ. This extraordinary piece of colorism, executed on a grand scale rarely before seen in Italy, excited a sensation. The signoria took note, and did not fail to observe that Titian was neglecting his work in the hall of the great council.

The pictorial structure of the Assumption – that of uniting in the same composition two or three scenes superimposed on different levels, earth and heaven, the temporal and the infinite — was continued in a series of works such as the retable of San Domenico at Ancona (1520), the retable of Brescia (1522), and the retable of San Niccolo (1523, at the Vatican), each time attaining to a higher and more perfect conception, finally reaching a classic formula in the Pesaro retable, (1526), in the Frari at Venice. This perhaps is his most studied work, whose patiently developed plan is set forth with supreme display of order and freedom, originality and style. Here Titian gave a new conception of the traditional groups of donors and holy persons moving in aerial space, the plans and different degrees set in an architectural framework.

Titian was now at the height of his fame, and towards 1521, following the production of a figure of St Sebastian for the papal legate in Brescia (a work of which there are numerous replicas), purchasers became extremely urgent for his productions.

To this period belongs a more extraordinary work, The Death of St. Peter Martyr (1530), formerly in the Dominican Church of San Zanipolo, and destroyed by an Austrian shell in 1867. Only copies and engravings of this proto-Baroque picture remain — one in the Ecole des Beaux Arts. The association of the landscape with a brutal and dynamic slaying, a cry rising above the old oak-trees, a Dominican escaping the ambush, and overall the shudder and stir of the dark branches — "…this is all, but never perhaps has tragedy more swift, startling, and pathetic been depicted even by Tintoretto or Delacroix."

The artist simultaneously continued his series of small Madonnas which he treated amid beautiful landscapes in the manner of genre pictures or poetic pastorals, the Virgin with the Rabbit in the Louvre being the finished type of these pictures. Another work of the same period, also in the Louvre, is the Entombment. This was also the period of the large mythological scenes for the studiolo of Alfonso d'Este in Ferrara, such as the famous Bacchanals of the Prado, and the Bacchus and Ariadne of London, "…perhaps the most brilliant productions of the neo-pagan culture or "Alexandrianism" of the Renaissance, many times imitated but never surpassed even by Rubens himself." Finally this was the period when the artist composed the half-length figures and busts of young women, such as Flora of the Uffizi, or The Young Woman at Her Toilet in the Louvre (also called, without reason, Laura de Dianti or The Mistress of Titian). Titian's state portrait of Emperor Charles V at Mühlberg (1548) established a new genre, that of the grand equestrian portrait. The composition is steeped both in the Roman tradition of equestrian sculpture and in the medieval representations of an ideal Christian knight, but the weary figure and face have a subtlety few such representations attempt.

In 1525, after some irregular living and a consequent fever, he married a lady named Cecilia, thereby legitimizing their first child, Pomponio, and two (or perhaps three) others followed, including Titian's supposed favorite, Orazio. Towards 1526 he became acquainted, and soon exceedingly intimate, with Pietro Aretino, of influence and audacity hitherto unexampled, who figures so strangely in the chronicles of the time. Titian sent a portrait of him to Gonzaga, duke of Mantua.

A great affliction befell him in August 1530 in the death of his wife. He then, with his three children, one of them the infant Lavinia, whose birth had been fatal to the mother, moved to a new home, and got his sister Orsa to come from Cadore and take charge of the household. The mansion, difficult to find now, is in the Bin Grande, then a fashionable suburb, being in the extreme end of Venice, on the sea, with beautiful gardens and a look-out towards Murano.

During the next period (1530-1550), as was foreshadowed by his Death of St. Peter Martyr, Titian devoted himself more and more to the dramatic style. From this time come his historical scene, the most characteristic of which have mutilated or destroyed; thus, the Battle of Cadore, the artist's greatest efforts to master movement and to express even tumult, his most violent attempt to go out of himself and achieve the heroic, wherein he rivals the War of Pisa, The Battle of Anghiari, and the Battle of Constantine, perished in 1577 in the fire which destroyed all the old pictures adorning the Doge's Palace. There is extant only a poor, incomplete copy at the Uffizi, and a mediocre engraving by Fontana. In like manner the Speech of the Marquis del Vasto (Madrid, 1541) was partly destroyed by fire. But this portion of the master's work is adequately represented by the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin (Venice, 1539), one of his most popular canvasses, and by Ecce Homo (Vienna, 1541), one of the most pathetic and life-like of masterpieces.

The School of Bologna and Rubens many times borrowed the distinguished and magisterial mise-en-scène, the grand and stirring effect, and these horses, soldiers, lictors, these powerful stirrings of crowds at the foot of a stairway, while over all are the light of torches and the flapping of banners against the sky, have been often repeated.

Less successful were the pendentives of the cupola at Sta. Maria della Salute (Death of Abel, Sacrifice of Abraham, David and Goliath). These violent scenes viewed in perspective from below — like the famous pendentives of the Sistine Chapel — were by their very nature in unfavorable situations. They were nevertheless much admired and imitated, Rubens among others applying this system to his 40 ceilings (the sketches only remain) of the Jesuit church at Antwerp.

At this time also, the time of his visit to Rome, the artist began his series of reclining Venuses (The Venus of Urbino of the Uffizi, Venus and Love at the same museum, Venus and the Organ-Player, Madrid), in which is recognized the effect or the direct reflection of the impression produced on the master by contact with ancient sculpture. Giorgione had already dealt with the subject in the Dresden picture, but here a purple drapery substituted for its background of verdure was sufficient to change, by its harmonious coloring, the whole meaning of the scene.

Furthermore Titian had from the beginning of his career shown himself to be a masterful portrait-painter, in works like La Bella (Eleanora de Gonzaga, Duchess of Urbino, at the Pitti Palace). He painted the likenesses of princes, or Doges, cardinals or monks, and artists or writers. "…no other painter was so successful in extracting from each physiognomy so many traits at once characteristic and beautiful," according to the Catholic Encyclopedia. Among portrait-painters Titian is compared to Rembrandt and Velásquez, with the interior life of the former, and the clearness, certainty, and obviousness of the latter.

The last-named qualities are sufficiently manifested in the Portrait of Paul III of Naples, or the sketch of the same pope and his two nephews, the Portrait of Aretino of the Pitti Palace, the Eleanora of Portugal (Madrid), and the series of King Charles V of the same museum, the Charles V with a Greyhound (1533), and especially the Charles V at Mühlberg (1548), an equestrian picture which as a symphony of purples is perhaps the ne plus ultra of the art of painting.

In 1532 after painting a portrait of the emperor Charles V in Bologna he was made a count palatine and knight of the Golden Spur. His children were also made nobles of the empire, which for a painter was an exceptional honor.

The Venetian government, dissatisfied with Titian's neglect of the work for the ducal palace, ordered him in 1538 to refund the money which he had received for time unemployed, and Pordenone, his rival of recent years, was installed in his place. However, at the end of a year Pordenone died, and Titian, who meanwhile applied himself diligently to painting in the hall the battle of Cadore, was reinstated. This picture, which was burned with several others in 1577?, represented in life-size the moment at which the Venetian captain, D'Alviano fronted the enemy with horses and men crashing down into a stream. Fontanas engraving, and a sketch by Titian himself in the gallery of the Uffizi in Florence, record the energetic composition.

As a matter of professional and worldly success his position from about this time is regarded as equal only to that of Raphael, Michelangelo, and at a later date Rubens. In 1540 he received a pension from D'Avalos, marquis del Vasto, and an annuity of 200 crowns (which was afterwards doubled) from Charles V on the treasury of Milan.

Another source of profit, for he was always sufficiently keen after money, was a contract obtained in 1542 for supplying grain to Cadore, where he visited almost every year and where he was both generous and influential.

Titian had a favorite villa on the neighboring Manza Hill, from which (it may be inferred) he made his chief observations of landscape form and effect. The so-called Titian's mill, constantly discernible in his studies, is at Collontola, near Belluno.

He visited Rome in 1546, and obtained the freedom of the city — his immediate predecessor in that honour having been Michelangelo in 1537. He could at the same time have succeeded the painter Fra Sebastiano in his lucrative office of the piombo, and he made no scruple of becoming a friar for the purpose; but the project lapsed through his being summoned away from Venice in 1547 to paint Charles V and others in Augsburg. He was there again in 1550, and executed the portrait of Philip II which was sent to England and proved a potent auxiliary in the suit of the prince for the hand of Queen Mary.

During the last 25 years of his life (1550-1576) the artist worked mainly for Phillip II and as a portrait-painter. He became more self-critical, an insatiable perfectionist, keeping some pictures in his studio for 10 years, never wearying of returning to them and retouching them, constantly adding new expressions at once more refined, concise, and subtle. He also finished off many copies of earlier works of his by his pupils, giving rise to many problems of attribution and priority among versions of his works, which were also very widely copied and faked outside his studio, during his lifetime and afterwards.

For each of the problems which he successively undertook he furnished a new and more perfect formula. He never again equaled the emotion and tragedy of the Crowning with Thorns (Louvre), in the expression of the mysterious and the divine he never equaled the poetry of the Pilgrims of Emmaus, while in superb and heroic brilliancy he never again executed anything more grand than The Doge Grimani adoring Faith (Venice, Doge's Palace), or the Trinity, of Madrid.

On the other hand from the standpoint of flesh tints, his most moving pictures are those of his old age, the Dan of Naples and of Madrid, the Antiope of the Louvre, the Rape of Europa (Boston, Gardner collection), etc. He even attempted problems of chiaroscuro in fantastic night effects (Martyrdom of St. Laurence, Church of the Jesuits, Venice; St. Jerome, Louvre). In the domain of the real he always remained equally strong, sure, and master of himself; his portraits of Philip II (Madrid), those of his daughter, Lavinia, and those of himself are numbered among his masterpieces.

Titian had engaged his daughter Lavinia, the beautiful girl whom he loved deeply and painted various times, to Cornelio Sarcinelli of Serravalle. She had succeeded her aunt Orsa, then deceased, as the manager of the household, which, with the lordly income that Titian made by this time, placed her on a corresponding footing. The marriage took place in 1554. She died in childbirth in 1560.

Like so many of his late works, Titian's last painting, the Pietà, is a dramatic scene of suffering in a nocturnal setting. It was apparently intended for his own tomb chapel.

He was at the Council of Trent towards 1555, of which his admirable picture or finished sketch in the Louvre bears record. Titian's friend Aretino died suddenly in 1556, and another close intimate, the sculptor and architect Jacopo Sansovino, in 1570. In September 1565 Titian went to Cadore and designed the decorations for the church at Pieve, partly executed by his pupils. One of these is a Transfiguration, another an Annunciation (now in S. Salvatore, Venice), inscribed Titianus fecit, by way of protest (it is said) against the disparagement of some persons who cavilled at the veteran's failing handicraft.

He continued to accept commissions to the last. He had selected as the place for his burial the chapel of the Crucifix in the church of the Fran; and, in return for a grave, he offered the Franciscans a picture of the Pietà, representing himself and his son Orazio before the Saviour, another figure in the composition being a sibyl. This work he nearly finished; but some differences arose regarding it, and he then settled to be interred in his native Pieve.

Titian was extremely, and famously, old when the plague raging in Venice seized him, and he died on 27 August 1576. He was the only victim of that plague to be given a church burial and was interred in the Frari (Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari), as at first intended, and his Pietà was finished by Palma the Younger. He lies near his own famous painting, the Madonna di Ca' Pesaro. No memorial marked his grave, until much later the Austrian rulers of Venice commissioned Canova to provide the large monument.

Immediately after Titian's own death, his son and pictorial assistant ,Orazio, died of the same epidemic. His sumptuous mansion was plundered during the plague by thieves.

Titian himself never attempted engraving, but he was very conscious of the importance of printmaking as a means of futher expanding his reputation. In the period 1517-1520 he designed a number of woodcuts, including an enormous and impressive one of The Crossing of the Red Sea, and collaborated with Domenico Campagnola and others, who produced further prints based on his paintings and drawings. Much later he provided drawings based on his paintings to Cornelius Cort from the Netherlands, who brilliantly engraved them.

Several other artists of the Vecelli family followed in the wake of Titian. Francesco Vecellio, his elder brother, was introduced to painting by Titian (it is said at the age of twelve, but chronology will hardly admit of this), and painted in the church of S. Vito in Cadore a picture of the titular saint armed. This was a noteworthy performance, of which Titian (the usual story) became jealous; so Francesco was diverted from painting to soldiering, and afterwards to mercantile life.

Marco Vecellio, called Marco di Tiziano, Titian's nephew, born in 1545, was constantly with the master in his old age, and, learned his methods of work. He has left some able productions in the ducal palace, the Meeting of Charles V. and Clement VII. in 1529 ; in S. Giacomo di Rialto, an Annunciation ; in SS. Giovani e Paolo, Christ Fulminant. A son of Marco, named Tiziano (or Tizianello), painted early in the 17th century.

From a different branch of the family came Fabrizio di Ettore, a painter who died in 1580. His brother Cesare, who also left some pictures, is well known by his book of engraved costumes, Abiti antichi e moderni. Tommaso Vecelli, also a painter, died in 1620. There was another relative, Girolamo Dante, who, being a scholar and assistant of Titian, was called Girolamo di Tiziano. Various pictures of his were touched up by the master, and are difficult to distinguish from originals.

Few of the pupils and assistants of Titian became well-known in their own right; for some being his assistant was probably a lifetime career. Paris Bordone and Bonifazio were two of superior excellence. El Greco (or Dominikos Theotokopoulos) was said (by Giulio Clovio) to have been employed by the master in his last years.

The color titian is derived from the artist's frequent use of brownish orange, especially for the hair of his early idealized portraits of courtisans.


Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, also known as Gianbattista or Giambattista Tiepolo (1696 - 1770) was an Venetian painter, considered among the last "Grand Manner" fresco painters.

Giambattist Tiepolo was born in Venice, the last of six children of sea-captain, Domenico Tiepolo and his wife, Orsetta. While the Tiepolo surname belongs to a patrician family, Giambattista's father did not claim noble lineage. The future artist was baptised in his parish church (S. Pietro di Castello) as Giovanni Battista, in honour of his godfather, a Venetian nobleman called Giovanni Battista Dorià. His father Domenico died a year after his birth, leaving Orsetta in difficult financial circumstances.

Giambattista was initially a pupil of Gregorio Lazzarini, but the influences from elder contemporaries such as Sebastiano Ricci and Giovanni Battista Piazzetta are stronger in his work. At 19 years of age, Tiepolo completed his first major commission, the Sacrifice of Isaac (now in the Accademia). He left Lazzarini studio in 1717, and was received into the Fraglia guild of painters.

In 1719, Tiepolo married Maria Cecilia Guardi, sister of two contemporary Venetian painters Francesco and Giovanni Antonio Guardi. Together, Tiepolo and his wife had nine children. Four daughters and three sons survived childhood. Two sons, Domenico and Lorenzo, painted with him as his assistants and achieved some independent recognition. His third son became a priest.

A patrician from the Friulan town of Udine, Dionisio Delfino, commissioned from the young Tiepolo the fresco decoration of the chapel and palace (1726-1728). It was an almost revolutionary accomplishment using novel pale tonalities and airy handling. Incorporating Sebastiano Ricci’s maniera paolesca, Tiepolo at once distanced himself from the chiaroscuro typical of the Baroque, but maintained the theatrical grandeur of Rubens. He is considered by many as prototype painter of the decorative Italian Rococo movement of the 18th century. Tiepolo's first masterpieces in Venice were a cycle of enormous canvases painted to decorate a large reception room of Ca' Dolfin, Venice (ca. 1726–1729), depicting ancient battles and triumph.

He was soon in high demand, which he matched with an astounding prolificity. He painted canvases for churches such as that of Verolanuova (1735-40), for the Scuola dei Carmini (1740-47), and the Scalzi 1743-44), a ceiling for the Palazzi Archinto and Casati-Dugnani in Milan (1731), the Colleoni Chapel in Bergamo (1732-33), a ceiling for the Gesuati (S.Maria del Rosario) in Venice of St. Dominic Instituting the Rosary (1737-39), Palazzo Clerici, Milan (1740), decorations for Villa Cordellini at Montecchio Maggiore (1743-44) and for the ballroom of the Palazzo Labia, now a television studio in Venice, showing the Story of Cleopatra (1745-50).

By 1750, Tiepolo's reputation was firmly established throughout Europe, and accompanied by his son Giandomenico, he traveled to Würzburg at the call of Prince Bishop Karl Philipp von Greiffenklau in 1750, where he resided for three years and executed magnificent ceiling paintings in the New Residenz palace (completed 1744). His painting for the grandiose Neumann-designed entrance staircase (Treppenhaus) is massive ceiling fresco in the world at 7287 square feet, and was completed in collaboration with his sons, Giandomenico and Lorenzo. His Allegory of the Planets and Continents depicts Apollo, embarking on his daily course; deities around him symbolize the planets; allegorical figures (on the cornice) represent the four continents, notably including America. He also frescoed the Kaisersaal salon.

He then returned to Venice in 1753, Tiepolo was now richly in demand locally and abroad, where he was elected President of the Academy of Padua. He now completed theatrical frescoes for churches; the Triumph of Faith for the Chiesa della Pietà; panel frescos for Ca' Rezzonico (which now also holds his ceiling fresco from the Palazzo Barbarigo); and paintings for patrician villas in the Venetian countryside, such as Villa Valmarana (Vicenza) and a large panegyric ceiling for the now nearly vacant Villa Pisani in Stra.

In celebrated frescoes at the Palazzo Labia, he depicted two frescoes on the life of Cleopatra: Meeting of Anthony and Cleopatra and Banquet of Cleopatra, as well as a central ceiling fresco depicts Triumph of Bellerophon over Time. He collaborated with an expert in perspective, Girolamo Mengozzi Colonna. Colonna who also designed sets for opera highlights the increasing tendency towards composition as a staged fiction in his frescoes. The architecture of the Banquet fresco also recalls Veronese's Wedding at Cannae.

In 1761, Charles III commissioned from the painter a large ceiling fresco to decorate the throne room of the royal palace of Madrid. The panegyric theme is the Apotheosis of Spain. In Spain, he incurred the jealousy and the bitter opposition of Anton Raphael Mengs. Tiepolo died in Madrid on March 27, 1770.

After his death, the rise of stern Neoclassicism and the post-revolutionary decline of royal absolutism led to the slow decline of the Tiepolo style, but had failed to dent his impact on artistic progress. By 1772 Tiepolo was sufficiently famous to be documented as painter to Doge Giovanni Cornaro, in charge of the decoration of Palazzo Mocenigo a San Polo.

In his most fluid elaborations, Tiepolo has closest affinity to Ricci, Piazzetta, and Federico Bencovich. He is a shadowless Rubens, a sunnier rococo Cortona. His sumptuous historical set-pieces are enveloped in a regal luminosity. He is principally known for his fresco work, particularly his panegyric ceilings. These followed the Baroque tradition of Pietro da Cortona and Andrea Pozzo, converting roof to painted sky, elevating petty aristocrats to divine status, and allowing for vast compositions that merged with the delicate ornamentation of the Rococo stucco.

Frescoes, such as Palazzo Valmarana (Vicenza) not only peer into the mythologic scenes, but are meant to relocate viewers into their midst. The earliest example of this is perhaps his canvases in the Ca' Dolfin, which allowed Tiepolo to introduce exuberant costumes, classical sculpture, and action that appears to spill from the frames into the room. Originally set into recesses, they were surrounded with frescoed frames.

While his painting is infused with the Venetian spirit, his luminosity is not see in the previous masters; however, Tiepolo is considered the last Olympian painter of the Venetian Republic. Like Titian before him, Tiepolo was an international star, treasured by royalty far afield for his ability to depict glory in fresco.

His children developed similar, but distinctive styles.

Fra Angelico

The Blessed Fra Angelico, (1395 - 1455) was an Early Italian Renaissance painter, referred to in Vasari's Lives of the Artists as having "a rare and perfect talent".

Known in Italy as il Beato Angelico and in the English-speaking world as Fra Angelico, he was known to his contemporaries as Fra Giovanni da Fiesole (Friar or Father John from Fiesole). In Giorgio Vasari’s Lives of the Artists, written prior to 1555, he is already known as Fra Giovanni Angelico (Father Giovanni the Angelic One).

Within his lifetime or shortly thereafter he was also called "Il Beato" (the Blessed), in reference to his skills in painting religious subjects. In 1982 Pope John Paul II conferred beatification, thereby making this title official. Fiesole is sometimes misinterpreted as being part of his formal name, but it was merely the name of the town where he took his vows, used by contemporaries to separate him from other Fra Giovannis. He is listed in the Roman Martyrology as "Beatus Ioannes Faesulanus, cognomento Angelicus" - "Blessed Giovanni of Fiesole, nicknamed Angelico".

The 16th century biographer Vasari says of him "But it is impossible to bestow too much praise on this holy father, who was so humble and modest in all that he did and said and whose pictures were painted with such facility and piety."

Fra Angelico was born Guido di Pietro, at Vicchio, in the Tuscan province of Mugello, near Fiesole towards the end of the 14th century and died in Rome in 1455. Nothing is known of his parents, but they are presumed to have been wealthy. He was baptized Guido or Guidolino. While still a boy he asked for admittance at the convent of San Domenico in Florence, where Dominican friars were known for their rigid rules (and were called "the Observers"). He completed his novitiate in Cortona in 1408 and became a full Dominican monk in Florence about 1418 taking the name of "Fra Giovanni" following the custom of those in Holy Orders of taking a new name.

Fra Angelico initially received training as an illuminator, possibly working with his older brother Benedetto who was also a Dominican. San Marco in Florence holds several manuscripts that are thought to be entirely or partly by his hand. The painter Lorenzo Monaco may have contributed to his art training, and the influence of the Sienese school is discernible in his work. He had several important charges in the convents he lived in, but this did not limit his art, which very soon became famous. According to Vasari, the first paintings of this artist were an altarpiece and a painted screen for the Carthusian Monastery of Florence; none such exist there now.

From 1408 to 1418 Fra Angelico was at the Dominican Convent of Cortona where he painted frescoes, now destroyed, in the Dominican Church and may have been assistant to or follower of Gherardo Starnina. Between 1418 and 1436 he was at the convent of Fiesole where he also executed a number of frescoes for the church, and the Altarpiece, deteriorated but restored. A predella of the Altarpiece remains intact in the National Gallery, London which is a superb example of Fra Angelico's ability. It shows Christ in Glory, surrounded by more than 250 figures, including beatified Dominicans.

In 1436 Fra Angelico was one of a number of the monks from Fiesole who moved to the newly-built monastery of San Marco in Florence. This was an important move which put him in the centre of artistic activity of the region and brought about the patronage of one of the wealthiest and most powerful members of the city's Signoria, Cosimo de' Medici, who had a large cell (later occupied by Savonarola) reserved for himself at the monastery in order that he might retreat from the world. It was, according to Vasari, at Cosimo's urging that Fra Angelico set about the task of decorating the monastery, including the magnificent Chapter House fresco, the often-reproduced Annunciation at the top of the stairs to the cells, the Maesta with Saints and the many smaller devotional frescoes depicting aspects of the Life of Christ that adorn the walls of each cell.

In 1439 he completed one of his most famous works, the Altarpiece for St. Marco's, Florence. The result was unusual for its times. Images of the enthroned Madonna and Child surrounded by saints were common, but they usually depicted a setting that was clearly heavenlike, in which saints and angels hovered about as divine presences rather than people. But in this instance, the saints stand squarely within the space, grouped in a natural way as if they were able to converse about the shared experience of witnessing the Virgin in glory. Paintings such as this, known as Sacred Conversations, were to become the major commissions of Giovanni Bellini, Perugino and Raphael.

In 1445 Pope Eugenius IV summoned him to Rome to paint the frescoes of the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament at St Peter's, later demolished by Pope Paul III. Vasari claims that at this time Fra Angelico was offered by Pope Nicholas V the Archbishopric of Florence, and that he refused it, recommending another Friar for the position. While the story seems possible and even likely, if Vasari's date is correct, then the pope must have been Eugenius and not Nicholas. In 1447 Fra Angelico was in Orvieto with his pupil, Benozzo Gozzoli, executing works for the Cathedral. Among his other pupils were Gentile da Fabriano and Zanobi Strozzi.

From 1447 to 1449 he was back at the Vatican designing the frescoes for the Chapel of Pope Nicholas V. The scenes from the lives of the two martyred Deacons of the Early Christian Church, St Stephen and St Lawrence may have been exectuted wholly or in part by assistants. The small chapel, with its brightly frescoed walls and gold leaf decorations gives the impression of a jewel box.

From 1449 until 1452, Il Beato Angelico was back at his old convent of Fiesole, where he was the Prior. In 1455 he was staying at a Dominican Convent in Rome, perhaps in order to work on Pope Nicholas' Chapel. It was there that he died, his body being buried in the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.

Fra Angelico was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1982. Angelico was reported to say "He who does Christ's work must stay with Christ always". This motto earned him the epithet "Blessed Angelico", "because of the perfect integrity of his life and the almost divine beauty of the images he painted, to a superlative extent those of the Blessed Virgin Mary." (Pope John Paul II).

W.M.Rossetti writes "From various accounts of Fra Angelico's life, it is possible to gain some sense of why he was deserving of canonization. He led the devout and ascetic life of a Dominican friar, and never rose above that rank; he followed the dictates of the order in caring for the poor; he was always good-humored. All of his many paintings were of divine subjects, and it seems that he never altered or retouched them, perhaps from a religious conviction that, because his paintings were divinely inspired, they should retain their original form. He was wont to say that he who illustrates the acts of Christ should be with Christ. It is averred that he never handled a brush without fervent prayer and he wept when he painted a Crucifixion. The Last Judgment and the Annunciation were two of the subjects he most frequently treated."

The words engraved on Fra Angelico's tomb translate as -
"When singing my praise, don't liken my talents to those of Apollo.
Say, rather, that, in the name of Christ, I gave all I had to the poor.
The deeds that count on Earth are not the ones that count in Heaven.
I, Giovanni, am the flower of Tuscany."

Fra Angelico was working at a time when the style of painting was in a state of change. This process of change had begun a hundred years previous with the works of Giotto and several of his contemporaries, notably Giusto de' Menabuoi, both of whom had created their major works in Padua, although Giotto was trained in Florence by the great Gothic artist, Cimabue, and painted a fresco cycle of St Francis in the Bardi Chapel in Santa Croce. Giotto had many enthusiastic followers, who imitated his style in fresco, some of them, notably the Lorenzetti, achieving great success.

The patrons of these artists were most often monastic establishments or wealthy families endowing a church. Because the paintings often had devotional purpose, the clients tended to be conservative. Frequently, it would seem, the wealthier the client, the more conservative the painting. There was a very good reason for this. The paintings that were commissioned made a statement about the patron. Thus the more gold leaf it displayed, the more it spoke to the patron’s glory.

The other valuable commodities in the paint-box were lapis lazuli and vermilion. Paint made from these colours did not lend itself to a tonal treatment. The azure blue made of powdered lapis lazuli went on flat, the depth and brilliance of colour being, like the gold leaf, a sign of the patron’s ability to provide well. For these reasons, altarpieces are often much more conservatively painted than frescoes, which were often of almost life-sized figures and relied upon a stage-set quality rather than lavish display in order to achieve effect.

Fra Angelico was the contemporary of Gentile da Fabriano who seems to have been his pupil. Gentile’s altarpiece of the Adoration of the Magi, 1423, in the Uffizi is regarded as one of the greatest works of the style known as International Gothic. At the time it was painted, another young artist, known as Masaccio, was working on the frescoes for the Brancacci Chapel at the church of the Carmine. Masaccio had fully grasped the implications of the art of Giotto. Few painters in Florence saw his sturdy, life-like and emotional figures and were not affected by them. His work partner was an older painter,Masolino, of the same generation as Fra Angelico. Sadly Masaccio died at 27, leaving the work unfinished.

The works of Fra Angelico reveal elements that are both conservatively Gothic and progressively Renaissance. In the altarpiece of the Coronation of the Virgin, painted for the Florentine church of Santa Maria Novella, we see all the elements that a very expensive altarpiece of the 14th century was expected to provide- a precisely tooled gold background, lots of azure, lots of vermilion and an obvious display of arsenic green. The workmanship of the gilded haloes and gold-edged robes is exquisite and all very Gothic. The things that make this a Renaissance painting, as against Gentile da Fabriano’s masterpiece, is the solidity, the three-dimensionality and naturalism of the figures and the realistic way in which their garments hang or drape around them. Even though it is clouds these figures stand upon, and not the earth, they do so with weight.

The series of frescoes that Fra Angelico painted for the Dominican Brothers at San’ Marcos realise the advancements made by Masaccio and carry them further. Away from the constraints of wealthy clients and the limitations of panel painting, Fra Angelico was able to express his deep reverence for his God and his knowledge and love of humanity. The meditational frescoes in the cells of the convent have a quieting quality about them. They are humble works in simple colours. There is more mauvish-pink than there is red while the brilliant and expensive blue is almost totally lacking. In its place is dull green and the black and white of Dominican robes. There is nothing lavish, nothing to distract from the spiritual experiences of the humble people who are depicted within the frescoes. Each one has the effect of bringing an incident of the life of Christ into the presence of the viewer. They are like windows into a parallel world. These frescoes remain a powerful witness to the piety of the man who created them.

If it was indeed Cosimo de' Medici who inspired Fra Angelico to create these remarkable works, then he certainly did not let his wealthy patronage influence the good Friar’s mode of artistic expression.

Masaccio had ventured into the field of perspective with his creation of a realistically painted niche at Santa Maria Novella. Fra Angelico demonstrates his understanding of linear perspective particularly in his Annunciation paintings set inside the sort of arcades that Michelozzo and Brunelleschi created at San’ Marco’s and the square in front of it.

When Fra Angelico and his assistants went to the Vatican to decorate the chapel of Pope Nicholas, then the artist was again confronted with the need to please the very wealthiest of clients. In consequence, walking into the small chapel is like stepping into a jewel box. The walls are decked with the brilliance of colour and gold that one sees in the most lavish creations of the Gothic painter Simone Martini at the Lower Church of St Francis of Assisi, a hundred years earlier. Yet Fra Angelico has succeeded in creating designs which continue to reveal his own preoccupation with humanity, with humility and with piety. The figures, in their lavish gilded robes, have the sweetness and gentleness for which his works are famous. According to Vasari "In their bearing and expression, the saints painted by Fra Angelico come nearer to the truth than the figures done by any other artist."

It is probable that much of the actual painting was done by his assistants to his design. Both Benozzo Gozzoli and Gentile da Fabriano were highly accomplished painters. Benozzo took his art further towards the fully developed Renaissance style with his expressive and life-like portraits in his masterpiece of the Journey of the Magi, painted in the Medici’s private chapel at their palazzo.

Through Fra Angelico's pupil Benozzo Gozzoli’s careful portraiture and technical expertise in the art of fresco we see a link to Ghirlandaio, who in turn painted extensive schemes for the wealthy patrons of Florence, and through Ghirlandaio to his pupil Michelangelo and the High Renaissance.

Apart from the lineal connection, superficially there may seem little to link the humble priest with his sweetly pretty Madonnas and timeless Crucifixions to the dynamic expressions of Michelangelo’s larger-than-life creations. But both these artists received their most important commissions from the wealthiest and most powerful of all patrons, the Vatican.

When Michelangelo took up the Sistine Chapel commission, he was working within a space that had already been extensively decorated by other artists. Around the walls the Life of Christ and Life of Moses were depicted by a range of artists including his teacher Ghirlandaio, Raphael’s teacher Perugino, and Botticelli. They were works of large scale and exactly the sort of lavish treatment to be expected in a Vatican commission, vying with each other in complexity of design, number of figures, elaboration of detail and skilful use of gold leaf. Above these works stood a row of painted Popes in brilliant brocades and gold tiaras. None of these splendours have any place in the work which Michelangelo created.

Within the cells of San’Marco, Fra Angelico had demonstrated that painterly skill and the artist’s personal interpretation of his subject can create a truly great work of religious art, (or for that matter, any art). In the use of the unadorned fresco technique, the clear bright pastel colours, the careful arrangement of a few significant figures and the skilful use of expression, motion and gesture, Michelangelo shows himself to be the artistic descendant of Fra Angelico.

[edit] Early works, 1408-1436

* Annunciation - Fiesole
* Altarpiece - Coronation of the Virgin, with predellas of Miracles of St Dominic; Louvre.
* Altarpiece - Virgin and Child between Saints Peter, Thomas Aquinas, Dominic and Peter Martyr.
* Predella - Christ in Majesty, National Gallery, London.

Florence, Santa Trinita
* Deposition of Christ, said by Vasari to have been “painted by a saint or an angel”. Florence Accademia.

Florence, Santa Maria degli Angeli
* Last Judgement, Accademia.

Florence, Santa Maria Novella
* Altarpiece - Coronation of the Virgin, Uffizi.
* Altarpiece for chancel - Virgin with Saints Cosmas and Damian, attended by Saints Dominic, Peter, Francis, Mark, John Evangelist and Stephen. Cosmas and Damian were patrons of the Medici; the altarpiece was commissioned in 1438 by Cosimo de' Medici. It was removed and disassembled during the renovation of the convent church in the seventeenth century. Two of the nine predella panels remain at the convent; seven are in Washington, Munich, Dublin and Paris. Unexpectedly, in 2006 the last two missing panels, Dominican saints from the side panels, turned up in the estate of a modest collector in Oxfordshire, who had bought them in California in the 1960s.
* Altarpiece – Madonna and Child with twelve Angels Uffizi.
* Altarpiece - The Annunciation
* Two versions of the Crucifixion with St Dominic; in the Cloister
* Very large Crucifixion with Virgin and 20 saints; in the Chapter House
* The Annunciation; at the top of the Dormitory stairs. This is probably the most reproduced of all Fra Angelico's paintings.
* Virgin enthroned with Four Saints; in the Dormitory passage

Each cell is decorated with a fresco which matches in size and shape the single round-headed window beside it. The frescoes are apparently for contemplative purpose. They are have a pale, serene, unearthly beauty. Many of Fra Angelico’s finest and most reproduced works are among them. There are, particularly in the inner row of cells, some of less inspiring quality and of more repetitive subject, perhaps completed by assistants.

* The Adoration of the Magi
* The Transfiguration
* Noli me Tangere
* The three Marys at the tomb.
* The Road to Emmaus, with two Dominicans as the disciples
* There are many versions of the Crucifixion

Orvieto Cathedral

Three segments of the ceiling in the Cappella Nuova, with the assistance of Benozzo Gozzoli.

* Christ in Glory
* The Virgin Mary
* The Apostles

The Chapel of Pope Nicholas, at the Vatican probably with much assistance from Benozzo Gozzoli and Gentile da Fabriano. The entire surface of wall and ceiling is sumptuously painted. There is much gold leaf for borders and decoration, and a great use of brilliant blue made from lapis lazuli.

* The life of St Stephen
* The life of St Lawrence
* The Four Evangelists.

* The Italian hazelnut liqueur Frangelico is named after Fra Angelico. It is shipped in a bottle shaped like a monk's habit with a rope belt round the waist.


Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi, better known as Sandro Botticelli ("little barrel") (1445 – 1510) was an Italian painter of the Florentine school during the Early Renaissance (Quattrocento). Less than 100 years later, this movement, under the patronage of Lorenzo de' Medici, was characterized by Giorgio Vasari as a "golden age", a thought, suitably enough, he expressed at the head of his Vita of Botticelli.

Sandro was intensely religious. In later life, he was one of Savonarola's followers and burnt his own paintings on pagan themes in the notorious "Bonfire of the Vanities". Botticelli biographer Ernst Steinman searched for the artist's psychological development through his Madonnas. In the deepening of insight and expression in the rendering of Mary's physiognomy, Steinman discerns proof of Savonarola's influence over Botticelli. This means that the biographer needed to alter the dates of a number of Madonnas to substantiate his theory; specifically, they are dated 10 years later than before.

Steinman disagrees with Vasari's assertion that Botticelli produced nothing after coming under the influence of Girolamo Savonarola. Steinman believes the spiritual and emotional Virgins rendered by Sandro follow directly from the teachings of the Dominican monk.

Earlier, Botticelli had painted an Assumption of the Virgin for Matteo Palmieri in a chapel at San Pietro Maggiore in which, it was rumored, both the patron who dictated the iconic scheme and the painter who painted it, were guilty of unidentified heresy, a delicate requirement in such a subject. The heretical notions seem to be gnostic in character:
“ By the side door of San Piero Maggiore he did a panel for Matteo Palmieri, with a large number of figures representing the Assumption of Our Lady with zones of patriarchs, prophets, apostles, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, doctors, virgins, and the orders of angels, the whole from a design given to him by Matteo, who was a worthy and educated man. He executed this work with the greatest mastery and diligence, introducing the portraits of Matteo and his wife on their knees. But although the great beauty of this work could find no other fault with it, said that Matteo and Sandro were guilty of grave heresy. Whether this be true or not, I cannot say. (Giorgio Vasari) ”

This is a common misconception based on a mistake by Vasari. The painting referred to here, now in the National Gallery in London, is by the artist Botticini. Vasari confused their similar sounding names.

The Adoration of the Magi for Santa Maria Novella, c. 1476, contains portraits of Cosimo de' Medici ("the finest of all that are now extant for its life and vigour"), his grandson Giuliano de' Medici, and Cosimo's son Giovanni, were effusively described by Vasari:

"The beauty of the heads in this scene is indescribable, their attitudes all different, some full-face, some in profile, some three-quarters, some bent down, and in various other ways, while the expressions of the attendants, both young and old, are greatly varied, displaying the artist's perfect mastery of his profession. Sandro further clearly shows the distinction between the suites of each of the kings. It is a marvellous work in colour, design and composition."

In 1481, Pope Sixtus IV summoned Botticelli and other prominent Florentine and Umbrian artists to fresco the walls of the Sistine Chapel. The iconological program was the supremacy of the Papacy. Sandro's contribution was moderately successful. He returned to Florence, and "being of a sophistical turn of mind, he there wrote a commentary on a portion of Dante and illustrated the Inferno which he printed, spending much time over it, and this abstension from work led to serious disorders in his living."

Thus Vasari characterized the first printed Dante (1481) with Botticelli's decorations; he could not imagine that the new art of printing might occupy an artist. As for the subject, when Fra Girolamo Savonarola began to preach hellfire and damnation, the susceptible Sandro Botticelli became one of his adherents, a piagnone, left painting as a worldly vanity, burned much of his own early work, fell into poverty as a result, and would have starved but for the tender support of his former patrons.

In the popular TV sitcom Frasier, Botticelli is mentioned along with other notable artists. In the episode To Tell the Truth, Niles compliments Roz's baby pictures by declaring "Botticelli himself couldn't have painted a more perfect angel."

Botticelli is also mentioned in the Anne Rice novels "Blood and Gold", "The Vampire Armand", and "Vittorio the Vampire". In "Blood and Gold", he is seen to hold a number of conversations with the story's main character Marius. He is also mentioned along with his painting "the Birth of Venus" later on in the book.

There is an episode of The Simpsons where Homer daydreams about an attractive new female co-worker by picturing her as the goddess Venus in Botticelli's painting The Birth of Venus.

In The Da Vinci Code, Botticelli's The Birth of Venus is on the cover of Langdon's Book.

Anthology of works

* Madonna and Child with an Angel (1465-1467) -Spedale degli Innocenti, Florence
* Madonna and Child with an Angel (1465-67) - Musée Fesch, Ajaccio
* Madonna della Loggia (c. 1467) - Uffizi, Florence
* The Virgin and Child with Two Angels and the Young St. John the Baptist (1465-1470) - Galleria dell Accademia, Florence
* The Annunciation (ca 1479) Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, NY
* The Virgin and Child, St. John and an Angel (ca 1488) - National Museum in Warsaw, Poland
* Adoration of the Magi (1465-1467) - National Gallery, London
* Portrait of a Young Man (c. 1469) - Palazzo Pitti, Florence
* Madonna in Glory with Seraphim (1469-1470) - Uffizi, Florence
* Madonna of the Rosegarden (1469-1470) - Uffizi, Florence
* Madonna and Child and Two Angels (c. 1468-1470) - Galleria Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples
* Portrait of a Esmeralda Brandini (1470-1475) - Victoria and Albert Museum, London
* Fortitude (c. 1470) - Uffizi, Florence
* Madonna and Child with Six Saints (Sant'Ambrogio Altarpiece) (c. 1470) - Uffizi, Florence
* Madonna and Child with an Angel (c. 1470) - Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
* The Return of Judith to Bethulia (1470- 1472) - Uffizi, Florence
* The Discovery of the Murder of Holofernes (1470-1472) - Uffizi, Florence
* Adoration of the Magi (1465-1467) -National Gallery, London
* Portrait of a Young Woman (c. 1475) - Palazzo Pitti, Florence
* Adoration of the Magi (1465-1467) -Uffizi, Florence
* St. Sebastian (1474) - Staatliche Museen, Berlin
* Portrait of a Man with a Medal of Cosimo the Elder (c. 1474-1475) - Uffizi, Florence
* Portrait of Giuliano de' Medici (c. 1475) - Accademia Carrara, Bergamo
* Madonna and Child (c. 1475) - Art Institute, Chicago
* Catherine of Alexandria, portrait of Caterina Sforza (c. 1475) - Lindenau-Museum, Altenburg
* Portrait of Giuliano de' Medici (1476-1477) - National Gallery of Art, Washington
* The Birth of Christ, (1476-1477) - Santa Maria Novella, Florence
* Portrait of Giuliano de' Medici (1478) - Staatliche Museen, Berlin
* Madonna and Child with Eight Angels (c. 1478) - Staatliche Museen, Berlin
* St. Augustine (1480) - church of Ognissanti, Florence
* Madonna of the Magnificat (1480-1483) - Uffizi, Florence
* Madonna of the Book (c. 1480-1483) - Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan
* Portrait of a Young Woman (1480-85) - Stadelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt
* Portrait of a Young Woman (after 1480) - Staatliche Museen, Berlin
* Annunciation (1481) - Uffizi, Florence
* St. Sixtus II (1481) - Sistine Chapel, Vatican City
* Adoration of the Magi (1481-1482) - National Gallery of Art, Washington
* Pallas and the Centaur (1482-1483) -Uffizi, Florence
* Venus and Mars (1483) - National Gallery, London
* Portrait of a Young Man (c. 1483) - National Gallery, London
* Portrait of a Young Man (c. 1482-1483) - National Gallery of Art, Washington
* The Story of Nastagio degli Onesti (c. 1483) - Museo del Prado, Madrid
* The Virgin and Child Enthroned (Bardi Altarpiece) (1484) - Staatliche Museen, Berlin
* The Birth of Venus (1484-1486) - Uffizi, Florence
* Annunciation (1485) - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
* Madonna of the Pomegranate Uffizi, Florence
* The Virgin and Child with Four Angels and Six Saints (Pala di San Barnaba) (c. 1487-1488) - Uffizi, Florence
* Vision of St. Augustine (c. 1488) - Uffizi, Florence
* Christ in the Sepulcre (c. 1488) - Uffizi, Florence
* Salome with the Head of St. John the Baptist (c. 1488) - Uffizi, Florence
* Extraction of St. Ignatius' Heart (c. 1488) - Uffizi, Florence
* Cestello Annunciation (1489-1490) - Uffizi, Florence
* The Virgin Adoring the Child (c. 1490) - National Gallery of Art, Washington
* Lamentation over the Dead Christ with Saints (c. 1490) - Alte Pinakothek, Munich
* Portrait of a Man (c. 1490) - Private collection
* San Marco Altarpiece (1490-1492) - (entire predella) Uffizi, Florence
* St. Augustine in His Cell (1490-1494) - Uffizi, Florence
* Madonna and Child and the Young St John the Baptist (1490-1495) - Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence
* Portrait of Lorenzo di Ser Piero Lorenzi (1490-1495) - Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia
* Holy Trinity (Pala delle Convertite) (1491-1493) - Courtauld Institute Galleries, London
* The Virgin and Child with Three Angels (Madonna del Padiglione) (c. 1493) - Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan
* Calumny of Apelles (1494-1495) - Uffizi, Florence
* Lamentation over the Dead Christ (c. 1495) - Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan
* Last Communion of St. Jerome (c. 1495) - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
* Portrait of Dante (c. 1495) - Private collection
* The Story of Virginia (1496-1504) - Accademia Carrara, Bergamo
* The Story of Lucretia (1496-1504) - Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
* Crucifixion (c. 1497) - Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge
* Christ Crowned with Thorns (c. 1500) - Accademia Carrara, Bergamo, Italy
* Transfiguration, St Jerome, St Augustine (c. 1500) - Galleria Pallavicini, Rome
* Judith Leaving the Tent of Holofernes (1495-1500) - Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
* Agony in the Garden (c. 1500) - Capilla Real, Granada
* The Mystical Nativity (c. 1500) - National Gallery, London
* Baptism of St. Zenobius and His Appointment as Bishop (1500-1505) - National Gallery, London
* Three Miracles of St. Zenobius (1500-1505) - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
* Three Miracles of St. Zenobius (1500-1505) - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
* Last Miracle and the Death of St. Zenobius (1500-1505) - Gemäldegalerie, Dresden


Giovanni Antonio Canal (Venice, 1697 – 1768), better known as Canaletto, was a Venetian artist famous for his landscapes, or vedute of Venice. He was a son of the painter Bernardo Canal, hence his nickname Canaletto. His nephew Bernardo Bellotto was also a landscape painter; he sometimes used the name of Canaletto to further his own career.

Canaletto was born in Venice on October 28, 1697 to Bernardo and Artemisia Barbieri, and served his apprenticeship with his father and his brother. He began in his father's occupation, that of a theatrical scene painter. He also studied with Luca Carlevaris, a moderately talented painter of street representations.

Canaletto was inspired by the Roman vedutista Giovanni Paolo Pannini, and started painting the daily life of the city and its people. After returning from Rome in 1719, he began painting in his famous topographical style.[3] His first known signed and dated work is Architectural Capriccio (1723, Milan, in a private collection.

Much of Canaletto's early artwork was painted 'from nature', differing from the then customary practice of completing paintings in the studio. Some of his later works do revert to this custom, as suggested by the tendency of distant figures to be painted as blobs of colour - an effect produced by using a camera obscura, which blurs farther-away objects. However, his paintings are always notable for their accuracy: he recorded the seasonal submerging of Venice in water and ice.

Canaletto's early works remain his most coveted and, according to many authorities, his best. One of his finest early pieces is The Stonemason's Yard (1729, London, the National Gallery) which depicts a humble working area of the city. Later Canaletto became known for his grand scenes of the canals of Venice and the Doge's Palace. His large-scale landscapes portrayed the city's famed pageantry and waning traditions, making innovative use of atmospheric effects and strong local colors. For these qualities, his works may be said to have anticipated Impressionism.

Many of his pictures were sold to Englishmen on their Grand Tour, most notably the merchant Joseph Smith (who was later appointed British Consul in Venice in 1744). It was Smith who acted as an agent for Canaletto, first in requesting paintings of Venice from the painter in the early 1720s and helping him to sell his paintings to other Englishmen.

In the 1740s Canaletto's market was disrupted when the War of the Austrian Succession led to a reduction in the number of British visitors to Venice. Smith also arranged for the publication of a series of etchings of caprichos (capriccio Italian for fancy), but the returns were not high enough, and in 1746 Canaletto moved to London, to be closer to his market.

He remained in England until 1755, producing views of London (including the new Westminster Bridge) and of his patrons' castles and houses. He was often expected to paint England in the fashion with which he had painted his native city. Overall this period was not satisfactory, owing mostly to the declining quality of Canaletto's work. Canaletto's painting began to suffer from repetitiveness, losing its fluidity, and becoming mechanical to the point that the English art critic George Vertue suggested that the man painting under the name 'Canaletto' was an impostor. The artist was compelled to give public painting demonstrations in order to refute this claim; however, his reputation never fully recovered in his lifetime.

After his return to Venice Canaletto was elected to the Venetian Academy in 1763. He continued to paint until his death in 1768. In his later years he often worked from old sketches, but he sometimes produced surprising new compositions. He was willing to make subtle alternations to topography for artistic effect.

His pupils included his nephew Bernardo Bellotto, Francesco Guardi, Michele Marieschi, Gabriele Bella, Giuseppe Moretti, and Giuseppe Bernardino Bison.

Joseph Smith sold much of his collection to George III, creating the bulk of the large collection of Canalettos owned by the Royal Collection. There are many examples of his work in other British collections, including several at the Wallace Collection and a set of 24 in the dining room at Woburn Abbey.

Canaletto's views always fetched high prices, and as early as the 18th century Catherine the Great and other European monarchs vied for his grandest paintings. The record price paid at auction for a Canaletto is £18.6 million for View of the Grand Canal from Palazzo Balbi to the Rialto, set at Sotheby's in London in July 2005.

* The Piazzetta (1733-1735)
* The Grand Canal at the Salute Church (1738-1742)


Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571 – 1610) was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta and Sicily between 1593 and 1610. He is commonly placed in the Baroque school, of which he was the first great representative.

Within his lifetime, Caravaggio was considered enigmatic, fascinating, a rebel, and dangerous. He burst upon the Rome art scene in 1600, and thereafter never lacked for commissions or patrons, yet handled his success atrociously. An early published notice on him, dating from 1604 and describing his lifestyle some three years previously, tells how "after a fortnight's work he will swagger about for a month or two with a sword at his side and a servant following him, from one ball-court to the next, ever ready to engage in a fight or an argument, so that it is most awkward to get along with him."

In 1606 he killed a young man in a brawl and fled from Rome with a price on his head. In Malta in 1608 he was involved in another brawl, and yet another in Naples in 1609, possibly a deliberate attempt on his life by unidentified enemies. By the next year, after a career of little more than a decade, he was dead.

Huge new churches and palazzi were being built in Rome in the decades of the late 16th and early 17th centuries, and paintings were needed to fill them. The Counter-Reformation Church searched for authentic religious art with which to counter the threat of Protestantism, and for this task the artificial conventions of Mannerism, which had ruled art for almost a century, no longer seemed adequate. Caravaggio's novelty was a radical naturalism which combined close physical observation with a dramatic, even theatrical, approach to chiaroscuro, the use of light and shadow. In Caravaggio's hands this new style was the vehicle for authentic and moving spirituality.

Famous and extremely influential while he lived, Caravaggio was almost entirely forgotten in the centuries after his death, and it was only in the 20th century that his importance to the development of Western art was rediscovered. Yet despite this his influence on the common style which eventually emerged from the ruins of Mannerism, the new Baroque, was profound. Andre Berne-Joffroy, Paul Valéry’s secretary, said of him: "What begins in the work of Caravaggio is, quite simply, modern painting."

Caravaggio’s father, Fermo Merisi, was a household administrator and architect-decorator to Francesco Sforza, Marchese of Caravaggio, a town some 30 kilometers from Milan. His mother, Lucia Aratori, came from a propertied family of the same district. None of the Merisi children — Michelangelo was Lucia's eldest — are listed on the baptismal records from Caravaggio, and all were probably born in Milan, where the Marchese had his court and where their father lived.

In 1576 the family moved to Caravaggio to escape a plague which ravaged Milan. Caravaggio’s father died there in 1577. It is assumed that the artist grew up in Caravaggio, but his family kept up connections with the Sforzas and with the powerful Colonna family, who were allied by marriage with the Sforzas and destined to play a major role in Caravaggio's later life.

In 1584 he was apprenticed for four years to the painter Simone Peterzano of Milan, described in the contract of apprenticeship as a pupil of Titian. Caravaggio appears to have stayed in the Milan-Caravaggio area after his apprenticeship ended, but it is possible that he visited Venice and saw the works of Giorgione, whom he was later accused of aping, and of Titian. Certainly he would have become familiar with the art treasures of Milan, including Leonardo’s Last Supper, and with the regional Lombard art, a style which valued "simplicity and attention to naturalistic detail" and was closer to the naturalism of Germany than to the stylised formality and grandeur of Roman Mannerism.

In mid-1592 he arrived in Rome, “naked and extremely needy … without fixed address and without provision … short of money.” A few months later he was doing hack-work for the highly successful Giuseppe Cesari, Pope Clement VIII’s favourite painter, “painting flowers and fruit” in his factory-like workshop. Known works from this period include a small Boy Peeling a Fruit (his earliest known painting), a Boy with a Basket of Fruit, and the Young Sick Bacchus, supposedly a self-portrait done during convalescence from a serious illness that ended his employment with Cesari. All three demonstrate the physical particularity — one aspect of his realism — for which Caravaggio was to become renowned: the fruit-basket-boy’s produce has been analysed by a professor of horticulture, who was able to identify individual cultivars right down to "… a large fig leaf with a prominent fungal scorch lesion resembling anthracnose (Glomerella cingulata)."

Caravaggio left Cesari in January 1594, determined to make his own way. His fortunes were at their lowest ebb, yet it was now that he forged some extremely important friendships, with the painter Prospero Orsi, the architect Onorio Longhi, and the 16 year old Sicilian artist Mario Minniti. Orsi, established in the profession, introduced him to influential collectors; Longhi, more balefully, introduced him to the world of Roman street-brawls; and Minniti served as a model and, years later, would be instrumental in helping Caravaggio to important commissions in Sicily.

The Fortune Teller, his first composition with more than one figure, shows Mario being cheated by a gypsy girl. The theme was quite new for Rome, and proved immensely influential over the next century and beyond. This, however, was in the future: at the time, Caravaggio sold it for practically nothing.

The Cardsharps — showing another unsophisticated boy falling the victim of card cheats — is even more psychologically complex, and perhaps Caravaggio’s first true masterpiece. Like the Fortune Teller it was immensely popular, and over 50 copies survive. More importantly, it attracted the patronage of Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte, one of the leading connoisseurs in Rome. For Del Monte and his wealthy art-loving circle Caravaggio executed a number of intimate chamber-pieces — The Musicians, The Lute Player, a tipsy Bacchus, an allegorical but realistic Boy Bitten by a Lizard — featuring Minniti and other boy models. The allegedly homoerotic ambience of these paintings has been the centre of considerable dispute amongst scholars and biographers since it was first raised in the later half of the 20th century.

The realism returned with Caravaggio’s first paintings on religious themes, and the emergence of remarkable spirituality. The first of these was the Penitent Magdalene, showing Mary Magdalene at the moment when she has turned from her life as a courtesan and sits weeping on the floor, her jewels scattered around her. “It seemed not a religious painting at all … a girl sitting on a low wooden stool drying her hair … Where was the repentance … suffering … promise of salvation?” It was understated, in the Lombard manner, not histrionic in the Roman manner of the time.

It was followed by others in the same style: Saint Catherine, Martha and Mary Magdalene, Judith Beheading Holofernes, a Sacrifice of Isaac, a Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy, and a Rest on the Flight into Egypt. The works, while viewed by a comparatively limited circle, increased Caravaggio's fame with both connoisseurs and his fellow-artists. But a true reputation would depend on public commissions, and for these it was necessary to look to the Church.

In 1599, presumably through the influence of Del Monte, Caravaggio contracted to decorate the Contarelli Chapel in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi. The two works making up the commission, the Martyrdom of Saint Matthew and Calling of Saint Matthew, delivered in 1600, were an immediate sensation.

Caravaggio’s heightened chiaroscuro brought high drama to his subjects, while his acutely observed realism brought a new level of emotional intensity. This heightened form of chiaroscuro is known as tenebrism, and he is credited with popularizing it. Opinion among Caravaggio’s artist peers was polarized. Some denounced him for various perceived failings, notably his insistence on painting from life, without drawings, but for the most part he was hailed as the saviour of art: "The painters then in Rome were greatly taken by this novelty, and the young ones particularly gathered around him, praised him as the unique imitator of nature, and looked on his work as miracles."

Caravaggio went on to secure a string of prestigious commissions for religious works featuring violent struggles, grotesque decapitations, torture and death. For the most part each new painting increased his fame, but a few were rejected by the various bodies for whom they were intended, at least in their original forms, and had to be re-painted or find new buyers.

The essence of the problem was that while Caravaggio’s dramatic intensity was appreciated, his realism was seen by some as unacceptably vulgar. His first version of Saint Matthew and the Angel, featured the saint as a bald peasant with dirty legs attended by a lightly-clad over-familiar boy-angel, was rejected and had to be repainted as The Inspiration of Saint Matthew.

Similarly, The Conversion of Saint Paul was rejected, and while another version of the same subject, the Conversion of Saint Paul, was accepted, it featured the saint’s horse’s haunches far more prominently than the saint himself, prompting this exchange between the artist and an exasperated official of Santa Maria del Popolo: “Why have you put a horse in the middle, and Saint Paul on the ground?” “Because!” “Is the horse God?” “No, but he stands in God’s light!”

Other works included the deeply moving Entombment, the Madonna di Loreto (Madonna of the Pilgrims), the Grooms' Madonna, and the Death of the Virgin. The history of these last two paintings illustrate the reception given to some of Caravaggio's art, and the times in which he lived. The Grooms' Madonna, also known as Madonna dei palafrenieri, painted for a small altar in st. Peter's Basilica in Rome, remained there for just two days, and was then taken off. A cardinal's secretary wrote: " In this painting there are but vulgarity, sacrilege, impiousness and disgust…One would say it is a work made by a painter that can paint well, but of a dark spirit, and who has been for a lot of time far from God, from His adoration, and from any good thought…".

The Death of the Virgin, then, commissioned in 1601 by a wealthy jurist for his private chapel in the new Carmelite church of Santa Maria della Scala, was rejected by the Carmelites in 1606. Caravaggio's contemporary Giulio Mancini records that it was rejected because Caravaggio had used a well-known prostitute as his model for the Virgin; Giovanni Baglione, another contemporary, tells us it was because of Mary's bare legs: a matter of decorum in either case.

But Caravaggio scholar John Gash suggests that the problem for the Carmelites may have been theological rather than aesthetic, in that Caravaggio's version fails to assert the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary, the idea that the Mother of God did not die in any ordinary sense but was assumed into Heaven. The replacement altarpiece commissioned (from one of Caravaggio's most able followers, Carlo Saraceni), showed the Virgin not dead, as Caravaggio had painted her, but seated and dying; and even this was rejected, and replaced with a work which showed the Virgin not dying, but ascending into Heaven with choirs of angels.

In any case, the rejection did not mean that Caravaggio or his paintings were out of favour. The Death of the Virgin was no sooner taken out of the church than it was purchased by the Duke of Mantua, on the advice of Rubens, and later acquired by Charles I of England before entering the French royal collection in 1671.

One secular piece from these years is Amor Victorious, painted in 1602 for Vincenzo Giustiniani, a member of Del Monte’s circle. The model was named in a memoir of the early 17th century as "Cecco", the diminutive for Francesco. He is possibly Francesco Boneri, identified with an artist active in the period 1610-1625 and known as Cecco del Caravaggio ('Caravaggio's Cecco'), carrying a bow and arrows and trampling symbols of the warlike and peaceful arts and sciences underfoot.

He is unclothed, and it is difficult to accept this grinning urchin as the Roman god Cupid – as difficult as it was to accept Caravaggio’s other semi-clad adolescents as the various angels he painted in his canvases, wearing much the same stage-prop wings. The point, however, is the intense yet ambiguous reality of the work: it is simultaneously Cupid and Cecco, as Caravaggio’s Virgins were simultaneously the Mother of Christ and the Roman courtesans who modeled for them.

Caravaggio led a tumultuous life. He was notorious for brawling, even in a time and place when such behavior was commonplace, and the transcripts of his police records and trial proceedings fill several pages. On 29 May 1606, he killed, possibly unintentionally, a young man named Ranuccio Tomassoni. Previously his high-placed patrons had protected him from the consequences of his escapades, but this time they could do nothing. Caravaggio, outlawed, fled to Naples. There, outside the jurisdiction of the Roman authorities and protected by the Colonna family, the most famous painter in Rome became the most famous in Naples.

His connections with the Colonnas led to a stream of important church commissions, including the Madonna of the Rosary, and The Seven Works of Mercy.

Despite his success in Naples, after only a few months in the city Caravaggio left for Malta, the headquarters of the Knights of Malta, presumably hoping that the patronage of Alof de Wignacourt, Grand Master of the Knights, could help him secure a pardon for Tomassoni's death. De Wignacourt proved so impressed at having the famous artist as official painter to the Order that he inducted him as a knight, and the early biographer Bellori records that the artist was well pleased with his success.

Major works from his Malta period include a huge Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (the only painting to which he put his signature) and a Portrait of Alof de Wignacourt and his Page, as well as portraits of other leading knights. Yet by late August of 1608 he was arrested and imprisoned. The circumstances surrounding this abrupt change of fortune have long been a matter of speculation, but recent investigation has revealed it to have been the result of yet another brawl, during which the door of a house was battered down and a knight seriously wounded. By December he had been expelled from the Order "as a foul and rotten member."

After only nine months in Sicily Caravaggio returned to Naples. According to his earliest biographer he was being pursued by enemies while in Sicily and felt it safest to place himself under the protection of the Colonnas until he could secure his pardon from the pope (now Paul V) and return to Rome. In Naples he painted The Denial of Saint Peter, a final John the Baptist (Borghese), and, his last picture, The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula. His style continued to evolve - Saint Ursula is caught in a moment of highest action and drama, as the arrow fired by the king of the Huns strikes her in the breast, unlike earlier paintings which had all the immobility of the posed models. The brushwork was much freer and more impressionistic. Had Caravaggio lived, something new would have come.

In Naples an attempt was made on his life, by persons unknown. At first it was reported in Rome that the "famous artist" Caravaggio was dead, but then it was learned that he was alive, but seriously disfigured in the face. He painted a Salome with the Head of John the Baptist (Madrid), showing his own head on a platter, and sent it to de Wignacourt as a plea for forgiveness. Perhaps at this time he painted also a David with the Head of Goliath, showing the young David with a strangely sorrowful expression gazing on the wounded head of the giant, which is again Caravaggio's. This painting he may have sent to the unscrupulous art-loving cardinal-nephew Scipione Borghese, who had the power to grant or withhold pardons.

In the summer of 1610 he took a boat northwards to receive the pardon, which seemed imminent thanks to his powerful Roman friends. With him were three last paintings, gifts for Cardinal Scipione. What happened next is the subject of much confusion and conjecture. The bare facts are that on 28 July an anonymous avviso (private newsletter) from Rome to the ducal court of Urbino reported that Caravaggio was dead. Three days later another avviso said that he had died of fever. These were the earliest, brief accounts of his death, which later underwent much elaboration. No body was found. A poet friend of the artist later gave 18 July as the date of death, and a recent researcher claims to have discovered a death notice showing that the artist died on that day of a fever in Porto Ercole, near Grosseto in Tuscany.

Caravaggio “put the oscuro (shadows) into chiaroscuro.” Chiaroscuro was practiced long before he came on the scene, but it was Caravaggio who made the technique definitive, darkening the shadows and transfixing the subject in a blinding shaft of light. With this went the acute observation of physical and psychological reality which formed the ground both for his immense popularity and for his frequent problems with his religious commissions.

He worked at great speed, from live models, scoring basic guides directly onto the canvas with the end of the brush handle. The approach was anathema to the skilled artists of his day, who decried his refusal to work from drawings and to idealise his figures. Yet the models were basic to his realism. Some have been identified, including Mario Minniti and Francesco Boneri, both fellow-artists, Mario appearing as various figures in the early secular works, the young Francesco as a succession of angels, Baptists and Davids in the later canvasses.

His female models include Fillide Melandroni, Anna Bianchini, and Maddalena Antognetti ("Lena" mentioned in court documents (the "Artichoke" case) as Caravaggio's concubine), all well-known prostitutes, who appear as female religious figures including the Virgin and various saints. Caravaggio himself appears in several paintings, his final self-portrait being as the witness on the far right to the Martyrdom of Saint Ursula.

Caravaggio had a noteworthy ability to express in one scene of unsurpassed vividness the passing of a crucial moment. The Supper at Emmaus depicts the recognition of Christ by his disciples: a moment before he is a fellow traveler, mourning the passing of the Messiah, as he never ceases to be to the inn-keeper’s eyes, the second after, he is the Saviour. In The Calling of St Matthew, the hand of the Saint points to himself as if he were saying “who, me?”, while his eyes, fixed upon the figure of Christ, have already said, “Yes, I will follow you”. With The Resurrection of Lazarus, he goes a step further, giving us a glimpse of the actual physical process of resurrection. The body of Lazarus is still in the throes of rigor mortis, but his hand, facing and recognizing that of Christ, is alive. Other major Baroque artists would travel the same path, for example Bernini, fascinated with themes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

The installation of the St. Matthew paintings in the Contarelli Chapel had an immediate impact among the younger artists in Rome, and Caravaggism became the cutting edge for every ambitious young painter. The first Caravaggisti included Giovanni Baglione (although his Caravaggio phase was short-lived) and Orazio Gentileschi. In the next generation there were Carlo Saraceni, Bartolomeo Manfredi and Orazio Borgianni. Gentileschi, despite being considerably older, was the only one of these artists to live much beyond 1620, and ended up as court painter to Charles I in England. His daughter Artemisia Gentileschi was also close to Caravaggio, and one of the most gifted of the movement. Yet in Rome and in Italy it was not Caravaggio, but the influence of Annibale Carraci, blending elements from the High Renaissance and Lombard realism, which ultimately triumphed.

Caravaggio’s brief stay in Naples produced a notable school of Neapolitan Caravaggisti, including Battistello Caracciolo and Carlo Sellitto. The Caravaggisti movement there ended with a terrible outbreak of plague in 1656, but the Spanish connection – Naples was a possession of Spain – was instrumental in forming the important Spanish branch of his influence.

A group of Catholic artists from Utrecht, the "Utrecht Caravaggisti", travelled to Rome as students in the first years of the 17th century and were profoundly influenced by the work of Caravaggio, as Bellori describes. On their return to the north this trend had a short-lived but influential flowering in the 1620s among painters like Hendrick ter Brugghen, Gerrit van Honthorst, Andries Both and Dirck van Baburen. In the following generation the affects of Caravaggio, although attenuated, are to be seen in the work of Rubens (who purchased one of his paintings for the Gonzaga of Mantua and painted a copy of the Entombment of Christ), Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Velazquez, the last of whom presumably saw his work during his various sojourns in Italy.

Caravaggio’s fame scarcely survived his death. His innovations inspired the Baroque, but the Baroque took the drama of his chiaroscuro without the psychological realism. He directly influenced the style of his companion Orazio Gentileschi, and his daughter Artemisia Gentileschi, and, at a distance, the Frenchmen Georges de La Tour and Simon Vouet, and the Spaniard Giuseppe Ribera. Yet within a few decades his works were being ascribed to less scandalous artists, or simply overlooked. Largely this was a matter of changing fashion — the Baroque, to which he contributed so much, had moved on. And partly it was due to critical demolition-jobs done by two of his earliest biographers, Giovanni Baglione, a rival painter with a personal vendetta, and the influential 17th century critic Giovan Bellori, who had not known him but was under the influence of the French Classicist Poussin, who had not known him either but hated his work.

In the 1920s art critic Roberto Longhi brought Caravaggio's name once more to public attention, and placed him in the European tradition: “Ribera, Vermeer, La Tour and Rembrandt could never have existed without him. And the art of Delacroix, Courbet and Manet would have been utterly different.” The influential Bernard Berenson agreed: “With the exception of Michaelangelo, no other Italian painter exercised so great an influence.”

Many large museums of art, for example those in Detroit and New York, contain rooms where dozens of paintings by as many artists display the characteristic look of the work of Caravaggio — nighttime setting, dramatic lighting, ordinary people used as models, honest description from nature. In modern times, painters like the Norwegian Odd Nerdrum and the Hungarian Tibor Csernus make no secret of their attempts to emulate and update him, and the contemporary American artist Doug Ohlson pays homage to Caravaggio's influence on his own work. Filmmaker Derek Jarman turned to the Caravaggio legend when creating his movie Caravaggio; and Dutch art forger Han van Meegeren used genuine Caravaggios when creating his ersatz Old Masters.

Only about 50 works by Caravaggio survive. One, The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew, was recently authenticated and restored. It had been in storage in Hampton Court, mislabeled as a copy. At least a couple of his paintings have been or may have been lost in recent times. Richard Francis Burton writes of a "picture of St. Rosario (in the museum of the Grand Duke of Tuscany), showing a circle of 30 men turpiter ligati" which is not known to have survived. Also, a painting of an Angel was destroyed during the bombing of Dresden, though there are black and white photographs of the work.


Giotto di Bondone (Colle di Vespignano, near Florence 1267 – 1337), better known simply as Giotto, was a Florentine painter and architect. He is generally considered the first in a line of great artists who contributed to and developed the Italian Renaissance.

Giotto was born in poverty in the countryside near Florence, the son of Bondone, a peasant, and was himself a shepherd. Most authors believe that Giotto was his real name, and not an abbreviation of Ambrogio (Ambrogiotto) or Angelo (Angelotto).

Giotto's master work is the Arena Chapel cycle of the Cappella degli Scrovegni in Padua depicting the life of the Virgin and the passion of Christ completed around 1305. The scheme has 100 major scenes with the heavily sculptural figures set in compressed but naturalistic settings often using forced perspective devices. Giotto's major innovation was to conceive of a painted architectural framework or grisaille using trompe-l'oeil effects that directly influenced Masaccio and in turn Michelangelo in his scheme for the Sistine Chapel.

Famous panels in the series include the Adoration of the Magi in which a comet like Star of Bethlehem streaks across the sky and the Flight from Egypt in which Giotto broke many traditions for the depiction of the scene. The scenes from the Passion were much admired by artists of the Renaissance for their concentrated emotional and dramatic force, especially the "Lamentation over the Dead Christ", and studies of the sequence by Michelangelo exist. The Ognissanti Madonna now in the Uffizi and the sole surviving major panel work by the artist also dates from this period.

At the request of the Pope, Giotto spent 10 years in Rome and then was employed by the King of Naples but little work remains from this period. After 1320 Giotto returned to Florence where he completed two fresco cycles and a number of altar pieces for the church of Santa Croce. Both of the fresco groups were badly damaged though show that in later years Giotto's style had become more ornate perhaps as a response to the emerging International Gothic. In 1334 Giotto was appointed chief architect to Florence Cathedral of which the Campanile bears his name but was not completed to his design.

In his final years Giotto became friends with Boccaccio and Sacchetti, who featured him in their stories. In The Divine Comedy, Dante acknowledged the greatness of his living contemporary through the words of a painter in Purgatorio (XI, 94-96):
"Cimabue believed that he held the field
In painting, and now Giotto has the cry,
So the fame of the former is obscure."

Giotto died while working on a "Last Judgement" for the Bargello Chapel in Florence including a portrait of Dante.


Raphael or Raffaello (1483 – 1520) was an Italian master painter and architect of the Florentine school in High Renaissance, celebrated for the perfection and grace of his paintings. He was also called Raffaello Sanzio, Raffaello Santi, Raffaello da Urbino or Rafael Sanzio da Urbino.

Raphael was born in Urbino.

The surname Sanzio derives from the latinization of the Italian, Santi, into Santius (also, when signing solely using his baptismal name, "Raphael"). His father, Giovanni Santi, was also a painter in the court of Urbino.

In 1491, his mother Màgia died; his father died on August 1, 1494, having already remarried. Thus orphaned at 11, Raphael was entrusted to his uncle Bartolomeo, a priest. He had already shown talent, according to Giorgio Vasari - he tells that since childhood Raphael had been "a great help to his father". His father's workshop continued and probably together with his stepmother, Raphael evidently played a part in managing it from a very early age. He is described as a "master" in 1501.

In Urbino he came into contact with the works of Uccello and Signorelli. According to Vasari, his father placed him in Perugino's workshop as an apprentice "despite the tears of his mother"; the subsequent influence of Perugino on Raphael's early work is most obvious. The evidence of an apprenticeship comes only from Vasari, and has been disputed. But most modern historians agree that Raphael worked as an assistant to Perugino from around 1500.

His first documented work was an altarpiece for the church of San Nicola of Tolentino in Città di Castello, a town halfway between Perugia and Urbino. It was ordered in 1500 and finished in 1501 (it was later seriously damaged during an earthquake in 1789 and today only fragments of it remain). In the following years he painted works for other churches there (like the Wedding of the Virgin, today in the Brera) and for Perugia.

In 1504 he went to Florence, where he studied the work of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. He spent almost four years there (the so-called "Florentine period"), but continued to travel to and work in other places (Perugia, Urbino and perhaps also Rome). He made friends with the local painters, particularly Fra Bartolomeo, who influenced him to discard the thin, graceful style of Perugino for more grandiose and powerful forms.

At the end of 1508, he moved to Rome and was immediately commissioned by Julius II to paint some of the rooms at his palace at the Vatican. This marked a turning point - he was only 25 years old, an artist in formation, and had not received commissions of such importance and prestige. He well exploited the situation, and remained almost exclusively in the service of Julius and his successor Leo X.

In 1514 he was named architect of the new St Peter's. Much of his work there was altered or demolished after his death, but he designed other buildings, and for a short time was both the most important architect and painter in Rome. In 1515 he was entrusted with the preservation and recording of the Vatican collections of ancient sculpture.

After his arrival in Rome, he devoted his efforts to the great Vatican projects, although he still painted portraits of his two main patrons, the popes Julius II and his successor Leo X, the latter portrait considered one of his finest.

One of his most important papal commissions was the Raphael Cartoons (now Victoria and Albert Museum), a series of 10 cartoons for tapestries with scenes of the lives of Saint Paul and Saint Peter, intended as wall decoration for the Sistine Chapel. The cartoons were sent to Bruxelles to be sewn in the workshop of Pier van Aelst; the first three tapestries were sent to Rome in 1519. It is possible that Raphael saw the finished series before his death — they were completed in 1520 for Leo X.

Raphael, who in Rome lived in Borgo, never married, but it appears that in 1514 he was engaged to Maria Bibbiena (a cardinal's granddaughter); she died in 1520. The other woman in his life was La Fornarina, a beauty named Margherita, the daughter of a baker (fornaro) named Francesco Luti from Siena who lived at via del Governo Vecchio. According to Vasari, his premature death on Good Friday (April 6, 1520) was caused by a night of excessive sex with her, after which he fell into a fever and, not telling his doctors that this was its cause, was given the wrong cure, which killed him. Whatever the cause, in his acute illness Raphael had the wit to receive the last rites, and put his affairs in order. He took the care to dictate his will, in which he left sufficient funds for her care, entrusted to his loyal servant Bavera. Vasari underlines that Raphael was also born on a Good Friday, in 1483, on the 27th or 28th of March. At his request, he was buried in the Pantheon. Art historians and doctors debate whether the right hand on the left breast in La Fornarina reveal a cancerous breast tumour detailed and disguised in a classic pose of love.

Raphael made no prints himself, but entered into a collaboration with Marcantonio Raimondi to produce engravings to Raphael's designs, which created many of the most famous Italian prints of the century, and was important in the rise of the reproductive print. A total of about 50 prints were made; some were copies of Raphael's paintings, but other designs were apparently created only to be made into prints. Raphael made preparatory drawings, many of which survive, for Raimondi to translate into engraving. The two most famous original prints to result from the collaboration were Lucretia and The Massacre of the Innocents. Outside Italy, reproductive prints by Raimondi and others were the main way that Raphael's art was experienced until the twentieth century.

The Inscription in his marble ancient sarcophagus, a distichon written by Pietro Bembo, reads: "Ille hic est Raffael, timuit quo sospite vinci, rerum magna parens et moriente mori." Meaning (according to the sign beside it): "Here lies Raffaello who, when alive, Nature was afraid to be won by him, when he died, she wanted to die herself".

Raphael was highly admired by his contemporaries. When compared to Michelangelo and Titian, he was sometimes considered inferior; at the same time, it was maintained that none of them shared all the qualities possessed by Raphael, "ease" in particular.

Early works

* Angel (fragment of the Baronci Altarpiece) (1500-1501) - Pinacoteca Civica Tosio Martinengo, Brescia, Italy
* Angel (fragment of the Baronci Altarpiece) (1500-1501) - Louvre, Paris
* St. Sebastian (1501-1502) - Accademia Carrara, Bergamo
* The Crowning of the Virgin (Oddi Altar) (c. 1501-1503) - Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican, Rome
* The Annunciation (Oddi Altar, predella) (c. 1501-1503) - Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican, Rome
* The Adoration of the Magi (Oddi Altar) (c. 1501-1503) - Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican, Rome
* The Presentation in the Temple (Oddi Altar, predella) (c. 1501-1503) - Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican, Rome
* Portrait of a Man - Galleria Borghese, Rome
* Madonna Solly (Madonna with the Child) (1500-1504) - Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
* Mond Crucifixion (Città di Castello Altarpiece) (1501-1503) - National Gallery, London
* Three Graces (c. 1501-1505) - Musée Condé, Chantilly, France
* St. Michael (c. 1501) - Louvre, Paris
* Connestabile Madonna (1502-1503) - The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
* Madonna and Child (1503) - Norton Simon Museum of Art, Pasadena
* The Marriage of the Virgin (1504) - Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
* Vision of a Knight (1504) - National Gallery, London
* St. George (1504) - Louvre, Paris
* Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints (Colonna Altarpiece), (1504-1505) - (main panel), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
* Portrait of Perugino (c. 1504) - Uffizi, Florence

Florentine period

* Portrait of Elisabetta Gonzaga (c. 1504) - Uffizi, Florence
* Portrait of Pietro Bembo (c. 1504) - Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
* Self-portrait (1504-1506)
* Madonna of the Grand Duke (c. 1505) - Palazzo Pitti, Florence
* The Ansidei Madonna (The Madonna between St. John Baptist and St. Nicholas of Bari) (c. 1505-1506) - National Gallery, London
* Young Man with an Apple (1505) - Uffizi, Florence
* Christ Blessing (1505) - Pinacoteca Civica Tosio Martinengo, Brescia, Italy
* Madonna Terranova (1504-1505) - Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
* The Madonna of the Goldfinch (c. 1505) - Uffizi, Florence
* Madonna del Prato (The Madonna of the Meadow) (c. 1505) – Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
* St. George and the Dragon (1505-1506) - National Gallery of Art, Washington
* Portrait of Agnolo Doni (1505-1507) - Palazzo Pitti, Florence
* Portrait of Maddalena Doni (1505-1507) – Palazzo Pitti, Florence
* Madonna of the Pinks (1506)
* Madonna with Beardless St. Joseph (1506) - The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
* Saint Catherine of Alexandria (1507) - National Gallery, London
* Canigiani Holy Family (1507) - Alte Pinakothek, Munich
* La belle jardinière (1507) - Louvre, Paris
* The Deposition of Christ (The Entombment) (1507-1508) - Galleria Borghese, Rome
* The Three Theological Virtues (tryptic) (1507) - Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican, Rome
* Portrait of a Young Woman (La Muta) (1507-1508) -Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino
* The Tempi Madonna (Madonna with the Child) (1508) - Alte Pinakothek, Munich

Roman period

* La disputa (1509-1510) - Fresco, Vatican, Rome
* The School of Athens (1509-1510) - Fresco, Vatican, Rome
* Madonna of Loreto (Madonna del Velo) (1509-1510) - Musée Condé, Chantilly, France
* Aldobrandini Madonna (1510) - National Gallery, London
* Madonna with the Blue Diadem (1510-1511) - Louvre, Paris
* Portrait of a Cardinal (1510-1511) - Museo del Prado, Madrid
* Alba Madonna (1511) - National Gallery of Art, Washington
* The Parnassus (1511) - Fresco, Vatican, Rome
* The Cardinal Virtues (1511) - Fresco, Vatican, Rome
* Portrait of Pope Julius II (1511-1512) - National Gallery, London
* The Prophet Isaiah (1511-1512) - Fresco, Sant'Agostino, Rome
* The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple (1511-1512) - Fresco, Vatican, Rome
* Portrait of Pope Julius II(1512) - Uffizi, Florence
* The Madonna of Foligno (1511-1512) - Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican, Rome
* The Triumph of Galatea (1511-1513) - Fresco, Villa Farnesina, Rome
* Portrait of Tommaso Inghirami (1512-1514) - Boston
* Sistine Madonna (c. 1513-1516) - Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden
* Madonna della seggiola (Madonna with the Child and Young St. John) (1513-1514) - Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence
* Madonna dell'Impannata (1513-1514) - Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence
* Madonna della tenda (1514) - Alte Pinakothek, Munich
* The Fire in the Borgo (1514) - Fresco, Vatican, Rome
* Deliverance of Saint Peter (1514) - Fresco, Vatican, Rome
* Portrait of Bindo Altoviti (c. 1514) - National Gallery of Art, Washington
* The Sibyls (1514) - Fresco, Santa Maria della Pace, Rome
* The Ecstasy of St. Cecilia (1514-1516) - Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna
* Portrait of Balthasar Castiglione (c. 1515) - Louvre, Paris
* Woman with a Veil (La Donna Velata) (1515-1516) - Palazzo Pitti, Florence
* Portrait of Tommaso Inghirami (1515-1516) - Palazzo Pitti, Florence
* Palazzo Branconio dell'Aquila in Borgo (c. 1515-1517) - Destroyed
* Portrait of Andrea Navagero and Agostino Beazzano (1516)
* Portrait of Cardinal Bibbiena (c. 1516) - Palazzo Pitti, Florence
* Double Portrait (c. 1516) - Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome
* Church of Sant'Eligio degli Orefici near Via Giulia (c. 1516)
* Transfiguration (1517-c. 1520) - Vatican Museum, Rome
* Portrait of Pope Leo X with two Cardinals (1517-1518) - Palazzo Pitti, Florence
* Christ Falling on the Way to Calvary (1516-1517) - Museo del Prado, Madrid
* The Holy Family of Francis I (1518) - Louvre, Paris
* Ezechiel’s Vision (1518) – Palazzo Pitti, Florence
* St. Michael Vanquishing Satan (1518) - Louvre, Paris
* Madonna of the Rose (1518)
* Self-portrait with a Friend (1518-1519) - Louvre, Paris
* Portrait of a Young Woman (La fornarina) (1518-1519) - Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome
* Visitation - Museo del Prado, Madrid


Paolo Veronese (1528 – 1588) was an important Venetian Renaissance painter. His birth name was Paolo Cagliari or Paolo Caliari; he became known as "Veronese" from his birthplace in Verona.

Veronese first apprenticed as a youth with local Veronese artists, such as Giovanni Francesco Caroto. He then moved briefly to Mantua in 1548 (where he created frescos in that city's Duomo) before ultimately settling in Venice for a prolific career.

Veronese, Titian, and Tintoretto complete the triumvirate of pre-eminent Venetian painters of the late Renaissance (1500s). He is known as a supreme colorist and for his illusionistic decorations in both fresco and oil. Most of his works are elaborate narrative cycles, executed in a dramatic and colorful Mannerist style, full of majestic architectural settings and glittering pageantry. His large paintings of biblical feasts executed for the refectories of monasteries in Venice and Verona are especially notable. His brief testimony with the Inquisition is often quoted for its insight into contemporary painting technique.

He also produced altarpieces, paintings on mythologic subjects, and portraits. A significant number of compositional sketches in pen, ink and wash, figure studies in chalk, and chiaroscuro modelli and ricordi are in circulation. He headed a family workshop that remained active after his death in Venice in 1588.

* The Wedding at Cana
* Allegory of Wisdom and Strength
* The Battle of Lepanto


Pinturicchio (Perugia, 1452–1513) was an Italian painter of the Renaissance.

His full name was Bernardino di Betti, born in Perugia, 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, Pinturrichio 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.

After assisting Perugino in his frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, Pinturicchio was employed by various members of the Della Rovere family and others to decorate a series of chapels in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome, where he appears to have worked from 1484, or earlier, to 1492. The earliest of these is an altarpiece of the Adoration of the Shepherds, in the first chapel (from the west) on the south, built by Cardinal Domenico della Rovere; a portrait of the cardinal is introduced as the foremost of the kneeling shepherds. In the lunettes under the vault Pinturicchio painted small scenes from the life of St Jerome.

The frescoes which he painted in the next chapel, built by Cardinal Innocenzo Cybo, were destroyed in 1700, when the chapel was rebuilt by Cardinal Alderano Cybo. The third chapel on the south is that of Giovanni della Rovere, duke of Sora, nephew of Sixtus IV, and brother of Giuliano, who was afterwards Pope Julius II. This contains a fine altarpiece of the Madonna enthroned between Four Saints, and on the east side a very nobly composed fresco of the Assumption of the Virgin. The vault and its lunettes are richly decorated with small pictures of the life of the Virgin, surrounded by graceful arabesques; and the dado is covered with monochrome paintings of scenes from the lives of saints, medallions with prophets, and very graceful and powerfully drawn female figures in full length in which the influence of Signorelli may be traced.

In the fourth chapel, Pinturicchio painted the Four Latin Doctors in the lunettes of the vault. Most of these frescoes while considerably injured by damp, but suffered little from restoration. The last paintings completed by Pinturicchio in this church were the frescoes on the vault over the retro-choir, a very rich and well-designed piece of decorative work, with main lines arranged to suit their surroundings in a very skilful way. In the centre is an octagonal panel of the coronation oi the Virgin, and round it medallions of the Four Evangeliststhe spaces between them being filled up by reclining figures of the Four Sibyls. On each pendentive is a figure of one of the Four Doctors enthroned under a niched canopy. The bands which separate these pictures have elaborate arabesques on a golc ground, and the whole is painted with broad and effective touches, very telling when seen (as is necessarily the case) from a considerable distance below. No finer specimen of the decoration of a simple quadripartite vault can anywhere be seen.

In 1492 Pinturicchio was summoned to Orvieto, where he painted two Prophets and two of the Doctors in the Cathedral. In the following year he returned to Rome, and was employed by Pope Alexander VI (Borgia) to decorate a suite of six rooms in the Vatican, which Alexander had just built. These rooms, called after their founder the Appartamenti Borgia, now form part of the Vatican library, and five of them still retain the fine series of frescoes with which they were so skilfully decorated Pinturicchio.

The upper part of the walls and vaults, not only covered with painting, but further enriched with delicate stucco work in relief, are a masterpiece of decorative design applied according to the truest principles of mural ornamenta much better model for imitation in that respect than the more celebrated Stanze of Raphael immediately over the Borgia rooms. The main subjects are:

* the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Magi, and the Resurrection
* scenes from the lives of St Catherine, St Antony and other saints
* allegorical figures of music, arithmetic and the like
* four figures in half length, with rich arabesques
* figures of the planets, the occupations of the various months, and other subjects

Though not without interruption, Pinturicchio, assisted by his pupils, worked in these rooms from 1492 till 1498, when they were completed. His other chief frescoes in Rome, still existing in a very genuine state, are those in the Cappella Bufalini at the south-west of S Maria in Ara Coeli, probably executed from 1497 to 1500.

These are well-designed compositions, noble in conception, and finished with much care and refinement. On the altar wall is a grand painting of St Bernardino of Siena between two other saints, crowned by angels; in the upper part is a figure of Christ in a mandorla, surrounded by angel musicians; on the left wall is a large fresco of the miracles done by the corpse of St Bernardino, very rich in colour, and full of very carefully painted heads, some being portraits of members of the Bufalini family, for whom these frescoes were executed.

One group of three females, the central figure with a child at her breast, recalls the grace of Raphael's second manner. The composition of the main group round the saint's corpse appears to have been suggested by Giotto's painting of St Francis on his bier in Santa Croce at Florence. On the vault are four noble figures of the Evangelists, usually attributed to Luca Signorelli, but certainly, like the rest of the frescoes in this chapel, by the hand of Pinturicchio.

On the vault of the sacristy of S. Cecilia in Trastevere, Pinturicchio painted the Almighty surrounded by the Evangelists. During a visit to Orvieto in 1496 Pinturicchio painted two more figures of the Latin Doctors in the choir of the duomo: now, like the rest of his work at Orvieto, almost destroyed. For these he received 50 gold ducats. In Umbria, his masterpiece is the Baglioni Chapel in the church of S. Maria Maggiore in Spello.

Among his panel pictures the following are the most important. An altarpiece for S. Maria de' Fossi at Perugia, painted in 1496-1498, now moved to the picture gallery, is a Madonna enthroned among Saints, graceful and sweet in expression, and very minutely painted; the wings of the retable have standing figures of St Augustine and St Jerome; and the preddla has paintings in miniature of the Annunciation and the Evangelists. Another fine altarpiece, similar in delicacy of detail, and probably painted about the same time, is that in the cathedral of San Severino — the Madonna enthroned looks down towards the kneeling donor. The angels at the sides in beauty of face and expression recall the manner of Lorenzo di Credi or Da Vinci.

The Vatican picture gallery has the largest of Pinturicchio's panels — the Coronation of the Virgin, with the apostles and other saints below. Several well-executed portraits occur among the kneeling saints. The Virgin, who kneels at Christ's feet to receive her crown, is a figure of great tenderness and beauty, and the lower group is composed with great skill and grace in arrangement.

In 1504 he designed a mosaic floor panel for the Cathedral of Siena: the Story of Fortuna, or the Hill of Virtue. This was executed by Paolo Mannucci in 1506. On top of the panel, Knowledge hands the palm of victory to Socrates.

Nicolas Poussin
Piero di Cosimo
Bartolomeo della Gatta

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