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Bernardino Pinturicchio BiographyItalian Renaissance painter, frescoist & designer
born circa 1454 - died 1513
Born in: Perugia (Umbria, Italy).
Died in: Siena (Tuscany, Italy)
Also known as: Bernardino di
Betto-Benedetto di Biagio Pinturicchio.
PINTURICCHIO (1454-1513), Italian painter, whose full name was Bernardino, Di Betti, the son Of a citizen of Perugia, Benedetto or Betto di Biagio, was one of a very important group who inherited the artistic traditions and developed the style of the older Perugian painters, such as Bonfigli and Fiorenzo di Lorenzo. According to Vasari Bernardino Pinturicchio was a pupil of Perugino; and so in one sense no doubt Bernardino Pinturicchio was, but rather as a paid assistant than as an apprentice. The strong similarity both in design and methods of execution which runs through the Pinturicchio paintings of this later Perugian school is very striking; paintings by Perugino, Pinturicchio, Lo Spagna and Raphael (in his first manner) may often be mistaken one for the other. In most cases, especially in the execution of large frescoes, pupils and assistants had a large share in the painting, either in enlarging the master's sketch to the full-sized cartoon, in transferring the cartoon to the wall, or in Pinturicchio painting backgrounds, drapery and other accessories. A
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 black and white Pinturicchio 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 are considerably injured by damp,
but happily have suffered little from
restoration; the heads are painted with much
minuteness of finish, and the whole of the
pictures depend very largely for their
effect on the final touchings a secco. The
last Pinturicchio 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 painting, with main lines arranged to suit their surroundings in a
very skilful way. In the centre is an octagonal panel of the coronation of the
Virgin, and round it medallions of the Four Evangelists - the spaces between
them being filled up by reclining figures of the Four Sibyls.
|It was a habit of Bernardino to decorate Pinturicchio paintings with gold ornaments in relief to please some who had little knowledge of art, and to create an imposing appearance, but it is a clumsy device in a picture. After painting a story of St. Catherine in these apartments, Bernardino Pinturicchio made the arches of Rome in relief, and painted the scene so that, the figures being in front and the buildings behind, the receding objects are more prominent than the figures in the foreground, a capital heresy in our art. In the castle of S. Angelo Bernardino Pinturicchio painted a number 9 of rooms with grotesques, and in the garden at the base of the great tower Bernardino Pinturicchio did scenes of Pope Alexander, with portraits of Isabella, the Catholic queen, Niccolo Orsino, Count of Pitigliano, Gianjacomo Triulzi, with many other relations and friends of the Pope, notably Cesare Borgia, his brother, his sisters, and many prominent men of the day.|
Pinturicehio was chagrined
at this, and bore such a grudge against the
poor friars for their good fortune, that
Bernardino Pinturicchio could think of nothing else, and it so
weighed upon his mind that it caused his
death. Pinturicchio paintings were executed about 1513.
In S. Lorenzo, an abbey of the Camaldolite monks there, Bernardino Pinturicchio did another chapel. Bernardino Pinturicchio stayed a long while at the Borgo while engaged upon these Pinturicchio paintings, so that‚he almost made it his home. Bernardino Pinturicchio was quite insignificant as an artist but a most laborious worker, so much so that it amounted to drudgery.
There was an excellent painter in the city of Fuligno at that time named Niccolo Alunno, because, as oils were not in general use before Pietro Perugino, many men were considered able who did not afterwards come to the fore. Niccolo gave considerable satisfaction by Pinturicchio paintings, although tempera was his only medium, because all his heads were portraits and seemed alive. There is a Nativity of Christ by him in S. Agostino at Fuligno, with a predella of small figures. At Assisi Bernardino Pinturicchio made a processional banner, the high-altar picture in the Duomo, and another picture in S. Francesco.
|But best Pinturicchio painting was a chapel in the Duomo containing a Pieta and two angels holding torches and weeping so naturally that I do not think any painter could have done better, however excellent. Bernardino Pinturicchio painted the facade of S. Maria degli Angeli at the same place, and did many other Pinturicchio paintings which I need not mention, as I have spoken of the best. This is the end of the Life of Pinturicchio, who, among other things, pleased many princes and lords because Bernardino Pinturicchio finished his works quickly, though perhaps less excellently than if Bernardino Pinturicchio had gone slowly and carefully.|
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