Lives of the Most Eminent Painters Sculptors and Architects - Vol. 04 (of 10), Filippino Lippi to Domenico Puligo
by Giorgio Vasari
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[Transcriber's note: Bold text is marked with =."

Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has been maintained.]
































FACING PAGE FILIPPO LIPPI (FILIPPINO) The Vision of S. Bernard Florence: Church of the Badia 2

BERNARDINO PINTURICCHIO The Madonna in Glory San Gimignano: Palazzo Pubblico 14

BENEDETTO BUONFIGLIO Madonna, Child, and Three Angels Perugia: Pinacoteca 18

FRANCESCO FRANCIA Pieta London: N.G., 180 26

PIETRO PERUGINO Apollo and Marsyas Paris: Louvre, 1509 34

PIETRO PERUGINO Triptych: The Madonna adoring, with the Archangels Michael, Raphael, and Tobit London: N.G., 288 42

VITTORE SCARPACCIA (CARPACCIO) The Vision of S. Ursula Venice: Accademia, 578 56

VINCENZIO CATENA S. Jerome in his Study London: N.G., 694 58

GIOVAN BATTISTA DA CONIGLIANO (CIMA) Detail: Tobit and the Angel Venice: Accademia, 592 58

LUCA SIGNORELLI Pan Berlin: Kaiser Friedrich Museum, 79A 72

ANDREA VERROCCHIO The Baptism in Jordan Florence: Accademia, 71 92

LEONARDO DA VINCI Monna Lisa (formerly) Paris: Louvre, 1601 102

GIORGIONE DA CASTELFRANCO Figures in a Landscape Venice: Prince Giovanelli's Collection 110

ANTONIO DA CORREGGIO Antiope Paris: Louvre, 1118 118

ANTONIO DA CORREGGIO The Adoration of the Magi Milan: Brera, 427 122

PIERO DI COSIMO The Death of Procris London: N.G., 698 126

FRA BARTOLOMMEO DI SAN MARCO The Deposition from the Cross Florence: Pitti, 64 152

MARIOTTO ALBERTINELLI The Salutation Florence: Uffizi, 1259 168

RAFFAELLO DA URBINO S. George and the Dragon S. Petersburg: Hermitage, 39 210

RAFFAELLO DA URBINO Angelo Doni Florence: Pitti, 61 214

RAFFAELLO DA URBINO The Three Graces Chantilly, 38 242

RAFFAELLO DA URBINO Baldassare Gastiglione Paris: Louvre, 1505 248


FACING PAGE FILIPPO LIPPI (FILIPPINO) The Liberation of S. Peter Florence: S. Maria Del Carmine 6

FILIPPO LIPPI (FILIPPINO) S. John the Evangelist Raising Drusiana from the Dead Florence: S. Maria Novella, Strozzi Chapel 8

FILIPPO LIPPI (FILIPPINO) The Adoration of the Magi Florence: Uffizi, 1257 10

BERNARDINO PINTURICCHIO Frederick III Crowning the Poet AEneas Sylvius Siena: Sala Piccolominea 16

BERNARDINO PINTURICCHIO Pope Alexander VI Adoring the Risen Christ Rome: the Vatican, Borgia Apartments 16

FRANCESCO FRANCIA AND A PUPIL Medals London: British Museum 22

FRANCESCO FRANCIA Madonna and Child, with Saints Bologna: S. Giacomo Maggiore, Bentivoglio Chapel 24

PIETRO PERUGINO The Deposition Florence: Pitti, 164 38

PIETRO PERUGINO Christ Giving the Keys to S. Peter Rome: Sistine Chapel 40

PIETRO PERUGINO Fortitude and Temperance, with Warriors Perugia: Collegio Del Cambio 40

GIOVANNI (LO SPAGNA) Madonna and Child, with Saints Assisi: Lower Church 46

STEFANO DA VERONA (DA ZEVIO) The Madonna and Child with S. Catharine in a Rose Garden Verona: Gallery, 559 52

ALDIGIERI DA ZEVIO (ALTICHIERO) Presentation to the Madonna of Three Knights of the Cavalli Family Verona: S. Anastasia 54

VITTORE SCARPACCIA (CARPACCIO) S. George and the Dragon Venice: S. Giorgio Degli Schiavoni 56

MARCO BASSITI (BASAITI) Christ on the Mount of Olives Venice: Accademia, 69 60

GIOVANNI BUONCONSIGLI Pieta Vicenza: Pinacoteca, 22 60

LUCA SIGNORELLI Detail: The Last Judgment Orvieto: Duomo 74

LEONARDO DA VINCI The Adoration of the Magi Florence: Uffizi, 1252 94

LEONARDO DA VINCI The Last Supper Milan: S. Maria delle Grazie 96

LEONARDO DA VINCI Cartoon: The Madonna and Child with S. Anne London: Burlington House 98

LEONARDO DA VINCI (?) Fragment of Cartoon: The Battle of the Standard Oxford: Ashmolean Museum 104

GIOVAN ANTONIO BOLTRAFFIO Man and Woman Praying Milan: Brera, 281 104

GIORGIONE DA CASTELFRANCO Portrait of a Young Man Berlin: Kaiser Friedrich Museum, 12A 112

GIORGIONE DA CASTELFRANCO Judith S. Petersburg: Hermitage, 112 112

GIORGIONE DA CASTELFRANCO (?) Caterina, Queen of Cyprus Milan: Crespi Collection 114

ANTONIO DA CORREGGIO Detail: S. Thomas and S. James the Less Parma: S. Giovanni Evangelista 120

ANTONIO DA CORREGGIO The Madonna and Child with S. Jerome Parma: Gallery, 351 120

PIERO DI COSIMO Perseus delivering Andromeda Florence: Uffizi, 1312 128

PIERO DI COSIMO Venus, Mars, and Cupid Berlin: Kaiser Friedrich Museum, 107 130

PIERO DI COSIMO Francesco Giamberti Hague: Royal Museum, 255 134

BRAMANTE DA URBINO Interior of Sacristy Milan: S. Satiro 138

BRAMANTE DA URBINO Tempietto Rome: S. Pietro in Montorio 142

BRAMANTE DA URBINO Palazzo Giraud Rome 146

FRA BARTOLOMMEO DI SAN MARCO The Holy Family Rome: Corsini Gallery, 579 154

FRA BARTOLOMMEO DI SAN MARCO S. Mark Florence: Pitti, 125 158

FRA BARTOLOMMEO DI SAN MARCO God the Father, with SS. Mary Magdalen and Catharine Lucca: Gallery, 12 160

MARIOTTO ALBERTINELLI The Madonna enthroned, with Saints Florence: Accademia, 167 166

RAFFAELLINO DEL GARBO The Resurrection Florence: Accademia, 90 176

TORRIGIANO Tomb of Henry VII London: Westminster Abbey 186

GIULIANO DA SAN GALLO Facade of S. Maria delle Carceri Prato 194

RAFFAELLO DA URBINO Lo Sposalizio Milan: Brera, 472 212

RAFFAELLO DA URBINO Maddalena Doni Florence: Pitti, 59 212

RAFFAELLO DA URBINO "The School of Athens" Rome: The Vatican 216

RAFFAELLO DA URBINO The "Disputa del Sacramento" Rome: The Vatican 222

RAFFAELLO DA URBINO The Mass of Bolsena Rome: The Vatican 224

RAFFAELLO DA URBINO Pope Leo X with Two Cardinals Florence: Pitti, 40 230

RAFFAELLO DA URBINO The Transfiguration Rome: The Vatican 240

SIMONE (IL CRONACA) Detail of Cornice Florence: Palazzo Strozzi 266

NICCOLO GROSSO Iron Link-holder Florence: Palazzo Strozzi 268

NICCOLO GROSSO Iron Lantern Florence: Palazzo Strozzi 268

SIMONE (IL CRONACA) Interior of Sacristy Florence: S. Spirito 270

DOMENICO PULIGO (?) Madonna and Child, with Saints Florence: S. Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi 280




There was at this same time in Florence a painter of most beautiful intelligence and most lovely invention, namely, Filippo, son of Fra Filippo of the Carmine, who, following in the steps of his dead father in the art of painting, was brought up and instructed, being still very young, by Sandro Botticelli, notwithstanding that his father had commended him on his death-bed to Fra Diamante, who was much his friend—nay, almost his brother. Such was the intelligence of Filippo, and so abundant his invention in painting, and so bizarre and new were his ornaments, that he was the first who showed to the moderns the new method of giving variety to vestments, and embellished and adorned his figures with the girt-up garments of antiquity. He was also the first to bring to light grotesques, in imitation of the antique, and he executed them on friezes in terretta or in colours, with more design and grace than the men before him had shown; wherefore it was a marvellous thing to see the strange fancies that he expressed in painting. What is more, he never executed a single work in which he did not avail himself with great diligence of Roman antiquities, such as vases, buskins, trophies, banners, helmet-crests, adornments of temples, ornamental head-dresses, strange kinds of draperies, armour, scimitars, swords, togas, mantles, and such a variety of other beautiful things, that we owe him a very great and perpetual obligation, seeing that he added beauty and adornment to art in this respect.

In his earliest youth he completed the Chapel of the Brancacci in the Carmine at Florence, begun by Masolino, and left not wholly finished by Masaccio on account of his death. Filippo, therefore, gave it its final perfection with his own hand, and executed what was lacking in one scene, wherein S. Peter and S. Paul are restoring to life the nephew of the Emperor. In the nude figure of this boy he portrayed the painter Francesco Granacci, then a youth; and he also made portraits of the Chevalier, Messer Tommaso Soderini, Piero Guicciardini, father of Messer Francesco the historian, Piero del Pugliese, and the poet Luigi Pulci; likewise Antonio Pollaiuolo, and himself as a youth, as he then was, which he never did again throughout the whole of his life, so that it has not been possible to find a portrait of him at a more mature age. In the scene following this he portrayed Sandro Botticelli, his master, and many other friends and people of importance; among others, the broker Raggio, a man of great intelligence and wit, who executed in relief on a conch the whole Inferno of Dante, with all the circles and divisions of the pits and the nethermost well in their exact proportions, and all the figures and details that were most ingeniously imagined and described by that great poet; which conch was held in those times to be a marvellous thing.

Next, in the Chapel of Francesco del Pugliese at Campora, a seat of the Monks of the Badia, without Florence, he painted a panel in distemper of S. Bernard, to whom Our Lady is appearing with certain angels, while he is writing in a wood; which picture is held to be admirable in certain respects, such as rocks, books, herbage, and similar things, that he painted therein, besides the portrait from life of Francesco himself, so excellent that he seems to lack nothing save speech. This panel was removed from that place on account of the siege, and placed for safety in the Sacristy of the Badia of Florence. In S. Spirito in the same city, for Tanai de' Nerli, he painted a panel with Our Lady, S. Martin, S. Nicholas, and S. Catherine; with a panel in the Chapel of the Rucellai in S. Pancrazio, and a Crucifix and two figures on a ground of gold in S. Raffaello. In front of the Sacristy of S. Francesco, without the Porta a S. Miniato, he made a God the Father, with a number of children. At Palco, a seat of the Frati del Zoccolo, without Prato, he painted a panel; and in the Audience Chamber of the Priori in that territory he executed a little panel containing the Madonna, S. Stephen, and S. John the Baptist, which has been much extolled. On the Canto al Mercatale, also in Prato, in a shrine opposite to the Nuns of S. Margherita, and near some houses belonging to them, he painted in fresco a very beautiful Madonna, with a choir of seraphim, on a ground of dazzling light. In this work, among other things, he showed art and beautiful judgment in a dragon that is at the feet of S. Margaret, which is so strange and horrible, that it is revealed to us as a true fount of venom, fire, and death; and the whole of the rest of the work is so fresh and vivacious in colouring, that it deserves infinite praise.

He also wrought certain things in Lucca, particularly a panel in a chapel of the Church of S. Ponziano, which belongs to the Monks of Monte Oliveto; in the centre of which chapel there is a niche containing a very beautiful S. Anthony in relief by the hand of Andrea Sansovino, a most excellent sculptor. Being invited to go to Hungary by King Matthias, Filippo refused, but made up for this by painting two very beautiful panels for that King in Florence, and sending them to him; and in one of these he made a portrait of the King, taken from his likeness on medals. He also sent certain works to Genoa; and beside the Chapel of the High-Altar in S. Domenico at Bologna, on the left hand, he painted a S. Sebastian on a panel, which was a thing worthy of much praise. For Tanai de' Nerli he executed another panel in S. Salvadore, without Florence; and for his friend Piero del Pugliese he painted a scene with little figures, executed with so much art and diligence that when another citizen besought him to make a second like it, he refused, saying that it was not possible to do it.

After these things he executed a very great work in Rome for the Neapolitan Cardinal, Olivieri Caraffa, at the request of the elder Lorenzo de' Medici, who was a friend of that Cardinal. While going thither for that purpose, he passed through Spoleto at the wish of Lorenzo, in order to give directions for the making of a marble tomb for his father Fra Filippo at the expense of Lorenzo, who had not been able to obtain his body from the people of Spoleto for removal to Florence. Filippo, therefore, made a beautiful design for the said tomb, and Lorenzo had it erected after that design (as has been told in another place), sumptuous and beautiful. Afterwards, having arrived in Rome, Filippo painted a chapel in the Church of the Minerva for the said Cardinal Caraffa, depicting therein scenes from the life of S. Thomas Aquinas, and certain most beautiful poetical compositions ingeniously imagined by himself, for he had a nature ever inclined to this. In the scene, then, wherein Faith has taken Infidelity captive, there are all the heretics and infidels. Hope has likewise overcome Despair, and so, too, there are many other Virtues that have subjugated the Vice that is their opposite. In a disputation is S. Thomas defending the Church "ex cathedra" against a school of heretics, and holding vanquished beneath him Sabellius, Arius, Averroes, and others, all clothed in graceful garments; of which scene we have in our book of drawings the original design by Filippo's own hand, with certain others by the same man, wrought with such mastery that they could not be bettered. There, too, is the scene when, as S. Thomas is praying, the Crucifix says to him, "Bene scripsisti de me, Thoma"; while a companion of the Saint, hearing that Crucifix thus speaking, is standing amazed and almost beside himself. In the panel is the Virgin receiving the Annunciation from Gabriel; and on the main wall there is her Assumption into Heaven, with the twelve Apostles round the sepulchre. The whole of this work was held, as it still is, to be very excellent and wrought perfectly for a work in fresco. It contains a portrait from life of the said Cardinal Olivieri Caraffa, Bishop of Ostia, who was buried in this chapel in the year 1511, and afterwards removed to the Piscopio in Naples.

Having returned to Florence, Filippo undertook to paint at his leisure the Chapel of the elder Filippo Strozzi in S. Maria Novella, and he actually began it; but, having finished the ceiling, he was compelled to return to Rome, where he wrought a tomb with stucco-work for the said Cardinal, and decorated with gesso a little chapel beside that tomb in a part of the same Church of the Minerva, together with certain figures, some of which were executed by his disciple, Raffaellino del Garbo. The chapel described above was valued by Maestro Lanzilago of Padua and by the Roman Antonio, known as Antoniasso, two of the best painters that were then in Rome, at 2,000 ducats of gold, without the cost of the blues and of the assistants. Having received this sum, Filippo returned to Florence, where he finished the aforesaid Chapel of the Strozzi, which was executed so well, and with so much art and design, that it causes all who see it to marvel, by reason of the novelty and variety of the bizarre things that are seen therein—armed men, temples, vases, helmet-crests, armour, trophies, spears, banners, garments, buskins, head-dresses, sacerdotal vestments, and other things—all executed in so beautiful a manner that they deserve the highest commendation. In this work there is the scene of Drusiana being restored to life by S. John the Evangelist, wherein we see most admirably expressed the marvel of the bystanders at beholding a man restore life to a dead woman by a mere sign of the cross; and the greatest amazement of all is seen in a priest, or rather philosopher, whichever he may be, who is clothed in ancient fashion and has a vase in his hand. In the same scene, likewise, among a number of women draped in various manners, there is a little boy, who, terrified by a small spaniel spotted with red, which has seized him with its teeth by one of his swathing-bands, is running round his mother and hiding himself among her clothes, and appears to be as much afraid of being bitten by the dog as his mother is awestruck and filled with a certain horror at the resurrection of Drusiana. Next to this, in the scene where S. John himself is being boiled in oil, we see the wrath of the judge, who is giving orders for the fire to be increased, and the flames reflected on the face of the man who is blowing at them; and all the figures are painted in beautiful and varied attitudes. On the other side is S. Philip in the Temple of Mars, compelling the serpent, which has slain the son of the King with its stench, to come forth from below the altar. In certain steps the painter depicted the hole through which the serpent issued from beneath the altar, and so well did he paint the cleft in one of the steps, that one evening one of Filippo's lads, wishing to hide something, I know not what, from the sight of someone who was knocking for admittance, ran up in haste in order to conceal it in the hole, being wholly deceived by it. Filippo also showed so much art in the serpent, that its venom, fetid breath, and fire, appear rather real than painted. Greatly extolled, too, is his invention in the scene of the Crucifixion of that Saint, for he imagined to himself, so it appears, that the Saint was stretched on the cross while it lay on the ground, and that afterwards the whole was drawn up and raised on high by means of ropes, cords, and poles; which ropes and cords are wound round certain fragments of antiquities, pieces of pillars, and bases, and pulled by certain ministers. On the other side the weight of the said cross and of the Saint who is stretched nude thereon is supported by two men, on the one hand by a man with a ladder, with which he is propping it up, and on the other hand by another with a pole, upholding it, while two others, setting a lever against the base and stem of the cross, are balancing its weight and seeking to place it in the hole made in the ground, wherein it had to stand upright. But why say more? It would not be possible for the work to be better either in invention or in drawing, or in any other respect whatsoever of industry or art. Besides this, it contains many grotesques and other things wrought in chiaroscuro to resemble marble, executed in strange fashion with invention and most beautiful drawing.

=. Florence: S. Maria Novella, Strozzi Chapel_)


For the Frati Scopetini, also, at S. Donato, without Florence, which is called Scopeto and is now in ruins, he painted a panel with the Magi presenting their offerings to Christ, finished with great diligence, wherein he portrayed the elder Pier Francesco de' Medici, son of Lorenzo di Bicci, in the figure of an astrologer who is holding a quadrant in his hand, and likewise Giovanni, father of Signor Giovanni de' Medici, and another Pier Francesco, brother of that Signor Giovanni, and other people of distinction. In this work are Moors, Indians, costumes of strange shapes, and a most bizarre hut. In a loggia at Poggio a Cajano he began a Sacrifice in fresco for Lorenzo de' Medici, but it remained unfinished. And for the Nunnery of S. Geronimo, above the Costa di S. Giorgio in Florence, he began the panel of the high-altar, which was brought nearly to completion after his death by the Spaniard Alonzo Berughetta, but afterwards wholly finished by other painters, Alonzo having gone to Spain. In the Palazzo della Signoria he painted the panel of the hall where the Council of Eight held their sittings, and he made the design for another large panel, with its ornament, for the Sala del Consiglio; which design his death prevented him from beginning to put into execution, although the ornament was carved; which ornament is now in the possession of Maestro Baccio Baldini, a most excellent physician of Florence, and a lover of every sort of talent. For the Church of the Badia of Florence he made a very beautiful S. Jerome; and he began a Deposition from the Cross for the high-altar of the Friars of the Nunziata, but only finished the figures in the upper half of the picture, for, being overcome by a most cruel fever and by that contraction of the throat that is commonly known as quinsy, he died in a few days at the age of forty-five.

Thereupon, having ever been courteous, affable, and kindly, he was lamented by all those who had known him, and particularly by the youth of his noble native city, who, in their public festivals, masques, and other spectacles, ever availed themselves, to their great satisfaction, of the ingenuity and invention of Filippo, who has never had an equal in things of that kind. Nay, he was so excellent in all his actions, that he blotted out the stain (if stain it was) left to him by his father—blotted it out, I say, not only by the excellence of his art, wherein he was inferior to no man of his time, but also by the modesty and regularity of his life, and, above all, by his courtesy and amiability; and how great are the force and power of such qualities to conciliate the minds of all men without exception, is only known to those who either have experienced or are experiencing it. Filippo was buried by his sons in S. Michele Bisdomini, on April 13, 1505; and while he was being borne to his tomb all the shops in the Via de' Servi were closed, as is done sometimes for the obsequies of great men.

Among the disciples of Filippo, who all failed by a great measure to equal him, was Raffaellino del Garbo, who made many works, as will be told in the proper place, although he did not justify the opinions and hopes that were conceived of him while Filippo was alive and Raffaellino himself still a young man. The fruits, indeed, are not always equal to the blossoms that are seen in the spring. Nor did any great success come to Niccolo Zoccolo, otherwise known as Niccolo Cartoni, who was likewise a disciple of Filippo, and painted at Arezzo the wall that is over the altar of S. Giovanni Decollato; a little panel, passing well done, in S. Agnesa; a panel over a lavatory in the Abbey of S. Fiora, containing a Christ who is asking for water from the woman of Samaria; and many other works, which, since they were commonplace, are not mentioned.




Even as many are assisted by fortune without being endowed with much talent, so, on the contrary, there is an infinite number of able men who are persecuted by an adverse and hostile fortune; whence it is clearly manifest that she acknowledges as her children those who depend upon her without the aid of any talent, since it pleases her to exalt by her favour certain men who would never be known through their own merit; which is seen in Pinturicchio of Perugia, who, although he made many works and was assisted by various helpers, nevertheless had a much greater name than his works deserved. However, he was a man who had much practice in large works, and ever kept many assistants to aid him in his labours. Now, having worked at many things in his early youth under his master Pietro da Perugia,[1] receiving a third of all that was earned, he was summoned to Siena by Cardinal Francesco Piccolomini to paint the library made by Pope Pius II in the Duomo of that city. It is true, indeed, that the sketches and cartoons for all the scenes that he painted there were by the hand of Raffaello da Urbino, then a youth, who had been his companion and fellow-disciple under the same Pietro, whose manner the said Raffaello had mastered very well. One of these cartoons is still to be seen at the present day in Siena, and some of the sketches, by the hand of Raffaello, are in our book.

Now the stories in this work, wherein Pinturicchio was aided by many pupils and assistants, all of the school of Pietro, were divided into ten pictures. In the first is painted the scene when the said Pope Pius II was born to Silvio Piccolomini and Vittoria, and was called AEneas, in the year 1405, in Valdorcia, at the township of Corsignano, which is now called Pienza after the name of that Pope, who afterwards enriched it with buildings and made it a city; and in this picture are portraits from nature of the said Silvio and Vittoria. In the same is the scene when, in company with Cardinal Domenico of Capranica, he is crossing the Alps, which are covered with ice and snow, on his way to the Council of Bale. In the second the Council is sending AEneas on many embassies—namely, to Argentina (three times), to Trent, to Constance, to Frankfurt, and to Savoy. In the third is the sending of the same AEneas by the Antipope Felix as ambassador to the Emperor Frederick III, with whom the ready intelligence, the eloquence, and the grace of AEneas found so much favour that he was given the poet's crown of laurel by Frederick himself, who made him his Protonotary, received him into the number of his friends, and appointed him his First Secretary. In the fourth he is sent by Frederick to Eugenius IV, by whom he was made Bishop of Trieste, and then Archbishop of Siena, his native city. In the fifth scene the same Emperor, who is about to come to Italy to receive the crown of Empire, is sending AEneas to Telamone, a port of the people of Siena, to meet his wife, Leonora, who was coming from Portugal. In the sixth AEneas is going to Calistus IV,[2] at the bidding of the said Emperor, to induce him to make war against the Turks; and in this part, Siena being harassed by the Count of Pittigliano and by others at the instigation of King Alfonso of Naples, that Pontiff is sending him to treat for peace. This effected, war is planned against the Orientals; and he, having returned to Rome, is made a Cardinal by the said Pontiff. In the seventh, Calistus being dead, AEneas is seen being created Supreme Pontiff, and called Pius II. In the eighth the Pope goes to Mantua for the Council about the expedition against the Turks, where the Marquis Lodovico receives him with most splendid pomp and incredible magnificence. In the ninth the same Pope is placing in the catalogue of saints—or, as the saying is, canonizing—Catherine of Siena, a holy woman and nun of the Preaching Order. In the tenth and last, while preparing a vast expedition against the Turks with the help and favour of all the Christian Princes, Pope Pius dies at Ancona; and a hermit of the Hermitage of Camaldoli, a holy man, sees the soul of the said Pontiff being borne by Angels into Heaven at the very moment of his death, as may also be read. Afterwards, in the same picture, the body of the same Pope is seen being borne from Ancona to Rome by a vast and honourable company of lords and prelates, who are lamenting the death of so great a man and so rare and holy a Pontiff. The whole of this work is full of portraits from the life, so numerous that it would be a long story to recount their names; and it is all painted with the finest and most lively colours, and wrought with various ornaments of gold, and with very well designed partitions in the ceiling. Below each scene is a Latin inscription, which describes what is contained therein. In the centre of this library the said Cardinal Francesco Piccolomini, nephew of the Pope, placed the three Graces of marble, ancient and most beautiful, which are still there, and which were the first antiquities to be held in price in those times. This library, wherein are all the books left by the said Pius II, was scarcely finished, when the same Cardinal Francesco, nephew of the aforesaid Pontiff, Pius II, was created Pope, choosing the name of Pius III in memory of his uncle. Over the door of that library, which opens into the Duomo, the same Pinturicchio painted in a very large scene, occupying the whole extent of the wall, the Coronation of the said Pope Pius III, with many portraits from life; and beneath it may be read these words:


When Pinturicchio was working with Pietro Perugino and painting at Rome in the time of Pope Sixtus, he had also been in the service of Domenico della Rovere, Cardinal of San Clemente; wherefore the said Cardinal, having built a very beautiful palace in the Borgo Vecchio, charged Pinturicchio to paint the whole of it, and to make on the facade the coat of arms of Pope Sixtus, with two little boys as supporters. The same master executed certain works for Sciarra Colonna in the Palace of S. Apostolo; and no long time after—namely, in the year 1484—Innocent VIII, the Genoese, caused him to paint certain halls and loggie in the Palace of the Belvedere, where, among other things, by order of that Pope, he painted a loggia full of landscapes, depicting therein Rome, Milan, Genoa, Florence, Venice, and Naples, after the manner of the Flemings; and this, being a thing not customary at that time, gave no little satisfaction. In the same place, over the principal door of entrance, he painted a Madonna in fresco. In S. Pietro, in the chapel that contains the Lance which pierced the side of Christ, he painted a panel in distemper, with the Madonna larger than life, for the said Innocent VIII; and he painted two chapels in the Church of S. Maria del Popolo, one for the aforesaid Domenico della Rovere, Cardinal of San Clemente, who was afterwards buried therein, and the other for Cardinal Innocenzio Cibo, wherein he also was afterwards buried; and in each of these chapels he portrayed the Cardinal who had caused him to paint it. In the Palace of the Pope he painted certain rooms that look out upon the courtyard of S. Pietro, the ceilings and paintings of which were renovated a few years ago by Pope Pius IV. In the same palace Alexander VI caused Pinturicchio to paint all the rooms that he occupied, together with the whole of the Borgia Tower, wherein he wrought stories of the liberal arts in one room, besides decorating all the ceilings with stucco and gold; but, since they did not then know the method of stucco-work that is now in use, the aforesaid ornaments are for the most part ruined. Over the door of an apartment in the said palace he portrayed the Signora Giulia Farnese in the countenance of a Madonna, and, in the same picture, the head of Pope Alexander in a figure that is adoring her.

Bernardino was much given to making gilt ornaments in relief for his pictures, to satisfy people who had little understanding of his art with the more showy lustre that this gave them, which is a most barbarous thing in painting. Having then executed a story of S. Catherine in the said apartments, he depicted the arches of Rome in relief and the figures in painting, insomuch that, the figures being in the foreground and the buildings in the background, the things that should recede stand out more prominently than those that should strike the eye as the larger—a very grave heresy in our art.

In the Castello di S. Angelo he painted a vast number of rooms with grotesques; and in the Great Tower, in the garden below, he painted stories of Pope Alexander, with portraits of the Catholic Queen, Isabella; Niccolo Orsino, Count of Pittigliano; Gianjacomo Trivulzi, and many other relatives and friends of the said Pope, in particular Caesar Borgia and his brother and sisters, with many talented men of those times. At Monte Oliveto in Naples, in the Chapel of Paolo Tolosa, there is a panel with an Assumption by the hand of Pinturicchio. This master made an infinite number of other works throughout all Italy, which, since they are of no great excellence, and wrought in a superficial manner, I will pass over in silence. Pinturicchio used to say that a painter could only give the greatest relief to his figures when he had it in himself, without owing anything to principles or to others. He also made works in Perugia, but these were few. In the Araceli he painted the Chapel of S. Bernardino; and in S. Maria del Popolo, where, as we have said, he painted the two chapels, he made the four Doctors of the Church on the vaulting of the principal chapel.

Afterwards, having reached the age of fifty-nine, he was commissioned to paint the Nativity of Our Lady on a panel in S. Francesco at Siena. To this he set his hand, and the friars assigned to him a room to live in, which they gave to him, as he wished, empty and stripped of everything, save only a huge old chest, which appeared to them too awkward to remove. But Pinturicchio, like the strange and whimsical man that he was, made such an outcry at this, and repeated it so often, that finally in despair the friars set themselves to carry it away. Now their good fortune was such, that in removing it there was broken a plank which contained 500 Roman ducats of gold; at which Pinturicchio was so displeased, and felt so aggrieved at the good luck of those poor friars, that it can hardly be imagined—nay, he took it so much to heart, being unable to get it out of his thoughts, that it was the death of him. His pictures date about the year 1513.

A companion and friend of Pinturicchio, although he was a much older man, was Benedetto Buonfiglio, a painter of Perugia, who executed many works in company with other masters in the Papal Palace at Rome. In the Chapel of the Signoria in Perugia, his native city, he painted scenes from the life of S. Ercolano, Bishop and Protector of that city, and in the same place certain miracles wrought by S. Louis. In S. Domenico he painted the story of the Magi on a panel in distemper, and many saints on another. In the Church of S. Bernardino he painted a Christ in the sky, with S. Bernardino himself, and a multitude below. In short, this master was in no little repute in his native city before Pietro Perugino had come to be known.

Another friend of Pinturicchio, associated with him in not a few of his works, was Gerino Pistoiese, who was held to be a diligent colourist and a faithful imitator of the manner of Pietro Perugino, with whom he worked nearly up to his death. He did little work in his native city of Pistoia; but for the Company of the Buon Gesu in Borgo San Sepolcro he painted a Circumcision in oil on a panel, which is passing good. In the Pieve of the same place he painted a chapel in fresco; and on the bank of the Tiber, on the road that leads to Anghiari, he painted another chapel, also in fresco, for the Commune. And he painted still another chapel in the same place, in S. Lorenzo, an abbey of the Monks of Camaldoli. By reason of all these works he made so long a stay in the Borgo that he almost adopted it as his home. He was a sorry fellow in matters of art, labouring with the greatest difficulty, and toiling with such pains at the execution of a work, that it was a torture to him.

At this same time there was a painter in the city of Foligno, Niccolo Alunno, who was held to be excellent, for it was little the custom before Pietro Perugino's day to paint in oil, and many were held to be able men who did not afterwards justify this opinion. Niccolo therefore gave no little satisfaction with his works, since, although he only painted in distemper, he portrayed the heads of his figures from life, so that they appeared alive, and his manner won considerable praise. In S. Agostino at Foligno there is a panel by his hand with a Nativity of Christ, and a predella with little figures. At Assisi he painted a banner that is borne in processions, besides the panel of the high-altar in the Duomo, and another panel in S. Francesco. But the best painting that Niccolo ever did was in a chapel in the Duomo, where, among other things, there is a Pieta, with two angels who are holding two torches and weeping so naturally, that I do not believe that any other painter, however excellent, would have been able to do much better. In the same place he also painted the facade of S. Maria degli Angeli, besides many other works of which there is no need to make mention, it being enough to have touched on the best. And let this be the end of the Life of Pinturicchio, who, besides his other qualities, gave no little satisfaction to many princes and lords because he finished and delivered his works quickly, which is their pleasure, although such works are perchance less excellent than those that are made slowly and deliberately.


[1] Pietro Perugino.

[2] This seems to be an error for Calistus III.




Francesco Francia, who was born in Bologna in the year 1450, of parents who were artisans, but honest and worthy enough, was apprenticed in his earliest boyhood to the goldsmith's art, in which calling he worked with intelligence and spirit; and as he grew up he became so well proportioned in person and appearance, and so sweet and pleasant in manner and speech, that he was able to keep the most melancholy of men cheerful and free from care with his talk; for which reason he was beloved not only by all those who knew him, but also by many Italian princes and other lords. While working as a goldsmith, then, he gave attention to design, in which he took so much pleasure, that his mind began to aspire to higher things, and he made very great progress therein, as may be seen from many works in silver that he executed in his native city of Bologna, and particularly from certain most excellent works in niello. In this manner of work he often put twenty most beautiful and well-proportioned little figures within a space no higher than the breadth of two fingers and not much more in length. He also enamelled many works in silver, which were destroyed at the time of the ruin and exile of the Bentivogli. In a word, he did everything that can be done in that art better than any other man.

But that in which he delighted above all, and in which he was truly excellent, was the making of dies for medals, wherein he was the rarest master of his day, as may be seen in some that he made with a most lifelike head of Pope Julius II, which bear comparison with those of Caradosso; not to mention that he made medals of Signor Giovanni Bentivogli, in which he appears alive, and of an infinite number of princes, who would stop in Bologna on their way through the city, whereupon he would make their portraits in wax for medals, and afterwards, having finished the matrices of the dies, he would send them; for which, besides immortal fame, he also received very rich presents. As long as he lived he was ever Master of the Mint in Bologna, for which he made the stamps of all the dies, both under the rule of the Bentivogli and also during the lifetime of Pope Julius, after their departure, as is proved by the coins struck by that Pope on his entrance into the city, which had on one side his head portrayed from life, and on the other these words: BONONIA PER JULIUM A TYRANNO LIBERATA. So excellent was he held in this profession, that he continued to make the dies for the coinage down to the time of Pope Leo; and the impressions of his dies are so greatly prized, and those who have some hold them in such esteem, that money cannot buy them.

Now it came to pass that Francia, being desirous of greater glory, and having known Andrea Mantegna and many other painters who had gained wealth and honours by their art, determined to try whether he could succeed in that part of painting which had to do with colour; his drawing was already such that it could well bear comparison with theirs. Thereupon, having made arrangements to try his hand, he painted certain portraits and some little things, keeping in his house for many months men of that profession to teach him the means and methods of colouring, insomuch that, having very good judgment, he soon acquired the needful practice. The first work that he made was a panel of no great size for Messer Bartolommeo[3] Felicini, who placed it in the Misericordia, a church without Bologna; in which panel there is a Madonna seated on a throne, with many other figures, and the said Messer Bartolommeo portrayed from life. This work, which was wrought in oil with the greatest diligence, was painted by him in the year 1490; and it gave such satisfaction in Bologna, that Messer Giovanni Bentivogli, desiring to honour his own chapel, which was in S. Jacopo in that city, with works by this new painter, commissioned him to paint a panel with the Madonna in the sky, two figures on either side of her, and two angels below sounding instruments; which work was so well executed by Francia, that he won from Messer Giovanni, besides praise, a most honourable present. Wherefore Monsignore de' Bentivogli, impressed by this work, caused him to paint a panel containing the Nativity of Christ, which was much extolled, for the high-altar of the Misericordia; wherein, besides the design, which is not otherwise than beautiful, the invention and the colouring are worthy of nothing but praise. In this work he made a portrait of Monsignore de' Bentivogli from the life (a very good likeness, so it is said by those who knew him), clothed in that very pilgrim's dress in which he returned from Jerusalem. He also painted a panel in the Church of the Nunziata, without the Porta di S. Mammolo, representing the Madonna receiving the Annunciation from the Angel, with two figures on either side, which is held to be a very well executed work.

Now that Francia's works had spread his fame abroad, even as his painting in oil had brought him both profit and repute, so he determined to try whether he would succeed as well at working in fresco. Messer Giovanni Bentivogli had caused his palace to be painted by diverse masters of Ferrara and Bologna, and by certain others from Modena; but, having seen Francia's experiments in fresco, he determined that this master should paint a scene on one wall of an apartment that he occupied for his own use. There Francia painted the camp of Holofernes, guarded by various sentinels both on foot and on horseback, who were keeping watch over the pavilions; and the while that they were intent on something else, the sleeping Holofernes was seen surprised by a woman clothed in widow's garments, who, with her left hand, was holding his hair, which was wet with the heat of wine and sleep, and with her right hand she was striking the blow to slay her enemy, the while that an old wrinkled handmaid, with the true air of a most faithful slave, and with her eyes fixed on those of her Judith in order to encourage her, was bending down and holding a basket near the ground, to receive therein the head of the slumbering lover. This scene was one of the most beautiful and most masterly that Francia ever painted, but it was thrown to the ground in the destruction of that edifice at the time of the expulsion of the Bentivogli, together with another scene over that same apartment, coloured to look like bronze, and representing a disputation of philosophers, which was excellently wrought, with his conception very well expressed. These works brought it about that he was loved and honoured by Messer Giovanni and all the members of his house, and, after them, by all the city.

In the Chapel of S. Cecilia, which is attached to the Church of S. Jacopo, he painted two scenes wrought in fresco, in one of which he made the Marriage of Our Lady with Joseph, and in the other the Death of S. Cecilia—a work held in great esteem by the people of Bologna. And, indeed, Francia gained such mastery and such confidence from seeing his works advancing towards the perfection that he desired, that he executed many pictures, of which I will make no mention, it being enough for me to point out, to all who may wish to see his works, only the best and most notable. Nor did his painting hinder him from carrying on both the Mint and his other work of making medals, as he had done from the beginning. Francia, so it is said, felt the greatest sorrow at the departure of Messer Giovanni Bentivogli, for he had received such great benefits from Messer Giovanni, that it caused him infinite grief; however, like the prudent and orderly man that he was, he kept at his work. After his parting from his patron, he painted three panels that went to Modena, in one of which there was the Baptism of Christ by S. John; in the second, a very beautiful Annunciation; and in the last, which was placed in the Church of the Frati dell' Osservanza, a Madonna in the sky with many figures.

The fame of so excellent a master being spread abroad by means of so many works, the cities contended with one another to obtain his pictures. Whereupon he painted a panel for the Black Friars of S. Giovanni in Parma, containing a Dead Christ in the lap of Our Lady, surrounded by many figures; which panel was universally held to be a most beautiful work; and the same friars, therefore, thinking that they had been well served, induced him to make another for a house of theirs at Reggio in Lombardy, wherein he painted a Madonna with many figures. At Cesena, likewise for the church of these friars, he executed another panel, painting therein the Circumcision of Christ, with lovely colouring. Nor would the people of Ferrara consent to be left behind by their neighbours; nay, having determined to adorn their Duomo with works by Francia, they commissioned him to paint a panel, on which he made a great number of figures; and they named it the panel of Ognissanti. He painted one in S. Lorenzo at Bologna, with a Madonna, a figure on either side, and two children below, which was much extolled; and scarcely had he finished this when he had to make another in S. Giobbe, representing a Crucifixion, with that Saint kneeling at the foot of the Cross, and two figures at the sides.

So widely had the fame and the works of this craftsman spread throughout Lombardy, that even from Tuscany men sent for something by his hand, as they did from Lucca, whither there went a panel containing a S. Anne and a Madonna, with many other figures, and a Dead Christ above in the lap of His Mother; which work is set up in the Church of S. Fridiano, and is held in great price by the people of Lucca. For the Church of the Nunziata in Bologna he painted two other panels, which were wrought with much diligence; and in the Misericordia, likewise, without the Porta a Stra Castione, at the request of a lady of the Manzuoli family, he painted another, wherein he depicted the Madonna with the Child in her arms, S. George, S. John the Baptist, S. Stephen, and S. Augustine, with an angel below, who has his hands clasped with such grace, that he appears truly to belong to Paradise. He executed another for the Company of S. Francesco in the same city, and likewise one for the Company of S. Gieronimo. He lived in close intimacy with Messer Polo Zambeccaro, who, being much his friend, and wishing to have some memorial of him, caused him to paint a rather large picture of the Nativity of Christ, which is one of the most celebrated works that he ever made; and for this reason Messer Polo commissioned him to paint at his villa two figures in fresco, which are very beautiful. He also executed a most charming scene in fresco in the house of Messer Gieronimo Bolognino, with many varied and very beautiful figures.

All these works together had won him such veneration in that city, that he was held in the light of a god; and what made this infinitely greater was that the Duke of Urbino caused him to paint a set of horse's caparisons, in which he made a vast forest of trees that had caught fire, from which there were issuing great numbers of all sorts of animals, both of the air and of the earth, and certain figures—a terrible, awful, and truly beautiful thing, which was held in no little esteem by reason of the time spent in painting the plumage of the birds, and the various sorts of terrestrial animals, to say nothing of the diversity of foliage and the variety of branches that were seen in the different trees. For this work Francia was rewarded with gifts of great value as a recompense for his labours, not to mention that the Duke ever held himself indebted to him for the praises that he received for it. Duke Guido Baldo, also, has in his guardaroba a picture of the Roman Lucretia, which he esteems very highly, by the same man's hand, together with many other pictures, of which mention will be made when the time comes.

After these things he painted a panel for the altar of the Madonna in SS. Vitale e Agricola; in which panel are two very beautiful angels, who are playing on the lute. I will not enumerate the pictures that are scattered throughout Bologna in the houses of gentlemen of that city, and still less the infinite number of portraits that he made from life, for it would be too wearisome. Let it be enough to say that while he was living in such glory and enjoying the fruits of his labours in peace, Raffaello da Urbino was in Rome, and all day long there flocked round him many strangers, among them many gentlemen of Bologna, eager to see his works. And since it generally comes to pass that every man extols most willingly the intellects of his native place, these Bolognese began to praise the works, the life, and the talents of Francia in the presence of Raffaello, and they established such a friendship between them with these words, that Francia and Raffaello sent letters of greeting to each other. And Francia, hearing such great praise spoken of the divine pictures of Raffaello, desired to see his works; but he was now old, and too fond of his comfortable life in Bologna. Now after this it came about that Raffaello painted in Rome for Cardinal Santi Quattro, of the Pucci family, a panel-picture of S. Cecilia, which had to be sent to Bologna to be placed in a chapel of S. Giovanni in Monte, where there is the tomb of the Blessed Elena dall' Olio. This he packed up and addressed to Francia, who, as his friend, was to have it placed on the altar of that chapel, with the ornament, just as he had prepared it himself. Right readily did Francia accept this charge, which gave him a chance of seeing a work by Raffaello, as he had so much desired. And having opened the letter that Raffaello had written to him, in which he besought Francia, if there were any scratch in the work, to put it right, and likewise, as a friend, to correct any error that he might notice, with the greatest joy he had the said panel taken from its case into a good light. But such was the amazement that it caused him, and so great his marvel, that, recognizing his own error and the foolish presumption of his own rash confidence, he took it greatly to heart, and in a very short time died of grief.

Raffaello's panel was divine, not so much painted as alive, and so well wrought and coloured by him, that among all the beautiful pictures that he painted while he lived, although they are all miraculous, it could well be called most rare. Wherefore Francia, half dead with terror at the beauty of the picture, which lay before his eyes challenging comparison with those by his own hand that he saw around him, felt all confounded, and had it placed with great diligence in that chapel of S. Giovanni in Monte for which it was destined; and taking to his bed in a few days almost beside himself, thinking that he was now almost of no account in his art in comparison with the opinion held both by himself and by others, he died of grief and melancholy, so some believe, overtaken by the same fate, through contemplating too attentively that most lifelike picture of Raffaello's, as befell Fivizzano from feasting his eyes with his own beautiful Death, about which the following epigram was written:

Me veram pictor divinus mente recepit; Admota est operi deinde perita manus. Dumque opere in facto defigit lumina pictor, Intentus nimium, palluit et moritur. Viva igitur sum mors, non mortua mortis imago, Si fungor quo mors fungitur officio.

However, certain others say that his death was so sudden, that from many symptoms it appeared to be due rather to poison or apoplexy than to anything else. Francia was a prudent man, most regular in his way of life, and very robust. After his death, in the year 1518, he was honourably buried by his sons in Bologna.


[3] The text says "Messer Bart...."





How great a benefit poverty may be to men of genius, and how potent a force it may be to make them become excellent—nay, perfect—in the exercise of any faculty whatsoever, can be seen clearly enough in the actions of Pietro Perugino, who, flying from the extremity of distress at Perugia, and betaking himself to Florence in the desire to attain to some distinction by means of his talent, remained for many months without any other bed than a miserable chest to sleep in, turning night into day, and devoting himself with the greatest ardour to the unceasing study of his profession. And, having made a habit of this, he knew no other pleasure than to labour continually at his art, and to be for ever painting; for with the fear of poverty constantly before his eyes, he would do for gain such work as he would probably not have looked at if he had possessed the wherewithal to live. Riches, indeed, might perchance have closed the path on which his talent should advance towards excellence, no less effectually than poverty opened it to him, while necessity spurred him on in his desire to rise from so low and miserable a condition, if not to supreme eminence, at least to a rank in which he might have the means of life. For this reason he never took heed of cold, of hunger, of hardship, of discomfort, of fatigue, or of ridicule, if only he might one day live in ease and repose; ever saying, as it were by way of proverb, that after bad weather there must come the good, and that during the good men build the houses that are to shelter them when there is need.

But in order that the rise of this craftsman may be better known, let me begin with his origin, and relate that, according to common report, there was born in the city of Perugia, to a poor man of Castello della Pieve, named Cristofano, a son who was baptized with the name of Pietro. This son, brought up amid misery and distress, was given by his father as a shop-boy to a painter of Perugia, who was no great master of his profession, but held in great veneration both the art and the men who were excellent therein; nor did he ever cease to tell Pietro how much gain and honour painting brought to those who practised it well, and he would urge the boy to the study of that art by recounting to him the rewards won by ancient and modern masters; wherefore he fired his mind in such a manner, that Pietro took it into his head to try, if only fortune would assist him, to become one of these. For this reason he was often wont to ask any man whom he knew to have seen the world, in what part the best craftsmen in that calling were formed; particularly his master, who always gave him one and the same answer—namely, that it was in Florence more than in any other place that men became perfect in all the arts, especially in painting, since in that city men are spurred by three things. The first is censure, which is uttered freely and by many, seeing that the air of that city makes men's intellects so free by nature, that they do not content themselves, like a flock of sheep, with mediocre works, but ever consider them with regard to the honour of the good and the beautiful rather than out of respect for the craftsman. The second is that, if a man wishes to live there, he must be industrious, which is naught else than to say that he must continually exercise his intelligence and his judgment, must be ready and adroit in his affairs, and, finally, must know how to make money, seeing that the territory of Florence is not so wide or abundant as to enable her to support at little cost all who live there, as can be done in countries that are rich enough. The third, which is perchance no less potent than the others, is an eager desire for glory and honour, which is generated mightily by that air in the men of all professions; and this desire, in all persons of spirit, will not let them stay content with being equal, much less inferior, to those whom they see to be men like themselves, although they may recognize them as masters—nay, it forces them very often to desire their own advancement so eagerly, that, if they are not kindly or wise by nature, they turn out evil-speakers, ungrateful, and unthankful for benefits. It is true, indeed, that when a man has learnt there as much as suffices him, he must, if he wishes to do more than live from day to day like an animal, and desires to become rich, take his departure from that place and find a sale abroad for the excellence of his works and for the repute conferred on him by that city, as the doctors do with the fame derived from their studies. For Florence treats her craftsmen as time treats its own works, which when perfected, it destroys and consumes little by little.

Moved by these counsels, therefore, and by the persuasions of many others, Pietro came to Florence, minded to become excellent; and well did he succeed, for the reason that in those times works in his manner were held in very great price. He studied under the discipline of Andrea Verrocchio, and his first figures were painted without the Porta a Prato, in the Nunnery of S. Martino, now in ruins by reason of the wars. In Camaldoli he made a S. Jerome on a wall, which was then much esteemed by the Florentines and celebrated with great praise, for the reason that he made that Saint old, lean, and emaciated, with his eyes fixed on the Crucifix, and so wasted away, that he seems like an anatomical model, as may be seen from a copy of that picture which is in the hands of the aforesaid Bartolommeo Gondi. In a few years, then, he came into such credit, that his works filled not only Florence and all Italy, but also France, Spain, and many other countries to which they were sent. Wherefore, his paintings being held in very great price and repute, merchants began to buy them up wholesale and to send them abroad to various countries, to their own great gain and profit.

For the Nuns of S. Chiara he painted a Dead Christ on a panel, with such lovely and novel colouring, that he made the craftsmen believe that he would become excellent and marvellous. In this work there are seen some most beautiful heads of old men, and likewise certain figures of the Maries, who, having ceased to weep, are contemplating the Dead Jesus with extraordinary awe and love; not to mention that he made therein a landscape that was then held most beautiful, because the true method of making them, such as it appeared later, had not yet been seen. It is said that Francesco del Pugliese offered to give to the aforesaid nuns three times as much money as they had paid to Pietro, and to have a similar one made for them by the same man's hand, but that they would not consent, because Pietro said that he did not believe he could equal it.

There were also many things by the hand of Pietro in the Convent of the Frati Gesuati, without the Porta a Pinti; and since the said church and convent are now in ruins, I do not wish, with this occasion, and before I proceed further with this Life, to grudge the labour of giving some little account of them. This church, then, the architect of which was Antonio di Giorgio of Settignano, was forty braccia long and twenty wide. At the upper end one ascended by four treads, or rather steps, to a platform six braccia in extent, on which stood the high-altar, with many ornaments carved in stone; and on the said altar was a panel with a rich ornament, by the hand, as has been related, of Domenico Ghirlandajo. In the centre of the church was a partition-wall, with a door wrought in open-work from the middle upwards, on either side of which was an altar, while over either altar, as will be told, there stood a panel by the hand of Pietro Perugino. Over the said door was a most beautiful Crucifix by the hand of Benedetto da Maiano, with a Madonna on one side and a S. John on the other, both in relief. Before the said platform of the high-altar, and against the said partition-wall, was a choir of the Doric Order, very well wrought in walnut-wood; and over the principal door of the church there was another choir, which rested on well-strengthened woodwork, with the under part forming a ceiling, or rather soffit, beautifully partitioned, and with a row of balusters acting as parapet to the front of the choir, which faced towards the high-altar. This choir was very convenient to the friars of that convent for holding their night services, for saying their individual prayers, and likewise for week-days. Over the principal door of the church—which was made with most beautiful ornaments of stone, and had a portico in front raised on columns, which made a covered way as far as the door of the convent—was a lunette with a very beautiful figure of S. Giusto, the Bishop, and an angel on either side, by the hand of the illuminator Gherardo; and this because that church was dedicated to the said S. Giusto, and within it those friars preserved a relic of that Saint—that is, an arm. At the entrance of the convent was a little cloister of exactly the same size as the church—namely, forty braccia long and twenty wide—with arches and vaulting going right round and supported by columns of stone, thus making a spacious and most commodious loggia on every side. In the centre of the court of this cloister, which was all neatly paved with squared stone, was a very beautiful well, with a loggia above, which likewise rested on columns of stone, and made a rich and beautiful ornament. In this cloister were the chapter-house of the friars, the side-door of entrance into the church, and the stairs that ascended to the dormitory and other rooms for the use of the friars. On the farther side of this cloister, in a straight line with the principal door of the convent, was a passage as long as the chapter-house and the steward's room put together, leading into another cloister larger and more beautiful than the first; and the whole of this straight line—that is, the forty braccia of the loggia of the first cloister, the passage, and the line of the second cloister—made a very long enfilade, more beautiful than words can tell, and the rather as from that farther cloister, in the same straight line, there issued a garden-walk two hundred braccia in length; and all this, as one came from the principal door of the convent, made a marvellous view. In the said second cloister was a refectory, sixty braccia long and eighteen wide, with all those well-appointed rooms, and, as the friars call them, offices, which were required in such a convent. Over this was a dormitory in the shape of a T, one part of which—namely, the principal part in the direct line, which was sixty braccia long—was double—that is to say, it had cells on either side, and at the upper end, in a space of fifteen braccia, was an oratory, over the altar of which there was a panel by the hand of Pietro Perugino; and over the door of this oratory was another work by the same man's hand, in fresco, as will be told. And on the same floor, above the chapter-house, was a large room where those fathers worked at making glass windows, with the little furnaces and other conveniences that were necessary for such an industry; and since while Pietro lived he made the cartoons for many of their works, those that they executed in his time were all excellent. Then the garden of this convent was so beautiful and so well kept, and the vines were trained round the cloister and in every place with such good order, that nothing better could be seen in the neighbourhood of Florence. In like manner the room wherein they distilled scented waters and medicines, as was their custom, had all the best conveniences that could possibly be imagined. In short, that convent was one of the most beautiful and best appointed that there were in the State of Florence; and it is for this reason that I have wished to make this record of it, and the rather as the greater part of the pictures that were therein were by the hand of our Pietro Perugino.

Returning at length to this Pietro, I have to say that of the works that he made in the said convent none have been preserved save the panels, since those executed in fresco were thrown to the ground, together with the whole of that building, by reason of the siege of Florence, when the panels were carried to the Porta a S. Pier Gattolini, where a home was given to those friars in the Church and Convent of S. Giovannino. Now the two panels on the aforesaid partition-wall were by the hand of Pietro; and in one was Christ in the Garden, with the Apostles sleeping, in whom Pietro showed how well sleep can prevail over pains and discomforts, having represented them asleep in attitudes of perfect ease. In the other he made a Pieta—that is, Christ in the lap of Our Lady—surrounded by four figures no less excellent than any others in his manner; and, to mention only one thing, he made the Dead Christ all stiffened, as if He had been so long on the Cross that the length of time and the cold had reduced Him to this; wherefore he painted Him supported by John and the Magdalene, all sorrowful and weeping. In another panel he painted the Crucifixion, with the Magdalene, and, at the foot of the Cross, S. Jerome, S. John the Baptist, and the Blessed Giovanni Colombini, founder of that Order; all with infinite diligence. These three panels have suffered considerably, and they are all cracked in the dark parts and where there are shadows; and this comes to pass when the first coat of colour, which is laid on the ground (for three coats of colour are used, one over the other), is worked on before it is thoroughly dry; wherefore afterwards, with time, in the drying, they draw through their thickness and come to have the strength to make those cracks; which Pietro could not know, seeing that in his time they were only just beginning to paint well in oil.

Now, the works of Pietro being much commended by the Florentines, a Prior of the same Convent of the Ingesuati, who took delight in art, caused him to make a Nativity, with the Magi, on a wall in the first cloister, after the manner of a miniature. This he brought to perfect completion with great loveliness and a high finish, and it contained an infinite number of different heads, many of them portrayed from life, among which was the head of Andrea del Verrocchio, his master. In the same court, over the arches of the columns, he made a frieze with heads of the size of life, very well executed, among which was one of the said Prior, so lifelike and wrought in so good a manner, that it was judged by the most experienced craftsmen to be the best thing that Pietro ever made. In the other cloister, over the door that led into the refectory, he was commissioned to paint a scene of Pope Boniface confirming the habit of his Order to the Blessed Giovanni Colombino, wherein he portrayed eight of the aforesaid friars, and made a most beautiful view receding in perspective, which was much extolled, and rightly, since Pietro made a particular profession of this. In another scene below the first he began a Nativity of Christ, with certain angels and shepherds, wrought with the freshest colouring. And in an arch over the door of the aforesaid oratory he made three half-length figures—Our Lady, S. Jerome, and the Blessed Giovanni—with so beautiful a manner, that this was held to be one of the best mural paintings that Pietro ever wrought.

The said Prior, so I once heard tell, was very excellent at making ultramarine blues, and, therefore, having an abundance of them, he desired that Pietro should use them freely in all the above-mentioned works; but he was nevertheless so mean and suspicious that he would never trust Pietro, and always insisted on being present when he was using blue in the work. Wherefore Pietro, who had an honest and upright nature, and had no desire for another man's goods save in return for his own labour, took the Prior's distrust very ill, and resolved to put him to shame; and so, having taken a basin of water, and having laid on the ground for draperies or for anything else that he wished to paint in blue and white, from time to time he caused the Prior, who turned grudgingly to his little bag, to put some ultramarine into the little vase that contained the tempera-water, and then, setting to work, at every second stroke of the brush Pietro would dip his brush in the basin, so that there remained more in the water than he had used on the picture. The Prior, who saw his little bag becoming empty without much to show for it in the work, kept saying time after time: "Oh, what a quantity of ultramarine this plaster consumes!" "Does it not?" Pietro would answer. After the departure of the Prior, Pietro took the ultramarine from the bottom of the basin, and gave it back to him when he thought the time had come, saying: "Father, this is yours; learn to trust honest men, who never cheat those who trust them, although, if they wished, they could cheat such distrustful persons as yourself."

By reason of these works, then, and many others, Pietro came into such repute that he was almost forced to go to Siena, where he painted a large panel, which was held very beautiful, in S. Francesco; and he painted another in S. Agostino, containing a Crucifix with some saints. A little time after this, for the Church of S. Gallo in Florence, he painted a panel-picture of S. Jerome in Penitence, which is now in S. Jacopo tra Fossi, where the aforesaid friars live, near the Canto degli Alberti. He was commissioned to paint a Dead Christ, with the Madonna and S. John, above the steps of the side-door of S. Pietro Maggiore; and this he wrought in such a manner, that it has been preserved, although exposed to rain and wind, as fresh as if it had only just been finished by Pietro's hand. Truly intelligent was Pietro's understanding of colour, both in fresco and in oil; wherefore all experienced craftsmen are indebted to him, for it is through him that they have knowledge of the lights that are seen throughout his works.

In S. Croce, in the same city, he made a Pieta—that is, Our Lady with the Dead Christ in her arms—and two figures, which are marvellous to behold, not so much for their excellence, as for the fact that they have remained so fresh and vivid in colouring, painted as they are in fresco. He was commissioned by Bernardino de' Rossi, a citizen of Florence, to paint a S. Sebastian to be sent into France, the price agreed on being one hundred gold crowns; but this work was sold by Bernardino to the King of France for four hundred gold ducats. At Vallombrosa he painted a panel for the high-altar; and in the Certosa of Pavia, likewise, he executed a panel for the friars of that place. At the command of Cardinal Caraffa of Naples he painted an Assumption of Our Lady, with the Apostles marvelling round the tomb, for the high-altar of the Piscopio; and for Abbot Simone de' Graziani of Borgo a San Sepolcro he executed a large panel, which was painted in Florence, and then borne to S. Gilio in the Borgo on the shoulders of porters, at very great expense. To S. Giovanni in Monte at Bologna he sent a panel with certain figures standing upright, and a Madonna in the sky.

Thereupon the fame of Pietro spread so widely throughout Italy and abroad, that to his great glory he was summoned to Rome by Pope Sixtus IV to work in his chapel in company with the other excellent craftsmen. There, in company with Don Bartolommeo della Gatta, Abbot of S. Clemente at Arezzo, he painted the scene of Christ giving the keys to S. Peter; and likewise the Nativity and Baptism of Christ, and the Birth of Moses, with the daughter of Pharaoh finding him in the little ark. And on the same wall where the altar is he painted a mural picture of the Assumption of Our Lady, with a portrait of Pope Sixtus on his knees. But these works were thrown to the ground in preparing the wall for the Judgment of the divine Michelagnolo, in the time of Pope Paul III. On a vault of the Borgia Tower in the Papal Palace he painted certain stories of Christ, with some foliage in chiaroscuro, which had an extraordinary name for excellence in his time. In S. Marco, likewise in Rome, he painted a story of two martyrs beside the Sacrament—one of the best works that he made in Rome. For Sciarra Colonna, also, in the Palace of S. Apostolo, he painted a loggia and certain rooms.

These works brought him a very great sum of money; wherefore, having resolved to remain no longer in Rome, and having departed in good favour with the whole Court, he returned to his native city of Perugia, in many parts of which he executed panels and works in fresco; and, in particular, a panel-picture painted in oils for the Chapel of the Palace of the Signori, containing Our Lady and other saints. In S. Francesco del Monte he painted two chapels in fresco, one with the story of the Magi going to make offering to Christ, and the other with the martyrdom of certain friars of S. Francis, who, going to the Soldan of Babylon, were put to death. In S. Francesco del Convento, likewise, he painted two panels in oil, one with the Resurrection of Christ, and the other with S. John the Baptist and other saints. For the Church of the Servi he also painted two panels, one of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, and in the other, which is beside the sacristy, the Story of the Magi; but, since these are not of the same excellence as the other works of Pietro, it is held to be certain that they are among the first that he made. In the Chapel of the Crocifisso in S. Lorenzo, the Duomo of the same city, there are by the hand of Pietro the Madonna, the other Maries, S. John, S. Laurence, S. James, and other saints. And for the Altar of the Sacrament, where there is preserved the ring with which the Virgin Mary was married, he painted the Marriage of the Virgin.

Afterwards he painted in fresco the whole of the Audience Chamber of the Cambio,[4] adorning the compartments of the vaulting with the seven planets, drawn in certain cars by diverse animals, according to the old usage; on the wall opposite to the door of entrance he painted the Nativity and Resurrection of Christ, with a panel containing S. John the Baptist in the midst of certain other saints. The side-walls he painted in his own manner; one with figures of Fabius Maximus, Socrates, Numa Pompilius, F. Camillus, Pythagoras, Trajan, L. Sicinius, the Spartan Leonidas, Horatius Cocles, Fabius, Sempronius, the Athenian Pericles, and Cincinnatus. On the other wall he made the Prophets, Isaiah, Moses, Daniel, David, Jeremiah, and Solomon; and the Sibyls, the Erythraean, the Libyan, the Tiburtine, the Delphic, and the others. Below each of the said figures he placed, in the form of a written motto, something said by them, and appropriate to that place. And in one of the ornaments he made his own portrait, which appears absolutely alive, and he wrote his own name below it in the following manner:


This work, which was very beautiful and more highly extolled than any other that was executed by Pietro in Perugia, is now held in great price by the men of that city in memory of so famous a craftsman of their own country. Afterwards, in the principal chapel of the Church of S. Agostino, the same man executed a large panel standing by itself and surrounded by a rich ornament, with S. John baptizing Christ on the front part, and on the back—that is, on the side that faces the choir—the Nativity of Christ, with certain saints in the upper parts, and in the predella many scenes wrought very diligently with little figures. And in the Chapel of S. Niccolo, in the said church, he painted a panel for Messer Benedetto Calera.

After this, returning to Florence, he painted a S. Bernard on a panel for the Monks of Cestello, and in the chapter-house a Crucifix, the Madonna, S. Benedict, S. Bernard, and S. John. And in S. Domenico da Fiesole, in the second chapel on the right hand, he painted a panel containing Our Lady and three figures, among which is a S. Sebastian worthy of the highest praise. Now Pietro had done so much work, and he always had so many works in hand, that he would very often use the same subjects; and he had reduced the theory of his art to a manner so fixed, that he made all his figures with the same expression. By that time Michelagnolo Buonarroti had already come to the front, and Pietro greatly desired to see his figures, by reason of the praise bestowed on him by craftsmen; and seeing the greatness of his own name, which he had acquired in every place through so grand a beginning, being obscured, he was ever seeking to wound his fellow-workers with biting words. For this reason, besides certain insults aimed at him by the craftsmen, he had only himself to blame when Michelagnolo told him in public that he was a clumsy fool at his art. But Pietro being unable to swallow such an affront, they both appeared before the Tribunal of Eight, where Pietro came off with little honour. Meanwhile the Servite Friars of Florence, wishing to have the altar-piece of their high-altar painted by some famous master, had handed it over, by reason of the departure of Leonardo da Vinci, who had gone off to France, to Filippino; but he, when he had finished half of one of two panels that were to adorn the altar, passed from this life to the next; wherefore the friars, by reason of the faith that they had in Pietro, entrusted him with the whole work. In that panel, wherein he was painting the Deposition of Christ from the Cross, Filippino had finished the figures of Nicodemus that are taking Him down; and Pietro continued the lower part with the Swooning of the Madonna, and certain other figures. Now this work was to be composed of two panels, one facing towards the choir of the friars, and the other towards the body of the church, and the Deposition from the Cross was to be placed behind, facing the choir, with the Assumption of Our Lady in front; but Pietro made the latter so commonplace, that the Deposition of Christ was placed in front, and the Assumption on the side of the choir. These panels have now been removed, both one and the other, and replaced by the Tabernacle of the Sacrament; they have been set up over certain other altars in that church, and out of the whole work there only remain six pictures, wherein are some saints painted by Pietro in certain niches. It is said that when the work was unveiled, it received no little censure from all the new craftsmen, particularly because Pietro had availed himself of those figures that he had been wont to use in other pictures; with which his friends twitted him, saying that he had taken no pains, and that he had abandoned the good method of working, either through avarice or to save time. To this Pietro would answer: "I have used the figures that you have at other times praised, and which have given you infinite pleasure; if now they do not please you, and you do not praise them, what can I do?" But they kept assailing him bitterly with sonnets and open insults; whereupon, although now old, he departed from Florence and returned to Perugia.

There he executed certain works in fresco in the Church of S. Severo, a place belonging to the Monks of the Order of Camaldoli, wherein Raffaello da Urbino, when quite young and still the disciple of Pietro, had painted certain figures, as will be told in his Life. Pietro likewise worked at Montone, at La Fratta, and in many other places in the district of Perugia; more particularly in S. Maria degli Angeli at Assisi, where he painted in fresco a Christ on the Cross, with many figures, on the wall at the back of the Chapel of the Madonna, which faces the choir of the monks. And for the high-altar of the Church of S. Pietro, an abbey of Black Friars in Perugia, he painted a large panel containing the Ascension, with the Apostles below gazing up to Heaven; in the predella of which panel are three stories, wrought with much diligence—namely, that of the Magi, the Baptism of Christ, and His Resurrection. The whole of this picture is seen to be full of beautiful and careful work, insomuch that it is the best of those wrought in oil by the hand of Pietro which are in Perugia. The same man began a work in fresco of no small importance at Castello della Pieve, but did not finish it.

It was ever Pietro's custom on his going and coming between the said Castello and Perugia, like a man who trusted nobody, to carry all the money that he possessed about his person. Wherefore certain men, lying in wait for him at a pass, robbed him, but at his earnest entreaty they spared his life for the love of God; and afterwards, by means of the services of his friends, who were numerous enough, he also recovered a great part of the money that had been taken from him; but none the less he came near dying of vexation. Pietro was a man of very little religion, and he could never be made to believe in the immortality of the soul—nay, with words in keeping with his head of granite, he rejected most obstinately every good suggestion. He placed all his hopes in the goods of fortune, and he would have sold his soul for money. He earned great riches; and he both bought and built houses in Florence, and acquired much settled property both at Perugia and at Castello della Pieve. He took a most beautiful young woman to wife, and had children by her; and he delighted so greatly in seeing her wearing beautiful head-dresses, both abroad and at home, that it is said that he would often tire her head with his own hand. Finally, having reached the age of seventy-eight, Pietro finished the course of his life at Castello della Pieve, where he was honourably buried, in the year 1524.

Pietro made many masters in his own manner, and one among them, who was truly most excellent, devoted himself heart and soul to the honourable studies of painting, and surpassed his master by a great measure; and this was the miraculous Raffaello Sanzio of Urbino, who worked for many years under Pietro in company with his father, Giovanni de' Santi. Another disciple of this man was Pinturicchio, a painter of Perugia, who, as it has been said in his Life, ever held to Pietro's manner. His disciple, likewise, was Rocco Zoppo, a painter of Florence, by whose hand is a very beautiful Madonna in a round picture, which is in the possession of Filippo Salviati; although it is true that it was brought to completion by Pietro himself. The same Rocco painted many pictures of Our Lady, and made many portraits, of which there is no need to speak; I will only say that in the Sistine Chapel in Rome he painted portraits of Girolamo Riario and of F. Pietro, Cardinal of San Sisto. Another disciple of Pietro was Montevarchi, who painted many pictures in San Giovanni di Valdarno; more particularly, in the Madonna, the stories of the Miracle of the Milk. He also left many works in Montevarchi, his birth-place. Likewise a pupil of Pietro's, working with him for no little time, was Gerino da Pistoia, of whom there has been mention in the Life of Pinturicchio; and so also was Baccio Ubertino of Florence, who was most diligent both in colouring and in drawing, for which reason Pietro made much use of him. By this man's hand is a drawing in our book, done with the pen, of Christ being scourged at the Column, which is a very lovely thing.

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