A full listing of artists and sculptors native to or largely active in the Marche and San Marino is given at the end of the Blue Guide. Here is a selection:
Agabiti, Pietro Paolo (Pier Paolo Agabiti; Sassoferrato, 1465/70–1540). Painter and architect; he also worked in terracotta. Venetian painters provided his earliest inspiration. After committing a mysterious crime in Serra de’ Conti, he went into exile, first to Romagna and then the Veneto, returning to Sassoferrato in 1510. An admirer of the works of Lorenzo Lotto, Marco Palmezzano and Carlo Crivelli, he often worked with Antonio Solario and Luca Signorelli. In 1531 he entered a Franciscan convent in Cupramontana, where he died.
Ambon, Emilio (Rome, 1905–96). Painter and sculptor, an excellent draughtsman, who trained under Giacomo Balla; his first exhibition was in 1922. A passionate traveller, he finally settled in Florence.
Angeli, Fra’ Marino (Marino d’Angelo; Santa Vittoria in Mantenano, fl. 1443–8), priest and painter who started an artistic school in his area.
Apollodorus of Damascus 2nd-century Greek architect favoured by Trajan. He built the triumphal arch in the port of Ancona. Trajan’s successor Hadrian famously quarrelled with Apollodorus, sending him first into exile and later having him murdered.
Bandini, Giovanni (Giovanni dell’Opera; Florence, 1540–98). Sculptor known for his work for the Florence duomo. His masterpiece is the Pietà he carved for the cathedral of Urbino.
Bartoccini, Bruno (Pistrino di Citerna, 1910–2001). Sculptor. Inspired by Piero della Francesca and Francesco Laurana. Much of his best work was carried out in Camerino (he was an honorary citizen) and he donated most of his favourite pieces to the city.
Bellini, Giovanni (Giambellino; Venice, 1430–1516). Painter, great master of the Venetian Renaissance. Together with his brother Gentile, he learnt his art in the atelier of their father, Jacopo. One of the first painters to use oils, he was innovative in his use of colour.
Berti, Antonio (San Piero a Sieve, nr. Florence, 1904–90). One of the Fascist regime’s official sculptors, he carved several statues of Mussolini, earning himself a reputation from which he found it impossible to distance himself after the war.
Bonisoli, Agostino (Cremona 1633–1700). Baroque painter, influenced by Paolo Veronese and Carlo Maratta. Invited to Mantua as court painter for Prince Annibale Gonzaga di Bozzolo, he founded an academy and stayed there until his death. Only eight of his works survive.
Bracci, Virginio (Rome, 1737–1815). Architect who often worked for the Vatican.
Brandi, Giacinto (Poli, nr. Rome, 1623–91). Painter. Apprentice to Guercino, he became famous for his historical scenes.
Canova, Antonio (Possagno, nr. Treviso, 1757–1813). Neoclassical sculptor instrumental in negotiating the return of many Italian artworks purloined by Napoleon.
Capogrossi, Giuseppe (Rome, 1900–72). Painter. He left a career in law to paint, following Carrà, Picasso and Modigliani. On his return from Paris he settled into an
Carboncino, Giovanni (Giovanni Carbone; Albaro, 1614–83). Painter. He excelled at portraits.
Carrà, Carlo (Alessandria, 1881–1966). Painter. An early exponent of the Futurist movement, though his friendship with De Chircio led to a later Metaphysical period. Following this, he espoused the ideals of the Novecento movement and returned to a more traditional style.
Chailleau, Léonard (Leonardo Scaglia, Monzù Leonard, il Francese; early 17C). Painter, sculptor and decorator who worked for many years in Rome, until the powerful Benedictines of San Silvestro called him to decorate the church of Santa Lucia at Serra San Quirico.
Cola dell’Amatrice (Nicola Filotesio; Amatrice, nr. Rieti, ?1480–1559). Painter and architect.
Coxcie, Michiel (Mechelen, 1499–1592). Flemish painter and designer of tapestries and stained-glass windows. He lived in Rome, influenced by Raphael.
Damiani, Felice (Felice da Gubbio; Gubbio, 1530–1608). Mannerist painter of the Counter-Reformation.
Domenichino (Domenico Zampieri; Bologna, 1581–1641). Painter and architect. Apprenticed to Annibale Carracci, with whom he worked in Rome, he went on to work for the aristocracy, decorating the interiors of villas and palaces. In 1621 he was appointed architect to the Vatican. In 1630 he was invited to decorate a chapel in Naples Cathedral, but envious local artists destroyed most of his work, embittering the end of his life.
Fazzini, Pericle (Grottammare, 1913–87). Known as lo scultore dell’aria, ‘sculptor of air’, for his delicate and fanciful creations.
Fontana, Luigi (Monte San Pietrangeli, 1827–1908). Painter, sculptor and architect.
Genga, Girolamo (Urbino, 1476–1551. Painter, architect and sculptor, father of Bartolomeo, strongly influenced by Signorelli and Raphael.
Gessi, Francesco (or Gianfrancesco; Bologna, 1588–1649). Painter, apprenticed to Guido Reni.
Giacomo da Recanati (Giacomo di Nicola; Recanati, 1390–1466). Painter. His elegant brush and careful attention to detail, deriving from the Venetian style introduced by Jacobello del Fiore, are characteristic.
Giosafatti (Ascoli Piceno, 17C–18C). Family of gifted architects and sculptors, who worked in many of the city’s churches. The most prominent among them was Giuseppe Giosafatti (1643–1731), who built the cave-church of Sant’Emidio alle Grotte.
Giovanni da Camerino (or Giovanni Angelo di Antonio da Camerino; Camerino, 15C). Painter, one of the most interesting exponents of the Camerino School, though he has only recently been recognised, by the art critic Federico Zeri; his work was previously attributed to the Maestro dell’Annunciazione di Spermento.
Greco, Emilio (Catania, 1913–95). Controversial sculptor, initially inspired by the Dalmatian-born medieval master Francesco Laurana. His monument to Pinocchio at Collodi (Pistoia) was well received but the bronze door for Orvieto Cathedral (1964) was not; it was, however, installed in 1970, against the wishes of the regional council for antiquities and fine arts.
Hayez, Francesco (Venice, 1791–1882). Painter. As a young man he moved to Rome, where he became the friend and follower of Canova. Thanks to this friendship, in 1850 he was offered the post of head of the Brera Academy in Milan. His early works are academic and Neoclassical in style, but his romantic nature soon began to show through. He is known for his dramatic historical scenes and for his portraits. His most famous work is the extremely sentimental The Kiss (1859).
Jacobello di Bonomo (?Venice, 14C–15C). Painter, a faithful follower of Paolo Veneziano (qv). Few of his works survive.
Kostabi, Mark (b. Los Angeles, 1960). Painter, sculptor and composer of Estonian origin, much influenced by Keith Haring and Andy Warhol, but with his own distinctive style: faceless, sexless and raceless human beings, strong colours. He lives in New York.
Laurana, Luciano (Zara, modern Zadar, Croatia, 1420–79). Architect. He probably worked in Naples and Mantua, where he met Federico da Montefeltro, for whom he built the palace of Urbino (his only documented work). Scholars believe he also designed the castles of Tarascon, Villeneuve-lès-Avignons, Gubbio and Pesaro.
Lilli, Andrea (or Lilio; Ancona, 1571–1631). Painter. He worked for a long time for Pope Sixtus V in Rome, where he was influenced by the Mannerist artists, especially Barocci (qv). He returned to the Marche in 1597.
Luca di Tommè (Siena, fl. 1356–95). Painter. Influenced by Simone Martini, he worked mostly in Siena and Pisa.
Maestro di Verrucchio (Bartolomeo Silvestri da Verrucchio; early 14C). Painter.
Mancini, Francesco (Sant’Angelo in Vado, 1679–1750). Mannerist painter well known for his carefully-designed altarpieces.
Mantegna, Andrea (Isola Mantegna, nr. Padua, 1431–1506). Painter. When he was ten, his father, a carpenter, gave him in adoption to the artist Francesco Squarcione. His genius was soon recognised, and he was working on important commissions from an early age, together with the best-known painters of Florence, Padua and Venice, but he maintained his own personal way of presenting a scene (as if viewed from below), which makes his work unique. He married Nicolosia, daughter of Giovanni Bellini, and went to Mantua, as official painter to the Gonzaga. A famous group of nine paintings, The Triumphs of Caesar, is at Hampton Court.
Martini, Francesco di Giorgio (Siena, 1439–1502). Brilliant and prolific architect, also a sculptor, painter and inventor of war machines. Federico da Montefeltro often chose him to build his palaces, castles and defensive systems. His work can be seen at Urbino, Sassocorvaro, Sant’Agata Feltria, San Leo, Urbania and Fossombrone.
Mazza, Giuseppe (Bologna, 1653–1741). Sculptor and moulder. He was skilled at creating large, quite complex scenes, using only stucco: full of movement and interesting details.
Michelucci, Giovanni (Pistoia, 1891–1990). Architect. His interest was in inserting modern constructions into ancient contexts. Perhaps his most successful work is Florence railway station.
Morelli, Cosimo (Imola, 1732–1812). Architect. In spite of temptation he managed to avoid the excesses of Rococo; the elegant lines of his churches and palaces are very pleasing. His masterpiece is probably Palazzo Braschi in Rome, with its sumptuous Renaissance-inspired staircase.
Nelli, Ottaviano (Gubbio, fl. 1375–1444). Painter. His frescoes are imaginative, with graceful figures and good use of colour.
Oddi, Muzio (Urbino, 1569–1639). Architect and engineer to the Della Rovere family.
Pagani, Vincenzo (Monterubbiano, 1490–1568). Painter who worked almost exclusively in Ripatransone. Strongly influenced by Crivelli, he later fell under the spell of Umbrian masters like Bernardino di Mariotto. Towards the end of his life, his inspiration came from Raphael.
Pandolfi, Giovan Giacomo (Pesaro, ?1570–?1650). Painter, one of the most important Mannerist artists of the region.
Paolo Veneziano (Venice, fl. 1333–62). Painter influenced by Giotto, noted for his abundant use of gold. His mastery of technique and his use of colour place him above his contemporaries.
Pericoli, Tullio (Colli del Tronto, 1936). Painter well-known for his book illustrations, theatre sets, whimsical water-colours, and the sketches and caricatures he provides for daily newspapers.
Piergentile da Matelica (Matelica, fl. 1512–37). Painter; influenced by the Camerino masters and by Luca Signorelli, some scholars think he might have studied in Umbria. He liked to work with Venanzio da Camerino: theirs was a professional relationship probably based on friendship.
Pietro da Rimini (fl. early 14C). Fresco painter from Romagna, influenced by Giotto, and founder of the so-called ‘Giotto School of Rimini’.
Podesti, Francesco (Ancona, 1800–95). In the course of his long and prolific career he produced at least 1,000 paintings, besides meticulous drawings and sketches. He preferred romantic themes.
Preti, Mattia (Il Cavalier Calabrese; Taverna, nr. Catanzaro, ?1613–99). Painter of predominantly religious themes, much influenced by Guercino.
Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio or Santi; Urbino, 1483–1520). One of Italy’s finest and most influential artists, great exponent of the High Renaissance. He served his apprenticeship under Perugino, when little more than a child. He is buried in the Pantheon in Rome, Italy’s highest honour.
Robbia, Ambrogio, Giovanni, Luca and Fra’ Mattia della (Florence, mid-15C–early 16C). A talented family of architects, sculptors and ceramicists, noted for their round moulded ceramic portraits of the Madonna, often surrounded with fruits.
Rossi, Pasquale de’ (Pasqualino Rossi; Vicenza, 1641–1722). Painter, admired much more today than during his lifetime for his charming depictions of costumes, customs and scenes of daily life. He liked to portray street musicians or women embroidering. Self-taught, much influenced by Lotto and Barocci, he was most active in Rome and in the Marche; in spite of accolades from the academies, he never achieved real fame. However, a great collector, Gaspar de Haro y Guzmán, Spanish Ambassador in Rome, purchased over 40 works from the artist.
Sacconi, Giuseppe (Montalto delle Marche, 1854–1905). Architect. His most famous work is the Altare della Patria in Rome, the monument to Mussolini, commonly known as the ‘Typewriter’.
Sansovino, Andrea (Andrea Contucci; Monte San Savino, nr. Arezzo, ?1460–1529). Sculptor and architect. After serving as an apprentice to Pollaiolo, in 1491 Lorenzo de’Medici sent him to Portugal for ten years. On his return, he worked in Florence and Rome until 1512, when Pope Leo X appointed him sculptor-in-chief at the sanctuary of the Holy House in Loreto.
Sassu, Aligi (Milan, 1912–2000). Painter, ceramicist, engraver and sculptor of Sardinian origin. He began as a Futurist, but soon his works were expressing such strong political statements that he was imprisoned under Mussolini. He liked rich, sensual colours, and to paint people engaged in activity: cyclists, battle scenes, bullfights. He often worked as a set-designer; in 1989 he was appointed Italian ambassador for UNICEF.
Sebastiano del Piombo (Sebastiano Luciani; Venice, 1485–1547). Painter. Apprenticed to Giovanni Bellini, he was influenced by Giorgione, Raphael and Michelangelo. Noted for his portraits, towards the end of his life he concentrated on religious subjects.
Sirani, Elisabetta (Bologna, 1638–65). Painter and engraver, a prolific artist and a fast worker: when she was 17, she already had her own studio and could paint a Madonna in under a day (more than 200 works are attributed to her, completed in only ten years). She opened a school for female artists, where she taught for several years. When she died, the family servant was accused of poisoning her and was banished from the city. Now it is thought that she probably suffered from a gastric ulcer, made worse by her frenetic activity. Her mysterious death added to her appeal; in the 19th century she was something of a cult figure. She is buried next to Guido Reni in the church of San Domenico in Bologna.
Stefano da Verona (Stefano da Venezia or Stefano da Zevio; Verona, 1374–1438). Refined exponent of the International Gothic. Little is known about his life; he appears to have travelled in Germany and Bohemia in the early 15th century.
Tedeschi, Pietro (Pesaro, 1750–1808). Painter, one of the best pupils of Lazzarini, he worked almost exclusively in Rome. Noted for his well-balanced, brilliant colours, he is best known for the altar panels of St Emygdius which he carried out for the cathedral of Ascoli Piceno, and the magnificent, recently restored Trinity which he painted for the church of Sant’Agostino in Pesaro.
Tintoretto, il (Jacopo Robusti; Venice, 1518–94). Painter and engraver. His nickname, the ‘Little Dyer’ was given to him because his father dyed silk cloth for a living. It is said he studied with Titian, but the master was envious of his pupil’s skill and they broke off their agreement. He was a prolific worker and his paintings can be found in many of the world’s museums: interesting portraits of richly-dressed aristocrats and prelates, or dramatic religious episodes. Of his eight children, four went on to become acclaimed artists.
Trubbiani, Valeriano (b. Macerata, 1937). Sculptor, engraver and stage director. His masterpiece is the lavish Baroque-style bronze safety curtain he made for the Teatro delle Muse, the opera house of Ancona.
Valentin de Boulogne (Louis de Boulogne or Le Valentin; Coulommiers, 1594–1632). Baroque painter, admirer of Caravaggio. His The Cardsharpers (Dresden) was freely inspired by that artist.
Varlé, Gioacchino (?, fl. 1734–1806). Sculptor and woodcarver skilled in creating Rococo stucco details and especially angels and cherubs, for which he was considered unbeatable.
Viti, Timoteo (Urbino, 1465–1523). Painter; he was Raphael’s first master.
Webb, James (Chelsea, England, 1825–95). Painter. Although he lived all his life in London, he travelled on the Continent, where he painted delightfully romantic watercolours. He preferred coastal and port scenes, which transmit feelings of tranquillity and harmony.
Zuccari, Federico (or Zuccheri; Sant’Angelo in Vado, 1542–1609), and Zuccari, Taddeo (Sant’Angelo in Vado, 1529–66). Painter brothers who made their fortune in Rome.
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