S = Signorelli

Standard

Click on the images to see them close up and in their glory!

Signorelli, Self Portrait

Signorelli, Self Portrait

 

Luca Signorelli (c. 1445 –1523) was an Italian Renaissance painter whose talent was his draughtsman-like quality and his execution of foreshortening. He was born in Cortona, Tuscany, and is considered to be a member of the Tuscan School of painting, even though he worked extensively in Umbria and Rome.

His mother’s brother was the great-great grandfather of Georgio Vasari,

Piero della  Francesca, Montefeltro Altarpiece

Piero della Francesca, Montefeltro Altarpiece

who wrote the Lives of the Painters, and it is from Vasari that we know almost all the important facts of his career. Vasari wrote that Signorelli was apprenticed to Piero della Francesca, a famous painter of the early Renaissance, whose work was characterized by its humanism, its use of geometric forms and its perspective. It is thought Signorelli was also influenced in his early days by Pollaiuolo, whose work shows both classical influences and an interest in human anatomy; reportedly, Pollaiuolo carried out dissections to improve his knowledge of the subject.

Battle of the Nudes, Pollaiuolo

Battle of the Nudes, Pollaiuolo

In 1472 Signorelli was painting at Città di Castello, city and commune in Umbria, and he presented Lorenzo de’ Medici with a picture, probably the School of Pan. He painted the same subject on the wall of the Petrucci palace in Siena; the principal figure is Pan himself, with a man reclining on the ground and two listening shepherds.

Court of Pan

Court of Pan

He also painted the sacred, in some frescoes commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV for the shrine of Loreto (see the Conversion of Paul and Doubting Thomas), and a single fresco in the Sistine Chapel, the Testament and Death of Moses, although most of it has been attributed to Bartolomeo della Gatta, Florentine painter, illuminator and monk of a Benedictine order.

Signorelli returned to his native Cortona in 1484, where he was held

Conversion of Paul

Conversion of Paul

Doubting Thomas

Doubting Thomas

in great regard, first as an elected burgher and then as one of the judges of the designs for the façade of the Florence cathedral.  He continued paint frescoes, eight in a series of the life of St. Benedict in a monastery in Siena; these have been badly damaged over time.

Totila and St. Benedict, Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore

Totila and St. Benedict, Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore

His massive frescoes of the Last Judgment (1499–1503) in the Orvieto Cathedral are considered his masterpiece. Note in The Elect and the Damned the similarity to the anatomical representations of Pollaiuolo . In the Last Judgment he painted his own portrait (see above), revealing much of his character.

The Elect

The Elect

The Damned

The Damned

 

Signorelli went as a delegate from Cortona to Florence and then Rome, where he executed some frescoes for Julius II. These were destroyed to make room for the paintings of Raphael!   He had no further commissions from Rome but returned to Cortona, where he worked almost to the day of his death at the age of eighty-two in 1523.

8 thoughts on “S = Signorelli

  1. Gorgeous frescoes. My dream is to go to Italy one day and spend enough time (maybe weeks, since there is never enough time now) going to see many such beautiful pieces of art. Amazing.

    • We were on our way to Florence for the first time two years ago, when my shoulder went south and I had to have a joint replacement. We are still looking for a way to get there – maybe after my daughter’s wedding and the big depletion in our funds this year? I have studied these artists for so long, I almost feel as if I’d actually been there.

    • The art lost during WWII was vast. The abbey destroyed by bombers at Monte Casino in Italy – and its art – was priceless. I spent a lot of time looking at black and white photos of art that no longer existed.
      Your photographs are so beautiful – you have an artist’s heart!

      • I’ve yet to see the Monument men which is about that very subject.
        I appreciate your comments about my photographs. I’ve always felt that I am quite unartistic I just appreciate the scene in front of me and luckily enough are representative of the beauty that I have been looking at. Cheers irene

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s