Benozzo Gozzoli

Benozzo Gozzoli

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Benozzo Gozzoli was an Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 painter
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

 from Florence. He is best known for a series of murals in the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi depicting festive, vibrant processions with wonderful attention to detail and a pronounced International Gothic
International Gothic
International Gothic is a phase of Gothic art which developed in Burgundy, Bohemia, France and northern Italy in the late 14th century and early 15th century...

 influence.

Apprenticeship


He was born Benozzo di Lese in the village of Sant'Ilario a Colombano around 1421, and moved with his family to Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 in 1427. According to Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari was an Italian painter, writer, historian, and architect, who is famous today for his biographies of Italian artists, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing.-Biography:...

, in the early part of his career he was a pupil and assistant of Fra Angelico
Fra Angelico
Fra Angelico , born Guido di Pietro, was an Early Italian Renaissance painter described by Vasari in his Lives of the Artists as having "a rare and perfect talent"...

: some of the works in the convent of San Marco of Florence were executed by Gozzoli from Angelico's design. In 1444-1447 he collaborated with Lorenzo Ghiberti
Lorenzo Ghiberti
Lorenzo Ghiberti , born Lorenzo di Bartolo, was an Italian artist of the early Renaissance best known for works in sculpture and metalworking.-Early life:...

 and his studio on the Paradise Doors of the Battistero di San Giovanni.

On May 23, 1447 Gozzoli was in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 with Fra Angelico
Fra Angelico
Fra Angelico , born Guido di Pietro, was an Early Italian Renaissance painter described by Vasari in his Lives of the Artists as having "a rare and perfect talent"...

, called by Pope Eugene IV
Pope Eugene IV
Pope Eugene IV , born Gabriele Condulmer, was pope from March 3, 1431, to his death.-Biography:He was born in Venice to a rich merchant family, a Correr on his mother's side. Condulmer entered the Order of Saint Augustine at the monastery of St. George in his native city...

 to carry out the fresco decoration of a chapel in the Vatican Palace. Later the two worked until June 1448 in the Cappella Niccolina
Niccoline Chapel
The Niccoline Chapel is a chapel in the Vatican Palace, Rome. It is especially notable for its fresco paintings by Fra Angelico and his assistants, who may have executed much of the actual work...

 for Nicholas V. From 1449 is a banner with Madonna and Child in the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva
Santa Maria sopra Minerva
The Basilica of Saint Mary Above Minerva is a titular minor basilica and one of the most important churches of the Roman Catholic Dominican order in Rome, Italy. The church, located in the Piazza della Minerva in the Campus Martius region, is considered the only Gothic church in Rome. It houses...

, perhaps designed by Angelico. In Rome he executed also, in Santa Maria in Aracoeli
Santa Maria in Aracoeli
The Basilica of St. Mary of the Altar of Heaven is a titular basilica in Rome, located on the highest summit of the Campidoglio. It is still the designated Church of the city council of Rome, which uses the ancient title of Senatus Populusque Romanus...

, a fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

 of St Anthony and Two Angels. Benozzo's last collaboration with Angelico is the vault of the Duomo di Orvieto
Duomo di Orvieto
The Cathedral of Orvieto is a large 14th century Roman Catholic cathedral situated in the town of Orvieto in Umbria, central Italy. The building was constructed under the orders of Pope Urban IV to commemorate and provide a suitable home for the Corporal of Bolsena, a miracle which is said to have...

 in Umbria
Umbria
Umbria is a region of modern central Italy. It is one of the smallest Italian regions and the only peninsular region that is landlocked.Its capital is Perugia.Assisi and Norcia are historical towns associated with St. Francis of Assisi, and St...

.
Much Love

In Umbria



In 1449 he left Angelico, and moved to Umbria. From 1450 is an Annunciation in Narni
Narni
Narni is an ancient hilltown and comune of Umbria, in central Italy, with 20,100 inhabitants, according to the 2003 census. At an altitude of 240 m , it overhangs a narrow gorge of the Nera River in the province of Terni. It is very close to the Geographic center of Italy...

, signed OPU[S] BENOT[I] DE FLORENT[IA]. In the monastery of San Fortunato, near Montefalco
Montefalco
Montefalco is a town and comune in the central part of the Italian province of Perugia, on an outcrop of the Colli Martani above the flood plain of the Clitunno river, 7 km SE of Bevagna, 11 km SW of Foligno, and 9 km NW of Trevi.-History:The town has been actively settled since...

, he painted a Madonna and Child with Saints and Angels, and three other works. One of these, the altarpiece representing St Thomas receiving the Girdle of the Virgin, is now in the Lateran Museum
Pontifical Museum of Christian Antiquities
The Lateran Museum was a museum founded by the Popes and housed in the Lateran Palace, adjacent to the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, Italy. It ceased to exist in 1970....

 and shows the affinity of Benozzo's early style to Angelico's. He next painted in the monastery of S. Francesco, Montefalco, filling the choir with three registers of subjects from the life of the saint, with various accessories, including portrait heads of Dante
Dante Alighieri
Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

, Petrarch
Petrarch
Francesco Petrarca , known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism"...

 and Giotto
Giotto di Bondone
Giotto di Bondone , better known simply as Giotto, was an Italian painter and architect from Florence in the late Middle Ages...

. This work was completed in 1452, and is still marked by the style of Angelico, crossed here and there with a more distinctly Giottesque
Giotto di Bondone
Giotto di Bondone , better known simply as Giotto, was an Italian painter and architect from Florence in the late Middle Ages...

 influence. In the same church, in the chapel of Saint Jerome
Saint Jerome
Saint Jerome is a Christian church father, best known for translating the Bible into Latin.Saint Jerome may also refer to:*Jerome of Pavia , Bishop of Pavia...

, is a fresco by Gozzoli of the Virgin and Saints, the Crucifixion
Crucifixion
Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

 and other subjects.

He remained at Montefalco (with an interval at Viterbo
Viterbo
See also Viterbo, Texas and Viterbo UniversityViterbo is an ancient city and comune in the Lazio region of central Italy, the capital of the province of Viterbo. It is approximately 80 driving / 80 walking kilometers north of GRA on the Via Cassia, and it is surrounded by the Monti Cimini and...

) probably till 1456, employing Pier Antonio Mezzastris
Pier Antonio Mezzastris
Pier Antonio Mezzastris was an Italian painter, belonging to the Umbrian school of painting.Mezzastris was born at Foligno in Umbria. He painted religious subjects, working mostly in fresco, and was a local painter, in that all of his known works can be found within 15 km of his hometown,...

 as assistant. Thence he went to Perugia
Perugia
Perugia is the capital city of the region of Umbria in central Italy, near the River Tiber, and the capital of the province of Perugia. The city is located about north of Rome. It covers a high hilltop and part of the valleys around the area....

, and painted in a church a Virgin and Saints that is now in the local academy.

Soon afterwards he returned to his native city Florence, the epicenter of Quattrocento art. Between 1459 and 1461, Gozzoli painted what may be considered his most important work: his frescoes of the Magi in the Magi Chapel
Magi Chapel
The Magi Chapel is a chapel in Palazzo Medici Riccardi of Florence, Italy. It includes a famous cycle of frescoes by the Renaissance master Benozzo Gozzoli, painted in 1459-1461....

 of the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, the Journey of the Magi to Bethlehem, and in the tribune, a composition of Angels in Paradise. Gozzoli incorporated portraits of the Medici
Medici
The House of Medici or Famiglia de' Medici was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici in the Republic of Florence during the late 14th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of the Tuscan countryside,...

 family into his fresco The Journey of the Magi. Gozzoli also included his self-portrait in the procession, with his name written around the rim of his cap. His Virgin and Child with Saints of 1461, in the National Gallery, London
National Gallery, London
The National Gallery is an art museum on Trafalgar Square, London, United Kingdom. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The gallery is an exempt charity, and a non-departmental public body of the Department for Culture, Media...

, belongs also to the period of this stay in Florence.


Late years in Tuscany


In 1464 Gozzoli left Florence for San Gimignano
Collegiata di San Gimignano
thumb|300px|View of the Collegiata.The Collegiata is the main church of San Gimignano, Tuscany, central Italy, situated in the Piazza del Duomo at the town's heart. It was once the Duomo , but since San Gimignano no longer has a bishop it has reverted to the status of a collegiate church.The first...

, where he executed some extensive works; in the church of Sant'Agostino, a composition of St. Sebastian protecting the City from the Plague of this same year, 1464; over the entire choir of the church, a triple course of scenes from the legends of St Augustine, from the time of his entering the school of Tegaste on to his burial, seventeen chief subjects, with some accessories; in the Pieve di San Gimignano, the Martyrdom of Sebastian, and other subjects, and some further works in the city and its vicinity. Here his style combined something of Filippo Lippi
Filippo Lippi
Fra' Filippo Lippi , also called Lippo Lippi, was an Italian painter of the Italian Quattrocento .-Biography and works:...

 with its original elements, and he received co-operation from Giusto d'Andrea.

He stayed in this city till 1467, and in 1469 began the vast series of mural paintings in the Campo Santo of Pisa
Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

 with which his name is specially identified. There are twenty-four subjects from the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

, from the Invention of Wine by Noah to the Visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon
Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

. He contracted to paint three subjects per year for about ten ducats each. It appears, however, that this contract was not strictly adhered to, for the actual rate of painting was only three pictures in two years. Perhaps the great multitude of figures and accessories was accepted as a set-off against the slower rate of production.

By January 1470 he had executed the fresco of Noah and his Family, followed by the Curse of Ham, the Building of the Tower of Babel
Tower of Babel
The Tower of Babel , according to the Book of Genesis, was an enormous tower built in the plain of Shinar .According to the biblical account, a united humanity of the generations following the Great Flood, speaking a single language and migrating from the east, came to the land of Shinar, where...

(which contains portraits of Cosimo de' Medici
Cosimo de' Medici
Còsimo di Giovanni degli Mèdici was the first of the Medici political dynasty, de facto rulers of Florence during much of the Italian Renaissance; also known as "Cosimo 'the Elder'" and "Cosimo Pater Patriae" .-Biography:Born in Florence, Cosimo inherited both his wealth and his expertise in...

, the young Lorenzo, Angelo Poliziano and others), the Destruction of Sodom
Sodom and Gomorrah
Sodom and Gomorrah were cities mentioned in the Book of Genesis and later expounded upon throughout the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and Deuterocanonical sources....

, the Victory of Abraham, the Marriages of Rebecca and of Rachel, the Life of Moses, etc. In the Cappella Ammannati, facing a gate of the Campo Santo, he painted also an Adoration of the Magi
Adoration of the Magi in Art
The Adoration of the Magi is the name traditionally given to the Christian subject in the Nativity of Jesus in art in which the three Magi, represented as kings, especially in the West, having found Jesus by following a star, lay before him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and worship him...

, wherein appears a portrait of himself.

All this enormous mass of work, in which Benozzo was probably assisted by Zanobi Macchiavelli, was performed, in addition to several other pictures during his stay in Pisa (including the Glory of St. Thomas Aquinas, now in the Louvre), in sixteen years, lasting up to 1485. This is the latest date which can with certainty be assigned to any work from his hand. Gozzoli died in Pistoia
Pistoia
Pistoia is a city and comune in the Tuscany region of Italy, the capital of a province of the same name, located about 30 km west and north of Florence and is crossed by the Ombrone Pistoiese, a tributary of the River Arno.-History:...

 in 1497, perhaps of a pestilence.

In 1478 the Pisan authorities had given him, as a token of their regard, a tomb in the Campo Santo. He had likewise a house of his own in Pisa, and houses and land in Florence.

Evaluation


According to the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition
The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition is a 29-volume reference work, an edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. It was developed during the encyclopaedia's transition from a British to an American publication. Some of its articles were written by the best-known scholars of the time...

 :

Major works


  • The Rape of Helen (c. 1437-1439) - Tempera on panel, 51 x 61 cm, National Gallery, London
    National Gallery, London
    The National Gallery is an art museum on Trafalgar Square, London, United Kingdom. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The gallery is an exempt charity, and a non-departmental public body of the Department for Culture, Media...

  • Women at the Tomb (1440-1441) - Fresco, San Marco, Florence
    San Marco, Florence
    San Marco is the name of a religious complex in Florence, Italy. It comprises a church and a convent. The convent, which is now a museum, has three claims to fame: during the 15th century it was home to two famous Dominicans, the painter Fra Angelico and the preacher, Girolamo Savonarola...

  • Adoration of the Magi (1440-1441) - Fresco, San Marco, Florence
    San Marco, Florence
    San Marco is the name of a religious complex in Florence, Italy. It comprises a church and a convent. The convent, which is now a museum, has three claims to fame: during the 15th century it was home to two famous Dominicans, the painter Fra Angelico and the preacher, Girolamo Savonarola...

  • Madonna and Child Giving Blessings (1449) - Tempera on silk on a wooden mount, 254 x 130 cm, Santa Maria sopra Minerva
    Santa Maria sopra Minerva
    The Basilica of Saint Mary Above Minerva is a titular minor basilica and one of the most important churches of the Roman Catholic Dominican order in Rome, Italy. The church, located in the Piazza della Minerva in the Campus Martius region, is considered the only Gothic church in Rome. It houses...

    , Rome
  • Madonna and Child between St Francis and St Bernardine of Siena (1450) - Fresco, San Fortunato, Montefalco
    Montefalco
    Montefalco is a town and comune in the central part of the Italian province of Perugia, on an outcrop of the Colli Martani above the flood plain of the Clitunno river, 7 km SE of Bevagna, 11 km SW of Foligno, and 9 km NW of Trevi.-History:The town has been actively settled since...

  • St Fortunatus Enthroned (1450) - Fresco, 200 x 110 cm, San Fortunato, Montefalco
    Montefalco
    Montefalco is a town and comune in the central part of the Italian province of Perugia, on an outcrop of the Colli Martani above the flood plain of the Clitunno river, 7 km SE of Bevagna, 11 km SW of Foligno, and 9 km NW of Trevi.-History:The town has been actively settled since...

  • Madonna and Child (1450) - Fresco, 250 x 135 cm, San Fortunato, Montefalco
  • St. Anthony of Padua (1450s) - Panel, Santa Maria in Aracoeli
    Santa Maria in Aracoeli
    The Basilica of St. Mary of the Altar of Heaven is a titular basilica in Rome, located on the highest summit of the Campidoglio. It is still the designated Church of the city council of Rome, which uses the ancient title of Senatus Populusque Romanus...

    , Rome
    Rome
    Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

  • Madonna della Cintola (1450) - Tempera on panel, 133 x 165 cm, Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican
  • Madonna and Child Surrounded by Saints (1452) - Fresco, San Francesco, Cappella di San Gerolamo, Montefalco
  • The Departure of St Jerome from Antioch (1452) - Fresco, Cappella di San Gerolamo, San Francesco, Montefalco
  • St Jerome Pulling a Thorn from a Lion's Paw (1452) - Fresco, Cappella di San Gerolamo, San Francesco, Montefalco
  • Madonna and Child with Sts Francis and Bernardine, and Fra Jacopo (c. 1452) - Tempera on panel, 34 x 54 cm, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
  • Madonna and Child with Sts John the Baptist, Peter, Jerome, and Paul (1456) - Tempera on panel, 122 x 212 cm, Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria
    Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria
    The Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria is the Italian national paintings collection of Umbria, housed in the Palazzo dei Priori, Perugia, in central Italy. Its collection comprises the greatest representation of the Umbrian School of painting, ranging from the 13th to the 19th century, strongest in the...

    , Perugia
    Perugia
    Perugia is the capital city of the region of Umbria in central Italy, near the River Tiber, and the capital of the province of Perugia. The city is located about north of Rome. It covers a high hilltop and part of the valleys around the area....

  • Procession of the Magi (1459-1460) - Frescoes, Magi Chapel
    Magi Chapel
    The Magi Chapel is a chapel in Palazzo Medici Riccardi of Florence, Italy. It includes a famous cycle of frescoes by the Renaissance master Benozzo Gozzoli, painted in 1459-1461....

    , Palazzo Medici Riccardi
    Palazzo Medici Riccardi
    The Palazzo Medici, also called the Palazzo Medici Riccardi after the later family that acquired and expanded it, is a Renaissance palace located in Florence, Italy.-History:...

    , Florence
    Florence
    Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

  • Madonna and Child (c. 1460) - Tempera on panel, 84.8 x 50.6 cm, Detroit Institute of Arts
    Detroit Institute of Arts
    The Detroit Institute of Arts is a renowned art museum in the city of Detroit. In 2003, the DIA ranked as the second largest municipally owned museum in the United States, with an art collection valued at more than one billion dollars...

    , Detroit
  • Purification Altarpiece (1461) - Tempera on panel, 158 x 171 cm, National Gallery, London
  • St. Dominic Reuscitates Napoleone Orsini (1461) - Tempera on panel, 25 x 35 cm, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
  • Fall of Simon Magus (1461-1462) - Tempera on panel, 24 x 35,5 cm, Royal Collection, Hampton Court
  • The Dance of Salome (1461-1462) - Tempera on panel, 23.8 x 34.3 cm, National Gallery of Art
    National Gallery of Art
    The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden is a national art museum, located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, in Washington, DC...

    , Washington
  • Histories of St. Augustine (1464-1465) - Frescoes, Sant'Agostino, San Gimignano
    San Gimignano
    San Gimignano is a small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena, Tuscany, north-central Italy. It is mainly famous for its medieval architecture, especially its towers, which may be seen from several kilometres outside the town....

  • Four Evangelists (1464-1465) - Fresco, Sant'Agostino, San Gimignano
  • Saints (1464-1465) - Frescoes, Sant'Agostino, San Gimignano
  • St. Sebastian Intercessor (1464-1466) - Fresco, 527 x 248 cm, Sant'Agostino, San Gimignano
  • Martyrdom of St Sebastian (1465) - Tempera on panel, 525 x 378 cm, Collegiate Church, San Gimignano
  • Mystical Marriage of St. Catherine (1466) - Tempera on panel, 90 x 50 cm, Pinacoteca Comunale, Terni
    Terni
    Terni is a city in southern Umbria, central Italy, capital of the province of Terni, located in the plain of the Nera river. It is 104 km N of Rome, 36 km NW of Rieti, and 29 km S of Spoleto.-History:...

  • Madonna and Child between Sts. Andrew and Prosper (Madonna dell'Umiltà; 1466) - Tempera on panel, 137 x 138 cm, Museo Civico, San Gimignano
    San Gimignano
    San Gimignano is a small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena, Tuscany, north-central Italy. It is mainly famous for its medieval architecture, especially its towers, which may be seen from several kilometres outside the town....

  • Triumph of St. Thomas Aquinas (1471) - Tempera on panel, 230 x 102 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris
  • The Vintage and Drunkenness of Noah (1469-1484) - Fresco, Camposanto, Pisa
  • Histories of the Holy Virgin (1484) - Transferred frescoes, Biblioteca Comunale, Castelfiorentino
    Castelfiorentino
    Castelfiorentino is a comune in the Province of Florence in the Italian region Tuscany, located about 30 km southwest of Florence.The population is approximately 20,000 inhabitants...

  • Descent from the Cross (1491) - Oil on canvas, 180 x 300 cm, Museo Horne, Florence

External links