Friday, August 23, 2019


La Madonna della Pace (detail) 

The Perugia School of Painters - those remarkable Umbrian artistic geniuses: Raphael (Raffaello), the eponymously nicknamed Perugino, and Pinturicchio- have left as their legacy among the most exquisite visages of the Madonna, the baby Jesus and saints. 
Here we see a closeup of a sublime portrait of the Virgin by Pinturicchio. Born Bernardo di Betto in Perugia in 1454, his nickname “il Pinturicchio” means “the little painter,” an attribute of his short stature. 
Vasari, in his Lives of the Artists, tells us that Pinturicchio trained as a paid assistant under Perugino, thus the eerie similarity between Pinturicchio’s Madonnas and those of the Master himself.
The Madonna here is indeed exquisitely rendered: the sensitive depiciton of her face, its ovoid shape channeling the oval of an egg, the seed that became her Son. The modeling is subtle and soft, her cheeks almost seem to have rouge on them, creating a vitality, a vividness, her half-lidded eyes portraying both a sensuality and a sadness, a presaging of knowledge of His future Passion and Crucifixion. The veil, in ultramarine, that alchemically transformed lapis lazuli, has a translucency even as it is as a deep blue. Pinturicchio captures the Virgin as if she were sitting directly in front of his easel. 

La Madonna della Pace 
The Madonna of the Peace 
Il PInturrichio (Bernardino de Betto)
c. 1490
Pinacoteca civica Tacchi-Venturi
Duomo di San Severino 
San Severino nelle Marche

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