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Matteo di
Giovanni

Italia 
1430−1495
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Matteo di Giovanni was born and raised in Borgo San Sepolcro. In 1452 the name Matteo first appears in Sienese documents. In 1457 he participated in the design of the chapel of St. Bernardin. To 1470м years Matteo di Giovanni has become quite the famous Tuscan artist. He creates large paintings and altar polyptych for churches, parts of which are now dispersed in museums and private collections. In 1477 Giovanni Chinoy, the first Bishop of Pienza, and close friend of Pope Pius II, made an order for the production of the altarpiece for the new Church.

Matteo di Giovanni was born and raised in Borgo San Sepolcro. One generation earlier in the same city where his now famous countryman — the artist Piero della Francesca. History is silent about what could be between them some creative relationship, but Matteo was certainly impressed by the paintings of Piero of Borgo San Sepolcro. It is known that in the mid-1440-ies, Piero della Francesca wrote the Central panel of the altar, "Baptism of Christ", which is now stored in the London national gallery, but her sash was painted by Matteo di Giovanni, however, was already in 1460 years. In 1452 the name Matteo first appears in Sienese documents; they are talking about the gilded wooden figure of the angel of Jacopo della Quercia in the Cathedral of Siena. In 1457 he participated in the design of the chapel of St. Bernardin in the same Cathedral. Nature of the work it is clear that there he worked as a student-apprentice. Researchers of creativity of Matteo di Giovanni suggest that he, as an artist, was formed in circle of Vecchietta. This assumption finds indirect confirmation in the fact that at first, in the late 1450's- early 1460-ies Matteo cooperated with Giovanni di Pietro, who was Vecchietti brother, so Vecchietta must have official favors this pair. However, there are researchers who believe that Giovanni and Matteo worked and studied the craft in the workshop [[Sassetta |Cassette]].

Throughout of his career, Matteo di Giovanni was influenced by different artists. Historical period, which accounted for his work, characterized by increases in the penetration of the Florentine elements in painting Siena and Matteo too has not escaped him. His later works one time confused with the works of Piero and Antonio Pollaiolo.

To the earliest works of Matteo considers the painting "the Mystical crucifixion" (1450е., Princeton University Museum). The piece is decorated in the traditional Sienese spirit — in the surreal space of the gold saints, leaning half of the body at the clouds, look to the crucified Christ. This painting was typical of the Sienese school of the first half of the XV century. The Sienese artists of the refused image space, they just dominated his image of a common goal or idea of the picture, so it has worked a variety. From 1460 years to have survived several Madonnas painted by Matteo di Giovanni. One of the most famous among them the "Madonna and child with angels and cherubim" (1460-65., national gallery of art, Washington). If you compare it with the "Mystical crucifixion", we can see the interest Matteo to transfer the illusion of real space, and the relationships of the characters. The picture is richly decorated with gold, and the figures in it are artfully arranged so that, overlapping one another, enough to create a natural effect. In the picture reigns true Paradise, peace, rare for his late work. Apparently, 1470м years Matteo di Giovanni has become quite the famous Tuscan artist. He creates large paintings and altar polyptych for churches, parts of which are now dispersed in museums and private collections. A Central panel of one of these is the polyptych preserved in the National gallery, London "the Ascension of Mary" (1474 g). It is a densely populated multi-figured composition shows a Mature craftsmanship Matteo in all his glory. The picture is not static, early works, it is full of vibration, it is a Renaissance holiday spirit, it brings with Florentine painting of the second half of the XV century. At the bottom is St. Thomas, which indicates the assumption of the virgin Mary after her death. In the upper part of the picture Mary is in heaven meets Christ in the company of the cherubim, and all this is accompanied by angelic music. "Ascension of Mary" — the Central panel of the altar, written by Matteo for the Church of San Agostino in Asciano, near Siena; the side doors of the altar depicting St. Michael and of St. Augustine is preserved in this Church.

In 1477 Giovanni Chinoy, the first Bishop of Pienza, and close friend of Pope Pius II, made an order for the production of the altarpiece for the new Church, built in honor of the recently canonized (1461) St. Catherine of Siena. Matteo di Giovanni wrote "Snow Madonna" at the foot of which stands the plea of St. Catherine. As well as the altar painting "Madonna of the snow" Sassetti Matteo in the predella depicted the founding of the Roman Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, and the snow which has unexpectedly dropped out that day. This painting still adorns the altar of the Church of Santa Maria delle Neve in Siena.

Matteo di Giovanni. The massacre of the innocents. 1482 Siena TS. Sant'agostino.

The most vivid works of the late work of Matteo di Giovanni are certainly the altar paintings of "innocents". Within a decade, Matteo several times referred to this biblical theme. Today the painting "massacre of the innocents" there are three options. One was written for the Church of Santa Maria a Formello at Naples, the other to the Siena Santa Maria dei Servi, Church of San Agostino, Siena. Still there are researchers who doubt the authorship of Matteo di Giovanni, believing that it is the work of Francesco di Giorgio Martini. From the time of the famous frescoes by Giotto, artists have often turned to this topic. The picture is full of dynamics and psychological stress. Chilling scene of child abuse with all its naturalism and terrible details are partially offset by Matteo has kids that are watching with interest the massacre through the arch as if it's not a terrible crime, but some kind of spectacle, like the medieval mystery plays enacted in town squares.

Matteo di Giovanni made a great artistic heritage, scattered through Italian churches, museums and foreign collections. Thanks to new research, the figure of the wizard emerges more clearly. His creative heyday was in the period when passed away all the great Sienese master of the mid-century, Sassetta, Domenico di Bartolo, Pietro di Giovanni d'ambrodzho. Matteo di Giovanni belongs to the largest Sienese masters of the late XV century.

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