B I O G R A F Y
Perugino, Italian painter, founder of the Umbrian school, was born in Città della
Pieve in 1450 and died in Fontignano, Perugia, in February 1523. His real
name was Pietro di Cristoforo Vannucci.
The style of Perugino
is characterized by simplicity, purity and exceptional symmetry of composition.
Raphael another painter of the Umbrian school, was a pupil of Perugino.
He studied painting
with the florentine sculptor and painter Andrea del Verrocchio; he
may also have worked with the Italian painter Piero della Francesca.
An example of Perugino's early works is a fresco dated 1478, representing
Saint Sebastian, in the church of Cerqueto near Perugia.
By 1481 he was sufficiently
well known to be commissioned to paint frescoes on the walls of the
newly built Sistine Chapel, Rome, along with Botticelli Domenico
Ghirlandaio, and Cosimo Rosselli. His fresco “Christ Giving the Keys to Saint
Peter” (1482) is ranked as one of the greatest paintings from
the second half of the 15th century because of its simplicity and
clarity of composition.
In 1485 Perugino
became the honourable citizen of Perugia the city from which his name
From 1486 to 1491 Perugino worked mainly in Florence making a number
of trips to Perugia. Within the next fifteen years (1484-99) Perugino
attained his greatest success. His work was most in demand for religious
pictures, and he went from city to city painting altar-pieces or ecclesiastical
period (1505–23), centring mainly about Umbria, was one of great
productivity. He had many pupils and assistants, among them the youthful
Raphael. From 1496 to 1498 Perugino worked on the great altarpiece,
The Ascension, for San Pietro of Perugia. He also undertook the decoration
of the audience hall of the Cambio in Perugia, consisting of allegorical
figures and two sacred subjects, Nativity and Transfiguration. In 1500
he painted the altarpiece, Madonna and Saints, for the Certosa of Pavia.
Other works of the last period are Triumph of Chastity (Louvre), a
panel painted for the study of Isabella d’Este at Mantua; Virgin
between St. Jerome and St. Francis and The Adoration of the Shepherds,
his last work (both: National Gall., London); and Annunciation (National
Gall. of Art, Washington, D.C.).