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 Pietro Da Cortona  (1596 - 1669)

/ pee-AY-troe dah kor-TOE-nuh/
About: Pietro Da Cortona
 

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Lived/Active: Italy      Known for: baroque painting-religious subjects

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

An Italian painter in the High Baroque style, Pietro da Cortona was born in Corona, Tuscany, with the name of Pietro Berrettini.  He is best known for his fresco ceiling painting and for architectural design.  He also trained many artists who, in turn, promoted his Grand Manner style.

Many members of his family were artisans.  He apprenticed in Florence and then in Rome, where he joined the studio of Baccio Ciarpi.  Through influential papal connections, he gained prestigious fresco decoration commissions including the ceiling fresco decoration of Santa Maria in Vallicella in Rome.  He became one of the most recognized Italian artists of his time including election as Director of the Academy of St. Luke in Rome.  This was an association of artists who promoted themselves as being much more professionally than just mere craftsmen.

As a fresco painter, Cortona "was among the first of the fresco painters that dispensed with the architectural masonry of the roof, erasing it away with painted integral architecture and a broad, non-framed vista."  He also made anatomical plates, likely starting around 1618, with dramatic and highly studied poses.  They were not engraved and published until a century after his death.

Towards the end of his life Pietro Cortona devoted himself primarily to architecture, but he retained a strong interest in painting.  In 1652, he published a treatise that addressed issues of an ongoing discussion at the Accademia di San Luca with Andrea Sacchi (1599-1661) about the number of figures appropriate in a painted work.  "Sacchi argued for few figures, since he felt it was not possible to grant meaningful individuality, a distinct role, to more than a few figures per scene.  Cortona, on the other hand, lobbied for an art that could accommodate many subplots to a central concept. In addition, he also likely viewed the possibility of using many human figures in decorative detail or to represent a general concept."

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pietro_da_Cortona
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_of_St_Luke

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