Girolamo di Benvenuto
Sienese, 1470 - 1524
Girolamo di Benvenuto di Giovannidel Guasta

Biography

The son of Benvenuto di Giovanni, Girolamo was born in Siena in 1470 and died there in 1524. He trained with his more successful father and collaborated with him on many projects. His first known independent work, the Assumption of the Virgin of 1498 (Museo Civico, Montalcino), displays the elongated columnar figures with devoutly placid expressions which are characteristic of his style. Firmly rooted in the Sienese tradition, Girolamo was a contemporary of Pacchiarotto, Girolamo Genga, Fungai, and Pinturicchio, with whose works he must have been familiar.

Girolamo is at his best in the signed and dated altarpiece The Madonna of the Snow of 1508, now in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena. Here his painstaking modeling and deep saturated palette produce a rather somber picture enlivened by the individualized Saint Catherine in the left foreground. This figure reveals a talent for intimate and careful observation which is also evident in his two extant portraits (National Gallery of Art, Washington, and Kisters Collection, Kreuzlingen).

Extant pictures and documents suggest the artist devoted himself primarily to religious paintings, but was also adept in the narrative secular subjects that were so popular on cassone panels and other decorative items. In 1515 he is documented to have painted a second Assumption of the Virgin, for the church of Fontegiusta in Siena, in which he presents a livelier composition while remaining true to the gentle canons of the Sienese quattrocento.[1] [This is the artist's biography published, or to be published, in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]

[1] For documents concerning Girolamo see Gaetano Milanesi, Documenti per la storia dell'arte senese, 3 vols. (Siena, 1854-1856; reprinted Holland, 1969), 3 (1856): 47-48, 70, 78-80.

Bibliography

1986
Angelini, Alessandro. In La pittura in Italia. Il Quattrocento. Ed. Federico Zeri. 2 vols. Milan, 1986: 2:649-650.
2003
Boskovits, Miklós, and David Alan Brown, et al. Italian Paintings of the Fifteenth Century. The Systematic Catalogue of the National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 2003: 337.