Biagio d'Antonio
Florentine, c. 1446 - 1516
Biagio d'Antonio da Firenze , Tucci, Biagio d'Antonio

Biography

Because of his many extant commissions in Faenza, the Florentine Biagio d'Antonio was long confused with two painters from that town: Andrea Utili and Giovanni Battista Utili. Recently discovered catasto documents confirm the artist's Florentine identity and reveal that his last name was Tucci. Influenced early on by Verrocchio, it is not known whether Biagio actually studied with that versatile master. He is first mentioned as a painter together with Cosimo Rosselli in 1470, when he must have already been fully trained. Like Jacopo del Sellaio, with whom he shared a workshop in 1472, Biagio demonstrates an interest in serene and remote landscapes as backdrops for both secular and religious figure compositions. In addition to producing large altarpieces and small devotional paintings, the artist specialized in works for domestic interiors, such as cassone and spalliera panels. In 1472 Biagio painted the decoration for two cassoni commissioned for the marriage of Lorenzo di Matteo Morelli and Vaggia di Tanai Nerli (Courtauld Institute Gallery, London). The artist's connection with Faenza is documented by 1476, when he painted the Adoration of the Child with Saints and Donors for the Ragnoli family (Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma). Biagio's lively colorism and the weighty solemnity of his large-scale figures bear the imprint of Ghirlandaio, with whom he must have been associated during work on the Sistine Chapel frescos in 1482; The Parting of the Red Sea, assigned to Rosselli by Vasari, may in fact have been painted in large measure by Biagio--here again associated with his old friend. As late as 1504 the artist was still working for patrons in distant Faenza: in that year he painted the altarpiece of the Madonna and Child with Saints John the Evangelist and Anthony of Padua for the Bazzolini family chapel in the church of San Francesco (Pinacoteca Comunale, Faenza). Although it reflected a range of Florentine influences from Filippo Lippi to Verrocchio and Ghirlandaio, Biagio's eclectic style remained constant throughout his career.

[This is the artist's biography published, or to be published, in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]

Bibliography

1999
Bartoli, Roberta. "Biagio d'Antonio." Milan, 1999.
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: 130.

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