Pacchiarotto, Jacopo

Pacchiarotto, Jacopo one of the most distinguished of the old Italian masters in art, was born at Siena in the latter part of the 15th century. He lived at Siena until 1535, when, owing to his participation in a conspiracy of the people against the government, he was compelled to flee. Lanzi says that he would certainly have been hanged had he not been protected by the Osservanti monks, who concealed him for some time in a tomb. He succeeded in making his escape, and joined II Rosso in France, where he in all probability ended his days not very long afterwards, as nothing further is known of him, and he does not appear to have left any works in France. There are still several excellent paintings, both in oil and in fresco, by Pacchiarotto in Siena. There is a beautiful altar-piece in San Cristoforo, and some excellent frescos in Santa Caterilna and San Bernardino. Speth takes particular notice of these frescos in his Art in Italy, and terms Pacchiarotto the second hero of the Sienese school — Razzi, called Sodoma, being the first. Pacchiarotto is also highly praised by Lanzi. In Santa Caterina is the visit of Saint Catharine of Siena to the Body of Saint Agnes of Montepulcian, in which are heads and figures worthy of Raphael. According to Speth these works can be justly compared with Raphael's alone; and he adds that designating Pacchiarotto as of the school of Perugino is only magnifying the injustice he had already undergone in having his works long reported as the works of Perugino. If therefore he were the pupil of Perugino, "what Perugino supplied was only the spark," says Speth, "which in Pacchiarotto grew into a flame." Pacchiarotto has suffered the same misfortune that many other excellent masters have undergone by reason of their omission by Vasari. About 1818 the king of Bavaria purchased two beautiful small easel pictures in oil and on wood, now in the Pinakothek at Munich, which are recognised as Pacchiarotto's extant masterpieces. The one represents St. Francis d'Assisi, with two angels in the background, and the other the Madonna and her Child, with four angels in the background. They are pronounced two of the best pictures in that rich collection. His works much resemble those of Pietro Perugino; at the same time they are more fully developed in form and are of wonderful force of coloring; in expression also many of his heads are admirable. See Lanzi, Storia Pittorica, etc.; Speth, Kunst in Italien, vol. 2; Spooner, Biog. Hist. of the Fine Arts,. vol. 2, s.v.; English Cyclop. s.v.

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