Perueino, Pietro Vanuoci

Perueino, Pietro Vanuoci a celebrated Italian painter, was born of very humble parentage at Citta della Pieve, in Umbria, about 1446, but as he established himself in the neighboring and more important city of Perugia, he is commonly called II Perugino. It is generally thought that he studied under AndreaVerocchio at Florence. He executed numerous excellent works in various cities. particularly in Florence, Siena, Pavia, Naples, Bologna, Rome. and Perugia. Sixtus IV employed him in the Cappella Sistina; and his fresco of Christ giving the Keys to Peter is by far the best of those painted on the side-walls of that chapel, Perugino also, along with other contemporary painters, decorated the stanze of the Vatican; and his works there are the only frescos that were spared when Raffaelle was commissioned to substitute his own works for those formerly painted on the walls and ceilings. The fact of his having had Raffaelle for his pupil has no doubt in one way increased the reputation of Perugino, but it has also in some degree tended to lessen it, as in many of his best productions the work of Raffaelle is confidently pointed out by connoisseurs, and, indeed, many important pictures at one time acknowledged as Perugino's are now ascribed to his great pupil. His high standing as a painter, however, is established by many admirable works, in which no hand superior to his own could have operated; and, with the exception, perhaps, of Francia, who in some respects is esteemed his equal, he is now acknowledged as the ablest of the masters of that section of the early Italian school in which religious feeling is expressed with great tenderness, in pictures remarkable for delicate execution. Perugino's works are also distinguished by rich and warm coloring. One of his most celebrated paintings, The Bewailing of Christ, is now in the Pitti gallery at Florence. An excellent example of his work may be studied in the collection of the National Gallery, London (No. 288), The Virgin adoring the Infant Christ. In the New York Historical Society theme is a painting of his, The Adoration of the Infant Jesus, and in Yale College there is one on The Baptism of Christ. Perugino's reputation was high, when the introduction of the cinquecento style, by Leonardo and Michael Angelo, tended to throw into the shade the art of the earlier masters. Disputes ran high between the leaders of the old and new styles, and Michael Angelo is said to have spoken contemptuously of Perugino's powers. This, of course, has biased Vasari's opinion in his estimate of the opponent of his idol, but Perugino's reputation is nevertheless great, and his works are much esteemed. Raffaelle was about twelve years of age when he was entered as a pupil with Perugino, who was then (1495) engaged on the frescos in the Sala del Cambia (the Exchange) at Perugia. Perugino died at Castello di Fontignano, near Perugia, in 1524. See Spooner, Biog. Hist. of the Fine Arts, s.v. Lond. Rev. 1854, pt. 2:256.

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