Pintelli, Baccio

Pintelli, Baccio a noted Italian architect, is supposed to have been a Florentine. He was very active in Rome in the pontificate of Sixtus IV (1471-1484), for whom he built, in 1473, the Capella Sistina, which contains some of the greatest works of modern painting. It is a simple rectangular oblong, with a vaulted roof: 132 feet 8 inches long, 43 feet wide, and 57 feet 10 inches high. The fresco of the Last Judgment, by Michael Angelo, painted in 1533-1541, for pope Paul III, on the altar-wall, is 47 feet 1 inch in height, and 43 feet wide. It is the especial chapel of the pope, and the Church ceremonies of the first Sunday in Advent and of the Holy Week are always performed in it; the scrutiny also of the votes for the popedom takes place in this chapel, when the Conclave is held in the Vatican. Before the execution of the Last Judgment, two horizontal series of paintings went around the chapel below the windows, of which there are six on each side; the upper is a series from the Old and New Testaments, illustrating the acts of Moses and of Christ; the second, or lower, consists of imitations of hangings, with the arms of Sixtus IV. The side walls remain as they were originally painted and on great festivals of the Church the painted hangings used to be formerly covered by the tapestries made for the purpose from the celebrated cartoons of Raffaelle which are now preserved in the corridor in the museum of the Vatican, built for them by Leo XII; they were placed in the museum by Pius VII in 1814, in the apartments of Pius V. There are twenty-two tapestries in all, but only ten are in the style and of the size of the cartoons at Hampton Court; the rest were not ordered or purchased for the Sistine Chapel. The subject of these ten is the history of the apostles; and besides the seven at Hampton Court there are the following three: the Martyrdom of St. Stephen; St. Paul in Prison at Philippi during the Earthquake; and the Conversion of St. Paul. The ten cartoons of these tapestries were executed in 1515 and 1516 by the order of Leo X, and Raffaelle received for them about fifteen pounds each. The second set of tapestries of the Life of Christ, which are larger than the others, are supposed, from their style and their bad drawing, to have been executed from cartoons made by Flemish masters, probably Van Orlay and Michael Coxis, from small sketches by Raffaelle, and certainly not from cartoons from Raffaelle's own hands. The two sets are called Della Scuolea Nuova and Della Scuola Vecchia, those ordered by Leo X being of the "Scuola Vecchia." The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is decorated with the frescos executed in 1512 by Michael Angelo, illustrating the creation of man, the fall, and the early history of the world. Michael Angelo intended to paint the Fall of Lucifer on the wall opposite the Last Judgment, but this design was never carried into execution. The whole series of illustrations would have represented the complete cycle of the creation and fall of man, and his final salvation, if this last design had been executed: it would have offered one vast "speculum humanae salvationis," as such a series was termed by the early artists of the Roman Catholic Church: it repeatedly occurs in early manuscripts. Pintelli was the principal architect of Sixtus, and he executed several other important works for this pope. Between the years 1472 and 1477 Pintelli erected the church and convent of Santa Maria del Popolo, in the church of which he built a beautiful chapel for Domenico della Rovere, cardinal of San Clemente, and, according to Vasari, nephew of Sixtus IV: he built a palace for the same cardinal at the Borgo Vecchio. About 1473- 1475 he built the old Library of the Vatican: Platina was installed by Sixtus as librarian in 1475. Pintelli restored also the hospital of Santo Spirito in Sassia, which was burned down in 1741. He built also the Ponte Sisto over the Tiber; the churches San Pietro in Vinculis, Sant' Agostino, Santa Maria della Pace, and Sant' Apostolo (since rebuilt); and probably San Pietro in Montorio and San Jacopo were built from his designs. In 1480 Pintelli strengthened the celebrated church and convent of San Francisco at Assisi by raising enormous buttresses against the northern walls. Dr. Gaye (Kunstblatt, 1836) attributes some other works in Rome to Pintelli, and he has shown that after the death of Sixtus, in 1484, he went to Urbino to continue the ducal palace of Urbino, which Lucianus Lauralna of Slavonia had been engaged upon from 1468 until 1483, for Federico II, duke of Urbino. Pintelli may have remained at Urbino until 1491, when he built the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie at Sinigaglia, for the duke Giovanni della Rovere. He probably died at Urbino, where he was apparently naturalized, as he took the surname of Urbinas. He appears to have been influenced by the style of Brunelleschi in his designs, in which there are still characteristics of the previously prevailing pointed architecture. His works are said to be well constructed, as appears from the cupola of Sant' Agostino and the Ponte Sisto, still in a perfect state of preservation.

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