Domenico Beccafumi Biography | Oil Painting Reproductions
1486 Montaperti, ITA – 5-18-1551 Siena, ITABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
The work of Domenico Beccafumi, who was active almost only in Siena, displays a series of different influences over the course of his artistic career. Consistent throughout is his search for magic, visionary effects, glancing light and shifting color in sensational compositions.
Domenico Beccafumi was born in Montaperti, near Siena, the son of Giacomo di Pace, a peasant who worked on the estate of Lorenzo Beccafumi. Seeing his talent for drawing, Lorenzo adopted him and commended him for learning painting from Mechero, a lesser Sienese artist. In 1509 he traveled to Rome, but soon returned to Siena, and while the Roman forays of two Sienese artists of roughly his generation had imbued them with elements of the Umbrian-Florentine Classical style, Beccafumi's style remains, in striking ways, provincial. In Siena, he painted religious pieces for churches and of mythological decorations for private patrons, only mildly influenced by the gestured Mannerist trends dominating the neighboring Florentine school.
Beccafumi a Medieval Believer of Miracles in a Renaissance Reality.
Besides painting, Domenico Beccafumi also directed the celebrated pavement of the cathedral of Siena from 1517–1544, a task that took over a century and a half. The pavement shows vast designs in commesso work—white marble, that is, engraved with the outlines of the subject in black, and having borders inlaid with rich patterns in many colors.
Compared to the equilibrated, geometric, and self-assured Florentine style, the Sienese style of painting edges into a more irrational and emotionally-unbalanced world. In his The Annunciation, the Virgin resides in a world neither in day or dusk, she and the Angel Gabriel shine while the house is in shambles. In Christ in Limbo, an atypically represented topic, Christ sways in contrapposto as he enters a netherworld of ruins and souls.
In his later years, his monumental altarpieces were replaced by more intimate work. But, his chromatism remains unchanged and unmistakable in its range of transitions from areas bathed in a warm light of those in shadow. Despite his overt experimentation, Beccafumi did not reject the models of the late fifteenth century and, in fact, was influenced by Perugino.
In Medieval Italy, Siena had been an artistic, economic, and political rival of Florence; but wars and natural disasters caused a decline by the 15th century. Domenico Beccafumi is among the last in a line of Sienese artists, a medieval believer of miracles in a Renaissance reality.
Art Movement History: Mannerism
Artists Influencing Domenico Beccafumi: Mechero