MATTEO di Giovanni
(b. ca. 1430, Borgo San Sepolcro, d. 1495, Siena)
Italian (Sienese) painter, who originally came from Borgo San Sepolcro and he painted the wings and predella (Pinacoteca Sansepolcro) of the altarpiece of which Piero della Francesca's Baptism of Christ (National Gallery, London) was the centre panel.
Matteo is first documented in Siena in 1452, when he was commissioned to gild an angel carved in wood by Jacopo della Quercia for Siena Cathedral. In 1457 he decorated the chapel of S Bernardino there. The modest nature of these projects suggests that he was still an apprentice. In this period he collaborated with Giovanni di Pietro, the brother of il Vecchietta, which supports the hypothesis that his early training was in the circle of il Vecchietta.
His large surviving oeuvre exemplifies the development of Sienese painting in the 15th century from an emphasis on line and pattern to an early interest in the innovations of contemporary Florentine art. It has been suggested that he was first influenced by Umbrian painting of the mid-15th century, but he was already active in Siena by the early 1450s. This was a decade of transition in the artistic life of the city after the death of Sassetta, Domenico di Bartolo and Pietro di Giovanni d’Ambrogio and before the influx of new ideas during the pontificate of Pius II.
His style was elegant, linear, and decorative, revealing affinities with Pollaiuolo, and he seems to have been one of the most popular and prolific Sienese painters of the second half of the 15th century.