(b. 1559, Passignano, d. 1638, Firenze)


Italian painter, originally Domenico Cresti. Around the age of nine he was sent to Florence, where, according to Baldinucci, he studied first with Girolamo Macchietti and then with Giovan Battista Naldini. His most important teacher, however, was Federico Zuccaro with whom he worked, from 1575 to 1579, on completing the decoration of the interior of the cupola at the cathedral, which had been left unfinished at the death of Giorgio Vasari in 1574. In 1580 Passignano accompanied Zuccaro to Rome, staying there two years. No works are known from this period, but a few are extant from the following years spent in Venice (1582-88), where exposure to the works of Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and Palma Giovane seems to have enhanced his use of colour and added a rich atmospheric quality to his Florentine style.

Passignano traveled often to Rome and worked for several popes, from Gregory XIII to Sixtus V and Clement VIII. Eventually he, together with Santi di Tito, became the ideological point of reference in the assignment of all large pictorial commissions of a religious nature. He was actively at work in St. Peter's Basilica under Urban VIII in the second decade of the seventeenth century. At the same time he made frequent return trips to Florence and in fact died there in 1638.

In Florence, he painted frescoes of the Translation and Funeral of Saint Antoninus (1589) for the Cappella Salviati in San Marco and Preaching of John the Baptist (1590) for San Michele Visdomini. He painted a Nativity (1594) for Lucca's Duomo di San Martino. Other works can be found in church of San Frediano in Pisa as fresco and in Uffizi Gallery. He painted famous portraits of Galileo and Michelangelo.