PINTURICCHIO
(b. ca. 1454, Perugia, d. 1513, Siena)

The Annunciation (detail)

1501
Fresco
Collegiata di Santa Maria Maggiore, Spello

The artist included in the fresco his own portrait, emblazoned with his name, as a painting within the painting. What first catches the eye is the shelf just above it, on which books and other objects are arranged in the manner of a still-life. One of the books lies open. The white cloth draped decoratively across the front of the shelf casts a strong shadow on the wall, as do the candle and the wine carafe. These shadows presuppose some source of light from above and to the left, as do those of the two foreground figures.

Pinturicchio's self-portrait was patterned after the one by Perugino in the Collegio del Cambio in Perugia, the painting which was completed shortly before Pinturicchio worked in Spello. The two portraits are indeed so very similar that it would seem that Pinturicchio wished to establish a definite link to that earlier work, possibly so as to document his status as the pupil of the famous Perugino