SALVIATI, Cecchino del
(b. 1510, Firenze, d. 1563, Roma)

The Visitation

1538
Fresco
Oratory of San Giovanni Decollato, Rome

This is a quintessential work of second generation Mannerism. It effectively demonstrates the key role that Salviati played in the evolution of the style in Rome. The oratory was decorated at various times by many other artists who were important in the second quarter of the sixteenth century. Salviati's painting can be viewed as a vast repertory of motifs not only in regard to the architectural backgrounds but (and above all) for the poses of the individual figures. He glacially interprets subjects and characters taken from classical antiquity. He also used judicious quotations from Raphael, especially his later works such as the Stanza dell'Incendio at Borgo. Salviati's draughtsmanship was impeccably perfect. He could conjure up new spaces merely by painting two characters entering a scene. Overall, however, the greatest impression he leaves is that of intellectual control over image and result. There is a strong overall sense of unreality connected particularly to the coldness of his colours.