FIAMMINGO, Paolo
(b. ca. 1540, Antwerpen, d. 1596, Venezia)

Biography

Paolo Fiammingo (Pauwels Franck), Flemish painter and draughtsman, active in Italy. He was registered in the Antwerp Guild of St Luke in 1561. By 1573 he was in Venice and an assistant in Tintoretto's workshop, where he specialized in landscape backgrounds (e.g. the paintings, 1579-80, for the church of San Rocco). From 1580 Paolo produced several series of paintings for the German banker and patron Hans Fugger (e.g. the Nine Planets, 1592; Munich, Alte Pinakothek). Paolo remained based in Venice, where he eventually opened a successful studio. As was customary, he made preparatory drawings for his landscape and figure compositions, sometimes pasting two together to change a design (e.g. the Temptation of Christ, c. 1596; New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery).

Although he painted many religious pictures, his reputation was based on a particular type of mythological fantasy derived from the example of Giorgione. He gave a Venetian softness and grace to the theme of Classical demigods in a landscape, and his dreamlike landscapes anticipate the Italianate Flemish school later associated with Paul Bril and Jan Brueghel the Elder, for example the late Landscape with Mythological Figure (1592-96; London, National Gallery) or Acqua (1580; known from two copies, both Rome, Museo Capitolino). The latter is one of the Four Triumphs of the Elements (Valencia, Colegio del Patriarca) commissioned by Fugger. Paolo's masterpieces in this field are the four stunning Allegories of Love (c. 1585; all Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum), comprising Amore letheo, the Punishment of Love, Reciprocated Love and Love in the Golden Age, the latter two of which became rapidly known through prints by Agostino Carracci.