(b. ca. 1440, Santacroce, d. 1508, Venezia)


Italian painter. A group of painters known as 'the painters of Santa Croce' emerged at the beginning of the 16th century in Venice. Though not all members of a single family, they all came from Santa Croce, a hamlet on the hills beyond the river Brembo, before emigrating to Venice. The painters can generally be grouped into two factions and they appear to have set up in Venice under two different workshops: the first was headed by Francesco di Simone and the other by Girolamo (active 1503-1556).

Francesco di Simone is recorded in Venice on 31 July 1492, the year in which he married Lucia Trevisan, thus providing a terminus post quem for his presence in the Venetian lagoon. Very little is known of his activity though his signed and documented works all date from between 1504 and 1507. His early works are heavily influenced by Andrea Mantegna and he often had recourse to the latter's compositions for his own, whilst his later works show the influence of Giovanni Bellini, particularly in his use of a colourful Venetian palette. Francesco di Simone went on to become the teacher of Palma Vecchio, Andrea Previtali and Francesco Rizzo; the last of these inheriting his workshop after his master's death.