GIOVANNI DI PAOLO
(b. ca. 1399, Siena, d. 1482, Siena)
Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia, one of the most important Italian painters of the 15th-century Sienese school. He is chiefly notable for carrying the brilliantly colourful vision of Sienese 14th-century paintings on into the Renaissance. His early works show the influence of previous Sienese masters, his landscapes and his figures still reverberate with echoes of Duccio's work, but his later style grew steadily more individualized, characterized by vigorous, harsh colors and elongated forms. His art most beautifully reflects the 15th-century artistic conservatism of a commercially declining city.
Many of his works have an unusual dreamlike atmosphere, such as the surrealistic Saint Nicholas of Tolentino Saving a Ship (1455?, Philadelphia Museum of Art), while his last works - particularly Last Judgment, Heaven, and Hell (1465?) and Assumption of the Virgin (1475), both at Pinacoteca, Siena - are grotesque treatments of their lofty subjects. Giovanni's reputation declined after his death but was revived in the 20th century.