GIOVANNI DA SAN GIOVANNI
(b. 1592, San Giovanni Valdarno, d. 1636, Firenze)

Biography

Giovanni da San Giovanni (Giovanni Mannozzi), Italian painter and draughtsman. He was the most distinguished of the artists working in fresco in 17th-century Florence. An eccentric personality, he was attracted by the charm and informality of northern art and by a satirical approach to classical themes.

He went to Florence in 1608 to study in the workshop of Matteo Rosselli, where he learnt both fresco and oil painting techniques and drew extensively. In 1615 he painted two ceiling canvases of Putti Supporting the Impresa of Michelangelo for a room in the Casa Buonarroti and in the same period frescoed the dome of the church of the Ognissanti, Florence (completed 1615), with a choir of musician angels. He also painted five lunettes showing scenes from the Life of St Francis in the cloister (completed 1619; in situ). In 1616 his frescoed decoration of an Allegory of Florence (destroyed) on the façade of Cosimo II de' Medici's house in Piazza della Calza won him unexpected and lasting fame. His early works also included several tabernacles, made for patrons in the town and in the surrounding countryside. The Virgin and Child with Saints (1616; Florence, Via Faenza) and the delle Stinche Tabernacle, a Gentleman Distributing Alms among Prisoners (c. 1616; Florence, Via Ghibellina), survive.