JACOPO DI CIONE
(b. ca. 1325, Firenze, d. ca. 1399, Firenze)
Painter, brother of Andrea di Cione (Orcagna), Nardo di Cione, and Matteo di Cione (1330-1380). In 1366-67 he was to decorate the vault of a large chamber in the guildhall of the judges and notaries (destroyed), Florence. In the same period Jacopo probably created the altarpiece with the Crucifixion (1369-70; National Gallery, London), although the execution of the outer groups of figures and the mounted groups was left to Simone, a collaborator. As a result of his brother Andrea's illness, Jacopo took over some of his commissions. In 1368 Jacopo received the commission that had originally been awarded to Andrea for the altarpiece of St Matthew (Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence) for a pier altar in Orsanmichele. During this work, on 12 January 1369, Jacopo enrolled in the Arte dei Medici e Speziali; in 1384, 1387 and 1392 he was one of the consuls of the guild.
Documentary evidence shows that the polyptych (National Gallery, London; predella panels in various collections) from the high altar of San Pier Maggiore, Florence, was produced in 1370–71. Niccolò di Pietro Gerini was paid for the overall design of the extensive altarpiece in 1370, while Jacopo was apparently responsible for the execution of the narrative painting. The same collaboration between Niccolò di Pietro Gerini and Jacopo can be assumed to have taken place in the large panel of the Coronation of the Virgin (Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence) produced in 1372–73 to a commission by the mint of Florence; Simone, who had assisted with the London Crucifixion, is also documented as a contributor to this work.
In 1383 the fresco of the Annunciation between the patron saints of Volterra was commissioned from Jacopo di Cione and Niccolò di Pietro Gerini for the council chamber in the Palazzo dei Priori, Volterra; the work was completed in the same year. In 1390 Jacopo is recorded on several occasions as having procured marble for the workshop of Florence Cathedral in place of his deceased brother Matteo, an activity that seems to have continued until 1391. Jacopo acted as guarantor on behalf of the painter Mariotto di Nardo for the cathedral workshop on 2 May 1398, and his name appears for the last time in 1400 in tax records, without a payment figure, suggesting that the painter had died between those dates.
Jacopo's works show weaknesses in spatial projection and in the postures and organization of the figures. In addition, his mimetic and expressive range is limited. The idiom taken over from his brothers Andrea and Nardo became increasingly schematic and ossified. It is significant that until 1383 almost all the more important artistic works were produced in collaboration with Niccolò di Pietro Gerini. To this extent the documents confirm that Jacopo was rated far below his brothers by contemporaries; Ghiberti does not even mention him by name in his Commentarii. Many works have been attributed to Jacopo, although this is by no means convincing in all cases.