VILLAMENA, Francesco
(b. 1564, Assisi, d. 1624, Roma)


Italian engraver, who arrived from Assisi during the papacy of Sixtus V. He was a pupil of Cornelis Cort, whose engravings he copied, and was associated in his youth with Agostino Carracci.

His early dated prints are after designs by Correggio, Ventura Salimbeni, and Antonio Tempesta. In 1596 Villamena was commissioned by pope Clement VIII for a number of engravings of religious subjects. He made few original engravings but reproduced designs of artists including Raphael, Paolo Veronese, Federico Barocci, Girolamo Muziano and Giulio Romano. After 1600 he published several prints, some of them his own design.

His output also included frontispieces and book illustrations. Closely related to such northern late adherents of Mannerism as Hendrick Goltzius and Jacques Bellange, he employed an elegant and expressive calligraphic style with perfect control of the burin. In addition to religious and historical subjects, he executed portraits, notably a series of genre figures. In 1594 he executed a series of engravings illustrating scenes from the Life of St Francis. His oeuvre comprised at least one hundred plates.