AMEDEI, Giuliano
(b. ca. 1446, Firenze, d. 1496, Lucca)

Biography

Italian painter and illuminator. He was a Camaldolese monk, he took his vows at the monastery of San Benedetto a Porta Pinti in Florence in 1447, and was ordained in 1453. He was trained as a miniaturist in the circle of Fra Angelico, whose influence extended into the precincts of the celebrated scriptorium of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence. While still young he transferred to the Badia at Sansepolcro, where he met Piero della Francesca, under whose direction he completed the predella and pilasters of the Madonna della Misericordia (Museo Comunale, Sansepolcro); the polyptych was left unfinished after Piero departed for Rome in 1459 to fresco the apartments of Pope Pius II. Through Piero, Fra Giuliano found employment in the Roman Curia, becoming one of the city's most prolific and influential miniaturists in the Rome of Pius II, the great humanist pope. He had less talent for monumental painting

His work is known from a signed triptych of the Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints (1460-67) in Santi Martino e Bartolomeo at Tifi, Arezzo (in situ). It shows the influence of the most fashionable Florentine artists of the time, such as Neri di Bicci, and such artists from the Marches as Giovanni Boccati and Gerolamo di Giovanni da Camerino. The most noteworthy aspect of the altarpiece, however, is its chromatic quality. This undoubtedly derives from the work of Piero della Francesca and has made it possible to identify Amedei as the collaborator to whom Piero entrusted the small predella scenes and pilaster figures of the polyptych of the Misericordia, a work that can be dated by the final payments made in 1462. It is also possible to attribute the illuminations in a copy of Plutarch's Lives (c. 1450; Cesena, Biblioteca Malatestiana) to Amedei on stylistic grounds.

His reputation seems to have been established primarily in Rome, although he maintained ecclesiastic benefices from the Arezzo area. As late as the 1490s many miniaturists came to Rome to seek their fortune, working on manuscripts under Amedei's supervision. Fra Giuliano's codices were commissioned mainly by prelates associated with the Curia of Pius II, and of his successors. His later miniatures, including the now dismembered missal of Innocent VIII, show a singular attempt to keep pace with the complex new style of the Sistine Chapel painters, particularly Ghirlandaio and Perugino, but his own artistic roots are always evident.



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