(active 1370-1399 in Pisa)


Italian painter. A leading Pisan painter of the late 14th century, Cecco is first documented in 1370, when he helped restore frescoes in the Camposanto, borrowings from which sometimes inform his own work. In 1374 he signed a panel of St Simon Enthroned (lost) and in 1377 his earliest extant work, the triptych of the Pietà with Six Saints (Museo Nazionale di San Matteo, Pisa). The elegant melancholy of the saints and the pathos of the central group are typical of his whole oeuvre. Stylistic changes between this and his latest surviving signed and dated works, the polyptych of the Crucifixion with Saints (Museo Nazionale di San Matteo, Pisa) and a Virgin and Child with Donors (Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR), both of 1386, are hardly extensive, and the full pattern of his overall development remains unclear.

Cecco's stylistic origins probably lie locally, in close study of the Camposanto and under the influence of such painters as Giovanni di Nicola (active 1360). The impact of Sienese painting, for example the work of Luca di Luca di Tommè, may also be felt. The format of Cecco's Portland Virgin and Child closely imitates that of a Virgin and Child (Galleria Estense, Modena) by Francesco da Volterra (active 1343-71). This comparison emphasizes Cecco's move away from the monumentality of earlier Pisan painting in favour of more elongated proportions, a greater emphasis on linear decoration and a remote quality of facial expression. Design and handling are assured. The Scenes from the Life of St Ursula on the predella of the Crucifixion polyptych demonstrate considerable compositional flair and narrative invention.

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