PENNI, Giovan Francesco
(b. ca. 1496, Firenze, d. ca. 1528, Napoli)


Giovan Francesco (Gianfrancesco) Penni, known also as Il Fattore, Italian painter, pupil of Raphael. Born in Florence to a family of weavers, Penni entered very early in Raphael's workshop, and collaborated with him for several works, including the Stanze of the Vatican Palace as well as the frescoes of Villa Farnesina, both in Rome. After the premature death of Raphael, Penni collaborated with Giulio Romano to the completion of works such as the Hall of Constantine, the Transfiguration, the Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin (1525) in Monteluce, and the Palazzo del Tè of Mantua.

The most ambitious projects that Penni undertook after the departure of Giulio was the supply of designs for a set of tapestries of the life of Christ, commissioned by Clement VII in October 1524 for the decoration of the Sala del Consistoro in the Vatican. For this extensive series Penni exploited a whole treasury of sources in the oeuvre of Raphael.

In 1526, he left Rome and rejoined with Giulio Romano, who had arrived in Mantua in 1524. According to Vasari, he was not well received by Giulio Romano. Soon began a long journey through Lombardy, Rome, to Naples, where he died in 1528. No work from the time following the visit to Mantua survives.

His brother Bartolommeo was an artist of the Tudor court of Henry VIII, and another brother, Luca, ended up as one of the Italian artists of the School of Fontainebleau.

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