(b. 1397, Firenze, d. 1478, Pisa)


Italian painter, also known as Paolo di Stefano Badaloni. He enrolled in the Arte dei Medici e Speziali in Florence in 1429. According to Vasari, he was a follower of Masolino; this is confirmed by those works securely attributable to him, though they date from a later phase of his activity. They include a signed and dated fresco of the Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints (1436; Florence, San Miniato al Monte); a fresco of the Crucifixion Adored by Nuns (1447-48; Florence, convent of Sant'Apollonia), also signed and dated; a panel of the Assumption (1460) and frescoes of the Adoration of the Magi, the Annunciation and various saints (all Quarto, nr Florence, Santa Maria Assunta). Other frescoes include Stories of St Stephen (c. 1436-40; Collegiata, Castiglione Olona); frescoes in the left-hand chapel of the church of San Michele a Castellaccio di Sommaia, near Florence; and a signed Virgin and Child with Saints (Monte San Michele, Greve in Chianti). Two street tabernacles by Schiavo survive: the Tabernacolo delle Mozzette, near San Piero a Sieve, contains a Virgin and Child with Saints (c. 1437-38) while the Tabernacolo dell'Olmo at Castello, near Florence, bears an Annunciation and Saints (1447).

From 1420 until the mid-1430s Schiavo worked mostly on a small scale, as exemplified by the predella panels of the Visitation, Nativity, Adoration of the Magi (all Philadelphia, Museum of Art), an Annunciation (Berlin, Gemäldegalerie), an altarpiece with the Virgin and Child (Cambridge, Fitzwilliam) and the panel of Christ in the Garden and St Jerome in Penitence (Altenburg, Lindenau-Museum). This last shows a notable affinity with the work of Masaccio, whom Schiavo undoubtedly knew.

He was active in Florence and its territories as well as in Pisa, where he lived for a time. In January 1462 he painted a small altarpiece of the Virgin and Child with Saints (dispersed) for the nuns of San Domenico in that city. At this time he probably also painted a Christ on the Cross (Pisa, Museo Nazionale San Matteo). Schiavo's stay in Pisa was not permanent however, as his various Florentine works dating from this period attest.

Schiavo was a versatile artist: he was also active as a manuscript illuminator and supplied cartoons for embroiderers. His considerable skill as a draughtsman can be seen in the sinopie discovered after several of his frescoes were detached (e.g. Virgin and saints on the façade of SS Apostoli, Florence). While the re-use of stock drawings both by Schiavo himself and by his busy workshop makes his paintings easily recognizable, it also complicates the question of chronology. The repetitive and stereotyped appearance of many of his works may also be attributed to this practice.

His son Marco was also a painter who lived and worked in Pisa.

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