(b. ca. 1454, Perugia, d. 1513, Siena)

Death of St Bernardine

Cappella Bufalini, Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Rome

Pinturicchio was another possible pupil, collaborator, and competitor of Perugino. His career skyrocketed in Rome where he was active on paintings such as this one for a local church, and where he was later hired by the reigning pope, Alexander VI.

The Bufalini Chapel frescoes in the Aracoeli require special mention because they are so characteristic of Pinturicchio and because they represent a high degree of accomplishment. He treats here a fairly new iconography, the life of St. Bernardine, who was coincidentally his name saint. The Death of St Bernardine has a spatial stage that opens out onto a deep, irregularly shaped piazza. The architecture throughout is thoroughly up-to-date and elegant, recalling Perugino's treatment in Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter from the Sistine Chapel. The arrangement of the figures is uncontrived, almost accidental, with subscenes scattered throughout in the receding planes. Incidental naturalistic detail offers visual amusement, with the landscape in the distance treated with particular effectiveness. Pinturicchio had few peers among his contemporaries in integrating bright diversified vistas with his figures.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.