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Definition: Perugino, Pietro Vannucci from Philip's Encyclopedia

Italian painter, an important figure in the art of the early Renaissance. He was a notable fresco painter. His Christ Delivering the Keys to St Peter, painted for the Sistine Chapel in Rome, did much to establish his reputation. He was also a skilled portraitist, and was well known for his altarpieces.


Summary Article: Perugino, Pietro (c. 1450–1523) from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Painter from Perugia. Early in his career, he was employed by Sixtus IV, most notably on the frescoes for the Sistine Chapel. Later he was based in his hometown where Raphael was his pupil. But, with his skills continually in demand, he also ran a studio in Florence and accepted commissions from Orvieto, Mantua, Siena, and Naples.

Perugino may have been a pupil of Piero della Francesca and was probably an assistant to Verrocchio, his style being formed at Florence. Frescoes in the Palazzo Communale at Perugia in 1475 were one of his undertakings. Sixtus IV commissioned him in c. 1469 to produce a fresco in the old basilica of St Peter's; subsequently, the pope employed him as one of the painters for the Sistine Chapel; he may have been in overall charge of the enterprise. One of his frescoes for the chapel, The Delivery of the Keys to St Peter, reflects his interest in creating a sense of space in his art.

His later works included frescoes for the Collegio del Cambio, Perugia (c. 1496), the Crucifixion with Saints (1496, Florence, Santa Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi), and the altarpiece Virgin and Child with St Michael and St Raphael (1498, National Gallery, London), in which, it has been speculatively suggested, there is a trace of the young Raphael's handiwork. Perugino's contemporary standing is reflected in the desire of Isabella d'Este to commission a painting from him; however, in this case, Isabella (or her advisor) insisted on providing unusually detailed instructions about the content and style of the painting that they left little room for invention on the part of the artist. The resulting painting is the Battle between Love and Chastity (1503–05, Louvre, Paris).

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