Antoniazzo Romano

Italian painter. He was the leading painter of the Roman school during the 15th century. His first recorded commission dates from 1461 when he made a replica (untraced) of the miraculous Virgin and Child of St Luke in S Maria Maggiore, Rome, for Alessandro Sforza, Lord of Pesaro; by 1464 he was working for the papal court. Antoniazzo was influenced at first by the decorative manner of Benozzo signed and dated Gozzoli and by the local painters of Lazio. The central figures in his early signed and dated triptych of the Virgin and Child with Saints (1464; Rieti, Mus. Civ.) appear animated but stiff and artificially arranged. By the 1470s he had fully mastered the representation of three-dimensional form, stimulated by his contact with Melozzo da Forli and Florentine artists. The Umbrian painters Perugino and Bernardino Pinturicchio, who were working in Rome, also influenced Antoniazzo; his figures acquired gentle expressions and their garments were ornamented with decorative patterns. Nevertheless, medieval features survived right into his later works. The fresco of the Virgin and Child Enthroned (c. 1470; Rome, S Maria della Consolazione) shows attention to the naturalism of form but also retains the gold background befitting a miraculous image. The signed triptych of the Virgin and Child with SS Peter and Paul and a Donor (c. 1474–9; Fondi, S Pietro) demonstrates Antoniazzo’s skill as a portrait painter. The donor (probably Onorato II Gaetani, Lord of Fondi) is shown on a diminutive scale compared to the Virgin and saints, yet his features are striking. Antoniazzo was one of the three founders of the Compagnia di S Luca, the guild of painters in Rome, and signed the statutes in 1478. He participated in the fresco decoration of the Biblioteca Latina (now Biblioteca Apostolica) in the Vatican Palace with Domenico Ghirlandaio in 1475 and with Melozzo da Forli in 1480–81.

© Copyright 2000 Macmillan Publishers Limited.