By: Amy Fredrickson

Milanese painter and art theorist Gian Paolo Lomazzo died on 27 January 1592. Lomazzo trained with Giovan Battista della Cerva in Milan. In Rime, Lomazzo wrote that once he became independent he obtained several commissions for murals and altarpieces. In 1567, he painted an Allegory of the Lenten Feast for Sant’Agostino in Piacenza, an ornate dome of the Glory of Angels, and also a wall painting depicting the Fall of Simon Magus for the Capella Foppa in San Marco in Milan. Ambrogio Figino was his most prominent student. By 1571 Lomazzo retired from painting when he began losing his sight. Since Lomazzo could no longer paint, he dedicated himself to writing instead. Among his publications were Trattato dell’arte de la pittura, scoltura, et architettura published in 1584, and Idea del tempio della pittura published in 1590. His Trattato was referred to as the  ‘Bible of Mannerism.’ It is the most comprehensive publication on art theory from the sixteenth century. He divided Trattato into seven books, which he organized on the themes of proportion, motion, colour, light, perspective, practice, history, and lastly, a volume on Christian and classical iconography.  Lomazzo also provided practical details on art instruction. In 1598, Richard Haydocke published an English translation, called  A tracte containing the artes of curious paintinge, caruinge & buildinge; and, in 1649, a  French translation was also published. Many of his paintings were destroyed and his artistic contributions need further research.


Gian Paolo Lomazzo, Self Portrait, circa 1568. Oil on canvas. Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan.

Illustrated: book 1, title page, woodcut portrait of Lomazzo in Trattato dell’ arte della pittura, scultura et architettura. 1585, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.   

Gian Paolo Lomazzo, Angels in Glory, 1571. Fresco. Capella Foppa, San Marco, Milan. 

Annibale Fontana, Gian Paolo Lomazzo. 16th Century. Bronze, Victoria and Albert Museum


‘Lomazzo, Giovanni Paolo | Grove Art’, Oxfordartonline.Com, 2018 [25 January 2018]

‘LOMAZZO, Giovanni Paolo In “Dizionario Biografico”’, Treccani.It, 2018 [25 January 2018]

Further Reading: 

Kemp, Martin. ‘”Equal Excellences”: Lomazzo and the Explanation of Individual Style in the Visual Arts.’ Renaissance Studies 1, no. 1 (1987): 1-26.

Lynch, James B. ‘Lomazzo and the Accademia Della Valle Di Bregno.’ The Art Bulletin 48, no. 2 (1966): 210-11. 

Marciari, John. ’A New Drawing by Lomazzo for the Foppa Chapel in S. Marco, Milan.’ Master Drawings 50, no. 1 (2012): 71-78.

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