By: Amy Fredrickson
On this day in 1516, Florentine painter Biagio d’Antonio dei Tucci died. He was a prolific artist who was successful both in his native Florence and in other places in Italy; yet, he is often omitted from literature. His works were often confused with, and credited to more renowned artists like Perugino, Botticelli, and Ghirlandaio. Like Biagio, these artists also worked in Rome and decorated the Sistine Chapel during the 1480s. A similar instance occurred with commissions in Faenza, where Biagio was confused with the painters Andrea Utili and Giovanni Battista Utili who, coincidently, also resided in the town and painted cassoni.
As a result, scholars know little about Biagio’s early training. His style exhibits Florentine’s innovations of the late fifteenth-century, such as Fra Fillipo Lippi’s linear style of modeling, Verrocchio’s sculptural influence, and the integration of Netherlandish coloring. Biagio’s connection to Verrocchio is unknown, yet it is confirmed that he collaborated with the painter Cosimo Rosselli in 1470. At this point though, he was a fully trained artist.
Biagio specialized in works for domestic interiors, such as religious panel paintings featuring the Madonna and Child and decorative wedding chests exhibiting biblical and mythological scenes. Biagio favored rich colors that illuminated his subject matter. By 1472, he shared a workshop with Jacopo del Sellaio, with whom he collaborated on cassoni commissions. He established a large studio in Faenza by 1476, which he maintained for about thirty years.
While he was based in Faenza, Biagio traveled to various Italian cities to assist other artists on large commissions. For example, he aided Pietro Perugino with paintings in the Palazzo della Signoria. Then, between 1481 and 1482, he worked with Cosimo Rosselli on frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Their works included The Last Supper and most likely The Crossing of the Red Sea.
Documents prove that he was still active in 1504 when he painted an altarpiece for the widow of Vincenzo Bazzolini depicting the Madonna and Child with Saints John the Evangelist and Anthony of Padua for the church of San Francesco in Faenza. After 1504, it is unknown whether he had other commissions or if he returned to Florence. Biagio d’Antonio dei Tucci died on June 1, 1516.
“BIAGIO D’antonio Da Firenze In “Dizionario Biografico”“. 2019. Treccani.It. http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/biagio-d-antonio-da-firenze_(Dizionario-Biografico)/.
Boskovits, Miklós, and David Alan Brown, et al, Italian Paintings of the Fifteenth Century. The Systematic Catalogue of the National Gallery of Art. (Washington, D.C., 2003).
Bartoli, Roberta, Biagio d’Antonio, (Milan, 1999).
Virgin and Child Enthroned with Five Saints and Two Angels, 1470-75, Tempera on panel, 168 x 178 cm, Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest.
The Triumph of Camillus, 1470-75, Tempera on panel, 60 x 154 cm,
National Gallery of Art, Washington.
Scenes from the Story of Io, 1480s, Tempera on poplar panel, 74 x 133 cm, Private collection.
Portrait of a Young Man, c. 1470, Tempera on wood, 54 x 39 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Portrait of a Boy, 1476-80, Oil and tempera on panel, 42 x 36 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington.
Madonna and Child, 1490s, Oil on panel, 45 x 38 cm
Madonna Adoring the Child with an Angel, c. 1475, Tempera on panel, 74 x 54 cm, Museu de Arte, São Paulo.
Crucifixion, 1482, Fresco, Cappella Sistina, Vatican.
Arrest of Christ, 1482, Fresco, Cappella Sistina, Vatican.
Scenes from the Story of the Argonauts, c. 1465, Tempera on wood, gilt ornaments, 50 x 142 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Chest and spalliera with the arms of Lorenzo Morelli and Vaggia Nerli (The Morelli Chest), 1472, Tempera on panel, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London.