Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo

Born: 1480  - Death: after 1548    Located in: 16th Century Venetian Paintings

Little is known about this Italian painter from the High Renaissance, though he was sometimes also called, Girolamo da Brescia. It is possible his family was from the town of Brescia, but he was active mostly in Venice, with some evidence he may have worked in Milan and Parma. Some art historians consider him to be part of the Brescia School of painting, as several of his patrons lived there.

He is recorded as entering the Painter’s Guild of Florence in 1508, from there he settled in Venice. He was influenced by the Venetian style of the time from artists like Titian (1485 – 1576) and Lorenzo Lotto (1480 – 1556). This is most evident in his use of bright colors at times, and also his expressive textures. He was particularly skilled in depicting night scenes, having developed an intensive study of light’s effect. This can be seen in a 1534 piece he painted, Saint Matthew and the Angel, where there is brilliant use of fire light and also his Adoration of the Shepherds from 1540, which makes ample use of a cloud covered sky, filtering moonlight.

Most of his works were religious subjects, such as his Transfiguration, seen in the Uffizi Gallery, but he also has a few known portraits. Perhaps his most acclaimed work is his, Saint Mary Magdalen at the Sepulchre, which captures Savoldo’s brilliant lighting in the satin folds of Magdalen’s golden robe. Although the date of his death in unknown, the 16th Century writer, Pietro Aretino (1492 – 1556) documents him as being in Venice in 1548, but extremely fragile in his old age.

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