Perin del Vaga

Born: 1501  - Death: October 14, 1547    Located in: The Parmigianino Room

Perin del Vega, or Vaga, sometimes called Perino, is the nickname of the Italian Mannerist, Piero (or Pietro) Buonaccorsi. Del Vaga's style was renowned for his vitality and elegance. His paintings are considered important in the mediation between the Roman Raphaelesque (of Raphael) tradition and the emergence of Florentine Mannerism; with this he combined the manners of Raphael (1483 – 1520) and the Florentine, Andrea del Sarto (1486 – 1531). Many of his works were engraved, even in his own lifetime.

He was first apprenticed to a druggist, but soon passed into the hands of a mediocre painter, Andrea da Ceri, and when eleven years of age, to the more accomplished Ridolfo Ghirlandaio (1483 - 1561), son of Domenico Ghirlandaio. He was one of Ghirlandaio's most talented pupils and then under another mediocre painter, Vaga from Toscanella, the young Del Vega traveled to Rome. When first in Rome, he was utterly poor and with no clear prospect beyond journey-work for trading decorators. He was eventually entrusted with some of the subordinate work for Raphael in the Vatican. He then assisted Giovanni da Udine (1487 – 1564), a pupil and assistant of Raphael, in the stucco and arabesque decorations of the Loggie Vaticane, and executed some of those small, but finely composed scriptural subjects which go by the name of Raphael's Bible.

His work for Raphael was well regarded and he also painted, after Raphael's drawings, figures of the planets in the great hall of the Appartamenti Borgia, gaining him a position as a major assistant; second only to Giulio Romano (1499 – 1546). His solo works in Rome include the hall of Palazzo Baldassini, a noble building in the center of the city. His piece, Justice of Seleucus, now in the Uffizi Gallery, was taken from here; along with the fresco Tarquinius Superbus Founds the Temple of Jove. There was also his Pietà in the church of Santo Stefano del Cacco. After Raphael's death in 1520 and the 1523 plague, Del Vega eventually returned to Florence and befriended Rosso Fiorentino (1494 – 1540), from who he executed an admirable design of the artist’s, 10,000 Martyrs.

He was then commissioned by Andrea Doria (1466 – 1560), a Genoese Admiral, for work in the Palace of Fassolo in Genova and then in the Palazzo del Principe of Genoa. Among his principal works here are, the War between the Gods and Giants, Horatius Codes defending the Bridge, and the Fortitude of Mutius Scaevola, as well as the Shipwreck of Acneas, (no longer extant). He also traveled to Pisa for work in the Duomo. A year later he returned to Rome and frescoed the Pucci Chapel in the Trinità dei Monti for Pope Paul III (1468 – 1549). He retouched many works of Raphael in the city as well. He painted the decoration for the Paoline Chapel and other halls of Castel Sant'Angelo, frescoes in the church of San Marcello, a monochrome in the Stanza della Segnatura in the Vatican, as well as a cartoon of the Sistine Chapel. Del Vega was engaged in the general decoration of the Sala Reale, begun for Paul III, when he died in1547. His work in the Castel Sant'Angelo was continued by his student Pellegrino Tibaldi (1527 – 1596).

(This text is adapted from the entry on Perin del Vega, available under GNU Free Documentation license.)

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