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Domenico di Pace Beccafumi


"The official painter to the Sienese Republic"

Italian Renaissance Painter and Sculptor of the Sienese School

Stylistically influenced by the following painters and art styles ; Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia,  Leonardo da Vinci, and Sassetta

Mediums - panel painting, mosaic, wood, manuscript illuminator, marble and fresco

Cause of Death - Old Age

He was born to a poor peasant family and later adopted by  his patron, Lorenzo Beccafumi. Factual details of his youth and artistic training are extremely scanty.
The intense emotionalism and spirituality of Domenico di Pace Beccafumi's art marks him as one of the last and greatest painters of the Sienese School. The prevailing characteristic of his work being intense colour and spatial inventiveness. Beccafumi's figures express spontaneous, unfettered joyfulness--passionate emotions that are not contrived or distracted.  His work is bold, exploratory and intense.  He explored in his  art a new world of emotion and passion, but with a lyricism and profound sensitivity to color.

According to noted art historian and author, Bernhard Berenson
''The growing delight in life with the consequent love of health, beauty, and joy were felt more powerfully in Venice than anywhere else in Italy. The explanation of this may be found in the character of the Venetian government which was such that it gave little room for the satisfaction of the passion for personal glory, and kept its citizens so busy in duties of state that they had small leisure for learning. Some of the chief passions of the Renaissance thus finding no outlet in Venice, the other passions insisted all the more on being satisfied. Venice, moreover, was the only state in Italy which was enjoying, and for many generations had been enjoying, internal peace. This gave the Venetians a love of comfort, of ease, and of splendor, a refinement of manner, and humaneness of feeling, which made them the first really modern people in Europe. Since there was little room for personal glory in Venice, the perpetuators of glory, the Humanists, found at first scant encouragement there, and the Venetians were saved from that absorption in archeology and pure science which overwhelmed Florence at an early date. This was not necessarily an advantage in itself, but it happened to suit Venice, where the conditions of life had for some time been such as to build up a love of beautiful things. As it was, the feeling for beauty was not hindered in its natural development. Archeology would have tried to submit it to the good taste of the past, a proceeding which rarely promotes good taste in the present. Too much archeology and too much science might have ended in making Venetian art academic, instead of letting it become what it did, the product of a natural ripening of interest in life and love of pleasure. In Florence, it is true, painting had developed almost simultaneously with the other arts, and it may be due to this very cause that the Florentine painters never quite realized what a different task from the architect's and sculptor's was theirs. At the time, therefore, when the Renaissance was beginning to find its best expression in painting, the Florentines were already too much attached to classical ideals of form and composition, in other words, too academic, to give embodiment to the throbbing feeling for life and pleasure."

Domenico di Pace Beccafumi subjects, like his predecessors, are all religious ? the Virgin Mary, the Life of Christ, the Apostles, Angeles and the Life of St. Francis.

Changes in Society

The newly emerging painting techniques and styles were a reflection of the transformation that was taking place in Europe, the change from the medieval period to a more enlightened, tolerant society. Artists of the Renaissance were elevated in social standing and their art was no longer looked upon as simple handicrafts, but as divinely inspired creations. The spirit of an era awoke, revitalized with knowledge and creativity. The major painters of the Renaissance were not only artists but men of great genius who gave the world their great intellectual gifts. Florentine and Venetian painting were both formed by extraordinary personalities. These men tackled mathematical, artistic and philosophical problems of the highest interest, and presented solutions that have never lost their value. Leonardo da Vinci asserted "In dealing with a scientific problem, I first arrange several experiments, and then show with reasons why such an experiment must necessarily operate in this and in no other way. This is the method which must be followed in all research upon the phenomenon of nature. We must consult experience in the variety of cases and circumstances until we can draw from them a general rule that is contained in them. And for what purposes are these rules good? They lead us to further investigations of nature and to creations of art. They prevent us from deceiving ourselves and others by promising results which are not obtainable."

Key Descriptive Words  and Phrases associated with the Renaissance Movement rebirth, rediscovery of the classical world,  publication of Della Pittura, a book about the laws of mathematical perspective for artists,  sfumato, chiaroscuro, Savonarola, spiritually significant,  illuminated manuscriptidealized biblical themes, scriptorium, illuminator,  Age of Discovery, axonometric drawing, curiosity about the natural world,  realistic use of colours and lightBonfire of the Vanities, Old Testament stories, ethereal and foggy backgrounds, Gospel parables, The Blackdeath, romanticized landscapes,  Christian symbolism.


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Top 10 Best Quotes About Art

A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.
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I dream my painting and I paint my dream.   Vincent Van Gogh

I shut my eyes in order to see.  Paul Gauguin

The painter has the Universe in his mind and hands.  
Leonardo da Vinci

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.   Edgar Degas

Absinthe is the only decent drink that suits an artist.  
Paul Gauguin

Color is my daylong obsession, joy, and torment. Claude Monet

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.  
Leonardo da Vinci

Art is either revolution or plagiarism.  
Paul Gauguin

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.  Michelangelo

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 The History of Art And The Curious Lives of Famous Painters