Stefano di Giovanni bigraphy, stories - Italian Painter

Stefano di Giovanni : biography

Unknown - 1450
For the village near Livorno, see Sassetta, Tuscany

Stefano di Giovanni di Consolo, known as il Sassetta (ca.1392–1450 or 1451) was an Italian painter who is considered one of the most important representatives of Sienese Renaissance painting.Judy Metro, Italian Paintings of the Fifteenth Century. National Gallery of Art, Oxford University Press: Oxford, New York, 2003. p 621

A Miracle of the Eucharist

Sassetta was a fiercely pious man. It has been said by Andrew Graham-Dixon that Sassetta's early fifteenth-century painting of A Miracle of the Eucharist was not a work of art in the museum sense, but rather a threat: "Believe, or burn in hell forever.Andrew Graham-Dixon, Paper Museum: Writings about Paintings, mostly (New York : Knopf, 1997), 33. The painting is about the "marriage of righteousness and violence" and the "consequences of sinfulness, the perils of feigning faith and the power of God."Andrew Graham-Dixon, Paper Museum: Writings about Paintings, mostly (New York : Knopf, 1997), p. 34.

The figure in black in the painting is an unbeliever, who has been found out in the process of receiving Communion. The officiating priest offers him the host on a plate, which is pictured miraculously spurting blood. The unbeliever has been struck dead instantly, and the creature above his face is a tiny black devil which has swooped down to snatch away his soul to the depths of Hell. The other men pictured are Carmelite monks, caught in expressions of shock, amazement and disgust. They have become acquainted with their vengeful and savage God and it was Sassetta's intention that all who entered the church shook in the presence of their lord. His aim was to equally inspire fear and faith. The painting is a "carefully staged, meticulously created illusion" which commemorates the Miracle of Bolsena which is said to have taken place in 1263.Andrew Graham-Dixon, Paper Museum: Writings about Paintings, mostly (New York : Knopf, 1997), p. 35.

Sassetta's Altarpiece of the Eucharist was later divided between three museums (British, Hungarian and Italian), the Vatican, and a private collection.

The Borgo San Sepolcro Altarpiece

In October 1900 the Berenson family purchased three panels created by Stefano di Giovanni. The Berensons' collection consisted of St. Francis in Glory, flanked by the standing Blessed Ranieri and St. John the Baptist, which scholars determined are only a part of a complex altar which had now become scattered among twelve collections throughout Europe and North America.Fabrizio Nevola. “Reviews” Renaissance Quarterly (University of Chicago Press 2010). Vol. 63, No. 2, p 589. It is generally accepted by the art historical community that Sassetta’s San Francesco altarpiece was one of the largest and most expensive of the Quattrocento.Machtelt Israels, ed. Sassetta: The Borgo San Sepolcro Altarpiece. 2 vols. Florence: Villa I Tatti, 2009, p 302. The fact that it was produced by a Sienese artist in Siena, and shipped to the Tiber valley town in late spring 1444 also speaks to Sassetta's fame in his time period.

Bernard Berenson bequeathed many of Sassetta's painting from his Florence Villa to Harvard University, in what became the Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence.Fabrizio Nevola. “Reviews” Renaissance Quarterly (University of Chicago Press 2010). Vol. 63, No. 2, p. 590. A 3D computer-assisted reconstruction of the altarpiece's surviving parts is featured in , edited by Machtelt Israels and released in 2009.Fabrizio Nevola. “Reviews” Renaissance Quarterly (University of Chicago Press 2010). Vol. 63, No. 2, p. 591.

Controversy

There is some contention in the art historical community over which Sienese masters were directly responsible for what paintings. Scenes from the life of St. Anthony of Egypt have been questioned as Sassetta's own work, and critics such as Donald Bruce believe that near-equals, such as the Griselda master also deserve attention for their achievements in art of this time period.Donald Bruce, "Sienese Painting at the London National Gallery". Contemporary Review; Winter2007, Vol. 289 Issue 1687, p481.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine