Berretini da Cortona, Pietro


Berretini da Cortona, Pietro
(1597-1669)
   Tuscan painter and architect who trained in Florence in the studio of the Mannerist Andrea Commodi. In c. 1612, Commodi took Cortona to Rome and placed him in the workshop of his colleague Baccio Ciarpi. Sometime in the 1620s, Cortona came into contact with the Sacchetti, good friends of Pope Urban VIII, who became his most important early patrons. In c. 1623-1624, he rendered for them his Triumph of Bacchus and, in c. 1629, the Rape of the Sabine Women (both Rome, Capitoline Museum), two works that show Cortona's close affinity to Venetian colorism and loose brushwork. In 1633, Cortona was working for the Barberini, Urban's family, creating for them one of his most important works, the Glorification of the Reign of Urban VIII, in the grand salon of their palazzo in Rome. This dynamic composition, with figures weaving in and out of the quadratura framework, is one of the grand masterpieces in the history of ceiling painting. Cortona's frescoes in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence (1637-1647), commissioned by Grand Duke Ferdinand II de' Medici, and the Palazzo Pamphili, Rome (1651-1654), painted for Pope Innocent X, are no less exuberant.
   As architect, Cortona seems to have been self-taught. Among his earliest structures is the Villa del Pigneto (late 1630s), built for the Sacchetti just outside of Rome, a structure fronted by complex terraces and stairways inspired by the ancient Temple of Fortuna Primigenia in Rome and Donato Bramante's Belvedere Court (beg. 1505) at the Vatican. Cortona also worked on several churches in the papal city: Santi Luca e Martina (1635-1664), a new façade for Santa Maria della Pace (1656-1667), Santa Maria in Via Lata (beg. 1658), and San Carlo al Corso (beg. 1668). Cortona was among the first to experiment with convex and concave architectural forms, which many of his buildings possess. His energetic compositions and illusionistic devices did much to facilitate the development of Rococo art and architecture, particularly in Germany.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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