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Italian Renaissance Learning Resources

In collaboration with the National Gallery of Art

Savoldo, Giovanni Girolamo

[Giovan Gerolamo]

(fl 1506–48). Italian painter. Although called ‘da Brescia’ by himself and others, he is not known to have lived in Brescia, and the term may indicate his family origin or he may just have left the city in his youth. From at least 1521, until his death, he lived in Venice and is thus regarded stylistically as a painter of Venice, rather than of Brescia. More than any of his contemporaries, he specialized in pictures of single figures, both sacred and secular. Their imposing volume, which sometimes almost fills the frame, harks back to the 15th century, but they are made modern and animated by the use of vivid colours (often in masses of a single hue) and the importance given the environment by subtle lighting. He also painted wide-format portraits, which would have appeared similarly modern to his contemporaries. After his death, he sank into total obscurity and has been reinstated as one of the masters of the High Renaissance only in the 20th century.

Creighton E. Gilbert