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Orazio Borgianni

(c. 1575—1616)


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(c. 1575–1616). Italian painter and etcher. He was born in Rome, but the presence in Catania (Villa Cerami) of his earliest known painting S. Gregory in his Study, signed and dated 1593, might suggest he was in Sicily during his youth. He went twice to Spain, c. 1598–1603 and again 1605–7; otherwise he appears to have been based at Rome. His style reflects the combined influence of Caravaggio, Lanfranco, and Jacopo Bassano. After an initial Caravaggesque phase, during which he may have painted the violent David Beheading Goliath (Madrid, Academia de S. Fernando), his palette becomes more varied and colourful in such pictures as the Birth of the Virgin (Savona, Sanctuary of Nostra Signora della Misericordia) probably painted c. 1612. In 1613 he sent an important group of paintings, including a vast altarpiece of the Assumption of the Virgin, from Rome to the monastery of Porta Coeli, Valladolid, in Spain. His late style from c. 1614 reverts to a stark Caravaggism: the Pietà (Rome, Palazzo Venezia and other versions); and the S. Christopher (Edinburgh, NG Scotland, and other versions); and his etchings of these two designs, that of the Pietà dated 1615.

From The Oxford Companion to Western Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Art.


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