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Alessandro Bonvicino

Italian painter (ca. 1498-1555)

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Bonvicino, ALESSANDRO (called IL MORETTO, or MORETTO DA BRESCIA), one of the finest North Italian painters of the sixteenth century, b. at Brescia about 1498; d. at the same place, 1555. It is said that he was a pupil of Titian, but it is considered more likely that he was but an earnest student of the works of this great master whose style he imitated so closely that many of his portraits bear well a comparison with those of the noted Venetian. It is known that he studied under his father, also a painter, and under Floriano Ferramola, and that G. Romanino had much influence over him. He himself had as a pupil that superb portrait painter, Giambattista Moroni. Bonvicino’s manner is most natural and attractive; his feeling, where necessary, most devotional, his color remarkable for its freshness and opulence, and his figures sympathetic and graceful. He was in his later life greatly influenced by Raphael. He assisted Ferramola in painting an altar screen for the old cathedral at Brescia and did similar work for Romanino in the church of San Giovanni Evangelista in that city. It was here, also, that he produced his notable painting, the “Massacre of the Innocents”.

Among his other church works at Brescia are the “Coronation of the Virgin”, and “Christ in Glory“, at Santi Nazzaro e Celso; “The Ascension of the Virgin”, “Five Virgin Martyrs”, and “St. Ursula”, in San Clemente; “The Majesty of St. Margaret”, in San Francesco; “The Enthronement of St. Anthony of Padua“, in Santa Maria delle Grazie; “The Virgin and St. Nicholas”, in Santa Maria de Miracoli; and “Christ in the House of Simon”, in Santa Maria Calchera. In the Brescia Gallery, among other works, is a “St. Nicholas of Bari”; in Venice at Santa Maria della Pieta is his “Feast in the House of Simon”; in the Uffizi, at Florence, are “The Descent of Christ into Hades”, “The Death of Adonis”, and a male portrait; at the Brera in Milan, “The Assumption“, “Virgin in Glory“, “Sts. Clara and Catherine”, and “St. Jerome and an Apostle”; at the Ambrosiana in the same city the “Death of Peter Martyr“. At the Louvre are “St. Bernardine and St. Louis of Toulouse” and “Sts. Bonaventure and Anthony”; at the National Gallery in London a “Virgin and Child with two Saints”, “St. Bernardine of Sienna”, and two portraits of Italian noblemen. In the Stadel Institute at Frankfort is the “Enthroned Madonna” with four doctors of the Church below, and there are examples in many other European galleries.


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