The rediscovery of the artistic personality of Pietro Orioli is credited to Alessandro Angelini, who was able to demonstrate in two successive articles in Prospettiva in 19821 that the body of paintings previously attributed to the retardataire personality of Giacomo Pacchiarotto (1470-1540), was instead the work of Pietro di Francesco Orioli. The physiognomy and delicate description of the faces in the present sheet recall some of Orioli’s distinctive features, and his rounded modelling of the figures. The Pope’s draped mantle falling heavily in folds, covering his knees and beyond, add a three-dimensional substance to this figure, and also provide a sense of animation, reinforcing the importance of his pivotal role in the composition. The heavy geometric folds are also a focus for the use of light, which is a key element in the sculptural effect achieved with the subtle application of wash and white heightening. This type of drapery clearly reveals the understanding of studies that were common in the Florentine botteghe in the second half of the fifteenth century. According to Alessandro Angelini, Orioli visited Florence in the early 1480’s.2 He was particularly influenced by the work of Domenico Ghirlandaio and Piero di Cosimo. Orioli seems to have enriched his repertoire looking both at Umbrian and Florentine Masters
No drawings have previously been attributed to Pietro Orioli who was born in 1458, and trained most probably in the workshop of Matteo di Giovanni. Orioli seems to have been a highly devout man and apparently admired by his contemporaries both for the sanctity of his life, and his artistic talents. He often executed small religious worsk on panel for private devotion.
The rounded shape of the present drawing and its size, could also strengthen the suggestion that this highly finished compositional study was executed to be embroidered on a religious garment.
1. A. Angelini, 'Da Giacomo Pacchiarotto a Pietro Orioli.', Prospettiva, no. 29 (1982), pp. 72-78; idem, ''Pietro Orioli e il momento urbinate'della pittura senese del Quattrocento.'', Prospettiva, no. 30 (1982), pp. 30-43
2. ibidem, pp. 31-32
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