A copy (?) of Jacopo del Conte's portrait of Michelangelo, original c. 1540. See the MMA 

here for more information on this. The photograph is from here.

Link to Bib


Vasari's Lives of the Artists

There is now living in Rome one who is certainly very excellent in his profession, Girolamo Siciolante [1521-1575] of Sermoneta, of whom, although something has been said in the Life of Perino del Vaga, whose disciple he was, assisting him in the works of Castel S. Angelo and in many others, nevertheless it cannot but be well to say also here so much as his great excellence truly deserves. Among the first works, then, that this Girolamo executed by himself, was an altarpiece twelve palms high painted by him in oils at the age of twenty, which is now in the Badia of S. Stefano, near his native town of Sermoneta; wherein, large as life, are S. Peter, S. Stephen, and S. John the Baptist, with certain children.

After that altarpiece, which was much extolled, he painted for the Church of S. Apostolo, in Rome, an altarpiece in oils with the Dead Christ, Our Lady, S. John, the Magdalene, and other figures, all executed with diligence. Then in the Pace, in the marble chapel that Cardinal Cesis caused to be constructed, he decorated the whole vaulting with stuccowork in a pattern of four pictures, painting therein the Nativity of Jesus Christ, the Adoration of the Magi, the Flight into Egypt, and the Massacre of the Innocents; all which was a work worthy of much praise and executed with invention, judgment, and diligence. For that same church, not long after, the same Girolamo painted an altarpiece fifteen palms high, which is beside the high altar, of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, which was very beautiful; and then in another altarpiece in oils, for the Sacristy of the Church of S. Spirito in Rome, the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, which is a work full of grace. In like manner, in the Church of S. Maria de Anima, the church of the German colony, he painted in fresco the whole of the Chapel of the Fugger family (for which Giulio Romano once executed the altarpiece), with large scenes of the Life of Our Lady. For the high altar of S. Jacopo degli Spagnuoli he painted in a large altarpiece a very beautiful Christ on the Cross with some angels about him, Our Lady, and S. John, and besides this two large pictures that are one on either side of it, each nine palms high and with a single figure, S. James the Apostle and S. Alfonso the Bishop, in which pictures it is evident that he used much study and diligence.

On the Piazza Giudea, in the church of S. Tommaso, he painted in fresco the whole of a chapel that looks out over the court of the Cenci Palace, depicting there the Nativity of the Madonna, the Annunciation by the angel, and the birth of Our Saviour Jesus Christ. For Cardinal Capodiferro he painted a hall in his palace, which is very beautiful, with stories of the ancient Romans. And at Bologna he once executed many works, and in particular a picture that is in Piacenza, painted for a chapel, wherein are Our Lady, S. Joseph, S. Michael, S. John the Baptist, and an Angel, of eight palms.

After his return from Lombardy he painted in the Minerva, in the passage of the sacristy, a Christ on the cross, and another in the church. Then he painted in oils a S. Catherine and a S. Agatha; and in S. Luigi he executed a scene in fresco in competition with Pellegrino Pellegrini of Bologna and the Florentine Jacopo del Conte. In an altarpiece in oils, sixteen palms high, executed not long since for the Church of S. Al---, opposite to the Misericordia, a Company of the Florentines, he painted Our Lady, S. James the Apostle, and the Bishops S. Al--- and S. Martino; and in S. Lorenzo in Lucina, in the Chapel of the Countess of Carpi, he painted in fresco a S. Francis receiving the Stigmata. In the Hall of Kings, at the time of Pope Pius IV, as has been related, he executed a scene in fresco over the door of the Chapel of Sixtus; in that scene, which was much extolled, Pepin, King of the Franks, is presenting Ravenna to the Roman Church, and is leading as prisoner Astulf, King of the Lombards; and we have the design of it by Girolamo's own hand in our book, and many others by the same master. And, finally, he has now in hand the Chapel of Cardinal Cesis in S. Maria Maggiore, for which he has already executed in a large altarpiece the Martyrdom of S. Catherine on the wheel, which is a most beautiful picture, as are the others on which both there and elsewhere, with much study, he is continually at work. I shall not make mention of the portraits and other pictures and little works of Girolamo, because, besides that they are without number, these are enough to make him known as a valiant and excellent painter.

Having said above, in the Life of Perino del Vaga, that the painter Marcello Mantovano worked many years under him at picures that gave him a great name, I have to say in this place, coming more to particulars, that he once painted in the Church of S. Spirito the whole Chapel of S. Giovanni Evangelista and its altarpiece, with the portrait of a Knight Commander of the same S. Spirito, who built that church and constructed that chapel; which portrait is a very good likeness, and the altarpiece most beautiful. Whereupon a Friar of the Piombo, having seen his beautiful manner, caused him to paint in fresco in the Pace, over the door that leads from the church into the convent, Jesus Christ as a boy disputing with the Doctors in the Temple, which is a very lovely work. But since he has always delighted to make portraits and little things, abandoning larger works, he has executed an infinite number of these; and among them may be seen some of Pope Paul III, which are beautiful and speaking likenesses. In like manner, from the designs of Michelagnolo and from his works he has executed a vast number of things likewise small, and among these he has depicted in one of his works the whole facade of the Judgment, which is a rare thing and executed excellently well; and in truth, for small paintings, it would not be possible to do better. For which reason, finally, that most gentle Messer Tommaso de'Cavalieri, who has always favored him, has caused him to paint after the design of Michelangelo an altar picture of the Annunciation of the Virgin, most beautiful, for the Church of S. Giovanni Laterano; which design by Buonarroti's own hand, imitated by this Marcello, Leonardo Buonarroti, the nephew of Michelangelo, presented to the Lord Duke Cosimo together with some others of fortifications and architecture and other things of the rarest. And this must suffice for Marcello, who has been attending lately to working at little things, executing them with a truly supreme and incredible patience.

Of Jacopo del Conte [1515-1598], a Florentine, who like those named above dwells in Rome, enough willhave been said, what with this and other places, after certain other particulars have been given here. This Jacopok, then, having been much inclined from his earliest youth to portraying from the life, has desired that this should be his principal profession, although on occasions he has executed altar pictures and works in fresco in some numbers, both in Rome and without. Of his portraits--not to speak of them all, which would make a very long story--I shall say only that he has portrayed all the Pontiffs that there have been from Pope Paul III to the present day, and all the lords and ambassadors of importance who have been at that Court, and likewise the military captains and great men of the house of Colonna and of the Orsini, Signor Piero Strozzi, and an infinite number of Bishops, Cardinals, and other great prelates and lords, not to speak of many men of letters and other men of quality; all which has caused him to acquire fame, honor, and profit in Rome, so that he lives honorably and much at his ease with his family in that city. From his boyhood he drew so well that he gave promise, if he should persevere, of becoming excellent, and so in truth he felt himself inclined by nature.

Nevertheless, his works cannot but be praised. By his hand is a Dead Christ in an altarpiece that is in the Church of the Popolo, and in another that he has executed for the Chapel of S. Dionigi in S. Luigi, with stories, is the first-named Saint. But the most beautiful work that he ever did was in two scenes in fresco that he once painted, as has been told in another place, in the Florentine Company of the Misericordia, with an altar picture of Christ taken down from the Crost, with the Thieves fixed on their crosses, and the Madonna in a swood, painted in oil colors, all beautiful and executed with diligence and with great credit to him. He has made many pictures throughout Rome, and figures in various manners, and has executed a number of full-length portraits, both nude and draped, of men and women, which have proved very beautiful, because the subjects were not otherwise. He has also portrayed, according as occasions arose, many heads of noble ladies, gentlewomen and princesses who have been in Rome; and among others, I known that he once portrayed Signora Livia Colonna, a most noble lady, incomparable in her illustrious blood, her virture, and her beauty. And let this suffice for Jacopo del Conte, who is still living and constantly at work.

I might have made known, also, many from our Tuscany and from oher parts of Italy, their names and their works, which I have passed over lightly, because many of them, being old, have ceased to work, and others who are young are now trying their hands and will become known better by their works than by means of writings. But of Adone Doni of Assisi, because he is still living and working, although I made mention of him in the Life of Cristofano Gherardi, I shall give some particulars of his works, such as are in Perugia and throughout all Umbria, and in particular many altarpieces in Foligno. But his best works are in S. Maria degli Angeli at Assisi, in the little chapel where S. Francis died, wherein are some stories of the life of that Saint executed in oils on the walls, which are much extolled, besides which, he has painted the Passion of Christ in fresco at the head of the refectory of that convent, in addition to many other works that have done him honor; and his gentleness and courtesy have caused him to be considered liberal and courteous.

In Orvieto there are two young men also of that same profession, one a painter called Cesare del Nebbia, and the other a sculptor, both well on the way to bringing it about that their city, which up to the present has always invited foreign masters to adorn her, will no longer be obliged, if they follow up the beginnings that they have made, to seek other masters. There is working at Orvieto, in S. Maria, the Duomo of that city, a young painter called Niccolo dalle Pomarancie, who, having executed an altarpiece wherein is Christ raising Lazarus, has given signs--not to speak of other works in fresco--of winning a name among the others named above.

And now that we are come to the end of our Italian masters still living, I shall say only that no less service has been rendered by one Lodovico, a Florentine sculptor, who, so I am told, has executed notable works in England and Bari; but since I have not found here either his relatives or his family name, and have not seen his works, I am not able (as I fain would) to make any other record of him than this mention of his name.

Return to Vasari's Lives of the Artists

This Web Site Created and Maintained by Adrienne DeAngelis