The Lesser Known Lights of Italian Art

The Birmingham Post (England), August 30, 2006 | Go to article overview

The Lesser Known Lights of Italian Art


Byline: Chris Upton

If you're planning a trip to Italy this summer, you may want to check out the following artists. Georgio Vasari included them in his famous Lives of the Great Italian Painters, but was asked to remove them from his book prior to publication. I quote directly from Vasari.

Girolamo di Asbo

Genius is a rare gift and Girolamo did not have it. He studied in the school of Masa-ccio, but slipped out at lunchtimes and rarely came back. Masaccio asked him to paint two angels for his fresco in the Carmine church in Florence. But Girola-mo's angels were crude and used vulgar hand gestures and had to be painted over.

Canelloni de San Stephano

Canelloni was known as "the master of the art of perspective". So great was his mastery of the art that people used to walk straight into the walls that he had painted. Everyone who worshipped in the church of San Stephano had a broken nose and it was known as "the Boxers' Church" to spare their embarrassment. In later life Bernardoce painted himself a large villa next to the church and lived there as a recluse, since he forgot to paint any doors.

Damiano of Mantua

In the Trecento the Italian artists discovered tempera painting using egg yolks. Damiano of Mantua hit on the idea of scrambling the eggs first. Later he found a way of fixing rashers of bacon to the walls as well as very small sausages. In middle age Damiano gave up painting and opened a bistro instead.

Bossanova the Younger

Bossanova claims to have been the only painter to have worked with Leonardo da Vinci. Actually he worked after Leonardo, sneaking into the church when the maestro had gone home. Leonardo could never understand where all the extra figures came from, but attributed it to his failing memory. …

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