Giovanni Lanfranco (1582–1647) – painter of the Church triumphant

Giovanni Lanfranco, frescoes of the dome of the Basilica of Sant’Andrea della Valle

Giovanni Lanfranco, frescoes of the dome of the Basilica of Sant’Andrea della Valle

He was above all an excellent creator or frescos, but he also left behind a good number of altar paintings in Roman churches. In decorative art of the XVII century he played the role of an intermediary between the works of Annibale Carracci and the great Pietro da Cortona. These artists, along with a few others, created mature Baroque in Rome – art of the Church triumphant, which became a model for all Catholic painters and decorators of the time, in all of Europe.

Giovanni Lanfranco, frescoes of the dome of the Basilica of Sant’Andrea della Valle
Giovanni Lanfranco, Venus Playing the Harp, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Palazzo Barberini
Giovanni Lanfranco, paintings in the apse of the Church of San Carlo ai Catinari, pic. Wikipedia, author – AlfvanBeem
Giovanni Lanfranco, decorations of the dome of the Basilica of Sant’Andrea della Valle
Giovanni Lanfranco, Virgin Mary Appearing to St. Lawrence, Palazzo Quirinale
Giovanni Lanfranco, The Coronation of the Virgin Mary in the presence of St. Augustine and St. Jerome, chapel of the Buongiovanni Family, Basilica of Sant’Agostino
Giovanni Lanfranco, St. Peter Healing St. Agatha, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Palazzo Corsini
Giovanni Lanfranco, fresco The Council of Gods, Galleria Borghese
Giovanni Lanfranco, St Luke Healing the Dropsical Child, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Palazzo Barberini
Giovanni Lanfranco, St. Augustine Meditating on the Mysteries of the Trinity, Buongiovanni family chapel, Basilica of Sant’Agostino
Giovanni Lanfranco, St. Jerome healed by the Virgin Mary, Buongiovanni family chapel, Basilica of Sant’Agostino
Giovanni Lanfranco, Erminia Among the Shepherds, Musei Capitolini – Pinacoteca Capitolina
Giovanni Lanfranco, The Annunciation, Church of San Carlo ai Catinari
Giovanni Lanfranco, Manna from Heaven, Pinacoteca of the Basilica of San Paolo fuori le Mura
Giovanni Lanfranco, The Age of Bronze, Pinacoteca of the Basilica of San Paolo fuori le Mura
Giovanni Lanfranco,painting decorations of the salon ceiling, Joseph and Potiphar's Wife, Palazzo Mattei di Giove

He was above all an excellent creator or frescos, but he also left behind a good number of altar paintings in Roman churches. In decorative art of the XVII century he played the role of an intermediary between the works of Annibale Carracci and the great Pietro da Cortona. These artists, along with a few others, created mature Baroque in Rome – art of the Church triumphant, which became a model for all Catholic painters and decorators of the time, in all of Europe.

 

Lanfranco was born in a small town near Parma, but his painting education led him to Bologna where his skills were quickly noticed in the painting school of the Carracci brothers. Initially he studied under the tutelage of Agostino Carracci. Around 1602 he followed Annibale Carracci to Rome, decorating, along with him the Palazzo Farnese. At the same time the young painter completed church decorations, working under the supervision of well-known artists, including Francesco Albani and Guido Reni. Around 1609 he came back home, where he worked on altar paintings for various small churches. He returned to Rome once again two years later, competing with painters known throughout the city, especially Domenichino. A sort of artistic rivalry developed between the two. They were often called to complete painting works together, while their competition over Roman chapels, domes and altars, is practically a legend. However, Lanfranco became the favorite painter of Pope Paul V and his nepot – Cardinal Scipione Borghese. Diversity and ease in operating with various styles placed Lanfranco in a leading position among painters active in Rome at that time. At this moment his style changed – a liking for strong chiaroscuro contrasts appeared in his works.

After the death of the pope in 1621 the artist’s star diminished for a short period of time, however soon he began acquiring new significant commissions. The most prestigious one was the decoration of the monumental dome of the Church of Sant’Andrea della Valle. The artist surprised with a boldness of his design, mastery of colors and excellence in executing the hosts of the saints floating into the vastness of the clouds.

The rest of his life, apart from stays in Naples, where he also worked, the painter spent in the city on the Tiber – here he was nobilitated, got married and led a peaceful and stable life. He even bought a vineyard outside the city, where he built a small casino. After Lanfranco’s death, his workshop was taken over by his son. He was buried on the Trastevere, in the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere

The most important works of Giovanni Lanfranco in Rome:

 
  • Palazzo Farnese – fragments of the frescos The Loves of the Gods, along with master Annibale Carracci, 1605
  • Palazzo Mattei di Giove – frescos on the theme of the Old Testament – The Story of Joseph, 1615
  • Palazzo del Quirinale – decoration of the Chapel dell’Annunziata and Scala Regia (1616), together with Guido Reni, Cappella della Manica: Madonna with Child Appearing to St. Lawrence, 1617
  • Oratory of Sant’Andrea – frescos depicting St. Silvia and Pope St. Gregory I the Great
  • Church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini – frescos in the Sacchetti Chapel, 1624
  • Church of San Agostino – frescos and paintings in the Bongiovanni family chapel depicting St. Augustine and St. Jerome, 1613-1616
  • Church of Sant’Andrea della Valle – fresco in the dome of the church: The Glory of Paradise, 1628
  • Basilica of St. Peter – frescos in the Novicella Chapel, 1628
  • Church of San Carlo ai Catinari – decoration of the apse with frescos depicting St. Charles Borromeo, 1647
  • Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica – Palazzo Barberini Ursula and her Companions (1622), Venus Playing the Harp, 1630
  • Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica – Palazzo Corsini – Peter Healing St. Agatha, 1615
  • Galleria Borghese – fresco in the hall depicting Council of the Gods (1625), Noradino and Lucina Discovered by the Ogre, approx. 1624
  • Galleria Colonna – The Assumption of Mary Magdalene
  • Galleria Doria Pamphilj – Galatea and Polyphemus