Signorelli and the Sacristy of San Giovanni in Loreto

Luca Signorelli (Cortona, 1445-1523), one of the leading figures in Italian Renaissance art, was just over thirty when he painted the vaulted ceiling of the Sacristy of San Giovanni in Loreto’s Holy House.

The work was commissioned by Cardinal Girolamo Basso della Rovere, who recognized Signorelli – and was in good company doing so – as one of the brightest students of Piero della Francesca.

The Tuscan painter – probably helped by Perugino and by Bartolomeo della Gatta, a Florentine monk of the Order of Camaldoli who was also in touch with Leonardo, Botticelli and Ghirlandaio – frescoed the eight segments of the vault with eight musical angels, the four Evangelists alternating four Doctors of the Church, five pairs of Apostles, sometimes apparently discussing among each other, and scenes of the “Conversion of Paul” and of “Doubting Thomas”.

These two latter scenes – along with a third in which John points to a page in the Gospel for Peter, who is hunched and attentive, almost contrite, listening – are the ideal center of the whole composition, in a sort of representation of the concept of conversion.

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Signorelli and the Sacristy of San Giovanni in Loreto

Loreto (An)
Sanctuary of the Holy House, piazza della Madonna, 1
+39 071 9747155


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