Francesco Furini Personification of Poetry About 1633


Born 1603
Died 1646
Nationality Italian

Furini was one of the most successful Florentine painters of the seventeenth century. He undertook few public commissions, producing mainly small and medium sized gallery pictures for private clients. He is best known for his many works featuring sensuous female nudes, with subjects drawn mainly from classical mythology and the Old Testament, and for his slightly blurry, sfumato modelling of flesh. Unusually at this date, he made many drawings from female as well as male life models. Furini trained initially under two of the leading Florentine painters of the day, Domenico Passignano and Giovanni Biliverti, but moved to Rome in 1619 at the age of sixteen and entered the studio of the Caravaggesque painter Bartolomeo Manfredi. In 1623 he collaborated with another Florentine, Giovanni da San Giovanni, on a ceiling fresco for the Palazzo Bentivoglio. Back in Florence, he received commissions from several of the most eminent noble families, among them the Strozzi, Salviati, Riccardi and the ruling Medici. For the latter he painted several easel pictures and two large lunette frescoes in the Palazzo Pitti. By 1633 Furini had taken religious orders and was appointed priest of Sant’Ansano in the Mugello north of Florence, but he continued to paint, including nudes.