Pietro da Cortona (Pietro Berretini) Landscape with Saint Mary Magdalen About 1630


Born 1597
Died 1669
Nationality Italian

Painter, architect and designer, Pietro da Cortona was one of the key figures in the development and dissemination of the Baroque style in Italy. As a creator of grand, integrated decorative schemes, involving fresco, stucco-work and gilding, he was unrivalled, and he was also a highly original and successful architect. He trained initially in his native Tuscany, and then from about 1612 in Rome. By the mid-1620s he numbered several of the great noble families of Rome amongst his patrons, including the Mattei, Colonna and Sacchetti, as well as the family of the reigning Pope Urban VIII, the Barberini. It was for the grand salon of their Roman palace that Cortona painted his most celebrated work, the huge illusionistic ceiling fresco of the Triumph of Divine Providence (1632-39). In the later 1630s and 1640s he created a series of sumptuous ceilings for the Medici family in the so-called Planetary Rooms of the Palazzo Pitti, Florence. His most important church commission was the extensive fresco decorations in the Chiesa Nuova in Rome (1647-65), and he also painted many altarpieces. Much of his later activity was devoted to architecture.