Benvenuto Tisi

Benvenuto Tisi

Tisi, Benvenuto: see Garofalo, Il.
Benvenuto Tisi or Il Garofalo (1481 - September 6 1559) was a Late-Renaissance-Mannerist Italian painter of the School of Ferrara. Garofalo's career began attached to the court of the Duke d'Este. His early works have been described as "idyllic", but they often conform to the elaborate conceits favored by the artistically refined Ferrarese court.


Early training

Born in Ferrara, Tisi is claimed to have apprenticed under Panetti and perhaps Costa and was a contemporary, and sometimes collaborator with Dosso Dossi. In 1495 he worked at Cremona under Boccaccino, who initiated him into Venetian colouring. He may have spent three years (1509-1512), in Rome. This led to a stylized classical style, more influenced by Giulio Romano.

Invited by a Ferrarese gentleman, Geronimo Sagrato, to Rome, he worked briefly under Raphael in the decoration of the Stanza della Segnatura. From Rome family affairs recalled him to Ferrara; there Duke Alphonso I commissioned him to execute paintings, along with the Dossi, in the Delizia di Belriguardo and in other palaces. Thus the style of Tisi partakes of the Lombard, the Roman and the Venetian modes.

He painted extensively in Ferrara, both in oil and in fresco, two of his principal works being the "Massacre of the Innocents" (1519), in the church of S. Francesco, and his masterpiece "Betrayal of Christ" (1524). For the former he made clay models for study and a clay figure. He continued constantly at work until in 1550 blindness overtook him, painting on all feast-days in monasteries for the love of God. He had married at the age forty-eight, and died at Ferrara on the 6th (or 16th) of September 1559, leaving two children.

Garofalo combined sacred inventions with some very familiar details. A certain archaism of style, with a strong glow of colour, suffices to distinguish from the true method of Raphael even those pictures in which he most closely resembles the great masterthis sometimes very closely; but the work of Garofalo is seldom free from a certain trim pettiness of feeling and manner. He was a friend of Giulio Romano, Giorgione, Titian and Ariosto; in a picture of "Paradise" he painted Ariosto between St Catherine and St Sebastian. In youth he was fond of lute-playing and also of fencing. He ranks among the best of the Ferrarese painters; his leading pupil was Girolamo da Carpi.

Mature works and assessment

Even his least successful works retain, amid their frigid and porcelain quality, a harmony which marks Venetian colouring. His youthful works include the "Boar Hunt" in the Palazzo Sciarra. Later, the "Knight's Procession" in the Palazzo Colonna in Rome — gave promise of an Italianate Cuyp, less commonplace, more romantic, and more refined than the Dutch artist.

His youthful works — the Boar Hunt in the Palazzo Sciarra; the Virgin in the Clouds with Four Saints (1518) in the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice is one of his masterpieces. The Pietà (1527) in the Brera Gallery in Milan reveals an increasingly stylized treatment. The Madonna (1532) in the Modena Gallery is a charming picture; however, the large Triumph of Religion in the Atheneum at Ferrara has been described as a "bookish" affair, whose episodes are difficult to elucidate. Garofalo is one of the painters known and described by Vasari. From 1550 till his death Garofalo was blind. In 1520, Girolamo da Carpi is said to have apprenticed in Garofalo's workshop, and worked with him in Ferrarese projects in the 1530-40.

Anthology of works

  • Madonna and Child (1510) - Galleria dell'Arte Studiolo, Milan
  • Holy Family - Musee de Angers
  • Adoration of the Child (1508-1509) - Pinacoteca Nazionale, Ferrara
  • Neptune and Pallas (1512) - Art Gallery, Dresden
  • Madonna delle Nuvole (1514) - Pinacoteca Nazionale, Ferrara
  • Madonna del Baldacchino (1517) - National Gallery, London
  • Massacre of the Innocents (1519) - Pinacoteca Nazionale, Ferrara
  • Madonna del Pilastro (1523) - Pinacoteca Nazionale, Ferrara
  • Madonna Enthroned with Saints (1524) - Duomo, Ferrara
  • Madonna in Glory (1532) - Musei Capitolini, Rome
  • St Sebastian - Museo di Capodimonte, Naples
  • Madonna Enthroned with Saints
  • Annunciation (1528) - Musei Capitolini, Rome
  • Madonna Enthroned with Saints (1532) - Modena
  • Raising of Lazarus (1534) - Pinacoteca Nazionale, Ferrara
  • Washing feet of Christ - National Gallery, Washington DC
  • Blessing of Saint John the Baptist (1542) - San Salvatore, Bologna
  • Annunciation (1550) - Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
  • The Virgin and Child with Saints Dominic and Catherine of Siena (c. 1500-1505) - National Gallery, London
  • The Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints William of Aquitaine, Clare, Anthony of Padua and Francis (1517-1518) - National Gallery, London
  • A Pagan Sacrifice (1526) - National Gallery, London
  • The Holy Family with Saints John the Baptist, Elizabeth, Zacharias and (?) Francis (1520) - National Gallery, London
  • Saint Catherine of Alexandria (c. 1515-1530) - National Gallery, London
  • The Agony in the Garden (1520s-1530s) - National Gallery, London
  • The Vision of Saint Augustine (c. 1518) - National Gallery, London
  • An Allegory of Love (c. 1527-1539) - National Gallery, London
  • Christ and the Samaritan Woman (1536)
  • Madonna with Saint John and Saint Elisabeth - Courtald Institute, London
  • Jesus in the Orchard
  • The Triumph of Bacchus (1517 unfinished draft by Raffael, 1540 finished by Garofalo) - Gemäldegalerie Alter Meister, Dresden, Germany
  • Holy Family
  • Mars, Venus and Cupido - Wawel Royal Castle, Krakow


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