Ventura Salimbeni

Ventura di Archangelo Salimbeni (also later called Bevilacqua; 20 January 1568 - 1613) was an Italian Mannerist painter and printmaker and among the last representatives of a style influenced by the earlier Sienese School of Quattrocento-Renaissance.


Salimbeni was born in Siena. He studied painting, together with his half-brother Francesco Vanni, under their father Arcangelo Salimbeni in his native Siena,

He possibly spent some time,in Northern Italy and then moved to Rome in 1588 to work, together with others, on the fresco painting of the Vatican Library under pope Sixtus V.

During 1590-1591, he got a commission by Cardinal Bonifazio Bevilacqua Aldobrandini for paintings in the Roman Jesuit Church of the Gesù and the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. These paintings show the influence of the Mannerist Cavalier D'Arpino and Andrea Lillio.

Salimbeni returned to Siena in 1595. Here he became one of the last leaders of the Mannerist school, in this period between Mannerism and Baroque. He was here influenced by the genius of Federico Barocci as can be seen in the draperies, highlighted with abrupt changes of light and flickering surfaces, of his painting "Birth of a Virgin" in the San Domenico church in Ferrara (1607-1608).

He completed painting cycles (1595-1602) for Sienese churches such as the oratory in the Santa Trinità. He is known for detailed preparatory drawings, most of which are now in the Uffizi in Florence or the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. He started around 1600 painting the scenes from the "Life of St. Hyacinth" for the Sienese church of Santo Spirito. These paintings show the awkward perspective of the style of the Sienese Mannerist painter Beccafumi in the backdrop of buildings and landscape. In Siena, Salimbeni completed several painting cycles for the church of Santo Spirito. He continued to create paintings for churches throughout Italy, including Florence. At the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata di Firenze, he frescoed lunettes (1605-1608) illustrating events in the history of the Servite Order. In the Duomo di San Salvatore, he executed a magnificent John the Baptist.

At about the same time, around 1600, he got an assignment in Assisi for a fresco of the "Resurrection of Christ" and the "Dying Saint Clare is visited by the pope" in the vault of chapel of San Massimo in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli.

Salimbeni got in 1603 the commission to paint frescoes with scenes from the church's patron saints in the church of Quirico and Giulitta, one of the oldest churches in Siena. As in the church of Santa Trinità, he worked here alongside with the painter Alessandro Casolari.

This was a period on non-stop new assignments : three paintings for the church San Lorenzo in San Pietro in Montalcino, the "Donation of the Keys" (1599), the "Disputa of the Eucharist" (1600) and the "Crucifixion" (1604).

At the same time he was painting the "Vision of Gregory the great" and the "Punishment of David" in the Basilica of San Pietro in Perugia. The papal legate, cardinal Bonifazio Bevilacqua (1571-1627), who had commissioned these paintings, was so pleased that he invested Ventura Salimbeni with the Order of the Golden Spur, a very selective papal order. He was even authorized from now on to name himself Cavalieri Bevilacqua. He painted the canvas of the "Ascension of the Virgin" (1607) for San Frediano in Pisa.

In 1612 he painted the "Life of Saint Galganus" for the Chiesa del Santuccio in Siena with the hermit saint set in a wooded landscape.

His last work of art was the oil painting the "Marriage of the Virgin" for the Seminario diocesano in Foligno in 1613.

He was influenced by Federico Barocci, Domenico Beccafumi and by the rich and harmonious palette of Lodovico Cigoli. Among his pupils was Alessandro Casolani.

In the period between 1589 and 1594 he also made in Rome some etchings, of which seven survive. They are among the finest Italian prints of the period. The earliest dated, and the largest, is the "Baptism of Christ" of 1589, which he produced in collaboration with the more experienced Ambrogio Brambilla.

Anthology of works

*"St. Agnes" (1590, etching, De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA) []
*The Annunciation (1594, drawing, De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA) []
*"Marriage of the Virgin" (1590 De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA) []
*Two Studies of a Female (De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA) []
*"Figure Studies of a Man and a Seated Woman" (De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA) []
*Studies of a Male Figure with a Sword (De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA) []
*Madonna and Child (De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA) []
*Figure Studies of a Man and a Standing Woman (De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA) []
*"Joachim and Anna" (1590, etching, De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA) []
*"The Annunciation" (Museum of Fine Arts,Budapest) []
*"Death of St Claire with Pope Innocent IV's blessing", drawing Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK []
*Christ on the Cross with Virgin, Magdalen, & Saint John (Courtauld Institute of Art, London)
*"Two studies of the head of a woman, and sketch of a foot" (Courtauld Institute of Art, London)
*Youth kneeling holding a vase (Courtauld Institute of Art, London) []
*Marriage of the Virgin (Diocesan Seminary Foligno) []
*The Virgin and Child in Glory, (1590 Grand Rapids Museum of Art, Michigan)
*"Trinity with St.Peter and St. Bernard", (Musée Fesch, Ajaccio, France)
*"Study for an Altarpiece" (drawing, Fogg Art Museum, Boston, MA)
*"Saint Caterina acceca con lo sguardo and Florentine Soldiers" (Haarlem, Teylers Museum) []
*"Saint Lorenzo and Saint Charles Borromeo Pray to the Name of Jesus"(1620, San Lorenzo) []
*"Frescoes of Christ’ Resurrection" (Bagno Vignoni)
*"Depiction of Ventura Salimbeni" (Bernardino Capitelli, 1634)
*"Fresco of the Trinity at work with globe" (Montalcino)
*"Resurrection of Christ" in the Chapel of the removal of the Lord in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi, Italy.


*cite book | first= Sydney J.| last= Freedberg| year=1993| title= Painting in Italy, 1500-1600| chapter= | editor= Pelican History of Art| others= | pages= Penguin Books Ltd| publisher= | id= | url= | authorlink=

External links

* [ Save San Pietro Montalcino Tuscany]
* [ Video Church of San Pietro and artwork by Ventura Salimbeni]

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