Florence art guide

Baldassarre Franceschini called il Volterrano


Volterra 1611 - Florence 1689

The pupil of Rosselli and influenced by Pietro da Cortona, he is considered to be the initiator and most important representative of the Baroque style in Tuscany. He found great favour with the Medici family and was given a scholarship for two journeys to Parma and Venice. Much later, in 1652, he also went to study contemporary painting in Rome.

piovano arlotto
The joke of Piovano Arlotto

A brilliant decorator and specialized in fresco painting - the Orlandini Chapel in Santa Maria Maggiore, the Chapels of Santa Cecilia and Santa Lucia in the Santissima Annunziata (1642) - he was to produce his finest work in the Medici villas of Castello and Petraia where, between 1636 and 1648, he painted the "Moments of Glory" of the Medici family and of the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen. An entire wing of the Pitti Palace bears his name (the Quarters of Volterrano), starting from the Room of Allegories where, from 1634 onwards, the painter frescoed a glorification of the Grand Duchess Vittoria della Rovere, the wife of Ferdinando II.
Today this Room also contains one of his most famous canvases, the Jest of Arlotto the Parish Priest, a spirited and grotesque subject that is an excellent example of his popular and lively style of work.

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