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Francesco Vanni

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Painter, b. at Siena, 1565; d. there, 1609. Vanni was one of the better class of artists of the Eclectic School of painting of his era. He shared, indeed, in the weaknesses of this school, yet many regard him as the restorer of Italian painting in the sixteenth century. The artistic value of his work does not always equal his fertility in production. However, by teaching and example he exerted a lasting influence, and trained capable pupils, among whom were his sons Michelangelo and Raffaello Vanni. His first teachers were Salimbene and Passarotti, and at an early age he studied the works of Raphael at Rome under the direction of de' Vecchi. But at Siena the style thus created did not prove popular. He then went to Parma and Bologna and adopted the style of Baroccio, the Umbrian leader in the Baroque style of painting. After this, on the recommendation of Baronius, he was called to Rome by Pope Clement VIII and commissioned to paint the great altar picture for St. Peter's, "Simon Magus rebuked by St. Peter". It is his best work; a remarkable fact is the good preservation of the colours in this very carefully painted picture. The pope rewarded him richly and made him a knight. He was less successful at Rome in the execution of some other pictures, as "The Assumption of the Virgin", two pictures of St. Cecilia, etc. A large number of Vanni's frescoes and panel paintings are to be found at Siena, among these are" "The Sienese on the Crusade", "The Council of Siena ", "The Demoniac ", "Calvary", "St. Galgano in the Wilderness", " St. Francis Xavier ", "Baptism of Constantine", "Martyrdoms of Sts. Lucia and Catherine", etc. His works are also to be found at Pisa, Pistoja, Perugia, Genoa, Florence, and various cities outside Italy. Highly esteemed among his engravings are a "Madonna and Child", a "St. Francis in Ecstasy", and a "St. Catherine Receiving the Stigmata". Vanni had also a reputation as architect and mechanic, but of his architectural work nothing important remains.

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