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Masterworks from Budapest. From the Renaissance to the Avant-Garde

From 18 February to 28 May 2017

Lucas Cranach, the Elder
Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist, ca. 1526-1530
Oil on panel. 88.4 x 58.3 cm
Budapest, Museum of Fine Arts
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Biography and Works

Niccolà Frangipane
Tarcento, 1555-1600



Niccolò Frangipane Active between 1563 and 1597




There are very few indisputable facts regarding the biography of this painter. His origins, and his dates of birth and death are not known for certain. Through documentary sources and the location of his known works, his artistic activity has been fixed in the second half of the 16th century in the regions of Veneto and the Marche. On various occasions it has been suggested that he might have been born in Venice, Rimini or Udine; a historian from Friuli called Liruti (1762) declared that the painter had been born in Tarcento where, according to him, he had been a pupil of Titian. But in the light of the most recent research it seems he may have belonged to a family of Paduan origin, and may have been born between 1540 and 1545, considering that he is documented as having received a commission as an independent painter in 1563. In that year he was living in Venice, in the area called Birri, close to where Titian had his workshop since 1531, and was commissioned an altarpiece for the church of the convent of Saint Euphemia, on the island of Mazorbo, in the Venetian lagoon. Although in the 1580s he made some paintings for churches in the city of Rimini, in 1594 he joined the Flagia dei Pittori in Venice, which may suggest that he lived regularly in that city.

He was trained in the circle of the Venetian school, and his compositions and models sometimes recall those of Giorgione and Titian, whose formal language he helped spread in the province. He dedicated himself mostly to religious painting of classical inspiration, but which was already dependant on the pious requirements of the Counter-Reformation ideology. He also produced some secular works, closely related to Giorgioni's motifs, and burlesque pieces in which he mixed references to the Flemish models of the circle of Quentin Metsys with comic and grotesque elements related to the Ferrara circles who had taken up Leonardo's legacy, and also with the painters of Cremona, and particularly with the work of the Campi brothers. For this activity, known mainly from literary sources, he was praised by the treaty writer Marco Boschini in the 17th century, who admired the capricious fantasy of his models. This dual production, with clear differences in artistic style, caused great confusion in the 18th and 19th centuries, which resulted in the idea of the existence of two different painters with the same name, in order to justify the variety and changes in his aesthetic principles, a hypothesis rejected by the latest research carried out on the artist. At present his known oeuvre is composed of about thirty paintings, some of which are signed and dated. The earliest work is a Christ Carrying the Cross, kept at the Museo Civico in Udine, dated 1572, and the latest is Allegory of Autumn, of 1597, belonging to the same museum. Among his religious production, the most important works are The Martyrdom of Saint Stephen, of 1581, in the church of the Purification in Pesaro, The Entombment, signed and dated in 1593, in the sacristy of the church of Frari in Venice, and the Christ with the Veronica, in the Galleria Doria in Rome; among his secular works the most important are the Bacchus from the Galleria Querini Stampalia in Venice, and the Man with Flute, from Charlecote Park (Stratford-upon-Avon).


                                                                                                            Trinidad de Antonio

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