Girolamo Savoldo

Girolamo Savoldo

Girolamo Savoldo, also called Girolamo da Brescia (c. 1480-1485 – after 1548) was an Italian High Renaissance painter.


Savoldo was born in Brescia, but little is known about his early years. Some sources claim he was known as "Girolamo Bresciano" [F.N Cristiani, page 186] . By 1506 he was in Parma, and by 1508, he had joined the Florentine painter’s guild. In this period he finished the "Rest at the Flight from Egypt" (Augsburg), the "Elijah Harassed by a Crow" (National Gallery of Art, Washington), and a "Deposition".

In 1515 he painted the "Portrait of a Clad Warrior", wrongly identified with Gaston de Foix. Also from the same period his the "Temptings of St. Anthony", which appears to show the influence of the Flemish Hieronymus Bosch. The works was appreciated by the commissioners from Venice, where Savoldo relocated before 1520.

On June 15, 1524 he signed a contract for an altarpiece for the church of San Domenico in Pesaro (now in the Brera, Milan). In 1527, he completed a "St. Hieronymus" for the Brescian family Averoldi, probably the one at National Gallery of London. From the 1530s dates a Nativity at the National Gallery in Washington DC, which seems influenced by the lambent contemporary, Correggio painting on the same topic. In 1533 Savoldo painted a "Madonna with Four Saints" in the church of Santa Maria in Organo ( in Verona), while in 1537-1538 he executed the altarpiece for the main altar of Santa Croce, Brescia (destroyed during World War II). From 1540 are the two "Nativity" paintings for the church of San Giobbe of Venice and the church of San Barnaba of Brescia, as well as the famous "Magdalen" painting.

Savoldo may have spent some years of his life in Milan. He had a Dutch wife. The exact date of Savoldo's death is not known: in 1548 he was cited as still living in Venice, though "vecchione" ("Very old").


Savoldo's paintings show eclectic influences, using Venetian coloration with Lombard modeling to obtain a quiet lyricism. They have an idiosyncratic silvery lining to the figures that gives them a neon-light like glow. He appears to be influenced by Titian and Lorenzo Lotto and, for what concerns his preoccupation with clearly defined shapes in light, by Cima da Conegliano and/or Flemish painters.

His "Magdalen" (1540) is a masterpiece of lighting effects, cloacked in an enigmatic white gown, almost completely veiled all but the visage, but a faint sliver of red cloth sleeve emerging in a paradoxically alluring fashion. A "Matthew and the Angel" prefigures Caravaggio's famous painting in the Contarelli Chapel in Rome, with a luminescent gown standing in contrast to the dark background.

Anthology of works

*"Elijah in the Desert"
*"St Anthony and St Paul as Hermits"
*"Saint Matthew and the Angel" (New York) []
*"Tobias and the Angel" (Rome) []
*"Adoration of the Shepherds" (Brescia) []
*"Transfiguration" (Uffizi Gallery, Florence)
*"Madonna with St Francis and St Jerome"
*"Flautist" or "Shepherd with a Flute" (Getty, Los Angeles) []
*"Lady as St Margaret"
*"Gaston de Foix" (Louvre)
*"Magdalen" (Getty Center, Los Angeles)


*cite book | first= Sydney J.| last= Freedberg| year=1993| title= Painting in Italy, 1500-1600| chapter= | editor= Pelican History of Art| others= | pages= p 340-344| Penguin Books Ltd| publisher= | id= | url= | authorlink=
*cite book | author= Federico Nicoli Cristiani | year=1807| title= Della Vita delle pitture di Lattanzio Gambara; Memorie Storiche aggiuntevi brevi notizie intorno a' più celebri ed eccelenti pittori Bresciani| chapter= | editor= | others= | pages= pages 186-187| publisher= Spinelli e Valgiti, Brescia| id= | url=| authorlink=

External links

* [ Web Gallery of Art Biography and Images]

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