Gentileschi, Orazio

Gentileschi, Orazio
orig. Orazio Lomi

born 1562, Pisa
died с 1639, London, Eng.

Italian painter.

He went to Rome с 1576–78 and painted frescoes in various churches (с 1590–1600). His paintings of the early 17th century reveal the influence of Caravaggio's strong chiaroscuro and contemporary figure types; though more refined than Caravaggio's works, they lack the master's power and uncompromising realism. Invited to England by Charles I in 1626, he remained there as court painter the rest of his life. Artemisia Gentileschi was his daughter.

"The Annunciation," painting by Orazio Gentileschi, 1623; in the Galleria Sabauda, ...

Art Resource

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▪ Italian painter
original name  Orazio Lomi  
born 1562, Pisa [Italy]
died Feb. 7, 1639, London, Eng.
 Italian Baroque painter, one of the more important painters who came under the influence of Caravaggio and who was one of the more successful interpreters of his style. His daughter, Artemisia Gentileschi (Gentileschi, Artemisia), who was trained in his studio, also became a noteworthy Baroque artist.

      Gentileschi first studied with his half brother Aurelio Lomi. At some time in the late 1570s or early 1580s he went to Rome, where, with the landscape painter Agostino Tassi, he painted frescoes in churches of Santa Maria Maggiore, San Giovanni Laterano, and Santa Nicola in Carcere from about 1590 to 1600, executing figures for Tassi's landscapes.

      In the first years of the 17th century Gentileschi came under the influence of Caravaggio, also in Rome at the time. His paintings of this period—e.g., David and Goliath (1610?) and St. Cecilia and the Angel (1610?)—employ Caravaggio's use of dramatic, unconventional gesture and monumental composition, his uncompromising realism and contemporary representation of figure types, and to some extent his strong chiaroscuro, or light-and-dark contrast.

      Shortly afterward Gentileschi developed a Tuscan lyricism foreign to Caravaggio's almost brutal vitality, a lighter palette, and a more precise treatment reminiscent of his Mannerist (Mannerism) beginnings. From 1621 to 1623 Gentileschi was in Genoa, where he painted his masterpiece, The Annunciation (Annunciation) (1623), a work of consummate grace that shows a weakening of Caravaggio's influence. The composition still depends on dramatic gestures, here of the Virgin and the angel, and there is still a strong immediacy to the incident and an absence of idealization. The mood, however, is more restrained and lyrical than in his earlier works, the colours are light, and the earlier chiaroscuro is absent.

      After a stay in France, Gentileschi traveled to England in 1626 at the invitation of King Charles I (Charles I). He remained there as court painter for the rest of his life, his work becoming increasingly conventional and decorative. His last major work is an ambitious series of ceiling paintings, which he worked on with his daughter, Artemisia, for the Queen's House in Greenwich; painted in 1638, the ceiling panels have since been removed to Marlborough House, London.

Additional Reading
Alfred Moir, The Italian Followers of Caravaggio, 2 vol. (1967); R. Ward Bissell, Orazio Gentileschi and the Poetic Tradition in Caravaggesque Painting (1981).

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Universalium. 2010.

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