Pietro Cavallini was an Italian painter and mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...
designer working during the late Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...
. Little is known about his biography, though it is known he was from Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...
, since he signed pictor romanus.
His first notable work were the mosaic cycles for the Basilica di San Paolo fuori le Mura, with stories from the New
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....
and Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...
(1277–1285). They were destroyed by the fire of 1823.
His Last Judgment
The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, or The Day of the Lord in Christian theology, is the final and eternal judgment by God of every nation. The concept is found in all the Canonical gospels, particularly the Gospel of Matthew. It will purportedly take place after the...
in the Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere is a 5th century church in Rome, Italy, devoted to Saint Cecilia, in the Trastevere rione.-History:The first church on this site was founded probably in the 3rd century, by Pope Urban I; it was devoted to the Roman martyr Cecilia, martyred it is said under Marcus...
in Rome, painted c. 1293 and considered Cavallini's masterwork, demonstrates an artistic style known as Roman naturalism. This naturalism influenced the work of artists working in other Italian cities such as Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....
Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena.The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008...
In the Sienese school
The Sienese School of painting flourished in Siena, Italy between the 13th and 15th centuries and for a time rivaled Florence, though it was more conservative, being inclined towards the decorative beauty and elegant grace of late Gothic art...
, the influence of classical Roman forms combined with the Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...
artistic heritage of the region and with northern Gothic
Gothic art was a Medieval art movement that developed in France out of Romanesque art in the mid-12th century, led by the concurrent development of Gothic architecture. It spread to all of Western Europe, but took over art more completely north of the Alps, never quite effacing more classical...
influences to form a naturalized painting style that was one of the origins of International Gothic
International Gothic is a phase of Gothic art which developed in Burgundy, Bohemia, France and northern Italy in the late 14th century and early 15th century...
In Florence, the influence of classical Roman forms combined with the Byzantine artistic heritage of the region to spark an interest in volumetric, naturalistic paintings and statuary. This work is in stark contrast to the comparatively flat and ornamented Gothic, International Gothic, and Byzantine styles.
This naturalism is also evident in the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi
Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi
The Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Order of Friars Minor—commonly known as the Franciscan Order—in Assisi, Italy, the city where St. Francis was born and died. The basilica is one of the most important places of Christian pilgrimage in Italy...
- Churches :* The Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi is a World Heritage Site. The Franciscan monastery, il Sacro Convento, and the lower and upper church of St Francis were begun immediately after his canonization in 1228, and completed in 1253...
, built in the early years of the 13th century in honor of the newly canonized St. Francis
Francis of Assisi
Saint Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Franciscan Order, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the lay Third Order of Saint Francis. St...
. As the shrine was commissioned by the Roman church, its interior is painted in the Roman tradition. The identities of the artists at work in this church are for the most part not known but at least one team of artists came from Rome. Owing to the similarity of the work in San Francesco to that of Florentine artist Giotto
Giotto di Bondone
Giotto di Bondone , better known simply as Giotto, was an Italian painter and architect from Florence in the late Middle Ages...
, he was traditionally credited with some of the fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...
es, although most scholars no longer believe he was involved.
Giotto's work in the Arena Chapel (also known as the Scrovegni Chapel) at Padua
Padua is a city and comune in the Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Padua and the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua's population is 212,500 . The city is sometimes included, with Venice and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area, having...
strongly shows the influence of stylized Roman naturalism in a newly individualized style which would come to characterize the work of Florentine Renaissance artists.
From 1308 Cavallini worked in Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...
at the court of King Charles II of Anjou, notably in the churches of San Domenico Maggiore
San Domenico Maggiore
San Domenico Maggiore is a church in Naples, southern Italy, located in the square with the same name. The square is one of the most interesting in Naples and is on the street popularly called "Spaccanapoli" in the historic center of Naples...
(1308) and Santa Maria Donnaregina (1317), together with his fellow Roman Filippo Rusuti. He returned to Rome before 1325, beginning the external decoration of the Basilica di San Paolo fuori le Mura in 1321, with a series of Byzantine-style mosaics.
Cavallini's pupils included Giovanni di Bartolommeo.
WorksHis works include:
- Jael and Tisseran (date unknown), watercolour
- Scenes from the life of Mary (c. 1298), mosaics at the apse of Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome. The six scenes were made by the order of Cardinal Bertoldo Stefaneschi. These mosaics are praised for their realistic portrayal and attempts of perspective:
- Nativity of the Virgin
- The Birth of Jesus
- Adoration of the Magi
- Presentation in the Temple
- The Last Judgement (1295-1298), part of fresco cycle at Santa Cecilia in TrastevereSanta Cecilia in TrastevereSanta Cecilia in Trastevere is a 5th century church in Rome, Italy, devoted to Saint Cecilia, in the Trastevere rione.-History:The first church on this site was founded probably in the 3rd century, by Pope Urban I; it was devoted to the Roman martyr Cecilia, martyred it is said under Marcus...
The apse paintings at San Giorgio al Velabro
San Giorgio al Velabro
San Giorgio in Velabro is a minor basilica church in Rome, Italy, devoted to St. George.The church is located in the ancient Roman Velabrum, near the Arch of Janus, in the rione of Ripa. Sited near the River Tiber, it is within a complex of Republican-era pagan temples associated with the port of...
, Rome, have been attributed to him on the basis of stylistic similarity to the Trastevere paintings.
The apse mosaic of the San Crisogono
San Crisogono is a church in Rome dedicated to the martyr Saint Chrysogonus.-History:The church was one of the tituli, the first parish churches of Rome...
church in the Trastevere
Trastevere is rione XIII of Rome, on the west bank of the Tiber, south of Vatican City. Its name comes from the Latin trans Tiberim, meaning literally "beyond the Tiber". The correct pronunciation is "tras-TEH-ve-ray", with the accent on the second syllable. Its logo is a golden head of a lion on a...
district, depicting the Mary with Sts. Sebastian and Chrysogonos, is also attributed to Cavallini.