Key to Umbria: Foligno

Giovanni Battista Michelini was born in Foligno and was sometimes referred to as “il Folignate”.  He possibly trained in Rome.  His death at the age of 66 was recorded by an entry in the registers of the Duomo for 1679, in which he is described as “pictor celeberrimus”.


SS Cosmas and Damian (ca. 1636) 

This altarpiece, which the Arte degli Speziali (apothecaries’ guild) commissioned in ca. 1636 for their Cappella dei SS Cosma e Damiano in the Duomo, is attributed to Giovanni Battista Michelini.  The altarpiece, which depicts the patron saints of the guild in the act of healing the poor, is now in the Museo Diocesano.

Works in/from the Oratorio della Misericordia

In 1660, Giovanni Battista Michelini supervised the construction of the main altar of  the Oratorio della Misericordia, which belonged to the Confraternita della Misericordia.  Two altarpieces in or from the oratory are attributed to him:

Madonna and Child with St Eligius (1643-4)

In 1643, the Arte dei Ferrari (ironworkers’ guild) erected an altar (the 2nd on the right) in the oratory.  In the following year, they installed this altarpiece on it.  It depicts the Madonna and Child with their patron saint.

Beheading of St John the Baptist (ca. 1660)

This altarpiece from the high altar is now in Palazzo Vescovile.

Works in San Giacomo

The following works in the convent of San Giacomo are by or attributed to Giovanni Battista Michelini:

Scenes from the life of St Philip Benizi (1657-9)

Lost inscriptions relating to these ruined frescoes in lunettes in the lower arcade of the cloister recorded that :

  1. Father Ludovico Giustiniani commissioned them in 1659; and

  2. they were the work of Giovanni Battista Michelini.

Virgin and the Seven Founders of the Servite Order (ca. 1660)

This fresco on the back wall of the Chapter Room is attributed to Giovanni Battista Michelini.  It depicts the Virgin appearing to the seven founders of the Servite Order on Mount Senario, near Florence in the 13th century and giving them a model for the Servite habit.

Madonna and Child with SS Philip and James (17th century)

This panel in the room behind the Chapter Room (which can also be reached from the sacristy of the church) is variously attributed to Giovanni Battista Michelini or Noel Quillerier.

Works in the Oratorio del Crocifisso

The following frescoes in the Oratorio del Crocifisso are by Giovanni Battista Michelini.

Christ Adored by Angels and the Fall of Lucifer (1666)

The attribution of this fresco on the ceiling to Giovanni Battista Michelini was recently confirmed by the discovery of the contract for it, written between the artist and the Compagnia del Crocifisso in 1666.

Risen Christ (1672)

This fresco at the centre of the ceiling, like the six that surround it, is by Giovanni Battista Michelini.

Works in Santa Lucia (17th century)


These altarpieces in Santa Lucia are attributed to Giovanni Battista Michelini, albeit that they have been partially over-painted.  They depict

  1. St Andrew, with angels carrying the cross on which he will be crucified (on the altar on the left ); and

  2. St Lucy, holding her eyes on a plate and a palm of martyrdom (in the 2nd bay).

Incredulity of St Thomas (17th century)

This altarpiece in San Tommaso ai Cipischi is attributed to Giovanni Battista Michelini.


Giovanni Battista Michelini is first documented in Gubbio in 1644, when the canons of the Duomo commissioned him to paint the arms of Pope Innocent X.  He married Orsola, the sister of the Gubbian painter Carlo Brozzi, in 1646 and is documented in the city on a number of subsequent occasions until 1655.

Annunciation (1646)

A recently published document records that the Confraternita dei Laici made a payment to Giovanni Battista Michelini for this altarpiece in Santa Maria dei Laici in 1646.  The confraternity had ended its practice of taking it earlier altarpiece of the Annunciation (by Federico Barocci and Ventura Mazzi) in procession in 1641, and this probably gave rise to the present commission.  It is among the first works by Michelini in Gubbio.

Gonfalone dei Calzolari (1649-50)

This banner, which is dated by inscription, was commissioned by the Arte dei Calzolari (shoemakers’ guild) from Giovanni Battista Michelini in anticipation of the Jubilee year of 1650.  It was preserved in the guild’s headquarters (see the description of the Ospedale dei Calzolari) until 1928, when it passed to the Pinacoteca Civica.  It underwent a thorough restoration in 2006-11.

The banner is painted in oil on canvas and has a silk surround.   It depicts the Virgin holding the dead  body of Christ, with St Crispin (the patron of the guild) and St Ubaldus to the sides and God the Father above.

St Victoria (ca. 1653)

This altarpiece was commissioned from Giovanni Battista Michelini for San Marziale.  It marked the translation of the relics of St Victoria to the church in 1653, following their donation by Cardinal Marzio Giannetti.

SS Felix, Isidore and Antony of Padua (1654)

This altarpiece on the 1st altar on the right in Santa Maria del Ponte [is signed by Giovanni Battista Michelini and dated by inscription ?].   It represents St Felix (Pope Felix I) flanked by the other two saints.  This altar is dedicated to St Felix, and contains a presumed relic.

Crucifixion (1655)

The Andreoli family commissioned this altarpiece in Santa Maria della Piaggiola (on the 2nd altar on the left).  It depicts the moment when the dying Christ confers responsibility for His mother on St John the Evangelist.

Pietà with SS Ubaldus and Crispin (1655)

This altarpiece by/attributed to Giovanni Battista Michelini is in Santa Maria della Piaggiola.  [Dated by inscription ?]

St Nicholas of Tolentino (17th century)

The altarpiece of the Cappella di San Nicolò da Tolentino of  Sant’ Agostino(the 5th chapel on the right) depicts the Apotheosis of St Nicholas of Tolentino.  It is surrounded by 12 small panels depicting scenes from his life.  These panels are attributed to Giovanni Battista Michelini. 

St Antony of Padua before a Crucifix (17th century)

This panel by/attributed to Giovanni Battista Michelini is in the sacristy of San Secondo.

Vision of St Antony of Padua (17th century)

This altarpiece in Santa Maria del Suffragio a San Marco is possibly the fruit of a collaboration between Giovanni Battista Michelini and Carlo Brozzi.

St Catherine of Alexandria (17th century)

This altarpiece in Santa Maria del Suffragio a San Marco is attributed to  Giovanni Battista Michelini.  It depicts the standing saint as an angel places a cron on her head.  It was restored in 2008.

Madonna and Child with saints (17th century)

This altarpiece by/attributed to Giovanni Battista Michelini is/was in San Francesco della Pace.  It depicts depicts the Madonna and Child with SS Thomas (the patron saint of the masons’ guild, who owned the church), Francis (with the wolf to the right - difficult to see here) and Ubaldus.

Crucifixion with Franciscan saints (17th century)

This altarpiece by/attributed to Giovanni Battista Michelini is in San Francesco.  It originally depicted the crucifixion set in a dark landscape with St Antony of Padua kneeling at the foot of the cross and a baby angel.   A levitating figure of St Joseph of Copertino was subsequently added,  probably at the time of his canonisation in 1767.  Giuseppe Reposati was paid in 1776 to improve this figure and to convert the figure of St Antony into that of Bonaventura da Potenza, who had been beatified in the previous year.

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Giovanni Battista Michelini (died 1679)

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