Key to Umbria: Perugia

This artist,whose was active in Perugia from ca. 1630, died when he was only 48.  Most of his works that are known from the literatures no longer survive.  His students included his nephew, Pietro Montanini.


Annunciation (1634)

The Compagnia dei Battilana (the wool workers’ guild) commissioned this altarpiece from Giovanni Francesco Bassotti for their altar in Sant’ Angelo della Pace.  It passed to the Ospedale di Santa Maria della Misericordia early in the 20th century and is now in the new hospital at Sant’ Andrea delle Fratte, outside Perugia.

Birth of St John the Baptist (ca. 1640)

This panel, which was originally on the altar of the Oratorio di San Giovanni Battista, is by Giovanni Francesco Bassotti.  In the background, St Elizabeth, the mother of the new baby, is attended by servants and watched over by her husband, Zacharias.  In the foreground, a servant hands the new baby to the Virgin Mary while another servant prepares a bath.

When Bishop Orazio Monaldi visited the oratory in 1644, he was critical of the content of the “novita depicta” (new picture) and required it to be amended, but there is no sign that this was ever put into effect.

The painting was moved from the altar to the sacristy at some point and then, in 2003, to the Museo Capitolare.  It is now (2013) temporarily in Palazzo Vescovile.

St Augustine in Meditation (17th century)

This altarpiece, which is attributed to Giovanni Francesco Bassotti, was documented on the high altar of the church of the nunnery of Santa Lucia on a number of occasions between 1683 and 1822.  It was subsequently moved to Sant’ Agostino (presumably in 1851, when the complex of Santa Lucia passed to the  the Conservatorio Antinori.  [It is still there ?]

The altarpiece depicts St Augustine kneeling in a landscape and looking up at two visions: the Crucifixion, on the left; and the Immaculate Virgin, on the right.   Three putti around him play with his book, his staff and his mitre.

Christ in Meditation (17th century)

This panel is in Sant’ Agnese.

Annunciation (17th century)

This altarpiece in Santa Teresa degli Scalzi, which was documented in San Pietro 1784, is attributed to Giovanni Francesco Bassotti.

Madonna and Child with saints (17th century)

This damaged altarpiece by Giovanni Francesco Bassotti survives in situ in the the ex-Chiesa del Suffragio.  It depicts the the Madonna and Child with SS Gregory and Francis, with a donor portrait and a depiction of souls in purgatory.


Martyrdom of St Felix (1637)

This altarpiece in San Lorenzo is signed by Giovanni Francesco Bassotti and dated by inscription.  The panel was displayed in Perugia before its dispatch to Spello, and was lavishly praised there by (among others) Bishop Benedetto Monaldi Baldeschi.

Taddeo Donnola, the Prior of San Lorenzo, probably commissioned the altarpiece after he succeeded in having St Felix named as the sole patron saint of Spello in 1629.  He had published a monograph in 1620 entitled: “De loco martyrii sanctii Felicis episcopi spellatensis”  (About the place of martyrdom of St Felix, Bishop of Spello), in which he suggested that the place in question was near Villa Fidelia.  In the altarpiece, the martyrdom takes place in front of  a huge statue of Venus, which is a reference to the fact that the remains of a Roman temple dedicated to Venus had been found during the construction of Villa Fidelia in ca. 1600.

Read more:

F. Mancini, “Novità su Giovan Francesco Bassotti”, Studi di Storia dell’ Arte, 15 (2004) 107-16

B. Toscano, “Giovan Francesco Bassotti”, in

  1. L. Barroero et al. (eds), “Pittura del Seicento: Ricerche in Umbria”, (1989) Perugia, pp 144-7

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Giovanni Francesco Bassotti (died 1649) 

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