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Giovanni Domenico Cerrini (1609-81)

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Giovanni Domenico Cerrini in:  Perugia

Giovanni Domenico Cerrini, il Cavalier Perugino, was born in Perugia and trained under Giovanni Antonio Scaramuccia.  In 1638, he moved to Rome, where he trained under Guido Reni.  He attracted the support of Cardinal Bernardino Spada and then (from ca. 1656) of Cardinal Giulio Rospigliosi (the future Pope Clement IX).  Following what seems to have been a period of controversy, Cerrini left Rome and spent the period 1656-61 in Florence, at the court of the Grand Duke Ferdinand II Medici.  He might have stayed in Perugia thereafter, before returning to Rome.  He was based there for the rest of his career.


Holy family (ca. 1660)

This altarpiece in the Galleria Nazionale by Giovanni Domenico Cerrini seems to have belonged to the Padri della Missione dei Frati Minori Cappuccini, who settled in Perugia in 1680 in a house bought for them by Giovanni Tommaso Cerrini [the son of the artist ?]; he left his possessions to the friars when he died a decade later. 

The panel depicts the Madonna breast-feeding the baby Jesus, watched by St Joseph, St Anne, the young St John the Baptist and angels.  (Some sources record the old lady in the painting as St Elizabeth, the mother of St John the Baptist, rather than as St Anne, the mother of the Virgin).

Panels in San Pietro (ca. 1660)


These two panels by Giovanni Domenico Cerrini, which may have been given to the monks of San Pietro by the artist, depict:

  1. the Madonna breast-feeding the baby Jesus (which is based on the central group in the panel in the Galleria Nazionale - see above); and

  2. St John the Baptist as a young hermit in the desert .

Although they were listed among works to be sent to the Musei Capitolini, Rome in 1812, it was subsequently decided that they should remain in the church.  They are now in the right aisle, opposite the entrance to the sacristy.

St Mary Magdalene (17th century)

This panel in the Museo Capitolare, which is of unknown provenance, is attributed to Giovanni Domenico Cerrini.

Collection of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio

Three works that are attributed to Cerrini form part of the Collection of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Perugia:
  1. Roman charity (a story told by ancient Roman authors in which Xanthippe fed her father Mycon with her own milk when his gaolers forbade him food) - illustrated here; and

  2. two scenes from the story of Abraham and Hagar:

  3. Abraham sends Hagar into the desert; and

  4. an angel instructs her to return.

Read more: 
F. Mancini (Ed.), “Gian Domenico Cerrini: Il Cavalier Perugino tra Classicismo e Barocco”, (2005), Milan

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