Key to Umbria: Perugia

Gasparino di Antonio was born in the Valle di Locarno in Piedmont, and belonged to the tradition of Lombard masons.  He was first documented in Perugia in 1451, when he was working on the north wall of the Duomo.  He was awarded citizenship of Perugia in 1468.  He was last documented in 1485 in connection with the remodelling of the Sala dell’ Udienza Vecchia (old Audience Chamber) of Palazzo dei Priori.

Gasparino di Antonio was documented in Assisi in 1484, when he was commissioned to carry out work on the roofs of the chapels of the Lower Church of San Francesco, to avoid the danger of damage from rainwater.


Work in Piazza del Sopramuro (1454-83)

Arcade of Shops (1454-69)

In 1453, Pope Nicholas V conceded the right to build along the parapet of the Piazza del Sopramuro to the Confraternita di Santa Maria della Misericordia.  They commissioned Gasparino di Antonio and Bartolomeo di Mattioli di Torgiano to build an arcade of shops.  (The latter artist was employed again to execute the vaulting in 1468-9). 

Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo (1472-81)


Gasparino di Antonio and Leone di Matteo designed the new Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo as an imposing three-storey building along the edge of Piazza del Sopramura, to the left of the arcade of shops (above). 

  1. The Renaissance portal, which is based on that of the Palazzo dei Priori, has a figure of Justice in the lunette and an inscription “Iustitiae virtutum domina” (Lady of the virtue of justice).  Two griffins are to the sides, one eating a calf and the other eating a goat.  The official Perugian measures are inscribed on a relief to the left of it.

  2. The elegant Loggia del Banditore to the right of the portal was used for public proclamations. 

  3. The middle storey contains four elegant before windows decorated with reliefs of human and animal heads.  The commissioning the work specified that its windows should be based on those of the Collegio del Cambio.  (The original windows of the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo survive, but those of the college were subsequently replaced.) 

  4. The present third storey replaced the taller original after an earthquake in 1741. 

Palazzo dell' Università (1483)

The Confraternita di Santa Maria della Misericordia commissioned Gasparino di Antonio to build this palace (later known as the Palazzo dell' Università Vecchia) as two storeys above the shopping arcade (above).  The arms of the hospice appear between the windows above what is now number 32 Piazza Matteotti.

Gasparino di Antonio seems to have died relatively soon after receiving this commission.  Fiorenzo di Lorenzo is documented as having provided designs for the windows in 1490, together with the design for the letters to be used in an inscription.  This was presumably the long inscription across the architraves of the 18 windows in the top storey: it is taken from the Gospel of St Matthew (Chapter 25, verse 35 et seq.) and relates to the vocation of the Confraternita della Misercordia: "I was hungry and you gave me food ...". 

The construction project proceeded slowly, and the Commune had to supply extra finance in 1512.  The complex finally came into use in 1514, at which point the palace presumably passed to the university. 

Campanile (1464-1500)


The campanile of San Domenico was built above the Cappella di Santa Caterina (ca. 1415) to a design attributed to Gasparino di Antonio.  Construction was started in 1464 and the spire was added in 1500.  This detail of a the fresco (late 15th century) by Benedetto Bonfigli in the Cappella dei Priori (now the Galleria Nazionale) captures the original form of the campanile, before:

  1. it was truncated in 1546 to allow a clear field of fire from Rocca Paolina; and

  2. its original traceried windows were destroyed.

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Gasperino di Antonio (died after 1485)

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