Key to Umbria: Spoleto

Giacomo Santoro da Giuliana, more commonly known as Jacopo Siculo, is so-called because he came from Sicily.  He was documented in Rome in 1519, when he was working under Baldassarre Peruzzi.  He was still in Rome in early 1527, and probably left after the sack of the city by Imperial troops later that year.  He subsequently settled in Spoleto, where he married one of the daughters of Giovanni di Pietro, lo Spagna.


Work in Cappella dell' Assunta, Duomo  (ca. 1535)

This work in the Cappella dell' Assunta, which is attributed to Jacopo Siculo, comprises:

  1. the panel of the Assumption of the Virgin in an aedicule on the altar wall ; and

  2. the frescoes on the walls of the chapel.

Madonna and Child with saints (1537)

The altarpiece of Cappella Spinelli in the church of Santa Maria  di Loreto is formed by a part of the documented fresco that Jacopo Spinelli commissioned from Jacopo Siculo.  The surviving fragment depicts the Madonna and Child above the Holy House of Loreto, which is carried by three flying angels.  SS Sebastian and Antony Abbot stand to the sides.  This fragment, which was recovered from under a layer of plaster and restored in 2008.

Work in San Brizio (1541-2)

This work in San Brizio, outside Spoleto, comprises:

  1. the altarpiece (1542) of the Holy Family, which Bartolomeo Pancani (a canon of San Brizio) commissioned it from Jacopo Siculo; and

  1. the frescoes above the triumphal arch that leads to the presbytery, which are dated by inscription and are attributed to him.  These depict the Last Supper and Sibyls.


Virgin in Glory with Saints (1547)

This altarpiece, which was documented on the high altar of the Convento di Sant’ Antonio da Padova in 1872, is now in the Pinacoteca Civica.  It is attributed to the workshop of Jacopo Siculo, and was completed three years after his death. 

The main panel depicts the Madonna and Child in a mandorla of clouds and putti, with six kneeling figures below: SS Crispoltus; Francis; Jerome; (?); Antony of Padua; and Louis of Toulouse.

The predella contains images of the donors and identifying inscriptions: Donna Ciancia Angelini commissioned the work according to the will of her husband, Giuliano in 1547.


Coronation of the Virgin (1541)

This altarpiece, which was painted for the high altar of the church of the Observant Franciscans’ Convento dell’ Annunziata, Norcia is signed by Jacopo Siculo and dated by inscription.  It is otherwise undocumented, but clearly based on altarpiece (1507-11) by Giovanni di Pietro, lo Spagna at Santa Maria di Montesanto, Todi , which was, in turn, based on the altarpiece (1486) by Domenico Ghirlandaio for the Observant Franciscans of San Girolamo, Narni
  1. The landscape in the lower part of the main panel depicts the Convento dell’Annunzata, with the plain in front of it transformed into a lake.

  2. The predella depicts:

  3. the Annunciation (at the extremes), in reference to the dedication of the church;

  4. St Jerome in the dessert;

  5. the Pietà; and

  6. the stigmatisation of St Francis.

The altarpiece, was removed from the church and dismembered so that the main panel could be exhibited in Perugia in 1907.  The components were subsequently housed in San Benedetto and then, from 1967, in the Museo della Castellina.   The components were taken to Spoleto for restoration after an earthquake in 1979, and remained there for some 25 years.  The restoration was finally completed in 1994, and the reassembled altarpiece was returned to the museum.


C. Favetti, “Dal Belice all’ Umbria: Giacomo Santoro da Giuliana detto Jacopo Siculo Pittore”, Prospettiva (2008) Terni

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Jacopo Siculo (1490-1544)

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