Key to Umbria: Città di Castello

Francesco Tifernate (died after 1505)

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Francesco Tifernate in:   Città di Castello

This artist, who is also known as Francesco da Città di Castello, was the son of a goldsmith and prominent city official, Battista di Florido.  Battista acted as guarantor for Raphael in the contract for the altarpiece (1500-1) of the Coronation of St Nicholas of Tolentino for Sant’ Agostino, Città di Castello, and Francesco was subsequently greatly influenced by Raphael’s work in the city.

The altarpiece of the Annunciation (1506) from San Domenico, which is now in the in the Pinacoteca Civica (see below), is the only securely attributed work by Francesco Tifernate.  He is known to have painted an altarpiece for Santa Maria Nuova (in the Corso of Città di Castello) that depicted "Job, San Donino and other saints", but this was destroyed during the earthquake of 1789.

It is clear from his mother’s will of 1512 that she had inherited her husband’s estate, which suggests that Francesco pre-deceased her.

Città di Castello

Annunciation (ca. 1505)

Francesco Federico Mancini published the document commissioning this altarpiece for the Altare dei Magalotti, San Domenico.  It is signed by "Franciscus Thifer" and (as noted above), it is the only securely attributed work by this artist. 

An inscription on the now-lost predella  referred to the donor, Giovanni Magalotti and gave the date, 1504.  However, the document commissioning the altarpiece makes it clear that this inscription related only to the altar.

The contract for the altarpiece was signed in 1505 between:

  1. Ludovica, the widow of Giovanni Magalotti, who had obviously died in the previous year; and

  2. Francesco Tifernate, under the guarantee of his father, Battista di Florido, which suggests that Francesco was still a minor.  

Ludovica specified that the dimensions of the altarpiece should be similar to those of Raphael’s altarpiece for the Gavari chapel in the same church: i.e. Raphael’s Crucifixion with Saints (ca. 1503).   

Although the main panel of the altarpiece survives in the Pinacoteca Civica, the documented predella no longer survives.

Ognissanti Altarpiece (ca. 1504 )

This altarpiece, which is attributed to Francesco Tifernate, came from the Chiesa di Ognissanti.  It depicts:
  1. the Annunciation, in the upper lunette; and

  2. the Madonna and Child enthroned with: St Catherine of Alexandria (to whom the baby Jesus gives a ring), St Nicholas of Tolentino and two bishop saints.

The work draws on contemporary precedents by Raphael:

  1. the upper part is based on one of the predella panels of his Oddi Altarpiece form Perugia;

  2. the lower part is based on the main panel of the Colonna Altarpiece from Perugia; and 

  3. the figure of St Catherine in the lower part is based on the Virgin in his Marriage of the Virgin (1504) in San Francesco, Città di Castello.

Agostino Tofanelli, the Director of the Musei Capitolini, Rome attempted to confiscate the altarpiece 1813 (at which time it was attributed to a follower of Perugino), but the local authorities were able to resist because it was still in use in the church.  (The relevant research by Christina Galassi is referenced below).   The panel was still in situ in 1897 but transferred to the civic collection in 1912.  It is now in the Pinacoteca Civica.

Annunciation (ca. 1504)

This altarpiece, which is attributed to Francesco Tifernate, was originally in the crypt of the the Duomo and later moved to the Cappella Uberti in the main part of the church.  It was damaged in a fall and subsequently restored before its move to the Museo del Duomo.

The main panel of this altarpiece, like the upper part of the Ognissanti Altarpiece above, is based on one of the predella panels of Raphael’s Oddi Altarpiece (ca. 1503).  

Madonna and Child with SS Jerome and Floridus (ca. 1504)

This altarpiece in Sant’ Andrea di Selci, a rural church outside Città di Castello, has recently been restored.  It is attributed to Francesco Tifernate.

Read more:

F. F. Mancini, “More on the Young Raphael”, in

  1. T. Henry and F. Mancini (Eds.), “Gli Esordi di Raffaello tra Urbino, Città di Castello e Perugia”, (2006), Città di Castello, pp 18-9

The attempted requisition of the Ognisanti Altarpiece is discussed (on p. 110 and note 67, p. 124) in:

  1. C. Galassi, “Il Tesoro Perduto: le Requisizioni Napoleoniche a Perugia e la Fortuna della Scuola Umbra in Francia tra 1797 e 1815”, (2004) Perugia

The document commissioning the Pala Magalotti in San Domenico (above) is published in:

  1. F. F. Mancini, “Raffaello e Francesco Tifernate: un Documento e alcune Precisazion”', Antichità Viva, 22: 5/6 (1983) 27-34.

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