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Pietro di Galeotto (died 1483)

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Pietro di Galeotto in:  Perugia

Flagellation of Christ (1480)

Oratorio di San Francesco, Perugia

Pietro di Galeotto was first in documented 1473, when “maestro Pietro di maestro Galeotto da Perusgia” was commissioned to paint a banner for the Confraternita di San Giovanni Battista in Arezzo.  In this contract, he was described as a pupil of Piero della FrancescaGiorgio Vasari mentions that a pupil of Piero della Francesca called “Pietro da Castel della Pieve” carried out minor commissions at Sant’ Agostino, Borgo San Sepolcro and at Santa Caterina, Arezzo.  This is almost certainly a reference to Pietro di Galeotto, who might well have been born in Città della Pieve.   Neither of the works that Vasari attributes to him survives: nor does a documented altarpiece (1476) of his in Vicenza. 


Pietro di Galeotto joined the Painters’ Guild of Perugia in 1479, the year in which he received the prestigious  commission to paint the Pala dei Decemviri for the chapel of the Palazzo dei Priori (now part of the Galleria Nazionale).  Although the contract stipulated that a steep penalty would arise unless the work was delivered within two years, it remained incomplete at the time of his death in 1483.   The commission passed to Perugino in 1484: he was to complete the main panel within four months and to paint the upper panel within a year.  This suggests that Pietro di Galeotto had worked only on the main panel, and that even this was incomplete when he died.  (The commission subsequently stalled until Perugino executed it in 1495-6). 

The only known work of Pietro di Galeotto that survives is the Flagellation of Christ (illustrated above and described below).  However, two other commissions of his in Perugia are documented:

  1. he was commissioned to paint a panel of the Madonna and Child for the Sala dell’ Udienza of the Palazzo dei Priori in 1480; and

  2. he was at work on a fresco of the Madonna and Child above the entrance to the church of the Abbazia di San Pietro in 1483.

Flagellation of Christ (1480)

This gonfalon (illustrated above) now forms the altarpiece on the altar in the sacristy of the Oratorio di San Francesco.  It is almost certainly the work of Pietro di Galeotto, who received payments from the Confraternita di San Francesco for a processional banner.  A banner depicting Christ tied to a column was documented in 1486 on an altar in the oratory.

The banner depicts Christ tied to a column, with His skin chafed by ropes around His arms and by the crown of thorns.  Two thugs, partly stripped for the work, participate in His humiliation, which takes place in an open loggia that is bathed with early morning light.  The realism of the brutality and the accurate perspective of the setting are both important characteristics of the work.  The Flagellation was obviously an appropriate subject for this penitential confraternity.

Read more:

D. Franklin, “The identity of a Perugian follower of Piero della Francesca”, Burlington Magazine 135 (1993) 625-7

Return to: Art in Perugia.