Key to Umbria

Giovanni Battista Lombardelli came from Montenovo (now called Ostra Vetere) in the March of Ancona.  He was documented as an independent artist in his native town in 1575.  He probably moved to Rome in 1576, in order to work in the Vatican Palace.  He occasionally also worked in Umbria at this time, executing frescoes in:

  1. Palazzo Cesi, Acquasparta, in 1579; and

  2. the cloister of San Domenico, Perugia (see below) in 1579-81.

Lombardelli subsequently moved permanently to Umbria, probably in 1588, when he is documented at work on the frescoes of the the Santuario di Mongiovino at Panicale, near Lake Trasimeno.  His last documented work was in the apse of San Pietro, Perugia (see below) in the period December 1591 and May 1592.  Francesco Federico Mancini (referenced below) has suggested that he led the team there that also included the local artists Silla Piccinini and Pietro Rancanelli.  Professor Mancini further suggests that Lombardelli and his team moved on to the decoration of the Cappella dell’ Annunciazione at Santa Maria degli Angeli (see below), where his involvement was cut short by his death.  He died in Perugia July 1592, and was buried at San Domenico. 


Work in Santa Maria degli Angeli (1592)

As noted above, it seems that Giovanni Battista Lombardelli began the decoration of Cappella dell’ Annunciazione in Santa Maria degli Angeli just before his death.  This chapel belonged to the Perugian widow Laura Coli Pontani, who had already commissioned its altarpiece from Federico Barocci, which underlines the prestige attached to the commission.  However, any involvement by Lombardelli would have been cut short by his death.

The most important fresco in the chapel that is attributed to Giovanni Battista Lombardelli is the one at the centre of the vaults, which depicts the granting of the Portiuncula Indulgence: in Franciscan iconography, this scene completed the story of salvation, which had begun with the Annunciation, the subject of the altarpiece.


Frescoes in Palazzo Buzi (ca. 1585)

The frescoes that Vincenzo Buzi commissioned for the rooms of his new palace, Palazzo Buzi, are attributed to Cesare Nebbia and Giovanni Battista Lombardelli.  they include:

  1. the frescoes of two rooms on the ground floor, which depict allegories; and

  2. those of a number of rooms on the piano nobile, which depict scenes from the Old Testament.


Scenes from the life of St Dominic (1579-81)

According to local historians, Giovanni Battista Lombardelli painted these frescoes in the large cloister of the Convento di San Domenico at the expense of families who had burial rights in the church.  They were already described as ruined in 1857, largely due to damage inflicted by French soldiers in 1797.

Scenes from the life of St Lucy (1588)

According to local historians, Giovanni Battista Lombardelli painted these frescoes in the chapel in Sant' Agostino that belonged to Alessandro di Girolamo Danzetta.  Most of them have been lost, but the two that survive are indeed attributable to Lombardelli on stylistic grounds.  They depict:

  1. St Lucy before the Emperor; and

  2. St Lucy distributing alms.

Frescoes (1591)

These documented frescoes by Giovanni Battista Lombardelli in the lunettes of the Biblioteca Vecchia of Palazzo dei Priori depict:

  1. Apollo on Mount Parnassus; and

  2. Christ among the Doctors in the Temple.

Work in San Pietro (1591-2)


Payments to Giovanni Battista Lombardelli in relation to the frescoes of the apse of San Pietro are recorded between December 1591 and May 1592.  Those that are specifically attributed to him depict:

  1. Christ entrusting the keys of Heaven to St Peter;

  2. Christ before a centurion; and

  3. the conversion of St Paul.

Read more:

F. Mancini, “Un Documento per Federico Barocci e la Cappella Coli Pontani in Santa Maria degli Angeli” Esercizi, 6 (1983) pp 18-47

C. Prete, “ Giovanni Battista Lombardelli

  1. in A. Ambrosini Masari et al. (Eds), “Nel Segno di Barocci: Allievi e Seguaci tra Marche, Umbria, Siena” (2005) Milan pp 158-67

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Giovanni Battista Lombardelli (died 1592)  

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