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Pietro Perugino, Italian Renaissance Painter

Pietro Perugino, Giving the Keys to St. Peter

Christ Handing the Keys to St Peter
1481-82, by Pietro Perugino
Fresco, 335 x 550 cm
Cappella Sistina, Vatican

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Italian Renaissance painter, Pietro Perugino (1446-1524), also known as Pietro Vannucci, was born in Peugia, Umbria. Like so many other artists of the time, Perugino gravitated to Florence probably in the mid-1470s. Vasari says Perugino was apprenticed to Verrocchio's studio, as was Leonardo da Vinci. Having completed in apprenticeship in 1472, Perugino joined the confraternity of St. Luke as a painter. Perugino was one of the first Italian Renaissance artists to use oil painting.

Vasari report that Perugino was commissioned in 1481 to join the team of Botticelli to paint frescoes on the walls of the brand new Sistine Chapel in Rome. Some scholars believe Perugino led the team whose members were Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, and Rosselli. He also frescoed the altarpiece in the chapel, but this work was demolished so that Michelangelo's Last Judgment could take its place. In his prime, Perugino influenced the young Raphael Sanzio who worked with him early in his career. The Pre-Raphaelites of the 19th century greatly admired Perugino's work.

Brenda Harness, Art Historian

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