Jacopo Ligozzi painter of fine naturalia and macabre skulls

F Tonelli
Jacopo Ligozzi, son of Giovanni Ermanno, and brother of Francesco -both of them were artists -was born in Verona in 1549 (his birthday is not sure). He lived a long life during which he had a variety of experiences, finally dying in Florence in 1627. He had a prominent role as an artist at the court of the Grand Duke Francesco I, who summoned him to produce naturalistic depictions, probably according to the recommendation of Ulisse Aldrovandi, the scientist and naturalist from Bologna. Indeed,
more » ... m Bologna. Indeed, Francesco I was noted for his desire to conduct scientific experiments, and he built the "Casino di San Marco" and the "Studiolo di Palazzo Vecchio" for this purpose. The naturalistic culture of Ligozzi was inspired by acquaintances, in the years prior to his arrival in Florence, with important collectors of natural specimens: Francesco Calzolari, who worked in Verona, and the surgeon Leone Tartaglini from Tuscany, who had moved to Venice and had an herbarium, a book of rare beauty about fish, and was devoted to procuring specimens for the Wunderkammer. Ligozzi also had the opportunity to see and copy prints of botany and zoology drawings by Durer. Ulysses Aldovandri saw the first works of Ligozzi and admired their fidelity of reproduction. These lively and detailed depictions brought Aldovrandi to define Ligozzi as the new Apelles, and to compare him to Titian, Raphael and Michelangelo. When Ligozzi arrived at the Medici Court, he, together with his entire family, was immediately accommodated in the "Casino di San Marco". He proved to be a very fine painter, capable of using such thin brushes for his works that they acquired details fine enough to seem like miniatures. He produced marvelous paintings of medicinal plants and animals caught in action using delicate and variegated colors, and finding a wonderful synthesis between artistic interpretation and scientific rigor. His work was so appreciated that he was soon called upon to decorate some Medici's palaces such as the "Tribuna degli Uffizi" and the Grotto of Thetis at the "Villa di Pratolino", but also to draw coats of arms, jewelry, capriccio goblets, costumes, decorations for bedrooms, clothing, and he addresses for the ladies of the court, and to study apparatus for weddings and funerals of the Medici's Court.
doi:10.11138/ccmbm/2014.11.3.236 fatcat:7rh363447beytn2ypr2hodg2qu