Cavallini, Peter

, an Italian painter, was born at Rome in 1279, and became the disciple of Giotto. He rendered himself very considerable by a multitude of paintings which he finished, to the number (as some writers assert) of 1300; and he was also as remarkable for his piety, having on that account been esteemed as a saint. His principal works are at Rome, where he assisted Giotto in that celebrated picture in Mosaic, which is over the grand entrance into the church of St. Peter; and in St. Paul’s there is a crucifix, said to be by his hand, which the superstitious affirm to have miraculously talked to St. Bridget. But his best performance in fresco was in the church of Ara Cceli at Rome; in which he represented the Virgin and Child above, surrounded with glory, and below was the figure of the emperor Octavian, and also that of the sybil, directing the eye and the attention of the emperor to the figures in the air.

Mr. Vertue, according to the Anecdotes of Painting, vol. I. p. 17, thinks it highly probable, that the shrine of Edward the Confessor, and the crosses erected to the memory of queen Eleanor, were constructed from the designs of Pietro Cavallini, by abbot Ware; and he supposes Cavallini to be the inventor of Mosaic, alleging that Giotto was twenty years younger than the other. But those suppositions seem not to be very defensible; for, by the testimony of Vasari, and other writers, and also by the Historical Tables of Ancient and Modern Painters, published by Anthony Harms, at Brunswick, it appears that Giotto was three years older than Cavallinj, instead of being twenty years younger; and was really his instructor in the art of Mosaic; as may be evident from the dates of their birth, according to Vasari: Giotto was born in 1276, and CavaiJini was born in 1279. Indeed, Vasari does not mention the precise year of the birth of Cavallini but as he | testifies that he died in 1364, at the age of eighty-five, he determines the year of his birth in 1279. Nor can the other supposition of abbot Ware’s constructing those crosses and shrine from the designs of Cavallini, be any ways established; for, according to the Anecdotes, Ware was at Rome in 1260, and there saw a shrine that had been erected in 1254; and the abbot himself died in 1283, which, it is observable, was eight years before the death of queen Eleanor,' who died in 1291. Now, as it appears that Giotto was born in 1276, he could have been but seven years old at the death of Ware; and Cavallini being three years younger than Giotto, it must appear impossible that he should have been a designer for Ware, as that abbot died when Cavallini was only four years old. 1