Signorelli, Luca

, a Florentine artist, born at Corfcona in 1439, was the scholar of Piero della Francesca. He was an artist of spirit and expression, and one of the first in Tuscany, who designed the naked with anatomical intelligence, though still with some dry ness of manner, and too much adherence to the model: the chief evidence of this is in the Duomo of Orvieto, where in the mixed imagery of final dissolution and infernal punishment, he has scattered original ideas of conception, character, and attitude, in copious variety, though not without remnants of gothic alloy. The angels, who announce the impending doom or scatter plagues, exhibit, with awful simplicity, bold fore-shortenings; whilst the St. Michael presents only the tame heraldic figure of a knight all cased in armour. In the expression of the condemned groups and daemons, he chiefly dwells on the supposed perpetual renewal of the pangs attending on the last struggles of life with death, contrasted with the inexorable scowl or malignant grin of fiends


Cave vol. I. Vossins de Hist. Lat. Fabric. Bibl. Lat. et Bibl. Med. Ætat.-Blount’s Censura. Dapin. —Saxii Onomast.

| methodizing torture; a horrid feature, reserved by Dante for the last pit of his Inferno. It has been first said by Vasari, who exulted in his relation to Luca, that Michael Angelo, in certain parts of his Last Judgment, adopted something of the conduct and the ideas of his predecessor. This is true, because Michael Angelo could not divest himself of every impression from a work he had so often seen: his originality consisted in giving consequence to the materials of Luca, not in changing them; both drew from the same sources, with the same predilections and prejudices, and differed less in the mode than the extent of their conception.

Luca Signorelli worked at Urbino, Volterra, Arezzo, Florence, and other cities of Italy; and though by far the greater part of his performances be defective in form and union of colour, Wfe meet in some others, especially in the Communion of the Apostles at the Gesu of Cortona, forms and tints of modern grace; and he distinguished himself among the artists who concurred to decorate the pannels of the Sistina, by superior composition.

Of this artist, who died in 1521, aged eighty- two, a story is told as a proof of what an absolute command he had over his passions, or rather, it might have been said, over natural affection. He had a son extremely handsome, and a youth of great hopes, who was unfortunately killed at. Cortona. When this son, greatly beloved by him, was brought home, he ordered his corpse to be carried into his painting-room and, having stripped him, immediately drew his picture, without shedding a tear.1