Francesco Vanni

Dates1563 - 1610

By traveling regularly, Francesco Vanni brought an art combining many influences to his native Siena. In its evolution away from Mannerism and its allegiance to the styles of Raphael, Federico Barocci, and the Carracci, Vanni's art had a lasting impact on Sienese painting.

After training with his stepfather, Vanni went to Bologna, where he may have worked under Bartolommeo Passarotti. He absorbed the Carracci classicism, founded on studying nature, then spent two years in a Roman studio, when Federico Zuccaro's increasingly naturalistic Mannerist style was pervading the city. From 1585, Barocci's style also heavily influenced Vanni's painting, resulting in sharp, acid colors and delicate facial types.

Back in Siena by the 1590s, Vanni was the leading artistic figure there. His clients from Siena's churches and confraternities desired a more realistic style, following Counter-Reformation guidelines requiring painting to communicate clear stories to the populace. Vanni's artistic response attracted the interest of representatives from Rome, where he stayed from about 1600 to 1604. His many commissions there included a prestigious altarpiece in Saint Peter's Basilica. Upon his return to Siena, Vanni devoted himself to commissions from local patrons.

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