Lelio Orsi

Dates1511 - 1587
RolesArtist
NationalityItalian
BornNovelarra, Italy

Lelio Orsi studied with his painter father, but very early on he incorporated into his polished, illusionistic style the two influences that remained primary throughout his life: Giulio Romano's exaggerated movement and excitability and Correggio's poignant passion and vibrant way of seeing. By 1538 Orsi had moved to a larger nearby town, Reggio Emilia, where he painted many architectural facades with illusionistic designs. Accused of involvement in a murder, he returned to his native Novellara in 1546, where he continued to create distinguished decorative works, especially as a painter of facades for the local nobility. Though he also completed a large project for the count of Novellara, providing everything from architectural drawings to decorative partitions for a villa, only fragments of any of these works survive.

The year 1554, spent in Rome, was decisive: there he absorbed Michelangelo's Mannerism, which stayed with him for life. He began to concentrate on making easel paintings of mostly mythological and religious subjects; they indicated the energy and expressiveness of his monumental works, and their jeweled technique made them beautiful in themselves. By 1576 Orsi was probably back in Reggio Emilia.

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