Amico Aspertini

Dates1474/1475 - 1552

Giorgio Vasari described Amico Aspertini as an eccentric, half-insane master who worked so rapidly with both hands that chiaroscuro was split, chiaro in one hand, scuro in the other. Aspertini was a gifted prodigy whose frescoes, facade decorations, and altarpieces display a complex, eclectic style anticipating Mannerism. Born into a family of painters, Aspertini studied under many Bolognese masters, including Francesco Francia, who practiced a gentle, graceful manner derived from Raphael. A passionate scholar of antiquity, Aspertini often incorporated motifs drawn from ancient art and architecture in his painting and drawings. Begun during his stay in Rome from 1500 to 1503, Aspertini's sketchbooks of drawings after classical ruins are important records of contemporary knowledge of ancient art.

After returning to Bologna in 1504, Aspertini soon joined Francia and others in painting frescoes for the newly restored oratory of Santa Cecila in San Giacomo Maggiore. From 1510 to 1530, although continuing painting commissions, Aspertini primarily devoted himself to sculpture, creating part of San Petronio's facade. The highly respected Aspertini was one of two artists chosen to decorate a triumphal arch for Pope Clement VII and Emperor Charles V's entry into Bologna in 1529.