Bernardino Fungai

Dates(Sienese), 1460 - 1516
BornSiena, Italy
DiedSiena, Italy

Scholars find little documentation of Bernardino Fungai's career. Only in this century has academic attention turned to him. Using his signed and dated altarpiece of 1512 in a church in Siena, scholars are comparing paintings, sorting out attributions, and piecing together the chronology of his paintings. Fungai probably studied with local masters in Siena, his birthplace. His painting style points to influence from the previous generation of Sienese painters and awareness of contemporary works by artists such as Pietro Perugino. In 1482 Fungai was a first-level apprentice working under a local artist on monochrome frescoes for the cupola of the Siena Cathedral. He also painted narrative paintings on cassone panels.

Fungai also may have specialized in handling expensive materials such as gold. In 1494 he was commissioned to decorate ceremonial banners with gold and azure, and five years later he gilded the cathedral's organ case.

Fungai's paintings feature docile figures, a decorative sensibility in use of color and treatment of drapery and landscape, and a strong narrative ability. Regardless of subject matter, landscape was a key element.