Pordenone (Giovanni Antonio de'Sacchis)

Datesabout 1483/1484 - 1539
BornPordenone, Italy

Giovanni Antonio Sacchis, named Pordenone after the town of his birth in the northern Italy province of Friuli, painted in Venice and other parts of northern Italy. His early style was based on northern Italian examples, particularly the art of Andrea Mantegna. Around the age of thirty-three, Pordenone visited Rome, where he studied the works of Michelangelo and Raphael. Pordenone was ambitious and often unprincipled; court charges brought against him reveal that he even hired assassins to murder his brother so that he could inherit his father's estate. His most famous works are the frescoes he made for the cathedral of Cremona when he was thirty-eight. Pordenone plotted to oust the artist who began the frescoes so that he could finish the work himself. When he was fifty-two, Pordenone moved to Venice, where he was Titian's chief artistic rival. In the year before his death, the Duke of Ferrara, an important patron of the arts, invited Pordenone to his court to design a series of tapestries. Pordenone died suddenly at the age of fifty-six. Of his death, the biographer Giorgio Vasari wrote, "This seemed a strange thing to the Duke, and also to Pordenone's friends; and there were not wanting men who for many months believed that he had died of poison."