Gentile da Fabriano

Datesabout 1370 - 1427

In the fifteenth-century, Gentile da Fabriano was celebrated as the greatest Italian painter of his age. Much sought after by prominent, wealthy patrons across northern and central regions of the Italian peninsula, he was active in Venice, Brescia, Florence, Siena, Orvieto, and Rome. Hailing from the town of Fabriano in the Marches, he was probably trained in Lombardy, where his art was informed by artists working at the court of Milan as well as Franco-Flemish models. Gentile’s painterly technique involved delicate brushwork and the use of oil glazes, resulting in deep, vibrant colors and intricately patterned surfaces. The overall richness of his paintings owes much to his immense skill in the tooling of gold leaf, which, in its complexity, often resembles the work of contemporary goldsmiths. His paintings are typified by lyrical atmosphere, delicate figures with smooth, rosy complexions and heavy-lidded eyes, and a remarkable attention to detail in rendering landscapes, animals, and costume.

Among Gentile's most famous surviving works are those made during his few short years in Florence in the early 1420s. The works of art he produced during his sojourn there had seismic effects on painters in that city, in particular his habitual incorporation of closely observed details of the natural world.