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Scipione Pulzone(Gaeta1544 - Rome1598)

Scipione Pulzone, called Il Gaetano, was an Italian painter active during the late Renaissance.

He began studying under Jacopino del Conte (1515-1598), but soon turned to Girolamo Muziano (1528/32-1592) and Siciolante (1521-1575). His taste for description led him to study Venetian masters, of whom he took a varied palette. In Raphael (1483-1520) he found what he needed : well-defined lines and schematic clarity. But Pulzone even took a step further, his work is clearly influenced by Perugino (1450-1523), Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-1494) and the great masters of the Quattrocento.

In 1584 Pulzone travelled to Naples and Florence where he met local artists sharing his tastes. In 1588 Pulzone began the decoration of the Church of Jesus under Giuseppe Valeriano (1542-1596). But during this period Pulzone, although humbly following the rigid antimanierista precepts of Valeriano, began painting more schematics and reductionists works, condensing the emotions in a few figures and avoiding sophistication.

Pulzone’s work is typical of the Counter-Maniera style, artistic expression of the Counter-Reformation. Pulzone was primarily a highly gifted portrait painter. His works were subjected to the rules of the Roman Catholic church, trying to convey simple emotions, with a didactic intention, and sometimes with an almost artisanal, raw art, Art was seen as a means to convey an idea rather than a way of seeking beauty or artistic challenge.

Although enjoying great moments of endowment, Pulzone’s work can be seen as the last gasp of a form of art that soon will hand over control to most innovative artists, like Annibale Carracci (1560-1609), that will be the leading edge of a new style.