The Virgin and Child

Marco Marchetti, called Marco da Faenza


Marco Marchetti, known as Marco da Faenza after his birthplace, is best known as a designer and painter of grotesque decorations. The early years of his career were spent mainly in Rome, where around 1553 he decorated some of the rooms of the Palazzo Ricci Sacchetti. Giorgio Vasari writes that he was in great demand as a painter of grottesche, and praises his work very highly. By the mid-1560’s Marchetti was working in Florence, where he executed an extensive series of grotesque decorations and ceiling paintings in the Palazzo Vecchio. He also worked with Vasari between 1564 and 1566 on the apparati to celebrate the marriage of Francesco de’ Medici, and was elected to the Florentine Accademia in October 1565.

After some time working in Faenza and Rimini, Marchetti spent the latter part of his career in Rome, where one of his most important commissions was for the grottesche decoration of the Vatican Logge of Pope Gregory XIII, which he took over after the death of Lorenzo Sabatini in 1576. He was also active as a painter of religious subjects, including a series of paintings in the cloister of SS. Trinità dei Monti in Rome. Near the end of his life he seems to have settled in his native town of Faenza, where he worked on the decoration of the palace of the Cardinal Legate and in 1585 painted scenes from the life of Saint Francis for the monastery of the Osservanti.