The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes

Astolfo PETRAZZI (Siena, 1580 - Siena, 1663)

Biography

Astolfo Petrazzi was a student of Ventura Salimbeni, and his early work displays the influence of this local Barrocesque master, such as the Martyrdom of Saint Crispin of 1608 in the church of San Crispino in Siena. He may also have studied with two other Sienese painters, Francesco Vanni and Pietro Sorri. After a period of about ten years in Rome, where he painted an altarpiece for the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini, Petrazzi returned to Siena in 1631, inspired by the Bolognese classicism of the Carracci and their followers. Among his important paintings of this period are The Last Communion of Saint Jerome of 1631, in the Sienese church of Sant’Agostino, and The Mysteries of the Rosary, painted the following year for the church of Santo Spirito. Petrazzi also painted historical subjects for the interior of the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena. He was also a gifted painter of still life subjects, as seen in two examples in the Chigi-Saracini collection in Siena. The essential characteristics of Petrazzi’s draughtsmanship were established in a pioneering article published by Philip Pouncey in 1971, when he grouped a number of previously anonymous drawings under the name of the artist on the basis of a drawing of The Martyrdom of a Saint in the Albertina in Vienna, which is signed ‘Astolfo Petrucci Sanese’. Apart from the Albertina, drawings by Petrazzi are in the Louvre, the British Museum, Christ Church in Oxford, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and elsewhere.