Sebastiano FOLLI

Siena c.1569 - Siena 1622


A pupil of Alessandro Casolani as well as Ventura Salimbeni, Sebastiano Folli enjoyed a successful career and earned several significant commissions. He is already documented as a painter in 1587 and 1589, although his earliest known work - a frescoed portrait in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena - dates from 1593. Folli painted numerous works for churches in and around Siena, notably at San Domenico, Santa Maria della Scala and San Sebastiano, as well as paintings in several rooms of the Palazzo Pubblico. A series of frescoes, dominated by a Last Judgement, were executed for the chapel of the Palazzo Cinughi de’Pazzi-Vincenti in Siena. Around the turn of the century Folli also worked for some time in Rome, where among his patrons was Cardinal Alessandro de’ Medici, the future Pope Leo XI, for whom he painted frescoes in the church of Sant’Agnese fuori le Mura. Back in Siena, Folli worked on ceiling frescoes in the churches of Santa Lucia in 1612 and Santa Marta between 1615 and 1617. Folli’s work as a draughtsman reveals the distinct influence of Alessandro Casolani, and the drawings of the two have sometimes been confused. The largest extant group of drawings by or attributed to Folli is today in the Biblioteca Comunale in Siena, and other sheets are in the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin, the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh, the Uffizi in Florence, the Museo Cerralbo in Madrid and the Louvre in Paris, as well as in the collection of the Dukes of Devonshire at Chatsworth. The number of drawings that can be securely connected to finished paintings by the artist is, however, fairly small.