was once an important and flourishing area for the nurture and diffusion
of international artistic trends. Gentile da Fabriano, born in this county
(1370-1427), was a representative of this manner. He was an untiring
traveller and was open to the Northern culture.
would be difficult to determine what influenced most the Fabrianese
artist’s style. The only thing certain is that after a stay in Venice
(1408) he seemed to have assimilated much from the culture of the Po
As for other influxes we can just suppose they could be Umbrian or from
Marche, or Senese or Lombard ones. Marche is the home land of other
artists whose styles can be equally described as ‘international’.
The Salimbeni brothers, Lorenzo (San Severino c.1374)and Iacopo (1427) are
among them. Their manner seemed to be so autonomous from the one of
Gentile da Fabriano and their technique so close to the one of the
northern artists that it is possible to assume that in the Marche of the
epoch, the Northern culture was deeply appreciated. Camerino, a city of
Marche, was dominated by the Varano family.
There a brilliant local school flourished in the second half of the 15th
century. The main artist of this trend was Girolamo di Giovanni. He was at
first deeply influenced by the Paduan Art but he then converted his manner
to the still geometry and the radiant splendour typical of Piero della
Giovanni Boccati came from Camerino. His
majestic and monumental style was abandoned to represent in a courtly and
inspired style ‘La salita al
Calvario’ (The ascent to the Calvary).
anonymous painter conventionally addressed as ‘Master of the Barberini
panels’ after a long wandering in Marche came to Urbino. He was author
of two panels reflecting the very complex figurative culture of the artist.
These pieces of art where first in Urbino, but were then taken to Rome and
have ended up in the USA. An other eminent artist of Marche, maybe the
greatest one at the court of the Duke of Montefeltro is Giovanni Santi,
also known for being the father of Raffaello. He was active in Urbino and
also at the court of the Counts Oliva in Montefiorentino.
artistic historiography puts under the name of ‘Scuola Marchigiana del
Quattrocento’ (School of the fifteenth century in Marche) a lot of minor
local trends, each rich of different artists, and with marked individual
characteristics and style. Fabriano, Camerino, Urbino, Recanati and many
other centres had a limited artistic production in the fifteenth century.
They often interchanged experiences, and influenced each other in such a
complex way to render almost impossible determining to what extent and in
what spell of time.
This is how F.Zeri describe the artistic panorama of Marche and its
production. When the Pope Alexander VI and his son Cesare Borgia deprived
the small states and seigniories of their legitimacy the cultural and
artistic development experienced a drastic stop. So the end of the
fourteenth century and the beginning of the fifteenth saw the end of the
local figurative production. All the works of art from that moment forth
were either imported or made by visiting artists. Among them there
are painters from Venice (Lorenzo Lotto, Antonio da Solario), from Tuscany
(Signorelli), and from Umbria (Eusebio da San Giorgio, Bernardino di
art of the fifteenth century in Marche is empty of any interacting between
local artists and foreign ones. Thus is explained why at the time clients
when commissioning a work of art were moved not by quality valuation but
by the necessity of being content with what was at hand.