Mastro Luca Signorelli – New takes on an old Master
In their new book, ’Luca Signorelli a Città di Castello – La vita, l’opera e la Scuola in Alta Valle del Tevere’*(Petruzzi, 2013), Sara Borsi and Valentina Ricci Vitiani have followed new lines of enquiry in order to look at, among other things, the links between this renowned Renaissance fresco artist from Cortona, and our much loved Citta di Castello.
The book, commissioned by Giuseppe Sterparelli, director of the town’s art gallery to mark its centenary, and with contributions from the Signorelli expert Tom Henry, also proposes a fascinating theory linking a mystery male face featured in one of the artist’s, and indeed the Renaissance’s , masterpieces, with the town. (This work can now to be found in Berlin).
Through their research they identify him as Riccommano Bufalini, a wealthy landowner, patronised by one of the town’s worthy families, the Vitellis, who was sent to Rome to request financial aid from the church during a period of plague and earthquakes that had devastated the economy. (This link with the town’s worthies is further illustrated with a reproduction of a letter from the family guaranteeing hospitality to Signorelli.)
The book has taken a refreshing new stance on the life and works of Signorelli, and it’s hoped will encourage a renewed interest in the Maestro. Sterparelli envisions the possibility of an e-version of the book and has also talked about making it into a bilingual documentary especially for distribution in American museums – a fabulous way of promoting the Upper Tiber valley and all its treasures.
*’Luca Signorelli in Citta di Castello – His life, works and school in the Upper Tiber valley’