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Giovanni Santi (c. 1435 – 1 August 1494) was an Italian painter, decorator, and the father of Raphael. He was born at Colbordolo in the Duchy of Urbino. He was a petty merchant for a time; he then studied under Piero della Francesca. He was influenced by Fiorenzo di Lorenzo, and seems to have been an assistant and friend of Melozzo da Forlì. He was court painter to the Duke of Urbino and painted several altarpieces, two now in the Berlin Museum, a Madonna in the church of San Francesco in Urbino, one at the church of Santa Croce in Fano, one in the National Gallery at London, and another in the gallery at Urbino; an Annunciation at the Brera in Milan; a resurrected Christ in the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest; and a Jerome in the Lateran. He died in Urbino.
Poetry and list of 15th-century painters
His poetry includes an epic in honor of one of his patrons, Federico III da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, followed a discourse on painting. The event commemorates a visit to Mantua, where the Duke marveled at the skill of Andrea Mantegna, he then goes on to comment that "In this splendid and gentle art/ so many have been famous in our century/ that it make others seem destitute".
Santi then goes on to list famous names in painting, as known to him, this constitutes a remarkable concise list of 27 prominent painters of late 15th-century Italy and the Flanders, as one painter would have known. Santi's list reproduced in no order:
Piero and Antonio Pollaiuolo
Leonardo da Vinci
Andrea del Castagno
Piero della Francesca
Ercole de' Roberti
Francesco di Pesello or Pesellino
Melozzo da Forlì
Gentile da Fabriano
Antonello da Messina
Jan van Eyck
Rogier van der Weyden
Schmarsow, Giovanni Santi (Berlin, 1887)
Poetry and list derived from Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy. Michael Baxandall. Oxford University Press 1980.
Giovanni Santi at Panopticon Virtual Art Gallery
The Gubbio Studiolo and its conservation, volumes 1 & 2, from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Giovanni Santi (see index)