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  • NamePietro Paolo Bonzi
  • Activity/Titlepainter, draughtsman
  • Sexmale
  • Variant namesstavningsvariant: PietroPaolo Bonzi
    stavningsvariant: Pietro Paola Bonzi
    namnvariant: il Cobbo dal
  • Nationality/DatesItalian, born 1573-04-21, dead 1636-03-17
  • PlacesPlace of birth: Cortona, Italien
    Place of death: Rom, Italien
BiographyPietro Paolo Bonzi was one of the most important
artists in the development of the Italian natura
morta, transcending the division between the
Neapolitan and Roman schools. He was born in
Cortona, and according to Baglione he went at
an early age to Rome where, during his apprenticeship,
he received quarters in the house of the
noble Crescenzi family. Here there was ample
opportunity for the young student to paint the
opulence of the rich and luxurious foodstuffs that
the Crescenzi kitchens had to offer. Both Baglione
and Malvasia describe how he received the
name “Gobbo dei Carracci” (“the hunchback of
the Carracci”) on account of his ability to emulate
their style. Federico Zeri, however, thought that
the nickname had been misinterpreted or misread
in the old sources and that it was supposed to refer
instead to Bonzi having worked in the tradition
of Caravaggio. Zeri even went as far as to explain
Bonzi’s style as based in the “Bonzi-Crescenzi milieu”,
where he had had the opportunity to develop
his own brand of naturalism, yet one that was
steeped in an earlier tradition represented by the
Neapolitan, Caravaggesque, still-life painters. But
as Luigi Salerno states, Bonzi was in fact associated
with the Carracci in earlier sources. His master
in Rome had been Giovanni Battista Viola (1576–
1622), who in turn belonged to the circles of the
Carracci, and his ideal when it came to landscapes
was that of Albani, one of Annibale Carracci’s
students. Documented commissions include one
for the Palazzo Antici Mattei in 1622, where Bonzi
collaborated with his compatriot Pietro da Cortona.
Here, his task was to paint festoons of flower
and fruit, and in rendering them he was inspired
by Giovanni da Udine’s (1487–1564) paintings in
the Villa Farnesina. Bonzi is one of few still-life
painters who are listed under their own names in
the inventories of the great Roman collections:
two fruit pieces in the Barberini Collection and
one painting in the Giustiniani Collection, listed
in the 1638 inventory, for instance.
Still Life with Fruit
A Fruit Vendour and a Boy
Still Life with an Iris and Plums
Still Life with Fruit and Vine
Studies of a seated woman and two heads
Studies of female and male figures and heads