Domenico Cresti (1559-1638)
1559 - 1638
BiographyDomenico Cresti enjoyed a long and successful career in Florence and in Rome during the Counter-Reformative period. He served the most important patrons in both cities.
Il Passignano, as he was also called, was sent to Florence at the age of nine. In 1575, he started working with Federico Zuccaro, who took him to Rome in 1580. The artist worked in Venice between 1582 and 1588, a stay marked by the influence of Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese in the warmth of colors.
After a short return to Florence, painting frescoes and altarpieces, the artist left for Rome in 1602. One of his first important projects there was a competition for a painting of an Ecce homo commissioned by Massimo Massimi in which Lodovico Cigoli and Caravaggio were the other participants (Cigoli was the winner). In Rome, Cresti enjoyed major commissions ordered by Pope Clement VIII (Crucifixion of St Peter in St Peter's), Cardinal Maffeo Barberini (scenes from Life of the Virgin in the family chapel in S Andrea della Valle), Pope Paul V, Cardinal Scipione Borghese (Battle of Rinaldo and Armida), as well as many decoration projects for a number of villas. Many of the works from this period reflect the influence of Annibale Carracci and Caravaggio.
In 1616 Passignano returned to Florence where, among other projects, he painted Michelangelo Presenting the Model of St Peter's to Pope Pius IV (Casa Buonarroti). He secured two more commissions for St Peter's from Maffeo Barberini, now Pope Urban VIII, the Incredulity of Thomas (c. 1624-7) and the Presentation of the Virgin (1627).
Cresti's art is characterized by a clear and simple narrative style, and by the contemporary concerns of naturalism and spiritual fervor that satisfied the taste and the demands of the Counter-Reformation. His work had a strong effect on his contemporaries as well as on the next generation of Florentine artists.
Source: Joan L. Nissman, Oxford Art Online, 01/21/2011