Antonio Tempesta (1555-1630)
January 1 1555 - August 5 1630
BiographyTempesta was an Italian artist trained in painting and esteemed for his engravings and etchings.
In 1572, he was commissioned with Matthijs Bril to paint the Transfer of the Relics of St Gregory of Nazianzus and other religious scenes in the loggias on the third floor of the Vatican Palace. He enrolled at the Accademia del Disegno in Florence on December 8th 1576. Influence from Netherlandish art can be seen in his frescoes in the Palazzina Gambara at the Villa Lante in Bagnaia (1578-79). From 1579 to 1583, Tempesta participated in the decoration of the Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola, notably of the Scala Regia. He is also known to have collaborated on the frescoes in the Villa d'Este at Tivoli.
He excelled in religious scenes, such as the Massacre of the Innocents, and the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin, frescoes created for S Stefano Rotondo in Rome in 1583, another commission from Pope Gregory XIII. He also painted hunting and battle scenes, such as the works in the Palazzo Giustiniani and the casino of the Palazzo Rospigliosi (Rome).
Tempesta's career as a printmaker flourished between 1589 and 1627. Mainly series and book illustrations, he made over 1000 prints which quickly circulated throughout Europe. Among the most outstanding are the series for the Old Testament, the War of the Batavians against the Romans and Ovid's Metamorphoses.
Tempesta's prints were often used as models by other artists such as Guercino (Flight of Aeneas), Jacques Callot, Peter Paul Rubens and Diego Velázquez - all three used Tempesta's engraving of the French king Henry IV on horseback (1593) as a model for their portrait of Henry IV.
Tempesta became a member of the Accademia dei Virtuosi al Pantheon in Rome in 1611 and of the Accademia di S Luca in Rome around 1623.