Pietro del Massaio di Iacopo del Massaio
Born in 1420, by 1480, at the time his sons, Massaio, Antonio, and Bernardo “make their own tax declarations”, he had already passed away (original text: Levi D’Ancona, Miniatura e miniatori, p. 220). Archival documentation offers a very partial and seemingly modest image of Pietro del Massaio’s work: the painting of crosses on towels and napkins and painting of bread baskets, works of gilding and of liturgical vessels, often supported by the restoration work of instruments already in a state of degradation. In 1469 Pietro enrolled in the Compagnia di San Niccolò del Carmine, and between 1463 and 1473 he worked for the Duomo of Florence (Levi D’Ancona, Miniatura e miniatori, p. 221). In these positions, he exercised the art of minium at the highest levels and developed his expertise. It is not possible to know what routes he took for his travel, according to the geographical maps and city views, which are distinctively featured in mss. that contain Ptolemy’s Geographia (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 4802, made in the sixth decade of the fifteenth century for Alfonso d’Aragona; Vatican City, Vatican Library, Urb. lat. 277, made in 1472 and for Federico da Montefeltro; Vat. lat. 5699, made in 1469 for Niccolò Perotti; see Levi D’Ancona, Miniatura e miniatori, p. 220; Duval-Arnould, Les manuscrits de la Géographie, pp. 232-233; Maddalo, Immagini di Roma alla corte, pp. 277-279). The archive documentation found by Mirella Levi D’Ancona does not allow for an understanding of the Pietro’s simultaneous activity of cartographer and librarian/editor, as demonstrated by the three codices of Cosmographia (Duval-Arnould, Les manuscrits de la Géographie, p. 232). According to the Vat. lat. 5699 (f. 64r), the transcription (ad instantiam Petri del Massaio), as well as the execution of the plates (qui me picturis decoravit) was his initiative. According to lat. 4802 (f. 123r), his responsibility was indeed very large (composuitque Petrus Massarius; Duval-Arnould, Les manuscrits de la Géographie, p. 232); these are all elements that suggest the presence of a workshop directed by Pietro himself, in which luxury manuscripts with a geographical content were produced (Duval-Arnould, Les manuscrits de la Géographie, p. 234). We can propose to recognize the work of Pietro del Massaio also in the Urb. lat. 491.
LEVI D'ANCONA, Miniatura e miniatori, pp. 220-223; DUVAL-ARNOULD, Les manuscrits de la Géographie, pp. 227-244; MADDALO, Immagini di Roma alla corte, pp. 271-284.
Urb. lat. 491, f. 5r - Urb. lat. 277, f. 130v