Guglielmo Giraldi, f. 1441-1494
At the service of the Este court of Ferrara, he worked over the long period that stretched from the time of Lionello (1441-1450) to that of Ercole I (1471-1505), and passing through the reign of Borso (1450-1471). In such a context, he was involved in artistic works for the cathedral and for the monks of the Certosa of St. Christopher. A maestro who “demonstrates a continuous rekindling of the main pictorial motifs of the Renaissance”, with a pronounced “ability to interpret [...] the contents of the texts he illustrated” (original text: Toniolo, Giraldi, Guglielmo, p. 305), he founded his own expressive language on certain fundamental characteristics: “plastic outcomes and articulated design”, borrowed in certain ways from Cosmè Tura, “luminous spatial measure” due to the new formal horizon proposed by Piero della Francesca and by the squarcionesco painter Marco Zoppo (original text: Toniolo, Giraldi, Guglielmo, p. 308). A letter from 1468 attests to the relationship between Giraldi and Matteo Contugi: he latter asked Ludovico Gonzaga if it were possible to assign him the decoration of the famous Pliny, Turin, Biblioteca nazionale Universitaria, ms. J. I. 22-23 (but which in fact Pietro Guindaleri was working on instead). The relationship between the scriptor and the illuminator had therefore already begun when they both started working for the book collection of Federico da Montefeltro, starting in the mid-70s. Giraldi, who in 1480 will be defined by Federico as “my illuminator”, brought his artistic expression to the court: large, bright chromatic backgrounds, often enhanced by a very slight shade of gold that lightens the volumes, highlighting them; the solid treatment of various dimensions is combined with a firm mastery of perspective, while the settings, both landscapes and architectural interiors, are always depicted with an extreme attention to detail. As for the collection of Federico da Montefeltro, Giraldi painted (among others) mss. Urb. lat. 10, Urb. lat. 350, Urb. lat. 365.
FRANCESCHINI, Figure del Rinascimento, pp. 143-144; MARIANI CANOVA, Guglielmo Giraldi 1995, passim; TONIOLO, Giraldi, Guglielmo, pp. 305-308; MARIANI CANOVA, La natura dipinta, pp. 34-35; FUMIAN, Considerazioni in margine, pp. 124-125; CRITELLI, Per la carriera di Matteo Contugi, p. 259; PERUZZI, «Lectissima politissimaque volumina», pp. 343-344; TONIOLO, Ross. 455, pp. 738-742.
Urb. lat. 10, f. 10r - Urb. lat. 365, f. 1r