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Perugino, Pietro (1448–1523)

  1. George Thomas Kurian

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc1073

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Kurian, G. T. 2011. Perugino, Pietro (1448–1523). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Italian painter, born in Perugino. In 1479 he was in Rome and was one of the artists commissioned to complete the fresco cycle on the walls of the Sistine Chapel. He painted three frescoes on the altar wall — the Finding of Moses, the Nativity of Christ, and the Assumption — and the centerpiece where Christ is flanked by St. Peter and St. Paul between windows above the gallery. These were all destroyed in 1535 to make room for Michelangelo's Last Supper. Perugino also painted the Baptism of Christ, Moses in Egypt, and the Charge to Peter. His paintings were distinguished by their simplicity and clarity. Thereafter Perugino enjoyed great reputation, undertaking great commissions such as the decoration of the Collegio del Cambio in Perugia and the altarpiece of the Certosa at Pavia. But his works tended to become repetitive. Only occasionally did he rise above his sentimentality, as in his Pieta, where the dead Christ is stretched across the Virgin's knees, his head and shoulders supported by an angel and his feet by Mary Magdalene, and in the Crucifixion with the Virgin and the Saints, which has a meditative quality. In 1508 he returned to Rome to paint a ceiling for Pope Julius II in the Stanza dell'Incendio in the Vatican. Although Michelangelo described Perugino as a clodhopper, he was greatly admired by the Pre-Raphaelites.


  • perugino, pietro (1448–1523);
  • Italian painter;
  • paintings, of three frescoes on the altar wall;
  • perugino's baptism of christ, moses in Egypt