1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Tisio, Benvenuto

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TISIO (or Tisi), BENVENUTO (1481-1559), commonly called Il Garofalo, Italian painter of the Ferrarese school, was born in 1481 at Garofolo, in the Ferrarese territory, and constantly used the gillyflower (garofalo) as a symbol with which to sign his pictures. He took to drawing in childhood, and was put to study under Domenico Panetti (or Laneto), and afterwards at Cremona under his maternal uncle Niccolo Soriani, a painter who died in 1499; he also frequented the school of Boccaccio Boccaccino. He stayed fifteen months with Giovanni Baldini in Rome, acquiring a solid style of draughtsmanship, and was two years with Lorenzo Costa at Mantua. He then entered the service of the marquis Francesco Gonzaga. Afterwards he went to Ferrara, and worked there four years. Attracted by Raphael's fame, and invited by a Ferrarese gentleman, Geronimo Sagrato, he again removed to Rome, and found the great painter very amicable; here he stayed two years, rendering some assistance in the Vatican frescoes. From Rome family affairs recalled him to Ferrara; there Duke Alphonso I. commissioned him to execute paintings, along with the Dossi, in the Villa di Belriguardo and in other palaces. Thus the style of Tisio partakes of the Lombard, the Roman and the Venetian modes. He painted extensively in Ferrara, both in oil and in fresco, two of his principal works being the “Massacre of the Innocents” (1519), in the church of S. Francesco, and the “Betrayal of Christ” (1524), accounted his masterpiece. For the former he made clay models for study and a lay figure, and executed everything from nature. He continued constantly at work until in 1550 blindness overtook him, painting on all feast-days in monasteries for the love of God. He had married at the age of forty-eight, and died at Ferrara on the 6th (or 16th) of September 1559, leaving two children.

Garofalo combined sacred inventions with some very familiar details. A certain archaism of style, with a strong glow of colour, suffices to distinguish from the true method of Raphael even those pictures in which he most closely resembles the great master—this sometimes very closely; but the work of Garofalo is seldom free from a certain trim pettiness of feeling and manner. He was a friend of Giulio Romano, Giorgione, Titian and Ariosto; in a picture of “Paradise" he painted Ariosto between St Catherine and St Sebastian. In youth he was fond of lute-playing and also of fencing. He ranks among the best of the Ferrarese painters; his leading pupil was Girolamo Carpi. The “Adoration of the Magi," in the church of San Giorgio near Ferrara, and a “Peter Martyr," in the Dominican church. Ferrara (sometimes assumed to have been done in rivalry of Titian), are among his principal works not already mentioned. The National Gallery, London, contains four, one of them being a Madonna and Christ enthroned, with St Francis and three other saints.