He was born near Florence. His father ruined himself by gambling, and became
a soldier in the invading army of Charles VIII. His mother died when he was but
two months old; but shortly afterwards he was taken up by his father's second
wife. Perino was first apprenticed to a druggist, but soon passed into the hands
of a mediocre painter, Andrea da Ceri, and when eleven years of age, of Ridolfo
Perino was one of Ghirlandaio's most talented pupils. Another mediocre painter,
Vaga from Toscanella, undertook to settle the boy in Rome. Perino, when he at
last reached Rome, was utterly poor, and with no clear prospect beyond
journey-work for trading decorators. He was eventually entrusted with some of
the subordinate work undertaken by Raphael in the Vatican. He assisted Giovanni
da Udine in the stucco and arabesque decorations of the Loggie Vaticane, and
executed some of those small but finely composed scriptural subjects which go by
the name of Raphael's Bible, Raphael himself furnishing the designs.
Perino's examples are: Abraham and Isaac, Jacob wrestling with the Angel, Joseph
and his Brothers, the Hebrews crossing the Jordan, Fall and Capture of Jericho,
Joshua commanding Sun to stand still, Birth of Christ, Baptism and the Last
Supper. Some of these are in bronze-tint, while others are in full color. He
also painted, after Raphael's drawings, figures of the planets in the great hall
of the Appartamenti Borgia. Perino was soon regarded as his major assistant,
second only to Giulio Romano.
To Raphael himself he was always exceedingly attentive. His solo works in the
city include the hall of Palazzo Baldassini (1520-1522), a noble building in the
center of the city, and the Pietà in the church of Santo Stefano del Cacco.
After Raphael's death in 1520 and the plague of 1523, a troubled period ensued
for Perino. He returned to Florence, and befriended Rosso Fiorentino and
executed an admirable design of 10,000 Martyrs (now lost).
In 1527 Andrea Doria invited Perino to Genoa to decorate the Palace of Fassolo,
where he also executed numerous altarpieces and designs for tapestries. Perino
accepted an invitation to Genoa, to help design decorate the newly rebuilt
Palazzo del Principe for Andrea Doria. Fresco decoration began in 1529, starting
with a now destroyed Quos Egos from the Aeneid. rapidly founded a quasi-Roman
school of art in the Ligurian city. He ornamented the palace in a style similar
to that of Giulio Romano in the Mantuan Palazzo Te, and frescoed historical and
mythological subjects in the apartments, fanciful and graceful arabesque work
with sculptural and architectural details. Among the principal works are: the
War between the Gods and Giants, Horatius Codes defending the Bridge, and the
Fortitude of Mutius Scaevola. The most important work of all, the Shipwreck of
Acneas, is no longer extant. From Genoa Perino twice visited Pisa, and began
some painting in the cathedral.
A year later he returned to Rome and frescoed the Pucci Chapel in the Trinità
dei Monti. Pope Paul III granted him a regular salary. He retouched many works
of Raphael. He painted the decoration for the Paoline Chapel and other halls of
Castel Sant'Angelo, some frescoes in the church of San Marcello, a monochrome in
the Stanza della Segnatura in the Vatican and a cartoon of the Sistine Chapel.
Perino was engaged in the general decoration of the Sala Reale, begun by Paul
III when he died on October 19, 1547, in Rome. He is buried in the Pantheon. His
work in the Castel Sant'Angelo was continued by his student Pellegrino Tibaldi.
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