Pietro Berretini da Cortona

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cortona, Pietro Berretini da


Born Nov. 1, 1596, in Cortona; died May 16, 1669, in Rome. Italian painter and architect.

Cortona studied in his native city from 1609 to 1612. He then went to Rome, where he executed most of his work. Cortona was a student of the works of Michelangelo, Raphael, and Correggio. His paintings are among the most representative of the full baroque style. In his frescoes, which greatly influenced 17th-century mural painting, Cortona created structural illusions through the use of perspective. His palette, reminiscent of the colors of the Venetian school, rendered light and aerial atmosphere (the ceilings of the Barberini Palace in Rome, 1633–39; the ceilings of the Pitti Palace in Florence, 1640-47).

Cortona’s work as an architect is noted for theatrical dynamism and unexpected effects of natural illumination. On the whole, his architecture is characterized by relatively balanced composition. In 1634, Cortona undertook the reconstruction of SS. Luca e Martina in Rome. He also designed the facade of Santa Maria della Pace (1656-57, Rome), in front of which he created a five-sided piazza.


Moschini, V. “L’Architettura di Pietro da Cortona.” L’Arte, 1921 [vol. 14].
Briganti, G. Pietro da Cortona o della pittura barocca. Florence, 1962.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.