Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1626-1639 - Strand (Covent Garden)

Painter Orazio Gentileschi was born in Pisa in July 1563, the son of a Florentine goldsmith. He started his career as a medallist. Both his older brothers Baccio Lomi and Aurelio Lomi were painters. Orazio, who used his mother’s surname, moved to Rome in the late 1570s. Gentileschi’s works from the 1590s, mostly frescoes, are painted in a conventional late mannerist style. This manner changed radically after 1600 thanks to his contact with Caravaggio, whose dramatic use of light offered an alternative to the conformity of his own art. In 1621 Gentileschi entered the service of Queen Marie de’ Medici in Paris. The splendour of his work was acknowledged by George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, who invited the painter to London where he settled in late September 1626. Orazio was provided with furnished rooms in York House, Strand. He encountered opposition from local artists and found himself overshadowed first by Rubens, who was in London in 1629/30, and then by Van Dyck, who settled in the city in 1632. His vindictive character may have compromised his prospects at the court of Charles I. He died in London in February 1639.

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