- Also known as
primary name: Ligorio, Pirro
- individual; architect; sculptor/medallist; Roman; Italian; Male
- Life dates
- Antiquarian, architect, sculptor and painter: b. Naples c. 1513 (a letter of Apr. 1568 refers to him as aged 55: Mandowsky-Mitchell, p. 5), d. Ferrara Oct. 1583 (Venturi, ix5, p. 778). To Rome c. 1534 (Coffin, 'Ferrara', n. 14).
15 May 1542, contract to decorate "alia g[r]ottescha" loggia in palace of Archbishop of Benevento "in via lata" in Rome (Lanciani, 'Ausonia', i (1906), p. 101). Baglione implies that his early activity in Rome was divided between making drawings after the Antique and painting house façades, but the only surviving paintings are in Oratorio di S. Giovanni Decollato (see 1964,0331.1).
16 Dec. 1548, proposed as member of Virtuosi al Pantheon (Orbaan, 'Virtuosi', p. 25). 23 Nov. 1549, supervisor of fountains in Piazza S. Pietro (Frey, 'Prussian Jahrbuch', xxxiii (1912), 'Beiheft' (1913), p. 150, no. 14).
1549, painted a frieze in the Palazzo di Monte Giordano, now Taverna, for Cardinal Ippolito d'Este, in whose service he remained until 1555 as architect and antiquarian, his activities including the supervision of excavations (Venturi, ix , p. 777; see also Ricotti).
1557, entered service of Paul IV as architect (Coffin, 'Ferrara', p. 169, n. 17). 1558, Casino of Pius IV (Vatican) begun on his design (see 1962,0414.1 and Ackerman, p. 85). Continued as Vatican architect under Pius IV, active particularly in Belvedere (Ackerman, pp. 87ff). According to Pastor (xvi, p. 416) L. in 1563 designed the maps decorating W wing of 3rd-floor Logge of Cortile di S. Damaso. 1561-4, palazzo of Pius IV in Via Flaminia on L.'s design (Pastor, xvi, p. 439; Belli Barsali, 'Ville di Roma, Lazio I', 1970, pp. 232ff, with reprs; S. Bargellini, 'Il Palazzo di Pio IV ...', Milan-Rome, 1923). Aug. 1564, L. succeeded Michelangelo as chief architect of St Peter's; in charge until 31 Oct. 1565 (Frey, 'Prussian Jahrbuch', xxxvii, (1916), 'Beiheft', p. 48, no. 31). In Aug. 1565 briefly imprisoned on suspicion of defrauding the Pope (Coffin, 'Warburg Journal', p. 193).
Jan. 1566, payment in connection with coronation of Pius V (Coffin, 'Warburg Journal', p. 194, n. 14), who in April commissioned tomb of Paul IV in S. M. sopra Minerva. Nov. 1566, payments for architectural work in Lateran Palace (Lauer, 'Le Palais e Latran', pp. 609f.). L. soon lost favour with Pius, and returned to service of Cardinal d'Este: not later in May 1567 designed the Oval Fountain in Villa d'Este (Coffin, p. 31, n. 48 and p. 92). While still in Rome appointed on 1 Dec. 1568 Antiquary to Duke Alfonso II of Ferrara (Coffin, 'Ferrara', p. 168, n. 13), though payments from the Cardinal continued until July 1569. In Ferrara by Nov. 1569, when he completed 16 drawings, apparently for tapestries, of life of Hippolytus for the Cardinal, now in Pierpont Morgan (Coffin, p. 69 and Appendix B, figs. 90-105). Nov. 1570, earthquake in Ferrara, after which L. made designs for redecoration of Sala del Consiglio and Salotta dei Giuochi in the Castello (Coffin, 'Ferrara', pp. 176ff.). Revisited Rome, 1570 and 1573 (Mandowsky-Mitchell, pp. 5, 6). July 1574, triumphal arches for entry into Ferrara of Henry III of France (Coffin, 'Ferrara', p. 176). July 1577, completion of frescoes on L.'s designs of Este ancestors in courtyard of Castello (see 1947,0305.1-4). For an account of L's antiquarian activities and numerous illustrated MSS (especially Naples MS XIII.B.7) see Mandowsky-Mitchell. The large-scale encyclopaedia of antiquities now in Turin was compiled in Ferrara; he was working on it as late as 1582/3 (see H. Burns, 'Mitteilungen', xii (1966), 3/4, p. 260, n. 38).
- Gere & Pouncey 1983 (whence bibliography and biography)
Thieme-Becker (1929) with previous bibliography; U. Ciotti, 'Un disegno di Pirro Ligorio e un momento romano poco noto', Arti figurative (1945), i, pp. 65ff.; G. Lugli, 'Una pianta inedita del porto ostiense disegnata da Pirro Ligorio', Atti della Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia, s. iii, Rendiconti, xxiii-xxiv (1947-9), pp. 187ff.; F. Castagnoli, 'Pirro Ligorio topografo di Roma antica', Palladio, n.s. ii (1952), 3-4, pp. 97ff.; D.R. Coffin, 'Pirro Ligorio and the decoration of the late sixteenth century at Ferrara', Art Bulletin, xxxvii (1955), pp. 107ff, (abbr. as Coffin, Ferrara); The Villa d'Este at Tivoli, 1960, (abbr. as Coffin); E. Mandowsky and C. Mitchell, Pirro Ligorio's Roman Antiquities, London, 1963; D.R. Coffin, 'Pirro Ligorio on the Nobility of the Arts', Warburg Journal, 27 (1964), pp. l91ff.;J.A. Gere, 'Some early drawings by Pirro Ligorio', MD, ix (1971), 3, pp. 239ff.; M. and M. Fagiolo, 'La Casina di Pio IV in Vaticano, Pirro Ligorio e l'architettura come geroglifico', Storia dell'arte, 15-16 (1972), pp. 237ff; E.S. Prina Ricotti, 'Villa Adriana in Pirro Ligorio e Francesco Contini', Atti della Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, ccclxx (1973), s. viii, xvii, fase, i; D. de Chapeaurouge, 'Eine Circus-Rekonstruktion des Pirro Ligorio', Antike und Abendland, viii (1973, pp. 89ff; G. Smith, 'The Stucco Decoration of the Casino of Pius IV, Zeitschriftfiir Kunstgeschichte, xxxvii (1974), pp. 116ff. (abbr. Smith, Zeitschrift); T. Carunchio, 'L'immagine di Roma di Pirro Ligorio', Ricerche di storia dell'arte, 3 (1976), pp. 25ff; L. Dania, 'An unpublished manuscript by Pirro Ligorio', MD, xv (1977), 1, pp. 22ff.
Robert W.Gaston (ed.), 'PL artist and antiquarian', Milan 1988 (essays)
D.R.Coffin, 'PL, the Renaissance artist, architect and antiquarian', University Park 2004