Prospero Orsi (Biographical details)

Prospero Orsi (painter/draughtsman; Italian; Male; 1560s - 1633 c.)

Also known as

Orsi, Prospero


Painter and worker in mosaic: active in Rome. Prospero Orsi, called Prosperino delle Grottesche, b. Rome and d. there "aged about 75" (Baglione) not earlier than 1633 (Noack in Thieme-Becker). Mancini, probably writing c. 1620/1 (Salerno, n. 1102), describes O. as in his 50s; this also implies a birth-date in the 1560s. 1582 collaborated with Galeazzo Ghidoni in painting banners and coats-of-arms in Castel S. Angelo (Thieme-Becker). Baglione says he participated in "tutti i lavori" of Sixtus V: in Scala Santa "nell'età della sua fresca gioventù", 'Isaac blessing Jacob' and 'Crossing of Red Sea' (c. 1589: cf. Forcella, viii, p. 112, no. 308, and Scavizzi, 'Bollettino' (1960) pp. 329f, 334f.); in the Benediction Loggia of the Lateran a storia of Constantine in a lunette (probably between 1588 and 1592: see biography Nebbia); and unspecified paintings in Lateran Palace and Vatican Library (decoration completed by 1589, see Hess, 'Studien', i, p. 164). 18 June 1592, payment to O., G.B. Ricci and G. Guidoni [sic] for work in Vatican (Orbaan, 'Documenti', p. 55, n.).
Jointly commissioned with A. Circignani (q.v.) to decorate salotto on corner of first floor Palazzo Antici-Mattei, payments 30 May 1600-10 May 1601 (Panofsky-Soergel, 'Römisches Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte', xi (1967-8), p. 130 & doc. vi). St Peter's, Cappella Clementina, payments, 10 May 1602 for mosaics on Cristofano Roncalli's (q.v.) designs (O. Pollak, 'Prussian Jahrbuch', xxxvi (1915), Beiheft, p. 112) and 5 July 1602, "per le 8 arme di N.S. che ha dipinto negli 8 Occhj della Capella" (idem, p. 113).
Baglione describes O. as friend and imitator of Arpino (q.v.), but says that he later attached himself to the faction of Caravaggio, for whom, jointly with Cherubino Alberti and others, he went bail on 20 July 1605 (Bertolotti, 'Lombardi', ii, p. 71). O. was one of Virtuosi al Pantheon by 1605 and is referred to in records of Accademia di S. Luca between 1607-33 (Thieme-Becker). Bertolotti ('Lombardi', ii, pp. 78f.) cites a valuation, dated 17 Sept. 1608, of paintings by O. and others carried out for Paul V in the Palace of Sixtus V in Vatican.
23 Dec. 1609 and 7 June 1610, payments for paintings in 'Galleria' of Palazzo Giustiniani at Bassano di Sutri (Brugnoli, 'Bollettino', xlii (1957), p. 277, docs, ix, xi).


Gere & Pouncey 1983
Mancini-Salerno, i, p. 250f., and elsewhere; Thieme-Becker (1932) with previous bibliography.