Giulio Clovio (Biographical details)

Giulio Clovio (painter/draughtsman; Italian; Male; 1498 - 1578)

Also known as

Clovio, Giulio; Macedo


Painter of miniatures: Croatia, Mantua, Hungary, Rome and Florence. Juraj (Giorgio) Glovicic, usually known as Giulio (his name in religion) Clovio, b. Grisone (now Gri┼żane) in Croatia (Vasari) c. 1500, d. Rome 5 Jan. 1578 (see Vasari-Milanesi, vii, p. 569, n. 2) aged 80 (Baglione).
According to our principal source of information, Vasari, C. came to Italy aged 18 and entered service of Marino Grimani with whom he spent three years and for whom he made drawings of medals "disegnati ... minutissimamente". Advised by friends, particularly Giulio Romano, to take up miniature painting. If C. met Giulio in Rome he must have been there not later than 1524, when Giulio went to Mantua. Vasari does not say whether C. came to Italy by way of Venice, but, given his country of origin and the identity of his early patron, this seems likely.
C. went to Hungary in the service of King Lewis, after whose death in 1526 he returned to Rome and entered the service of Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio. Vasari says that at this time he began to copy Michelangelo.
Imprisoned during the Sack of Rome but escaped to Mantua, where he entered the Scopetine order. After three years he moved to the monastery at Candiana near Padua, where he was instructed in miniature painting by Girolamo dai Libri (Vasari, v, p. 330). with the Pope's permission, re-entered the service of Cardinal Grimani, then Legate in Perugia, whose commentary on 'St Paul's Epistle to the Romans' he illuminated (Soane Museum, London), a work datable between 1535 and 1539 (see M. Perry, in 'Burlington', cxxi (1979), p. 38). The 'Stuart de Rothesay Hours' (British Library: Add. MS. 20927) is possibly identifiable with the 'Uffizio di Nostra Donna' also illuminated for Grimani in Perugia (Vasari).
In service of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese in Rome, not later than 1537 if Vasari is correct in saying that took nine years to complete the 'Farnese Hours' (Pierpont Morgan Library), dated 1546. He seems nevertheless not to have broken off relations with Grimani, in whose house Francisco de Hollanda, who arrived in Rome 1537/8, claims to have met him ('Dialogue' iv). Acquainted with Vasari, then in Rome in Farnese's household, by 11 Nov. 1543 (Frey, 'Nachlass', i, p. 129). Further reference to C. in Rome in Vasari's correspondence, Nov. 1545 (ibid., p. 162).
In Florence by Aug. 1552 (Ibid. p. 332), having joined Cardinal Farnese, who probably went there soon after 1 July 1551 (Pastor, xiii, p. 132, n. 5). 'Crucifixion' (Uffizi), s. and d. 1553, said by Vasari to have been executed in Florence for Cosimo I.
Farnese returned to Rome 7 June 1552 (Pastor, ibid., p. 140) and Clovio certainly by 1553, the year of the visit of Pieter Bruegel with whom he collaborated. The inventory attached to Clovio's will refers to a "quadretto di miniatura la metà fatto per mano sua [Clovio's] l'altra di M° Pietro Brugole". C. de Tolnay ('Burlington', cvii (1965), pp. 110ff.) has attributed a miniature of a 'Storm at Sea' in the border of the 'Last Judgement' in the 'Towneley Lectionary' (NY Public Library) to Bruegel, whose hand he is also inclined to see in other subsidiary details of the same codex. D'Ancona, however (p. 65), convincingly identifies the Lectionary with the 'messale' described by Vasari, writing c. 1566, as still in progress with only two miniatures completed ('Christ instructing the Apostles' and 'The Last Judgement'). Tolnay also attributes to Bruegel some of the miniatures in the Soane codex ('Burlington', cxx (1978), pp. 393ff), and the 'Farnese Hours' (ibid., cxxii (1980), pp. 616ff), and attempts to account for the discrepancy in date by arguing that C. left some of the borders in both codices unfinished (ibid., cxxi (1979), p. 444). N. Canedy (ibid., cxxiii (1981), p. 35) has identified and convincingly attributed to C. a preparatory study for a figure in a border of the 'Farnese Hours' which Tolnay singles out as characteristic of Bruegel.
C. accompanied Farnese to Parma some time after Paul IV's election (May 1555). 1557 in Piacenza (Ronchini, p. 262), where sight of his l. eye impaired (idem, p. 267). 1559-60 in Correggio (idem, p. 268). A papal bull of Apr. 1560 required him to return to Candiana (Bonnard, 'Clovio', p. 60), but by 23 Aug. 1560, C. was already back at Caprarola (Ronchini, p. 264, letter of Caro).
Letter (Bradley, pp. 387f.) to Margaret of Austria, dated Rome, 11 Sept. 1561, accompanying 'Judith and Holofernes', which, with the earlier 'David decapitating Goliath', she sent to Philip II (Vasari; D'Ancona, p. 58). 1 March 1567, letter from Vasari to Francesco de'Medici in Florence (Gaye, iii, pp. 232ff), mentions C. as working for Francesco and also in receipt of pension from Pius V, who is known to have owned miniatures by him (Lanciani, iv, pp. 41ff). 16 Nov. 1570, letter from C. recommending El Greco to Cardinal Farnese (Bonnard, 'Clovio', p. 67). 9 Dec. 1570, letter from Lampsonius recommending Cort to C. (BdH, p. 10).
C.'s will dated 27 Dec. 1577 (Bradley, pp. 37lff.); inventory drawn up by C. himself (Bertolotti, 'Clovio', pp. 267ff.; extracts in Bradley, pp. 355ff.) which lists drawings in his possession, mostly by himself, including copies after Michelangelo and Raphael.


Gere & Pouncey 1983
A. Ronchini, 'Giulio Clovio' in Atti e memorie delle R.R. Deputazioni di Storia Patria per le Provincie Modenesi e Parmensi, iii (1865), pp. 260ff.; M.A. Bertolotti, 'Don Giulio Clovio ...' in Atti e memorie delle Deputazioni di storia patria per l'Emilia e la Romagna, n.s. vii, 2, (Modena, 1882), pp. 267ff.; J.W. Bradley, The Life and Works of Giorgio Giulio Clovio, 1891; Thieme-Becker (1912), with previous bibliography; F. Bonnard, Un Hôte du Palais Farnèse, Don Giulio Clovio, Rome-Paris, 1929; M.L. D'Ancona, 'Illuminations by Clovio lost and found', Gazette, period vi, xxxvii A (1950), pp. 55ff.; Auckland City Art Gallery Quarterly, 18 (1961), p. 6; M.C. Visani, 'Un itinerario nel manierismo italiano: Giulio Clovio', Arte Veneta, xxv (1971), pp. 119ff; Turner, Florentine Drawings of the Sixteenth Century, London, 1986; Milan Pelc in 'Prints after Giulio Clovio', Zagreb 1998 (catalogue of 34 items).