Giovanni de Cramariis, illuminator

Friulian illuminator, painter and wood-carver, he was son to Pantaleone and born at Udine near the year 1450. He worked in Friuli and Tuscany. He married Ann, a sister of the painter Pellegrino da San Daniele, and had a son from her, Nicodemo, painter, as well, documented from 1508 to 1533. Giovanni had a painter’s and illuminator’s workshop at Udine. His pictorial training is still unknown: the first witnesses document him as a well-known artist when he was engaged, together with Girolamo da Cremona, Liberale da Verona and others, in illuminating miniatures for the choir books of the cathedral of Siena: payments thereof are recorded in the years from 1470 to 1473, but it is possible that this work engaged him for a longer period. Giovanni is then attested to stay at Udine and other Friulian places. From 1494 to 1507 there are several records on the registers of the chamberlain’s magistracy to the Cathedral of Spilimbergo that refer to payments for his illuminations of some antiphonals. He died at the end of 1507: in a document referring to the church of St. Mary in the Castle of Udine his son Nicodemo is indeed quoted as ‘quondam’ Giovanni de Cramariis.

His hand has been ascertained, together with the hands of other masters, in some small illuminated initials of the graduals of the cathedral of Siena, while miniatures on five graduals and one antiphonal of the cathedral of Spilimbergo are all attributable to his hand: as a whole there are here nineteen inhabited miniatures, as well as a very large number of small and large initials. Among these codices, Graduale 3 is undoubtedly the most sumptuous one, and it is also chronologically the first to be manufactured, since memory thereon is reported in an inventory of 1501 as «scriptum calamo miniatum cum litteris aureis et cum picturis in marginibus» (written with minium-calamus gilded initials and painted on the margins).

For further information see the entry Cramariis (de) Giovanni, miniatore written by Giuseppe Bergamini, in Nuovo Liruti, Dizionario biografico dei Friulani, 2, LEtà veneta, edited by C. Scalon, C. Griggio, U. Rozzo, Udine, Forum, 2009, 848-852.

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