Matteo Giovanetti

Matteo Giovannetti (c. 1322, Viterbo, Latium – 1368) was an Italian painter. He belonged to the Simone Martini school and was a friend of Petrarch.


The Saint-Martial chapel

He was summoned to Avignon by pope Clement VI to decorate the Palais des Papes there. He led teams of painters from right across Europe.[1]

He began painting the Saint-Martial chapel on 13 October 1344, which opened in the Grand Tinel. It was completed on 1 September 1345. From 9 January to 24 September 1345, he decorated the Saint-Michel oratory. In November 1345 he began the frescoes in the Grand Tinel[N 1] and completed them in April 1346. Then in 1347, from 12 July to 26 October, he worked on the consistory room, then on the Saint-Jean chapel.[2]

His workEdit

The Saint-Martial chapelEdit

Detail of Clement VI as Saint Martial

Located on the second floor of the Saint-Jean, the chapel of Saint-Martial contains paintings of the life of Saint Martial. Giovanetti worked there between 1344 and 1345. The reading of these scenes is from top to bottom.

The rooftops of this chapel are illustrated with thirteen scenes of the early life of Saint Martial.[3] They depict Saint Martial's encounter with Christ's teaching when he was young, his baptism, Christ's preaching, fishing, the appearance of Christ to Peter, when he sent Martial to evangelize Gaul, sending Martial with two companions in Gaul, delivery of pastoral staff of St. Pierre Martial, the healing of the daughter of Arnulfus, the resurrection of the son of Nerva, the baptism of people of Toulx and the miracle of Ahun, casting out a demon, and the healing of the paralytic.

The upper continues with seven other scenes in four panels:[4] The resurrection of André and Aurelian; the Limoges martyrdom of St. Valerie, the ascent to heaven of the soul and the resurrection of his executioner; the Fine Honourable Duke Etienne and resurrection of Childebert, one of his officers; the destruction of idols in Bordeaux, healing Sigisbert, count of Bordeaux and extinguishing the fire.

The middle register depicts nine scenes in four panels:[5] Christ's appearance to Martial in Poitiers and the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul, the ordination of Saint Aurelianus and the creation of thirteen churches in Gaul, the appearance of Christ to proclaim the death of Martial, the offering to Martial made by St. Valerie of his head and then his death, the funeral procession and healing the sick with his shroud. This register is closest to the ground and therefore more easily accessible; it is less well preserved than the rest. Finally, the lower register, just above the ground, is reserved for patterns sham.

The Saint-Jean chapelEdit

The Saint-Jean chapel

Between 1347 and 1348, Matteo Giovannetti took care of the chapel of St. John. Located under Saint-Martial, the latter, with an entrance from the north, is accessible from the hall of the Consistory, with single-storey cloister built by Pope Benedict XII.[6] Again, the reading is done from top to bottom, but there are two parallel stories, that of John the Baptist to the south and east and that of St. John the Evangelist in the north and west. The story itself begins from the upper register, the vaults being dedicated to the presentation of parents of two saints. They include John the Baptist, his mother Saint Elizabeth, and his father St. Zachary. Also depicted is St. John the Evangelist, his mother St. Mary Salome, and his father Saint Zebedee. In all, eight characters are present in the vaults.[7]


  1. ^ Unfortunately these were destroyed in the 1413 fire



  • E. Castelnuovo, Un pittore italiano alla corte di Avignone. Matteo Giovannetti e la pittura in Provenza nel secolo XIV, Einaudi, 1991. (in Italian)

External linksEdit