At the time this area of Abruzzo was poor, afflicted by periodical famine, devastated by earthquakes and invading armies. A landscape of valleys and mountains, which Andrea De Litio about 1440 left for Umbria and Tuscany, where his artistic personality could better develop. Decades later he returned to the other Abruzzo along the coast, where he left the great works of his maturity.
Andrea de Litio
Andrea de Litio (also spelt Delitio), one of the greatest Abruzzese painters, achieved a wonderful fusion of native and international elements. He painted frescoes in many parts of Abruzzo, and some of his paintings are in museums as far as Baltimore and New York. His acknoledged masterpiece is the fresco cycle in the Cathedral of Atri.
Very little is known on his life. He must have been born about 1420, and for long time his place of birth was uncertain: da Lecce in Apulia, Guardiagrele, Sulmona, Atri. But the presence in Marsica of two juvenile works, led scholars to believe he was from Lecce Vecchia, called in Lombard times Litium, which after the 1915 earthquake was abandoned when the population rebuilt their village, now Lecce dei Marsi, down in the plain.
In his native land Andrea, according to art critic ferdinando Bologna, absorbed the lessons of the Maestro di San Silvestro and the Maestro di Beffi, two early Abruzzese painters, then when he moved to Umbria and Tuscany he developed his masterly style merging the heritage of Masolino da Panicale and Gentile da Fabriano with the technical novelties of Paolo Uccello and Piero della Francesca. His early works (about 1440) are in Marsica (Madonna col Bambino in the Cathedral of Celano and the Madonna di Cese, now in the castle of Celano) and in L'Aquila (Madonna del Latte in the church of Sant'Amico and the nativity in the Beata Antonia).
In about 1450 he painted the now lost frescoes in the church of San Francesco, Sulmona. Then followed a period where he was out of the region, working with Umbrian and Tuscan painters. he was again in Abruzzo in 1473, when he signed and dated the giant San Cristoforo on the outer wall of Santa Maria Maggiore, Guardiagrele, and in 1480 he was working on his masterpiece in Atri.
Known Works by Andrea De Litio in Italy
- ATRI - Santa Maria Assunta: Affreschi del Coro | Affresco Madonna adorante il bambino | Affresco Madonna col bambino entro tabernacolo sorretto da angeli | Affresco Madonna col bambino e Santa Casa di Loreto trasportata dagli Angeli
- ATRI - Sant'Agostino: Affresco Madonna con Bambino tra i Santi | Giovanni Battista e Giacomo
- CASTELLI - San Rocco: Affresco Madonna adorante
- CELANO - San Giovanni: Affresco Madonna con il Bambino. Castello Piccolomini: Tavola Madonna di Cese
- GUARDIAGRELE - Santa Maria Maggiore: Affresco San Cristoforo
- ISOLA DEL GRAN SASSO - San Sebastiano: Affreschi Annunciazione
- L'AQUILA - Museo Nazionale: Dittico Sposalizio mistico e Crocifissione, Tavola (frammento) Madonna. Convento Beata Antonia: Affresco Adorazione del Bambino | Affresco Madonna con Bambino e S. Ansano. Convento Sant'Amico: Affresco Cristo in croce tra la Vergine e S.Giovanni. Collezione privata: > Tela Madonna dell'Umiltà.
- LUCOLI - San Giovanni Battista: Affreschi S. Lorenzo, S. Giorgio, Santo Francescano; Ritratto di vecchio.
- MUTIGNANO - San Silvestro: Tavola San Silvestro e sue storie
- SULMONA - Scala del Palazzo Sanità: Affresco Madonna adorante il Bambino
- NORCIA - Sant'Agostino: Affresco Madonna col bambino e pellegrina.
Known Works by Andrea De Litio outside Italy
- BALTIMORE - Walters art Gallery: Trittico Madonna con il Bambino e Santi
- KREUTZLINGEN - Collezione Kisters: Tavola La Madonna in trono tra i Santi Francesco, Ludovico, Beati Nicola da Tolentino e Berardino da Siena
- NEW YORK - Metropolitan Museum: Tavola dell'Annunciata
- PROVIDENCE - Rhode Island School of Design: Tavola Incontro di San Benedetto e Totila
- UNKNOWN (formerly Collezione Lawson): Tavola Madonna in trono col Bambino
- UNKNOWN (formerly Collezione Corsi): Tavola Madonna con il Bambino.