immagine Claudio Ridolfi a Venetian painter in the seventeenth century Marche
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Claudio Ridolfi a Venetian painter in the seventeenth century Marche

A journey to discover the beauty, and the religious spirit counter-reformed through works of chromatic intensity, the color always rich and bright and the delicate and refined pictorial drafting.

Claudio Ridolfi, aristocratic painter belonging to a noble Veronese family, is an elegant interpreter of post-Tridentine figurative culture. Born in Verona, probably in 1560, he moved to Venice with Paolo Veronese. Back in Verona, he left to go first to Rome and then to Urbino where we find him in 1590 at the workshop of Federico Barocci. Interpreter of the religious spirit of the Counter-Reformation, it is intentionally repetitive, but the quality of the painting is always very high, as well as the intensity of the color always rich and brilliant and the painting, delicate and refined. He settled in Corinaldo, occasionally already in 1617 in 1633 and 1635 he bought two houses and moved there permanently until the year of his death in 1644. We will follow the traces of this artist in his journey in the lands of Val Mivola starting from Senigallia.

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Clothing suitable for the season and camera.


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Chiesa della Croce

In Senigallia, for the church of the Cross the artist paints and signs (Claudius Ridolphus Faciebat) the Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saints Mary Magdalene, John the Evangelist, Barbara, John the Baptist and Francis. The work was mentioned in 1648 by Carlo Ridolfi, Claudio’s first biographer. Stylistically, the work is placed in the first decade of the seventeenth century in a mixture of Veronesian painting and baroque poetry.

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In Ostra there are four works by our artist. A Madonna with Child and Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist now exhibited in the church of San Giovanni in Casine but coming from the demolished church of San Giovanni di Ostra. The rectory of the church of Santa Croce welcomes a woman with Child, Angels and souls purging. The painting, originally preserved in the nearby church of San Filippo is reported in an inventory of 1627. In the parish church the Martyrdom of San Lorenzo, the Madonna and Child and the Saints Catherine of Alexandria and Barbara. The painting comes from the no longer existing suburban church dedicated to Saints Lawrence and Catherine where it is described in a document dated 23 October 1629. On the high altar of the nearby church of San Filippo is the Transit of San Giuseppe commissioned by the brotherhood of San Giuseppe in the fourth decade of the seventeenth century. Finally it is necessary to remember, just for the record, that in the church of Sant’Antonio da Padova (Cappuccini) there was a Madonna with Child and Saints Jerome, Mary Magdalene, Francis and Anthony of Padua. The building was abandoned following the earthquake of 1997 and the subsequent collapse of the church roof. The painting was subsequently transferred to the church of the Capuchin Fathers in Civitanova Marche.

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Ostra Vetere

Church of Santa Croce - San Pasquale Sanctuary

In the nearby locality of Ostra Vetere and more precisely in the church of Santa Croce – Santuario San Pasquale there is the Crucifix, San Francesco d’Assisi, Blessed Giacomo della Marca and Saints Caterina da Siena and Diego. In the manuscript memoirs shortly after the completion of the construction of the church and convent completed in 1620 the painting is described as: “rare and most majestic and best designed by Claudio Ridolfi Veronese da Corinaldo, painter of the Duke of Urbino and all on his way and of great strength”. The Artist realizes the painting on his return from his stay in Verona and it is evidence of the novel realistic taste combined with the general incupimento of the colors and a chiaroscuro that works in a plastic sense.

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Church of Santa Barbara

Continuing along the Misa valley to Barbara for the church of Santa Barbara we find a Madonna with Child and Saints Joseph, Michael the Archangel, Nicholas of Tolentino and Charles Borromeo, already documented in 1627. Here Ridolfi seems to abandon the usual compositional schemes of the Sacred Conversations in favor of a more articulated structure and the work is affected by the mutual knowledge between ours and the painter Giovan Francesco Guerrieri from Foro.

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Once in Arcevia, the town of Misena offers visitors four works by our author. In the parish church of San Medardo the painting depicting the Visit of King Clotario to San Medardo. Executed at the expense of the community in 1644 for “the altar of the glorious Protector San Medardo located in the second main chapel” of the church tells the meeting between the Saint, bishop of Nojon with the Frankish king Clotario. In the adjacent parish house there is a processional banner with Our Lady of the Rosary and Saints Dominic, Catherine of Siena and devotees on one side and the Coronation of the Virgin and on the other. Datable to 1614 the work is part of the spread of the cult of the Virgin of the Rosary which is attributed to the positive outcome of the battle against the Turks in the naval battle occurred in 1571 near Lepanto. In the church of Santa Maria del Soccorso, which housed the Poor Clares is the Immaculate Conception and the Saints Lucia and Catherine of Alexandria. The work was completed after 1623 when the church was consecrated in 1638. For the high altar of the church of Sant’Agata Ridolfi performs the Coronation of the Virgin and the Saints Agatha and John the Evangelist. The latter holds in his hand a book in which the phrase appears, diligite alterutrum: love each other.

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Corinaldo, elective homeland of Claudio Ridolfi

Our journey ends at Corinaldo, Claudio’s elective homeland.
The series of works painted by Claudio Ridolfi for Corinaldo can open with the Assumption of the church of San Francesco, where it is located in the first chapel on the left. Before the end of the third decade he executed for the church of Santa Maria in Piazza della Compagnia del Gonfalone Cristo alla colonna, now preserved in the Civic Art Collection “Claudio Ridolfi”. Also in Corinaldo is the Vision of Blessed Felice da Cantalice executed for the church of San Giovanni Battista, or the Capuchins and probably commissioned by the illustrious citizen Lucangelo Orlandi in homage to his wife Atalanta Leoncini da Roccacontrada (Arcevia)around 1629, date of erection of the altar dedicated to the Capuchin saint.
In the sacristy of the church of San Francesco there is a Saint Thomas Aquinas probably executed for the rural church of San Domenico. The church of San Francesco is certainly the place of greatest concentration of Ridolfian works; here is also today the already mentioned Annunciation probably executed between 1625 and 1631. An extraordinary masterpiece painted around the mid-thirties is the Charity of Saint Thomas of Villanova. The subject, illustrates an episode of the biography of the Spanish Augustinian who died in 1555 and canonized in 1658, in which the Archbishop of Valenza with great liberality donated fifty shields to each of the three daughters of a “jacket” who had to marry them, had nothing to give them as a dowry. Indirectly datable around 1638, thanks to some observations of the historian Vincenzo Maria Cimarelli from Corinaldo, it is the other great Ridolfian masterpiece in Corinaldo, the Magdalene at the foot of the Cross in the church of Santa Maria del Piano. To close the review of the activity of Claudio Ridolfi in Corinaldo, which is one of the most consistent chapters of Venetian art in the Marche, there are still two altarpieces: the Madonna and Child and Saints Joseph, Anna and Antonio from Padua of the church of San Francesco and the Madonna and Child with Saints Francesco, Giuseppe, Tommaso Apostolo, Nicola da Tolentino and Andrea Apostolo in the church of Suffragio.

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