Pintoricchio was one of the foremost Central Italian painters and specialised in frescoes and altarpieces.
When Pintoricchio was awarded the commission for the fresco decoration of the Piccolomini Library in Siena, the contract legally bound him to produce all the preparatory drawings and cartoons himself. Instead, Pintoricchio 'being a friend of Raphael and knowing him to be an excellent draughtsman brought him to Siena where Raphael made for him some drawings and some cartoons' for the prestigious project.
It is a measure of his faith in Raphael's skill that Pintoricchio (almost 30 years his senior) deferred much of the project's design to the young artist, in spite of the risk of legal action for going against the terms of his contract.
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