Originally from the Treviso area, the painter Cosimo di Castelfranco, known to us as Paolo Piazza, studied Venetian painting at the school of Palma il Giovane, Veronese and Bassano; after a brief stay in his native city, where he also left some of his works, we find him permanently in Venice from 1593. Under the name of Cosimo di Castelfranco, he took his vows as a Capuchin in 1598. He was always bound to sacred paintings, his speciality, and to follow this propensity. He was invited to Munich by Duke William V of Bavaria, who commissioned a Martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul. He travelled extensively in Europe and Italy: records of his presence in Innsbruck, Reggio Emilia, Parma for Ranuccio Farnese, and Rome for Paul V and Scipione Borghese. This refined composition is influenced by the various stylistic stimuli and suggestions that the painter had the opportunity to collect and synthesise during his many travels: the soft superimpositions of colour are indicative of a profound link with Venetian painting, but in the details of Salome’s clothes one can see an interestin Nordic minutiae; in the terrible expression of the executioner, who is still clutching the sword with which he decapitated the saint, it is clear that Piazza had the opportunity to learn about Caravaggio’s lessons in Rome.
Bibl.: Davide da Portogruaro, Paolo Piazza ossia C. da C. pittore cappuccino 1560-1620, Venezia 1936.