Alberto Sotio (also Alberto Sozio) was an Italian painter, born probably around 1100 and died in 1187. He is considered the central figure of the twelfth century Spoleto school of painting. His name was found on a painted cross from a cathedral in Spoleto. At the bottom of the crucifix beneath the skull of Adam the date 1187 A.D. is preserved and a fragment of the signature “OPUS ALBERTO SO”, i.e. “the work of Alberto So…”. In the signature we can also see the remnants of the third letter of the surname; some scholars have interpreted it as “T”, others as “Z”. Eventually “Sotio” or “Sotius” was accepted by the art community as the artist’s surname, but no other written evidence of the artist has survived apart from this inscription. Based on the stylistic and technological features of this work, researchers today attribute several different works to Alberto Sotio.
Alberto Sotio is considered a conductor of Byzantine artistic techniques in the Romanesque painting of Italy of the XII century. During this period, in Umbrian painting there was a fusion of traditionally Romanesque features with innovations drawn from the Byzantine painting of the later period of the Comnenus dynasty. This is especially noticeable in book miniatures. This process served a rather radical renewal of the artistic language and Alberto’s cross became a prototype for many XIIIth-century crosses created in central Italy – Umbria, the Marche, Lazio and Abruzzo.
- F. Bologna, Pittura italiana delle origini - Roma, 1962.
- M. Boskovitz, Gli affreschi del Duomo di Anagni: un capitolo di pittura romana, in «Paragone», XXX, 1979.
- Alberto Sotio a Spoleto sul finire del secolo XII, Brera mai vista - Electa, 2005.
- Achille Sansi, Degli edifici e dei frammenti storici delle antiche età di Spoleto: notizie corredate di dodici tavole in rame, 1869.
- Mariano Guardabassi, Indice-guida dei monumenti pagani e cristiani riguardanti l'istoria e l'arte esistenti nella provincia dell'Umbria, 1872.