Andrea del Sarto

Andrea del Sarto

Overview
Andrea del Sarto was an Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 painter from Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

, whose career flourished during the High Renaissance
High Renaissance
The expression High Renaissance, in art history, is a periodizing convention used to denote the apogee of the visual arts in the Italian Renaissance...

 and early Mannerism
Mannerism
Mannerism is a period of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520. It lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque style began to replace it, but Northern Mannerism continued into the early 17th century throughout much of Europe...

. Though highly regarded during his lifetime as an artist senza errori ("without errors"), his renown was eclipsed after his death by that of his contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

, Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

, and Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

.

Andrea was born Andrea d'Agnolo di Francesco di Luca di Paolo del Migliore in Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 on July 16, 1486. Since his father, Agnolo, was a tailor (sarto), he became known as "del Sarto" ("tailor's son").
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Andrea del Sarto was an Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 painter from Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

, whose career flourished during the High Renaissance
High Renaissance
The expression High Renaissance, in art history, is a periodizing convention used to denote the apogee of the visual arts in the Italian Renaissance...

 and early Mannerism
Mannerism
Mannerism is a period of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520. It lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque style began to replace it, but Northern Mannerism continued into the early 17th century throughout much of Europe...

. Though highly regarded during his lifetime as an artist senza errori ("without errors"), his renown was eclipsed after his death by that of his contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

, Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

, and Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

.

Early life and training


Andrea was born Andrea d'Agnolo di Francesco di Luca di Paolo del Migliore in Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 on July 16, 1486. Since his father, Agnolo, was a tailor (sarto), he became known as "del Sarto" ("tailor's son"). Since 1677 some have attributed the surname Vannucchi with little documentation. By 1494 Andrea was apprenticed to a goldsmith
Goldsmith
A goldsmith is a metalworker who specializes in working with gold and other precious metals. Since ancient times the techniques of a goldsmith have evolved very little in order to produce items of jewelry of quality standards. In modern times actual goldsmiths are rare...

, and then to a woodcarver and painter named Gian Barile, with whom he remained until 1498. According to Vasari, he then apprenticed to Piero di Cosimo
Piero di Cosimo
Piero di Cosimo , also known as Piero di Lorenzo, was an Italian Renaissance painter.-Biography:The son of a goldsmith, Piero was born in Florence and apprenticed under the artist Cosimo Rosseli, from whom he derived his popular name and whom he assisted in the painting of the Sistine Chapel in...

, and later with Raffaellino del Garbo
Raffaellino del Garbo
Raffaellino del Garbo was a Florentine painter of the early Renaissance.His real name was Raffaello Capponi; Del Garbo was a nickname, bestowed upon him seemingly from the graceful nicety of his earlier works. He has also been called Raffaello de Florentia, and Raffaello de Carolis or Karli...

 (Carli).

Andrea and an older friend Franciabigio
Franciabigio
Franciabigio was an Italian painter of the Florentine Renaissance. His true name may have been Francesco di Cristofano, however he also is referred to as either Marcantonio Franciabigio or Francia Bigio....

 decided to open a joint studio at a lodging together in the Piazza del Grano. The first product of their partnership may have been the Baptism of Christ for the Florentine Compagnia dello Scalzo, the beginning of a monochrome fresco series. By the time the partnership was dissolved, Sarto's style bore the stamp of individuality. It "is marked throughout his career by an interest, exceptional among Florentines, in effects of colour and atmosphere and by sophisticated informality and natural expression of emotion."

Frescoes at SS Annunziata in Florence


From 1509 to 1514 the brotherhood of the Servites
Servite Order
The Servite Order is one of the five original Catholic mendicant orders. Its objects are the sanctification of its members, preaching the Gospel, and the propagation of devotion to the Mother of God, with special reference to her sorrows. The members of the Order use O.S.M. as their post-nominal...

 employed Sarto, Franciabigio
Franciabigio
Franciabigio was an Italian painter of the Florentine Renaissance. His true name may have been Francesco di Cristofano, however he also is referred to as either Marcantonio Franciabigio or Francia Bigio....

, and Andrea Feltrini in a programme of fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

es at Basilica della Santissima Annunziata di Firenze
Basilica della Santissima Annunziata di Firenze
The Basilica della Santissima Annunziata is a Roman Catholic minor basilica in Florence, Italy, the mother church of the Servite order. It is located at the northeastern side of the Piazza Santissima Annunziata....

. Sarto completed three frescoes in the portico
Portico
A portico is a porch leading to the entrance of a building, or extended as a colonnade, with a roof structure over a walkway, supported by columns or enclosed by walls...

 of the Servite convent illustrating the Life of Filippo Benizzi, http://rubens.anu.edu.au/raid5/italy2004/florence/churches/ss_annunziata/front_cloister/dsc07633.JPG a Servite saint who died in 1285. He executed them rapidly, depicting the saint sharing his cloak with a leper, cursing some gamblers, and restoring a girl possessed with a devil
Exorcism
Exorcism is the religious practice of evicting demons or other spiritual entities from a person or place which they are believed to have possessed...

. These paintings met with respect, the correctness of the contours being particularly admired, and earned for Sarto the nickname of "Andrea senza errori" (Andrea the perfect). After these, the painter depicted in two frescoes the death of S. Filippo and then children cured by touching his garment; all five works were completed before the close of 1510. The Servites engaged him to do two more frescoes in the forecourt of the Annunziata: a Procession of the Magi (or Adoration, containing a self portrait) finished in 1511. Towards 1512 he painted an Annunciation in the monastery
Monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

 of S. Gallo and a Marriage of Saint Catherine (Dresden).
By 1514 Andrea had finished his last two frescoes, including his masterpiece, the Birth of the Virgin, which fuses the influence of Leonardo
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

, Ghirlandaio
Domenico Ghirlandaio
Domenico Ghirlandaio was an Italian Renaissance painter from Florence. Among his many apprentices was Michelangelo.-Early years:Ghirlandaio's full name is given as Domenico di Tommaso di Currado di Doffo Bigordi...

 and Fra Bartolomeo. By November 1515 he had finished at the Scalzo the Allegory of Justice and the Baptist preaching in the desert, followed in 1517 by John Baptizing, and other subjects.

Visit to France


Before the end of 1516 a Pietà of his composition, and afterwards a Madonna, were sent to the French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 Court. This led to an invitation from François I
Francis I of France
Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death. During his reign, huge cultural changes took place in France and he has been called France's original Renaissance monarch...

, in 1518, and he journeyed to Paris in June of that year, along with his pupil Andrea Squarzzella, leaving his wife, Lucrezia, in Florence.

According to Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari was an Italian painter, writer, historian, and architect, who is famous today for his biographies of Italian artists, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing.-Biography:...

, Andrea's pupil and biographer, Lucrezia wrote to Andrea and demanded he return to Italy. The King assented, but only on the understanding that his absence from France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 was to be short. He then entrusted Andrea with a sum of money to be expended in purchasing works of art for the French Court. By Vasari's account, Andrea took the money and used it to buy himself a house in Florence, thus ruining his reputation and preventing him from ever returning to France. The story inspired Robert Browning
Robert Browning
Robert Browning was an English poet and playwright whose mastery of dramatic verse, especially dramatic monologues, made him one of the foremost Victorian poets.-Early years:...

's poem-monologue "Andrea del Sarto Called the 'Faultless Painter'
Andrea del Sarto (poem)
"Andrea del Sarto " is a poem by Robert Browning , published in 1855. The poem is a dramatic monologue, a form of poetry for which Robert Browning is famous.-Overview:...

" (1855), but is now believed by some historians to be apocryphal.

Later works in Florence


In 1520 he resumed work in Florence, and executed the Faith and Charity in the cloister of the Scalzo. These were succeeded by the Dance of the Daughter of Herodias
Salome
Salome , the Daughter of Herodias , is known from the New Testament...

, the Beheading of the Baptist, the Presentation of his head to Herod
Herod Antipas
Herod Antipater , known by the nickname Antipas, was a 1st-century AD ruler of Galilee and Perea, who bore the title of tetrarch...

, an allegory of Hope, the "Apparition of the Angel to Zacharias
Zechariah (priest)
In the Bible, Zechariah , is the father of John the Baptist, a priest of the sons of Aaron, a prophet in , and the husband of Elisabeth who is the cousin of Mary the mother of Jesus.In the Qur'an, Zechariah plays a similar role as the father of John the Baptist and ranks him as a prophet alongside...

" (1523), and the monochrome Visitation. This last was painted in the autumn of 1524, after Andrea had returned from Luco in Mugello, whence an outbreak of bubonic plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

 in Florence had driven him and his family. In 1525 he returned to paint in the Annunziata cloister the Madonna del Sacco, a lunette
Lunette
In architecture, a lunette is a half-moon shaped space, either filled with recessed masonry or void. A lunette is formed when a horizontal cornice transects a round-headed arch at the level of the imposts, where the arch springs. If a door is set within a round-headed arch, the space within the...

 named after a sack against which Joseph is represented propped. In this painting the generous virgin's gown and her gaze indicate his influence on the early style of pupil Pontormo.

In 1523 Andrea painted a copy of the portrait group of Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X , born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici, was the Pope from 1513 to his death in 1521. He was the last non-priest to be elected Pope. He is known for granting indulgences for those who donated to reconstruct St. Peter's Basilica and his challenging of Martin Luther's 95 Theses...

 by Raphael. (Andrea's copy is now in the Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

 Museum, while the original remains at the Pitti.) The Raphael painting was owned by Ottaviano de' Medici
Ottaviano de' Medici
Ottaviano de' Medici was an Italian politician and statesman, ancestor of the Princes of Ottaiano line of the Medici family....

, and requested by Federico II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua
Mantua
Mantua is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy and capital of the province of the same name. Mantua's historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family, made it one of the main artistic, cultural and notably musical hubs of Northern Italy and the country as a whole...

. Unwilling to part with the original, Ottaviano retained Andrea to produce a copy, which he passed to the Duke as the original. So faithful was the imitation that even Giulio Romano
Giulio Romano
Giulio Romano was an Italian painter and architect. A pupil of Raphael, his stylistic deviations from high Renaissance classicism help define the 16th-century style known as Mannerism...

, who had himself manipulated the original to some extent, was completely fooled; and, on showing the copy years afterwards to Vasari, who knew the truth, he could only be convinced that it was not genuine when a private mark on the canvas was pointed out to him by Vasari.

Andrea's final work at the Scalzo was the Birth of the Baptist (1526). In the following year he completed his last important painting, a celebrated Last Supper at San Salvi, (now an inner suburb of Florence), in which all the personages appear to be portraits.

A number of his paintings were considered to be self-portraits. A Portrait of a Young Man in the National Gallery, London
National Gallery, London
The National Gallery is an art museum on Trafalgar Square, London, United Kingdom. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The gallery is an exempt charity, and a non-departmental public body of the Department for Culture, Media...

 was formerly believed to be a self-portrait, as was the Portrait of Becuccio Bicchieraio in National Gallery of Scotland
National Gallery of Scotland
The National Gallery of Scotland, in Edinburgh, is the national art gallery of Scotland. An elaborate neoclassical edifice, it stands on The Mound, between the two sections of Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens...

, but both are now known not to be. There is a self-portrait at Alnwick Castle
Alnwick Castle
Alnwick Castle is a castle and stately home in the town of the same name in the English county of Northumberland. It is the residence of the Duke of Northumberland, built following the Norman conquest, and renovated and remodelled a number of times. It is a Grade I listed building.-History:Alnwick...

, a young man about twenty years, with his elbow on a table. Another youthful portrait is in the Uffizi Gallery, and the Pitti Palace contains more than one.

Madonna of the Harpies


Perhaps the best known painting by Andrea del Sarto is the Madonna of the Harpies
Madonna of the Harpies
Madonna of the Harpies is a 1517 painting by Andrea del Sarto, considered his major contribution to High Renaissance art....

, a depiction of the Virgin and child on a pedestal, flanked by angels and two saints (Bonaventure or Francis, and John the Evangelist). Originally completed in 1517 for the convent of San Francesco dei Macci, the altarpiece now resides in the Uffizi. In an Italy swamped with a tsunami of Madonnas, it would be easy to overlook this work; however, this commonly copied scheme also lends itself to comparison of his style with that of his contemporaries. The figures have a Leonardo
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

-like aura, and the stable pyramid of their composition provides a unified structure. In some ways, his rigid adherence is more classical than Leonardo da Vinci's but less so than Fra Bartolomeo's representations of the Holy Family, but there is an elegance that is lacking in the more sculptural paintings of other contemporaries.

Personal life


Andrea married Lucrezia (del Fede), widow of a hatter named Carlo, of Recanati
Recanati
Recanati is a town and comune in the Province of Macerata, Marche region of Italy. Recanati was founded around 1150 AD from three pre-existing castles. In 1290 it proclaimed itself an independent republic and, in the 15th century, was famous for its international fair...

, on 26 December 1512. Lucrezia appears in many of his paintings, often as a Madonna
Madonna (art)
Images of the Madonna and the Madonna and Child or Virgin and Child are pictorial or sculptured representations of Mary, Mother of Jesus, either alone, or more frequently, with the infant Jesus. These images are central icons of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity where Mary remains...

. However, Vasari describes her as "faithless, jealous, and vixenish with the apprentices." She is similarly characterized in Robert Browning
Robert Browning
Robert Browning was an English poet and playwright whose mastery of dramatic verse, especially dramatic monologues, made him one of the foremost Victorian poets.-Early years:...

's poem.

Andrea died in Florence at age 43 during a pandemic of Bubonic Plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

 in either 1530 or 1531. He was buried unceremoniously in the church of the Servites. In Lives of the Artists, Vasari claimed Andrea received no attention at all from his wife during his terminal illness. However, it was well-known at the time that plague was highly contagious, so it has been speculated that Lucrezia was simply afraid to contract the virulent and frequently-fatal disease. If true, her caution was well-founded, as she survived her husband by 40 years.

Critical assessment and legacy


It was Michelangelo who had introduced Vasari in 1524 to Andrea's studio. He is said to have thought very highly of Andrea's talents. Of those who initially followed his style in Florence, the most prominent would have been Jacopo Pontormo, but also Francesco Salviati
Francesco de' Rossi (Il Salviati)
Francesco de' Rossi was an Italian Mannerist painter from Florence, also active in Rome. He is known by many names, prominently the adopted name Francesco Salviati or as Il Salviati, but also Francesco Rossi and Cecchino del Salviati.-Biography:Salviati was born and died in Florence...

 and Jacopino del Conte
Jacopino del Conte
Jacopino del Conte was an Italian Mannerist painter, active in both Rome and Florence.A native of Florence, Jacopino del Conte was born the same year as another Florentine master Cecchino del Salviati and, like Salviati and a number of other painters, he initially apprenticed with the influential...

. Other lesser known assistants and pupils include Bernardo del Buda, Lamberto Lombardi, Nannuccio Fiorentino, and Andrea Squazzella

Vasari, however, was highly critical of his teacher, alleging that, though having all the prerequisites of a great artist, he lacked ambition and that divine fire of inspiration which animated the works of his more famous contemporaries, like Leonardo
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

, Michelangelo, and Raphael.

Partial anthology of works

  • Holy Family with St Peter Martyr (1507-8, Pinacoteca Bari)
  • Madonna and Child with St. John (c.1513, Whitfield Fine Art
    Whitfield Fine Art
    The Whitfield Fine Art Gallery is an art gallery in Mayfair, London, owned and founded by Clovis Whitfield in 1979. The gallery specialises in Italian Old Master paintings.-History:...

    )
  • Madonna of the Harpies
    Madonna of the Harpies
    Madonna of the Harpies is a 1517 painting by Andrea del Sarto, considered his major contribution to High Renaissance art....

     (Virgin and Child, with St Francis, St John the Evangelist, and two angels), (painted S. Francesco, now in Uffizi, Florence)
  • Fathers disputing on the doctrine of the Trinity (Saints Augustine, Dominic, Francis, Lawrence, Sebastian and Mary Magdalene)(1517, altarpiece for the monastery of S. Gallo, now in Ufizzi, Florence)
  • Charity (Louvre
    Louvre
    The Musée du Louvre – in English, the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre – is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement...

    )
  • Pieta (Belvedere, Vienna
    Belvedere (palace)
    The Belvedere is a historical building complex in Vienna, Austria, consisting of two Baroque palaces the Upper and Lower Belvedere, the Orangery, and the Palace Stables. The buildings are set in a Baroque park landscape in the 3rd district of the city, south-east of its centre. It houses the...

    )
  • Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar
    Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

     receives tribute (fresco at Poggio a Caiano
    Poggio a Caiano
    Poggio a Caiano is a town and comune in the Province of Prato, Tuscany region Italy. The town lies 9 km south of the provincial capital of Prato.-The Medici villa:...

    , 1521) completed by Alessandro Allori
    Alessandro Allori
    Alessandro di Cristofano di Lorenzo del Bronzino Allori was an Italian portrait painter of the late Mannerist Florentine school....

    .
  • Virgin surrounded by Saints (Pitti Palace, Florence) http://www.nelepets.com/art/artists/a/Andrea%20del%20Sarto-5b.htm
  • Pieta (Pitti Palace)
  • Virgin, Child, Joseph, Elizabeth, John the Baptist, and an Archangel (Prado)
  • Holy Family with John the Baptist (Louvre)
  • In Berlin
    Berlin
    Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

     a portrait of his wife.
  • At Panshanger, Berkshire, a fine portrait named "Laura."
  • Annunciation (Pitti Palace)http://www.stpauls.it/madre/0503md/0503md20.htm
  • "Portrait of a Young Man", National Gallery
    National gallery
    The National Gallery is an art gallery on Trafalgar Square, London, United Kingdom.National Gallery may also refer to:*Armenia: National Gallery of Armenia, Yerevan*Australia:**National Gallery of Australia, Canberra...

    , London

See also


External links