Andrea del Sarto

Andrea del Sarto (Italian: [anˈdrɛːa del ˈsarto]; 1486–1530) was an Italian painter from Florence, whose career flourished during the High Renaissance and early Mannerism. 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, Michelangelo and Raphael.

Andrea del Sarto
Self-portrait [a]
Andrea d'Agnolo di Francesco di Luca di Paolo del Migliore

16 July 1486 Florence, (now Italy)
DiedBefore 29 September 1530
Florence (now Italy)
NationalityTuscan Italian
Known forPainting
Notable work
Madonna of the Harpies
Birth of the Virgin
MovementHigh Renaissance

Early life and training

Casa di andrea del sarto 01
The house of Andrea del Sarto.
Andrea del Sarto - Portrait of a Man
The so-called Portrait of a Sculptor, long believed to have been Del Sarto's self-portrait.

Andrea del Sarto was born Andrea d'Agnolo di Francesco di Luca di Paolo del Migliore in Florence on 16 July 1486. Since his father, Agnolo, was a tailor (Italian: sarto), he became known as "del Sarto" (meaning "tailor's son").[1] Since 1677 some have attributed the surname Vannucchi with little documentation. By 1494 Andrea was apprenticed to a goldsmith, and then to a woodcarver and painter named Gian Barile, with whom he remained until 1498.[2] According to his late biographer Vasari, he then apprenticed to Piero di Cosimo, and later with Raffaellino del Garbo (Carli).

Andrea and an older friend Franciabigio 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.[2] By the time the partnership was dissolved, Sarto's style bore the stamp of individuality. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, 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."[3]

Frescoes at SS Annunziata in Florence

From 1509 to 1514 the Servite Order employed Del Sarto, Franciabigio and Andrea Feltrini in a programme of frescoes at Basilica della Santissima Annunziata di Firenze.[4] Sarto completed seven frescoes in the forecourt or atrium (the chiostro dei voti) before the Servite church, five of which illustrated the Life and miracles of Filippo Benizzi,[5] a Servite saint who died in 1285 (canonized 1671). He executed them rapidly, depicting the saint healing a leper through the gift of his undertunic; predicting the bad end of some blasphemers; and restoring a girl possessed with a devil. The two final frescoes of the series depicted the healing of a child at the death bed of Filippo Benizzi and the curing of sick adults and children through his relic garment held at the church. All five frescoes were completed before the close of 1510. The original contract also required him to paint five scenes of the life and miracles of St Sebastian, but he told the Servites that he no longer wished to continue with the second cycle, most likely due to the low remuneration. The Servites convinced him to do two more frescoes in the forecourt, though of a different subject matter: a Procession of the Magi (or Adoration, containing a self-portrait) finished in 1511 and a Nativity of the Virgin. 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). Towards 1512 he painted an Annunciation in the monastery 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, Ghirlandaio and Fra Bartolomeo.[6] 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.[7]

Visit to France

Sarto life
Del Sarto's most ambitious monument, in terms of the amount of time he devoted to it, is the grisaille series in the Chiostro dello Scalzo.

Before the end of 1516, a Pietà of Del Sarto's composition, and afterwards a Madonna, were sent to the French Court. This led to an invitation from François I, in 1518, and he journeyed to Paris in June of that year, along with his pupil Andrea Squarzzella, leaving his wife, Lucrezia, in Florence.[7]

According to Giorgio Vasari, Andrea's pupil and biographer,[8] Lucrezia wrote to Andrea and demanded he return to Italy. The King assented, but only on the understanding that his absence from 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.[7] The story inspired Robert Browning's poem-monologue "Andrea del Sarto Called the 'Faultless Painter'" (1855),[9] but is now believed by some historians to be apocryphal.[10]

Later works in Florence

Andrea del Sarto - Assumption of the Virgin (Poppi Altarpiece) - WGA0416
Assumption of the Virgin (Poppi Altarpiece), 1530
Andrea del Sarto, Head of Saint John the Baptist, c. 1523, NGA 73856
Head of Saint John the Baptist, c. 1523, National Gallery of Art

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, the Beheading of the Baptist, the Presentation of his head to Herod, an allegory of Hope, the Apparition of the Angel to Zacharias (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 in Florence had driven him and his family. In 1525 he returned to paint in the Annunziata cloister the Madonna del Sacco, a lunette named after a sack against which Joseph is represented propped.[7] 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 by Raphael; this copy is now in the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples, while the original remains at the Pitti Palace. The Raphael painting was owned by Ottaviano de' Medici, and requested by Federico II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua. Unwilling to part with the original, Ottaviano retained Andrea to produce a copy, which he passed to the Duke as the original. The imitation was so faithful that even Giulio Romano, 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 be convinced that it was not genuine only when a private mark on the canvas was pointed out to him by Vasari.[7]

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 Last Supper at San Salvi (now an inner suburb of Florence), in which all the characters appear to be portraits.[7]

A number of his paintings were considered to be self-portraits. A Portrait of a Young Man in the National Gallery, London was formerly believed to be a self-portrait,[11] as was the Portrait of Becuccio Bicchieraio in National Gallery of Scotland,[12] but both are now known not to be. There is a self-portrait at Alnwick Castle, 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.[7]

Madonna of the Harpies

The Madonna of the Harpies is a depiction of the Virgin and child on a pedestal, flanked by two saints (Bonaventure or Francis and John the Evangelist), and at her feet two cherubs. The pedestal is decorated with a relief depicting some feminine figures interpreted as harpies and thus gave rise, in English, to the name of the painting. 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 da Vinci-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.

Andrea del Sarto - Pietà with Saints - WGA0395
Pietà with Saints, 1523-24

Personal life

Andrea married Lucrezia (del Fede), widow of a hatter named Carlo, of Recanati, on 26 December 1512. Lucrezia appears in many of his paintings, often as a Madonna. However, Vasari describes her as "faithless, jealous, and vixenish with the apprentices."[8] She is similarly characterized in Robert Browning's poem.

Andrea died in Florence at age 43 during an outbreak of Bubonic Plague at the end of September 1530. He was buried unceremoniously by the Misericordia 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.[8] 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, this well-founded caution was rewarded, as she survived her husband by 40 years.[1]

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.[7] Of those who initially followed his style in Florence, the most prominent would have been Jacopo Pontormo, but also Rosso Fiorentino, Francesco Salviati and Jacopino del Conte. Other lesser known assistants and pupils include Bernardo del Buda, Lamberto Lombardi, Nannuccio Fiorentino and Andrea Squazzella.[13]

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: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael.

On 21 November 1848, the play Andre del Sarto, by Alfred de Musset, premiered in Paris.

In 1968 the opera Andrea del Sarto by French composer Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur was based on Alfred de Musset's 1848 play.

Partial anthology of works

"Portrait of a Man" (Andrea del Sarto)
Portrait of a Man, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • Holy Family with St Peter Martyr (1507-1508, Pinacoteca di Bari)
  • Noli me tangere (c. 1510, Museo del Cenacolo di Andrea del Sarto, Florence)
  • Virgin, Child, Elizabeth and John the Baptist (c. 1513, National Gallery, London)
  • Portrait of the Artist's Wife (1513-1514, Museo del Prado, Madrid)
  • Nativity of the Virgin (1513-1514, Santissima Annunziata, Florence)
  • Madonna of the Harpies (Virgin and Child, with St Francis, St John the Evangelist, and two angels) (1517, painted at S. Francesco, now in Uffizi, Florence)
  • Charity (1518, Louvre, Paris)
  • Julius Caesar receives Tribute (c. 1520, fresco at Poggio a Caiano, Italy; completed by Alessandro Allori)
  • Virgin surrounded by Saints (Pitti Palace, Florence) [14]
  • Madonna della Scala (c. 1522-1523, Museo del Prado, Madrid)
  • Panciatichi Assumption (c. 1522-1523, Galleria Palatina, Pitti Palace, Florence)
  • Pietà (1523-1524, Galleria Palatina, Pitti Palace, Florence)
  • Passerini Assumption (1526, Galleria Palatina, Pitti Palace, Florence)
  • Last Supper (1511-1527, Museo del Cenacolo di Andrea del Sarto, Florence)
  • Fathers Disputing on the Doctrine of the Trinity (c. 1528, altarpiece for the monastery of San Gallo, now in the Uffizi, Florence)
  • Gambassi Altarpiece (c. 1528, Galleria Palatina, Pitti Palace, Florence)
  • Barberini Holy Family (c. 1528, Galleria Nazionale di Arte Antica, Palazzo Barberini, Rome)
  • St. James with Two Youngs (c. 1528-1529, Uffizi, Florence)
  • Vallombrosa Polyptych (c. 1528-1529, Uffizi, Florence)
  • Holy Family with John the Baptist (c. 1529, Hermitage, St. Petersburg)
  • Borgherini Holy Family (c. 1529, Metropolitan Museum, New York)
  • Medici Holy Family (c. 1529, Galleria Palatina, Palazzo Pitti, Florence)
  • Madonna in Glory with Four Saints (1530, Galleria Palatina, Palazzo Pitti, Florence)


  1. ^ a b Cole, Thomas B. Andrea del Sarto fingers. Journal of the American Medical Association, August 25, 2010, Vol. 304, No. 8, p. 833.
  2. ^ a b Rossetti 1911, p. 969.
  3. ^ "Encyclopædia Britannica". Retrieved 2012-09-24.
  4. ^ "". Retrieved 2012-09-24.
  5. ^ [1] Archived February 4, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Compare it to Ghirlandaio's Quattrocento treatment". Retrieved 2012-09-24.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Rossetti 1911, p. 970.
  8. ^ a b c Vasari, Giorgio. The Lives of the Artists. Oxford University Press, USA; Reissue edition (December 15, 2008). ISBN 0-19-953719-4
  9. ^ "Stonehill". Archived from the original on 2012-11-20. Retrieved 2012-09-24.
  10. ^ University of Toronto Library Archived January 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "National Gallery website". Retrieved 2012-09-24.
  12. ^ National Gallery of Scotland website Archived June 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ J.R. Hobbes p. 258-9.
  14. ^ "Welcome to". Retrieved 2012-09-24.


External links

Andrea Sguazella

Andrea Sguazella was a 16th-century Italian painter of the Renaissance period, active mainly in Florence and France. He was a pupil of the painter Andrea del Sarto and stayed behind to paint in the court of Francis I of France.

Andrea del Sarto (poem)

"Andrea del Sarto" (also called "The Faultless Painter") is a poem by Robert Browning (1812–1889) published in his 1855 poetry collection, Men and Women. It is a dramatic monologue, a form of poetry for which he is famous, about the Italian painter Andrea del Sarto.

Domenico Vitus

Domenico Vitus (born c. 1536) was an Italian engraver. He is supposed to have studied engraving under Agostino Veneziano, whose style he imitated with some success. In the prime of life he retired to the monastery of Vallombrosa. Among his plates are the following: St. Bartholomew; inscribed. Dom. Vitit orditut Valumbrosa monachus excitit Roma (1576); St. Joachim holding a Censer; after Andrea del Sarto; Jupiter and Callisto; inscribed Dominici V. F. A set of plates representing the Passion, the border ornamented with birds and beasts.

Francesco Brina

Francesco Brina or Del Brina or Brini (1540 – 1586) was an Italian painter of the Mannerist period, active mainly in Florence.

S.J. Freedburg ascribes his training to either Ridolfo Ghirlandaio or more likely his son, Michele di Ridolfo. He holds him to have followed the "most conservative adaptation of the Vasarian maniera". He appeared to limit his output to mostly devotional Madonna and Child paintings (madonneri), and in this endeavor, paraphrasing the compositions and expressions of Andrea del Sarto. His brother Giovanni Brina (died 1599) helped Francesco in his work and copied his style .He painted an Adoration at Santa Felicita, Florence. He painted an Annunciation with Saints for a chapel in the church of San Gaggio, Florence.

Giovanni Battista Bonacina

Giovanni Battista Bonacina (born c. 1620) was an Italian painter and engraver of the Baroque period. He was born in Milan. He was influenced by Cornelis Bloemaert. He made portraits of Pope Clement IX, Guido and Hermes Visconti, and Giovanni Battista Conte Truchi. He also engraved The Alliance of Jacob and Laban and St. Martin kneeling before the Virgin and Infant Jesus after Pietro da Cortona, and a Holy Family, with St. Catharine and St. John after Andrea del Sarto.


A grisaille ( or ; French: gris [ɡʁizaj] 'grey') is a painting executed entirely in shades of grey or of another neutral greyish colour. It is particularly used in large decorative schemes in imitation of sculpture. Many grisailles include a slightly wider colour range, like the Andrea del Sarto fresco illustrated. Paintings executed in brown are referred to as brunaille, and paintings executed in green are called verdaille.A grisaille may be executed for its own sake, as underpainting for an oil painting (in preparation for glazing layers of colour over it), or as a model for an engraver to work from. "Rubens and his school sometimes use monochrome techniques in sketching compositions for engravers." Full colouring of a subject makes many more demands of an artist, and working in grisaille was often chosen as being quicker and cheaper, although the effect was sometimes deliberately chosen for aesthetic reasons. Grisaille paintings resemble the drawings, normally in monochrome, that artists from the Renaissance on were trained to produce; like drawings they can also betray the hand of a less talented assistant more easily than a fully coloured painting.

Holy Family (Andrea del Sarto)

The Holy Family, a 1528-29 painting by the Italian Renaissance painter Andrea Sarto, is housed in the Pinacoteca of the Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica (Palazzo Barberini) in Rome, Italy.

Jacone Puligo

Jacone Puligo was an Italian painter of the Renaissance period, active in Florence. He was the brother of Domenico Puligo, was also an apprentice to Andrea del Sarto.

Jacopino del Conte

Jacopino del Conte (1510–1598) 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 (whom Conte outlived by 35 years) and, like Salviati and a number of other painters, he initially apprenticed with the influential painter and draftsman Andrea del Sarto.

Conte's first frescoes, including Annunciation to Zachariah (1536), Preaching of Saint John the Baptist (1538), and Baptism of Christ (1541) were in the Florentine-supported Oratory of San Giovanni Decollato, located in Rome. The Preaching fresco was based on a drawing by Perin del Vaga. In 1547–48, in collaboration with Siciolante da Sermoneta, Conte completed the fresco decoration of the chapel of San Remigio in San Luigi dei Francesi. In 1552, he painted another work for the San Giovanni Decollato Oratory, the altarpiece Deposition, whose designs are sometimes attributed to Daniele da Volterra.

Although the specific dates of his birth and death were not documented, in his final year Jacopino del Conte would have been 89 years old.

Less is more

Less is more may refer to:

"Less is more", a phrase from the Robert Browning poem "Andrea del Sarto", also called "The Faultless Painter", published in 1855

Less is more (architecture), a phrase adopted in 1947 by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as a precept for Minimalist design and architecture

A phrase sometimes used to describe the Unix command-line utility less, which provides similar functionality to more

Madonna of the Harpies

Madonna of the Harpies (Italian: Madonna delle Arpie) is an altarpiece in oils by Andrea del Sarto, a major painter of the High Renaissance. It was commissioned in 1515 and signed and dated by the artist in 1517 in the inscription on the pedestal; it is now in the Uffizi in Florence. It was praised by Vasari, and is arguably the artist's best-known work.

The Virgin is standing on a pedestal which includes harpies sculpted in relief, from which the painting takes its name. At least Vasari, and presumably his Florentine contemporaries, thought they were harpies; some modern art historians think that locusts are represented, in a reference to the Book of Revelation; either way they represent forces of evil being trampled on by the Virgin.It is a sacra conversazione showing the Virgin and Child flanked by putti angels and two saints (Saint Bonaventure or Francis and John the Evangelist). Compared to the stillness of earlier paintings of similar groups, here the "dynamism of the High Renaissance was inimical to the static quality of 15th-century art", so that "a composition of fundamentally classical purity is animated by a nervous energy in the figures to produce an unsettling impression of variety."It was completed in 1517 for the church of the convent and hospital of San Francesco dei Macci in Florence; this was run by the Poor Clares and is long closed, but the church building survives. The figures have a Leonardo-like aura, with a pyramid shaped composition. The harpies, figures from pagan mythology (or locusts), here represent temptation and sin, which the Virgin has conquered and stands upon. The Christ Child is shown as unusually old, and has an athletic contrapposto pose. He looks down to the putti, and all three have a "mischiefness" that contrasts with the serious, abstracted, air of the adults.The main character in the Kürk Mantolu Madonna ("Madonna With A Fur Coat"), a novel written by Turkish writer Sabahattin Ali, is a depiction of the Virgin Mary in Madonna of the Harpies.

Panciatichi Assumption

Panciatichi Assumption (Italian: Assunta Panciatichi) is a painting by Italian Renaissance artist Andrea del Sarto, painted c. 1522-1523. It is housed in the Galleria Palatina of Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy.

Passerini Assumption

Passerini Assumption (Italian: Assunta Passerini) is a painting by Italian Renaissance artist Andrea del Sarto, painted in 1526. It is housed in the Galleria Palatina of Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy.

Pier Francesco Foschi

Pier Francesco Foschi (1502–1567) was an Italian painter active in Florence in a Mannerist style. He was pupil of Andrea del Sarto and assisted Pontormo with his frescoes at Careggi in 1536. He completed 3 altarpieces, commissioned in 1540–1545 for the church of Santo Spirito in Florence: an Immaculate Conception, Resurrection, and a Transfiguration. Foschi was also influenced by Il Bronzino. One of his pupils was Alessandro Fei.Also called Pier Francesco di Jacopo Foschi or Toschi. He was the son of Jacopo Sandro Foschi, known for his Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John. (Utah Museum of Fine Arts).Foschi is best noted for his portraits painted between 1530 and 1540, including his Portrait of a Lady (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza), Portrait of a Young Man Weaving a Wreath of Flowers (Utah Museum of Fine Arts), and his Portrait of a Man, (Uffizi Gallery).

In his portraits he adhered to Mannerist style, utilizing a slight Contrapposto in the sitter with their head turned from the body. This pose gave the depiction a spontaneity and sense of movement for the innovative Mannerists, but was eventually so formulaic that it lost its intention of originality. Foschi’ Portrait of a Lady and Portrait of a Man Weaving a Wreath of Flowers, shows an interesting use of back ground and subtle symbolisms to convey the essence of the sitter, while his Portrait of a Man (at the Uffizi), shows a more standard portrait depiction of the period.

Pier Francesco d'Jacopo di Domenico Toschi

Pier Francesco d'Jacopo di Domenico Toschi (died September 17, 1567) was an Italian painter of the Renaissance period. He was the son of a painter, living outside the Porta Romana in Florence. He was a pupil of Andrea del Sarto. Three pictures by him, an Assumption, a Transfiguration, and a Resurrection, are in the church of Santo Spirito, Florence. He was also much engaged on decorative work. He was buried in Santo Spirito.

San Salvi

San Salvi, also known as San Michele a San Salvi, is a church in Florence, Italy.

The church was built in the 11th century by the Vallombrosans as part of an abbey complex. During the 1529 Siege of Florence, the church was partially destroyed. It was reconstructed in accordance with its original style with the exception of the portico which was built with a 16th-century style. The interior of the church is of a single aisle, Latin-cross design with a rectangular apse. The refectory contains a masterwork fresco of the Last Supper (1519-1527) by Andrea del Sarto.

Santissima Annunziata, Florence

The Basilica della Santissima Annunziata (Basilica of the Most Holy Annunciation) is a Renaissance-style, Roman Catholic minor basilica in Florence, region of Tuscany, Italy. This is considered the mother church of the Servite Order. It is located at the northeastern side of the Piazza Santissima Annunziata near the city center.

Serge Baudo

Serge Baudo (born 16 July 1927) is a French conductor, the son of the oboist Étienne Baudo. He is the nephew of the cellist Paul Tortelier.

Baudo was conductor of the Orchestra of Radio Nice from 1959 to 1962. He then served as permanent conductor at the Paris Opera from 1962 to 1965. Baudo also worked on the music of two Jacques-Yves Cousteau films: in 1964 he composed and conducted the music of World Without Sun and in 1976 he conducted some Maurice Ravel musical pieces for Voyage to the Edge of the World (a Cousteau film about a four months expedition in Antarctica). He conducted the world premieres of the operas La mère coupable by Darius Milhaud in June 1966 in Geneva as well as Andrea del Sarto by Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur in January 1969 in Marseille . Baudo became music director of the Orchestre philharmonique Rhône-Alpes, later the Orchestre National de Lyon, in 1971, and served in this post until 1987. During his time in Lyon, he founded the Berlioz Festival, in 1979.

Stories of Moses and the Evangelists

The Stories of Moses and the Evangelists are a series of oil on panel paintings by Domenico Beccafumi, dating to circa 1538-1539 and hanging in Pisa Cathedral. They form part of a decorative scheme of 27 panels, only completed at the end of the 17th century, also including works by Andrea del Sarto and Il Sodoma.

Andrea del Sarto

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.