The Andrea del Sarto Biography

del Sarto Biography

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Andrea del Sarto (1486 - 1530)

Del Sarto, a Florentine painter of the High Renaissance became famous with a spectacular series of frescoes on the life of John the Baptist.

Andrea was born Andrea d'Agnolo in Florence, Italy, on July 16, 1486. He studied painting at a young age under Piero di Cosimo before becoming the aide of Florentine painter Franciabigio from about 1508 until around 1512 . Andrea executed in between these years fresco decorations for the Servites, a religious order, in their Church of the Santissima Annunziata at Florence. 

In 1510 he completed five scenes depicting events of the life of S. Filippo Benizzi, a 13th-century major monk of the Servite order. These works firmly established his reputation as an excellent sketcher as well as a great colorist, and a master in the use of light and shade. These works led him to be endowed with numerous commissions, notably for  the  frescoes painted in shades of gray of Saint John the Baptist in the cloister of the Scalzo in Florence.

Andrea became known throughout Italy and even abroad and in 1518 he was summoned to the court of Francis I of France, who asked him to purchase works of art in Italy. He returned to Florence in 1519 and remained there and kept the money the king gave him as part of his mission. 

In Florence, Andrea continued his work on the fresco series in the cloister of the Scalzo, which he completed in 1526. In 1525 he painted  in the cloister of Santissima Annunziata the Madonna del Sacco, which has been considered as his masterpiece. He executed in 1527 his last major work in fresco, the Last Supper, in the refectory of the convent of San Salvi near Florence and died three years later on September 29, 1530. 

Andrea also painted numerous paintings, portraits in particular, such as those of his wife and of himself in the Pitti Palace, Florence; and religious subjects, such as the Madonna of the Harpies in 1517  (Uffizi Gallery, Florence). Among his other major works are the Pietà he painted in 1524 (now at the Pitti Palace) and The Assumption in 1530  (Also at the Pitti Palace). Among his pupils were the architect and painter Giorgio Vasari and the painters Jacopo da Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino. 

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