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Title: Fra Bartolommeo
Author: Scott, Leader, 1837-1902
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Fra Bartolommeo" ***

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By Leader Scott

Author Of "A Nook In The Apennines"

Re-Edited By Horace Shipp and Flora Kendrick, A.R.B.S.

_The reproductions in this series are from official photographs of the
National Collections, or from photographs by Messrs. Andersen, Alinari
or Braun._


Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael: the three great names of the noblest
period of the Renaissance take our minds from the host of fine artists
who worked alongside them. Nevertheless beside these giants a whole
host of exquisite artists have place, and not least among them the
three painters with whom Mr. Leader Scott has dealt in these pages. Fra
Bartolommeo linking up with the religious art of the preceding period,
with that of Masaccio, of Piero de Cosimo, his senior student in the
studio of Cosimo Roselli, and at last with that of the definitely
"modern" painters of the Renaissance, Raphael, Leonardo and Michelangelo
himself, is a transition painter in this supreme period. Technique and
the work of hand and brain are rapidly taking the place of inspiration
and the desire to convey a message. The aesthetic sensation is becoming
an end in itself. The scientific painters, perfecting their studies of
anatomy and of perspective, having a conscious mastery over their tools
and their mediums, are taking the place of such men as Fra Angelico.

As a painter at this end of a period of transition--a painter whose
spiritual leanings would undoubtedly have been with the earlier men, but
whose period was too strong for him--Fra Bartolommeo is of particular
interest; and Albertinelli, for all the fiery surface difference of his
outlook is too closely bound by the ties of his friendship for the Frate
to have any other viewpoint.

Andrea del Sarto presents yet another phenomenon: that of the artist
endowed with all the powers of craftsmanship yet serving an end
neither basically spiritual nor basically aesthetic, but definitely
professional. We have George Vasari's word for it; and Vasari's blame
upon the extravagant and too-well-beloved Lucrezia. To-day we are so
accustomed to the idea of the professional attitude to art that we can
accept it in Andrea without concern. Not that other and earlier artists
were unconcerned with the aspect of payments. The history of Italian
art is full of quarrels and bickerings about prices, the calling in of
referees to decide between patron and painter, demands and refusals
of payment. Even the unworldly Fra Bartolommeo was the centre of such
quarrels, and although his vow of poverty forbade him to receive money
for his work, the order to which he belonged stood out firmly for the
_scudi_ which the Frate's pictures brought them. In justice to Andrea it
must be added that this was not the only motive for his activities;
it was not without cause that the men of his time called him "_senza
errori_," the faultless painter; and the production of a vast quantity
of his work rather than good prices for individual pictures made his art
pay to the extent it did. A pot-boiler in masterpieces, his works have
place in every gallery of importance, and he himself stands very close
to the three greatest; men of the Renaissance.

Both Fra Bartolommeo and Albertinelli are little known in this country.
Practically nothing has been written about them and very few of their
works are in either public galleries or private collections. It is in
Italy, of course, that one must study their originals, although the
great collections usually include one or two. Most interesting from
the viewpoint of the study of art is the evolution of the work of the
artist-monk as he came under the influence of the more dramatic modern
and frankly sensational work of Raphael, of the Venetians and of
Michelangelo. In this case (many will say in that of the art of
the world) this tendency detracted rather than helped the work. The
draperies, the dramatic poses, the artistic sensation arrests the mind
at the surface of the picture. It is indeed strange that this devout
churchman should have succumbed to the temptation, and there are moments
when one suspects that his somewhat spectacular pietism disguised the
spirit of one whose mind had little to do with the mysticism of the
mediaeval church. Or perhaps it was that the strange friendship between
him and Albertinelli, the man of the cloister and the man of the world,
effected some alchemy in the mind of each. The story of that lifelong
friendship, strong enough to overcome the difficulties of a definite
partnership between the strict life of the monastery and the busy life
of the _bottega_, is one of the most fascinating in art history.

Mr. Leader Scott has in all three lives the opportunity for fascinating
studies, and his book presents them to us with much of the flavour of
the period in which they lived. Perhaps to-day we should incline to
modify his acceptance of the Vasari attitude to Lucrezia, especially
since he himself tends to withdraw the charges against her, but leaves
her as the villainess of the piece upon very little evidence. The
inclusion of a chapter upon Ghirlandajo, treated merely as a follower
of Fra Bartolommeo, scarcely does justice in modern eyes to this fine
artist, whose own day and generation did him such honour and paid him
so well. But the author's general conclusions as to the place in art
and the significance of the lives of the three painters with whom he
is chiefly concerned remains unchallenged, and we have in the volume a
necessary study to place alongside those of Leonardo, of Michelangelo
and of Raphael for an understanding of the culmination of the
Renaissance in Italy.

                                               HORACE SHIPP.




   IV. SAN MARCO. A.D. 1496-1500
 VIII. CLOSE OF LIFE. A.D. 1514-1517


   IV. WORKS IN FLORENCE. A.D. 1511-1515
    V. GOING TO FRANCE. A.D. 1518-1519







It seems to be a law of nature that progress, as well as time, should be
marked by periods of alternate light and darkness--day and night.

This law is nowhere more apparent than in the history of Art. Three
times has the world been illuminated by the full brilliance of Art, and
three times has a corresponding period of darkness ensued.

The first day dawned in Egypt and Assyria, and its works lie buried in
the tombs of prehistoric Pharaohs and Ninevite kings. The second day
the sun rose on the shores of many-isled Greece, and shed its rays over
Etruria and Rome, and ere it set, temples and palaces were flooded with
beauty. The gods had taken human form, and were come to dwell with men.

The third day arising in Italy, lit up the whole western world with the
glow of colour and fervour, and its fading rays light us yet.

The first period was that of mythic art; the world like a child
wondering at all around tried to express in myths the truths it could
not comprehend.

The second was pagan art which satisfies itself that in expressing the
perfection of humanity, it unfolds divinity. The third era of Christian
art, conscious that the divine lies beyond the human, fails in aspiring
to express infinitude.

Tracing one of these periods from its rise, how truly this similitude
of the dawn of day is carried out. See at the first streak of light
how dim, stiff, and soulless all things appear! Trees and objects bear
precisely the relation to their own appearance in broad daylight as the
wooden Madonnas of the Byzantine school do to those of Raphael.

Next, when the sun--the true light--first appears, how it bathes the sea
and the hills in an ethereal glory not their own! What fair liquid tints
of blue, and rose, and glorious gold! This period which, in art, began
with Giotto and ended with Botticelli, culminated in Fra Angelico, who
flooded the world of painting with a heavenly spiritualism not material,
and gave his dreams of heaven the colours of the first pure rays of

But as the sun rises, nature takes her real tints gradually. We see
every thing in its own colour; the gold and the rose has faded away with
the truer light, and a stern realism takes its place. The human form
must be expressed, in all its solidity and truth, not only in its
outward semblance, but the hidden soul must be seen through the veil of
flesh. And in this lies the reason of the decline; only to a few great
masters it was given to reveal spirituality in humanity--the others
could only emulate form and colour, and failed.

It is impossible to contemplate art apart from religion; as truly as the
celestial sun is the revealer of form, so surely is the heavenly light
of religion the first inspirer of art.

Where would the Egyptian, Assyrian, and Etruscan paintings and
sculptures have been but for the veneration of the mystic gods of the
dead, which both prompted and preserved them?

What would Greek sculpture have been without the deified
personifications of the mysterious powers of nature which inspired
it? and it is the fact of the pagan religion being both sensuous and
realistic which explains the perfection of Greek art. The highest ideal
being so low as not to soar beyond the greatest perfection of humanity,
was thus within the grasp of the artist to express. Given a manly figure
with the fullest development of strength; a female one showing the
greatest perfection of form; and a noble man whose features express
dignity and mental power;--the ideal of a Hercules, a Venus, and a
Jupiter is fully expressed, and the pagan mind satisfied. The spirit
of admirers was moved more by beauty of form than by its hidden
significance. In the great Venus, one recognises the woman before
feeling the goddess.

As with their sculpture, without doubt it was also with painting. Mr.
Symonds, in his _Renaissance of the Fine Arts_, speaks of the Greek
revival as entirely an age of sculpture; but the solitary glance into
the more perishable art of painting among the Greeks, to be seen at
Cortona, reveals the exquisite perfection to which this branch was also
brought. It is a painting in encaustic, and has been used as a door
for his oven by the contadino who dug it up--yet it remains a marvel
of genius. The subject is a female head--a muse, or perhaps only a
portrait; the delicacy and mellowness of the flesh tints equal those of
Raphael or Leonardo, and a lock of hair lying across her breast is so
exquisitely painted that it seems to move with her breath. The features
are of the large-eyed regular Greek type, womanly dignity is in every
line, but it is an essentially pagan face--the Christian soul has never
dawned in those eyes! With this before us, we cannot doubt that Greek
art found its expression as much in colour as in form and that the same
religion inspired both.

In an equal degree Renaissance Art has its roots in Christianity; but
the religion is deeper and greater, and has left art behind.

The early Christians must have felt this when they expressed everything
in symbols, for these are merely suggestive, and allow the imagination
full play around and beyond them; they are mere stepping-stones to the
ideal which exists but is as yet inexpressible.

"Myths and symbols always mark the dawn of a religion, incarnation and
realism its full growth." So after a time when the first vague wonder
and ecstasy are over, symbols no longer content people; they want to
bring religion home to them in a more tangible form, to humanize it,
in fact. From this want it arises that nature next to religion inspires
art, and finally takes its place. For it follows as a matter of course
that as art is a realistic interpreter of the spiritual, so it is more
easy to follow nature than spirituality, nature being the outward or
realistic expression of the mind of God.

It was a saying of Buffalmacco, who was _not_ one of the most devout
painters of the fourteenth century, "Do not let us think of anything but
to cover our walls with saints, and out of disrespect to the demons to
make men more devout." And Savonarola, though he has been accused
of being one of the causes of the decline, thus upheld the sacred
influences of art; when he exclaimed in one of his fervent bursts of
eloquence, "You see that Saint there in the Church and say, 'I will live
a good life and be like him.'" If these were the feelings of the least
devout and the religious fanatic, how hallowed must the influences of
Christian painting have been to the intermediate ranks. Mr. Symonds
beautifully expresses the tendency of that time: "The eyes of the
worshipper should no longer have a mere stock or stone to contemplate;
his imagination should be helped by the dogmatic presentation of the
scenes of sacred history, and his devotion quickened by lively images
of the passion of our Lord.... The body and soul moreover should be
reconciled, and God's likeness should be once more acknowledged in the
features and limbs of men." [Footnote: Symonds' _Renaissance of the Fine
Arts_, chap. i. p. 11.]

The school of Giotto was the first to feel this need of the soul. He,
taking his ideas from nature, clothed the soul in a thin veil; the
Italians call his school that of poetic art; it reached sentiment and
poetry, but did not pass them. Yet the thirteenth century was sublime
for the expression of the idea; one only has to study the intense
meaning in the works of Giotto, and Orcagna, Duccio, and the Lorenzetti
of Siena to perceive this. The fourteenth century, on the contrary,
rendered itself glorious for manifestation of form. "Artists thought the
veil of ideality a poor thing, and wished to give the solidity of the
body to the soul; they stole every secret from nature; the senses were
content, but not sentiment." [Footnote: _Purismo nell' Arte_, da Cesare

The artists of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, of whom we have
to speak, blended the two schools, and became perfection as far as
they went. Michelangelo drew more from the vigorous thirteenth-century
masters, and Raphael from the more sensuous followers of Masaccio and
Lippi. The former tried to put the Christian soul into his works, but
its infinite depth was unattainable. As his many unfinished works prove,
he always felt some great overwhelming meaning in his inmost soul,
which all his passionate artistic yearnings were inadequate to express.
Raphael tried to bring realism into religion through painting, and
to give us the scenes of our Lord's and the Apostles' lives in such a
humanized aspect, that we should feel ourselves of his nature. But the
incarnation of religion in art defeated its own ends; sensuousness was
introduced in place of the calm, unearthly spirituality of the earlier
masters. Compare the cartoon of S. Paul preaching at Athens, in which
he has all the majesty of a Cæsar in the Forum, with the lowly spirit
of the Apostle's life! In truth, Raphael failed to approach nearer
to sublimity than Fra Angelico, with all his faulty drawing but pure

After him, artists loved form and colour for themselves rather than for
the spiritual meaning. Miss Owen [Footnote: _Art Schools of Medieval
Christendom_, edited by Ruskin.] accuses Raphael of having rendered Art
pagan, but this seems blaming him for the weakness of his followers, who
took for their type his works rather than his ideal. The causes of the
decline were many, and are not centred in one man. As long as Religion
slumbered in monasticism and dogma, Art seizing on the human parts, such
as the maternity of the Madonna, the personifications of saints who had
lived in the world, was its adequate exponent. The religion awakened by
the aesthetic S. Francis, who loved all kinds of beauty, was of the kind
to be fed by pictures. But when Savonarola had aroused the fervour of
the nation to its highest point, when beauty was nothing, the world
nothing, in comparison to the infinity of God;--then art, finding itself
powerless to express this overwhelming infinity, fell back on more
earthly founts of inspiration, the classics and the poets.

Lorenzo de' Medici and Pope Nicholas V. had fully as much to do with the
decline as Savonarola. The Pope in Rome, and Lorenzo in Florence, led
art to the verge of paganism; Savonarola would have kept it on the
confines of purism; it was divided and fell, passing through the various
steps of decadence, the mannerists and the eclectics, to rise again
in this nineteenth century with what is after all its true aim, the
interpretation of nature, and the illustration of the poetry of a

But with the decadence we have happily nothing to do; the artists of
whom we speak first, Fra Bartolommeo and Albertinelli, belong to the
culmination of art on its rising side, while Andrea del Sarto stands as
near to the greatest artists on the other side, and is the last of the
group before the decline. On Fra Bartolommeo the spirituality of Fra
Angelico still lingered, while the perfection of Raphael illumined him.
Andrea del Sarto, on the other side, had gathered into his hands
the gleams of genius from all the great artists who were his elder
contemporaries, and so blending them as to form seemingly a style of
his own, distinct from any, has left on our walls and in our galleries
hundreds of masterpieces of colour, as gay and varied as the tints the
orientals weave into their wondrous fabrics.

It might be said with truth that Fra Bartolommeo painted for the soul,
and Andrea del Sarto for the eye.



Amongst the thousand arteries in which the life blood of the Renaissance
coursed in all its fulness, none were so busy or so important as the
"botteghe" of the artists. In these the genius of the great masters,
the Pleiades of stars at the culmination of art in Florence, was either
tenderly nursed, or sharply pruned into vigour by struggling against
discouragement and envy. In these the spirit of awakened devotion found
an outlet, in altarpieces and designs for church frescoes which were
to influence thousands. Here the spirit of poetry, brooding in the
mysterious lines of Dante, or echoing from past ages in the myths of the
Greeks, took form and glowed on the walls in mighty cartoons to be
made imperishable in fresco. Here the spirit of luxury was satisfied
by beautiful designs for ornaments, dress stuffs, tapestries, vases
and "cassoni," &c., which brought beauty into every life, and made each
house a poem. The soul, the mind, and the body, could alike be supplied
at those fountains of the beautiful, the artshops or schools.

Whilst Michelangelo as a youth was drawing from the cartoons of the
Sassetti chapel in the school of Domenico Ghirlandajo, Cosimo Roselli
was just receiving as a pupil a boy only a little behind him in genius.
A small, delicate-faced, spiritual-eyed boy of nine years, known as
Baccio della Porta, who came with a roll of drawings under his arm and
high hopes in his soul, no doubt trotting along manfully beside Cosimo's
old friend, Benedetto da Majano, the sculptor, who had recommended his
being placed in the studio.

By the table given in the note [Footnote: Pietro, a Genoese, came in
1400 to the parish of S. Michele, at Montecuccioli in Mugello; he was
a peasant, and had a son Jacopo, who was father of Paolo, the muleteer;
and three other sons, Bartolo, Giusto, and Jacopo, who had a _podere_
at Soffignano, near Prato. Paolo married first Bartolommea, daughter of
Zanobi di Gallone, by whom he had a son, Bartolommeo, known as Baccio
della Porta, born 1475. The first wife dying, Paolo married Andrea di
Michaele di Cenni, who had four sons, Piero, Domenico, Michele,
and Francesco; only Piero lived to grow up, and he became a priest.
[_Favoured by Sig. Milanesi._]] it will be seen that Baccio was the son
of Paolo, a muleteer, which no doubt was a profitable trade in those
days when the country roads were mere mule-tracks, and the traffic
between different towns was carried on almost entirely by horses and
mulepacks. There is some doubt as to the place of Baccio's birth, which
occurred in 1475. Vasari gives it as Savignano near Prato; Crowe and
Cavalcaselle [Footnote: Vol. iii. chap. xiii. p. 427.] assert it was
Suffignano, near Florence, where they say Paolo's brothers, Jacopo and
Giusto, were contadini or peasants.

But on consulting the post-office authorities we find no place called
Suffignano near Florence; it must therefore have been a village near
Prato called Soffignano, which from similarity of sound Vasari confused
with the larger place, Savignano. This is the more probable, for Rosini
asserts that "Benedetto da Majano, _who had bought a podere near Prato_,
knew him and took him into his affections, and by his means placed him
with Cosimo." [Footnote: Rosini, _Storia della Pittura_, chap. xvii. p.

It is certainly probable that Paolo's wife lived with his family during
his wanderings, because it is the true Italian custom, and Baccio was
in that case born in his uncle's house; for it is not till 1480 that
we find Paolo retired from trade and set up in a house of his own in
Florence at the gate of S. Pier Gattolini, now the Porta Romana.

The friendship begun at Prato must have been continued in Florence,
for in 1480 Paolo not only owned that house at the gate of S. Pier
Gattolini, but was the proud possessor of a podere at Brozzi, which
yielded six barrels of wine. He is a merciful man too, for among his
possessions are two mules _disutili e vecchi_ (old and useless). At this
time Baccio was six years old, and his three stepbrothers quite babies.
[Footnote: Archives of Florence, Portate al Castato, 1480-1.] Paolo, as
well as his mules, had earned his repose, being certainly old, if not
useless, and was anxious for his little sons to be placed out in the
world as early as possible. Thus it came that in 1484 Baccio was taken
away from his brothers, who played under the shadow of the old gateway,
and was put to do the drudgery of the apprenticeship to art. He had to
grind colours for Cosimo--who, as we know, used a great deal of colour,
having dazzled the eyes of the Pope with the brilliancy of his blue and
gold in the Sistine Chapel some years before--he had to sweep out the
studio, no doubt assisted by Mariotto Albertinelli, a boy of his own
age, and to run errands, carrying designs for inspection to expectant
brides who wanted the chests painted to hold their wedding clothes, or
doing the messenger between his master and the nuns of S. Ambrogio, who
paid Cosimo their gold florins by the hand of the boy in 1484 and 1485.
[Footnote: Note to Crowe and Cavalcaselle, vol. iii. chap. xiii. p.

Whether his age made him a more acceptable means of communication with
the nuns, or whether Pier di Cosimo, the elder pupil, already displayed
his hatred of womankind, I know not; perhaps the boy already showed that
innate devotion and especial fitness for sanctity which marks his entire
art career. Truly everything in his youthful life combined to lead his
thoughts to higher things. The first fresco at which he assisted was in
this solemn cloister of St. Ambrogio, and the subject the _Miracle of
the Sacrament_; the saintly air of the place, the calm faces of the
white-hooded nuns, must all have had an influence in inspiring his
youthful mind with the spirit of devotion.

Baccio's fellow-students were not many, but they formed an interesting
group. Pier di Cosimo was the head man, and eldest of all; with such
ties was he bound to his master and godfather, that he was known better
as Cosimo's Peter than by his own patronymic of Chimenti. He was at
this time twenty-two years of age, his registry in the Florentine Guild
proves his birth in 1462, as the son of Lorenzo, son of Piero, son of
Antonio, Chimenti.

Being the eldest of five brothers, it is difficult to conceive how a
member of a large family grew up developing such eccentricities as are
usually the fruit of isolation.

In the studio Piero was industrious and steady, working earnestly,
whether he was assisting his master's designs or carrying out his own
fancies of monsters, old myths, and classic fairy stories. No doubt
the two boys, Mariotto and Baccio, found little companionship in this
abstracted young man always dreaming over his own ideas. If they told
him an anecdote, he would look up vacantly at the end not having heard a
word; at other times every little noise or burst of laughter would annoy
him, and he would be immoderately angry with the flies and mosquitos.

Piero had already been to Rome, and had assisted Cosimo in his fresco
of _Christ preaching on Lake Tiberias_; indeed most judges thought his
landscape the best part of that work, and the talent he showed obtained
him several commissions. He took the portraits of Virginio Orsini,
Ruberto Sanseverino and Duke Valentino, son of Pope Alessandro VI. He
was much esteemed as a portrait painter also in Florence, and from his
love of classical subjects, and extreme finish of execution, he ranked
as one of the best painters of "cassoni," or bridal-linen chests.

This fashion excited the indignation of Savonarola, who in one of his
sermons exclaimed, "Do not let your daughters prepare their 'corredo'
(trousseau) in a chest with pagan paintings; is it right for a Christian
spouse to be familiar with Venus before the Virgin, or Mars before the

Thus Piero being a finished painter, was often Cosimo Roselli's
substitute in the instruction of the two boys, for Cosimo having come
home from Rome with some money, lived at his ease; but still continued
to paint frescoes in company with Piero.

Another pupil was Andrea di Cosimo, whose peculiar branch of art
was that of the grotesque. He no doubt drew designs for friezes and
fountains, for architraves and door mouldings, in which distorted faces
look out from all kinds of writhing scrolls; and lizards, dragons,
snakes, and creeping plants, mingle according to the artist's fancy.
Andrea was however often employed in more serious work, as the records
of the Servite Convent prove, for they contain the note of payment to
him, in 1510, for the curtains of the altarpiece which Filippino Lippi
had painted. These curtains were till lately attributed to Andrea del
Sarto, or Francia Bigio.

This is the Andrea Feltrini mentioned by Crowe and Cavalcaselle as
working in the cloister of the Servi with Andrea del Sarto and Francia
Bigio between 1509 and 1514.[Footnote: _History of Painting_, vol. iii.
chap. xvii. p. 546.]

But Baccio's dearest friend in the studio was a boy nearly his own age,
Mariotto Albertinelli, son of Biagio di Bindo, born October 13, 1474. He
had experienced the common lot of young artists in those days, and
had been apprenticed to a gold-beater, but preferred the profession of
painter. From the first these two lads, being thrown almost entirely
together in the work of the studio, formed one of those pure, lasting
friendships, of which so many exist in the annals of art, and so few in
the material world. They helped each other in the drudgery, and
enjoyed their higher studies together; but they did not draw all their
inspirations from the over-coloured works of Cosimo--although Mariotto
once reproduced his red-winged cherubim in after life [Footnote: In the
'Trinity' in the Belle Arti, Florence.]--nor from the hard and laboured
myths of Piero.

They went to higher founts, for scarcely a trace of these early
influences are to be found in their paintings. Vasari says they studied
the _Cose di Leonardo_. The great artist had at this time left the
studio of Verocchio, and was fast rising into fame in Florence, so it
is most probable that two youths with strong artistic tendencies would
study, not only the sketches, but also the precepts, of the great man.
Besides this there were two national art-schools open to students in
Florence: these were the frescoes of Masaccio and Lippi in the Carmine,
and the Medicean garden in the Via Cavour, then called Via Larga.



The two boys left the studio of Cosimo Roselli at an early age. There
had been trouble in the house of Paolo the ex-muleteer, and Baccio's
already serious mind had been awed by the sight of death. His little
brother, Domenico, died in 1486 at seven years of age. His father,
Paolo, died in 1487; thus Baccio, at the age of twelve or thirteen, was
left the head of the family, and the supporter of his stepmother and her
babes. This may account for his leaving Cosimo so young, and setting up
his studio with Mariotto as his companion, in his own house at the gate
of S. Pier Gattolini; this partnership began presumably about the year

Conscious that they were not perfected by Cosimo's teaching, they both
set themselves to undergo a strict discipline in art, and, friends as
they were, their paths began to diverge from this point. Their natural
tastes led them to opposite schools--Baccio to the sacred shrine of art
in the shadowed church, Mariotto to the greenery and sunshine of the
Medici garden, where beauty of nature and classic treasures were heaped
in profusion; whose loggie [Footnote: Arched colonnades.] glowed with
the finest forms of Greek sculpture, resuscitated from the tombs of ages
to inspire newer artists to perfection, but alas! also to debase the aim
of purely Christian art.

Baccio's calm devotional mind no doubt disliked the turmoil of this
garden, crowded with spirited youths; the tone of pagan art was not in
accordance with his ideal, and so he learned from Masaccio and Lippi
that love of true form and harmonious composition, which he perfected
afterwards by a close study of Leonardo da Vinci, whose principles
of _chiaroscuro_ he seems to have completely carried out. With this
training he rose to such great celebrity even in his early manhood, that
Rosini [Footnote: Rosini, _Storia della Pittura_, chap. xvii. p.
48.] calls him "the star of the Florentine school in Leonardo and
Michelangelo's absence," and he attained a grandeur almost equal to the
latter, in the S. Mark and SS. Peter and Paul of his later years.

Meanwhile Mariotto was revelling in the Eden of art, drawing
daily beneath the Loggie--where the orange-trees grew close to the
pillars--from the exquisite statues and "torsi," peopling the shades
with white forms, or copying cartoons by the older masters, which hung
against the walls.

The _custode_ of all these treasures was Bertoldo, an old sculptor, who
boasted of having been the scholar of Donatello, and also heir to
his art possessions. He could also point to the bronze pulpits of San
Lorenzo, which he finished, as proof of his having inherited a portion
of his master's spirit. Bertoldo, having doubtless rendered to Duke
Cosimo's keeping his designs by Donatello, which were preserved in the
garden, obtained the post of instructor there; but his age may have
prevented his keeping perfect order, and the younger spirits overpowered
him. There were Michelangelo, with all the youthful power of passion
and force which he afterwards imparted to his works, and the audacious
Torrigiano, with his fierce voice, huge bulk, and knitted brows, who
was himself a discord like the serpent in Eden. Easily offended, he
was prompt in offering outrage. Did any other young man show talent or
surpass him, revenge deep and mean as that of Bandinelli to Michelangelo
was sure to follow, the envied work being spoiled in his rage. Then
there were the fun-loving Francesco Granacci, and the witty Rustici, as
full of boyish pranks as they were of genius--what could one old man
do among so many?--and now comes the impetuous Mariotto to add one more
unruly member to his class.

How well one can imagine the young men--in loose blouses confined at the
waist, or in buff jerkins and close-fitting hose, with jaunty cloaks or
doublets, and little red or black caps, set on flowing locks cut square
in front--passing beneath the shadows of the arches among the dim
statues, or crossing the garden in the sunshine amid the orange-trees,
under the splendid blue Italian skies.

We can see them painting, modelling, or drawing large cartoons in
charcoal, while old Bertoldo passes from easel to easel, criticising and
fault-finding, detailing for the hundredth time Donatello's maxims, and
moving on, heedless or deaf to the irreverent jokes of his ungrateful

Then, like a vision of power and grandeur, Lorenzo il Magnifico enters
with a group of his classic friends. Politian and the brothers Pulci
admire again the ancient sculptures which are to them as illustrations
of their readings, and Lorenzo notes the works of all the students who
were destined to contribute to the glory of the many Medicean palaces.
How the burly Torrigiano's heart burns within him when the Duke praises
his compeer's works!

Sometimes Madonna Alfonsina, the mother of Lorenzo, and widow of Piero,
walked here, and she also took an interest in the studies of the
youths. Mariotto especially attracted her by his talent and zeal. She
commissioned him to paint some pictures for her to send as a present to
her own family, the Orsini of Rome. These works, of which the subjects
are not known, passed afterwards into the possession of Cæsar Borgia.
She also sat to Mariotto for her own portrait. It is easily imagined how
elated the excitable youth became at this notice from the mother of the
magnificent Lorenzo. He had dreams of making a greater name than even
his master, Cosimo, whose handiwork was in the Sistine; of excelling
Michelangelo, of whose genius the world was beginning to talk; and, as
adhering to a party was the only way to success in those days, he became
a strong Pallesco, [Footnote: The Palleschi were the partizans of the
Medici, so called because they took as their standard the Palle, or
Balls, the arms of that family.] trusting wholly in the favour of
Madonna Alfonsina.

He even absented himself almost constantly from the studio, which Baccio
shared with him, and worked at the Medici palace, [Footnote: This break
is signified by Baldinucci, _Opere_, vol. iv. p. 84, and by Vasari, who
says that after the exile of Piero he returned to Baccio.] but, alas! in
1494 this brilliant aspect of his fortunes changed.

Lorenzo being dead, Piero de' Medici was banished, the great palace fell
into the hands of the republican Signoria, and all the painters were
left without patronage.

Mariotto, very much cast down, bethought himself of a friend who never
failed him, and whose love was not affected by party; and, returning to
the house of Baccio, he set to work, most likely in a renewed spirit of
confidence in the comrade who stood by him when the princes in whom he
trusted failed him. Whatever his frame of mind, he began now to study
earnestly the works of Baccio, who, while he was seeking patronage
in the palace, had been purifying his genius in the Church. Mariotto
imbibed more and more of Baccio's style, till their works so much
resembled one another that indifferent judges could scarcely distinguish
them apart. It would be interesting if we could see those early pictures
done for Madonna Alfonsina, and compare them with the style formed after
this second adherence to Fra Bartolommeo. What his manner afterwards
became we have a proof in the _Salutation_ (1503), in which there is
grand simplicity of motive combined with the most extreme richness of
execution and fullest harmony of colour.

This second union between the friends could not have been so
satisfactory to either as the first pure boyish love, when they had been
full of youthful hopes, and felt their hearts expand with the dreams
and visions of genius. Now instead of the mere differences between two
styles of art, there were differences which much more seriously affected
their characters; they were daily sundering, one going slowly towards
the cloister, the other to the world. Albertinelli had gained a greater
love of worldly success and luxury.

Baccio's mind, always attuned to devotion, was now intensified by family
sorrows, which no doubt brought him nearer to heaven. Thus softened,
he had the more readily received the seeds of faith which Savonarola
scattered broadcast.

Yet though every word of the one was a wound to the other, this
strangely assorted pair of friends did not part. Rosini well defined
their union as "a knot which binds more strongly by pulling contrary
ways." [Footnote: _Storia della Pittura,_ chap. xvii. p. 48]

So when Albertinelli, while colouring with zeal a design of Baccio's,
would inveigh against all monks, the Dominicans in particular, and
Savonarola especially, his friend would argue that the inspired prophet
was not an enemy, but a purifier and reformer of art. Probably Baccio
was at the Duomo on that Sunday in Lent, 1495, and reported to Mariotto
those wondrous words of Savonarola, that "Beauty ought never to be
taken apart from the true and good," and how, after quoting the same
sentiments from Socrates and Plato, the preacher went on to say, "True
beauty is neither in form nor colour, but in light. God is light, and
His creatures are the more lovely as they approach the nearer to Him in
beauty. And the body is the more beautiful according to the purity of
the soul within it." Certain it is that this divine light lived ever
after in the paintings of Fra Bartolommeo.

He frequented the cloisters of San Marco, where even Lorenzo de' Medici
used to go and hear the prior expound Christianity near the rose tree.
There were Lorenzo di Credi and Sandro Botticelli, both middle-aged men,
of a high standing as artists; there were the Delia Robbias, father and
son, and several others. Sandro, while listening, must have taken in the
inspired words with the scent and beauty of the roses, whose spirit he
gives in so many of his paintings.

Young Baccio, on the contrary, feasted his eyes on the speaker's face,
till the very soul within it was imprinted on his mind, from whence he
reproduced it in that marvellous likeness, the year after the martyrdom
of Savonarola.

This is the earliest known work of Fra Bartolommeo, and is a faithful
portrait; the deep-sunk eye-socket, and eye like an internal fire,
showing the preacher's powerful mind; the prominent aquiline nose and
dilating vehement nostril bespeaking his earnestness and decision; the
large full mouth alone shows the timorousness which none but himself
knew of, so overpowered was it by his excitable spirit. The handling is
Baccio's own able style, but Sig. Cavalcaselle thinks the influences
of Cosimo Roselli are apparent in the low tone and clouded translucent
colour; he signed it "Hieronymi Ferrariensis, a Deo missi prophetæ
effigies," a legend which expresses the more than reverence which
Baccio cherished for the preacher. This portrait has only lately
been identified by its present possessor, Sig. Ermolao Rubieri, who
discovered the legend under a coat of paint. Its vicissitudes are
traceable from the time when Sig. Averardo (or, as Vasari calls him,
Alamanno) Salviati brought it back from Ferrara, where no doubt it had
been in the possession of Savonarola's family. Salviati gave it to
the convent of San Vincenzo at Prato, from which place Sig. Rubieri
purchased it in 1810. The likeness of the reformer in the Belle Arti of
Florence has been supposed to be this one, but it is more likely to be
the one done by Fra Bartolommeo at Pian di Mugnone in after years, when
he drew the friar as S. Peter Martyr, with the wound on his head.


SAN MARCO. A.D. 1496-1500.

Padre Marchese, himself a Dominican, speaks thus of his convent:--"San
Marco has within its walls the Renaissance, a compendium in two artists.
Fra Angelico, the painter of the ideal, Fra Bartolommeo, of form. The
first closes the antique Tuscan school. He who has seen Fra Angelico,
has seen also Giotto, Cimabue, &c. The second represents the modern
school. In him are almost comprised Masaccio, Lorenzo di Credi,
Leonardo, Buonarroti, and Andrea del Sarto."

The first, Fra Angelico, "sets himself to contemplate in God the fount
and architype of the beautiful, and, as much as is possible to mortal
hands, reproduces and stamps it in those works which a sensual mind
cannot understand, but which to the heavenly soul speak an eloquent
language. Fra Bartolommeo, with more analysis, works thoughtfully ... he
ascends from the effect to the cause, and in created things contemplates
a reflection of spiritual beauty."

It is true the Dominican order has been as great a patron of arts as the
Franciscan of literature. It united with Niccolo Pisano to give form
to national architecture. It had sculptors, miniaturists, and glass
painters. As a building San Marco has been a shrine of art; since the
time that Michelozzi, with the assistance of the Medici, built the
convent for Sant' Antonino, and Fra Angelico left the impress of his
soul on the walls, a long line of artist monks has lived within
its cloisters. With San Marco our story has now to deal, for it is
impossible to write Fra Bartolommeo's life without touching on the
well-known history of Savonarola. The great preacher's influence in
these years, from 1492 to 1497, entered into almost every individual
in Florence, either to draw them to devotion, or to stir them up to the
greatest opposition.

The artists, whose minds were probably the most impressional, were his
fervent adherents. He has been accused of being the ruin of art, but
"this cry has only arisen in our time; the silence of contemporaries,
although not friendly to him, proves that he was not in that century so
accused." [Footnote: Gino Capponi, _Storia delta Republica di Firenze_,
lib. vi. chap. ii.] The only mention of anything of artistic value is a
"tavoliere" [Footnote: A chess or draught board.] of rich work, spoken
of by Burlamacchi and Benivieni, in a "Canzone di un Piagnone sul
bruciamento delle Vanità." Savonarola himself was an artist and musician
in early life, the love of the beautiful was strong within him, only
he would have it go hand in hand with the good and true. His dominant
spirit was that of reform; as he tried to regenerate mind, morals,
literature, and state government, so he would reform art, and fling over
it the spiritual light which illumed his own soul.

It was natural that such a mind should act on the devotional character
of Baccio. What could he do but join when every church was full of
worshippers, each shrine at the street corners had a crowd of devout
women on their knees before it--when thousands of faces were uplifted in
the vast expanse of the Duomo, and every face burned with fervour as the
divine flame from the preacher lit the lamp of each soul--when in the
streets he met long processions of men, women, and children, the echoes
of whose hymns (Laudi) filled the narrow streets, and went up to the
clear air above them?

Then came that strange carnival when there were no maskers in the city,
but white-robed boys went from house to house to collect the vanities
for the burning--when the flames of the fires, hitherto saturnalian,
were the flames of a holocaust, wherein each one cast the sins and
temptations, even the pretty things which, though dear to himself,
withdrew him from God. And when the white-robed boys came to the studio
of the friends at the gate of S. Pier Gattolini, with what sighs and
self-immolation Baccio looked for the last time at some of his studies
which he judged to come under the head of _anathemata_, and handed them
over to the acolytes. How Mariotto's soul, warm to Pagan art, burned
within him at this sacrifice! And how he would talk more than ever
against the monks, and hang up his own cartoons and studies of the Greek
Venus in the studio for Baccio's behoof!

In these years we have no notice of authentic works done by the youthful
partners, though biographers talk of their having commissions for
madonnas, and other works of art.

In 1497 Francesco Valori, the grand-featured, earnest admirer of
Savonarola, became Gonfaloniere in the time of Piero de' Medici's exile,
[Footnote: Gino Capponi, _Storia delta Republica di Firenze_, lib. vi.
chap. xi. p. 233.] and the friar's party was in the ascendent. Rosini
[Footnote: _Storia delta Pittura_, chap. xvii. p. 48.] says that
belonging to a faction was a means of fame, and that the Savonarola
party was powerful, giving this as a reason for Baccio's partisanship;
but this we can hardly believe, his whole life proved his earnestness.
He was much beloved in Florence for his calm upright nature and good
qualities. He delighted in the society of pious and learned men, spent
much time in the convent, where he had many friends among the monks; yet
with all he kept still faithful to his early friend Mariotto, whose
life was cast so differently. Savonarola's faction was powerful, but the
Medici had still adherents who stirred up a strong party against him.

His spirit of reform at length aroused the ire of the Pope, who forbade
him to preach. He disobeyed, and the sermons on Ezekiel were scenes
of tumult; no longer a group of rapt faces dwelling on his words, but
frowns, murmurs, and anathemas from a crowd only kept off him by a
circle of armed adherents round his pulpit.

At length, on June 22nd, the excommunication by Pope Alessandro VI.
(Borgia) fell like a thunderclap, and the Medicean youths marched in
triumphant procession with torches and secular music to burlesque the
Laudi; no doubt Albertinelli was one of these, while Baccio grieved
among the awestruck friars in the convent.

In 1498 Savonarola again lifted up his voice; the church was not large
enough, so he preached beneath the blue sky on the Piazza San Marco;
and Fra Domenico Buonvicini da Pescia, in the eagerness of partisanship,
said that his master's words would stand the ordeal of fire. Then came
that tumultuous day of April 7th, the "Sunday of the Olives," when the
Franciscans and Dominicans argued while the fire burnt out before
them, when Savonarola's great spirit quailed within him, and the ordeal
failed; a merciful rain quenching the flames which none dared to brave
save the undaunted Fra Domenico himself.

There was no painting done in the studio on that day we may be sure.
Baccio was one of the surging, conflicting crowd gathered beneath the
mingling shadows of Orcagna's arches and Arnolfo's great palace, and at
eventide he was one of the armed partisans who protected the friar back
to his convent, menaced not only by rains from heaven, but by the stormy
wrath of an angry populace, defrauded of the sight they came to see.

The next day was the one which determined the painter's future life.

There was in the city a curious process of crystallisation of all the
particles held in solution round the fire the previous day. The Palazzo
Vecchio attracted about its doors the "Arrabiati." The "Compagnacci"
assembled, armed, by the Duomo. The streets were full of detached
parties of Piagnoni, treading ways of peril to their centre, San Marco.

Passions raged and seethed all day, till at the hour of vespers a cry
arose, "_à San Marco_," and thither the multitude--500 Compagnacci, and
300 Palleschi--rushed, armed with picks and arquebusses, &c. They killed
some stray Piagnoni whom they found praying by a shrine, and placed
guards at the streets which led to the convent; then the assault began.

The church was dimly lighted. Savonarola and Fra Domenico kneeled on the
steps of the altar, with many worshippers around them, singing tremulous
hymns; amongst these were Francesco Valori, Ridolfi, and Baccio della
Porta, but all armed, as Cronaca tells us. They still sang hymns when
the doors were attacked with stones; then leaving the priests and women
to pray for them the men rushed to the defence.

Old Valori, with a few brave friends, guarded the door; others made
loop-holes of the windows and fired out; some went up the campanile, and
some on the roof. Baccio fought bravely among the rest. The Palleschi
were almost repulsed, but at length succeeded in setting fire to the
doors. The church was filled with smoke; a turbulent crowd rushed wildly
in. Savonarola saw his people fall dead beside him on the altar steps,
and, taking up the Sacrament, he fled to the Greek library, where
the messengers of the Signoria came and arrested both himself and Fra
Domenico. It was in the fierce fight that ensued when the enemies poured
in, laying hands sacrilegiously on every thing sacred, that Baccio made
the vow that if he were saved this peril, he would take the habit--a vow
which certainly was not made in a cowardly spirit, he fighting to the
death, and then espousing the losing cause. [Footnote: Gino Capponi,
lib. vi. chaps. i. and ii., and Padre Marchese, _San Marco_, p. 147 _et

Then came that sad 23rd of May, the eve of the Ascension, when three
martyrs went calmly to their death beneath the shadow of the old palace,
amidst the insults of an infuriated crowd, and Arno's yellow waters
received their ashes. [Footnote: Capponi, chap. ii. p. 253.]

Accademia delle Belle Arti, Florence_.]

After the death of Savonarola the party had many defaulters; but
Baccio, the Delia Robbias, Credi, Cronaca, and many other artists, were
faithful, and even showed their grief by abandoning for a time the arts
they loved. "It almost seemed as if with him they had lost the sacred
flame from which their fervid imagination drew life and aliment."
[Footnote: Marchese, _San Marco_, lib. iii. p. 261.]

While all these events had been taking place, Baccio had worked as often
as his perturbed spirit would allow, at a great fresco of the _Last
Judgment_, in a chapel of the cemetery of S. Maria Nuova. A certain
Gerozzi, di Monna Venna Dini, gave him the commission, and as far as he
had gone, the painter had given entire satisfaction. This fresco, his
first as far as is known, shows Baccio's style as fully as his later
ones. We have here his great harmony of form, and intense suggestiveness
in composition. The infinity of heaven is emblematised in circles of
saints and cherubim around the enthroned Christ. The cross, a link
between heaven and earth, is borne by a trinity of angels; S. Michael,
as the avenging spirit, stands a powerful figure in the foreground
dividing the saved from the lost; the whole composition forming a
heavenward cross on an earthly foundation. There are no caves and
holes of torture with muscular bodies writhing within them; but in the
despairing figures passing away on the right, some with heads bowed on
clasped hands, others lifting up faces and arms in a vain cry for mercy,
what suggestions there are of infinite remorse!--more dignified far than
the distorted sufferers in the torture pits of previous masters. These
are just indicated by two demons, and a subterranean fire behind the
unblest souls. Miss Owen, [Footnote: _Art Schools of Christendom_,
edited by Prof. Ruskin.] speaking Mr. Ruskin's sentiments, calls this
a great falling off from Giotto and Orcagna's conceptions; but though
theirs may be more powerful and terrible, a greater suggestion of
Christian religion is here.

They, and later, Michelangelo, flung Dante's great struggling soul in
tangible forms upon the walls, and embodied his poem, awful, grand, and
earnest, with all the human passion intensified into human suffering.
Fra Bartolommeo shows the Christian spirit; his faces look beyond the
present judgment, and, instead of wrath, mercy is the predominating
idea. It is like the difference in spirit between the Old Testament and
the New.

The painter's reverence of Fra Angelico, and estimation of the divinity
of art, is shown by Fra Angelico being placed among the saints of heaven
on the right of the Saviour.

Leonardo's instructions for shading off a light sky will occur to any
one who studies the finely gradated tints mingling with the clouds
around the celestial group. But grand as the fresco is, and interesting
as it must have been to the artist at this time, when thoughts of
Savonarola mingled with every stroke, he felt he was not fulfilling his
true mission in the world. Drawn more and more to the convent, hallowed
to him by the memory of the martyr-friar, he was also more attuned to
thoughts of retirement by family bereavements--one young brother, Piero,
only being left to him out of the whole circle. The reluctance to leave
this youth alone may have deferred for a time his taking the monastic
vows; but having placed him under the guardianship of Santi Pagnini, a
Dominican, he consigned the _Last Judgment_ to Mariotto to finish, and
leaving his worldly goods to his brother, took the habit in the convent
of S. Domenico, at Prato, on July 26th, 1500, two years after first
making the resolution. His year of probation over, he took the final
vows and became Fra Bartolommeo.

A document in S. Marco proves that he was possessed of worldly goods
when he entered, [Footnote: Rosini, _Storia della Pittura_, chap xxvii.]
among which were the house of his father in S. Pier Gattolini, and
the podere at Brozzi. Having once given himself up to monasticism, Fra
Bartolommeo would offer no half-service, his brushes were left behind
with all other worldly things, and here closes Baccio della Porta's
first artistic career.

His sun was set only to rise again to greater brilliance in the future
as Fra Bartolommeo, a name famous for ever in the annals of art.



Four years had passed, and the monk had never touched a pencil, but his
mission in art was not fulfilled, and events were working towards that
end, for the spirit of art once awakened could not die either in that
convent or in that age.

His friend, Mariotto, kept him _au courant_ in all the gossip of art,
and told him of the great cartoons of Leonardo and Michelangelo, which
he too went to see. They might have inspired him afresh, or perhaps in
advising Albertinelli he himself felt impelled to paint, or possibly the
visits of Raphael in 1504 influenced him.

Padre Marchese takes the conventional view, and says that Santi Pagnini,
the oriental scholar and lover of art, came back to S. Marco in 1504 as
prior, and used not only his entreaties, but his authority, to induce
Fra Bartolommeo to recommence painting. However this may be, it is
certain that when Bernardo del Bianco, who had built a beautiful chapel
in the Badia from Rovezzano's designs, wished for an altar-piece worthy
of its beauty, which he felt no hand could execute so well as that of
the Frate--he yielded to persuasion, and the _Vision of S. Bernard_
was begun. The contract is dated 18th November, 1504; a part payment
of sixty florins in gold was made 16th of June, 1507. [Footnote: Padre
Marchese, _Memorie_, iii. vol. ii. p. 594.]

This picture, now in the Belle Arti of Florence, is so much injured by
re-painting that some parts seem even crude. The saint is on his knees
writing, while the vision of the Virgin and Child stands poised in
air before him; she inspires his pen, and the infant Christ gives His
blessing on the work. There is great spirituality and ecstasy in St.
Bernard's face, his white robe contrasts well with two saints behind
him, which carry out Fra Bartolommeo's favourite triangular grouping,
and with a rich harmony of colour balance his white robe.

The Virgin is drawn with great nobility and grace, her drapery admirably
majestic, yet airy, and a sweet, infantile playfulness renders the Child
charming. The angels beneath the Virgin's feet are lovely, but the group
of seraphs behind are the least pleasing of all. They are of the earth,
earthy, and seem reminiscences of the Florentine maidens the artist met
in the streets. Possibly this is the part most injured by the restorer's
hand. The colouring of the two saints behind S. Bernard-one in a green
robe with bronze-gold shades, and the other blue and orange-is very
suggestive of Andrea del Sarto, and seems to render probable Rosini's
assertion that the Frate "taught the first steps of this difficult
career to that artist who alone was called 'senz' errori.'"

Having once retaken the brush, Fra Bartolommeo recovered his former
skill and fame; a beautiful specimen of this period is the _Meeting of
Christ with the Disciples of Emmaus_ (1506), a fresco in a lunette over
the door of the refectory at S. Marco; in which he combines a richness
of colouring rarely obtained in fresco, with a drawing which is almost
perfect. Fra Niccolò della Magna, who was prior in that year, and
left in 1507 to become Archbishop of Capua, sat for one of the saints.
Contemporory with this may be dated also the figure of the _Virgin_,
painted for Agnolo Doni, now in the Corsini gallery in Rome. Giovanni
de' Medici also gave him a commission.

Meanwhile the _S. Bernard_ was not paid for. Fra Bartolommeo priced it
at 200 ducats, and the convent being the gainer by his works, took
his own valuation. Bernardo offered only eighty ducats; the Frati were
indignant, and called in the Abbot of the Badia as umpire; he being
unable to move Bernardo, retired from office; then a council of friends
was resolved on, in which Mariotto was for the painter, and Lorenzo de
Credi for the purchaser; but this also failed.

It was next proposed to submit the question to the Guild of Druggists
(_arte degli speziali_), which included at that time also doctors and
painters; but the convent, refusing lay judgment, took the offer of
Francesco Magalotti, a relative of Bernardo, who priced it at 100
ducats, and the monks had to be satisfied. The dispute ended July 17th,
1507. [Footnote: Rosini, _Storia della Pittura_, chap, xxvii. p. 245,
and Padre Marchese, _Memorie_, &c., vol. ii. pp. 42 to 45.]

All writers agree as to the fact of Fra Bartolommeo's friendship
with Raphael, but very few are decided as to its date. Raphael was
in Florence in 1504, but then Fra Bartolommeo had not re-commenced
painting, and would have no works in the convent to excite his
admiration of the colouring. Padre Marchese, following Rosini and Padre
Luigi Pungeleoni, asserts that this intimacy was during Raphael's second
visit in 1506, when he might have seen the newly-finished fresco of
_The Disciples at Emmaus_. It is undoubted that their intercourse was
beneficial to both. Raphael studied anew Leonardo's principles of colour
under Fra Bartolommeo's interpretation of them, and the Frate improved
his knowledge of perspective and harmony of composition. It is said they
worked together at some pictures, of which one is in France, and another
at Milan; but there is not sufficient evidence to prove this.

It is also thought that Fra Bartolommeo helped in the composition of
Raphael's famous _Madonna del Baldacchino_, which is truly very much in
his style.

The year 1508 marks the Frate's first acquaintance with the Venetian
school, which was not without its influence upon him. Frequent
interchange of visits took place between the Dominicans in the different
parts of Italy; and Fra Bartolommeo took the opportunity then offered
him of going to visit his brethren at Venice.

His namesake, Baccio di Monte Lupo, a sculptor who had fled from
Florence after the death of Savonarola, and who had fought side by side
with Baccio in the siege of S. Mark's church, was in Venice at that
time, working on the tomb of Benedetto da Pesaro in the church of the
Frati, and he was only too delighted to show the beauties of the Queen
of the Adriatic to an artistic mind. Tintoretto was not yet born; Titian
was only just rising into fame, though his style had not yet become what
it was after Giorgione's influence; but Fra Bartolommeo must have found
much that was sympathetic in the exquisite works of Giovanni Bellini and
his school, and much to admire in the glorious colouring of Giorgione.

Father Dalzano, the vicar of the monastery of S. Peter Martyr at Murano,
gave the Florentine monk a commission for a picture of the value of
seventy or 100 ducats. Not having time to paint this during his stay, he
promised to execute it on his return to Florence, and the vicar paid him
in advance twenty-eight ducats in money and colours; the rest was to be
raised by the sale of some MS. letters from S. Catherine of Siena, which
a friend of Father Dalzano near Florence held in possession.

Fra Bartolommeo, having brought home from the Venetian school a new
impulse for painting, and wishing to diffuse the religious influence of
art more widely, desired to enlarge his atelier and school at San Marco.
His only assistants in the convent were Fra Paolino of Pistoja, and one
or two miniaturists, who were only good at missals. Fra Paolino (born
1490) took the vows at a very early age, and was removed to Florence
from Prato with Fra Bartolommeo. He was the son of a painter, Bernardino
di Antonio, but though he learned the first principles from him, his
real art was imbibed from the Frate, under whom, together with Mariotto,
he worked for years.

But this youthful scholar was not enough for Fra Bartolommeo's new
energies. He pined for his old friend, Mariotto, who could follow out
his designs in his own style so closely, that an unpractised eye could
not see the difference of hand; and such was his influence on the rulers
of the order, that they allowed a most unique partnership to be entered

The parties were, Albertinelli on one side, and the convent and Fra
Bartolommeo on the other. The partners to provide the expenses, and
the profits to be divided between the convent and Mariotto; the vow
of poverty not allowing Fra Bartolommeo as an individual any personal
share. This began in 1509 and lasted till 1512. The inventory of the
profits and the division made when the partnership was dissolved, given
entire by Padre Marchese, [Footnote: Padre Marchese, _Memorie_, &c.,
vol. ii.] are very interesting. The two artists had separate monograms
to distinguish the pictures which were specially their own, besides
which the monk signed his with the touching petition, "_orate pro
pictore,_" his friend merely Latinising his name; the works painted
together were signed by the combined monograms. Before setting a hand to
anything else, the Frate fulfilled his engagement to the Venetian prior,
for whom he painted the _Eternal in Heaven_, surrounded by saints and
angels; but of this we will speak later.



During the interval between the second and third partnership of this
incongruous pair of friends, the life of Albertinelli had been very
different from that of the Frate. So distressed was he at losing Baccio
that he was quite wild for a time. His passions being unruled, that of
grief took entire possession of him. In his despair he vowed to give up
painting; he declared that he would also become a monk, if it were not
that he now hated them more than ever; besides, he was a Pallesco, and
could not desert his party.

After a time, however, he calmed down, and, looking on his friend's
unfinished fresco of the _Last Judgment_ as a legacy from him, began
to work at it as a kind of obligation till the occupation wove its
own charm, and he steadily devoted himself to art again, much to the
satisfaction of good Gerozzi Dini, who was in great perturbation, and
declared there was not another hand but his in Florence which could
finish it; and also to the relief of Fra Bartolommeo himself, who,
having received money on account, was troubled in conscience lest it
should remain unfinished. There remained only some figures to put in the
terrestrial group, all the celestial portions having been finished by
the Frate; but they are very well drawn figures, with a good deal of
expression in them. Several are likenesses, amongst whom are Dini and
his wife, Bugiardini, the painter's pupil, and himself. Most of these
are now destroyed by the effects of damp.

Mariotto left Fra Bartolommeo's house in S. Pier Gattolini, and took
a room in Gualfonda--now Via Val Fonda--a street leading towards the
fortress, built by the Grand Duke Cosimo on the north of the city;
and here in time quite a school grew up under his tuition. Giuliano
Bugiardini was his head assistant rather than pupil; Francia Bigio, then
a boy, Visino, who afterwards went to Hungary, and Innocenzio da Nicola,
besides Piero, Baccio's brother, were all scholars. Albertinelli's
Bottega in Val Fonda gave some noble paintings to the world, works
independently his own, though Fra Bartolommeo's influence is traceable
in most of them. The finest of these is the _Salutation_, dated
1503--ordered for the Church of S. Martino, and now the gem of the hall
of the Old Masters in the Uffizi Gallery--a work which alone has been
able to mark him for all time as a great master.

So simple is the subject, and yet so grand the proportions, and in the
figures there is such majesty of maternity and dignity of womanhood! A
decorated portico, with the heavens behind it, forms the background to
the two noble women, in one of whom is expressed the gracious sympathy
of an elder matron with the awful, mysterious joy of the younger.

The colouring, perfectly harmonised, is the most masterly blending of
a subdued tone with soft yet brilliant and shows a deep study of the
method of Leonardo.

The predella has an _Annunciation_, _Nativity_, and _Circumcision_; all
showing the same able style, but more injured by time than the picture.

Another charming painting of this period is the _Nativity_ at the Pitti,
a round, on panel. The _Madonna_ is not quite so noble as that of the
_Salutation_, but the limbs of the child are beautifully rounded. There
is a pretty group of three angels singing in the sky; the landscape is
as minute in detail as those his old fellow-pupil Piero used to paint in
Cosimo's studio.

In 1504-5 Fra Bartolommeo called upon him for a deed of friendship,
which proves that, whatever biographers (building up theories on a word
or two in Vasari) may say of his want of steadiness, the friend who knew
him best had supreme trust in him. Santi Pagnini, having been removed to
Siena as prior, Fra Bartolommeo made Mariotto guardian and instructor
of his young brother Piero, signing a contract that Mariotto was to have
the use and management of all estates and possessions of Piero, which
included several _poderi_ in the country, as well as the house at the
Porta Romana (S. Pier Gattolini). In return Albertinelli was to keep
Piero in his house, teach, clothe, and provide for him, not, however,
being obliged to give him more than "sette (seven) soldi" a month.
Albertinelli was also to have a mass said yearly in the Church of S.
Pier Gattolini for the soul of Paolo the muleteer, and to use two pounds
of wax candles thereat. [Footnote: Padre Marchese, _Memorie_, vol. ii.
pp. 36, 37.] The contract was signed from 1st January, 1505, and was to
last till 1st January, 1511. It appears that this brother Piero was a
great trouble to the Frate, being of a bizarre disposition, and addicted
to squandering money; he sold some possessions for much less than their
worth, [Footnote: Private communication from Sig. G. Milanesi.] which
probably accounts for the singular contract of guardianship. He did not
show enough talent to become a painter, and took priests' orders later.

About this time Fra Bartolommeo recommenced work, and while he
was painting the triptych for Donatello's _Madonna_ (the miniature
_Nativity_ and _Circumcision_ in the Uffizi), Albertinelli was at
work in the convent of the Certosa, at a _Crucifixion_ in fresco.
The painting is extant in the chapterhouse, and is a very fair and
unrestored specimen of his best style. The Virgin and Magdalen are very
purely conceived figures; the idea of the angels gathering the blood
falling from the wounded hands of the crucified Saviour is very tender;
there is a great brightness of colouring, and a greenish landscape
almost Peruginesque in feeling. Some of his pupils worked with him at
the Certosa, and nearly brought their master into trouble.

They were not more content with convent fare than was Davide
Ghirlandajo, when the only delicacy supplied him at Vallombrosa was
cheese; and to revenge themselves, they stole round the cloister after
the circular sliding panels by which the rations were sent into the
monks' cells were filled, and feasted on the meals made ready for the
good brothers. Great confusion ensued in the convent, the monks accusing
each other of the theft; but when they found out the real culprits, they
made a compromise, promising double rations if the artists would hasten
their work and leave them their daily dole in peace.

The fresco is dated 1506. The same year produced the fine picture now
in the Louvre, which was painted for the church of S. Trinità on the
commission of Zanobio del Maestro.

The _Madonna_, stands on a pedestal, with S. Jerome and S. Zenobio
in front, while episodes from their lives are brought in like distant
echoes in the background. [Footnote: S. Zenobio was the first bishop of
Florence, and is the patron saint of that city.]

The nuns of S. Giuliano employed him to paint two pictures, both of
which are now in the Belle Arti. One is an altarpiece; the _Madonna
enthroned_, with the Divine Child in her arms. Era Bartolommeo's idea
of an angel-sustained canopy is here, but the angels hold it up from the
outside instead of the inside. Before her are S. John the Baptist,
S. Julian, S. Nicholas, and S. Dominic. The S. Julian has a great
similarity to the S. Michael of Perugino, and the S. John, by its good
modelling, shows the result of his studies from the antique in the
Medici garden.

For the same church he did the curious conventional painting of
the _Trinity_ on a gold ground. The subject is inartistic, because
unapproachable; the attempt to paint that which is a deep spiritual
mystery degrades both the art and the subject; the latter because it
lowers it to human grasp, the former because it shows its powerlessness
to shadow forth the infinite. There is beautiful painting in the heads
of the angels, at the foot of the Cross, but the brilliancy of the gold
ground is overpowering to the colours, albeit he has balanced it
by reproducing Cosimo Roselli's red-winged cherubs. Nothing but Fra
Angelico's delicate tints can bear such a background. No doubt
Piero, Baccio's brother, helped to lay on this gold, for one of the
stipulations in the contract with Mariotto was that he was to "metter
d' oro ed altre cose di mazoneria" (to put on gold and other articles of

It has been a great subject of conjecture at what part of his life
Albertinelli took the rash step of throwing up his art and opening
a tavern at Porta S. Gallo. Some say it was in his despair at Fra
Bartolommeo having taken the vows, but this is disproved by his having
at that time finished the _Last Judgment_, and taken pupils in Val
Fonda. Others assert that it was at the breaking up of the last
partnership in 1513, but there is no hiatus in his work at that time,
existing paintings being dated in 1513 and the following years till his
death, three years after.

Vasari, though not to be depended on in regard to dates--chronology not
being his forte--is generally right in the gossip and stories of the
lives near his own time, and it is by collateral evidence from his pages
that we are able to fix with more certainty 1508 or 1509 as the time of
this episode in Albertinelli's life. In 1507 we find him as an artist
helping to value his friend's picture, and mediating between the convent
and Bernardo del Bianco. [Footnote: Crowe and Cavalcaselle, vol. iii.
chap. xvii. p. 544.] Now, in the 'Life of Andrea del Sarto,' we read
that Francia Bigio, Albertinelli's pupil, made the acquaintance of
Andrea while studying the Cartoons in the Hall of the Council (this was
from 1506 to 1508), and as their friendship increased, Andrea confided
to Francia Bigio that he could no longer endure the eccentricities of
Piero di Cosimo, and determined to seek a home for himself, and that
Francia Bigio being also alone--his master Mariotto Albertinelli _having
abandoned the art of painting_--they determined to share a studio
and rooms. [Footnote: Vasari, vol. iii. p. 182.] The first works the
partners undertook were the frescoes of the Scalzo and the Servi, which
were begun in 1509. Thus the date is tolerably certain, especially as a
gap occurs in Albertinelli's works at this time.

Sig. Gaetano Milanesi's researches in the Archives have thrown a new
light on Mariotto's motives, which were not entirely connected with
art; it was not that he was discouraged by adverse criticism, nor wholly
that, as time divided him from his friend, he felt he could produce
no great work away from his influence, but it was partly that he had
married a wife named Antonia, whose father kept an inn at S. Gallo.
It is possible the tavern came to him by way of _dot_, and the above
reasons making him discontented with art for a time, might have induced
him to carry on the business himself. Sig. Milanesi says a document
exists of a contract in which Mariotto's name is connected with a
tavern, but that he has never been able to retrace it since the first
time he found it. It is his opinion that the whole story arose from the
fact of the wife's family possessing this wine shop, and his connection
with it in that way.

But though Albertinelli passed off his pseudo-hostdom with bravado,
talking very wittily about it, the artistic vein was too strong within
him to be subdued; he soon gave up the flask and returned to the brush,
for in 1509, when his quondam pupil, Francia Bigio, was busy at the
Servi, we again find Mariotto's hand in a painting of the _Madonna_. The
Virgin, holding a pomegranate in her hand, supports with the other the
Child, who stands on a parapet, and clings to the bosom of his mother's
dress for support, in a truly natural way; the infant Baptist stands
by. The painting, signed, and dated 1509, is in the Fitzwilliam Museum,
Cambridge, but has been injured by repainting. In spite of this, Messrs.
Crowe and Cavalcaselle believe they perceive Bugiardini's hand in it.

In 1510 Albertinelli began one of his masterpieces, the _Annunciation_
for the company of S. Zenobio, now in the Belle Arti. All his zeal for
art was reawakened, he flung himself _con amore_ into this work, which,
though in oil on panel, was painted on the spot where it was intended to
be placed, that the lights might be managed with the best effect. He was
imbued with Leonardo da Vinci's principle, that the greatest relief
and force are to be combined with softness, and wishing to bring this
combination to a perfection which never before had been reached, he
depended greatly on the natural light to further his design. [Footnote:
Vasari, vol. ii. p. 469.]

The picture, although a great work of art, and the most laboured of
all his paintings, failed to satisfy the artist. He tried various
experiments, painting in and painting out, but never reaching his own
ideal. According to Leonardo, he was proving himself a good artist, one
of his principles being, "when his (an artist's) knowledge and light
surpass his work so that he is not satisfied with himself or his
endeavours, it is a happy omen." [Footnote: Leonardo da Vinci, Treatise
on Painting.]

The work as it stands is a noble one, though darkened by time having
brought out the black pigments used in the shades. The background is an
intricate piece of architecture with vaulted roof, showing that he
too had profited by Raphael's instructions in perspective to Fra

The Virgin is a tender sweet figure; indeed no artist has given more
gracious dignity to womanhood than Albertinelli, although his detractors
say his life showed no great respect for it. Above, the Almighty is
seen in a yellow light with a circle of angels and seraphs around. It
is strange how the realistic painters stopped at nothing, not even the
representation of the eternal in a human form. Is not this the reason
why art ceased about this time to be the interpreter of religion, and
found its true mission in being the interpreter of nature? Who can draw
one soul? How much more impossible then to depict the incomprehensible
soul in which all others have their being? The utmost we can do is to
give the indication of the spirit in the expression of a face, and that
so imperfectly that not two beholders read it alike. Study Perugino and
Raphael, see how they raise human nature and etherealize it till we see
the divinity of soul in the faces of their saints and martyrs. But the
moment they try to depict the Almighty, or even his angels, they fall at
once below humanity.

But to return to the _Annunciation_ of Albertinelli. His impetuous
temper betrayed him even here; he fell into a dispute with his patrons,
who refused to pay the price he asked. The usual "trial by his peers"
was resorted to, Perugino, Granacci, and Ridolfo Ghirlandajo were called
into council to value it according to its merits.

On completing this picture the events we have related in the last
chapter took place, Fra Bartolommeo returned from Venice with his
enterprise renewed, and the convent partnership was commenced.



We now come to the studio of S. Marco, where the two friends, who had
dreamed together as boys, and worked together as youths, now laboured
jointly as men, bringing to light some of the finest works of art that
remain to us. During these three years Albertinelli's star seems merged
in that of his senior, his hand is to be recognised in the lower parts
of a few altarpieces; but it is always difficult to distinguish the two

It was a very busy atelier, for they had many patrons. Bugiardini was
still Mariotto's head assistant, and Fra Paolino, and one or two other
monks, worked under Fra Bartolommeo, besides pupils of both, among whom
were Gabriele Rustici and Benedetto Cianfanini.

The studio was on the part of the convent between the cloister and Via
del Maglio, [Footnote: Padre Marchese, _Memorie_, vol. ii. p. 69.] and
we can quite picture its interior. There stands the lay figure on which
Fra Bartolommeo draped the garments that take such majestic folds in his
works; [Footnote: Fra Bartolommeo was the inventor of the jointed lay
figure.] there are several casts and models in different parts of the
room; grand cartoons in charcoal hang on the walls, like those we see
to this day in the Uffizi and Belle Arti. So many of these masterly
sketches are the Frate's and so few are Mariotto's that we may presume
the former was in most instances the designer. And to what perfection he
carried design! Not a figure was drawn except its lines harmonised with
the geometric rhythm in the artist's mind. His groups fall by nature
into kaleidoscopic figures of circles, triangles, ellipses, crosses, &c.
Not a cartoon was sketched in which the lights and shadows were not as
gradated and finished as a painting, although they were merely drawn
with charcoal. The following was the method of work in the "bottega."
The panels were prepared with a coating of plaster of Paris, over
which, when dry, a coat of under colour, ground in oil, was passed. The
preparing of the panels fell to the work of one of the monk scholars,
Fra Andrea.[Footnote: The books of the convent have a note of payment to
Fra Bartolommeo for 20th March, 1512, "per parte di lavoro di Fra Andrea
converse per mettere d'oro, et ingessare alle tavole nella bottega in
diversi lavori" (Padre Marchese, _Memorie_, lib. ii. chap. in. p. 70).]
Then the master made his sketch in white, or "sgraffito" (i.e. graven
on the plaster), as in the architectural lines of the pictures of patron
saints in the Uffizi, and the _Marriage of S. Catherine_ in the Pitti
Palace; he also put in the shadows in monochrome. But the assistants,
who were skilled artists, were called to put broad level tints of local
colour on the buildings, &c., the master himself finishing the faces. No
doubt Albertinelli was often deputed to the study of the lay figure and
its drapery. Where he assisted, the monogram, a cross with two rings and
the joint names, marked the work, as en a panel of 1510 in Vienna, and
another at Geneva.

Fra Bartolommeo only imitated Leonardo in his intense force and soft
gradations; the general thinness of colour is opposed to his system. He
followed him, however, in his method of painting his shadows with the
brush, instead of "hatching" them; he used the same yellowish ground,
and "sfumato," [Footnote: Eastlake's _Materials for a History of Oil
Painting_, vol. ii. chap. iv.] _i.e._ the imperceptible softening of the
transition in half-lights and shadows; it was effected by glazes, and is
not adapted to a thin substance. The great mistake in Fra Bartolommeo's
system was the preparing his paintings like cartoons, and using
asphaltum or lamp-black for outlines and shadows; this in process of
time destroys the super-colour, and gives a general blackness to the

The same kind of talk went on here as in modern studios. When the
frame-maker came, Fra Bartolommeo would be vexed to see how much of his
work was hidden beneath the massive cornice, and would vow to dispense
with frames altogether, which he did in his _S. Sebastian_ and _S.
Mark_, by painting an architectural niche round the subject like a
carving in relief.

The first work begun at the convent studio was the picture for Father
Dalgano of Venice, the subject of which is the _Eternal Father in
Heaven_, surrounded by seraphs and angels. Perhaps in this we have the
source of the motive of Albertinelli's _Annunciation_. The colouring is
more brilliant than any of the Frate's works before his visit to Venice.
Vasari says that in this picture Giorgione himself could not have
surpassed him in brilliancy. The saints, although nearly level with the
ground, are given celestial rank by the cherubs and clouds below them.
Fra Bartolommeo was dissatisfied with his angels, which seemed merely
lovely children, and seeking other forms, he thought to picture them
better under shapes which at a distance seem only clouds, but nearer are
full of angels' faces, as in the _S. Bernard_. But this idea, not having
aesthetic beauty, was also abandoned. [Footnote: Padre Marchese, _I
Puristi ed Accademici_.]

The monks of S. Pietro at Murano did not hasten to claim their picture,
but sent two friars to negotiate about the price; they failed to agree,
and the work is now in the Church of S. Romano in Lucca.

Lucca has another exquisite picture of the same year in the Cathedral
of S. Martino, a _Madonna and Child_--a lovely ideal of joyful
infancy--beneath a veil suspended above her head by two angels. S. John
Baptist and S. Stephen support this airy composition like pillars, their
figures showing in strong relief against the dark shades; the whole
picture is intensely soft, and yet the outlines are perfectly clear.
This is valued at sixty ducats in the Libri di San Marco.

Next followed the _Virgin and Child with four Saints_, in S. Marco,
which is so fine that it has been taken for a Raphael, although, owing
to the use of lamp-black, it has now become very much darkened.

The _Holy Family_ which he painted for Filippo di Averardo Salviati,
and which is now in Earl Cowper's collection at Panshanger, is an almost
Raphaelesque work, and attains the greatest excellence in art. The
composition is his favourite triangle, touched in with the flowing lines
of the mother seated on the ground with the two children before her. S.
Joseph is in the background. The greatest softness of flesh tints must
have been perceptible when new, for, "in spite of the abrasions produced
by time, the delicate tones brought out by transparent glazes fused one
over another are apparent." The landscape with an echo subject of
the flight into Egypt is thought by Crowe and Cavalcaselle to be by

In 1510 the partners had a large order from Giuliano da Gagliano, who,
on the 2nd November, 1510, and 14th January, 1511, paid, in two rates,
the sum of 154 ducats. The picture, which is Fra Bartolommeo's own
painting, unfortunately cannot be traced.

In 1511 a long list of works are enumerated--a _Nativity_, valued two
ducats, a _Christ bearing the Cross_, and an _Annunciation_, sold to the
Gonfaloniere for six ducats--pictures which are dispersed in England,
Pavia, &c.; but the masterpiece of the time is the _Marriage of S.
Catherine_, now in the Louvre. The Florentine government bought it for
300 ducats in 1512, to present to Jacques Hurault, Bishop of Autun, who
came to Florence as envoy of Louis XII. He left it to his cathedral
at Autun, from whence, at the Revolution, it passed to the Louvre.
[Footnote: Padre Marchese, _Memorie_, lib. iii. ch. iv. p. 77. Crowe
and Cavalcaselle, _History of Painting_, vol. iii. chap. xiii. p. 452.]
Before it was sent away, Fra Bartolommeo made a replica of it, which
is now in the Pitti Palace. There is his favourite canopy supported by
angels; in this case they are beautifully foreshortened. The Virgin is
seated on a pedestal, holding by one arm an exquisitely moulded child
Jesus of about four years old, who is espousing S. Catherine of Siena,
kneeling at His feet on the left. A semicircle of saints group on each
side of the Virgin, and two angels, with musical instruments, are at
her feet; the upturned face of one is exquisitely foreshortened. The
S. George in armour is a powerful figure; and in S. Bartholomew, on
the left, is the same grand feeling which he afterwards brought to
perfection in S. Mark. The grace of the Virgin's figure is not to be
surpassed; if Raphael's Madonnas have more sentiment, this has more
dignified grace. He has remembered Leonardo's precept, "that the two
figures of a group should not look the same way"; the contrast of the
flowing lines in these two forms is very lovely. The same contrast of
lines, and yet balance of form, is carried out in the two S. Catherines
who form the pyramid on each side of her, and in the varied characters
of the encircling group of saints. The deleterious use of lampblack has
spoiled the colouring; it, moreover, hangs in a bad light at the Pitti

The original subject at the Louvre differs only in a few particulars
from this--the Virgin's hand is on the child's head instead of his arm,
and there are trifling differences in the grouping of the saints,
the semicircle being more rigidly kept. In this the flesh is thin
and uncracked, seeming imbedded in the surrounding colours; the lake
draperies are laid so thinly on the light ground, that the sketch can be
seen through the colour. [Footnote: Eastlake, _Materials for a History
of Oil Painting_, vol. ii. chap. iv. Crowe and Cavalcaselle speak of the
two paintings as unconnected with each other, and mention the Pitti one
as having unaccountably returned there after having been given to some
bishop. Is it not possible that the gift to a bishop refers to the
painting in the Louvre, and that the other is the replica spoken of by
Vasari, vol. ii. p. 452?]

There is a fine painting in the church of S. Caterina of Pisa, in
the chapel of the Mastiani family, Michele Mastiani having given the
commission, and paid thirty ducats, in October, 1511. It represents
the _Madonna and Child_ seated on a base; the action is quiet and
yet vivacious; she is supported on each side by S. Peter and S. Paul,
figures as large as life, and even more noble than the ones in Rome. The
colouring has been much injured by a fire in the seventeenth century,
but is robust and harmonious. It is dated 1511.

On the 26th of November, 1510, Fra Bartolommeo had a commission from
Pier Soderini, then Gonfaloniere, to paint a picture for the Council
Hall. This was an unfortunate order; for Michelangelo and Leonardo da
Vinci had both been commissioned, neither of them finishing the works.
Fra Bartolommeo's forms the third uncompleted painting; it exists still
in the form of a half prepared picture, the design being only shadowed
in monochrome, and this in spite of the payment on account of 100 gold
ducats in October, 1513. [Footnote: See Padre Marchese, _Memorie_,
documenti 5 and 6, vol ii. p. 603.] The reason of this is difficult
to assign, but it might lie in the fact that in 1512 Pier Soderini was
deposed and exiled by Giuliano de' Medici, who assumed the government.
Another reason may have been the failure of Fra Bartolommeo's health
after his journey to Rome.

In 1512 Santi Pagnini came back from Siena as prior of S. Marco, and he
having no love for Albertinelli, and perhaps a too jealous affection
for the artist Monk, caused the partnership to be dissolved, much to
Mariotto's sorrow. The stock, of which a full list is given by Padre
Marchese, was divided, each taking the pictures in which they had most
to do. The properties--amongst which were the lay figures, easels,
casts, sketches, blocks of porphyry to grind colours on, &c. [Footnote:
Padre Marchese, vol. ii. pp. 184, 185.]--were to be left for Fra
Bartolommeo's use till his death, when they were to be divided between
his heirs and Albertinelli.

Mariotto returned disheartened to paint in his solitary studio. A
specimen of this period is the _Adam and Eve_, now at Castle Howard,
which is said to have been sketched in by Fra Bartolommeo. Eve stands
beneath the serpent-entwined tree, hesitating between the demon's
temptations and Adam's persuasions; the feeling and action are perfectly
expressed, the landscape is minute, but has plenty of atmosphere and
good colouring. In the same collection is a _Sacrifice of Abraham_, in
his best style. The drawing of the father, reluctantly holding his knife
to the throat of the boy, is extremely true. Munich possesses a fine
_Annunciation_. Characteristic saints support the composition on each
side, the nude S. Sebastian being a markworthy study; an angel at his
side presents the palm of martyrdom. The picture has suffered much from
bad cleaning.

In March, 1513, Albertinelli was commissioned by the Medici to paint
their arms, in honour of Leo X.'s elevation to the papacy. He made a
fine allegorical circular picture, in which the arms were supported by
the figures of Faith, Hope, and Charity.


CLOSE OF LIFE. A.D. 1514--1517.

It is probable that the dissolution of partnership marked the time of
Fra Bartolommeo's visit to Rome. Fra Mariano Fetti, once a lay brother
of S. Marco, who had gone over to the Medici after Savonarola's death,
and had kept so much in favour with Pope Leo X. as to obtain the office
of the Seals (del Piombo), [Footnote: An office for appending seals
to papal documents. Fra Mariano Fetti was elected to it in 1514, after
Bramante, the architect; Sebastiano del Piombo succeeded him.] was
pleased to be considered a patron of art; and welcoming Fra Bartolommeo
to Rome, he gave him a commission for two large figures of S. Peter and
S. Paul for his church of S. Silvestro. The cartoons of these pictures
are now in the Belle Arti of Florence; they are grand and majestic
figures, admirably draped. S. Peter holds his keys and a book; S.
Paul rests on his sword. In executing them in colour, he made some
improvements, especially in the head and hand of S. Peter, but he did
not remain long enough in Rome to finish them. "The colour of the first
(S. Peter) is reddish and rather opaque, the shadows of the head being
taken up afresh, and the extremities being by another painter. The head
of the second (S. Paul) is corrected ... but the tone is transparent,
and the execution exclusively that of Fra Bartolommeo. Whoever may have
been employed on the S. Peter, we do not fancy Raphael to have been
that person." This is the opinion of Crowe and Cavalcaselle, [Footnote:
_History of Painting_, vol. iii. chap. xiii. p. 460.] who, however, seem
to have little faith in any works of the Frate at Rome. Against this we
have the chronicles of quaint old Vasari and Rosini; besides Baldinucci
(ch. iv. p. 83), who says, "Raphael gave great testimony of his esteem
when, in after years, he employed his own brush in Rome to finish a work
begun by Fra Bartolommeo in that city and left imperfect."

His reason for leaving it imperfect was that of ill-health, the air of
Rome not agreeing with him. It seems he brought home _malaria_, which
never entirely left his system, the low fever returning every year, and
being only mitigated by a change to mountain air. He was well enough
at times to resume painting, but never in full health again. That very
summer he was sent to the Hospice of Sta. Maria Maddalena in Pian di
Mugnone, "dove pure non stette in ozio," [Footnote: Rosini, _Storia
della Pittura_, chap, xxvii. p. 245.] where he did not remain idle.
The Hospice stands on a high hill, just the place for Roman fever to
disappear as if by magic for a time, and the patient, relieved of
his lassitude, set to work with energy, aided by Fra Paolino and Fra
Agostino. Many of his frescoes still remain, one of which is a beautiful
_Madonna_, on the wall of the infirmary, which has since been sawn away
from the wall and placed in the students' chapel in San Marco, Florence.
[Footnote: A document of the Hospice records these paintings, and dates
them 10th of July, 1514. Padre Marchese, _Memorie_, &c., vol. ii. p.

He returned to Florence for the winter, and with renewed vigour produced
his _San Sebastian_, a splendid study from the nude, which shows the
influence upon him of Michelangelo's paintings in Rome. The picture
was hung in San Marco, but its influence not proving elevating to the
sensuous minds of the Florentines, it was removed to the chapter-house,
and Gio Battista della Palla, the dealer who bought so many of the best
pictures of the time, purchased it to send to the King of France. Its
subsequent fate is not known, although Monsieur Alaffre, of Toulouse,
boasts of its possession. He says his father bought three paintings
which, in the time of the Revolution, had been taken from the chapel of
a royal villa near Paris [Footnote: Padre Marchese, _Memorie_, &c., vol.
ii. note p. 119.], one of which is the _S. Sebastian_. In design and
attitude it corresponds to the one described by Vasari, the saint being
in a niche, surrounded by a double cornice. The left arm is bound; the
right, with its cord hanging, is upraised in attitude of the faith, so
fully expressed in the beautiful face. Three arrows are fixed in the
body, which is nude except a slight veil across the loins; an angel,
also nude, holds the palm to him. Connoisseurs do not think this
painting equal in merit to the other works of Fra Bartolommeo. It is
true it may have been overrated at the time, for the Frate's chief
excellence lay in the grandeur of his drapery; the test of authenticity
for a nude study from him would lie more in the colouring and handling
than in form.

In the early part of 1515 Fra Bartolommeo went to pay his old friend
Santi Pagnini, the Oriental scholar, a visit at the convent of San
Romano, in Lucca, of which he was now prior, passing by Pistoja on
February 17th to sign a contract for an altar-piece to be placed in the
church of San Domenico--a commission from Messer Jacopo Panciatichi. The
price was fixed at 100 gold ducats, and the subject to be the Madonna
and Child, with SS. Paul, John Baptist, and Sebastian. On his arrival
at Lucca he was soon busy with his great work, the _Madonna della
Misericordia_, for the church of San Romano. The composition of this
is full and harmonious. A populace of all ages and conditions, grouped
around the throne of the Madonna, beg her prayers; she, standing up,
seems to gather all their supplications in her hands and offer them up
to heaven, from which, as a vision, Christ appears from a mass of
clouds in act of benediction. Amongst the crowd of supplicants are some
exquisite groups. Sublime inspiration and powerful expression are shown
in the whole work. On his return he stayed again at Pistoja, where
he painted a fresco of a _Madonna_ on a wall of the convent of San
Domenico; this, which has since been sawn from the wall, is at present
in the church of the same convent, and though much injured, is a very
light and tender bit of colouring and expression. It would seem that the
altar-piece for the same church, spoken of above, was never finished, as
no traces of it are to be found.

In October, 1515, we again find him at Pian di Mugnone; no doubt the
summer heats had induced a return of his fever. Here, again improving in
health, he painted a charming _Annunciation_ in fresco, full of life and
eagerness on the part of the angel, and joy on the Virgin. He did not
remain long, for before the end of the autumn he returned to visit the
home of his youth and see his paternal uncle, Giusto, at Lastruccio,
near Prato. We can imagine the meeting between him and his relatives,
and how the little Paolo, son of Vito, being told to guess who he was,
said, "Bis Zio Bartolommeo," [Footnote: Padre Marchese, _Memorie_, &c.,
vol. ii. chap. vii. pp. 139, 140.] for which he was much applauded.
And when all the country relatives hoped to see him again soon, how the
Frate said that would be uncertain, because the King of France had sent
for him, and with what awe and family pride they would have looked
at him! But instead of going to France for the glory of art, he
was returning to Florence to sorrow. His life-long friend, Mariotto
Albertinelli, had been brought home on a litter from La Quercia, near
Viterbo, and now lay on his death-bed; and what his life had lacked in
religion, the prayers of his friend would go far to atone for at his

While Fra Bartolommeo had been ailing, Albertinelli had also paid his
visit to the great city, and seen the two great rivals there. He went
from Viterbo, where he had been to finish colouring a work of the
Frate's left unfinished, and also to paint some frescoes in the convent
of La Quercia, near that town. Being so near Borne, he was seized with a
great desire to see it, and left his picture for that purpose. Probably
Fra Bartolommeo had given him an introduction to his friend and
patron, for Fra Mariano Fetti gave Albertinelli a commission to paint a
_Marriage of S. Catherine_ for his church, which he completed, and then
left Rome at once. Nothing is known of the impressions made on him by
the works of the two great masters, and unfortunately his death occurred
too soon after for his own style to have given any evidence of their

A Giostra, at Viterbo, proved a very strong attraction to his
pleasure-loving mind. This "Giostra," which the translators of Vasari
seem to find so "obscure," [Footnote: Vasari's _Lives_, vol. ii. p.
470.] was no doubt one of those festivals revived by the Medici, in
which mounted cavaliers ride with a lance at a suspended Saracen's head,
striking it at full gallop. Desirous of appearing to advantage before
the eyes of her whom he had elected his queen, he forgot his mature age,
and rushed into the jousts with all the energies of a youth, but alas!
fell ill from over-exertion. Fearing the malarious air was not good
for him, he had a litter made, and was taken to Florence, where Fra
Bartolommeo placed himself at his bedside, soothing his last moments,
and leading him as far heavenward as he could. When Albertinelli died,
on the 5th of November, 1515, his friend followed him to an honourable
interment in S. Piero Maggiore.

After Albertinelli's death, the Frate soared to greater heights of
genius than before.

The year 1516 marks the birth of his grandest masterpieces, first the
picture in the Pitti Palace called by Cavalcaselle a _Resurrection_, but
which is more truly an allegorical impersonation of the Saviour. It was
ordered by a rich merchant, Salvadore Billi, to place in a chapel
which Pietro Roselli had adorned with marbles in the church of the
"Annunciata." He paid 100 ducats in gold for it.

In its original state the picture was a complete allegory of _Christ
as the centre of Religion_, between two prophets in heaven, and four
apostles, two at each side--beneath him two angels support the world.
The prophets have been removed, and are placed in the Tribune of the
Uffizi; thus the picture as it stands loses half its meaning. The Christ
is a fine nude figure standing in a niche, and in it Fra Bartolommeo has
solved the problem of obtaining complete relief almost in monochrome, so
little do the lights of the flesh tints, and the warm yellowish tinge of
the background differ from each other. All the positive colour is in
the drapery of the saints, one in red and green, and another in red and
blue. The two angels are exquisitely drawn, and contrast well in their
natural innocence with the sentimental pair in Raphael's _Madonna of the
Baldacchino_ on the same wall of the Pitti Palace.

San Marco was rich in frescoes of the _Madonna and Child_, two of which
are still in the chapel of the convent, and two in the Belle Arti. Some
of these are charming in expression, the children clinging round the
mother's neck in a true childish _abandon_ of affection. What a tender
feeling these monk artists had for the spirit of maternity! Perhaps by
being debarred from the contemplation of maternal love in its humanity,
they more clearly comprehended its divinity. Look at the little
round-backed nestling child in Fra Angelico's _Madonna della Stella_,
imperfect as it is in form, the whole spirit of love is in it. He does
not give only the mother-love for the child, but the child-love for
the mother, which is more divine, and the same feeling is seen in the
_Madonna_ of Fra Bartolommeo.

This year, 1516, also marks a journey to a hermitage of his order at
Lecceto, between Florence and Pisa. Here he painted a _Deposition from
the Cross_ on the wall of the Hospice, and two heads of Christ on two
tiles above the doors.

A great many of his works are in private collections in Florence; one of
the most lovely is the _Pietà_, painted for Agnolo Doni, and now in the
Corsini Gallery at Rome.

All this time the great painting of the _Enthronement of the Virgin_,
ordered by Pier Soderini, before his exile, was still unfinished. He
seems to have taken it in hand again about this time, but being attacked
with another access of fever, again left it, and the painting, shadowed
in with black, remains in the Uffizi. Lanzi writes of it that, imperfect
as it is, it may be regarded as a true lesson in art, and bears the
same relation to painting as the clay model to the finished statue,
the genius of the inventor being impressed upon it. Messrs. Crowe and
Cavalcaselle [Footnote: _History of Painting_, vol. iii. chap. xiii.
p. 455.] call this a _Conception_, but Vasari's old name of the _Patron
Saints of Florence_ seems to fit it best. S. John the Baptist, S.
Reparata, S. Zenobio, &c., stand in an adoring group around the heavenly
powers, S. Anna above the Virgin and infant Christ forming a
charming pyramidal group in the midst. The whole thing is one of Fra
Bartolommeo's richest compositions. The centre of the three monks on the
left is said to be a portrait of Fra Bartolommeo himself, and to be
the original from which the only known portrait of him is taken (_see
Frontispiece_). Fra Bartolommeo left another work also unfinished, an
apotheosis of a saint, which is now at Panshanger. This is supposed
to have been a small ideal prepared for a picture to celebrate the
canonisation of S. Antonino, which Leo X. had almost promised the
brethren of S. Marco on his triumphant entry in 1515. The work, if
it had been painted in the larger form, would have been a perfect
masterpiece of composition, "a very Beethoven symphony in colour," if
we may judge from the sketch at Panshanger, where a living crowd groups
round the bier of the archbishop, and life, earnestness, harmony, and
richness, are all intense.

So ill was Fra Bartolommeo in 1517 that he was ordered to take the baths
at San Filippo, thence he went for the last time to Pian di Mugnone,
where he painted a _Vision of the Saviour to Mary Magdalen_, above the
door of the chapel. The two figures, nearly life-size, are at the door
of the cave sepulchre. Mary has just recognised her Lord, and in her
ecstasy flings herself forward on her knees before him. The Saviour is a
dignified figure semi-nude, with a white veil wrapped around him.

In the Pitti Palace, a charming _Pietà_ of Fra Bartolommeo's occupies a
place near the _Pietà_ of Andrea del Sarto, the two pictures forming
a most interesting contrast of style. The kneeling Virgin and S.
John support the head of the prostrate Saviour, S. Catherine and Mary
Magdalen weep at his feet, the latter in an agony of grief crouches
prone on the ground hiding her face. The colouring is extremely rich,
broad masses of full-tone melting softly into deep shadows. The handling
in the flesh-tones of the dead Saviour, as well as the modelling of
form, are most masterly. It is generally supposed that this was the
picture which Bugiardini is said to have coloured after the master's
death; but there is much divergence among Italian authors both as to
whether this was the painting spoken of, and also as to the meaning
of Vasari's words, he using the phrase "finished" in one place, and
"coloured" in another. For charm of colouring and depth of expression,
the _Pietà_ is the most lovely of all the Frate's works; therefore
Bugiardini who was _mediocre_, could not have outdone his great master.
It was not _coloured_ by him. Bocchi [Footnote: Bocchi, _Bellezze di
Firenze_, p. 304.] says there were two other figures, S. Peter and S.
Paul, in the picture, where a meaningless black shadow stretches across
the background; but they were erased by the antique restorer because
they were "troppo deboli." Is it not likely that if Bugiardini had any
hand in the work, it was to finish these figures?

Returning in the autumn to Florence, Fra Bartolommeo caught a severe
cold, the effects of which were heightened by eating fruit, and after
four days' extreme illness he died on October 8th, 1517, aged 42.

The monks felt his death intensely, and buried him with great honour in
San Marco.

He left to art the most valuable legacy possible--a long list of
masterpieces in which religious feeling is expressed in the very
highest language. In all his works there is not a line or tint which
transgresses against either the sentiment of devotion, or the rules of
art. He stands for ever, almost on a level with the great trio of the
culmination, "possessing Leonardo's grace of colour and more than
his industry, Michelangelo's force with more softness, and Raphael's
sentiment with more devotion;" yet with just the inexpressible want of
that supernatural genius which would have placed him above them all. His
legacy to the world is a series of lessons from the very first setting
of his ideal on paper to its finished development. The germ exists in
the charcoal sketches at the Belle Arti and Uffizi; the under-shadowing
of the subject is seen in the _Patron Saints_ at the Uffizi.

Many of his drawings are not to be traced. Some were used by Fra
Paolino, his pupil, who at his death passed them to Suor Plautilla
Nelli, a nun in Sta. Caterina, Florence (born 1523, died 1587). When
Baldinucci wrote his work, he said 500 of these were in the possession
of Cavaliere Gaburri.




Of these, little more than the names have come down to us. Vasari speaks
of Benedetto Cianfanini, Gabbriele Rustici, and Fra Paolo Pistojese;
Padre Marchese mentions two monks, Fra Andrea and Fra Agostino. Of
these, the two first never became proficient, and have left no works
behind them. Fra Andrea seems to have been more a journeyman than
scholar, being employed to prepare the panels and lay on the gilding.
Fra Agostino assisted his master, and Fra Paolo in the subordinate parts
of a few frescoes, especially at Luco in the Mugnone. Fra Paolo is
the most known, but chiefly as a far-off imitator of Fra Bartolommeo,
without his mellowness of execution. His pictures are mostly from his
master's designs, which were left him as a legacy, and this ensures a
good composition.

He was born at Pistoja in 1490; his father, Bernardino d' Antonio del
Signoraccio, a second-rate artist, taught him the first principles
of art. His knowledge of drawing caused him to be noticed by Fra
Bartolommeo, when at a very early age he entered the order. He was
removed from Prato to San Marco, Florence, in 1503; and here he found
another friend who assisted his artistic tendencies. This was Fra
Ambrogio della Robbia, [Footnote: Padre Marchese, Memorie, &c., lib. in.
chap. ii. p. 246.] who taught him to model in clay; a specimen of his
work exists in the Church of Sta. Maddalena in Pian di Mugnone, where
are two statues of S. Domenico and Mary Magdalen by his hand.

His best work is a _Crucifixion_ at Siena, dated 1516, which has been
thought to be Fra Bartolommeo's; but though that master was asked to go
and paint it as a memorial of a certain Messer Cherubino Ridolfo,
his many occupations prevented his accepting the commission, and his
disciples, Fra Paolo and Fra Agostino, went in his place. [Footnote:
Padre Marchese, Memorie, &c., lib. in. chap. ii. p. 251.] Possibly the
master supplied the design, which is very harmonious. The Virgin and S.
John stand on each side of the cross, and Saint Catherine of Siena and
Mary Magdalen are prostrate before it. One or two of the female saints
are pleasing, but the nude figure of Christ is hard, exaggerated, and
faulty in drawing.

The artists got thirty-five lire for the work, though the record in the
archives allows that it was worth more. There is an _Assumption_ in the
Belle Arti of Florence, of which the design is Fra Bartolommeo's, but
the colouring Fra Paolo's. It was painted for the Dominican monks at
Santa Maria del Sasso, near Bibbiena. The colouring is hard and weak,
the shadows heavy, and not fused well in the half tints. Two monks on
the left are tolerably life-like, probably they were drawn from living
models; the S. Catherine on the right is very inferior.

The Belle Arti also possesses a _Deposition from the Cross_, which Fra
Bartolommeo had sketched out and left uncoloured at Pian di Mugnone. In
1519 Fra Paolo finished it, and it presents the usual disparity between
the composition and colouring, the former being good, the latter weak
and crude. His best known works are a Nativity in the Palazzo Borghese,
a _Madonna and Child with S. John Baptist_ in the Sciarra Colonna, also
in Rome; a _Madonna and Child with S. John_ in the Corsini Gallery,
Florence, and another of the same subject in the Antinori Palace. He
painted also at San Gimignano, Pian di Mugnone, and Pistoja, and died of
sunstroke in 1547.

He had as a follower a Suor Plautilla Nelli, born 1523, daughter of a
noble Florentine, Piero di Luca Nelli. She took the vows at the age
of fourteen, in the convent of S. Caterina di Siena, in Via Larga (now
Cavour), Florence. Her sister, Suor Petronilla, in the same convent,
was a writer, and her life of Savonarola is still extant. Suor Plautilla
taught herself to paint. Legend says, that in order to study the nude
for a Christ, she drew from the corpse of a nun--which might account for
the weak stiffness of her design. Fra Paolo, though there is no record
of his having taught her, left her as a legacy the designs and cartoons
of Fra Bartolommeo, one of which, the _Pietà_, she has evidently made
use of in the painting in the Belle Arti. The grouping is that of the
_Pietà_ of Fra Bartolommeo, now in the Pitti, of which she must have
had the original sketch, for she has put in the two saints in the
background, which have been painted out in that of the Frate, but we
will give her the entire credit of the colouring, which is extremely
crude; the contrasting blues and yellows are in inharmonious tones, the
shading harsh, and the whole picture wanting in chiaroscuro. The Corsini
Gallery, Florence, has a _Virgin and Child_ by her.


The scholars of Mariotto Albertinelli were much more important in the
annals of art, the principal ones being Bugiardini, Francia Bigio,
Visino, and Innocenza d' Imola.

Giuliano Bugiardini should be called the assistant rather than the
scholar of Albertinelli, being older than his master. He was born in
1471 in a suburb outside the Via Faenza, Florence, and was placed in
the shop of Domenico Ghirlandajo, where his acquaintance with
Michelangelo--begun in the Medici Gardens--ripened into intimacy, and
he was employed by him in the Sistine Chapel. Giuliano had that happily
constructed mind which, with an ineffable content in its own works,
will pass through life perfectly happy in the feeling that in reaching
mediocrity it has achieved success. Not only wanting talent to produce
better works, he lacked also the faculty of perceiving where his own
were faulty, and having a great aptitude for copying the works of
others, he felt himself as great as the original artists. Michelangelo
was always amused with his naïve self-conceit, and kept up a friendship
with him for many years. He even went so far as to sit to Bugiardini for
his likeness, at the request of Ottaviano de' Medici. Giuliano, having
painted and talked nonsense for two hours, at last exclaimed, to his
sitter's great relief, "Now, Michelangelo, come and look at yourself; I
have caught your very expression." But what was Michelangelo's horror to
see himself depicted with eyes which were neither straight nor a pair!
The worthy artist looked from his work to the original, and declared he
could see no difference between them, on which Michelangelo, shrugging
his shoulders, said, "It must be a defect of nature," and bade his
friend go on with it. This charming portrait was presented to Ottaviano
de' Medici, with that of _Pope Clement VII._, copied from Sebastian del
Piombo, and is now in the Louvre. Bugiardini's works always take the
style of other masters. There is a _Madonna_ in the Uffizi, and one
in the Leipsic Museum, both in Leonardo's style, with his defects
exaggerated. The former is a sickly woman in a sentimental attitude,
the child rather heavy, the colouring is bright and well fused; he has
evidently adopted the method which he had seen Albertinelli use in his

During a stay in Bologna he painted a _Madonna and Saints_ as an
altar-piece for the church of S. Francesco, besides a _Marriage of S.
Catherine_, now in the Bologna Pinacoteca. The composition of this is
not without merit; the child Jesus seated on his mother's knees, gives
the ring to S. Catherine, little S. John stands at the Virgin's feet, S.
Anthony on her left. The colouring is less pleasing, the flesh tints too
red and raw.

A round picture in the Zambeccari Gallery, Bologna, shows him in
Michelangelo's style. The Virgin is reading on a wooded bank, but looks
up to see the infant Christ greet the approaching S. John Baptist; this
is carefully, if rather hardly, painted. The lights in the Saviour's
hair have been touched in with gold. The time of his stay in Bologna is
uncertain, but in 1525 he was in Florence, and drawing designs for the
Ringhiera with Andrea del Sarto. There is a document in the archives,
proving that on October 5th, 1526 Bugiardini was paid twenty florins
in gold for his share of the work. He obtained some rank as a portrait
painter, in spite of his failure in that of Michelangelo; and had
commissions from many of the celebrities of Florence. It was in original
composition that his powers failed him. Messer Palla Rucellai ordered a
picture from him of the _Martyrdom of S. Catherine_, which he began with
the intention of making it a very fine work indeed. He spent several
years in representing the wheels, the lightnings and fires in a
sufficiently terrible aspect, but had to beg Michelangelo's assistance
in drawing the men who were to be killed by those heavenly flames; his
design was to have a row of soldiers in the foreground, all knocked down
in different attitudes. His friend took up the charcoal and sketched
in a splendid group of agonised nude figures; but these were beyond his
power to shade and colour, and Tribolo made him a set of models in clay,
in the attitudes given by Michelangelo, and from these he finished the
work; but the great master's hand was never apparent in it. Bugiardini
died at the age of seventy-five.

Of Francesco Bigi, commonly called Francia Bigio or Franciabigio, so
much is said in the following life of Andrea del Sarto, that a slight
sketch will suffice here. He was the son of Cristofano, and was born in
1482. His early studies were made in the Brancacci Chapel, and the
Papal Hall--where he drew from the cartoons in 1505-6, and the studio
of Mariotto Albertinelli, from which he passed to his partnership with
Andrea del Sarto in 1509. Thus it is that his first style was marked by
the influence of Mariotto and Fra Bartolommeo, while in his later works
he approximated more to Andrea del Sarto.

Two of his early paintings were placed in the church of S. Piero
Maggiore, one a _Virgin and Child_ of great beauty. The infant clasps
its arms round its mother's neck--a charming attitude--which suggests
a playful effort to hide from the young S. John, who is running towards
him, by nestling closer to the dearer resting place. The picture is now
in the Uffizi and has been long known as _Raphael's Madonna del Pozzo_.
[Footnote: Crowe and Cavalcaselle, _History of Painting_, vol. iii.
chap. xv. p. 501.] No greater testimony to Francia Bigio's excellence
can be given than the frequency of his works being mistaken for those of
Raphael, but the influence of his contemporaries was always strong upon
him. The _Annunciation_, painted for the same church, is also described
by Vasari as a carefully designed work, though somewhat feeble in
manner. The angel is lightly poised in air, the Virgin kneeling before a
foreshortened building. The picture was lost sight of in the demolition
of the church, but Crowe and Cavalcaselle [Footnote: Crowe and
Cavalcaselle, _History of Painting_, Vol. iii. p. 500.] believe they
have discovered it in a picture at Turin, the authorship of which is
avowedly doubtful. They mention, however, a celestial group of the
Eternal Father in a cherub-peopled cloud, sending his blessing in the
form of a dove, with a ray of glory. Surely if this be the one described
by Vasari [Footnote: Vasari, vol. iii. p. 336] so minutely, he would not
have omitted a part of the subject so important to the picture.

In 1509 we may presumably date the partnership with Andrea del Sarto,
that being about the time when they began to work together in the
Scalzo. Francia Bigio painted some frescoes in the church of S. Giobbe,
behind the Servite Monastery. A _Visitation_ was in a tabernacle at the
corner of the church, and subjects from Job's life on a pilaster within
it: these have long ago disappeared. The altar-piece of the _Madonna
and Job_, which he painted in oil for the same church, has been more
fortunate, as it still exists in the Tuscan School in the Uffizi. Though
much injured, it shows his earlier style. The _Calumny of Apelles_ in
the same gallery is a curious picture. It is hard and dull in colouring,
the prevailing tone being a heavy drab; there are several nude figures,
of doubtful forms as to beauty of drawing, the flesh is painted in a
smooth glazed style, without relief or tenderness.

Francia Bigio shines more in fresco than in oil; his hardness is less
apparent, and he gains in freedom and brilliance of colouring in the
more congenial medium. The finest of his frescoes is, unfortunately,
spoiled by his own hand, and remains as a memorial of his genius and
hasty temper. I allude to the _Sposalizio_ (A.D. 1513) in the courtyard
of the Servite church, where Andrea did his series of frescoes from the
life of Filippo Benizzi. The composition is grand and carefully thought
out, the colouring bright and pleasing; perhaps in emulating Andrea's
luxurious style of drapery he has gone a little too far, and crowded
the folds. The bridegroom is a noble figure, and shows in his face his
gladness in the blossoming rod. A man in the foreground breaks a
stick across his knees. The commentators of Vasari have taken this to
emblematize the Roman Catholic legend of the Virgin having given rods to
each of her suitors, and chosen him whose rod blossomed. Graceful women
surround the Virgin, but there is perhaps a too marked sentimentality
about these which suggests a striving after Raphael's style. There is,
however, a great touch of nature in a mother with a naughty child, who
sits crying on the ground, much to the mother's distress. Francia Bigio
commenced this in Andrea's absence in France, which so excited his
former comrade's emulation that he did his _Visitation_ in great haste,
to get it uncovered as soon as Francia Bigio's. In fact, Andrea's works
were ready by the date of the annual festa of the Servites, and the
monks, being anxious to uncover all the new frescoes for that day, took
upon them to remove the mattings from that of Francia Bigio as well,
without his permission, for he wished to give a few more finishing
touches. So angry was he, on arriving in the cloister, to see a crowd of
people admiring his work in what he felt to be an imperfect condition,
that in an excess of rage he mounted on the scaffolding which still
remained, and, seizing a hammer, beat the head of the Madonna to pieces,
and ruined the nude figure breaking the rod. The monks hastened to the
scene in an uproar of remonstrance, the frantic artist's destructive
hand was stayed by the bystanders, but so deep was his displeasure that
he refused to restore the picture, and no other hand having touched
it, the fresco remains to this day a fine work mutilated. It shows him
artistically in his very best, and morally, at his worst, phase. In
1518, while Andrea was in France, the monks of the Scalzo employed
Francia Bigio to fill two compartments in their pretty little cloister,
where Andrea had commenced his _Life of S. John Baptist_. These are
spoken of more at length in the life of that master, who on his return
took the work again in his own hands. In 1521 Bigio competed with Andrea
and Pontormo, in the Medici Villa at Poggio a Cajano; Andrea's _Cæsar
receiving Tribute_ occupies one wall of the hall, and Francia Bigio's
_Triumph of Cicero_ another. The subjects were selected by the
historian, Messer Paolo Giovio, Bishop of Nocera; it only remained for
the artists to make the most of the chosen themes. Francia Bigio filled
his background with a careful architectural perspective, and a crowd of
muscular Romans are grouped before it. This also was left unfinished
at the Pope's death, and Allori completed it in 1582. Francia Bigio,
however, did many of the gilded decorations of the hall.

In the Dresden Gallery is a work, Scenes from the Life of David, signed
A. S., MDXXIII., and his monogram, a painting very much in the style of
Andrea del Sarto's _Life of Joseph_. Reumont [Footnote: Life of Andrea
del Sarto, p. 138 et seq.] claims it as the joint work of Andrea and
Francia Bigio, founding his opinion on the letters A. S. before the
date; but the letters mean only _Anno salutis_, and are used in very
many of Francia Bigio's signed paintings. He had the commission from Gio
Maria Benintendi in 1523. It is one of those curious pictures which have
many scenes in one--a style which militates greatly against artistic
unity. On the right is David's palace, on the left Uriah's; David is at
his door watching Bathsheba and her maidens bathing. In the centre
is the siege of Rabbah; another well-draped group represents David
receiving Uriah's homage. In the foreground David gives wine to Uriah
at a banquet. There is careful painting and ingenious composition, but
a less finished manner of colouring than in Andrea's Joseph, which was
painted about the same time for Pier Borgherini.

Like Ridolfo Ghirlandajo, Francia Bigio fell off in his later style,
partly because his ambition failed him, and also because he began to
look on art as a means of livelihood--a motive which is certain death to
high art.

He was especially celebrated as a portrait painter, several of his works
having been attributed to Raphael. Among these are one at the Louvre and
one at the Pitti Palace, both portraits of a youth in tunic and black
cap, with long hair flowing over his shoulders; one in the National
Gallery, formerly in Mr. Fuller Maitland's collection; the portrait of a
jeweller, dated A. S., MDXVI. in Lord Yarborough's gallery; that in the
Berlin Museum, of a man sitting at a desk, dated 1522; and the likeness
of Pier Francesco de Medici at Windsor--all of which bear Francia
Bigio's monogram, often with the letters A. S. (_Anno salutis_) before
the date. He died on January 14th, 1525.



RIDOLFO (DI DOMENICO) BIGORDI, called GHIRLANDAJO, &c., was born on the
4th of January, 1483. Although not strictly a scholar, he is one of
Fra Bartolommeo's principal followers. When quite a child he lost his
father, the famous Domenico, who died of fever, on January 11th,
1494; his mother and uncle Benedetto only lived a few years after;
and Ridolfo, with his three sisters and two brothers, was left to the
guardianship of his uncle Davide.

Ridolfo was the only one who chose the family profession, and he became
the fourth painter of the name of Ghirlandajo.

Davide was not a perfect artist, although a good mosaicist, as his works
in the cathedrals of Orvieto, Siena, and Florence show, but he was
for many years Ridolfo's only instructor. As the boy grew up Ridolfo
frequented those public schools of art before spoken of, the Brancacci
Chapel, and the study of the cartoons in the Papal Hall. Here he secured
the friendship not only of Granacci and Pier di Cosimo, but of Raphael
himself, with whom he visited Fra Bartolommeo in his convent.

Raphael permitted Ridolfo to assist him in a Madonna for Siena, and
tried to persuade him to accompany him to Rome; but Ridolfo, like a true
Florentine, declined to go "beyond sight of the Duomo."

His first great picture was done in 1504 for the church of San Gallo.
The subject was _Christ Searing His Cross_. His uncle Benedetto had
laboured on a similar picture, now in the Louvre, but Ridolfo's is a
great improvement on this; the composition is well balanced, full
of force and animation, the weeping figures of the Maries and the
solicitude of S. Veronica are very lifelike, although he has not
entirely abolished his uncle's coarseness in the scowling, low-typed
men. The Christ and the Virgin are, on the contrary, so refined as to
induce the supposition that this force of contrast was intentional; the
landscape is rather hard and crude in tone, the flesh tints smooth, and
the handling similar to that of Credi.

The original is now in Palazzo Antinori, Florence, but a replica, in
which he was assisted by Michele, his favourite pupil and adopted son,
is in Santo Spirito.

Vasari speaks of a _Nativity_, painted for the Cistercian monks of
Cestello; a beautiful composition, in which the Madonna adores the holy
child, S. Joseph standing near her; S. Francis and S. Jerome kneel in
adoration; the landscape was sketched from the hills near "La Vernia,"
where S. Francis received the stigmata.

Maselli says the picture was lost when the monastery changed hands, but
Messrs. Crowe and Cavalcaselle [Footnote: History of fainting, vol. in.
chap. xvi. pp. 523, 524.] believe they have found it in the Hermitage at
S. Petersburg, under Granacci's name. It is possible that the favourite
pupil of his father and Ridolfo's own friend may have assisted him. The
landscape is Raphaelesque, and might mark the time when that master
and Fra Bartolommeo influenced his style. His best manner approached so
nearly to that of the Frate, that had he continued he would have very
nearly rivalled his excellence.

His two masterpieces are now in the Uffizi; they were painted for
the Brotherhood of S. Zenobio, 1510, to stand one on each side of
Albertinelli's _Annunciation_. One is _S. Zenobio_ (the first bishop and
patron saint of Florence) _restoring a dead child to life_; the other
the _Funeral Procession of the Saint passing the Baptistery_, where an
elm tree, which had been withered, put forth fresh leaves as the coffin
of the bishop touched it. A marble column, with a bronze tree in relief
on it, stands on the spot as a memorial of this miracle. In these two
works Ridolfo Ghirlandajo proved the power which was in him, but they
are the culmination of his art; he never surpassed, or indeed equalled
them again. His richness of colouring and deep relief equalled that of
the Frate, the animation and expression rivalled Andrea del Sarto. In
the first picture, the eagerness of the crowd, the intense feeling of
the mother, in whom grief for the dead child seems almost greater
than the hope of his resuscitation, the sturdy, solid character of the
Florentines of the Republic, are all given with a masterly hand, while a
rich blending of colour fuses the animated crowd in a harmonious unison.
In the latter, grandeur and dignity mark the group of ecclesiastics
which surrounds the archbishop's bier, the full solid falls of their
drapery show that he had well studied his father's works.

Ridolfo's brothers became monks, Don Bartolommeo lived in the
Camaldoline Monastery of the Angeli, which Ridolfo beautified with many
works. Paolo Uccelli had adorned the Loggia with frescoed stories from
the life of S. Benedict. Ridolfo added two to the series. In one the
Saint is at table with two angels, waiting for S. Romano to send his
bread from the grotto, but the devil has cut the cord and taken it.

Another is _S, Benedict investing a youth with the habit of the order_.
In the church of the same monastery he painted a beautiful _Madonna and
Child, with Angels_, above the holy water vase, and _S. Romualdo with
the Camaldolese Hermitage in his Hand_, in a lunette in the cloister.
All these were done as a brotherly gift, and after they were finished,
the abbot, Don Andrea Dossi, gave him a commission to paint a _Last
Supper_ in the refectory, which he did, placing the portrait of the
abbot in the corner.

Ridolfo, like his father, regarded art rather as a means of livelihood
than with any aesthetic feelings, and this is probably the reason of his
never attaining true excellence. His "bottega" was really a shop where
any one might order a work of art, or of artisanship, and he gave as
much attention to painting a banner for a procession as to composing an
altar-piece. He had a great many assistants, whom he called on for help
in various undertakings. They assisted him to prepare the Medici
Halls for the reception of Pope Leo X., and later for the marriages
of Giuliano and Lorenzo, not disdaining to paint scenes for the dramas
which were then given. He painted banners, and designed costumes for the
processions of the "potenze," a festive company, the origin of which is
uncertain, but dating certainly from the Middle Ages. Each quarter of
the city had an emperor, lords, and dignitaries, each of whom carried
his banner or emblazonment. Grand processions, tournaments, and feasts
were held once a year, on S. John's Day, by the potenze.

Having assisted at the triumphs and marriages of the Medici princes, he
also furnished the funeral pomp and magnificence on the deaths of the
brothers, that of Giuliano occurring in 1516, of Lorenzo 1519.

Lucratively it answered his purpose; the Medici gave him great honour;
he was well paid by them, and got the commission to decorate the Chapel
of the Palazzo Vecchio--a very good specimen of his fresco painting, in
which he never reached his father's excellence, although in oil he far
surpassed him. The chapel is small; the groined roof is covered with
emblematical designs on a blue ground, a Trinity in the midst with
angels bearing symbols of the passions around. The apostles and
evangelists surround this, and the principal wall has a larger fresco of
the _Annunciation_--a rather conventional rendering.

Commissions flowed in on him to such a degree, that although he
had fifteen children, he lived to amass money and lands, to see his
daughters well married, and his sons prosperous merchants trading to
distant lands. He died on the 6th of June, 1561, and lies with his
forefathers in the church of S. Maria Novella.





Andrea Del Sarto is a curious instance of the vital power of art, which,
like a flower forcing its way to the light through walls or rocks, will
find expression in spite of obstacles.

Andrea the painter, "senza errori," was an artist in spite of lowering
home influences, of want of encouragement in his patrons--for his
greatest works only brought the smallest remuneration--and even in
spite of his own nature, which was material, wanting in high aims, and
deficient in ideality; yet his name lives for ever as a great master,
and his works rank close to those of the leaders of the Renaissance.

In looking at them one sighs even in the midst of admiration, thinking
that if the hand which produced them had been guided by a spark of
divine genius instead of the finest talent, what glorious works they
would have been! The truth is that Andrea's was a receptive, rather
than an original and productive mind. His art was more imitative than
spontaneous, and this forms perhaps the difference between talent and
genius. The art of his time sunk into his mind, and was reproduced.
He lived precisely at the time of the culmination of art, when all the
highest masters were bringing forth their grandest works; therefore he
could not do otherwise than to follow the best examples.

He gathered the experience of all--the force of Michelangelo, the
handling of Leonardo, the sentiment of Raphael, so blending them as to
form a style seemingly his own, and in execution following closely on
their excellence.

In Giotto's or Masaccio's case the master created the art; in Andrea's
it was the art of the age which made the artist.

The question of Andrea del Sarto's birth is a mooted one. Biadi dates
it 1478, but the register he quotes is both vague and doubtful. He
also tells a curious story of his Flemish origin. Signor Milanesi has
deduced, from the archives of Florence, an authentic pedigree from which
we learn that his remote ancestors were peasants, first at Buiano,
near Fiesole, and later at S. Ilario, near Montereggi. His grandfather,
Francesco, being a linen weaver, came to live nearer Florence; his
father, Agnolo, son of Francesco, followed the trade of a tailor--hence
Andrea's sobriquet, "del Sarto"--he took a house in Via Gualfonda, in
Florence, about 1487, with his wife Constanza, and here Andrea was born,
he being the eldest of a family of five--three girls and two boys. From
the tax papers of a few years later it is proved that Andrea was born
in 1487. His full name is Andrea d'Agnolo di Francesco. It is by mistake
that he has been called Vannucchi.

His parents were young, his father being only twenty-seven years of
age at Andrea's birth. They lived at that time in Val Fonda, where
Albertinelli had his shop, but in 1504 they removed to the popolo, or
parish, of S. Paolo. Boys were not allowed to be idle in those days, but
were apprenticed at an early age; thus Andrea, like most artists of his
time, was bound to a goldsmith. It would be interesting to investigate
the great influence of the guild of goldsmiths on the art of the
Renaissance. The reason why youths who showed a talent for design were
entered in that guild is easy to assign--it was one of the "greater"
guilds, that of the painters being a lesser one, and merged in the "Arte
degli Speziali." At seven years old he left the school where he had
learned to read and write, and entered his very youthful apprenticeship;
but he showed so much more aptitude for the designing than for the
executive part of his profession that _Giovanni Barile_, who frequented
the bottega, was induced to counsel his being trained especially as
a painter, offering himself as instructor. If Andrea, a contadino by
birth, an artisan by education, was not originally of the most refined
nature, his artistic training did not go far towards refining him.
Giovanni Barile was a coarse painter and a rough man; he had, however,
generosity enough to see that the boy was worthy of better teaching, and
got him entered in the bottega of Piero di Cosimo, who had attained
a good rank as a colourist, his eccentricities possibly adding to his

Accordingly in 1498, Andrea being then eleven years of age, a life of
earnest study began. Piero di Cosimo, odd and misanthropic as he was,
had yet a true appreciation of talent, and showed an earnest interest
in his pupil, giving him--with plenty of queer treatment--a thorough
training. "He was not allowed to make a line which was not perfect"
[Footnote: Rosini, _Storia della Pittura_, chap. xvii. p. 40.] while
in Piero's school. But excellent as his art teaching may have been, the
boy's morale could not have been raised more here than under the rough
but good-natured Barile. We have seen Piero di Cosimo in his youth, the
serious, absent young man, who never joked with his juniors in Cosimo
Roselli's shop; we see him now, with his youthful oddities hardened into
eccentricities, and his reserve deepened to misanthropy. No woman's hand
softened and refined his house, no cleansing broom was allowed within
his door, and no gardener's hand cleared the weeds or pruned the vines
in his garden. He so believed in nature unassisted that he took his
meals without the intervention of a cook. When the fire was lighted to
boil his size or glue he would cook fifty or sixty eggs and set them
apart in a basket, to which he had recourse when the pangs of hunger
compelled him. All this was morally very bad for a boy so young. And
then woe betide the poor little fellow if he whistled, sneezed, or made
any other noise! his nervous master would be out of temper for a day
afterwards. On wet days Piero was merrier, for he would watch the drops
splashing into the pools, and laugh as if they were fairies. Sometimes
he would take Andrea for a walk, and all at once stop and gaze at a heap
of rubbish, or mark of damp on a lichened wall, picturing all kinds of
monsters and weird scenes in its discolourations.

No doubt he was literally carrying out Leonardo da Vinci's advice,
headed, in his treatise, "A new Art of Invention." "Look at some old
wall covered with dirt, or the odd appearance of some old streaked
stones; you may discover several things like landscapes, battles,
clouds, humorous faces, &c., to furnish the mind with new designs."
[Footnote: Leonardo da Vinci, _Treatise on Painting_.] Cosimo's mind
being fantastic, the pictures he saw were incomparably grotesque. He
delighted in drawing sea monsters, dragons, wonderful adventures, and
heathen scenes; in fact the boy could have learned neither Christian
art nor manners from him. He learned how to use his brush, however, and,
leaving Piero to his minotaurs and dragons, went off at every spare hour
to study at more congenial shrines. He copied Masaccio at the Brancacci
Chapel, and drew so earnestly from the cartoons in the Hall of the Pope
that his achievements reached the ears of Piero himself, who was not
sorry that his pupil surpassed the rest, and gave him more time for
study away from the bottega. Rosini tells us that "Fra Bartolommeo
taught him the first steps." [Footnote: _Storia della Pittura_, chap,
xxvii. p. 2.] The influence of the Frate may have reached him in two
ways. It is not unlikely that Piero di Cosimo kept up an interest in his
old fellow-pupil; and then again, as Andrea lived in Val Fonda, it is
probable he often visited Albertinelli's studio in that street, and the
friendship with Francia Bigio began before the cartoons of Michelangelo
ripened there.

The evidence of style goes to show that the works of Albertinelli and
Fra Bartolommeo influenced him more than those of Piero. Yet though
his sphere was devotional, it was "impelled more by a material sense of
beauty than by the deep religious feeling which inspired the Frate."

As time went on the youth in strange old Piero's studio became more
famous than his master, and felt that he could do greater things away
from the stiff method which cramped him, and the whimsicalities which
annoyed him. His friend, Francia Bigio, Mariotto's pupil, having
just then lost his master, who was giving more attention to his
father-in-law's business of innkeeper than his own, was willing to enter
into partnership, and the two youths began life together in 1509 or
1510, in a room near the Piazza del Grano, in the first house in Via del
Moro, which still remains in its old state.

The first bit of patronage recorded is the commission for the frescoes
in the Scalzo; that they had work before is proved by the words in
the contract of the Barefoot Friars, "dettero ad Andrea pittore
_celeberrimo_ il dipingere nel Chiosto." The "celebrated" presupposes
works already done.

The Scalzo was a name given to the "Compagnia dei Disciplinati di S.
Giovanni Battista," because they went barefoot when they carried the
cross in their processions. They lived in a convent in Via Larga (now
Cavour), opposite San Marco. A new cloister had been erected there--an
elegant little cortile, thirty-eight feet by thirty-two, adorned with
lovely Corinthian pillars--and the Brethren were anxious to fill the
lunettes of the arches with frescoes at the least possible expense,
wisely judging that a young artist on his way to fame would be the best
to employ.

The frescoes, of which there would be twelve large, and four small ones
in the upright spaces by the doors, were to be done in "terretta," or
brown earth, and to be paid fifty-six lire (eight scudi) for the large,
and twenty-one lire (three scudi) each for the lesser frescoes. The
small ones were four figures of the Virtues, _Faith_, _Hope_, _Justice_,
and _Charity_. _Hope_ is exquisitely expressed, and _Charity_ a charming
group, the children most tenderly drawn. The subjects, though not all
finished till many years later, stand now in the following order; the
second row of figures, with the dates, show the order in which they were

 1. Gabriel appearing to Zacharias          Andrea del Sarto   9  1523.
 2. Visitation                              Andrea del Sarto  10  1523.
 3. Birth of S. John                        Andrea del Sarto   4  1514.
 4. Zacharias blessing John before going    Francia Bigio.
      to the desert
 5. S. John meets the Virgin and Infant     Francia Bigio.
 6. Baptism of Christ                       Andrea del Sarto   1  1509.
 7. Preaching of S. John                    Andrea del Sarto   2  1514.
 8. Baptism of the Gentiles                 Andrea del Sarto   3  1514.
 9. S. John bound in the presence of Herod  Andrea del Sarto   5  1522.
10. Dance of Herodias Andrea del Sarto 6 1522. 11. Beheading of S.
 John Andrea del Sarto 7 1522. 12. Herodias receives the head of S. John
 Andrea del Sarto 8 1522.

Of these, No. 6 was the first executed, and it is probable that Francia
Bigio assisted him, for it has not the finished drawing nor careful
handling of any of Andrea's other frescoes. Possibly this is the cause
of the partners never working together afterwards, each taking his own
subjects and signing his own name. The composition, in the _Baptism of
Christ_, is not original, being very similar to that of Verocchio's,
especially in the two angels kneeling on the left bank; the landscape
and figures, however, are far in advance of that master.

It will be well to speak of the whole set of frescoes in this place, for
although they belong to different times and styles, they are a complete
work, and might be taken almost as an epitome of Andrea's career;
from the one above mentioned in which Piero de Cosimo's influence is
apparent, to the Nos. 7 and 8, which very nearly approach Michelangelo's
power and freedom.

In No. 1 the expression of muteness about the mouth of Zacharias, as he
stands by the altar, is wonderfully given; you feel sure he could not
speak if he would. The other figures are superfluous to the motive,
though adding grandeur to the work as a whole.

In composition Andrea differs widely from Fra Bartolommeo. The latter
delighted in building up a single form, every figure in the whole
picture adding its hue and weight to perfect this pyramid or circle.
Andrea spreads his figures more widely; he likes a double composition,
dividing his pictures into two separate groups, connected by one central
figure, or divided entirely. This is seen in Nos. 3, 10 and 12, which
are all double groupings, the last completely divided in the centre by a
table and an archway behind it. Nos. 7 and 9 are pyramidal compositions.
The _Preaching of S. John_ is one of the best works, and shows his most
forcible style. S. John on a rock stands like a pillar in the centre,
the hearers are dressed in the "lucco" (a Florentine cloak of the 15th
century), the grouping following the lines of the landscape. At the
back Jesus kneels on a rising ground. Vasari says the figures are from
Albrecht Dürer, whose works had made a great impression on the southern
world of art; but it is more probable that they only show his influence,
for the dress and style are Florentine.

No. 8, the _Baptism of the Gentiles_, is another of his best style,
and is, in the drawing of the nude figures, almost Michelangelesque
in power. This is one of his favourite "echo" subjects, a group in the
background of _John answering the Pharisees _forming an echo to the
principal subject. The muscular life of the spirited crowd of nude
figures is beautifully contrasted by the graceful draped forms in the
background. One of the baptized is the same child whom he had modelled
in the _Madonna_ of S. Francisco.

Nos. 4 and 5 are by Francia Bigio, and were done during Andrea's absence
in France, showing that he had so far learned from his friend as almost
to rival him in power. The subjects, although not scriptural, are
conjecturally true.

In the _Zacharias blessing John before he goes to the Desert_, the
sitting figure of S. Elizabeth and the kneeling one of the child are
very lovely; the action of Zacharias is not so well defined, the
great force in the uplifted arm betokens anger more than blessing. The
grouping follows the lines of a flight of steps in the background, and
is triangular.

The same form of composition is apparent in the next group (No. 5), only
the lines form an angle receding from the one just mentioned. The Virgin
is charmingly posed and draped, the children less pleasing.

This elegant little cloister is a true shrine of art, although the
frescoes are all in monochrome. So much were they admired at the time,
that an order was issued prohibiting artists to copy them without the
permission of Duke Cosimo. Cardinal Carlo de' Medici had them covered
with curtains, [Footnote: Richa, _Delle Chiese_] but, in spite of care,
they are very much injured, the under parts almost lost. The precaution
of covering the cloister with a glass roof has only been taken in modern
times, and too late.

Andrea's next patrons were the Eremite monks of S. Agostino, at San
Gallo, who ordered of him two pictures for their church. In 1511 he
painted _Christ appearing to Mary Magdalen_, and an _Annunciation_ in
1512. The former is said to have had much softness and delicacy, the
latter is to be seen in the Hall of Mars at the Pitti, and is a very
pleasing picture. The Virgin kneels at her prayer desk, S. Joseph behind
her--a rather unusual rendering of the subject--her attitude is graceful
and decorous, the angel calm and gentle, floats in mid air, two other
angels stand on the left. The colouring is varied in the extreme, and
the lights well defined.

These two pictures, and the _Disputa_, painted later, were removed to
the church of S. Jacopo tra Fossi, when the convent was demolished in
1529. They were still there in 1677, when Bocchi wrote his _Bellezze di
Firenze_, but the _Christ appearing to Mary Magdalen_ is said to be now
in the church of the Covoni in the Casentino.



The next great works were the frescoes in the Court of S. Annunziata, if
indeed they were not carried on simultaneously with those in the Scalzo.
This famous series of Andrea's works was obtained by cunning, and
painted in emulation. While the two partners, who had differed from the
beginning, and had since become rivals, were engaged in the Scalzo, a
certain astute Fra Mariano, the keeper of the wax candle stores at the
Servite Convent--to which the church of the S. Annunziata belonged--had
watched well those two young painters. Fra Mariano understood human
nature, as priests often do; he had seen the envious rivalship growing
between them, as the friends, who should have worked together, took
separate compartments, and cast jealous criticising glances on each
other's designs and method of work. Having ambition of his own, he knew
how to work on that of others to further his own aspirations, which
were, to be considered a patron of art and a benefactor to his convent.

Reading Andrea's heart, he played on all his strongest feelings, placed
before him the glory he would win by covering the lunettes of the arches
in the court of the fine church with frescoes which would carry his
name down to posterity; he said that any other artist would pay much
to obtain leave to paint upon historical walls like those, and how they
would all envy the man who should obtain the coveted honour! Then, with
a half-whispered hint that for one, Francia Bigio was dying to get the
commission for nothing, the wily Frate went his way victorious. Andrea,
scorning to make any pecuniary bargain, only stipulated that no one else
should paint in that courtyard, and forthwith began the _Stories from
the Life of S. Filippo Benizzi_, having only old Alesso Baldovinetti's
_Nativity_, and Cosimo Roselli's _Miracle of S. Filippo_, as foils to
his own. These two works were on the walls on each side of the church
door; there were therefore three entire sides of the cloister to cover,
excepting only the entrance into the courtyard from the Piazza, and
no doubt he felt like Ghirlandajo, when "he wished he had the entire
circuit of the city walls to paint."

On the 16th of June, 1511, he began to paint with such vigour that in a
few months the first three were uncovered.

1. _S. Philip at Viterbo with the Court, dressing a naked leper in his
own cloak_.

2. _S. Philip going from Bologna to Modena_. He rebukes some gamblers,
telling them the vengeance of God is near. A sudden thunderstorm and
lightning destroy them, thus fulfilling the prediction. There is a
great deal of fine action in this composition; the horror and disbelief
struggling in the faces of the men, and the stormy landscape are all
well rendered. A horse leaps away with strong, terrified action, there
is a masterly grasp of his vivid subject, and a rugged strength in the
execution which gives great life to it.

3. _S. Philip exorcises a Girl possessed of a Demon_. Here the
composition is very tender, the mother and father support the sick girl,
and form a very pleasing group; the figures of the spectators are full
of life without exaggeration.

These works have suffered much from exposure, but the colouring is still
good. The praise that Andrea obtained for them was so great that he
followed them up by the two in the next series.

4. _A Child brought to life by touching the bier of S. Philip_. This is
a kind of double composition, the child being represented in a twofold
condition in the foreground, first as dead, and then revived at the
touch of the bier. The grouping around the dead saint is very suggestive
of Ghirlandajo, and shews a deep study of his frescoes in the Sassetti
Chapel. The colouring is peculiarly his own; there is the mingling of
a great variety of bright tints of equal intensity, which by some
necromancy are made to relieve each other, instead of being relieved by
the art of chiaroscuro as in the handling of other masters.

5. _Children healed by the garments of S. Philip_, which are held by a
priest, standing before an altar, the women and their children kneeling
in front of him. The grouping is symmetrical, the figures lifelike, but
not refined, round-cheeked buxom women, and rough, human men's faces,
bespeak Andrea as the painter of reality rather than ideality; there is
vivid life in every attitude, but the life is not high caste. A fine old
man, leaning on his staff, is a portrait of Andrea della Robbia, whose
son Luca stands near.

For all these Fra Mariano paid only ten scudi each, and Andrea, feeling
the remuneration not equal to the merit of the work, would have left off
here, but the Frate held him to his bond. Two more lunettes yet remained
to finish, but as these were of a later date, we will reserve them for
a future chapter. He also painted in the _orto_, or garden, of the
convent, the now perished fresco of the _Parable of the Vineyard_.

Meanwhile, the rival friends had changed lodgings; they left the Piazza
del Grano, and took rooms in the Sapienza, a street between the Piazza
San Marco and the S. Annunziata. Andrea chose this because it was near
his work, and also because his great friends, Sansovino and Rustici,
already lived there. Commissions began to pour in on him, which he
fulfilled, while still at work at the Servi. Judging from the style of
his early manner, we may date at this time a _Virgin and Child, with
S. John and S. Joseph_, now in the Pitti. It is painted "alla prima,"
_i.e._ a quick method of giving the effect in the first painting,--and
is probably the one spoken of by Vasari as painted for Andrea Santini;
it formerly belonged to Francesco Troschi. [Footnote: _Life of Andrea
del Sarto_, vol iii, p. 193.]

A _S. Agnes_, in the palace of the Prince Palatine, at Düsseldorf, is
in this early style. He also painted some frescoes at San Salvi, _SS.
Giovanni Gualberto and Benedict resting on clouds_; they ornamented the
recess where the _Last Supper_ was placed at a later period.

In a narrow alley, behind the church of Or San Michele, is a tabernacle
on the wall beneath an ancient balcony. Here the architect, Baccio
d'Agnolo, commissioned Andrea del Sarto to paint an _Annunciation_. It
is so much injured as to be almost indistinguishable now, but was much
admired at the time, though some say it was too laboured, and so wanting
in ease and grace. [Footnote: Biadi, 26; Vasari, vol. iii, p 189.] It
is more likely that it was one of his early works, and should be classed
before the frescoes of the Scalzo, for it is said that he was living at
the time with his father, whose shop was over the archway, and that
he had adorned the inner walls of the house with two frescoed angels.
[Footnote: _Firenze antica e moderna_ Ed. Flor. 1794, vol. vi, p. 216.]
These have perished completely.



This chapter will speak of the _man_, and not of the _artist_. As it is
now understood that history is not a dry record of battles and laws, but
the story of the inner life of a people, so the biography of a painter
ought not to consist wholly in a list and description of his works, but
a picture of his life and inner mind, that we may know the character
which prompted the works.

First, as to personal appearance. There are two portraits of Andrea
del Sarto in his youth; one in the Duke of Northumberland's collection
represents him as a young man with long hair, and a black cap, writing
at a table. It is painted in a soft, harmonious style, but not masterly
as regards chiaroscuro. It might be by Francia Bigio, as it has
something of the manner of his master, Albertinelli.

Another now in the Uffizi is a most life-like portrait of sombre
colouring, but not highly finished. Here we have the same black cap and
long hair; the dress is a painter's blouse of a blue-grey, which well
brings out the flesh tints. The face is intelligent, but not refined;
the clear dark eyes bespeak the artist spirit, but the full mobile mouth
tells the material nature of the man. In looking at this one can solve
the riddle of the dissonance between his art and his life. As a young
man Andrea was full of spirit; he loved lively society, and knew almost
all the young artists who lived very much as students now. They met each
other in the art schools, and dined and feasted together in the wine
shops. Sometimes they formed private clubs, meeting in certain rooms for
purposes of youthful merriment.

Of this kind was the "Society of the Cauldron" ("Società del Paiuolo"),
held at the apartment of the eccentric sculptor, Rustici, which was in
the same street as that of Andrea himself.

Sansovino, who also lived near, was not a member of this rollicking
club; he was one of Andrea's more serious friends, and served as
companion when his most exalted moods were upon him. Perhaps Rustici's
rooms did not please Sansovino, for strange inmates were there--a
hedgehog, an eagle, a talking raven, snakes and reptiles, in a kind
of aquarium; besides all these gruesome familiar spirits, Rustici was
addicted to necromancy. The Society of the Cauldron seems only a natural
outgrowth from such a character. It consisted of twelve members, all
artists, goldsmiths, or musicians, each of whom was allowed to bring
four friends to the supper, and bound to provide a dish. Any two members
bringing similar dishes were fined, but the droll part of it was that
the suppers were eaten in a huge cauldron large enough to put table and
chairs into; the handle served as an arched chandelier, the table was
on a lift, and when one course was finished it disappeared from their
midst, and descended to be replenished. As for the viands, the sculptors
displayed their talents in moulding classical subjects in pastry, and
turning boiled fowls into figures of Ulysses and Laertes. The architects
built up temples and palaces of jellies, cakes, and sausages; the
goldsmith, Robetta, produced an anvil and accoutrements made of a
calf's head, the painters treated roast pig to represent a scullery-maid

Andrea del Sarto built up the model of the Baptistery with all kinds of
eatables, with a reading desk of veal, and book with letters inlaid with
truffles, at which the choristers were roast thrushes with open beaks,
while the canons were pigeons in red mantles of beetroot--an idea more
droll than reverential.

After this, in 1512, another club, called that of the "Trowel," was
instituted, of which Andrea was not a member, but was chosen as an
associate. The first supper was arranged by Giuliano Bugiardini, and was
held on the _aja_ or threshing floor of S. Maria Nuova, where the bronze
gates of the Baptistery had been cast.

In this no two members were allowed to wear the same style of dress
under penalty of a fine. The members were in two ranks, the "lesser" and
the "greater," a parody on the guilds of the city. They were shown the
plan of a building, and the "greater" members, furnished with trowels,
were obliged to build it in edibles, the "lesser" acting as hodmen, and
bringing materials. Pails of ricotta or goat's milk cheese served for
mortar, grated cheese for sand, sugar plums for gravel, cakes and pastry
for bricks, the basement was of meats, the pillars fowls or sausages.

Some suppers were classical scenes, others allegorical representations,
always in the same edible form. We can imagine the wit which sparkled
round these strange tables, the jokes of the artists, the songs of the
musicians. Andrea del Sarto is said to have recited an heroi-comic poem
in six cantos called the "Battle of the frogs and mice." Biadi gives it
entire; it seems a kind of satire on Rustici's tastes, with perhaps
a hit at the government, and shows no lack of wit of rather unrefined
style; but the authorship is not proved. Some say Ottaviano de Medici
assisted Andrea in it.

It would have been well for Andrea if this innocent jollity had sufficed
for him, but unfortunately he admired a woman whose beauty was greater
than her merits. Probably he began by mere artistic appreciation of her
personal charms, for she sat to him for the _Madonna of the Visitation_,
which was painted in 1514, two years before their marriage. This
Lucrezia della Fede was the wife of a hatter who lived in Via San Gallo.
Her husband dying after a short illness, Andrea del Sarto married her,
and whatever were her faults, she retained his life-long love. Biadi and
Reumont give the date 26th of December, 1512, as that of the death of
her husband, but Signor Milanesi, from more authentic sources, proves it
to have been in 1516.

A great deal has been said and written of the evil influence this woman
had on him, and his very house bears an inscription recording his fame
together with "affanni domestici," but it would seem that posterity
has taken for truth more than the facts of the time imply. That she was
proud, haughty, exacting, and not of a high moral nature, that she was
selfish, and begrudged his helping his own family, her every action
proves. That her manners were not conciliating to the pupils is
possible, perhaps their manners savoured too much of familiarity for a
woman who believed in her own charms; but that she was faithless, which
her biographers assert on the strength of Vasari's phrase, "that Andrea
was tormented by jealousy," there is literally nothing to show.

In the first place Vasari--who was one of the scholars she offended and
put down--gives vent to his private pique in his first edition, and in
the second, which only contains a slight mention of her, omits almost
all he had previously said. Now, if the first assertions were true why
should he retract them? Secondly, the sixteenth century was an age of
license in writing and speaking, and had any immoralities been laid to
her charge, not a biographer would have scrupled to particularize them;
but no! her name is never mentioned, except with her husband's, even by
her greatest enemies, who say she was as haughty as she was beautiful.
Thirdly, a faithless woman could never have kept her husband's devoted
love, and had she been so, would that affectionate though exaggerated
letter of hers, recalling him from France, have been written? That a
man who thinks his wife the most lovely creature living may be tormented
with jealousy without wrong doing on her part is more than possible.

Let us then place Lucrezia's character where it ought to stand in Andrea
del Sarto's life--as a powerful influence, lowering his moral nature,
weaning him from his duties as a son and brother, by fixing all his care
and affection on herself; she, however, not allowing her own family to
be losers by her marriage, although causing him to slight his own. Even
this much-spoken-of neglect of his own family seems disproved by his
will, which, after a very little more than her own dot left to his wife,
makes his brother and niece heirs of all his estate.

Except that she cared more for her own pleasure than his true
advancement, she was not any great hindrance to his artistic career; he
painted an incredible number of pictures, and she was willing to sit
for him over and over again. Indeed if she were his model for all the
Madonnas in which her features are recognisable, she must have had
either inexhaustible patience or great love for the artist.

In fact she was thoroughly selfish; as long as she reaped the benefit
of his work she furthered his art; where she was left out of his
consideration he must be brought back to her side at any sacrifice to
him. This is not the stuff of which an artist's wife ought to be made;
the influence of a strong-willed selfish nature on his weak and material
one was not good, and his _morale_ became lowered.

He felt this deterioration less than his friends felt it for him; even
Vasari says that "though he lived in torment, he yet accounted it a high
pleasure." It was one of those unions in which the man gives everything,
and the woman receives and allows every sacrifice. Her family were kept
at his expense, her daughter loved as his own, and if she were haughty
or exacting, he suffered with a Socratic patience, thinking life with
her a privilege.

It is to be supposed that a member of the societies of the Cauldron
and the Trowel would appreciate good living. He was so devoted to
the pleasures of the table that he went to market himself early every
morning and came home laden with delicacies. [Footnote: Biadi, _Notixie
inedite_, &c., chap. xix. p. 62.] A curious confirmation of this is to
be found in his house, the dining-room of which is beautifully frescoed,
the arched roof in Raphaelesque scrolls and grotesques; while the
lunettes of one wall have two large pictures, one of a woman roasting
birds over a fire, the other of a servant preparing the table for
dinner. This love of good living, however, in the end shortened his
life, according to Biadi.

After his marketing was over he turned his attention to art, going to
his fresco painting followed by his scholars, or superintending their
work in the "bottega." He was always a kind and thorough master, his
manner just and fatherly.

Sometimes he and Sansovino or other friends lounged away an hour in the
neighbouring shop of Nanni Unghero, where their mutual friend, Niccolò
Tribolo, did all the hard work, fetching and carrying blocks and saws
grumblingly. Tribolo often begged Sansovino to take him as his pupil,
which he did afterwards, and he became a famous sculptor. One of
Andrea's acquaintances was Baccio Bandinelli, who, as he thought he
could equal Michelangelo in sculpture, imagined that only a knowledge
of Andrea del Sarto's method of colouring was necessary to enable him
to surpass him in painting. To gain this knowledge he proposed to sit to
Andrea for his portrait. His friend, discovering his motive, succeeded
in frustrating it by mixing a quantity of colours in seeming confusion
on his palette, and yet getting from this chaos exactly the tints he
required. So Baccio never rivalled his friend in colouring after all,
not being able to understand his method.


WORKS IN FLORENCE. A.D. 1511-1515.

From 1511 to 1514 Andrea was employed on the two last frescoes in the
courtyard of the SS. Annunziata the _Epiphany_ and the _Nativity of the
Virgin_. The sum fixed for these was ninety-eight lire, but the Servite
brothers augmented it by forty-two lire more, seeing the work was
"veramente maravigliosa"; thus these two were paid at the same rate as
the other five of S. Filippo--seventy lire or ten scudi each.

In the _Nativity_, one of the finest of his frescoes, we see his
favourite double grouping, the interest in the mother being kept to one
side, that of the child and its attendants to the other-a balance of
form united by Joachim, a stern, finely moulded figure in the centre.
The attitudes are natural, the draperies free and graceful. Old Vasari
justly remarks "pajono di carne le figure." The woman standing in the
centre of the room is Lucrezia della Fede; this is the first known
likeness of her. There is a richness of colour without impasto, a
modulation of shade giving full relief without startling contrast, a
clear air below and celestial haze in the angel-peopled clouds above.

This might well be classed as on the highest level ever reached in
fresco. Nearly fifty years after it was painted, while Jacopo d'Empoli
was copying this fresco, an old woman came through the courtyard to
mass, and, stopping to watch the young artist at his work, began to talk
of the days of her youth and beauty when she sat for the likeness of
that natural figure in the midst, no doubt sighing as she looked at
the freshness of the fresco, and thought of her many wrinkles and aged
limbs, she being nearly fourscore at the time.

The _Epiphany_ is also a remarkable work, more lively than the last;
it is also less carefully painted, the graceful feminine element
is wanting; there is plenty of activity, a crowded composition,
and richness of colour. Three figures are especially interesting as
likenesses; that of the musician Francesco Ajolle--a great composer of
madrigals, who went to France in 1530, and spent the remainder of his
life there; Sansovino, on the right of Ajolle; and near him Andrea
himself--the same face as the portrait in the Uffizi already spoken of.

The _Madonna del Sacco_, over the door of the entrance to the church
from the cloister, would seem to have been painted in the same year,
1514, judging from Biadi's extract from the MS. account books of the
Servite Fathers existing in the archives, where is an entry "Giugno,
1514, ad Andrea del Sarto, per resto della Madonna del Sacco, lire 56."
This term _resto_ (remainder) would imply a previous payment. The money
was a thank-offering from a woman for having been absolved from a vow by
one of the Servite priests. Like all his other frescoes of this church,
Andrea only gained ten scudi for this masterpiece. The date of MDXXV.
and the words "Quem genuit adoravit" on the pilasters of this work have
led most writers to suppose it painted in that year; but it is probable
they were added by a later hand. Biadi [Footnote: Biadi, _Notizie_, &c.,
p. 42 note.] says the letters are of the style of nearly two centuries
later, that Andrea would have signed it, like all his other and works,
with his monogram of the crossed A's (i.e. Andrea d' Agnolo). For
charming soft harmonies of colour, simplicity, and grace of design, this
surpasses all his other frescoes. The Madonna has an imposing grandeur
of form, there is a boyish strength and moulding in the limbs of the
child which is very expressive, the dignity of Joseph and majesty of the
Virgin are not to be surpassed; and yet the whole is given in a space so
cramped that all the figures have to be reclining or sitting.

[Illustration of Monogram]

After this Andrea returned to the Scalzo, the Barefoot Brothers offering
better pay than the Servites. Here he did the allegory of _Justice_
and the _Sermon of S. John_ in monochrome. In these he took a fancy to
retrograde his style, for they have the rugged force and angular form
that recalls the more stern old Italian masters, or that Titan of
northern art, Albrecht Dürer.

Of his works in oil at this era we may class--

1. The _Story of Joseph_, painted for Zanobi Girolami Bracci, which
Borghini judges a beautiful picture. The figures were small, but the
painting highly finished. It came afterwards into the possession of the
Medici family.

2. A _Madonna_, with decorations and models surrounding it like a frame,
was painted for Sansovino's patron, Giovanni Gaddi, afterwards clerk
of the chamber to Ferdinand I. It was existing in the collection of the
Gaddi Pozzi family in Borghini's time.

3. _Annunciation_, for Giovanni di Paolo Merciajo, now in the Hall
of Saturn in the Pitti Palace. It is a pretty composition, the Virgin
sitting, yet half kneeling, the angel on his knees before her. There is
a yellowish light in the sky between two looped dark green curtains; the
angel's yellow robe takes the light beautifully.

4. _Madonna and Child_, in the "Hall of the Education of Jupiter" in the
Pitti Palace, one of his most pleasing groups. This is supposed by the
commentators of Vasari to be the altarpiece painted for Giovanni di
Paolo Merciajo, but Biadi traces it through the possession of Antonio,
son of Zanobi Bracci, to its present possessors. The mistake arises
from Vasari often confusing the names Annunciations and Assumptions with

5. A _Holy Family_, for Andrea Santini, which awakened great admiration
in Florence. It was in the possession of Signer Alessandro Curti Lepri,
by whose permission Morghen's print was taken.

6. The _Head of our Saviour_, over the altar of the SS. Annunziata,
ordered by the sacristan of the order. A magnificent head, full of
grandeur and expression, and very clear in the flesh tints. Empoli made
several copies of it.

7. The _Madonna di San Francesco_, Andrea's masterpiece among easel
pictures. It was a commission from a monk of the order of "Minorites of
Santa Croce," who was intendant of the nuns of S. Francesco, and
advised them to employ Andrea. In grandiose simplicity this surpasses
Albertinelli's _Visitation_, in soft gradations and rich mellowness
of colour it equals Fra Bartolommeo at his best, for tenderness in the
attitude of the child it is quite Raphaelesque. The Madonna is standing
on a pedestal adorned with sculptured harpies. She holds the Divine
Child in one arm; its little hands are twined tenderly round her neck,
and it seems to be climbing closer to her. The two children at her feet
give a suggestive triangular grouping, while the dignified figures of S.
Francis and S. John the Evangelist form supports on each side, and
rear up a pyramid of beauty. Rosini's term "soave" just expresses this
picture, so fused and soft, rich yet transparent in the colouring. The
olive-brown robe of one saint is balanced by the rich red of the other.
In the Virgin, a deep blue and mellow orange are combined by a crimson
bodice. The price paid to the painter for this was low because he asked
little; but a century or two later, Ferdinando de' Medici, son of Cosmo
III., spent 20,000 scudi to restore the church, and had a copy of the
picture made in return for a gift of the original, which is now the gem
of the Tribune in the Uffizi.

8. The _Disputa, di S. Agostino_ is another masterpiece, showing as much
power as the last-named work displays of softness. It was painted at the
order of the Eremite monks of San Gallo for their church of San Jacopo
tra Fossi, where it was injured by a flood in 1557, and removed later
to the Hall of Saturn in the Pitti Palace. The composition is level, the
four disputing saints standing in a row, the two listeners, S. Sebastian
and Mary Magdalen, kneeling in front. S Agostino, with fierce vehemence,
expounds the mystery of the Trinity; S. Stephen turns to S. Francesco
interrogatively, S. Domenico (whom Vasari, by the way, calls S. Peter
Martyr) has a face full of silent eloquence--he seems only waiting his
turn to speak. In S. Sebastian we have a good study from the nude, and
in Mary Magdalen's kneeling figure--a charming portrait of Lucrezia--is
concentrated the principal focus of colour.

9. _Four Saints_, SS. Gio. Battista, Gio. Gualberto, S. Michele, and
Bernardo Cardinale, a beautifully-painted picture, once in the Hermitage
of Vallombrosa. There were originally two little angels in the midst
dividing the saints, as in our illustration. When the picture was
transferred to the Gallery of the Belle Arti, where it now is, the
angels were taken out and the divided saints brought into a more compact
group. The angels are in a frame between two frescoed Madonnas of Fra

By this time the fame of Andrea del Sarto, both as a fresco and oil
painter, had risen to the highest point. Michelangelo only echoed the
opinion of others when he said to Raphael, "There is a little fellow in
Florence who will bring the sweat to your brow if ever he is engaged in
great works." His style of composition was important, his figures varied
and life-like, his draperies dignified. "The main excellence, however,
in which Andrea stands unique among his contemporaries rests in the
incomparable blending of colour, in the soft flesh tints, in the
exquisite chiaroscuro, in the transparent clearness even of his
deepest shadows, and in his entirely new manner of perfect modelling."
[Footnote: _Lübke History of Art_, vol. ii. p. 241.] His method, as
shown in an unfinished picture of the _Adoration of the Magi_ in the
Guadagni Palace, was to paint on a light ground; the sketch was a
black outline, the features and details not defined, but often roughly
indicated. He finished first the sky and background. The flesh tints,
draperies, &c., were all true in tone from the first laying in.
[Footnote: Eastlake's _Materials for History of Oil Fainting_.] He did
not place shades one over the other, and fuse them together glaze by
glaze as Leonardo did, but used an opaque dead colouring which allowed
of correction; the system was rapid, but deficient in depth and
mellowness; "the lights are fused and bright," but "the shadows, owing
to their viscous consistency, imperfectly fill the outlines." [Footnote:
Crowe and Cavalcaselle, vol. in. chap. xvii. p. 670.] In a _Holy Family_
in the Louvre, S. Elizabeth's hand is painted across S. John, and shows
the shadow underneath it, being grey at that part. Though more solid,
he could not paint light over dark without injuring his brilliance of

Albertinelli, on the contrary, when he painted and repainted his
_Annunciation_, washed out the under layer with essential oil before
making his "pentimenti" or corrections, and in this way the thinness was

In Andrea's early style this thinness is apparent, especially in the
Joseph series, painted for Pier Francesco Borgherini.

Biadi classes Andrea's works in three styles. The first showing the
influence of Piero di Cosimo, the second--to which the best works in the
Servi cloisters belong--is a larger and more natural style, after the
study of Michelangelo and Leonardo.

The third is the natural development in his own practice of a perfect
knowledge of art, and a just appreciation of nature. The _Birth of
the Baptist_ and the _Cenacolo_, of San Salvi, belong to his last and
greatest manner. In 1515 the Florentine artists were employed on more
perishable works than frescoes. Leo X., the Medici Pope who had been
elected in 1513, made his triumphal entry into Florence on the 3rd of
September, 1515, on his way to meet Francis I. of France at Bologna.
All the guilds and ranks of Florence vied with each other to make his
reception as artistic as possible. He and his suite were obliged to stay
three days in the Villa Gianfigliazzi at Marignolle while the triumphal
preparations were being completed. The churches had temporary _façades_
of splendid architecture in fresco; arches were erected at the Porta
Romana and Piazza San Felice, covered with historical paintings;
Giuliano del Tasso adorned the Ponte Santa Trinità with statues;
Antonio San Gallo made a temple on the Piazza della Signoria, and
Baccio Bandinelli prepared a colossus in the Loggia dei Lanzi. Various
decorations adorned other streets, and Andrea del Sarto surpassed them
all with a _façade_ to the Duomo, painted in monochrome on wood. His
friend Sansovino designed the architecture, and he painted the sculpture
and adornments with such effect that the Pope declared no work in marble
could have been finer.

Andrea lent his talent to another kind of decorative art. The guild
of merchants were desirous of inaugurating a festa for the day of S.
Giovanni, and had ten chariots made from the model of the ancient Roman
ones, to institute chariot races in the piazza. Andrea painted several
of these with historical subjects, but they have long been lost. The
chariot races were revived under the Grand Dukes, but not with any


GOING TO FRANCE. A.D. 1518-1519.

Meanwhile fate was working Andrea del Sarto on to what might have been
the culminating point of his fame, had not his weakness rendered it
a blot on his honour; i.e. his journey to France. His fame was rising
high; a picture of the _Dead Christ surrounded by Angels_, weeping over
the body they support, having been sent to France, [Footnote: It was
engraved by the Venetian, Agostino, before it went to France; the
engraving is signed 1516. It did not please Andrea, who never allowed
any others to be engraved.] the king was so pleased with it that he
wished another work by the same artist. Andrea painted a very beautiful
_Madonna_, for which, however, he only obtained a quarter of the price
which the king paid to the merchants. The king was so delighted with it
that he sent the artist an invitation to come to Paris in his employ,
promising to pay all his expenses. In the Pitti Palace there is a
portrait of Andrea and his wife, in which he has commemorated the
reception of this letter. He is looking very interested over it, while
his wife has the blankest expression possible.

In the summer of 1518 he started with his pupil, Andrea Sguazzella,
called Nanoccio. Such a journey was in those days considered as little
less than a parting for life. It is plain that Lucrezia's family
looked on her as almost a widow, for they made him sign a deed of
acknowledgement for the 150 florins of her _dote_. Some authors have
taken this document as a proof of their marriage in that year, but it
was merely a precaution against loss by her family; the Italian law
being that the husband is obliged to render the portion obtained with
his wife to her family if she dies without issue, and in case of his own
death, the widow is entitled to it.

He was well received in Paris, and employed immediately on a likeness
of the infant Dauphin Henri II., then only a few months old. For this he
obtained 300 scudi: and a monthly salary was allowed him. What a mine of
gold the French court must have seemed to him after working for years at
large frescoes for ten scudi each!

He did no less than fifty works of art while there, most of which have
been engraved by the best French artists.[Footnote: See _Catalogue of
Royal Pictures in France_, by M. Lepiscié.] The _Carità_ is signed
1518, and is in Andrea's best style--perhaps with a leaning towards
Michelangelo. The _S. Jerome in Penitence_, which he painted for the
king's mother, and obtained a large price for, cannot be traced. His
life in Paris was a new revelation, and not without its effect on his
character, always alive to substantial pleasure.

The king and his courtiers frequented his atelier, and delighted to
watch him paint, vieing with each other in the richness of their gifts,
among which were splendid brocade dresses and beautiful ornaments and
jewels, in which he longed to adorn his wife. While he was engaged in
painting the _S. Jerome_ for the queen-mother, a letter from Lucrezia
aroused his longings for home to the uttermost; she--the wife who has
been branded by the name of faithless--wrote that she was disconsolate
in his absence, and that if he did not soon return he would find her
dead with grief.

Vasari, quoting this exaggerated letter, says in his first edition that
she only wanted money to give her friends, but this also he retracts in
the second. Whether it expressed her feelings truly or not, the letter
had such an effect on Andrea's mind that he decided to return home at
any cost.

During Andrea's absence the house in Via S. Sebastiano, behind the
Annunziata, was being prepared under her superintendence and with
his sanction. His scholars had decorated the walls and ceilings with
frescoes, and no doubt Lucrezia was as anxious for him to see the new
house as he was to adorn her with Parisian brocades and jewellery.

Being able to satisfy her ambitious soul, Andrea too readily flung away
all his brilliant prospects to return, and willingly take again the yoke
of the burden of his wife and her family. He made promises that he would
bring her back to Paris with him, and the king in all faith allowed
him to depart, confiding to him large sums of money for the purchase of
works of art to be sent to France.

Sguazzella, wiser than his master, preferred to stay in Paris under the
patronage of Cardinal de Tournon. He painted a great many works, much in
the style of Andrea, but with less excellence. It is possible that some
of M. Lepiscié's long list are, in fact, the work of the pupil rather
than the master. When Benvenuto Cellini went to France in 1537 he lodged
in Sguazzella's house, with his three servants and three horses, at a
weekly rate of payment (_a tanto la settimana_).

But to return to Andrea: this is an episode in his life which we would
gladly pass over if it were possible, for it forms the moral blot on a
great artistic career.

Returning home he fell once more under the strong will of his wife, but
with his principles weakened by the effect of a luxury and prosperity
which has always a greater deteriorating effect on a nature such as
his than on a finer mind. Bringing grand ideas from the palaces of the
French nobles, he not only fell in with Lucrezia's plans for beautifying
the new house, but even surpassed her wildest schemes. The staircase was
embellished with rich oaken balustrades, the rooms were all frescoed.
Cupids hide in the Raphaelesque scrolls on the arches, classic
divinities rest on the ceilings, but in the dining room the homely
nature of the man who did his own marketing, creeps out. It is a
charming room, the windows opening on a garden courtyard, where a vine
trellis leads round to what used to be the side door of his studio which
has its entrance in another street.

The roof is vaulted and covered with exquisite decorative frescoes, but
in the lunettes of the two largest arches are the domestic scenes of
cooking and laying the cloth, spoken of at page 90. Two or three of the
up stairs rooms are very fine, especially the one in which Andrea is
said to have died. [Footnote: This description is due to the kindness of
the present resident in the house, who kindly showed it to the writer,
pointing out all the unrestored portions.] It is probable the furniture
matched the style of the rooms, and that much money was spent on
carved chairs and _cassoni_. Certain it is that the King of France's
commissions were unfulfilled, and his money misappropriated.

Andrea would have returned to France, but his wife, who had an Italian
woman's dread of leaving her own country, put every obstacle in his way,
adding entreaties to tears which the uxorious Andrea could not resist.
As usual he tried to please her, and she only cared to please herself.

He fell greatly in the estimation of the King, who was justly angry;
albeit the artist salved his own too easy conscience by sending a few
of his own paintings to Francis I., one of which, the _Sacrifice of
Abraham_, still remains in France, and another a half length figure of
_S. John the Baptist_. The place of this picture is much disputed; it is
said to be at present in the Pitti Palace. Argenville speaks of it among
the French pictures as if it had returned subsequently to Florence,
while Vasari asserts that it never went there, but was sold to Ottaviano
de' Medici. [Footnote: _Life of Andrea, del Sarto_, vol. in. p. 212.]
As Andrea painted no less than five pictures of this subject, of which
Argenville mentions that there were two in France, one of which was sold
to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, it is probable that the Pitti one is not
that painted for Francis I.



The Medici, always patrons of art, did not neglect to enrich their
palaces with the works of Andrea del Sarto. Ottaviano de' Medici, a
cousin of the reigning branch, was an especial friend of his, from
the time that Andrea began the fresco of _Caesar receiving tribute of
animals_ in the Hall of Poggio a Cajano. The commission came really from
Pope Leo X., who deputed Cardinal Giulio, his cousin, to have the hall
of the favourite family villa adorned with frescoes. He in turn handed
over the direction to Ottaviano, who was a great amateur of art. It was
designed that Andrea del Sarto should cover a third of the Hall, the
other two-thirds being given to Pontormo and Francia Bigio. The payment
of thirty scudi a month was arranged. In this Andrea has shown his
genius in a style entirely new, the composition being crowded, the
perspective intricate, the background a building adorned with statues.
The subject being allegorical, he has given the reins to his fancy and
produced a wonderful assemblage of strange beasts and stranger human
beings, Moors, Indians, and dwarfs. There are giraffes, lions, and
all kinds of animals, which he had an opportunity of studying in the
Serraglio of Florence. The drawing is true and free, the figures and
animals full of life, the colouring as usual well harmonised and bright.
The Pope died about this time in 1522, and the picture was left to be
finished by Allori in 1580.

Ottaviano de' Medici, being a great lover of art, was often a patron
on his own account; for him Andrea painted the _Holy Family_ now in the
Pitti Palace. It is a most charmingly natural group: the Virgin seated
on the ground dances the divine child astride on her knee, he is turning
his head to the infant S. John who struggles to escape from his mother's
arms to get to him. The fresh youth of the Virgin and the saintly age of
S. Elizabeth are well contrasted. By the time this picture was finished
the siege of Florence had begun, and when the painter took it to
Ottaviano, he, having other claims on his means, excused himself from
buying it, and recommended Andrea to offer it elsewhere. But the artist
replied, "I have laboured for you, and the work shall be always yours."
"Sell it and get what you can for it," again replied Ottaviano. Andrea
carried the painting home again and would never sell it to any one. A
few years after, the siege being over, and the Medici re-instated, he
again took the _Holy Family_ to Ottaviano, who was so delighted that he
paid him double the price for it.

Ottaviano also bought from Carlo Ginori a _Madonna_ and _S. Job_, a nude
half figure, which were by Andrea's hand. He it was who commissioned him
to paint the portrait of Cardinal Giulio, afterwards Pope Clement VII.,
and it was also at his instance that the imitation Raphael was painted
for the Duke of Mantua. The Duke had set his heart on obtaining the
picture painted by Raphael representing _Leo X. between the Cardinals
Giulio and Rossi_, and got a promise of it as a gift from Pope Clement.
His Holiness wrote to Ottaviano desiring him to have it sent to Mantua.
But Ottaviano, appreciating the treasure as much as the Duke of Mantua,
determined to secure it to the house of Medici. Under the pretence of
having a new frame made he gained time, and meanwhile employing Andrea
del Sarto secretly to make an exact copy of it, he sent that to the Duke
instead of the original. So well had Andrea imitated the great master's
style that every one in Mantua, even Giulio Romano, Raphael's own
scholar, was deceived, and it was only some years later that George
Vasari divulged the secret and showed Andrea's monogram on the side of
the panel beneath the frame. This copy is now at Naples.

The fresco at Poggio a Cajano abandoned, Andrea returned to the Scalzo,
where he painted the _Dance of Herodias, Martyrdom of S. John Baptist,
Presentation of the Head, Allegory of Hope_, and the _Apparition of the
Angel to Zacharias_. The last was paid for August 22nd, 1523.

About this time there was a great wedding in Florence. Pier Francesco
Borgherini espoused Margherita Accajuoli, and Salvi, the bridegroom's
father, determined to prepare for his son's bride a wedding chamber
which should be famous in all ages.

Baccio d' Agnolo had carved wonderful coffers, chairs, and bedsteads
in walnut wood. Pontormo painted beautiful cabinets and _cassoni_, and
Granacci, Francesco d' Ubertini Verdi, called Bacchiacca, and Andrea
were all employed on the walls. Andrea furnished two pictures; the one
tells the story of Joseph in Canaan, the other gives his life in Egypt.
The style is that of Piero di Cosimo, but with greater excellence and
more dignified figures. The landscape is highly finished and minute, and
has a part of the story in every nook of it.

The centre group, where Joseph leaves his father and mother to go to his
brethren, is very dignified, although fine enough to be a miniature. In
the second Pharaoh's palace is [Footnote: Reumont (_Life of Andrea del
Sarto_, p. 134) dates these works 1523; the style, which is very much
that of Piero di Cosimo, would seem to place them earlier.] represented
as a medieval Italian castle, the dresses are all Italian, and as an
instance of Andrea's versatility of talent they are very interesting

During the siege of Florence, Borgherini was absent, and the picture
dealer, Giovanni Battista della Palla, who prowled like a harpy to carry
off treasures for the King of France, made an effort to obtain these
paintings by inducing the government to confiscate them and sell them to
him. But Margherita was equal to the occasion, and meeting the despoiler
at her door, she poured out such a torrent of indignation, exhortation,
and defiance as drove the broker away crestfallen.

On the Medici's return della Palla was imprisoned as a traitor, and
beheaded at Pisa. The paintings passed into the possession of the
Medici, by purchase, during Andrea's life. [Footnote: Biadi, _Notizie_,
&c., p. 146, note 2.]



From 1524 to 1528 the plague desolated Italy, never entirely leaving it.
During this time Andrea obtained a commission through Antonio Brancacci,
to paint some pictures in the convent of S. Piero at Luco in Mugello,
where he retired with his wife and her relations, and his pupil
Raffaelo. They spent a very pleasant summer: the nuns made much of his
wife and her sisters, and he passed his time in earnest painting. The
fruits of his labour are a _Pietà_, a _Visitation_, and a _Head of
Christ_--almost a replica of the one in the SS. Annunziata.

The _Pietà_ is full of expression and feeling, but more realistic and
less dignified than that of Fra Bartolommeo, which now hangs on the same
wall of the Hall of Apollo at the Pitti.

In colouring also there is a great contrast between the two, that of
Fra Bartolommeo being deep, rich, and mellow, while Andrea's is more
profuse, diffused, and wanting in depth of shadow.

S. John and the Virgin raise the dead Saviour, the Magdalen and S.
Catherine weep at his feet; S. Peter and S. Paul at the back express
their grief in the manner natural to their characters. S. Peter, in his
vehemence, flings up his arms in a madness of sorrow. S. Paul, with more
dignity, is half stupefied with the intensity of woe.

If those saints had been left in Fra Bartolommeo's _Pietà_, the
two pictures would have had the very same figures, in each: but how
different the composition, feeling, and expression! The Frate's group is
a compact triangle; that of Andrea a scattered arrangement. The Magdalen
of the Frate is overwhelmed with the very excess of love and grief, all
of which is expressed intensely, yet her face is hidden; that of Andrea
is a mere woman dressed in flying scarf and flowing garments, but with
very little soul in her face.

The characteristics of the two painters can be well studied in these
works, so near together, so similar, and yet so different.

For the three works painted at Luco Andrea was paid ninety florins in
gold. The _Pietà_, was bought in later years by the Grand Duke Leopold,
and now adorns the Pitti Palace.

The _Visitation_ was placed in the church of the convent over a
presepio. [Footnote: In 1818 it was restored by Luigi Scotti and sold.]
Biadi gives the following document:--"Io Andrea d'Angiolo del Sarto, à
di 11 Ottobre 1528 ho ricevuto fiorini 80 d' oro di quei larghi [_i.e._
of two scudi each] della Tavola dell' Altar grande e di una mezza tavola
della Visitazione, da Donna Caterina della Casa Fiorentina, Badessa di
Luco." [Footnote: 2 Vol. in. p, 571, note.]

Andrea was paid ten florins for the _Head of the Saviour_, through his
assistant, Raffaello. This receipt would prove either that he went to
Luco later than 1524, or that he returned there to finish the works in
the year 1528.

On their return to Florence in the autumn Andrea painted a fine work for
his friend, Beccuccio da Gambassi, a glass-worker. It is an apotheosis
of the _Madonna_, with four figures beneath--S. John Baptist, Mary
Magdalen, S. Sebastian, and S. Rocco; not S. _Onofrio_, as Bottari has
named it. The predella, now lost, had portraits of the patron and his
wife. Crowe and Cavalcaselle speak of six saints in this picture, four
standing and two kneeling.

This description seems to point more certainly to the Sarzana _Madonna_,
which is now in the Hall of Apollo, in the Pitti Palace. That for
Beccuccio is described, with the four above-mentioned saints only, by
all the Italian authors.

The tabernacle, at the corner of the convent, outside the Porta Pinti,
Florence, was painted about this time. It is now quite destroyed by
age and weather; a good copy by Empoli, exists, however, in the western
corridor of the Uffizi. It is a charming _Holy Family, with the infant
S. John_,--a sweet laughing face. The Madonna is a portrait of Lucrezia.

In the siege when the convent of the Ingesuate--at the corner of which
it stood--was razed to the ground, this fresco, although loosened from
the wall, was spared by the soldiers, who had not courage to injure it.
The Grand Duke Cosimo was anxious to have it brought to Florence, and
often came with engineers and architects, but they never hazarded its
removal. [Footnote: Bocchi, _Bellezze di Firenze_, p. 482.]

The Duomo of Pisa has five saints painted by Andrea; they originally
formed one large picture in five compartments, and were painted for the
church of the now suppressed convent of S. Agnes; but in 1618 they
were divided into five pictures, and removed to the Duomo, where _S.
Catherine Martyr_, _S. Margaret_, _S. Peter_, and _S. John the Baptist_
hang on each side of the altar. _S. Agnes_, with her lamb by her
side, is placed on a pilaster towards the southern door. This and _S.
Margaret_ are especially graceful and expressive. There is much of
the feeling of Correggio, but with more natural grace and less
voluptuousness. The cutting and retouching had injured them greatly, but
in 1835 Antonio Garazalli took off the repainting and restored them more

In 1525 Andrea had a commission to draw cartoons for painting the
balustrade of the Ringhiera--a kind of wide terrace in front of the
Palazzo della Signoria, from which speeches were made to the populace.
His designs were very beautiful and appropriate, the compartments being
emblematical of the different quarters of the city; besides which were
allegories of mountains, rivers, and virtues. The designs were left
unfinished at his death, and the Ringhiera was never painted.

In 1526-7 he worked at the fresco of the _Last Supper_, at S. Salvi,
which was intended to have been done when he began the four saints
there, in 1510, had not some misunderstanding between the rulers of the
order prevented their continuation. [Footnote: Vasari's _Lives_, vol.
iii. p. 224.] Even now he worked in a desultory manner, doing it bit by
bit, but in the end producing a marvellous work.

The refectory is a long vaulted hall, and the frescoed table, with its
life-size figures, fills the whole arch of the wall opposite the door.
One's natural impulse on entering it is to exclaim, "How life-like!"
There is a great and living animation in the figures; the characters of
the Apostles are written on their expressive faces. Judas is not placed
away alone, as in many renderings of the subject, but is next to Christ,
the contrast of the two faces being thus emphasized by proximity. S.
Peter, though old, has all the vehemence and intensity of his character.
Add to the feeling a brilliancy of colour of which Andrea alone had the
secret, for without deep shadows, and keeping up the same intensity of
tone throughout, he yet obtained great harmony and full relief where
others would have produced a clash and flatness. Messrs. Crowe and
Cavalcaselle say with justice, "From the contemplation of the _Cena_, at
Milan, we should say that the painter is high bred; looking at that of
S. Salvi, that he is accustomed to lowly company." [Footnote: _Hist. of
Painting_, vol. iii. chap. xvii. p. 574.] But in some subjects a rugged
strength is more important than a high refinement, and in the group of
humble fishermen who formed the first church this is not out of place.
If he could only have spiritualised Christ, nothing would be left to be

Andrea del Sarto was a member of a sacred company called the "Fraternità
del Nicchio," for which he painted a standard to be carried in their
processions. It is now in the Hall of the Old Masters in the Uffizi,
and is a charming group of _S. James, with two children dressed in white
surplices_--the habit of the company. The saint is caressing one,
who kneels at his feet; the other has an open book in his hand.
The draperies are especially graceful, and the expressions soft and

After finishing a portrait of the Intendant of the monks at Vallombrosa,
which the said monk afterwards placed in an arbour covered with vines,
regardless of the injuries of wind and rain--Andrea, having some colours
still left on his palette, took up a tile and called his wife to sit for
her portrait, that all might see how well she had kept her good looks
from her youth; but Lucrezia not being inclined to sit, he got a mirror
and painted _his own portrait_ on the tile instead. It was one of his
later works, and Lucrezia kept it till her death. It is now in the room
of portraits in the Uffizi, but much blackened by time; probably
also from the tile not having been properly prepared. [Footnote: This
portrait is given as a frontispiece.]

The next year or two were taken up in producing a number of large
altar-pieces, and in painting pictures for the dealer, Giovanni Battista
della Palla, who was still intent on supplying the King of France with
Italian works of art. For him he painted a _Sacrifice of Abraham_, which
Vasari thinks one of his most excellent works. The face of the patriarch
is full of faith, and yet self-sacrifice; the nude figure of Isaac,
bronzed in the parts which have been exposed to the sun, most tenderly
expresses a trembling dread, mingled with trust in his father; the
landscape is also very airy and beautiful, and a characteristic group of
a servant and the browsing ass is very effective in the background.

He also painted a lovely picture of _Charity with three Children_ for
Della Palla. Both these works were done with great care, for he hoped by
their means to regain the lost favour of the King of France. It was
too late for this, however; and, as it happened, neither of these works
reached its destination. The siege of Florence took place about this
time (1529); the dealer, Battista della Palla, had his head cut off in
his dungeon at Pisa, and all hope of his mediation with Francis I. was
at an end. The _Charity_ was sold to Domenico Conti, the painter, after
Andrea's death, and thence passed into the hands of the Antinori family.
The _Sacrifice of Abraham_ has had more vicissitudes. Filippo Strozzi
purchased and gave it to the Marchese del Vasto, who had it in his
castle at Ischia many years. Later it was sent from Florence to Modena
in exchange for a Correggio, and Augustus II. of Saxony becoming its
purchaser, placed it in the Dresden Gallery.

This seems to have been a favourite subject with Andrea del Sarto, who
repeated it five times.

1. The one done by himself for the King of France.

2. Also in France, having been purchased from the Grand Duke of Tuscany.
(See Argenville.)

3. The one mentioned above, done for G. B. della Palla.

4. A smaller one, painted for Paolo da Terra Rossa; a fine painting, for
which the artist asked so small a price that the purchaser was ashamed
to pay it. Paolo sent it to Naples.

5. An unfinished painting of _Abraham holding Isaac by the Hand_, now in
the possession of the Zonadari family, who obtained it from the Peruzzi.

During the siege, work was found for artists, but of an unpleasant
nature. Andrea was commissioned, in 1530, to paint the effigies of
some traitors on the palace of the Signoria. He dared not refuse,
but remembering that his namesake, Andrea del Castagno, who had been
similarly employed, gained the name of "Andrea degli Impiccati," he was
anxious that the same name should not attach to himself. Accordingly he
had an enclosed platform made, and giving out that his pupil, Bernardino
del Buda, was going to paint the effigies, he worked at them himself
secretly, till, on being uncovered, they seemed to be real persons
writhing on the gibbet.

No trace of them remains now, but the studies are in the collection of
drawings in the Uffizi.

A fine half-length figure of _S. Sebastian_, for the brotherhood of that
name, which had its head-quarters in the street in which Andrea lived,
was almost his last work in Florence.

The siege was now over, but the influx of soldiers from the camp
brought a return of the plague, which awakened great terror in the city.
Andrea's mode of life and love of good living did not conduce to his
safety; he was taken ill suddenly, and gave himself up for lost. Neither
Vasari nor Biadi says he was entirely deserted by his wife; they only
hint that she came to his room as little as she could, having a great
fear of the plague.

It is more than probable that Andrea himself kept her away from him, for
his love was always unselfish, and he thought only of her good. However
this be, he died, aged forty-two, on the 22nd of January, 1531, and was
buried very quietly by the "Brethren of the Scalzo" in the church of the
S. Annunziata. His tomb is beneath the pavement of the presbytery, on
the left hand. His older biographers seem to think this unostentatious
funeral a great slight to his merits, but if there were any doubts as
to his illness being the plague, it would only have been a natural
precaution to avoid spreading contagion by making his interment quite

That Andrea had not wholly neglected his own family is proved by his
will, which left his property (after paying back Lucrezia's _dot_ of
100 scudi, and the money for the improvement of the new house in Via
Crocetta for her and her daughter) to his brother Domenico, with
the proviso that after his death half the bequest should be given to
Domenico's daughter as _dot_, the rest to accrue to the hospital of
the Innocenti (Foundlings). [Footnote: Ricordanze nel Archivio del E.
Spedate degli Innocenti di Firenze. Biadi, _Notizie_, p. 127.]

Lucrezia lived to a good old age, being nearly ninety when she died;
she seems to have lived a very quiet life, and to have kept Andrea's
paintings with great care, except a few only which she sold. The house
in Via Crocetta passed many years afterwards into the possession of
another painter, Zuccheri, who embellished the studio front with reliefs
in stone, representing the paraphernalia of an atelier; but it is
Andrea's name which lives in the house, as his memory does in the
hearts of the Florentine people, and his works in the cloisters of the
Florentine churches. The people of the city always seem to claim Del
Sarto as especially their own. He is always _nostro pittore_, or _nostro
maestro_-and indeed as a master of fresco he never was surpassed. In
colouring he was in his way unique; in modelling, original and graceful;
while the transparent clearness of his shadows and brilliant blending
of tints in the lights render his handling incomparable. A little more
refinement and aesthetic feeling would have placed him on a level with
the great leaders of the Renaissance.



Andrea's scholars were numerous, though only a few rose to any great
eminence. Of these, JACOPO CARRUCCI, "da Pontormo" (born 1494, died
1557), was by far the most talented. Left an orphan at an early age, the
charge of his sister devolved on him, and he placed her with a relation
while he was pursuing his art training. He studied under a diversity of
masters, including Leonardo da Vinci, Albertinelli, Piero di Cosimo; and
finally, in 1512, he entered Andrea del Sarto's school, but did not
stay long there either. Some say Andrea was jealous of his success; he,
however, had generosity enough to praise and acknowledge his talent, and
to show his appreciation by giving him important work to do in his own

Pontormo did the predella to Andrea's altar-piece of the _Annunciation_
for the convent of S. Gallo. His hand is to be seen also in several
of his master's works. He drew public attention first by painting two
figures of _Faith_ and _Charity_ on the escutcheon of the Medici for
Andrea di Cosimo, who had obtained the commission, but did not feel
equal to executing it. Michelangelo, on seeing these figures, prophesied
great things for the youth, who was at that time only nineteen years of

The people of Pontormo, his native town, were so proud of him, that they
sent for him to emblazon the arms of Pope Leo over the gate of their

He was next employed by one of the festal companies of the age, called
the Company of the Diamond, to design cars, banners, and costumes for a
triumphal procession in honour of Leo X.'s elevation to the papal chair;
and he organised a very suggestive array of the ages of man, illustrated
historically. He decorated the Papal Hall for Leo X.'s entrance, and
later began to be employed on more serious and lasting works.

Some good frescoes of his existed in the convent of Santa Caterina, but
were destroyed when the building was reconstructed in 1688.

A very charming fresco of the _Visitation_ still exists in the court
of the SS. Annunziata. It shows him as a good pure colourist, the flesh
tints being especially tender; the composition is lively, full, and

In 1518 he painted a fine altar-piece for the church of S. Michele
Visdomini, Florence, by commission of Francesco Pucci. The _Madonna_,
seated, is showing the Child Jesus to S. Joseph, whose face is most
expressive and full of smiling admiration. S. John Baptist stands near,
at the sides are S. John Evangelist, S. James, and S. Francis, the
latter kneeling in ecstatic admiration.

In some cases he was placed in direct competition with his master,
Andrea del Sarto, being employed by Borgherini to paint the coffers and
cabinets in the same room for which Andrea did the _History of Joseph_;
and again later at Poggio a Cajano, where the ends of the great hall
were assigned to him to paint, Andrea and Francia Bigio taking the
larger walls at the sides. On one end he designed an allegory of
_Vertumnus_, with his husbandmen around him busy with their labours, and
on the other _Pomona, Diana, &c_. Perhaps in these last he has carried
his imitation of Andrea del Sarto rather too far in the matter of
draperies, which are too profuse and studied. Indeed the whole works
are overdone; he was so anxious to rival his master that he forced his
invention, altering and labouring till all spontaneity was taken out of
his work. Some of his frescoes were in the cloister of the Certosa, but
they are not fair specimens of his best style, as they were done when
the Florentine artists were smitten with the mania of imitating Albrecht
Dürer, and in these he has entirely followed the harder manner of that
artist without obtaining his strength. The frescoes are all scenes from
the _Life of Christ_, and he spent several years over them; after which
he painted an altar-piece.

Giovanni Battista della Palla commissioned him to paint a picture to be
sent to the King of France, and Pontormo returning wisely to his natural
style, painted one of his masterpieces, the _Resurrection of Lazarus_.
The Pitti Palace possesses a curious specimen of his work, the 11,000
martyrs crucified in a wood in the persecution under the Emperor

He rose to renown as a portrait painter, but lost patronage in later
year by his capricious behaviour, refusing to work except for whom and
when he pleased. In company with his favourite pupil, Bronzino, he did
the frescoes in the Loggie of the Medici villa at Careggi; one Loggia
was soon completed, to the great delight of the Duke, but Jacopo shut
himself up in the second and allowed no one to see what he was doing
for five years; when at length he uncovered the frescoes general
disappointment was the result. He pursued much the same line of conduct
in the frescoes of the roof of the Medici Chapel in San Lorenzo. He kept
the chapel closed with walls and planks for eleven years, no one seeing
his progress except some young men who removed one of the rosettes from
the ceiling to peep in on him, but he discovered their plan, and closed
the holes more assiduously than ever. The composition is as confused as
it is diffusive; he tried to embody the whole teaching of the Bible, but
becoming overwhelmed with the vastness of his subject, fell short even
of the excellence of his own previous works. He died before this work
was completed, of hydropsy, and was buried in the Servite Church.

GIORGIO VASARI, better known as the chronicler of the works of other
artists than for the excellence of his own, was born at Arezzo,
1512--died at Florence, 1574. His father was a painter, and the family
was connected by ties of relationship with Luca Signorelli of Cortona.
Among the many masters under whom he studied was Andrea del Sarto.
He did not remain long under his tuition, having contrived to offend
Lucrezia in some way. He painted a great many frescoes at Arezzo, where
he lived in his youth with his paternal uncle Don Antonio. Don Miniato
Pitti, prior of the convent of Monte Oliveti, near Siena, next employed
him to adorn the portico of his church. He had the good fortune to
attract the notice of Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici, who took him to Rome
in his suite, where he gained much advantage by the study of the works
of the great masters there. The Medici family, especially Andrea del
Sarto's patron, Ottaviano, were his constant friends: and their palaces
are profusely decorated by him. The Riccardi Palace has a room with
fresco scenes from the life of Cæsar. While painting these Duke
Alessandro gave him a salary of six crowns a month with a place at
his table, and board for his servant, &c. The palace has several oil
paintings by Vasari, amongst which are portraits of the Duke and his
sister. After the death of Duke Alessandro and Ottaviano he wandered
from city to city, painting so energetically that there are few of
the principal towns which do not possess some of his works, especially
Naples, Pisa, Bologna, and Arezzo. The Palazzo San Giorgio of the
Farnese family, in Rome, has a large hall richly frescoed by Vasari, but
the best of his works are to be seen on the walls of the great hall of
the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, where he has illustrated the battles
of the Florentines, and in several other rooms of the same palace; he
having continued all the later years of his life in the service of Duke
Cosimo, by whom the palace was restored and decorated. His works are too
numerous and not sufficiently important to catalogue or describe,
his composition is overcrowded and wanting in perspective. There is
generally a superabundance of flesh; muscular limbs in all attitudes
form a great part of his pictures, but as the flesh tints he used were
wanting in mellowness and shadow, and have turned pink with age, they
compare disadvantageously with those of the more solid masters who
preceded him. After all, Vasari's name and fame rest principally on
the labours of his pen, not those of his brush. His "_Lives of the
Painters,_" although not a model of precision in facts or chronology, is
nevertheless the mine from which all subsequent art historians quarry to
obtain their information.

One of the most valuable books of the day is probably the new edition
of Vasari with corrections and notes taken from the archives by Signer
Gaetano Milanesi.

FRANCESCO ROSSI, DE' SALVIATI (born at Florence, 1510--died at Borne,
1563) was a great friend of Vasari; his real name was Rossi, his father
being a weaver of velvets, but he obtained the name of Salviati from
being the protégé of the Cardinal of that name. His first master was
Raffaello del Brescia, but in 1529 he, with his friend Nannoccio,
entered the school of Andrea del Sarto, with whom they stayed during
the siege. Becoming known by some paintings done for the friars of the
Badia, Cardinal Salviati took him into his house, gave him a stipend of
four crowns a month, and an apartment at the Borgo Vecchio, he painting
any works the Cardinal wished. Francesco was not idle, a great number
of frescoes, altar-pieces, and portraits, &c., &c., testifying to his
industry. In his later years he was employed with his friend Vasari in
the Palazzo Vecchio, where he painted the frescoes in the smaller Hall
of Audience. These are principally scenes from the _Life of Camillus_.
The story of the schoolmaster of Falerii is very spirited, and the
_Triumph of Camillus_ varied and pleasing in colouring. Although
melancholy and suspicious, often making enemies and losing patronage by
misunderstandings, Rossi and Vasari were always faithful to their first
boyish friendship, often working together, but never with any spirit
of rivalry. Salviati's style was bold and spirited; he was rich in
invention, but perhaps a little wild in the matter of draperies and
bizarre costumes. His colouring is more pleasing than that of Vasari,
but is diffusive and wanting in depth.

DOMENICO CONTI never became famous, but in spite of want of genius, he
was Andrea's favourite pupil. All his master's designs and cartoons came
into his possession at Andrea's death, but he was unfortunately robbed
of them soon afterwards. The inscription to Andrea del Sarto which once
existed in the church of SS. Annunziata was put up by Conti.

JACOPO DEL CONTE (1510-1598), who in Vasari's time lived in Rome, is
chiefly noted for his likenesses of several pontiffs and personages
of the Papal Court. There are a few altar-pieces by him in Rome, and a
_Deposition_ in the church of the Misericordia in Florence, but he was
almost exclusively a portrait painter.

ANDREA SGUAZZELLA, called NANNOCCIO, remained in France after having
accompanied Andrea del Sarto thither. Cardinal Tournon took him under
his patronage, and he painted a large number of works in the style of

JACOPO, called JACONE, was another of Andrea's favourite disciples. His
frescoes, of which some existed till of late years on the façade of the
Palazzo Buondelmonte, in Florence, were much in Del Sarto's manner.
He assisted his master in a great many of his works, while of his
independent paintings many were sent to France; no doubt some of these,
as well as Sguazzella's, figure under the master's name in that list of
fifty works given by Argenville. He was too idle and fond of pleasure
to rise to eminence, though he did some good frescoes in the Palazzo
Capponi at Florence, and in the Capponi Villa at Montici, and assisted
Jacopo da Pontormo in the Hall of the Medici villa at Careggi. He died
in 1553, in great poverty.

PIER FRANCESCO DI JACOPO DI SANDRO was said to have had some talent. He
and Domenico Conti were employed among others in decorating the court of
the Palazzo Vecchio on the occasion of Cosimo de' Medici's marriage with
Leonora di Toledo. There are some altar-pieces of his in the church of
Santo Spirito, Florence.

SOLOSMEO, RAFFAELLO, and BERNARDINO DEL BUDA were three _garzoni_ in
Andrea's studio. They were employed in the subordinate work and manual
labour, but were not trained as artists.


  1886. G. GRUYER. Fra Bartolommeo della Porta and M. Albertinelli.
  1903. F. KNAPP. Fra Bartolommeo della Porta.
  1922. H. GABLENTZ. Fra Bartolommeo.
  1902. M. E. JAMES. Fra Bartolommeo.
  1899. H. GUINNESS. Andrea del Sarto. (The Great Masters Series.)
  1905. MASTERPIECES OF ANDREA DEL SARTO. (Gowan's Art Books.)
  1928. F. KNAPP. Andrea del Sarto.
  1864-66. CROWE AND CAVALCASELLE. A New History of Painting in Italy
  from the 2nd to the 16th Century. Three Volumes.

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