Artists you can see in Italy

Andrea del Sarto

“The faultless painter”

One of Florence’s greatest Renaissance artists, Andrea del Sarto (1486-1530) is known as ‘the faultless painter’ for his technical abilities and near-perfect renderings.

Del Sarto’s wife, Lucrezia del Fede, has become famous not just for being his muse, but for being a nagging and indiscreet woman who likely stopped Del Sarto from reaching the great heights of his contemporaries.

Vasari described Lucrezia as being “faithless, jealous, and vixenish with the apprentices”, yet she was ironically often del Sarto’s muse when depicting the Madonna.

Perhaps it is for this reason that the works of del Sarto are known as lacking in depth, despite their technical perfection.

The Robert Browning poem, “Andrea del Sarto” focuses on the relationship the artist had with his wife and its effect on his career as an artist. Writing from the presumed perspective of Andrea del Sarto, Browning’s poem puts the blame on Lucrezia for del Sarto’s failing to “strike a balance” both in love and in art.

The couple moved to France after being appointed as court painter for King Francis, however a short time later they absconded with money that was supposed to be used to purchase Italian art for the King. Instead, del Sarto paid for a house for the couple to live in.

Still, Andrea del Sarto is known as the artists with the greatest technical skills of his era.

You can see his works on display in the Uffizi Gallery and along the Vasari Corridor in Florence. 

Arnolfo

Born in a beautiful little town called Colle Val d’Elsa, near Siena,

sometime around 1240, Arnolfo was a sculptor, and honed his craft by helping Nicola Pisano sculpt the pulpit in Siena’s cathedral. He struck out on his own, went to Rome, and garnered many commissions.

He then made his way to Florence, where his first biographer, Giorgio Vasari, asserted in 1550 that Arnolfo was the architect of Santa Maria del Fiore (aka Florence’s Duomo).

Vasari also credited him as the architect for two other monumental Florentine building projects – Santa Croce and Palazzo Signoria. Though there’s just about zero proof for these last two, it’s highly likely he was the first architect of the cathedral; and it’s 100% sure that he did sculptures for the old façade .

Arnolfo died sometime between 1300 and 1310.

Artemisia Gentileschi

Artemisia Gentileschi is one of the top Baroque painters

Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1656) is considered as one of the exemplifiers of Baroque art. She was also the first female accepted into Florence’s Accademia di Arte del Disegno – no small feat for the time in which she lived.

Born in Rome, much of her childhood was passed in the studio of her artist father Orazio Gentileschi, who took her under his artistic wing. She later lived and worked in Florence, Venice and Rome, before retiring to Naples where she likely died.

Many of Gentileschi’s paintings feature women protagonists, sometimes in the role of hero and other times depicted as more submissive or even as the victim. Her own life reflects all these roles, having been raped then managing to see her attacker prosecuted, before earning her status as one of the greatest artists of her time.

In Italy, artworks by Artemisia Gentileschi can be found in the Uffizi Gallery and the Pitti Palace in Florence, the Spada Gallery in Rome and the Capodimonte Museum of Naples, to name but a few.

Botticelli

Sandro BOTTICELLI is a celebrated early Renaissance painter.

Born in 1445 in the neighborhood of Ognissanti, Florence, he spent his entire life there except to go to Rome to paint in the Sistine Chapel (as well as, perhaps, an earlier foray to Hungary). Little is known of his youth. He was apprenticed to Fra Filippo Lippi.

Painting on his own from the 1470s, Botticelli did many portraits and became a favorite of the extended Medici family for whom he painted many of his most famous works—the Adoration of the Magi, the Birth of Venus, the Primavera (Spring), and Pallas and the Centaur (all at the Uffizii).

After the death of Lorenzo the Magnificent (1492), Botticelli underwent a personal crisis which paralleled Florence’s political crisis. His style changed and his themes were more often than not religious.

He died in 1510 already largely forgotten. Botticelli remained neglected until the late 19th century when new appreciation north of the Alps led by collectors and the Pre-Raphaelite painters, led to a reappraisal by art historians and to present-day acclaim.

Bronzino

A famous Renaissance artist in Florence.

Agnolo BRONZINO, Florence 1503-1572, was a pupil of Pontormo who soon developed his own trademark highly polished style of courtly portraiture, first for the court of the Della Rovere in Pesaro but mainly back in Florence for Duke Cosimo I (who ruled 1537-74) for whom he also planned the wedding decorations, and various interior decorations, for whom he drew tapestry cartoons, and created the fresco cycle for the chapel in the residential part of the Ducal Palace (Palazzo Vecchio to us) for Cosimo’s wife, Eleonora.

The Uffizi contain many of his portraits, including those of Eleonora and many of her children and of Lucrezia Panciatichi. All include masterly renditions of their clothing and jewelry.

Pitti’s Palatine Gallery boasts his portrait of Giudobaldo II della Rovere.

In the church of San Lorenzo, one can admire his vast fresco of the martyrdom of the self-same saint on a grill. Bronzino’s most enigmatic painting, however, is probably his Allegory with Venus and Cupid at the National Gallery, London.

Brunelleschi

Filippo BRUNELLESCHI (Florence, 1377-1446) was an able goldsmith and sculptor who ushered in the Renaissance in painting—by developing the technique of single-point perspective in drawing—and in architecture—by uniting as no one had before the conception and execution of whole buildings ex novo.

Brunelleschi first came to notice in 1401 when he tied for first place with Lorenzo Ghiberti for the commission to make doors for the Baptistery.

A trip to Rome (in 1402) in the company of Donatello sparked his interest in perspective and in architecture. He started working on the Duomo building site in 1409 and from 1418 to 1438 conceived and then executed the construction of the dome of the cathedral with an entirely innovative technique and tools he designed for that purpose.

He also executed an outdoor loggia for the Ospedale degli Innocenti (1421-24), he planned the re-building of the church of San Lorenzo (completed after his death) including the Old Sacristy (1428), and a Chapel for the Pazzi family at Santa Croce (1430) both of which have a central plan topped by a dome.

Lastly. he designs the church of Santo Spirito (c. 1426).

Each of his buildings displays his concern for proportion and harmony. At his death Brunelleschi was buried in the Duomo.

The memory of this was lost for centuries until his tomb was rediscovered n 1972.

Caravaggio

His real name was Michelangelo Merisi (1571-1610),

and he took his name from the town near to where he was born. Heavily influenced by the Lombard school of painting (that is, followers of Leonardo da Vinci), he went to Rome seeking fame and fortune in 1592. A handful of years later, he received his first commission for “Scenes from the Life of St. Matthew” at San Luigi dei Francesi. His dramatic use of light and dark was much copied (and still is today). Besides painting exquisitely, he got into a lot of trouble. Fortunately, he had friends in high places who could protect him … and did up to a point. He needed to flee Rome in 1606 after murdering a man. The last four years of his life were spent in Naples, Syracuse, Messsina, and Palmero; he died in Porto Ecole (in Tuscany).

            Where to see Caravaggio in Florence:

      • Uffizi
      • Galleria Palatina, Palazzo Pitti

 

Cimabue

An artist from the 1200s.

CIMABUE (Cenni di Pepi, c. 1240-1308) was a Tuscan painter, active in the second half of the 13th century. He is considered a pioneer for breaking with the Byzantine practices of his day in favor of greater naturalism in the depiction of human figures, in particular. His most interesting work visible in Florence is the large Crucifix at Santa Croce (damaged during the 1966 flood).

Much in demand in his lifetime, his fame was soon eclipsed—if what Dante wrote is true—probably while he was still active, by Giotto di Bodone (c.1267-1337):

 

Donatello

A genius from the Florence Renaissance.

Born in 1386, Donatello (real name: Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi) entered the workshop of Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455), who was busy working on his first set of doors of the Baptistery. Two years later (in 1406), Donatello was awarded a commission to sculpt two prophets for the exterior of the cathedral.

He journeyed to Rome with Filippo Brunelleschi, and the two of them had fun studying ancient buildings and ruins, and digging up antiquities.

Though he mainly worked in Florence, he did receive commissions in Prato, Padua, and Venice. His most important patron was Cosimo de’Medici, the most powerful man in 15th century Florence. He died in 1466, and is buried alongside his most illustrious patron in the crypt at the basilica of San Lorenzo.

Where to see Donatello in Florence:

  • The Baptistery
  • Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (when it reopens in late 2015)
  • Basilicas of Santa Croce and San Lorenzo
  • Bargello
  • Palazzo Vecchio

Filippino Lippi

The High Renaissance artist nicknamed Filippino Lippi to distinguish him from his father, Fra’ Filippo Lippi, after who he was named.

The High Renaissance artist nicknamed Filippino Lippi to distinguish him from his father, Fra’ Filippo Lippi, after who he was named.

Filippino was born illegitimately in 1459 to the artist and ordained priest (who later left the church) Fra’ Filippo Lippi. His mother was Lucrezia Buti, a young girl that Filippo stole away from a monastery after she sat for him as a model.

Filippino’s first tutor was his own father. Upon his death, Filippino completed his father’s partially-finished frescoes before undertaking an apprenticeship with Botticelli, who in turn had studied under Fra’ Filippo.

Whilst initially Filippino’s works seemed like a poor imitation of these two great artists that informed him, he did over time develop his own style. He become known for his ethereal and animated figures and their surroundings that he portrayed in minute detail.

Filippino Lippi created several religious works including a number of depictions of the Madonna. He completed works in the Brancacci Chapel, known as the “Sistine Chapel” of the early Renaissance for housing some of the greatest artworks of the time. Other Filippino project can be found in the Santo Spirito Church, the Strozzi Chapel in the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, and in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery. Other Filippino Lippi works can be found in Prato, Pavia, Bologna and in the Medici family chapel in Rome’s Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. He also worked on frescoes in a Medici villa in Spedaletto together with Botticelli and other notable painters of the time.

His most renowned work is arguably the Apparition of the Virgin to St. Bernard, in the Badia Fiorentina, painted over a six-year period from 1480.

His last work, which his death in 1504 stopped him from completing, is in the Santissima Annunziata church in Florence. He died in 1504 at just 45 years of age, having become such a beloved figure in Florence that the local workshops remained closed on the day of his funeral.

Filippo Lippi

An artist in the Cloister.

He was born poor sometime around 1406, the son of a butcher and a mother who died in childbirth (his), and orphaned early. Next-of-kin didn’t want to, or couldn’t, support him, and so he, like many others in his position, was consigned to the convent of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence. He did not want to be a Man of God; though he may have been devout, celibacy was not at all in his vocabulary.

Giorgio Vasari, perhaps his earliest biographer, wrote that if Lippi could not have a woman, he’d paint her (though evidence shows that perhaps the two were not mutually exclusive).

His artistic formation began in the cloister; he learned his painterly ABCs by studying the Brancacci Chapel, which just happened to be part of the monastic complex which had taken him in.

Many think he assisted Masolino, one of the artists. His work, much in demand, led him to the Medici and, eventually, to Spoleto, where he died in 1469.

Where to see paintings by Filippo Lippi:

  • Madonna and Child, Uffizi, Florence
  • Incoronation of the Virgin, Uffizi, Florence
  • Madonna and Child with Stories from the life of the Virgin, Galleria Palatina, Palazzo Pitti, Florence
  • Madonna and Child, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence
  • Duomo, Prato
  • Duomo, Spoleto

Gentile da Fabriano

Full name, Gentile di Niccolò di Giovanni di Massio, he was one of the most important exponents of International Gothic.

This itinerant painter was born sometime around 1370 in Fabriano, a town in the Marches (Fabriano has been making paper for nearly some 800 years and counting).

It’s not known how he learned his craft; what is known is that he settled nowhere, and went where the work was, which included Foligno, Brescia, Florence, Siena, and Rome. In Florence, he was hired by Palla Strozzi, the richest man in town, to do an altarpiece for a family chapel commemorating his dead father Onofrio. That lusciousness may be seen in his Adoration of the Magi, signed and dated 1423, now hanging in the Uffizi. It’s one of the pinnacles of the style known as International Gothic: the painted fabric of the three wise men startles.

The painting is littered with exotic animals (try counting them all). Gentile died in Rome in 1427.

Gherardo delle Notti

A Dutch Golden Age painter with a strong affinity with Italy.

His real name was Gerard (or Gerritt, depending upon the source) von Honthorst. Born in Utrecht (Holland) in 1592, he was the son of a painter of some ability.

He went to Rome sometime in the after 1610, and absorbed the work of Caravaggio, which became his main inspiration for the rest of his artistic life. (The two never met; Caravaggio died in 1610, and Honthorst was only definitively documented in Rome in 1516.)

He was a painter much in demand, and was hired by various German courts, France, Spain, Holland, and Portugal.

The nickname “delle Notti” means “of the nights”. No doubt he earned this moniker because many of his works were painted night-time affairs, employing a dramatic use of light and dark. He died where he was born in 1656.

Ghiberti

The father of the Renaissance?

It could be argued that Florentine Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455), a goldsmith by training, kicked off the Renaissance in Italy. In 1401, he won a competition to do a bronze set of doors for Florence’s Baptistery.

That he “won” it is somewhat murky. He says he did; the first-runner up, Filippo Brunelleschi, said that they were offered the commission together. But what is inescapable is that his assistants – such as Donatello — on those first set of doors (now called the North Doors) became famous in their own right.

Ghiberti was then awarded the commission – without competition – to do the second set of doors, the so-called “Gates of Paradise,” which were finished in 1452. Though he worked on other projects in Florence and Siena (among other places), it was those two sets of doors which took up most of his time, and made his name.

Ghirlandaio

A family of well-known artists hailing from Florence during the Renaissance.

Domenico, Davide and Benedetto Ghirlandaio were three brothers from Florence, Italy, who became well-known painters during the Renaissance. The son of Domenico, Ridolfo Ghirlandaio, also become a well-established artist in his own right.

However it was Domenico Ghirlandaio who is the most well-known of the Ghirlandaio family, particularly appreciated for his portraits and their realistic backdrops. He specialised in frescoes, where his expertise in composition really came to life, particularly through his skill in perspective, chiaroscuro and lifelike figures.

Indeed, Domenico Ghirlandaio is much appreciated for his abilities in rendering his subjects so realistically that provide us with a probable exact rendering of his subjects, many of whom were important historical figures.

Running a successful workshop, the Ghirlandaio brothers took in many other artists, none more famous than Michelangelo.

Domenico Ghirlandaio in particular is said to have imparted some of his knowledge upon Michelangelo, no doubt coming in handy when he was commission to paint the Sistine Chapel.

The Ghirlandaio brothers original family name was Bigordi, however their goldsmith father earned the nickname “Il Ghirlandaio” thanks to his skill in making gold garlands (“ghirlande”) that were popular with the Florentine ladies at the time. This name ended up being applied to the entire family, and stuck. Ironically, Domenico Ghirlandaio was one of the first artists of his time to abandon almost entirely the use of gold gilding in his works.

Artworks by Domenico Ghirlandaio can be found in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery, Ognissanti, San Marco’s refectory (with Domenico’s own version of the Last Supper), the Sassetti Chapel, as well many other locations in Florence, Tuscany and beyond, including in many international museums (such as the Louvre).

Leonardo da Vinci

One of the greatest minds of all time.

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (1452-1519) – aka Leonardo da Vinci – hailed from the small Tuscan town of Vinci (hence, ‘da Vinci’ – meaning, cryptically, ‘from Vinci’). He was born illegitimately to a notary father and peasant woman mother.

Leonardo da Vinci was taken in by famed artist Verrocchio, who taught him the art of painting and more.

A true Renaissance Man, da Vinci was a jack of all trades and master of every one. A painter, architect, sculptor, inventor, engineer, mathematician, cartographer, geologist, botanist and even a musician, it’s no wonder da Vinci is considered one of the most comprehensively genius persons of all time.

His unique view of the world saw him apply new techniques to every field he turned his hand to. Despite having come up with inventions for an astounding array of items (think flying machines and parachutes, scuba gear, weaponry, solar power, and more), he is most well-known as being a painter.

Even with painting, he undertook many experiments with techniques. Not all were so successful however, which is why only around 15 Leonardo da Vinci paintings exist today.

The Last Supper and Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci are two of the most famous artworks ever created.

Lorenzo Monaco

Born Piero di Giovanni in 1370, Lorenzo Monaco was a painter hailing from Siena before moving to Florence.

Upon joining the Santa Maria degli Angeli monastery at the age of 20, he changed his name to Lorenzo Monaco – or rather, Lawrence the Monk.

Working throughout the late Gothic/early Renaissance period, Monaco is known as creating many spiritual works. Despite not being one to adopt more modern techniques arising during his lifetime, such as developments in perspective, he was a popular artist that received many commissions.

His works can be found in the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze, Uffizi Gallery and Santa Trinità church in Florence to name a few.

He died in 1425, which according to local artist and gossip Vasari, was due to some kind of infection or tumor.

Luca Giordano

The fast painter.

He painted fast, as his nickname “Luca Fapresto/Luca fai presto” attests. Born into a Neapolitan family with some artistic talent (his father was a painter) in 1634, he learned his trade in the workshop of Ribera (1591-1652) who was working in Naples at the time. Luca moved to Rome, and worked with Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669), and also assiduously copied the masters, including Raphael and Michelangelo.

He then moved to Florence, worked in the Spanish court, and returned home to Naples, where he died in 1705. His Florentine works may be found in the Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, Casa Martelli, and the Galleria Orsini.

Probably his most famous Florentine effort is the Apotheosis of the Medici adorning the ceiling at Palazzo Medici Riccardi.

Lucrezia Buti

Born beautiful and poor in Prato in 1435.

This young woman was sent to the convent, even though it was the last place on earth she (or her sister, who accompanied her) wanted to be.

A philandering Carmelite friar from Florence deft with a paintbrush and quick with fresco technique, one Fra Filippo Lippi, was working in Prato at the time, and became enamored of her. Throwing vows of Bride of Christ to the wind, Lucrezia, then around 21, and the 50something friar began a heated love affair, which resulted in the birth of their son Filippino (Little Philip) in 1457.

Eight years later, a daughter, Alessandra, followed. Lucrezia and Alessandra, typical of life stories related to Renaissance women, fall off the radar; son/brother Filippino goes on to became a talented painter in his own right.

Some art historians maintain that the Feckless Friar painted his lady love many times, almost always standing in for the Virgin Mary. (They never married.)

Possible portraits of Lucrezia Buti:

  • Filippo Lippi, Madonna and Child, Uffizi
  • Filippo Lippi, Incoronation of the Virgin, Uffizi
  • Filippo Lippi, Madonna and Child with Stories from the Life of the Virgin, Galleria Palatina, Palazzo Pitti

 

 

Michelangelo

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) is one of the world’s greatest and best-known artist of all time.

Born to a Florentine family in the small Tuscan town of Caprese (today known as Caprese Michelangelo), he went on to create some of the world’s greatest masterpieces in sculpture, painting and architecture.

Michelangelo’s David is considered as the most magnificent statue -if not artwork- ever made. It is today housed in Florence’s Accademia Gallery. Another of Michelangelo’s greatest works is the Pietà, in the St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Michelangelo originally carved the Pietà to adorn the tomb of French Cardinal Jean de Bilhères, however it was moved to the Basilica where it sits today. He also worked on the design of St. Peter’s Basilica itself. Then there is the breathtaking frescos adorning the Sistine Chapel, and much more.

Working during the Renaissance, Michelangelo was one of the most well-respected artist of his time amongst his contemporaries (even if at times it was more for his work than his diplomacy). Indeed, two biographies were written about this great Renaissance artist during his lifetime, including one by Giorgio Vasari (of Vasari Corridor fame, among other things).

Michelangelo’s work even inspired a whole art movement, Mannerism, which followed directly on from the Renaissance. Michelangelo’s work greatly inspired Mannerism particularly through his depiction of grandeur or, terribilità, as well as rousing centuries of artists (and even a few of our tour guides) into their chosen fields.

Thanks to his penchant for putting things to paper, a lot of documentation remains that give us great insights into the life of Michelangelo. These include a vast body of sketches, correspondence and even poems.

Despite having accrued significant financial wealth during his lifetime, Michelangelo preferred to live quite a poor life. It is known that he was not exactly the most social person. However many of the poems he penned were declarations of love.

Michelangelo’s David

Many consider Michelangelo’s David to be the greatest artwork ever created.

The David was carved by Tuscan artist Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), one of the top artists in history famous not only for his lifelike sculptures, but also for painting (including the Sistine Chapel), architecture (with the St Peter’s Basilica dome) and more.

The David statue was to be part of a series of 12 Old Testament statues that were to be commissioned by the Overseers of Florence’s Cathedral around a century prior.

Donatello made his Joshua statue in 1410. Agostino di Duccio created Hercules in 1463 and commenced carving the David a year on, in marble brought especially to Florence from the famed marble area Carrara. Alas, not long after his work on the statue ceased. Around ten years later, Rossellino took over the completion of the David, but his project was also left by the wayside.

In 1501, when Michelangelo was a mere 26 years old, he was tasked with completing the David. Two years later, his masterpiece was complete.

Weighing 6 tons, the idea of placing Michelangelo’s David on top of Florence’s Cathedral was swiftly abandoned. Instead, it was posted in front of Florence’s Town Hall – Il Palazzo Vecchio – in the Piazza della Signoria.

In 1873, the local government decided that it was not such a bright idea to leave such a treasure to the elements, moving it to a specially-designed room within the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze that had been created less than a century prior. It remains in this stunning space to this day.

In 1910, a replica of Michelangelo’s David was placed in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, in the statue’s original position.

Perugino

A great artist from Perugia.

Born Pietro di Cristoforo Vannuci in a little town in Umbria sometime around 1445 or so, he’s better known as Perugino, which can mean “little guy from Perugia.” His father was wealthy, so it’s somewhat odd that Perugino opted for the artistic life.

His artistic formation began in Perugia, and his talent later took him to Florence. He was a much-in-demand painter; he maintained two workshops in two different cities, which was a rarity. In Florence, he worked in Verrocchio’s workshop alongside such soon-to-be luminaries as Leonardo da Vinci and Sandro Botticelli.

He taught Raphael. In 1493, Perugino married Chiara Fanucci, daughter of the sculptor/architect Luca Fanucci (c. 1430 – c. 1502). She may have served as a model for many of his Madonnas. Perugino’s peripatetic life led him to Rome, where he helped paint the walls of the Sistine Chapel.

He died sometime around 1523, and is buried in a small town in Umbria near to where he was born.

Piero della Francesca

This Tuscan painter was born in the tiny hamlet of Monterchi around 1420.

By 1439, he’s recorded in Florence, hanging out with Domenico Veneziano, and collaborating with him on a major fresco cycle (now lost) at Santa Maria Nuova, the church/hospital founded by Folco Portinari in 1288.

Following the money (and the power), Piero goes to Rimini and is in the employ of petty despot Sigismondo Malatesta, where he frescoes his patron in supplication to his patron saint Sigismondo (though the fresco is quite damaged, the two greyhounds in the bottom right maintain their 1450s glow).

A trip to Rome follows, and shortly thereafter Piero is in yet another court, this time in Urbino, in the employ of Federico, the Duke of Montefeltro. Piero’s double portrait of Federico and his wife Battista Sforza, in the Uffizi, are among his most important works.

The artist died on October 12, 1492, clueless that Christopher Columbus was in the act of discovering the New World.

Van Dyck

Anthony van Dyck was born in Antwerp in 1599, and garnered great fame by painting the rich, titled, and famous.

Van Dyke’s start was humble but auspicious, as he formed a workship with the young Jan Brueghel the Elder. (He also was an accomplished water-colorist and etcher).

He was the official painter at the English court of the doomed Charles I, who also managed to lure the Gentileschis (both Orazio and his daughter Artemisia) and Peter Paul Rubens to his circle. Van Dyck worked for, and collaborated with, Rubens.

A six-year stint in Italy, spent mostly in Genoa and Palermo, painting local aristocrats fattened his coffers. Though he painted other genres besides portraits, he is best known for his skill as a portraitist.

He died in London in 1641.

Velasquez

Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez – or Diego Rodríguez for short!

This Spanish painter, born in Seville in 1599 (the same year the Spanish Armada washed ashore) begin his artistic career by painting people of small importance in his hometown.

Called to the court of Philip IV in 1623, he became official court painter and chamberlain. Two trips to Italy, spaced twenty years apart, helped him absorb the influences of the Italian school.

In 1629, he arrived in Genoa, and visited Milan, Venice, Ferrara, Bologna, and Rome. This sojourn lasted two years. His second trip included appreciating Tintoretto and Veronese in Venice, and stops in Modena and Parma (interesting that Florence seems to have been omitted from his itinerary).

Though most of his marvelous oeuvre may be found in the Prado, in Madrid, the Uffizi is fortunate to have a brooding self-portrait of the master hanging on a wall in the Vasari Corridor.

Verrocchio

Verrocchio was a renowned artist from the 1400s in Florence, Italy.

He was born Andrea di Michele di Francesco di Cione in Florence in 1435, and how he received the moniker “Verrocchio” is a mystery.

He was an accomplished goldsmith, painter, and sculptor (perhaps sculpting are his greatest achievements) who managed to draw some great talent into his workshop. Leonardo da Vinci, Perugino, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, LucaSignorelli, and Lorenzo di Credi are some of the luminaries who either were his assistants or his collaborators.

Perhaps his greatest patrons were the Medici, for whom he executed a number of works – the most famous which is the tomb for Piero de’Medici, the father of Lorenzo the Magnificent.

Most of Verrocchio’s work were done in Florence; he had a short sojourn in Venice, but returned to Florence, where he died in 1488.

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