ANDREA DEL SARTO
Andrea del Sarto Free Bible
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"St. John the Baptist"
Seldom if ever again did Andrea del Sarto rise to the poetic heights he attained
in his "St. John the Baptist." St. John's features distinctly resemble those of
the painter's wife, Lucrezia, who so often sat as his model. Indeed, as Vasari
says, "If Andrea took a model from any other face there was always a resemblance
to hers in the painting, not only because he had this woman constantly before
him and depicted her so frequently, but, what is more, because he had her
lineaments engraved on his heart."
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ANDREA DEL SARTO (1486 - 1531)
Curiously, it was the misfortune of Andrea del Sarto, or Andrea d'Agnolo, as he generally signs himself, to be called the "faultless painter," which is praise that implies a want of ardor, and touches the core of his shortcomings. Over and over he is described as the painter who stops just short of perfect fulfillment, but he ranks high among his contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci, Michel Angelo and Raphael.
At thirty-two Andrea found a generous patron in King Francis I of France, but
while he was enjoying the change from the narrowness and poverty of his
Florentine life to the splendor of the French court his wife became impatient
for his return,
"being more anxious to profit by his gains than to see him again." Her
entreaties prevailed, and he obtained royal leave to return to Florence and take
his wife to Paris. Instead of doing the latter he remained in Florence and
"spent the money which Francis I had given him to purchase works of art for his
palace at Fontainebleau, in buying land and building a house near the
He fell a victim to the plague which followed the sacking of Florence by the
Spaniards in 1531, and passed away at forty-five, deserted even by his wife who
fled in terror from the house and left him to die alone. She survived him forty
years. One day in 1570, it is said, an aged woman stopped in the court of the
Annunziata to watch an artist copying Andrea del Sarto's "Birth of the Virgin."
She told him that it was her portrait, and that she was the widow of the artist
who painted the fresco.