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Andrea Del Sarto was born in 1486 in Florence, Italy . He was also known as Andrea d'Angiolo. The son of Angiolo di Francesco, a tailor, whence the name Sarto, he began as a goldsmith's apprentice and was then taught for several years by Piero di Cosimo. In the course of a few years he was earning his own way, with a steady stream of commissions and enough money to support his entire family.
The Art movement dominating the 16th century after Michelangelo's death, known as Mannerism, was an attempt to fuse form as conceived by Michelangelo with color as conceived by Raphael. The artist who came closest to achieving this was Andrea del Sarto, whose work also reveals the influence of Leonardo. His huge canvases are peopled with solid sculptural figures set in shadow, that, unlike Leonardo's, is tinted rather than grey, and his palette abounds in warm tones. In fact, Andrea was so successful in harmoniously blending the various influences in his work that he was referred to as the "faultless painter."
At some point he met Lucrezia del Fede. She was the wife of a capmaker, a seductive and beguiling young woman who, according to the Florentine painter Vasari, "delighted in trapping the hearts of men." Andrea let himself be trapped, neglecting his art and abandoning his parents while he dallied with his new-found mistress. Suddenly the capmaker died of an unexplained illness and Andrea took the young widow as his bride. Then Lucrezia began to reveal her true nature. She berated Andrea and taunted him, abused his students and flirted with his friends. With mad complaints and a show of wild grief, she forced him to relinquish a royal commission in France. Yet Andrea's devotion to Lucrezia never waned and her face often appeared on his canvases. She rewarded his devotion by leaving him to die alone of the plague at the age of forty-four.
Mention should be made of Del Sarto's penetrating portraits, which reveal, in all their modesty and earnestness, the personality of the artist as much as that of his sitters.
Written and compiled by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California
The Uffizi by Margherita Lenzini & Emma Micheletti
Phaidon Encyclopedia of Art and Artists
Life Magazine, date unknown