Fra Bartolommeo
By Leader Scott

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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 studio.

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 age.

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 city.

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 effective.

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 Diocletian.

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 Andrea.

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.)
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.


Foreword  •  Fra Bartolommeo. - CHAPTER I. - THOUGHTS ON THE RENAISSANCE.  •  CHAPTER II. - THE “BOTTEGA” OF COSIMO ROSELLI. - A.D. 1475-1486.  •  CHAPTER III. - THE GARDEN AND THE CLOISTER. - A.D. 1487-1495.  •  CHAPTER IV. - SAN MARCO. - A.D. 1496-1500.  •  CHAPTER V. - FRA BARTOLOMMEO IN THE CONVENT. - A.D. 1504-1509.  •  CHAPTER VI. - ALBERTINELLI IN THE WORLD. - A.D. 1501-1510.  •  CHAPTER VII. - CONVENT PARTNERSHIP. - A.D. 1510–1513.  •  CHAPTER VIII. - CLOSE OF LIFE. - A.D. 1514–1517.  •  CHAPTER IX. - PART I. - SCHOLARS OF FRA BARTOLOMMEO.  •  PART II.  •  CHAPTER X. - RIDOLFO GHIRLANDAJO. - A.D. 1483–1560.  •  Andrea D’Agnolo, - Called Andrea Del Sarto. - CHAPTER I. - YOUTH AND EARLY WORKS. - A.D. 1487-1511.  •  CHAPTER II. - THE SERVITE CLOISTER. - A.D. 1511-1512.  •  CHAPTER III. - SOCIAL LIFE AND MARRIAGE. - A.D. 1511-1516.  •  CHAPTER IV. - WORKS IN FLORENCE. - A.D. 1511-1515.  •  CHAPTER V. - GOING TO FRANCE. - A.D. 1518-1519.  •  CHAPTER VI. - ANDREA AND OTTAVIANO DE’ MEDICI. - A.D. 1521-1523.  •  CHAPTER VII. - THE PLAGUE AND THE SIEGE. - A.D. 1525-1531.  •  CHAPTER VIII. - SCHOLARS OF ANDREA DEL SARTO.  • 

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