- Sarto, Andrea del
- (1486-1530)Florentine painter who trained in the studio of Piero di Cosimo, an artist known mainly for his mythic landscapes inhabited by strange creatures. Andrea del Sarto did not adopt his master's peculiar subjects. Instead, he was deeply influenced by the art of Leonardo, Raphael, and Fra Bartolomeo. As a result, his figures are elegant and monumental, his compositions rational and balanced, and his colors harmonious. By the second decade of the 16th century, with the absence of Michelangelo and Raphael from Florence and Leonardo now deceased, del Sarto became the city's leading painter. His Annunciation (1512; Florence, Palazzo Pitti) is an early work created for the Monastery of San Gallo in Florence. It is unusual in that the archangel Gabriel is placed on the right, instead of the more common left. Also, the Virgin is standing, not sitting, and the scene takes place in front of a temple and not the customary domestic setting. The softness of contours and hazy quality in this work, particularly around the figures' eyes, are the result of del Sarto's implementation of Leonardo's sfumato technique.Del Sarto's Madonna of the Harpies (1517; Florence, Uffizi) is his best-known work and belongs to his mature style. Here, St. John the Baptist, who holds a book, relies on one of the figures in Raphael's School of Athens in the Stanza della Segnatura (1510-1511) at the Vatican, though the sculptural approach to draperies and figures is Michelangelesque. This work is as unconventional as his earlier Annunciation. The Virgin is not enthroned but stands above a pedestal decorated with harpies, female winged monsters from mythology who carry away the souls of the dead. Del Sarto's Lamentation (1524; Florence, Palazzo Pitti) he painted for the Church of San Pietro in Luco, where he and his family spent some time to save themselves from the plague that struck Florence in 1523. The work is an illustration of the doctrine of transubstantiation when the blessed host becomes the actual body and blood of Christ as signaled by the chalice, paten, and host stacked in front of Christ's dead body. Here, Andrea opted for an unconventional X-shaped composition, instead of the preferred pyramidal arrangements of his contemporaries. Among Andrea's late works is the Assumption of the Virgin (1526-1529; Florence, Palazzo Pitti), painted for the Church of San Antonio dei Servi in Cortona and financed by Margherita Passerini whose namesaint, Margaret of Cortona, is included in the painting. Del Sarto trained a number of important masters in his workshop, among them Jacopo da Pontormo, Rosso Fiorentino, and Giorgio Vasari.
Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. Lilian H. Zirpolo. 2008.
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