Birthday to one of my favourite High Renaissance painters, who - although very important indeed - often gets overlooked; such is the fate of artists that lived in time of Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael.
Andrea del Sarto was born in Florence in 1486, which means that he was younger even than Raphael, 3 years his senior, while Leonardo was 34 years older than him; roughly at the time that Andrea was born, Leonardo was finishing The Virgin of the Rocks while Michelangelo was soon to become an apprentice to Domenico Ghirlandaio. In other words, Andrea del Sarto belongs to Raphael’s generation of Renaissance artists.
Andrea’s real name was too long to mention; del Sarto is a nickname he got, because of his father’s trade : he was known as tailor’s son, del Sarto, and this nickname from youth stuck with him until his death and then further on into art history. Other than being called the tailor’s son, Andrea had another nickname acquired by his talent alone : they called him Andrea senza errori - Andrea without errors, an estimate to which one of his pupils that also wrote his biography and whom we know well as Giorgio Vasari - was partly critical of. However, Vasari’s greatest role model Michelangelo thought very highly of Andrea’s abilities. This should speak volumes since Il divino was not that keen to praise many of his colleagues ;)
Andrea unfortunately lived only 43 years; in 1530 he died of plague. He is considered to be the best painter of his generation living in Florence, where he spent most of his life. A High Renaissance painter he is at the same time the harbinger of Mannerism, of which his pupil Jacopo Carucci, known as Pontormo, will be one of main exponents.
Self-portrait, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence