Debut at the Chiostrino dell’Annunziata
Andrea del Sarto was only twenty-three when he began to work in the votive cloister in the Annunziata, Florence’s most popular shrine, painting the Life of Blessed Philip Benizzi in 1509-10 and the Journey of the Magi in 1511. This was the year Rosso and Pontormo, both adolescents, began to frequent the workshop of del Sarto (already a celebrated master despite being only a little older than his students) and probably accompanied him to Rome. While both took their cue from the Procession, they then set off down different paths. A few years later, in Rosso’s Assumption of the Virgin (1513) and Pontormo’s Visitation (1514) in the same cloister, the difference in their styles is clearly evident, as well as showing how they had moved away from the classicism of Raphael. These two frescoes from the cloister along with del Sarto’s Journey of the Magi open the exhibition. Visitors will also encounter a panel by Fra Bartolomeo, master of the “school” in the convent of San Marco and Rosso’s spiritual mentor. Pontormo, though at that same “school”, took his inspiration from Mariotto Albertinelli.
In the workshop of Andrea del Sarto
Reacting to the work of Andrea del Sarto, referred to his lifetime as a painter “without error”, the two artists’ paths began to diverge completely within a few years, reflecting the values of the conflicting factions competing for cultural and political supremacy in Florence: the Medici, and the aristocrats who opposed them. With del Sarto’s Annunciation (for which Pontormo and Rosso painted a now lost predella) as its focal point, this section explores the first hints of divergence in form and content between the two artists’ work. Pontormo, who was also working on ephemeral apparatus for the feasts given by the Medici after their recent return to the city, was openly influenced by the legacy of Leonardo and by northern European art, while Rosso developed a personal approach to del Sarto’s teaching that reveals an acute interest in experimenting with the Quattrocento tradition.