Desperate air and soft colouring
By around 1517, the differences in the style and the religious and philosophical content of the two artists’ work are clearly evident. Andrea del Sarto’s Madonna of the Harpies (1517), on which their divergence hinged, may be compared in this section with Rosso’s Spedalingo Altarpiece (1518) and Pontormo’s Pucci Altarpiece (1518). Their diverging paths were to lead Pontormo to opt for a varied, modern style and to become the Medici’s painter of choice, soon to work on the decoration of the Medici villa in Poggio a Caiano. Meanwhile Rosso, with his anachronistic style harking back to the city’s illustrious artistic tradition, was to become the favourite painter of the Florentine aristocrats opposed to the Medici and intent on keeping alive the values of the republic.