Mariotto Albertinelli: life and works

By Gwylym Owen

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Mariotto di Bindo di Biagio Albertinelli (13 October 1474 – 5 November 1515) was an Italian Renaissance painter swift in Florence. He was a close friend and assistant of Fra Bartolomeo.

Some of his works have been described as “archaic” or “conservative”; others are considered exemplary of the grandiose classicism of High Renaissance art.

Albertinelli was born in Florence to a local gold beater. He was a pupil of Cosimo Rosselli, in whose workshop he met Baccio della Porta, later known as Fra Bartolomeo. The two were so near that in 1494 they formed a “compagnia,” or partnership, in which they functional a joint studio and on bad terms the profits of everything produced within it. The partnership lasted until 1500, when Baccio united the Dominican order and spent two years in cloister.

At the initiation of his career Albertinelli was placed upon retainer by Alfonsina Orsini, the wife of Piero II de’ Medici and mom of Lorenzo II de’ Medici. His works from this period whatever small-scale works executed in a minute, delicate technique and a style derived from the works of Rosselli’s main pupil Piero di Cosimo as competently as Lorenzo di Credi and Perugino. Like many Florentine painters, Albertinelli was also receptive to the concern of contemporary Flemish painting.

Albertinelli’s primeval works increase a small triptych of the Madonna and Child later than Saints Catherine and Barbara (1500) at the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan, and another triptych of the Madonna and Child subsequently Saints, Angels and Various Religious Scenes at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Chartres. The several panels with Scenes from Genesis, at the Courtauld Institute in London, Strossmayer Gallery in Zagreb, Accademia Carrara in Bergamo and Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, probably afterward date from this period.

In 1503 Albertinelli signed and dated his best-known work, an altarpiece for the chapel of Sant’Elisabetta della congrega dei Preti in San Michele alle Trombe, Florence (now in the Uffizi). The central panel of this pretend depicts the Visitation and the predella the Annunciation, Nativity, and Circumcision of Christ. The pyramidal composition, classical background architecture and pronounced contrasts of blithe and dark make the painting a quintessential example of High Renaissance art.

Also in 1503 Albertinelli entered a supplementary partnership like Giuliano Bugiardini, which lasted until 1509, when Albertinelli resumed his partnership taking into account Fra Bartolomeo. At this lessening Fra Bartolomeo and Albertinelli practiced same styles and occasionally collaborated. For example, the Kress Tondo, now in the Columbia Museum of Art, was previously ascribed to Fra Bartolomeo but is now thought to be the operate of Albertinelli using Fra Bartolomeo’s cartoon, or scaled-preparatory drawing. The Annunciation at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Geneva is signed and dated (1511) by both artists. The partnership was terminated in January 1513, as reported in a document stipulating the separation of the workshop’s properties.

According to Giorgio Vasari’s Life of Albertinelli, the painter lived as a libertine and was fond of good living and women. Albertinelli reportedly had experienced financial problems and operated a tavern to auxiliary his allowance as a painter. At the stop of his vigor he was unable to pay off some of his debts, including one to Raphael. His wife Antonia, whom he married in 1506, repaid some of his loans. Among his many students were Franciabigio, Jacopo da Pontormo, and Innocenzo da Imola.

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