Art e Dossier

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Art History

Pontormo : biography

Jacopo Carucci was born in Pontorme di Empoli in 1494.Orphaned at a young age he moved to Florence in 1508. His masters were Mariotto Albertinelli, Piero di Cosimo and Andrea del Sarto in whose atelier he arrived in 1512 and where he worked with Rosso Fiorentino. From the following year he worked on Santissima Annunziata and in the cloister he frescoed the Visitation (1514-1515). In 1515 he painted St. Veronica in the pope’s chapel in Santa Maria Novella where we can see the clear influence of Michelangelo. During the same year, with other artists he painted the fourteen panels with Scenes from the Life of Joseph (London, National Gallery)for the nuptial chamber of Pierfrancesco Borgherini and Margherita Acciaioli. On the basis of his knowledge of Northern prints he created compositions teeming with life and descriptive details. In 1518 he was working on the altarpiece for the Pucci chapel in the church of San Michele Visdomini in Florence. This work is a sort of manifesto of his “anti-classical” inclinations: the pyramidal composition, derived from Andrea del Sarto, is animated by the expressions of the characters (recalling Leonardo’s studies and northern engravings), the mobility of the light and the diagonal arrangement of the figures. He became famous and was summoned to work for the Medici family: between 1519 an 1521 he painted the lunette with Vertumnus and Pomona in the villa at Poggio a Caiano, a clear and serene moment of country life alluding to the Medici restoration and the pontificate of Leo X. Between 1523 and 1525 he painted frescoes with the Scenes from the Passion of Christ for the Certosa of Galluzzo just outside Florence, while a plague epidemic ravaged the city. This was followed by important altarpieces with the Deposition for the Capponi chapel in Santa Felicita and the Visitation for the Pieve di Carmignano. The michelangelesque sculptural shapes, the gestures and gazes, the clear chromatic range and the intense sentimentalism are hallmarks of mannerist painting that had been fully released of all reference to the real. The favor of the Medici, for whom he did many portraits (including Cosimo the Elder in the Uffizi), lasted through the following years with many paintings– all of which have been lost – on the villas at Careggi (1535-1536) and Castello (1537-1543) and the choir of the church of San Lorenzo (1546-1557) that he worked on until his death on 31 December 1556 or 1 January 1557.

The works