The History of Art And The Curious Lives of Famous Painters



Mariotto Albertinelli


Florentine Painter of the High Renaissance

Stylistically influenced by the following painters -Lorenzo di Credi, Fra Bartolomeo and  Raphael.

Education - apprenticed to Cosimo Rossell

Cause of Death - plague


Mariotto Albertinelli painting style is characterized by a highly dramatic, heroic manner. John C. Van Dyke, eminent art critic and historian remarks "Fra Bartolommeo was among the last of the pietists in art. He had no great imagination, but some feeling and a fine color-sense for Florence. Naturally he was influenced somewhat by the great ones about him, learning perspective from Raphael, grandeur from Michael Angelo, and contours from Leonardo da Vinci. He worked in collaboration with Albertinelli, a skilled artist and a fellow-pupil with Bartolommeo in the workshop of Cosimo Rosselli. Their work is so much alike that it is often difficult to distinguish the painters apart. Albertinelli was not so devout as his companion, but he painted the religious subject with feeling, as his Visitation in the Uffizi indicates. "  

Albertinelli depicted biblical personalities as celestial beings, both physically and spiritually alive.  His unusual spiritually charge visionary style generated criticism and at one point Albertinelli gave up his lucrative studio and opened a tavern and inn of sorts.  He continued to accept painting commissions when money fell short.  Eventually he tired of being an innkeeper altogether and reopened his studio in Florence. Apparently predisposed to melancholia, the artist suffered several breakdowns that caused him to retreat to the hills and live as a hermit for months at a time.  He is considered one the greatest Florentine painters of all time.

Changes in Society

The newly emerging painting techniques and styles were a reflection of the transformation that was taking place in Europe, the change from the medieval period to a more enlightened, tolerant society. Artists of the Renaissance were elevated in social standing and their art was no longer looked upon as simple handicrafts, but as divinely inspired creations. The spirit of an era awoke, revitalized with knowledge and creativity. The major painters of the Renaissance were not only artists but men of great genius who gave the world their great intellectual gifts. Florentine and Venetian painting were both formed by extraordinary personalities. These men tackled mathematical, artistic and philosophical problems of the highest interest, and presented solutions that have never lost their value. Leonardo da Vinci asserted "In dealing with a scientific problem, I first arrange several experiments, and then show with reasons why such an experiment must necessarily operate in this and in no other way. This is the method which must be followed in all research upon the phenomenon of nature. We must consult experience in the variety of cases and circumstances until we can draw from them a general rule that is contained in them. And for what purposes are these rules good? They lead us to further investigations of nature and to creations of art. They prevent us from deceiving ourselves and others by promising results which are not obtainable."

The sense of humanism pervading renaissance painting is still palpable. The painters touched on a multitude of  issues regarding the human condition - death, love, reason, religion, universal morality, social problems.

Key Descriptive Words  and Phrases associated with the Renaissance Movement rebirth, rediscovery of the classical world,  publication of Della Pittura, a book about the laws of mathematical perspective for artists,  sfumato, chiaroscuro, Savonarola, spiritually significant,  illuminated manuscript,  idealized biblical themes, scriptorium, illuminator,  Age of Discovery, axonometric drawing, curiosity about the natural world,  realistic use of colours and  light,  Bonfire of the Vanities, Old Testament stories, ethereal and foggy backgrounds, Gospel parables, The Blackdeath, romanticized landscapes,  Christian symbolism.

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