The Virgin and Child, c. 1515-1517
Andrea del Sarto
tempera and oil on wood
85.6 x 62.5 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 4352)
Andrea d'Agnolo, called del Sarto ("the tailor") after his father, spent most of his career in Florence, first apprenticing with Piero di Cosimo (c. 1462-1521?). In many ways, del Sarto stands as a bridge between the High Renaissance and the emerging Mannerist style. His painting conveys an embellishment of Raphael's ideal of classical beauty and harmony with a new grace or "bella maniera", a trend championed by del Sarto's most famous pupil, Jacopo Pontormo (1494-1557). In this composition of the "Virgin and Child", probably the artist's most popular subject, the supple modelling of flesh and drapery is enlivened with vibrant passages of light and colour.