|Andrea del Sarto Self-portrait
|The Birth of the Virgin, 1514,
Andrea del Sarto
|Madonna of the Harpies, 1517,
Andrea del Sarto
Del Sarto had a problem. Her name was Lucrezia. She was his wife and apparently quite beautiful. He painted her numerous times in various roles. She may well be the model for his 1517 Madonna of the Harpies (left), considered one of his best efforts, comparable to the work of Leonardo and Fra Bartolomeo. However, one of del Sarto's former students, none other than the famous art historian, Giorgio Vasari (whom Michelangelo had introduced to del Sarto), painted her as something of a flirt among her husband's apprentices (he ought to know, having been one) and even as being unfaithful. Whatever the case, she was apparently what we would call today, "high maintenance," spending all her husband could earn as fast, or faster, than he could earn it. Del Sarto's work is often criticized as "lacking soul," perhaps as a result of his prodigious output in feeling the need to keep his attractive wife in the manner to which she'd become accustomed.
|Young St. John the Baptist,
1520-30, Andrea del Sarto
Del Sarto did, however, create some of his best work in the following years, including his 1520-30 Young St. John the Baptist (above, right). Around 1531, Andrea del Sarto succumbed to an outbreak of Bubonic Plague. He died, unattended by his unappreciative wife. Of course, given the extremely contagious nature of the plague, maybe she was simply being cautious. If so, it was a wise move; she survived her unfortunate, workaholic husband by forty years.
|Madonna of the Angels, 1516, Andrea del Sarto, his ticket to Paris.