Florentine School. Andrea d’Agnolo, nicknamed del Sarto, from his father being a tailor. Pupil of Piero di Cosimo, and influenced by Fra Bartolommeo and Leonardo. From the easy excellence of his frescoes he was called Andrea senza errori.
LONDON, WALLACE COLLECTION
LA VIERGE DE PADE The Virgin kneeling supporting the Child, who stands in profile to left, with her left arm. On the left of them is the little Baptist seated, and an angel above him. In the sky is seen a vision, St. Anthony of Padua accompanied by an angel playing a violin.
Signed with two A’s interlaced and a Latin inscription.
“This painting, the finest example of the master in England, is among his happiest inspirations. Its popularity is proved by an unusual number of [old] repetitions and copies.” (Catalogue.)
A repetition is in the Prado, Madrid (No. 333), and a copy (No. 339), both of the same size.
CHARITY Charity, like a Madonna, in a long flowing robe of blue, is seated facing us -her feet slightly to our right-on a rock in the foreground of a landscape, her arms enclosing two naked children, while a third in front of her in the left foreground reclines against the foot of the rock with his head buried in his arms. The child on her left is in profile, feeding himself from her breast, and straddles her right knee; the other kneels facing us on the rock at her side, his head and arm in profile as he turns to offer a bunch of flowers. The whole group forms an almost regular pyramid. High up on the left in the background is a group of small figures under trees.
Signed on a cartellino in the lower left-hand corner: ” ANDREAS SARTUS FLORENTINUS ME PINXIT MDXVIIL”
Painted for Francis I. of France.
LA MADONNA DELLE ARPIE The Virgin stands fronting us on a low pedestal, on the base of which on either side stands an anaorino clutching her robe below her knees. Left and right of these stand St. Francis as a monk, and St. John holding a book. The Virgin supports the Child on her right arm, while her left is extended downwards to support a book which rests against her left thigh (her knee being slightly bent), and on which the Child has His right foot. At the corners of the pedestal are carvings of harpies, from which the picture is named.
It was painted in 1517 for the Convent of the Franciscans in Florence, and is generally considered a masterpiece,
THE ANNUNCIATION The Virgin, standing before a desk, holds a book in her left hand, while her right is uplifted as she turns timidly towards the Angel Gabriel, who kneels on clouds before her with one hand raised and a lily in the other. In the background is a portico of classical architecture in which are three figures; at the base is a step on which stands a nude youth. In the distance are ruins and mountains. In the sky the emblem of the Holy Spirit. Painted in 1512 for the Church of the Frati Eremitani Osservanti, formerly outside the Porta San Gallo.
A DISPUTATION ON THE TRINITY Four saints stand on a step. To the left St. Augustine and St. Lawrence, whose gridiron held at his left shoulder marks the centre of the group; to the right St. Peter, Martyr, and St. Francis. St. Augustine extends his left arm towards a book held open by St. Peter, and with his forefinger points upwards to the small figure of Christ on the cross sustained by the Almighty. St. Francis holds in one hand the book of his Order, while the other is on his breast. In the foreground are St. Sebastian kneeling on the left, his back to us, and St. Mary Magdalene sitting on the right, gazing with rapt attention at St. Augustine.
” The work marks the culminating point in Andrea’s art . . . and, like the Annunciation, is another masterpiece of faultless drawing and glowing colour.” (Julia Cartwright.)
“ASUNTO MISTICO” The Virgin in the centre, facing us, seated on a high ledge, holding out her veil in her right hand. The Child stands at her right, but leans across, as she supports Him with her left hand. Below, half kneeling and half sitting, are (on our left) St. Joseph and (on our right) an angel holding a book. Background of hilly landscape; on the left a woman leading a child away.
THE SACRIFICE OF ISAAC In the foreground slightly to the left Isaac, nude, stands crouching beneath the grasp of his father, his arms bound behind him, his right foot on the ground, his left leg bent, kneeling on a small stone altar. His head is turned very slightly to the left. Abraham stands behind, his left arm stretched downwards as he grasps the bound arms of his son, the right drawn backwards as he turns his head upwards to his left at the approach of the angel, a nude, winged boy, who comes flying from above. Behind the altar on the left the ram, and in front on the ground Isaac’s robe. In the left background a large tree, in the right a city backed by a hill.
Painted for Francis I. of France in 1529.
“Far finer in design and expression than any other work of his later years.” (J. C.)