- Also known as
primary name: Rosso Fiorentino
other name: Giovanni Battista de' Rossi
other name: Giovanni Battista di Jacopo di Guasparre
- individual; painter/draughtsman; Florentine; School of Fontainebleau; Italian; Male
- Life dates
- Painter and draughtsman; active in Florence, Rome (until 1527), Perugia, Arezzo, Venice. b. Florence 1494 - d. Paris 1540.
He seems to have been taught by Andrea del Sarto (q.v.), with whom he worked in 1517. He was also in contact with Baccio Bandinelli (q.v.) by the middle of the second decade of the century and the two artists seem to have influenced each other. His early career is marked by a few outstanding paintings, including the 'Virgin and Child with Saints' (Uffizi) of 1518 and the 'Descent from the Cross' (Volterra) of 1521. In the following two years he continued to paint a number of important works in Florence, including the 'Marriage of the Virgin' of 1523 in S. Lorenzo. But it was in this year that he went to Rome where for the following four years he came into contact with such influential artists as Perino del Vaga (1501-47), and Parmigianino (1503-40), and where he formulated the Mannerist style that he was later to use at Fontainebleau. Few works of this period survive, except the Cappella Cesi in S. Maria della Pace, Rome (commissioned in 1524) and a few of his many drawings for engravers recorded in such prints as the series of the 'Labours of Hercules' by Caraglio. He left Rome in 1527 following the Sack of the city; after travelling in various centres in Italy for the next three years, he went to France. Moved to Fontainebleau in 1530. He was appointed First Painter to Francis I. Of Rosso's decorations at Fontainebleau, only the Gallery of Francis I remains, but it is sufficient to show the originality of the artist's designs which combine three-dimensional ornament (particularly strapwork) with fresco decoration.
With Pontormo (q.v.), Rosso is one of the most original and inventive painters of the first generation of Mannerism. His style was the more influential since he affected the development of a whole movement in both the fine and decorative arts in France. His drawings are rare and do not generally possess the same liveliness and brilliance as his paintings, although compositionally they show much originality.
- K. Kusenberg, 'Le Rosso', Paris 1931
See exh. cat. 'Rosso Fiorentino. Drawings, Prints and Decorative Arts', by E.A. Carroll, Washington, National Gallery of Art, 1987-1988
Turner, Florentine Drawings of the Sixteenth Century, London, 1986