Introduction

Andrea d’Agnolo (1486–1530), called Andrea del Sarto after his father’s profession as a tailor (sarto), transformed the art of drawing in Renaissance Florence. An extraordinary artist and innovator, he also ran a large and highly esteemed workshop from which several pupils went on to achieve notable careers. One pupil, Giorgio Vasari, known for his Lives of Italian Renaissance artists, described Andrea as “free from errors, and absolutely perfect in every respect.”

Drawings were at the heart of Andrea’s creative process. His studies after live models and sculptures showcase his exceptional observational skills and ability to capture his subjects in chalk on paper, his preferred medium. Compositional drawings in which he imagines his figures enacting their stories in fictive spaces are rare — as they generally are for artists of the period — and number few in his corpus of about one hundred eighty drawings. Almost all those that survive are displayed in these galleries.

The first major presentation of Andrea’s drawings and paintings in the United States, this exhibition celebrates the Renaissance master with a selection of his most lauded figure studies, head studies, and compositional drawings, as well as three related paintings. Reuniting these works, on loan from international collections and in many cases separated for centuries, offered a fuller understanding of the complex and intensive artistic production of one of the most influential artists of the sixteenth century.

The exhibition began in the Lower Galleries and continued in the Oval Room. All works in the exhibition are by Andrea del Sarto.

The exhibition was co-organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.