Fra Bartolommeo

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Fra Bartolommeo

6 artworks

Italian painter, draftsman, illuminator and monk

Born 1472 - Died 1517

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  • Biography
  • Relationships
  • Images of the Artist

Portrait of Girolamo Savonarola

circa 1498

Oil on wood

47 x 31 cms | 18 1/2 x 12 ins

Museo di San Marco, Firenze, Italy

Credit: Web Gallery of Art


The Adoration of the Christ Child

circa 1499

Oil on canvas

Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy

Credit: Web Gallery of Art


circa 1515

Oil on canvas

152 x 195 cms | 59 3/4 x 76 3/4 ins

The Uffizi, Florence, Italy

Credit: Web Gallery of Art

The Marriage of St Catherine of Siena


Oil on wood

257 x 228 cms | 101 x 89 3/4 ins

Musee du Louvre, Paris, France

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BARTOLOMMEO DI PAGHOLO, FRA (1472-1517), the Italian historical and portrait painter, known also as BACCI0 (short for Bartolommeo) DELLA PORTA (because he lived near the Porta Romana), was born at Soffignano, near Florence, in 1475, and died at Florence in 1517. He received the first elements of his artistic education from Cosimo Rosselli [1439-1507]; and after leaving him, devoted himself to the study of the great works of Leonardo da Vinci [1452-1519]. Of his early productions, which are distinguished for their grace and beauty, the most important is the fresco of the Last Judgment, in which he was assisted by his friend Mariotto Albertinelli [1474-1515]. While he was engaged upon some pieces for the convent of the Dominican friars, he made the acquaintance of [Girolamo] Savonarola [1452-1498], who quickly acquired great influence over him, and Bartolommeo was so affected by his cruel death, that he soon after entered the convent, and for some years gave up his art. He had not long resumed it, in obedience to his superior, when Raphael [1483-1520] came to Florence and formed a close friendship with him. Bartolommeo learned from the younger artist the rules of perspective, in which he was so skilled, while Raphael owes to the frater the improvement in his coloring and handling of drapery, which was noticeable in the works he produced after their meeting. Some years afterwards he visited Rome, and was struck with admiration and a feeling of his own inferiority when he contemplated the masterpieces of Michelangelo [1475-1564] and Raphael. With the latter, however, he remained on the most friendly terms, and when be departed from Rome, left in his hands two unfinished pictures which Raphael completed. Fra Bartolommeo's figures had generally been small and draped. These qualities were alleged against him as defects, and to prove that his style was not the result of want of power, he painted the magnificent figure of St Mark (his masterpiece, at Florence), and the undraped figure of St Sebastian. The latter was so well designed, so naturally and beautifully colored, and so strongly expressive of suffering and agony, that it was found necessary to remove it from the place where it had been exhibited in the chapel of a convent. The majority of Bartolommeo's compositions are altar-pieces. They are remarkable for skill in the massing of light and shade, richness and delicacy of coloring, and for the admirable style in which the drapery of the figures is handled, Bartolommeo having been the first to introduce and use the lay-figure with joints.

Source: Entry on the artist in the 1911 Edition Encyclopedia; additional information may be found in the Catholic Encyclopedia and in Vasari's Lives.