Castagno, Andrea del (ca. 1421–1457)

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Castagno, Andrea del (ca. 14211457)

A notable painter of Florence, Castagno was born as Andrea di Bartoldi Bargilla. s a young man he was known for a mural in the Palazzo del Podesta, an important civic building, showing the execution of rebels. In the 1440s Castagno traveled to Venice, where he completed a series of frescoes in the church of San Zaccaria, as well as Last Supper and a Passion of Christ cycle for the convent church of Saint Apollonia. These frescoes showed great skill in the handling of perspective, which Castagno had learned through a study of the paintings of Masaccio.

Castagno eventually returned to Florence, where he painted fresco cycles in the churches of Saint Apollonia and Saint Annunziata, and in a private estate, the Villa Carducci. He was best known in Florence for a portrait of Niccolo da Tolentino, a condottiere (mercenary) who had led the city's forces to an important victory. The portrait was completed over Tolentino's tomb within the Duomo, the cathedral of Florence. Castagno drew his inspiration from contemporary and ancient sources, making a study of Roman wall paintings as well as the striking new style of Donatello's lifelike sculpture. He realistically depicted the human figure, giving it a sculptural volume, realistic proportions, and dramatic expressions and movement that became characteristic of later Florentine painting, and notably in the works of Michelangelo.

See Also: Florence; painting