From about 1515 until his death, Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) ran the most successful and productive workshop in Florence, not only leaving his native city richly decorated with his art but also greatly influencing the art produced in the remainder of the century. By 1700, however, Andrea’s reputation had declined, not to be revived until the publication of monographs by Sydney Freedberg and John Shearman in 1963 and 1965, respectively. Although his oeuvre represents the essence of Florentine High Renaissance creativity and the magisterial beauty of his drawings is well known to scholars and collectors, he is less known to the general public. This was the first major monographic exhibition on this artist ever to be presented in the United States (and the first in nearly thirty years shown anywhere).
Assembled from the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Louvre, the Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, the National Gallery of Art, the British Museum, and other major institutions, this selection of nearly fifty drawings — red and black chalk figures, expressive heads, and compositional studies — and three related paintings explored the important role of drawing in Andrea del Sarto’s paintings and offered an unprecedented display of the two media in concert. By showing drawings with their completed paintings and by bringing together works that relate to specific commissions, the exhibition shed new light on the artist’s creative process.
Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action, organized by The Frick Collection and the J. Paul Getty Museum, opened in Los Angeles in summer 2015, prior to coming to New York in the fall of 2015. A richly illustrated scholarly catalogue written by an international team of Renaissance scholars and drawings experts provides further focused investigation and appreciation of Andrea del Sarto’s working process.
Principal funding for the exhibition in New York was generously provided by Gilbert and Ildiko Butler. Major local support was also provided by the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation, The Christian Humann Foundation, and Andrea Woodner, with additional gifts from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Helen-Mae and Seymour Askin, Diane Allen Nixon, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Victor Thaw, David and Julie Tobey, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Jon and Barbara Landau, and Margot and Jerry Bogert.
A related exhibition, Andrea del Sarto’s “Borgherini Holy Family,” was on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art through January 10, 2016.