Luxury Tuscany villa rental with art gallery and Alesso Baldovinetti's painting
Alesso Baldovinetti at Villa Tuscany
The painter Baldovinetti was born in Florence to a wealthy merchant family in the first half of the 15th century. We know his name from a 1448 registry in the painter’s guild as "Alesso di Baldovinetti, dipintore” or painter. He was considered part of a following of scientific realists and naturalists in art which included other Renaissance painters such as Andrea del Castagno, Domenico Veneziano and Paolo Uccello with whom we believe he collaborated.
Alesso was hired in 1462 to paint the great fresco of the Annunciation in the cloister of the Santissima Annunziata church in Florence. What remains today demonstrate the artist's ability to render natural detail with technical verisimilitude, as well as the spacing his figures in a landscape with a clear sense of air and distance. In fact Giorgio Vasari records that "he delighted in drawing landscapes from nature exactly as they are, whence we see in his paintings rivers, bridges, rocks, plants, fruits, roads, fields, cities, exercise grounds, and an infinity of other such things.”
He followed a unique method in fresco painting in which he painted his compositions in “buon fresco” or wet plaster but finished them “a secco” (on dry plaster) with a mixture of egg yolk and liquid varnish. Vasari claims Alesso was trying to protect the painting from damp; but over time parts executed with this technique fell away in what was ultimately a failed technique. Leonardo da Vinci experimented in similar ways.
Many works of Baldovinetti can still be seen in Florence today. In 1463 he designed a cartoon of the Nativity, which was executed in intarsia (inlaid wood) by Giuliano da Maiano in the sacristy of the Cathedral and still exists. In the Chapel of the Cardinal of Portugal at the Basilica of San Miniato, we can today view a 1466 fresco project with four Evangelists and four Fathers of the Church, together with the Annunciation on an oblong panel, decorating the precious chapel. Also still existing is a fresco of the Risen Christ inside a Holy Sepulcher in the Rucellai Chapel, painted in 1467.
In the early 1470s he executed a series of important paintings in the church of Santa Trìnita, of which only fragments remain. He spent the last years of his life discovering the long disused art of mosaic, and accordingly he helped repair the mosaics over the door of the Church of San Miniato along with several mosaics in the Baptistery of the Cathedral. He died at in the hospital San Paolo on August 29, 1499, and was buried in the Basilica of San Lorenzo. One of his pupils was Domenico Ghirlandaio, in turn the painting master of Michelangelo.