Painter Andrea del Castagno was buried on this day in 1457 in Florence. Recognized as one of the most influential mid-century Florentine Renaissance artists, Castagno is appreciated for his naturalism and command of the human figure. According to Vasari, Andrea, a farmer’s son, was discovered drawing animals on slabs of stone while working as a shepherd – a favorite classical trope used frequently by the author, as in the life of Giotto (d. 1337), when an artist’s education remained obscure. Andrea worked frequently in fresco for ecclesiastical, civic, and private patrons as seen in his Last Supper of 1447 for the Benedictine convent of Sant’Apollonia, his series of famous men and women painted in the villa of Filippo Carducci around the same time, his Trinity Appearing to Sts. Jerome, Paula, and Eustochium for the Corboli Chapel in S. Annunziata made after 1453, or his faux tomb monument to Niccolò da Tolentino on the wall of the Florentine Duomo from 1455-6. Though Andrea was highly influential and sought-after in his lifetime, by Vasari’s day he was seen as rather rough and crude in comparison to his contemporary, Domenico Veneziano. Vasari claimed that Andrea murdered Domenico out of envy, but documents prove that Andrea predeceased him by four years.
Reference: Hellmut Wohl. “Castagno, Andrea del.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. Web.
Further reading: Andrea Del Castagno: Complete Edition With a Critical Catalogue by Marita Horster (1980); Andrea del Castagno and His Patrons by John R. Spencer (1991).