By Martina Bollini

The year of Piero di Cosimo is coming to an end: September 27 is the last day to visit Piero di Cosimo’s exhibition at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. A different retrospective, with a more strictly monographical approach, premiered in Washington earlier this year. The Uffizi exhibition showcases drawings and paintings by some of Piero’s contemporaries too, including Filippino Lippi and Fra Bartolomeo.

Piero was one the most eccentric and imaginative artist of the Italian Renaissance. He was a pupil of Cosimo Rosselli, from whom he took his name. After assisting him in the decoration of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, he came in touch with the greatest Florentine artists of his time. With Leonardo da’ Vinci Piero shared a keen interest in nature and in the depiction of moods, as well as in experimenting with painting tecniques. Architect Giuliano da Sangallo, alongside his father Francesco Giamberti, was portrayed by Piero in a diptych in loan from amsterdam. 

Piero produced religious works and altarpieces for Florentine churches, such as the Visitationfor the Capponi Chapel in the church of the Holy Spirit and the Sacred Conversation for the Hospital of the Innocents, highlights of both this year’s exhibitions. At the same time, Piero painted many spalliera panels to furnish the homes of the most cultured and distinguished families of Florence. An example is the masterpiece from the London National Gallery A satyr mourning over a nymph, on display in the Uffizi exhibition.

This kind of mythological allegories, often derived from classical authors like Ovid and Lucretius, have been puzzling art historians for decades.

Reference: Piero di Cosimo 1462-1522: pittore eccentrico fra Rinascimento e Maniera, ed. by E. Capretti et al. [Catalogue of the exhibition held at the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, 23 June-27 Sept. 2015], Firenze 2015. 

St. Mary Magdalene, c. 1490, Tempera on panel, Galleria nazionale d’arte antica, Palazzo Barberini, Rome. 

A Satyr mourning over a Nymph, c. 1495, Oil on poplar, National Gallery, London.

Portraits of Giuliano and Francesco Giamberti da Sangallo, c. 1495, Oil on panel,  Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

The Discovery of Honey, c. 1500-1505, Oil on panel, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester.

Virgin and Child with Two Angels, c. 1505-1507, Panel, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice.

Prometheus Fashioning the First Man, c. 1510–1515, Oil on panel, Alte Pinakothek, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich.

Perseus Frees Andromeda, c. 1510-1515. Oil on wood, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.

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