Andrea di Cione, known as Orcagna, died in Florence on or around 25 August 1368, when the Arte del Cambio (Moneychangers Guild) withdrew their commission to create a triptych dedicated to St. Matthew because of Andrea’s failing health and gave the project to his brother Jacopo di Cione. Andrea started his career as a painter, but later worked as a sculptor and architect too, providing altarpieces, frescoes, sculpted panels and tabernacles for many of Florence’s major churches, including Santa Maria Novella and Orsanmichele.
For Santa Maria Novella, Andrea painted an altarpiece for the Strozzi Chapel, signed and dated 1357, and also contributed to the Chapel’s frescoes, realised mainly by his brother Nardo. For Orsanmichele, Andrea realised several parts of the imposing tabernacle dedicated to the Virgin, again in collaboration with a brother, Matteo. Between 1359 and 1362, Orcagna acted as capomaestro of the Duomo in Orvieto, as well as carrying out tasks and preparing drawings for the construction of the Duomo in Florence in 1364 and 1366.
Along with his brothers, Andrea exerted great influence on Florentine art of the later fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
References: G. Kreytenberg. “Cione.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press.
Luisa Marcucci, “Andrea di Cione Arcagnuolo, detto l’Orcagna,” Dizionario Biografico, Treccani
Further reading: Orcagna’s Tabernacle in Orsanmichele, Florence by Gert Kreytenberg (1994); Painting in the Age of Giotto: A Historical Reevaluation by Hayden Maginnis (1997).
The Strozzi Altarpiece, 1354-57, Strozzi Chapel, Santa Maria Novella, Florence.
The Expulsion of the Duke of Athens, 1343, fresco, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence.
Jacopo di Cione and Andrea Orcagna, St. Matthew and Scenes from his life, 1367-68, formerly Orsanmichele, now Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.
Tabernacle, 1359, Orsanmichele, Florence: Birth of the Virgin; Annunciation; Presentation in the Temple; Dormition and Assumption of the Virgin.
Orcagna and Jacopo di Cione, Pentecost, 1362-1365, Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence.