By Anne Leader
Zanobi Strozzi died in Florence on 6 December 1468, the Feast of St. Nicholas. A distant cousin to the wealthy Palla Strozzi, Zanobi trained as a manuscript illuminator and painter, possibly with Fra Angelico. He certainly collaborated with the Dominican artist as well as other painters in his circle, including Battista di Biagio Sanguigni, with whom he shared a house, and Filippo di Matteo Torelli. Documented works include the splendid choir books painted for the Dominican convent of San Marco and an antiphonal for the Benedictine monastery of the Badia. It is also quite likely that Zanobi worked on the fresco cycle that decorates the Badia’s cloister. Long thought of only as a miniaturist, Zanobi is now understood through large-scale works like his signed Annunciation now in London and his recently cleaned altarpiece for Santa Maria Nuova.
Further reading: The Badia of Florence: Art and Observance in a Renaissance Monastery by Anne Leader (2012); Fra Angelico by Larry Kanter and Pia Palladino (2005).
Life of St. Benedict, ca. 1435-9. Florence: Badia.
Annunciation, ca. 1440-5. London: National Gallery.
St. Agnes, Gradual, 1448-49. Florence: Museo di San Marco.
King David in Prayer in an Initial B, ca. 1450. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Lehman Collection, 1975 1975.1.2470