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Rosso Fiorentino

1494 - 1540
Rosso Fiorentino
Image: Rosso Fiorentino

Rosso Fiorentino was one of the leading Florentine painters of the early 16th century. Like his exact contemporary Pontormo, Rosso became a pioneer in the development of the expressive style which is referred to as Early Mannerism. He was the author of a number of striking portraits and an influential print designer, as well as a painter of revolutionary religious works.

Giovanni Battista di Jacopo di Gasparre was known as Rosso Fiorentino, the 'Redhead from Florence'. A pupil of Andrea del Sarto, he was active in Florence from 1513 to 1523. He visited Rome in 1523 and remained there until the sack of the city in 1527.

Like other painters who fled Rome at that time, Rosso went to northern Italy, working for a while in Borgo Sansepolcro. In 1530 he travelled via Venice to France. There he joined Francesco Primaticcio (1504/5 - 1570) as one of the artists employed on the decoration of the royal château at Fontainebleau.