Rosso Fiorentino (Giovanni Battista di Jacopo di Gasparre)

Dates1494 - 1540

With his friend Jacopo Pontormo, also a pupil of the renowned Renaissance master Andrea del Sarto, Rosso Fiorentino pioneered Mannerism in Florentine painting. Rosso's early paintings display Andrea's and Fra Bartolommeo's influence while showcasing the characteristic stylization, high-pitched emotion, and dissonant colors so antithetical to Renaissance classicism. In Rome by 1524, Rosso was deeply affected by the grandeur and nobility of Michelangelo's art, but his sharp tongue and arrogant behavior created enemies. He thus earned a reputation for being difficult and unpredictable.

After the Sack of Rome, Rosso fled north, wandering through Italy until 1530, when he stopped in Venice. While there, François I invited him to France. While at the French court, Rosso worked on a wide range of projects; his most important was decorating the palace of Fontainebleau. From 1533 to 1540, he worked on the Galerie François I, which celebrated the king's power with wit and elegance in stucco and fresco. Rosso's hallmark leather-like stucco strapwork was copied throughout Europe, and the Fontainebleau style he developed with Primaticcio had a lasting influence on French arts.