Andrea del Sarto: Splendor and Renewal in the Renaissance Altarpiece


Over the course of his career, Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) created altarpieces rich in theological complexity, elegant in formal execution, and dazzlingly brilliant in chromatic impact. This book investigates the spiritual dimensions of those works, focusing on six highly-significant panels. According to Steven J. Cody, the beauty and splendor of Andrea’s paintings speak to a profound engagement with Christian theories of spiritual renewal—an engagement that only intensified as Andrea matured into one of the most admired artists of his time. From this perspective, Andrea del Sarto — Splendor and Renewal in the Renaissance Altarpiece not only shines new light on a painter who has long deserved more scholarly attention; it also offers up fresh insights regarding the Renaissance altarpiece itself.

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Steven J. Cody, Ph.D. (2015, University of Maryland, College Park) is Assistant Professor of Art History at Purdue University Fort Wayne. He has published articles on Renaissance painting, seventeenth-century drawings, and early twentieth-century art and philosophy.
“Steven Cody’s beautifully illustrated work on Andrea del Sarto brings an original and refreshing point of view on the artist. […] Worthy of notice are Cody’s artful descriptions of Andrea del Sarto’s works: these reveal a keen eye, sensitive to the most minute variation of color.”
Louise Arizzoli, University of Mississippi. In: Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 77, No. 2 (Summer 2023), pp. 660–661.

 List of Illustrations

 1 Painted Mysteries
 2 The Painter without Errors
 3 Andrea and the Monographic Tradition
 4 Art, Renewal, and Reform

1 Sight and Touch in the Noli me tangere
 1 Touching Christ
 2 Flesh and Facture
 3 Figures and Figurae

2 The Sweetness of the San Gallo Annunciation
 1 Conceiving Christ
 2 “A Sweet Word, but a Sweeter Act”
 3 Gloria

3 Light from the Light of the Madonna of the Harpies
 1 The Pursuit of Brilliance
 2 “Like a Divine Fire”
 3 “The Supreme Illumination of our Mind”
 4 Among the Visionaries

4 Sight and Sighs in the Disputation on the Trinity
 1 Paradigms of Renewal
 2 Among the Visionaries, Again
 3 Attending to Color

5 The Splendor of the Luco Pietà
 1 Christ’s Death in Living Memory
 2 The Bread of Life in Living Color
 3 The Manner of Christ’s Death

6 Light from the Shadows in the Gambassi Altarpiece
 1 Spiritual Transactions
 2 Embodied Prayer
 3 To “Rest in the Shadow of the Almighty”

All interested in Italian Renaissance art; the intersections of art, religion, and science in sixteenth century Europe; and the cultural legacy of the ancient Church Fathers. Keywords: Florence, sixteenth-century religious painting, art, theology, optics, light, color, Augustine, Leonardo da Vinci, reform, and spirituality.
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