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Cosimo di Piero

( Originally Published 1936 )

Florentine painter, born 1462, son of Lorenzo, a goldsmith. In 1480, he became a pupil of Cosimo Rosselli, whose name he assumed, according to a quite prevalent practice. In 1482, he accompanied Cosimo Rosselli to Rome, on work on frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. In 1504 he was the member of a commission to decide on the placing of Michelangelo's David. He died in 1521.

The sparse facts known of Piero's life caused Vasari to depart into a mass of fable concerning the peculiarities of his character, but he is more circumstantial in his discussion of his pictures. An eclectic and yet original genius. Piero was influenced by a whole succession of painters, including Verrocchio, Signorelli, Filippino and Credi. His fanciful imagination expressed itself with greater effect in his mythological panels than in his more conventional altarpieces, which tend to monotony. Of the former there are fine examples in Berlin, Dalkeith (Scotland), London, the Uffizi, the Collection of Prince Paul of Jugoslavia, and, very recently, in the Worcester Art Museum.

A notable portraitist, Piero is the painter of the Simonetta Vespucci in the Musee Conde at Chantilly; the Portrait of a Lady as Magdalen in the Museo Nazionale, Rome; the Lady with a Rabbit in the Jarves Collection, New Haven; the Portrait of Giuliano de San Gallo and that of his father, at the Hague; and the Man in Armor, London, National Gallery (after 1505, since the David by Michelangelo is seen erected in the view of Florence in the background). Among Piero's Madonnas and Holy Families are: the tondo in Dresden; the Madonna and Child in Stockholm, belonging to the King of Sweden: the Madonna in a Landscape in the Liechtenstein, Vienna: the Madonna with Saints in the Innocenti, Florence; the Immaculate Conception in the Uffizi; the Adoration of the Shepherds in Berlin; and the tondo that has recentlv become the property of the Toledo Museum, Ohio.

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