The life of Beccafumi


Contemporary of Vasari’s hero, Michelangelo, and like him a sculptor as much as a painter, Domenico Beccafumi could nonetheless hardly present a more different artistic personality. His calligraphically curved figures—often wispy and strangely insubstantial, and bathed in a mysterious gloom—look away from classicism to the picturesqueness of early Sienese painting and the most romantic elements of Mannerism. His idiosyncratic achievement is a fascinating example of the unexpected riches of Italian renaissance art outside the well-trodden paths of Florence and Rome. Vasari’s biography is our main source of information for his life, and remains a fascinating description of an unmistakably individual artist.