Who is Andrea del Castagno? Information on Andrea del Castagno biography, life story, works and paintings.
Andrea del Castagno; (1421?-1457), Florentine painter, a leading master of the early Renaissance. Stylistically, Castagno has more in common with the sculptor Donatello, who greatly influenced his later works, than with other 15th century Florentine painters.
Castagno was born in the village of Castagno, near Florence. Most of his life was spent in Florence, where the refectory of the Convent of Sant’Apollonia, now a museum, houses many of his major surviving works. In 1440, Castagno painted some figures (now lost) of traitors hanging by their heels on the exterior of the Palazzo del Podestá, Florence, and thereby earned the nickname “Andrew of the Hanged men.” A somewhat sinister reputation clung to him for the rest of his life, given support, perhaps, by the brooding intensity of such major works as the Trinity fresco (Santissima Annunziata, Florence) and the Crucifixion, refectory of Sant’Apollonia). Giorgio Vasari and other 16th century biographers accuse Castagno of murdering his colleague Domenico Veneziano, but research has proved that Domenico outlived Castagno, who died of the plague in Florence, on Aug. 19, 1457.
Castagno’s earliest surviving work, painted in 1442, is a fresco of the four Evangelists, with Zachariah and John flanking God the Father (Church of San Zaccaria, Venice). Perhaps his greatest achievement is the cycle of the Passion of Christ (1445-1450, refectory of Sant’Apollonia). Castagno’s Last Supper (refectory of Sant’Apollonia), an immediate forerunner of Leonardo’s definitive version of the same subject, is outstanding for its consistent perspective construction, which heightens the dramatic intensity of the painting.
About 1450, Castango executed a series of frescoes (now in the refectory of Sant’Apollonia) of nine exemplary men and women for the Villa Carducci. Another secular work is his equestrian portrait of the military leader Niccola da Tolentino (1456), which stands as a counterpart to Paolo Uccello’s portrait of Sir John Hawkwood in the Florence Cathedral.