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Andrea del Sarto

Nov - 13 - 2012
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Andrea del Sarto — As with “Fra Lippo Lippi,” in this dramatic monologue Browning’s speaker is a real-life Renaissance Italian painter. Andrea d’Agnolo di Francesco di Luca di Paolo del Migliore (1486-1531) was a masterful fresco painter with superb technique, but he is not renowned for making any new advances in technique or style. Once again, Browning took all his facts for Andrea’s life from the book Lives of the Painters by Giorgio Vasari. According to that book, Andrea fell in love with Lucrezia del Fede, the widow of a hatter, who proceeded to make him miserable by being an unfaithful nag. Then, according to Vasari (who was Andrea’s pupil), under pressure from Lucrezia Andrea embezzled funds from Francis I of France, the only patron who had ever paid him well. Whether this happened or not, Browning makes use of it in the poem, as he considers the relationship between superior technique, true artistic genius, and character.

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