Alessandro Allori, Florence 1535 - 1607
One of the last exponents of the Florentine maniera, Alessandro Allori was adopted in 1540 by Agnolo Bronzino, the leading painter of sixteenth-century Florence and court artist to Cosimo I de’ Medici. After training in Bronzino’s workshop, from 1554 to 1560 Allori travelled to Rome, where he studied ancient sculpture and the ground-breaking works of Michelangelo, as well as establishing himself as a portraitist. Returning to Florence, Allori continued to paint portraits, as well as undertaking commissions for altarpieces and tapestry designs. He became involved in a number of projects relating to the city’s recently formed Accademia del Disegno, including decorations for the funeral of Michelangelo in 1564 and for the marriage the following year of Cosimo’s son Francesco to Joanna of Austria. Between 1570 and 1571 Allori participated in the prestigious commission given to Vasari and his associates to decorate Francesco’s studiolo in the Palazzo Vecchio, executing the Pearl Fishers, the canvas generally considered his masterpiece.