Ghirlandaio Workshop under the direction of Michele Tosini, called Michele di Ridolfo di Ghirlandaio (Florence 1503-1577) Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist, a fortified town beyond, oil on panel, 85.8 x 69.8 cm, framed ÜBERLANGTEXT
Private European collection
We are grateful to Heidi Hornik for suggesting the attribution of the present painting.
The present composition of the Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist enjoyed considerable success and was revisited by the studio of Michele Tosini, including versions now in public collections. Among these, of note are the version from the De Cecco collection in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples attributed to Tosini, as well as another in the Pinacoteca Comunale di Castiglion Fiorentino, Arezzo.
Following an initial period of study with Lorenzo di Credi and Antonio del Ceraiolo, Michele Tosini entered the studio of Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio, who became his adoptive father and whose name he would subsequently assume. In his Vite (1568) Giorgio Vasari states that Michele became such a close collaborator of Ridolfo’s that they formed a company together in which Tosini was an equal to his master, initially absorbing his style. In 1563 he assisted Vasari in the formation of the Accademia di Disegno and subsequently the two artists collaborated on the decoration of the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio, Florence. Under the influence of Vasari, Tosini assimilated various elements from the works of Michelangelo and additionally, he appears to have partially absorbed Emilian grace from Parmigianino’s elegant pictorial style.
Tosini’s studio was large and successful and included his son Baccio Tosini, Francesco and Giovanni Brina, Andrea del Minga, Bartolomeo and Francesco Traballesi and Niccolò Betti, all of whom had similar stylistic characteristics. With apprentices that adhered so closely to the master’s formal language, it is difficult to assign paintings issued from the studio in Piazza Strozzi to individual artists. The importance of the studio is recorded by Vincenzo Borghini, who in 1565 cited it alongside with those of Vasari and Bronzino as among the largest and most celebrated in Florence. It can be added that Tosini, as head of the studio especially after the death of Ridolfo in 1561, received payment for the works that he then delegated to his apprentices, including commissions received from Florentine Dominican convents, such as San Marco and Santa Maria Novella.
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