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Rosso Fiorentino (meaning "the Red Florentine" in Italian),or Il Rosso, whose name was Giovan Battista di Jacopo, was an Italian Mannerist painter, in oil and fresco, belonging to the Florentine school.
Rosso Fiorentino was born in Florence with the red hair that gave him his nickname, Rosso first trained in the studio of Andrea del Sarto alongside his contemporary, Pontormo.
Fleeing Rome after the Sacking of 1527, Rosso eventually went to France where he secured a position in the court of Francis I in 1530. He remained there until his death. Together with Francesco Primaticcio, he was one of the leading artists to work at the Chateau Fontainebleau as part of the "First School of Fontainebleau"), spending much of his life there. Following Rosso's death, which was not suicide as claimed by Vasari, in 1540, Francesco Primaticcio took charge of the artistic direction at Fontainebleau.
Rosso's reputation, along those of other stylized late Renaissance Florentines, was long out of favor in comparison to other more naturalistic and graceful contemporaries, but has revived considerably in recent decades. His poses are certainly contorted, and his figures often appear haggard and thin, but his work has considerable power. Although many major museums have examples, it did not help that his masterpiece was and is in a city off the normal tourist track.
His masterpiece is generally considered to be the Deposition or Descent from the Cross altarpiece in the Pinacoteca Comunale di Volterra (initially painted for the Duomo). In contrast to the frozen grief of other depositions, this one appears as a hurried and complicated operation, while the figures below have simple and forceful expressions of quiet grief, with powerful expressions hinted at by hidden faces. The sky is somber. The three ladders and those carrying down Christ appear precarious. Christ himself is sallow. Contrast this frenetic, windswept scene with the equally complex, but more restrained composition on the same theme by the near contemporary Florentine Mannerist Pontormo
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