Fra Bartolommeo’s paintings are distinguished by an aulic nobility and grandeur, intensified by smoky Leonardesque chiaroscuro. A great draftsman and landscape painter, he is best known as a sublime painter of religious subjects, primarily devotional panels and altarpieces. Fra Bartolommeo was a luminous colorist and his particular contribution was to make attendant saints seem to be actively reacting to a biblical event rather than portray them as stationary, accidental witnesses. He was a devout man and entered the Dominican order in 1500, falling under the thrall of the charismatic Dominican preacher Fra Girolamo Savonarola.
Books on Fra Bartolommeo
Albert J. Elena and Chris Fischer, Fra Bartolommeo: The Divine Renaissance, exh. cat., Rotterdam, 2016.
Serena Padovani, ed. Fra Bartolomeo: L’eta di Savonarola e la Scuola di San Marco, exh. cat., Florence, 1996.
Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of the Artist, 1550, trans. Julia Conway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella, New York, 2009.