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Piero di Cosimo

Delightful Eccentric

Perseus Rescuing Andromeda, Piero di Cosimo

Piero di Cosimo (Florentine, 1462–1522) was a painter better known for his personal eccentricities than his art, which in itself is pretty odd. He didn't wash much, and he lived on hard-boiled eggs.

On the other hand, Piero was one of the true visionaries of the early Renaissance. A student and son-in-law of Cosimo Rosselli, he journeyed to Rome at an early age and got to contribute to the Sistine Chapel. Back in Florence, he thrived as a portrait painter. Piero was a colleague and perhaps competitor to Botticelli; both seem to have had a fixation on Simonetta Vespucci, and Piero carried on Botticelli's style and his provocative mythologies into the next generation.

Like Botticelli, Piero fell under the spell of Savonarola, and this led him to a morose and melancholic end, although he still managed to produce some inspired religious paintings, such as the Incarnazione in the Uffizi. Most of his best work is scattered in the museums of the world.

In Florence, his works are in Uffizi, the Ospedale degli Innocenti, Museo di Casa Martelli, Museo Horne and in Fiesole's San Francesco.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: PD Art