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Cosimo Rosselli

Adoration of the Child, tempera on wood, National Museum in Wrocław
Handing over the Tablets of the Law, Sistine Chapel

Cosimo Rosselli (1439–1507) was an Italian painter of the Quattrocento, active mainly in his birthplace of Florence.


  • Biography 1
  • References 2
  • References 3
  • Further Reading 4
  • External links 5


Born in Florence, at the age of fourteen he became a pupil of Sant'Ambrogio in Florence. In the same church, on the wall of one of the chapels, is a fresco by Cosimo which Vasari praises highly, especially for a portrait of the young scholar Pico of Mirandola. The scene, a procession bearing a miracle-working chalice, is painted with vigor and less mannerism than most of this artist's work. A picture painted by Rosselli for the church of the Annunziata, with figures of SS. Barbara, Matthew and the Baptist, is in the Academy of Florence.

Rosselli also spent some time in Lucca, where he painted several altar-pieces for various churches. A picture attributed to him, taken from the church of St. Girolamo at Fiesole, is now in the National Gallery of London. It is a large retable, with, in the center, St. Jerome in the wilderness kneeling before a crucifix, and at the sides standing figures of St. Damasus and St. Eusebius, St. Paula and St. Eustochium; below is a predella with small subjects. Though dry and hard in treatment, the figures are designed with much dignity.

In 1480, Rosselli was one of the painters called by Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects that, differently from the other painters who followed a common pattern in the size and style of the frescoes, Rosselli used brighter colors, including gold, a trick which granted him the appreciation of the Pope (who, hints Vasari, appeared not to be a deep expert of art).

The Gemäldegalerie, Berlin has three pictures by Rosselli: The Virgin in Glory, The Entombment of Christ and The Massacre of the Innocents. In 1480 Rosselli, together with the chief painters of Florence, was invited by Pope Sixtus IV to Rome to assist in the painting of the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Three of these were executed by him The Destruction of Pharaohs Army in the Red Sea, Christ Preaching by the Lake of Tiberias and The Last Supper. His chief pupil was Fra Bartolomeo. Among Roselli's other pupils were Angelo di Donino[1] and Giovanni Battista Vanni.[2]

According to Vasari, Rosselli died in 1484, but this is a mistake, as he was known to have been living on 25 November 1506.


  1. ^ Orlandi, Pellegrino Antonio; Guarienti, Pietro (1719), Abecedario pittorico, Naples, p. 61 
  2. ^ Orlandi, page 238.



Further Reading

  • (see index; plate 78)  

External links

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