Italian painter. An influential artist of the early 17th century in Florence, he is described by the early sources as being of a gentle disposition and as a dedicated and dignified painter, although he lacked originality and power. His work is characterized by the simplicity, descriptive naturalism and refined colour of the Counter-Reformation art created by such Tuscan artists as Santi di Tito, Bernardino Poccetti, Lodovico Cigoli
and Domenico Passignano,
yet he was also responsive to Venetian and Emilian art.
The son of Alfonso Rosselli and Elena Coppi, he received his early education in Gregorio Pagani s studio, which he attended from as early as 1587. His initial inclination was towards classical and balanced compositions, in which the influence of Andrea del Sarto, whose frescoes he copied in the Chiostro dello Scalzo, is clear. On 26 February 1599 he was admitted to the Accademia del Disegno and in 1605 went to be with Passignano in Rome for six months, greatly enriching his artistic experiences through this contact. He returned to Florence in the same year and, on Pagani s death (1605), completed his master s unfinished works with great success. Pagani s influence can be seen in the bright colours of Rosselli s Adoration of the Magi (1607; Montevarchi, Arezzo, S Andrea). To 1610 belong two monochrome paintings depicting Henry IV at Nantes and Henry IV at Gaudebec (Florence, Pitti, repository), executed for the funerary ceremonies that took place in S Lorenzo on the death of the French sovereign. Rosselli s interest in fluent, fresh and richly anecdotal narrative, indebted to Poccetti, is already evident in these works. In his Crucifixion (1613; Scarperia, Prepositurale), still within a Florentine tradition, there is a more varied chiaroscuro and a more expressive and softer handling, which suggests a response to Coreggio,
whose art he probably knew through Pagani.
His interest in anecdote found its full expression in the lunettes (1614-18) depicting scenes from the lives of the founders of the Servite Order in the Chiostro dei Morti of the church of the Annunziata, Florence, and is also demonstrated, in combination with the brilliant colour of his earlier paintings, inspired by Lodovico Cigoli, in his Last Supper (1614; Florence, Conservatorio di S Pier Martire). To 1615 belongs the painting of the Fortifications of San Miniato, the first of three scenes (the others were completed in 1627 and 1628) drawn from the life of Michelangelo
whose nephew, Michelangelo
Buonarroti the younger, commissioned them for the Casa Buonarroti, Florence. Here the rhetorical gestures are softened by the realism of the facial expressions and by the landscape, which is enriched by lively figures in the background.
From 1619 Rosselli won the patronage of such important families as the Medici, the Corsini and the Dragomanni, and his activity increased. For the reception rooms of the villa at Poggio Imperiale he executed frescoes portraying the emperors Charles V, Frederick II and Maximilian I as well as biblical and historical heroines, datable to between 1619 and 1623. He took part in the frescoed decoration (1620) of the faade of the Palazzo dei dell Antella in Piazza Santa Croce, Florence, and in 1621 won the commission for the Triumph of David (Florence, Pitti) and for the pair of paintings depicting Lot and his Daughters and Tobias and the Angel (1621; Florence, Galleria Corsini). The Triumph of David is a successful work, with skilled chiaroscuro and a disciplined yet intense atmosphere; the latter two works are characterized by more idealized figures, more classical compositions, and a greater delicacy of handling. These qualities distinguish this period of the artist s work. Further decorations (1622-3) were commissioned by Leopoldo de Medici for the Casino di S Marco; these works, rich in echoes of Venetian art, depict the Rebuilding of the Port of Livorno by Frederick II and the Capture of Ippona (Florence, Corte d Assise). Leopoldo also commissioned from Rosselli the allegorical paintings (1622) in the Sala della Stufa in Palazzo Pitti.