Art Notes: The Last Supper by Ghirlandaio

Authored by Dr. Caroline Farey in Issue #32.3 of The Sower

he artist known as ‘Ghirlandaio’ is properly called Domenico di Tommaso Bigordi, born in Florence in 1449 in the midst of the great century of Florentine artists. His father had a jewellery business and Domenico, as far as we know, began working for his father as a goldsmith. His nickname of Ghirlandaio, meaning the "Garland- maker", came from his or his father’s speciality, namely, the making of silver or gold garlands favoured by the young women of Florence.

Some sources speak of the young Ghirlandaio drawing portraits of the people who passed by his father’s shop. He became apprenticed to a Florentine painter and soon made a name for himself, later taking two of his brothers into his own studio. He was called to Rome to work on the Sistine chapel along with Perugino, a commission which further enhanced his reputation. Ghirlandaio married and had children but died of a fever at the early age of 45 in 1494.

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