Italian, 1495-1553

SN 685, oil on panel, 1530/36, purchased 1955.

From "The Pages"

Jacopo di Giovanni Francesco, called Jacone, was born in 1495 and died in 1554, in Florence. He was one of Andrea del Sarto’s lesser pupils.

According to Vasari, he loved life, was “uomo pigro”: he never washed his hands, spent most of his days eating, drinking, and reveling.

Jacone could be a good painter when he wanted to be; however, he preferred the dissipated life. He was known for his chiaroscuro; his figures had distinct postures and eyes. Other than being a strange pupil, he was a great imitator. After del Sarto’s death, when he was with Pontormo, he imitated del Sarto’s style so well that it is hard to distinguish pupil from master. Today there are a few remaining paintings, the most valuable being the altarpiece in Santa Maria Nuovo, in Cortona.

The Madonna is portrayed against a dark background, holding the naked Christ Child and looking on to the Magdalen kneeling at the foot of the Child. Mary Magdalen offers a vase of myrrh ointment (her attribute). The Child accepts it with his right hand, while supporting himself with His left hand.

The Madonna wears a green headscarf and a bright red robe. Mary, portrayed as a penitent, is in a simple dark brown robe.

The painting is highly mannered, with abrupt profiles and eyes. This painting was first attributed to Jacopino del Conte. However, Costamagna recently attributed it to Jacone (1999) by analysis of style and comparison with a similar painting in the Corsini Collection.