The biography of Alessandro Allori (1535 - 1607)

Alessandro di Cristofano di Lorenzo del Bronzino Allori (May 3, 1535 - September 22, 1607) was an Florentine portrait painter of the late Mannerist Florentine school, the pupil and adopted son of Bronzino Allori. Alessandro is the father of Cristofano Allori (1577-1621). His son Cristofano was one of the leading Florentine painters of his period, working in a style that was more naturalistic and Baroque than that of his father.

Alessandro Allori was one of the most prolific and active painters in late sixteenth-century Florence. His father, a sword maker, died when Allori was five, and the painter Agnolo Bronzino was made guardian of the family. Allori was brought up and trained in art by his uncle, Angelo Bronzino, whose name he incorporated into his own name.

Allori spent some time in Rome, influenced by Michelangelo's art, before returning to his native Florence. There he became one of the principal painters for the ruling family of Florence, the Medici. Allori was appointed director of the Florentine tapestry factory in the mid-1570’s.

In some ways, Allori is the last of the line of prominent Florentine painters, of generally undiluted Tuscan artistic heritage: Andrea del Sarto worked with Fra Bartolomeo (as well as Leonardo Da Vinci), Pontormo briefly worked under Andrea, and trained Bronzino, who trained Allori.

The Pearl Fishers (Studiolo of Francesco I, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, c.1570) is generally considered his masterpiece; playful and full of artifice, it combines nude figures obviously drawn from Michelangelo with Bronzino's svelteness and enamelled colouring. Allori’s work was executed in the Mannerist style and influence many later generations of Florentine artists. He was one of the last notable exponents of Mannerism, painting in a style that had become outmoded by the time of his death.