The Visitation by Albertinelli


Uffizi Gallery, Florence

CLOSELY ASSOCIATED with the name of the worldly Albertinelli is that of his intimate friend and collaborator, the saintly Fra Bartolommeo with whom he became acquainted while studying under Cosimo Rosselli. Their partnership was interrupted by Bartolommeo's retirement to monastic seclusion at the death of his spiritual leader, Savonarola. Upon his friend's request, Albertinelli undertook the completion of a fresco in the church of Santa Maria Nuova. The distinction of this fresco brought Albertinelli the commission for that painting which is held to be his chief work, "The Visitation." Meanwhile Bartolommeo may be believed to have been restive in the inaction of his retirement and ready for the acceptance of any rationalization that might permit him with a clear conscience to resume activity as a painter. The realization that his earnings could be contributed to the Dominican Order set him free again to take his brush in hand; and after an interruption of almost a decade the partnership of the two friends was resumed. Albertinelli is reputed to have been as wild and reckless in his life as Bartolommeo was devout, and to have poetically balanced their joint account with God and the world by devoting his share of their joint earnings to the operation of an inn.

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee. And behold, thy cousin Elizabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age; for with God nothing is impossible. And Mary arose and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leapt in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. -- LUKE 1.

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