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Giovanni Battista Naldini
(3 May 1535 - 18 February 1591) Italy

Giovanni Battista Naldini



Giovanni Battista Naldini was in Fiesole, and worked mainly in Florence. His first apprenticeship (1549-57) was in the studio of Jacopo Pontormo. Naldini joined Pontormo's studio at twelve and remained for about eight years, being his assistant and, the last year, also his lover. After Pontormo's death, he studied in Rome from about 1560 to 1561.

Upon returning to Florence, in 1562 Vasari recruited him to assist with decorations for the Palazzo Vecchio. Here he painted two crowded, mannerist canvas for the Studiolo of Francesco I: the Allegory of Dreams and the Gathering of Ambergris. In 1563 Naldini helped to found the Accademia del Disegno, in which he remained active for life.

From then on, although he had numerous patrons throughout Tuscany, Naldini worked largely under Vasari's supervision for the Medici. He helped with decorations for Michelangelo's funeral rites and painted four altarpieces for local churches as part of Vasari's renovation plans.

He supplied altarpieces to Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce. He painted an altarpiece of Calling of Saint Matthew for the Salviati Chapel in San Marco, where he worked alongside Francesco Morandini. Ultimately, he is aptly described by Freedberg as displaying work distantly derivative from the style of Andrea del Sarto, as expressed by Naldini's two mentors and Sarto's two pupils: Pontormo and Vasari. Among his pupils were the Cavalieri Francesco Currado. During his last years he was one of the most esteemed painters of religious subjects in Florence.


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