Right after my search for Tiepolo pink in London’s National Gallery, I found myself in Florence for the Cinquecento exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi. Florentine art in the 16th century started out rosily indeed, with Michelangelo, Pontormo, Andrea del Sarto and Bronzino all celebrating in the pink, from the tones of flowing draperies to the healthy glow of the smooth-skinned gods of mythology.
The newfound freedom of humanism, and the extraordinary example of dynamic compositions laid down by Michelangelo, started a century of Mannerism. Michaelangelo’s figures, like a river god on display at the beginning of the exhibition, were copied or emulated for a hundred years afterwards. Early in the century, pink abounds, but it soon falls from fashion, to be replaced by dour browner tones.
I’ll take the pink please.