ALLORI, Alessandro
(b. 1535, Firenze, d. 1607, Firenze)


Portrait of Alessandro Allori by Bronzino (detail of the Martyrdom of St Lawrence)

Alessandro Allori (1535-1607), Florentine painter, the pupil and adopted son of Bronzino. An early visit to Rome added the influence of late Michelangelo paintings to that of his master's courtly Mannerism. 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. He was one of the last notable exponents of Mannerism, painting in a style that had become outmoded by the time of his death.

His son Cristofano (1577-1621) 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. He is remembered primarily for one work, Judith with the Head of Holofernes (c. 1615, Pitti, Florence, and other versions), in which his femme fatale mistress is portrayed as Judith and he has depicted his own features in Holofernes' severed head. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was one of the most famous paintings in Italy. The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford possesses portraits by both Alessandro and Cristofano Allori.