(b. 1439, Firenze, d. 1507, Firenze)


Italian painter. He was documented in Neri di Bicci's workshop between May 1453 and October 1456; in 1459 he received his first known commission, for an altarpiece in Santa Trinita, Florence (untraced). It is thought that he subsequently worked with Benozzo Gozzoli, whose influence is evident in his early work, but Cosimo was receptive to the styles of almost all his more gifted contemporaries, including Alesso Baldovinetti (said by Baldinucci to have been his master), Andrea del Verrocchio and the Pollaiuolo brothers.

Cosimo's first surviving works of importance are the frescoes in the style of Baldovinetti in the Salutati Chapel, Fiesole Cathedral, datable to between 1462 and 1466, but these are heavily restored. A better illustration of his early style is the St Barbara altarpiece (1468–09; Florence, Accademia) from the Flemish and German confraternity's chapel in SS Annunziata, Florence; it has hard forms, incised outlines and stiff, slightly ungainly figures. In Florence his painting includes frescoes in SS. Annunziata and S. Ambrogio.

His successful career (the highpoint of which was painting frescoes in the Sistine Chapel together with Botticelli, Ghirlandaio and Perugino) was based on his facility and high standard of craftsmanship rather than on any great distinction or originality as an artist. His pupils included Fra Bartolomeo and Piero di Cosimo.