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Andrea del Sarto’s Disputation on the Trinity and the “Sighs of Holy Desire”

Steven J. Cody

Published online:

01 Apr 2017



Andrea del Sarto’s Disputation on the Trinity (1517) engages with powerful traditions of spiritual learning that can be traced back to St. Augustine’s theological writings. This paper asks how and in what ways Andrea’s altarpiece might belong to such a rich intellectual history. The analysis connects Augustinian notions of desire and reform to the painting’s iconography and to the artist’s composition and treatment of color. This line of inquiry not only has exciting implications for the study of Renaissance altarpieces; it also lays the groundwork for a larger study of Andrea del Sarto and of his contributions to the period’s sense of spiritual reform, broadly conceived.

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