Cristofano Allori
Italian painter



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Cristofano Allori
Italian painter
Average: 5 (2 votes)

Birth Date

October 17, 1577

Death Date

April 01, 1621

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Sr. Contributor

Where abandonment issues result in magnificent art, you'll find Cristofano Allori.

He had a leg up in the art world by being the son of Alessandro Allori. Allori Jr. studied in the workshop of Allori Sr. until stomping out one day because of a difference of opinion over what painting should be. Cristofano wanted to dabble in really cutting edge stuff like colors. All the colors, especially bright ones. Alessandro... just didn't. Wasn't his thing. This lead to quite the artistic rift between father and son, with Jr. calling Sr. a heretic once out of the shop. Note to all the tweens out there, if you want to get under your parent's skin, call them a heretic. Really let it fly. You'll win every argument! And they'll be impressed with your vocabulary. 

Even though things ended weird for Cristofano as his father's employee, he eventually made Papa proud. At least, kind of. Cristofano was a quintuple threat. Besides the painting, Allori the Younger was known for his poetry, music skills, impersonations, and joke telling. Painting paid the bills. Only a handful of works survive, though. This is partly due to his perfectionism. Nothing went out the door unless he languished over every brushstroke. Then again, painting through his hangovers certainly didn't speed things along.

Cristofano was a party animal. As such, given his social standing and the time period, he had a mistress. And he fell hard for her, Maria di Giovanni Mazzafirri. He got way drunk off her lady lumps and gave her all his money. Then she left him. Maria was Cristofano's model twice. Once as Judith (of Judith and Holofernes fame, with him playing the part of the decapitated general) and once as Mary Magdalene. Another of Allori's depictions of Maria as Magdalene was a drawing that he angrily tore apart in front of Michelangelo's grandnephew (also named Michelangelo). This Michelangelo the Younger taped the drawing back together, making sure to write a note on the back that Allori didn't rip the sketch apart because it featured his lost love. He destroyed the doodle because it just didn't meet his standards.

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Born October 17, 1577 - Died April 1, 1621

Famous for three things

1. his renowned dad, Alessandro Allori

2. his stunningly awesome mistress Mazzafirra, and

3. his equally awesome painting of Judith with the head of Holofornes, in which Mazzafirra is Judith and Allori is Holofornes.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Cristofano Allori

Cristofano Allori (17 October 1577 – 1 April 1621) was an Italian portrait painter of the late Florentine Mannerist school. Allori was born at Florence and received his first lessons in painting from his father, Alessandro Allori, but becoming dissatisfied with the hard anatomical drawing and cold coloring of the latter, he entered the studio of Gregorio Pagani, who was one of the leaders of the late Florentine school, which sought to unite the rich coloring of the Venetians with the Florentine attention to drawing. Allori also appears to have worked under Cigoli.

His pictures are distinguished by their close adherence to nature and the delicacy and technical perfection of their execution. His technical skill is shown by the fact that several copies he made of Correggio's works were thought to be duplicates by Correggio himself. His extreme fastidiousness limited the number of his works. Several examples are to be seen at Florence and elsewhere.

His most famous work, in his own day and now, is Judith with the Head of Holofernes. It exists in at least two versions by Allori, of which the prime version is perhaps that in the British Royal Collection, dated 1613, with various pentimenti. A version of 1620 in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence is the best known and there are several copies by studio and other hands. According to the near-contemporary biography by Filippo Baldinucci, the model for the Judith was his former mistress, the beautiful "La Mazzafirra", who is also represented in his Magdalene, the head of Holofernes is a self-portrait, and the maid is "La Mazzafirra"'s mother.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Cristofano Allori.

Comments (1)


So he was lucky in love, and then unlucky in love. This seems like a familiar story...