Andrea Del Sarto- How Browning?s Poetry Can Be Linked To When It Was W

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Robert Browning’s poem, ‘Andrea del Sarto’ presents the reader with his views on the painter’s life, an artist who has lost faith in the Parnassian ideal of living for art, and now has to use art as a living. The poem looks at the darker side of the painter when he was older, and expresses a lot about Browning as well, and how he thought his work was perceived, and the context of his life and times. The poem covers many ideas and themes, which not only create a powerful poem, but also create commentary from Browning’s prerogative of his own situation. The poem epitomizes Browning’s work, looking at a real figure in history, from Browning’s own perspective, in a real state of affairs. Although ‘Del Sarto’ might have been regarded as ‘The Faultless painter’ in his time, on the inside he had to repress a struggle. As historian Vasari pointed out, a ‘certain timidity of spirit’ that stopped him from gaining true recognition as one of the greats alongside ‘Leonard, Rafael, Agnolo’. This could be said to express Browning’s view of audience, since his wife was much more successful than him. In this essay I will be looking at the poem, and how it relates to Browning and the time it was written in.

The poem has a very melancholy tone throughout, expressing the feelings of Browning’s ‘Del Sarto’, and to an extent Browning himself. It deals with the artists demise, or recline, that he thinks is slowly starting to destroy his life, and the freedom he once had as an artist. He makes references to the ‘autumn in everything’ that he now sees, and the sin of him being ‘tempted’ by ‘Francis’ coin’, which he ‘took’. It is clear from the beginning of the poem that ‘Del Sarto’ that he has to live with his resolve, and although he tries to outline his plight, he doesn’t change it, as he says to Lucrezia ‘do not let us quarrel any more’. He is succumbing to what he has to now do. He has to work now for the money he will gain, which destroys the ethos of art. Hi reference to the recipient of the piece as a ‘friends friend’ emphasizes how distant he has got from his art, and his audience. It is not a particular audience, and neither does the picture convey much, as it is just for money.

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