How does Browning deal with art and the artist’s life in Andrea del Sarto?
“Andrea del Sarto” is a famous dramatic monologue in which Robert Browning (1812-1889) portrays Andrea’s failure as a painter. From the twilight of both his painting career and marriage, Andrea del Sarto speaks about what has gone wrong.
Once Andrea was flourishing as a painter, working for King Francis at the court of France. However, under the nagging influence of his wife Lucrezia, he cheated the king and left France. He bought a house for himself and his wife with the stolen money in Italy.
Sitting in the house, Andrea thinks back on his career and laments that his worldly concerns have kept him from fulfilling his promise as an artist. As he paints for providing his wife with financial support, his paintings lack spirituality.
Andrea knows that “Michel Angolo” and “Raphael” lacked a wife like Lucrezia, thus they triumph as artists. Lucrezia’s cousin, perhaps her boyfriend, whistles for her to come, and Andrea gives her money for the debt.
Robert Browning hints that art and an artist’s life are deeply woven. An artist must keep away from worldly concerns to give his art the perfect touch.