Castagno, Andrea, Dal

, an eminent historical painter, was born at a small village called Castagno, belonging to Tuscany, in 1409, and being deprived of his parents when young, was employed by his uncle to attend the herds of cattle in the fields. His singular talents, which | were first manifested in surprising efforts to imitate an ordinary painter, whom he accidentally observed at work, became the common topic of discourse in Florence, and excited the curiosity of Bernardetto de Medici, who perceiving that he had promising talents, placed him under the tuition of the best masters at that time in Florence. Andrea, assiduously improving his advantages, became particularly eminent in design, and found full employment. At first he painted only in distemper and fresco, with a manner of colouring that was not very agreeable, being rather hard and dry; but at length he learned the secret of painting in oil from Domenico Venetiano, who had derived his knowledge of it from Antonella da Messina. He was the first of the Florentine artists who painted in oil but envying the merit of Domenico, from whom he obtained the secret, and whose works were more admired than his own, he determined, with the basest ingratitude, to assassinate his friend and benefactor. At this time Domenico and Andrea lived together, and were partners in business. Insensible, however, of every obligation, and combining treachery with ingratitude, he way -laid Domenico in the corner of a street, and stabbed him with such secrecy, that he escaped unobserved and unsuspected to Jiis own house, where he sat down with apparent composure to work; soon after Domenico was conveyed thither to die in the arms of his assassin. The real author of this atrocious act was never discovered, till Andrea, through remorse of conscience, disclosed it on his death-bed, in 1480. Andrea finished several considerable works at Florence, by which he gained great wealth and reputation; but as soon as his complicated villainy became public, his memory was afterwards held in the utmost detestation. The most noted of his works is in the hall of justice at Florence, and represents the execution of the conspirators against the house of Medici. 1