Fra Bartolommeo, an Italian painter, whose real name was Baccio della Porta, called also il Frate and Fra Bartolommeo di San Marco, born at Savignano in 1469, died in Florence, Oct. 8, 1517. He studied under Cosimo Rosselli, and acquired his knowledge of chiaroscuro from Leonardo da Vinci. His first works were of small size, such as his two cabinet pictures in the Florentine gallery, representing the "Nativity" and the "Circumcision." In his fresco of the "Last Judgment," in the chapel of Santa Maria Nuova, he adopted a grander style. He was an admirer and friend of Savonarola, whose execution preyed so much upon his mind that in July, 1500, he entered the convent of Prato, and subsequently that of San Marco. But he resumed his profession in 1504, and became intimate with Raphael, whom he instructed in coloring and the folding of draperies, while Raphael taught him the rules of perspective. Subsequently he went to Rome, to study the works of that master and of Michael Angelo. In the convent of San Marco are some of Fra Bartolommeo's most finished frescoes. One of his finest productions, "The Virgin upon a Throne," is in the public gallery of Florence. In the Pitti palace is his single figure of St. Mark, which is described by Winckelmann as a Grecian statue transformed into a picture.

In the Quirinal of Rome are two of his pictures, St. Peter and St. Paul. The latter was most admired by Raphael, who completed it. Other famous works of his are to be found in Rome, Naples, Munich, Berlin, and St. Petersburg; and those removed by Napoleon I. to the Louvre have been restored to Florence. His rarest performances are in the possession of the former grand ducal family of Tuscany, including his last and one of his best works, a large picture in chiaroscuro representing the patron saints of the city surrounding the Virgin. His designs came into possession of Sir Benjamin West, and afterward into that of Sir Thomas Lawrence, at whose death they were sold and scattered. He was the inventor of a new method of casting draperies, and of the use of the wooden figure with movable joints. The distribution of light and shadow constitutes the great merit of his art.