Andrea del Sarto was the leading painter in Florence in the 1520s. His harmonious compositions reflect Renaissance ideals, yet his later work also anticipates the elongated figures and discordant colouring associated with mannerism. He was an outstanding draughtsman and made many studies from life. He specialised in altarpieces and other religious works, but also painted some fresco cycles and portraits. The French King Francoise I invited him to be his court painter, a post he held for a year (1518-19) before returning to Florence for good.