A Florentine Mannerist, Salviati painted in his home of Florence and also Bologna and Rome. He was born, Francesco de’ Rossi, and took on the name Il Salviati, from Francesco Salviati, but is also known as Francesco Rossi and Cecchino del Salviati. He took the name Salviati in 1530 from his patron in Rome, Cardinal Giovanni Salviati (1490 – 1553).
Salviati was a well-connected artist of the time in Florence and Rome, training under the renowned Mannerist Andrea del Sarto (1486 – 1531). Before this he also studied under another Mannerist painter, Giuliano Bugiardini (1475 – 1577) and the artist Baccio Bandinelli (1488 – 1560). It was his studies under Bandinelli that probably helped him befriend Giorgio Vasari (1511 – 1574) in Rome around 1531, as he was also a student. Though Vasari’s gregarious explorations of Italian artists connected him to many at a young age, including Andrea del Sarto. The friendship between Vasari and Salviati is significant as together they contributed to a fresco for Cardinal Salviati’s Palazzo Salviati, Life of John the Baptist. The young Francesco gained a strong reputation here and at this time took the artistic surname of Salviati.
Around this same time in Rome, Salviati also did a fresco for the Church, San Francesco a Ripa, painting his piece Annunciation. Also in Rome, Salviati worked in the Oratory of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini, a Florentine sponsored church in Rome, with his contemporary Jacopino del Conte. Their work on the fresco, The Visitation, was regarded as an exemplary piece of the new Mannerist style emerging in Rome. Before returning to his home of Florence, Salviati reunited with Vasari to paint in Bologna and also completed frescos for the Palazzo Grimani in Venice. Even though he settled in Florence shortly after this, Salviati traveled back to Rome at times for other fresco work.
An ever evolving artist, Salviati produced some of his best work under the patronage of Cosimo I de’ Medici (1519 – 1574) of Tuscany. He painted an epic fresco in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence of the Medici’s reign in Italy, in a piece depicting the story of the tyrant Furius Camilus. He sometimes worked in competition with other Florentine’s like Jacopo Pontormo (1494 – 1557) or Il Bronzino (1503 – 1572, of whom his work is sometimes mistaken for.
Of his work shown in the Uffizi Gallery is his oil painting, Christ Carrying the Cross from the 1540s. His body of work is in collections throughout the world in galleries and museums in Belgium, Boston, Florence, Florida, Honolulu, Leipzig, London, Milan, New York, Paris, Rome, Saint Louis, Vienna and Washington D.C.