I first came across Pontormo when I read extracts from his diary in a newspaper. This unusual document, covering the years 1554-56 was discovered in The National Library in Florence at the beginning of the last century. Rather than being a cold document full of alien language, or a complicated treatise on his art, the diary is a reassuringly drab intimate portrait of a painter who very much conforms to the modern stereotype of the depressed and solitary artist. He talks about feeling lonely, irritated and hopeless. One entry describes him hiding as a friend calls at his door. The diary features dry lists of activities and emotions - he obsesses over his diet, his ailments, his moods, the weather and his bowel movements in a kind of matter-of-fact monotone which aligns more closely to a Myspace blog than the great artists of the Florentine School. He also seemed to love omelettes. It's fairly mundane stuff, but reassuringly so - these men weren't from another planet after all. The full diary has been published several times but is now out of print as far as I can tell. It is a novelty worth tracking down.
▪ A large selection of his works
▪ Extracts from Pontormo's diary
▪ Answers.com collected biographies
▪ Pontormo's Diary, published in 1983
▪ The Wikipedia entry on Mannerism