Ghirlandaio was born in 1449, his father, Tommaso Bigordi, a silk dealer. He was the eldest of six children, of which only 3 survived. Though he was apprenticed to work as a jeweler, he showed an interest in painting and mosaics at a young age. He was apprenticed to be a painter by Alesso Balvodinetti, and before 1475 he painted frescoes in the Santa Fina Chapel. From there he painted frescoes in other churches, including the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. In his later years, he painted some portraits and altarpieces, until his death in 1494 aged 45 of "pestilental fever". Throughout his life, he had married 2 women and fathered 6 children. One of his sons, Ridolfo Ghirlandaio, also became an accomplished painter active mainly in Florence.