The son of a little-known Florentine artist, Bartolomeo di Donato, Pier Francesco Fiorentino is recorded in his father's catasto declaration of 1469-1470 as a twenty-five-year-old priest. The young painter-priest most likely received his early training in his father's shop, but his first major association was with Benozzo Gozzoli. Stylistic evidence suggests that he was a member of Gozzoli's studio in San Gimignano when the elder artist moved there in 1464. Pier Francesco's career is framed by two documented altarpieces, a Madonna and Child with Saints in the Museo Collegiata, Empoli, of 1474, and a 1494 signed and dated Madonna and Child with Eight Saints in the church of Sant'Agostino in San Gimignano. Working primarily in Florentine and Sienese provincial towns, Pier Francesco's paintings in the intervening years reveal that he easily assimilated the work of many painters: Gozzoli and Alesso Baldovinetti were of particular importance, but he also looked to Domenico Veneziano, Piero della Francesca, Botticelli, and Perugino for inspiration. His last known works date from 1497.
Early in the twentieth century the artistic personality of Pier Francesco Fiorentino was conflated with the bottega of the so-called "Pseudo Pier Francesco Fiorentino" by Berenson who later, in his 1932 Lists, correctly separated the works of these painters. The confusion between them continued until Paolo dal Poggetto's 1963 exhibition catalogue and, most importantly, Anna Padoa Rizzo's 1973 article which for the first time illuminated and critically analyzed the career of Pier Francesco Fiorentino. [This is the artist's biography published in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]
 Giovanni Poggi, "Una tavola di Pier Francesco Fiorentino nella Collegiata d'Empoli," RdA 6 (1909): 65-67.
 Berenson, Bernhard, Florentine Painters, 3d rev. ed. (1909): 166-172.
Arte in Valdelsa, dal sec. XII al sec. XVIII. Ed. Paolo Dal Poggetto. Exh. cat. Palazzo Pretorio, Certaldo, 1963.
Padoa Rizzo, Anna. "Percorso di Pier Francesco Fiorentino." Commentari 24 (July-September 1973): 154-175.
Arte e committenza in Valdelsa e Valdera. Con Benozzo: Catalogo di un itinerario pittorico. Ed. Anna Padoa Rizzo. Florence, 1997.
Padoa Rizzo, Anna. In Encyclopedia of Italian Renaissance and Mannerist Art. Ed. Jane Turner. 2 vols. London and New York, 2000: 2:1231-1232.
Boskovits, Miklós, and David Alan Brown, et al. Italian Paintings of the Fifteenth Century. The Systematic Catalogue of the National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 2003: 573.