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Andrea Mantegna1 (1431-1506) was an Italian painter of the Renaissance which broke with the Gothic style in the middle of the fifteenth century.
At the age of ten he was apprenticed in a studio in Padua and was adopted in 1442 by Francesco Squarcione. Mantegna was his favorite disciple. Squarcione taught him Latin and gave him to study fragments of Roman sculpture.
In 1445, Mantegna enrolled in the brotherhood of painters in Padua. Padua attracts artists from Veneto and Tuscany but also to the early works of Mantegna are marked by Florentine painters such as Paolo Uccello, Fra Filippo Lippi and Donatello
His first work, now lost, is an altarpiece for the church of Santa Sofia (1448). The same year he was called with Niccolò Pizzolo and two Venetian painters, Antonio Vivarini and Giovanni d'Alemagna, working on the decoration by the frescoes in the chapel of Ovetari in the apse of the church of the Eremitani.
A series of fortuitous events that ends Mantegna alone most of the work (which was almost completely destroyed in the bombing of Padua in 1944).
While the young man is progressing in his studies, he was influenced by Jacopo Bellini, father of the celebrated painters Giovanni and Gentile, and whose daughter married Nicolosia Mantegna in 1453.
Among the other early Mantegna frescoes are the two saints who overcome the entrance porch of the church of Sant 'Antonio in Padua (1452) and an altarpiece showing Saint Luke and other saints for the church of S. Giustina, now in the Brera Gallery in Milan (1453).
There is in all his work more balance in the colors of finesse in the tone. One of its main objectives is the optical illusion based on the mastery of perspective. It does this through a laborious work.
Despite his success and the admiration which it is subject, Mantegna left Padua his early home and never returned.
He spent the rest of his life in Verona, Mantua and Rome.
could not be established if it has also lived in Venice and Florence.
In Verona, about 1459, he painted an altarpiece for the church of San Zeno Maggiore, a Madonna and angels musicians, with four saints on each side, and panels of the predella of the Life of Christ.
His masterpiece made in this city is painted in the Castello San Giorgio part of the Ducal Palace in the city, a series of frescoes known today as the Camera degli Sposi (House Husband): a series of compositions comprising only frescoes in one piece and showing different representations of the Gonzaga family in their daily lives.
The decoration of the room is probably finished in 1474.
The next ten years are not happy for Mantegna's character becomes irritable, his son Bernardino died,
It is only with the advent of Francis II that orders for Mantua artistic resume.
He built an imposing house near the church of San Sebastiano, and adorned with many paintings.
You can still see the house today, but the paintings have disappeared.
At that time, he began to gather a few antique busts in Rome (which were given to Lorenzo de 'Medici when the Florentine leader visited Mantua in 1483), painted architectural and decorative fragments, and completes the impressive Saint Sebastian, now visible in the Louvre.
In 1488, Mantegna was called by Pope Innocent VIII to decorate with frescoes the viewpoint of a chapel in the Vatican. This series of paintings, including a remarkable baptism of Christ, will be destroyed by Pius VI in 1780.
Despite declining health, Mantegna is still active. Among other works the same period we find the Madonna's career, St. Sebastian and the famous Lamentation over the Dead Christ, it was probably painted for his personal funerary chapel. Another work of Mantegna recent years is called the Madonna of Victory, now in the Louvre.
From 1497 Mantegna was commissioned by Isabelle d'Este, ruler of Mantua since 1490, to translate the mythological themes sung by the court poet Paride Ceresara in paintings for his private apartment (studiolo) San Giorgio to the castle.