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Andrea Mantegna 1431 - 1506. Kevin J. Benoy. Andrea Mantegna. Mantegna is often seen as the most important painter of the early Renaissance after Masaccio. Virgin & Child by Squarcione. Andrea Mantegna. He was adopted at 10 years of age by the painter Francesco Squarcione.

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Andrea Mantegna 1431 - 1506

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andrea mantegna
Andrea Mantegna
  • Mantegna is often seen as the most important painter of the early Renaissance after Masaccio.
andrea mantegna1

Virgin & Child by Squarcione

Andrea Mantegna
  • He was adopted at 10 years of age by the painter Francesco Squarcione.
  • He became an established master of his own workshop at age 17.
  • He was determined not to allow his adopted father to continue profiting from his talent.
  • The two fought many legal battles.
andrea mantegna2

St. Sebastian

Andrea Mantegna
  • Like Squarcione, Mantegna loved classical antiquities.
  • His paintings consciously integrated antique forms.
  • He helped spark general public interest in the ancient Roman world.
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Andrea Mantegna
  • In 1459 he moved to Mantua, where he worked for the Gonzaga family.
  • They were great patrons of art and this guaranteed a steady income for the rest of his life.
  • However, they were not particularly attractive subjects to paint.
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Andrea Mantegna
  • His “Camera degli Sposi” (Wedding Chamber) involved the painting of walls and ceilings to create the illusion of an open-air pavilion. This room foreshadowed later baroque interest in illusory work – more than a century before it became common.
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Andrea Mantegna
  • The painted occulus contained a joke that must have amused his sponsor no end.
  • Diaperless cherubim perch precariously around its rim, while a tenuously balanced painted planter looks likely to fall on whoever stands beneath it.
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Nude preliminary study

St. James on his way to execution.

Andrea Mantegna
  • His frescoes in Padua, at the Church of the Eremitani, were lost forever – destroyed in a war-time explosion in 1944.
  • They no exist only in reproductions and in a surviving preliminary sketch – the earliest such study we know of.
  • It proves that, like Masaccio, Mantegna sketched the nude form first, adding clothes later.
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Andrea Mantegna
  • Mantegna took a keen interest in the new technique of mathematical perspective.
  • His Dead Christ shocked viewers with its brutal realism, achieved by foreshortening.
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Andrea Mantegna
  • Mantegna was fascinated by the possibilities that perspective offered.
  • He employed the so-called “worm’s eye” perspective to give an unusual viewpoint in many of his works.
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Andrea Mantegna
  • He also employed an interesting diagonal composition in the traditional Virgin & Child image.
  • It is precisely this drive to innovate which makes him an important Renaissance painter.