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 Andrea Mantegna  (1431 - 1506)

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Lived/Active: Italy      Known for: early Renaissance religious easel and mural painting

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Ad Code: 1
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
«Compianto sul Cristo morto» (recto) and «Pietà» (verso)
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Andrea Mantegna was born in 1431 and grew up in Padua, near Venice, Italy, and began his artistic career there. He was the quintessential Renaissance man; he could draw with the precision of a surgeon, play with perspective like a computer animator and paint with the sensitivity of a diva. Mantegna ramks near the top of the Renaissance hierachy. His feats of perspective stole the show from his fellow artists and quickly brought Mantegna the lion's share of commissions in and around Padua.

The son of a carpenter, he was apprenticed to Francesco Squarcione, a mediocre artist who liked to adopt his protegees, literally so he could exploit their talents for free. At seventeen, Mantegne broke with his teacher. He married Nicolosia Bellini, from the great Venetian family of painters; she was the daughter of Jacopo and the sister of Giovanni and Gentile Bellini. In 1457 Ludovico Gonzaga invited Mantegna to become the court artist in nearby Mantua and except for a two-year subcontract to the Pope in 1488-90, he spent the rest of his life there.

Mantegna was a consummate artist. He was the best printmaker ever, up to his time. He was considered to be almost impossible to get along with, but at the end of his life, he was also considered the best painter of his century. He came nearer than any other 15th century painter to understanding the Roman civilization he so ardently admired. His influence was not confined to his own country, for by means of his engravings classcal forms and ideas were carried to the North. Durer, for example, was influenced by him.

Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:
Peter Plagens in Newsweek, May 18, 1992
Metropolitan Museum of Art Miniatures: The Story of Christ
A Mantegna for our Time by Andree Hayum in Art in America, June 1992

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