Who was Andrea Mantegna?
Italian Andrea Mantegna's 1492 painting `Descent Into Limbo', done in tempera and gold on panel
ANDREA MANTEGNA, an Italian painter and engraver is classified as Early Renaissance and he greatly influenced the works Albrecht Dόrer. Born about 1431 near Vicenza in Italy, Mantegna's artistic talent was recognised early. Francesco Squarcione, an art teacher in Padua, adopted Mantegna when he was ten. Mantegna set up his own workshop at the age of 17 deciding he would not allow Squarcione to exploit him.
He married Nicolosia Bellini in 1453. Nicolosia's brothers, Giovanni and Gentile Bellini, were deeply influenced by Mantegna's works. In 1459 Ludovico Gonzaga persuaded Mantegna to move to Mantua where he remained with the Gonzaga family for the rest of his life except for a short interlude in Rome between 1488 and 1490 to work for Pope Innocent VIII.
Mantegna's use of dramatic perspective - which gives an impression of looking up from below and his work with heroic figures, coincided with interest in Roman antiquities. His work is characterised by classical elements (such as an attempt to mimic a Roman bas-relief in paint), and shows a strong influence of Donatello. The Catholic Encyclopedia describes Mantegna's work as "grandly conceived and severely beautiful.
His manner has been called dry and hard, but he exhibits marvellous art in his modelling of form and disposing of drapery, as well as great knowledge of design."
Wikipedia lists Mantegna's most famous works as frescoes in the Ovetari Chapel in Padua (1448-59), the San Zeno Altarpiece (1456-59) Judith with the Head of Holofernes, The Agony in the Garden (c.1465), and the frescoed ceiling of the Camera Degli Sposi at the Gonzaga family palace in Mantua
In addition to his accomplishments in painting, Mantegna is also noted for his work as a pioneer in the art of engraving. Mantegna died in Mantua on September 13, 1506 and received the special honour of having a funeral chapel in the church of Santa Andrea dedicated to his honour.
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