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Another Italian pioneer

Andrea Mantegna's works were grandly conceived and severely beautiful



Andrea Mantegna's 1492 painting, Descent Into Limbo, done in tempera and gold on panel. Mantegna was one of the key artistic figures of the second half of the 15th Century, and was the dominant influence on northern Italian painting for over 50 years.

ANDREA MANTEGNA, an Italian painter and engraver, is classified as Early Renaissance and he greatly influenced the works Albrecht Dόrer. Born in 1431 near Vicenza in Italy, Mantegna's artistic talent was recognised early. Francesco Squarcione, an art teacher in Padua, adopted Mantegna. Later 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 his works. In 1459, Ludovico Gonzaga persuaded him 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 his 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.

Mantegna is also noted for his work as a pioneer in the art of engraving. He 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.

MINI ANTHIKAD-CHHIBBER

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