1506 · Italy
Andrea Mantegna was one of the greatest Italian Renaissance artists, especially regarded for his experimental use of perspective aiming at creating the illusion of a total environment. Through virtuosic and playful effects of visual distortion, he generated exceptional impressions of three-dimensional depth within two-dimensional surfaces to achieve a sense of greater monumentality.
He was a proponent of humanism, a committed antiquarian and amateur archaeologist, and represented secular and religious themes under the strong influence of Classical Art. The best known surviving works by Mantegna are the Ovetari Chapel frescoes (1448–55) in the Eremitani Church in Padua, the San Zeno Altarpiece (1457-60) in Verona, and the “Camera Degli Sposi” (literally “Room of the Bride and Groom”), or “Camera Picta” (“Painted Room”) (1474), in the Palazzo Ducale of Mantua. His work had a remarkable influence on great painters of the time, including Albrecht Dürer and Leonardo da Vinci, as well as on following generations of artists.
Andrea Mantegna was born around 1431 in Isola di Carturo, at the time part of the Republic of Venice, and currently in Italy. He apprenticed in Padua, within Francesco Squarcione’s studio, who also legally adopted him as a child. In 1453, the artist married Nicolosia, daughter of Jacopo Bellini and sister of Giovanni and Gentile Bellini, becoming part of the most notable family of painters in Venice. Still, Mantegna did not join the Bellini studio and in Padua, Verona, and Venice until, in 1459, he entered into the service of Ludovico Gonzaga, Marchese of Mantua, who lavished him an allowance in exchange for unlimited commissions. Thanks to the Gonzaga patronage, the artist held a privileged position in society and, apart from a few journeys to Florence, Pisa, and Rome, he spent the majority of his life in Mantua, where he also died in 1506. Nowadays, while some of his frescoes can be admired in situ, Mantegna’s paintings are held in prestigious public collections worldwide, including the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the Louvre Museum in Paris, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York