Andrea Mantegna

Andrea Mantegna (* 1431 the Isola Mantegna, formerly Isola di Carturo, at Piazzola sul Brenta, Padova, † September 13, 1506 in Mantua ), was an Italian painter and engraver. His painting is influenced by the contact with works of sculpture, especially the Tuscan sculptor Donatello.


In addition to Giovanni Bellini, he was a pupil Francesco Squarcione the most important painter of the north Italian early Renaissance. He was the son of a carpenter, came from a humble, rural conditions, but was interested in early for the sculptures of antiquity. He had to work in his early teens as a herdsman, but was already taken at the age of ten years as an orphan because of his character talent in the painting school of Francesco Squarcione in Padua, where he studied for seven years, including the drawing of antique statues. His first work was a large altar-piece in the church of St. Sophia at Padua. After a falling out due to jealousy and hatred, Mantegna separated himself in 1447 by his teacher.

1449 he has been proven in the court of Ferrara, where he met art Rogier van der Weyden and Piero della Francesca. 1452 he returned to Padua, to finish his work on the bezel at the Basilica of Saint Anthony in Padua. Then he went into the service of the Marchese Luigi III. Gonzaga to Mantua, where he opened his own art school. Here he painted his great triumph of Julius Caesar in nine boxes. These were later sold several times and came to England in the possession of the British crown.

More important for his later career was the collaboration with Niccolò Pizzolo, an assistant of Donatello on the frescoes of Eremitanikirche in Padua ( 1448-57 ). 1453 Mantegna married Nicolosia Bellini, the sister of Giovanni Bellini. 1456 Mantegna was Markgraf Luigi III. Gonzaga in Mantua as court painter called, in whose service he remained, in spite of his activity in Florence, Pisa and Rome 1488/89. Mantegna's work had a significant role in ensuring that the rather insignificant town of Mantua became a center for the visual arts. After Rome Mantegna was called by Pope Innocent VIII to paint the Belvedere. In Rome, was "a lot of admirable pictures, but today are extremely rare ."

Mantegna had three sons, who were also painters, they designed, among other things, the chapel where her father was buried.

Under Mantegna students are Correggio and Raibolini the most famous.

Characteristics of artistic creation

Mantegna is considered the actual finisher of our established by the Florentine school ideal of art: the characters are monumental, austere, full of seriousness and dignity; the objects and space restrictions are in sharp drawing and consciously applied perspective resources ( often exaggerated ) is shown. The colors are often placed together hard, the physical in his sculpture strongly worked out, especially with the anatomy of the naked body is explained in detail. The attachment to the ancient is particularly strong in the serenity of the statuesque figures, also you can find images of the ancient parts of the image or architectures in his works.

Apart from the frescoes in the Eremitanikirche in Padua, with scenes from the life of St. James and the Assumption of Mary, one of his major works of the high altar of San Zeno in Verona ( 1456-59 ), where for the first time in the northern Italian art of picture type of Sacra Conversazione was shown. His major work from his time in Mantua is the decoration of the Camera degli Sposi in the Ducal Palace in Mantua ( Castello di San Giorgio, 1465-1474 ): This is the first illusionistic space decoration with a ceiling painting, pretending a clear view into a free space. Also Mantegna created the first group portrait here.

Excellent also the engravings of Mantegna were: With excellent drawing it received on the sale good income.

Works (selection)

  • The Virgin and Child, in the history of art as San Zeno altarpiece known initially sold to Paris, and later returned to Italy and now on display in the church of St. Zeno at Verona
  • Maria with the child: Tempera on canvas, 43 x 32 cm, about 1465 to 1470, Gemäldegalerie in Berlin.
  • The Holy Family: Canvas, 75 x 61.5 cm, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden.
  • The Lamentation of Christ ( 1490, Milan) is an unusually daring work in the shortening, anatomy as well as in color and relief effect.
  • A work of his late period is the Madonna della Vittoria ( 1495/96, Louvre Museum, Paris) with Francesco Gonzaga as founder, shows the patron saints of Mantua and Marchese Lodovico Gonzaga.