Andrea Mantegna Biography | Oil Paintings

1431 Padua, ITA - 913-1506 Mantua, ITA

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Mantegna, Andrea

The son of a humble carpenter, Andrea Mantegna had the good fortune to study art in Padua at a time when Tuscan masters like Donatello and Paolo Uccello were in the city. He was apprenticed to Francisco Squarcione, a tailor in Padua who later adopted him. Squarcione was a self-taught painter and it was from him that the young Mantegna learned the rudiments of art.

Andrea Mantegna displayed a precocious and “modern” talent and was interested in the new developments in perspective. His career progressed rapidly. His first important work was the frescoes for the Ovetari Chapel in Padua, his marriage to Giovanni Bellini's sister Nicolosia soon linked him to the most important family of artists in Venice, and the majestic altarpiece in the Church of San Zeno in Verona was his last youthful work. In 1459 he was recruited by Ludovico Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, to occupy the position of court painter, and to decorate his palaces and to the subsequent period belong his great masterpieces. He stayed in Mantua until his death, with one interval studying in Rome. Mantegna succeeded in radically changing the style of the court, from the ornate fantasy of the late Gothic to humanism, which emphasized archaeology and perspective.

The Court Painter Mantegna who Signed his Name in Greek.

The Camera Degli Sposi is the most effective and complete confirmation of Mantegna's style and of his ability to analyze and experiment with draftsmanship. The innovative spatial construction of the frescoes, particularly the oculus in the ceiling, had a profound effect on Correggio who, though too young to have been a pupil, must have studied Mantegna's works very closely. This was the prototype of illusionist ceiling painting and was to become an important element of Baroque and Rococo art. Mantegna was an expert of using the new techniques of perspective and foreshortening in painting, these were important contributions to the compositional layouts of the Renaissance painting.

Lamentation over the Dead Christ, this striking, yet harsh masterpiece was done towards the end of his life for his own funerary chapel. It is an experimental work, both in its technique and its composition with its extreme foreshortening. It is also one of the few works on canvas from the period. The body of Christ, laying on the cold marble mortuary table, is depicted in the stillness of death in detailed close-up, while the faces of the mourners are crammed into the corner. A funeral ashen color dominates throughout. Mantegna takes to the extreme his penetrating search for subtle, severe style, conceding nothing to the softness of tone that was becoming so popular in Venetian painting in the early sixteenth century.

Despite his relationship with Giovanni Bellini and later with Leonardo, Mantegna never adopted the techniques of tonal color or sfumato but preferred his own lucid, infallible visual precision.

Art Movement History: Renaissance.
Artists Influencing Andrea Mantegna: Francesco Squarcione, Andrea del Castagna, Donatello.
Painters Andrea Mantegna Influenced: Bonsignori, Caroto.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.

Andrea Mantegna Hand-Painted Oil Painting Reproductions.

Andrea Mantegna Museum Art Replicas on Canvas.