ANDREA MANTEGNA (1431-1506), one of the chief heroes in the advance of painting in Italy, was born in Vicenza, of very humble parentage.
Mantegna was, as he deserved to be, Squarcione's favourite pupil.
The remarkably definite and original style formed by Mantegna may be traced out as founded on the study of the antique in Squarcione's atelier, followed by a diligent application of principles of work exemplified by Paolo Uccello and Donatello, with the practical guidance and example of Jacopo Bellini in the sequel.
Among the other early works of Mantegna are the fresco of two saints over the entrance porch of the church of S.
It is probable, however, that before this time some of the pupils of Squarcione, including Mantegna, had already begun that series of frescoes in the chapel of S.
Successful and admired though he was in Padua, Mantegna left his native city at an early age, and never afterwards resettled 1 His' fellow-workers were Bono of Ferrara, Ansuino of Forli, and Niccolo Pizzolo, to whom considerable sections of the frescopaintings are to be assigned.
The Marquis Lodovico Gonzaga of Mantua had for some time been pressing Mantegna to enter his service; and the following year, 1460, was perhaps the one in which he actually established himself at the Mantuan court, residing at first from time to time at Goito, but, from December 1466 onwards, with his family in Mantua itself.
The pope treated Mantegna with less liberality than he had been used to at the Mantuan court; but on the whole their connexion, which ceased in 1490, was not unsatisfactory to either party.
Mantegna then returned to Mantua, and went on with a series of works - the nine temperapictures, each of them 9 ft.
Vasari eulogizes Mantegna for his courteous, distinguished and praiseworthy deportment, although there are indications of his having been not a little litigious in disposition.
Mantegna has sometimes been credited with the important invention of engraving with the burin on copper.
The influence of Mantegna on the style and tendency of his age was very marked, and extended not only to his own flourishing Mantuan school, but over Italian art generally.
His favourite pupil was known as Carlo del Mantegna; Caroto of Verona was another pupil, Bonsignori an imitator.
The works painted by Mantegna, apart from his frescoes, are not numerous; some thirty-five to forty are regarded as fully authenticated.
Not to speak of earlier periods, a great deal has been written concerning Mantegna of late years.
Thode (1897), Paul Yriarte (1901), Julia Cartwright, Mantegna and Francia (1881).
Towards the end of the 15th century it became the seat of a school of painting strongly influenced by Mantegna, of which the principal representatives were, besides Bartolomeo Montagna, its founder, his son Benedetto Montagna, Giovanni Speranza and Giovanni Buonconsiglio.
The presence of the university attracted many distinguished artists, as Giotto, Lippo Lippi and Donatello; and for native art there was the school of Squarcione (1394-1474), whence issued the great Mantegna (1431-1506).
At a mature age - having first, it appears, become acquainted with Mantegna - he turned his attention to painting.
Mantegna is buried in one of the side chapels.
The Castello di Corte here, the old castle of the Gonzagas (1395-1406), erected by Bartolino da Novara, the architect of the castle of Ferrara, now contains the archives, and has some fine frescoes by Mantegna with scenes from the life of Ludovico Gonzaga.
Among the earliest seem to be two examples of a method practised in Italy especially by the school of Mantegna, but almost without precedent in Germany, that of tempera-painting on linen.
First, it seems, he had made an excursion to Bologna, having intended to take Mantua on the way, in order to do homage to the old age of that Italian master, Andrea Mantegna, from whose work he had himself in youth learned the most.
But the death of Mantegna prevented his purpose.
The evidences of this travel (which are really incontestable, though a small minority of critics still decline to admit them) consist of (1) some fine drawings, three of them dated 1494 and others undated, but plainly of the same time, in which Diirer has copied, or rather boldly translated into his own Gothic and German style, two famous engravings by Mantegna, a number of the "Tarocchi" prints of single figures which pass erroneously under that master's name, and one by yet another minor master of the North-Italian school; with another drawing dated 1495 and plainly copied from a lost original by Antonio Pollaiuolo, and yet another of an infant Christ copied in 1495 from Lorenzo di Credi, from whom also Diirer took a motive for the composition of one of his earliest Madonnas; (2) several landscape drawings done in the passes of Tirol and the Trentino, which technically will not fit in with any other period of his work, and furnish a clear record of his having crossed the Alps about this date; (3) two or three drawings of the costumes of Venetian courtesans, which he could not have made anywhere but in Venice itself, and one of which is used in his great woodcut Apocalypse series of 1498 (4) a general preoccupation which he shows for some years from this date with the problems of the female nude, treated in a manner for which Italy only could have set him the example; and (5) the clear implication contained in a letter written from Venice in 1506 that he had been there already eleven years before; when things, he says, pleased him much which at the time of writing please him no more.