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Foto: Artothek

Artothek

ANDREA MANTEGNA

St. Mark the Evangelist

ca. 1450

Mixed technique on canvas
Inv. No. 1046

81 × 64 cm

zur  Biographie

This painting, executed in distemper on fine canvas, is an early work by the great Paduan Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna, before he was summoned to Mantua to serve at the court of the Gonzaga. Painted in around 1450, it combines Mantegna’s knowledge of the correct use of linear perspective to construct pictorial space and his familiarity with ancient ornamental motifs such as festoons of leaves and flowers with his ability – learned from early Netherlandish panel paintings – to render a tremendous variety of materials and reflective surfaces. This skill goes far beyond what his Italian artist colleagues were able to achieve with traditional tempera. The painter has proudly signed his work on a “cartellino” – a strip of parchment affixed to the portion of the wall beneath the window opening – as the “work of Andrea Mantegna”. This inscription identifies the saint in the painting as St. Mark the Evangelist, the patron saint of the city of Venice. At that time, Mantegna’s native city of Padua belonged to the lagoon city’s mainland possessions. The unknown client of the painting no doubt also chose this saint in order to express his attachment to Venice.

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