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Andrea Mantegna

1431-1506. First N Italian Renaissance painter. Born near Vicenza, son of a carpenter, he profited from the tutelage of the painter Francesco Squarcione of Padua, an avid antiquarian who adopted him and from whom he may have derived his classical and archaeological interests. A precocious and arrogant genius, member of the guild of painters at eleven, he strengthened a fruitful association with these artists in his marriage in 1454 to Nicolosia Bellini, daughter of Jacopo and sister of Giovanni and Gentile. Mantegna's austere classicism is evidenced in the monumentality of his figures, his concern with perspective, his zeal for historical precision, his use of architectural detail, and his choice of much of his subject matter, particularly the triumphs. He was more preoccupied with fidelity to nature than with idealized beauty, especially in his later works, which proclaimed his sense of tragedy, as shown in his foreshortened Dead Christ. He decorated the Belvedere Chapel (now destroyed) in the Vatican for Innocent VIII. His influence on his contemporaries and successors in Italy and beyond, including Dürer,* was tremendous.

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