Collection: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Artist information: Andrea Mantegna was a North Italian Renaissance painter whose workshop was the most prominent producer of prints in Venice before 1500. In Padua, he studied under Francesco Squarcione, whose passion for ancient art had a great impact on Mantegna. In 1448 he created his first work, an altarpiece for the church of Santa Sofia and, in collaboration with a number of other artists, he worked on the decoration of the Ovetari Chapel. He became the court artist of Ludovico II Gonzaga and moved to Mantua six years later. Mantegna was chosen by Pope Innocent VIII to decorate his private chapel in the Belvedere Palace in 1488. After 1497, Mantegna was commissioned by Isabella d'Este to translate the mythological themes in Paride Ceresara's poetry into paintings for her private apartment in the Doge's Palace. Mantegna's art was characterized by startling experimentation with perspective, seen, for example, in his lowering of the horizon to gain greater monumentality. Other exceptional qualities of his works were the metallic hue of his landscapes and his unusual depiction of figures. Rather than being slim, muscular or bony, they have a stone-like quality that indicates a sculptural approach to his painting. Mantegna remained true to the style he first adopted in Padua, over many decades, the only thing that changed was his coloring - it grew stronger. Well known artworks of his include 'Presentation in the Temple' (ca. 1460-1466), 'Madonna with Sleeping Child' (ca. 1465-1470) and 'Saint Sebastian' (1456-59).