Italian Painting 11

Liberale da Verona (1451-1536 ?) was at first a miniaturist, but afterward developed a larger style based on a following of Mantegna's work, with some Venetian influences showing in the coloring and backgrounds. Francesco Bonsignori (1455-1519) was of the Verona school, but established himself later at Mantua and was under the Mantegna influence. His style at first was rather severe, but he afterward developed much ability in portraiture, historical work, animals, and architectural features. Francesco Caroto (1470-1546), a pupil of Liberale, really belongs to the


next century—the High Renaissance—but his early works show his education in Veronese and Paduan methods. In the school of Vicenza the only master of much note in this Early Renaissance time was Bartolommeo Montagna (1450 ?-1523), a painter in both oil and fresco of much severity and at times grandeur of style. In drawing he was influenced by Mantegna, in composition and coloring he showed a study of Giovanni Bellini and Carpaccio.
VENETIAN LIFE AND ART: The conditions of art production in Venice during the Early Renaissance were quite different from those in Florence or Umbria. By the disposition of her people Venice was not a learned or devout city. Religion, though the chief subject, was not the chief spirit of Venetian art. Christianity was accepted by the Venetians, but with no fevered enthusiasm. The Church was strong enough there to defy the Papacy at one time, and yet religion with the people was perhaps more of a civic function or a duty than a spiritual worship. It was sincere in its way, and the early painters painted its subjects with honesty, but the Venetians were much too proud and worldly minded to take anything very seriously except their own splendor and their own power.
Again, the Venetians were not humanists or students of the revived classic. They housed manuscripts, harbored exiled humanists, received the influx of Greek scholars after the fall of Constantinople, and later the celebrated Aldine press was established in Venice ; but, for all that, classic learning was not the fancy of the Venetians. They made no quarrel over the relative merits of Plato and Aristotle, dug up no classic marbles, had no revival of learning in a Florentine sense. They were merchant princes, winning wealth by commerce and expending it lavishly in beautifying their island home. Not to attain great learning, but to revel in great splendor, seems to have been their aim. Life in the sovereign city of the sea was a worthy existence in itself. And her geographical and political position aided her prosperity. Unlike Florence she was not torn by contending princes within and foreign foes without—at least not to her harm. She had her wars, but they were generally on distant seas. Popery, Paganism, Despotism, all the convulsions of Renaissance life threatened but harmed her not. Free and independent, her kingdom was the sea, and her livelihood commerce, not agriculture.
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