Mantegna and His System of Perspective

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  • Topic: Italian Renaissance painting, Andrea Mantegna, Fresco
  • Pages : 2 (643 words )
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  • Published : June 20, 2012
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Andrea Mantegna was a North Italian Renaissance painter, a student of Roman archeology, and son in law of Jacopo Bellini. Like other artists of the time, Mantegna played around with the idea of perspective, by “lowering the horizon in order to create a sense of greater monumentality.” His flinty, metallic landscapes and somewhat stony figures give evidence of a fundamentally sculptural approach to painting. He also led a workshop that was the leading producer of prints in Venice before 1500. Andrea was known to work on frescoes for the Ovetari Chapel in 1448 when he was only seventeen but this work was almost destroyed in a bombing raid in 1944. In this series of paintings the use of his worms-eye view is very evident in the St. James led to his Execution, and is a good example of the artist's understanding of perspective “Mantegna has used his knowledge of perspective and foreshortening to create the illusion of a three-dimensional image on the flat two-dimensional surface of the ceiling. Viewed from below (as in the image above) the artist has used his skill to punch a hole through the ceiling to the illusionistic open sky above. This is a particularly fine example of di sotto in sù”. Mantegna was a recluse in his later years, although he continued to paint despite his ill health. The most famous and dramatic of his perspective effects is found in his “Cristo Scorto or the dead Christ” found in his studio after his death on September 13, 1506. To appraise viewpoint accuracy, one needs to have a clear understanding of the rules of perspective. Three of its rules will be relevance to the present discussion. One is the rule of the central vanishing point. If we imagine a canvas set up before the scene to be painted, all edges receding from the canvas will project to lines in the picture converging toward a single, central vanishing point. Illusionistic ceiling painting, which includes the techniques of perspective di sotto in sù and quadratura, is the tradition...
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