Andrea Mantegna

By, Hannah Kramer

The Amazing Life of the Renaissance Artist, Andrea Mantegna

Andrea Mantegna was born in Isola di Cartura, Italy in 1431. He spent most of his extraordinary life in Northern Italy, and is said to be "the most important northern Italian painter of his generation". As well as an incredible painter he was also a very enthusiastic engraver. The sources I have read show no signs of Education or training but it says that Mantegna learned how to create art from his adoptive father Francesco Squarcione. Andrea Mantegna was the second son of a wood worker but was adopted when he was ten years old or possibly younger. When he was 17 years of age he filed a law suit against Francesco Squarcione to be released from his guardianship and won, this allowed Mantegna to leave Squarcione's workshop in Padua. He later found out that Squarcione was using him to create paintings and making a profit off of them without Mantegna even knowing although no work can be found of Mantegna's in Squarcione's studio. After this event Mantegna's Career started to pick up, 1441-1445 Mantegna joined the painters guild Padua and after that he started creating a lot of frescoes which are watercolor paintings created rapidly on wet plaster or on a wall or on a ceiling so that the colors penetrate the plaster and become fixed as it dries. His patrons were the Gonzaga Family. He created paintings and sculptures. Three pieces of his work are Virgin and Child with a Choir of Cherubim, Dead Christ and Saint Luke Polyptych.

The "ISMS" of Andrea Mantegna

Classicism shown by Mantegna was shown through classical architectural designs, like in the San Zeno Altarpiece 1457-1459 otherwise known as Enthroned Madonna and Child with Saints with the columns. He also shows classicism when he uses mathematical and symmetrical ratios and uses extreme attention to detail.


Illusionism is demonstrated by Mantegna in the fresco painting Camera picta (Camera degli sposi), Ceiling with Oculus. In the painting there is an oculus that is the main part of his painting and represents illusion. The oculus tricks the viewer into thinking they are looking at real objects when they are not.


Humanism is expressed in his paintings because most of them show philosophic inquiry or human emotion.


Perspectivism is incorporated into most of his paintings through depth which means almost everything he drew was three dimensional. Also most of his paintings had linear perspective meaning everything was drawn to scale and they had a single vanishing point to the horizon.

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One of the Many great Renaissance works by Andrea Mantegna

The piece of art that interested me the most was ¨The Holy Family With Saint Mary Magdalen¨. This breathtaking masterpiece was created in 1495-1500. This masterpiece might be found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The importance of this painting is that it shows that the family has so much political power that their baby was held by the great and wonderful Saint Mary. I think this painting is about the holy family being accompanied by a female saint. This female saint is thought to be Mary Magdalen. The painting consists of four people one female, one male, the female saint and the baby boy. The people look to be standing in front of an orange tree or a tree consisting of orange colored fruits. The "ism" that fits the most with this painting is Humanism, because this painting shows human emotion and relationship. The pensive women holding the baby is gracefully and delicately holding him in her arms and staring of into the distance which shows philosophic inquiry. I find this piece very interesting because I like the color scheme its a combination of yellows, reds, greens and oranges but the colors almost look distressed. Also I find all the detail and textures really interesting for example the detail to the rolls of fat in the babies legs, the extreme use of texture in the peoples clothes, and all the detail to all the peoples faces especially the man to the left of the women holding the baby. You might see a picture of this piece on the Metropolitan Museum of Art website in the online collection under Gallery 606.

Works Cited:

"Andrea Mantegna". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.

Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2015. Web. 01 Dec. 2015
<http://www.britannica.com/biography/Andrea-Mantegna>.


"Andrea Mantegna." International Dictionary of Art and Artists. Gale, 1990. Biography in

Context. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.


Andrea Mantegna | the holy family with saint Mary Magdalen (no date) Available at: http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/436967?=&imgno=0&tabname=object-information (Accessed: 3 December 2015).


Art Resource | fine Art Stock licensing - home page (no date) Available at: http://www.artres.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=ARTHO1_3_VForm&Flash=1 (Accessed: 1 December 2015).


http://library.artstor.org/library/#3|search|6|All20Collections3A20brera20painting20by20mantegna|Filtered20Search|||type3D3626kw3Dbrera20painting20by20mantegna26geoIds3D26clsIds3D26collTypes3D26id3Dall26bDate3D26eDate3D26dExact3D26prGeoId3D26origKW3D (Accessed: 1 December 2015).