Donato Bramante

Renaissance Painter and Architect

By: Emma Horseman

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His Life

  • Named Donato de Angelo di Antonio, but nicknamed Bramante
  • Born 1444 in Monte Asdruvaldo near Urbino, Italy
  • Spent most of his life in Milan (1477-99)
  • Made many trips to Rome, Italy before later fleeing there to spend the remainder of his life (1499-1514) when the French captured Milan
  • Some formal education, however almost nothing is known about the first 30 years of Bramante's life
  • Was the teacher and friend of Raphael
  • Died March 11, 1514 in Rome
  • Buried in Old Saint Peter's
  • Was an inspiration to and influence on successive architects

His Career

  • Painting student of Piero della Francessca
  • Shadowed Andrea Mantegna
  • Started as a painter, but later mainly focused on architecture
  • Wrote some sonnets during his lifetime
  • Was the prime architect in Rome during the first decade of the 16th century
  • Patronized by the Sforza family as well as Pope Julius the second
  • Occasionally worked with Leonardo da VInci
  • Evolved the style of High Renaissance
  • Was a painter and sculptor of perspective
  • At the age of 50, he had still not reached the peak of his career

His Renaissance Ideals

  • He was a painter and an architect
  • His architecture consisted of Roman aspects
  • Explored Roman antiquities
  • Some of his art glorified the human form
  • Most paintings are of the human form
  • Architecture reflected mathematical proportion
  • Built using geometric forms

Scientific Naturalism

  • Used linear perspective
  • Controlled light and shadows in paintings
  • Incorporated nature into his paintings
  • Realistic paintings

A Focus on "Christ at the Column"

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The painting depicts Christ bound to an ornate column. His form is centered, but his gaze is cast to the side. A window dominates the back round through which boats on water and various features of nature are visible. Christ at the Column projects a feeling of sadness and pain.

  • Created around c. 1490
  • Currently located in the art gallery Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan, Italy
  • This piece of work is a panel painting

A significant aspect of "Christ at the Column" is the position of Christ's form in the painting. As the renaissance progressed over time, the human subjects became more and more centered in the work. Due to Christ being very centered in Bramante's depiction of him, it can be inferred that the work was created towards end of the renaissance. This is the cause of my interest in this particular piece of Donato Bramante. The position of the form immediately caught my attention.

Renaissance Ideals Closely Linked to "Christ at the Colomn"

  • The main subject is the human form of Christ
  • The painting glorifies the beauty of the human form as Christ is partially nude

Scientific Naturalism

  • A window opens to views of nature such as water and mountains

  • A single individual, Christ, is the sole subject of this piece