videos + essays
Andrea Mantegna, Dead Christ
Mantegna was fascinated by perspective. His radical foreshortening and realism focus attention on Christ’s wounds.
Fra Angelico, The Annunciation
The life-sized figures of Mary and Gabriel occupy an open porch—a space not unlike the cloisters of San Marco.
Carlo Crivelli, The Annunciation with Saint Emidius
What are Persian carpets, a peacock, and a cucumber doing in a painting of The Annunciation?
Masaccio, Holy Trinity
This painting blends deep piety with scientific observation. Both its architecture and figures were radically new.
Gentile da Fabriano, Adoration of the Magi (reframed)
Brilliant golden brocades. Psuedo-Arabic. Turbans. Leopards and lions. The Adoration of the Magi speaks to the global flow of goods at this time.
Dissecting Botticelli’s Adoration of the Magi
Three men arrive to bless Christ. Are they wise—or just rich? Better defer to that young painter in the crowd...
Jacopo Tintoretto, The Finding of the Body of Saint Mark
As it recesses, Tintoretto’s strange space collapses time. No wonder Saint Mark multiplies.
Andrea Mantegna, San Zeno Altarpiece
Now in Technicolor! Mantegna’s saturated paint and vivid illusionism bring the Court of Heaven to life.
Titian and Jacopo Palma il Giovane, Pietà
This personal image was destined for Titian’s tomb, but he may also appear in it as St. Jerome.
Jacopo Tintoretto, Last Supper
Here, everything is askew. Form dissolves as Tintoretto unites Florentine line with Venetian color.
Michelangelo, Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
An ambitious ceiling made by a celebrated artist for the Sistine Chapel
Giovanni Bellini, San Zaccaria Altarpiece
Bellini opens up this painting’s space, but holds the viewer at bay. The mood is calm, solemn, and contemplative.