Venice, Ferrara, and the Marches

Venetian painting is characterized by deep, rich colors and a strong interest in the effects of light.

1400 - 1500

Beginner's guide

Venice had everything—a stable republican government led by a Doge (“Duke”), wealth from trade, and a unique location as a gateway between Western Europe and the Byzantine Empire.

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Pisanello, <em>Leonello d’Este</em>
Pisanello, Leonello d’Este

Like a social media post, Pisanello's portrait of Leonello d'Este is all a carefully constructed fiction

Cosmè Tura, <em>Roverella Altarpiece</em>
Cosmè Tura, Roverella Altarpiece

Cosmè Tura’s Roverella altarpiece, though known to us only in its current fragmentary state, speaks to the vibrancy and sophistication of late fifteenth-century Ferrarese art.

Guido Mazzoni, <em>Head of a Man</em>
Guido Mazzoni, Head of a Man

Mazzoni, one of the foremost terracotta sculptors of Northern Italy during the Renaissance, incarnates clay with the spirit of a living person

Sala dei Mesi (Hall of the Months) at Palazzo Schifanoia
Sala dei Mesi (Hall of the Months) at Palazzo Schifanoia

The surviving decorations of Schifanoia offer modern viewers a precious glimpse of the splendorous forms that once adorned the d’Este’s numerous palaces and villas

Andrea Mantegna, <em>Dead Christ</em>
Andrea Mantegna, Dead Christ

Mantegna was fascinated by perspective. His radical foreshortening and realism focus attention on Christ’s wounds.

Giovanni Bellini, <em>Brera Pietà</em>
Giovanni Bellini, Brera Pietà

Bellini zooms in on three figures—the Virgin Mary, Christ, and John—to create a sense of our being with them after Christ's death

Vittore Carpaccio, <em>Miracle of the Relic of the Cross at the Rialto Bridge</em>
Vittore Carpaccio, Miracle of the Relic of the Cross at the Rialto Bridge

A painting shows life on the Grand Canal of Venice, including Black gondoliers

Gentile Bellini, <em>Portrait of Sultan Mehmed II</em>
Gentile Bellini, Portrait of Sultan Mehmed II

Gentile Bellini's portrait of Mehmed II has been re-interpreted and understood many times since it was produced nearly 550 years ago.

Mantegna, St. James Led to his Execution
Mantegna, St. James Led to his Execution

A masterpiece lost to American bombs during World War II

Carlo Crivelli, <em>The Annunciation with Saint Emidius</em>
Carlo Crivelli, The Annunciation with Saint Emidius

What are Persian carpets, a peacock, and a cucumber doing in a painting of The Annunciation?

Guido Mazzoni, <em>Lamentation</em> in Ferrara
Guido Mazzoni, Lamentation in Ferrara

Clay becomes flesh in the remarkable terracotta sculptures of Italian renaissance artist Guido Mazzoni.

Guido Mazzoni and Renaissance Emotions
Guido Mazzoni and Renaissance Emotions

Guido Mazzoni created some of the most emotionally affecting life-size terracotta sculptures during the renaissance.

Selected Contributors