We love our anniversaries here at Ionarts. One that I have missed was the 500th anniversary of the death of Renaissance master Andrea Mantegna. A recent article by Roderick Conway Morris (Mantegna's rise from teen prodigy to master, October 20) in the International Herald Tribune drew my attention to the exhibits marking the event in Italy:
Andrea Mantegna never forgot his debt to Padua. For an artist of his unusual talents and temperament, he could not have come into the world in a better place at a better time. Born here, probably in 1431, he went on to spend the greater part of his life in Mantua. But he remained proud of his hometown, which he clearly felt conferred on him, a boy from a very humble background, an aura of learning and intellectual respectability. It was also the scene of his early triumphs.Three simultaneous exhibits are being held right now, at the Museo Civico Eremitani in Padua, the Palazzo Gran Guardia in Verona, and the Museo di Palazzo Ducale/Palazzo Te (Andrea Mantegna e i Gonzaga) in Mantua. Here's the overall Web site for the Mantegna 2006 exhibits (Padua | Verona | Mantua). And, heck, if you are going to go to Padua, you have to see the Scrovegni Chapel, right?
Mantegna's formative years coincided with the extended stay of the Florentine sculptor Donatello, the greatest long-term visual influence on this most sculptural of painters. The more enlightened scholars of this university town provided the young artist with an informal education in the classics and archaeology, helping him to establish himself as one of Italy's authorities on Antiquity. His aristocratic admirers were instrumental in assuring his involvement in a major fresco cycle here, and another commission for his first altarpiece, destined for Verona. They also smoothed the way to his gaining, while he was still in his 20s, the prestigious and well-paid post as court painter to the Gonzagas in Mantua, an artistic center whose importance far exceeded its modest size and territory, guaranteeing the artist international recognition.