Carpaccio was the greatest early Renaissance narrative painter of the Venetian school - and this illuminating study by Peter Humfrey ably demonstrates the truth of this statement. Little is known of Vittore Carpaccio's early life, only that he was born sometime between 1455 and 1460. The dominant influences on his early work were those of Gentile Bellini and Antonello da Messina. His first known works do not appear until 1490, the date on one of the canvases in the cycle illustrating the legend of St. Ursula for the Scuola di Santa Orsola. In these celebrated works he emerged as a mature artist of originality, revealing a gift for organization, narrative skill, and a masterly command of light. Carpaccio died some time between 1523 and 1525 and was subsequently neglected for many centuries. He was rediscovered in the nineteenth century, when his precise rendering of architecture, and the luminous atmosphere of his paintings were praised by the English critic John Ruskin.
About the Author
PETER HUMFREY, Professor of Art History at the University of St Andrews, is a specialist in Venetian painting of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. He was Guest Curator of the exhibition 'The Age of Titian: Venetian Renaissance Art from Scottish Collections' at the National Gallery of Scotland in 2004.