The sixteenth century in Europe was a time of unprecedented change. It was the beginning of the modern era, and it saw a revolution in almost every aspect of life. The century opened with the discovery of a new continent
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Born in Bologna in 1552, Lavinia Fontana was the daughter of cosmopolitan fresco artist and teacher Prospero Fontana, who established his reputation in Rome and joined Giorgio Vasari in adorning Florence's Palazzo Vecchio. Unlike most female artists of the period, Lavinia received encouragement at home, where her father taught her to paint. She came under the influence of one of her father's pupils, Ludovico Carracci, founder of Bologna's academy. Beyond other women seeking careers in art, she flourished in an open-minded city that claimed painter Caterina dei Vigri as patron saint and which had welcomed women to its university since its opening in 1158.
In 1573 Veronese was commissioned to paint a Last Supper for the convent of San Giovanni e Paolo. On July 18, 1573, he was called before the Holy Tribunal of the Inquisition because certain details in the work were considered irreverent in its treatment of a religious theme; Veronese included dogs, a cat, midgets, Huns, and drunken revelers in the mammoth canvas. The Inquisitors pointed out that in Michelangelo's Last Judgment there were no such 'drunkards nor dogs nor similar buffooneries' as Veronese had painted. He answered: 'Mine is no art of thought; my art is joyous and praises God in light and color.’
His nickname derives from his father's profession of dyer (tintore). Although he was prolific and with Veronese the most successful Venetian painter in the generation after Titian's death, little is known of his life. He is said to have trained very briefly with Titian, but the style of his immature works suggests that he may also have studied with Schiavone, Paris Bordone, or Bonifazio.
His Last Supper is a masterpiece of late mannerist style, and a striking contrast to Leonardo da Vinci’s version. Whereas Leonardo placed Christ as the geometric focal point of his painting, Tintoretto’s Christ is distinguished mainly by his mysterious halo. Directional forces such as the diagonally placed table, glances, and gestures all lead the viewer’s eye in a complete circle around the room’s figures. The lantern’s smoke is transmuted into angels, while in the foreground servants and everyday objects glow in a mystical light. The picture communicates the profound mystery of the Last Supper, suggesting the transformation of matter into spirit.
(b Horb am Neckar, c. 1445-50; d Nuremberg, c. 20 Sept 1533). German sculptor, engraver and painter. He is one of the best-documented and most significant German limewood sculptors of his time. Stoss developed a uniquely expressive and personal style in this material, while also achieving considerable success working in other woods and stone. It is likely that he came from an artistic family as he had at least one brother, Matthias Stoss (b Horb, 1482; d Kraków, 1540), who was a goldsmith, and six of his sons also worked as artists.
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