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The History of Art And The Curious Lives of Famous Painters

 

Lorenzo Costa

1460-1535

 High Renaissance Artist Associated with the Ferrara School of Painting

Stylistically influenced by the following painters Ercole de’Roberti, Francia, Cosimo Tura and Giovanni Bellini

Education - apprenticed to Ercole de’Roberti

Cause of Death -  old age

 
 

 

About the Artist

Lorenzo Costa worked primarily in in Mantua, Bologna, Ferrara, Tuscany and Umbria painting frescoes for area chapels as well as privately commissioned canvas pieces.  He was a strikingly good-looking man in his younger years, renowned for his generosity and talent. Costa was fascinated by the light and atmosphere, the imitation of nature and their spiritual elements. His work consisted largely of religious themes with a melodramatic twist. Costa's 'The Nativity', circa 1490, is considered one of his greatest masterpieces. Distinguished art critic and historian, John C. Van Dyke asserts "The painters of Ferrara, in the fifteenth century, seemed to have relied upon Padua for their teaching. The best of the early men was Cosimo Tura , who showed the Paduan influence of Squarcione in anatomical insistences, coarse joints, infinite detail, and fantastic ornamentation. He was probably the founder of the school in which Francesco Cossa, a naf and strong, if somewhat morbid painter, Ercole di Giulio Grandi , and Lorenzo Costa were the principal masters. Cossa and Grandi, it seems, afterward removed to Bologna, and it was probably their move that induced Lorenzo Costa to follow them. In that way the Ferrarese school became somewhat complicated with the Bolognese school, and is confused in its history to this day. Costa was not unlikely the real founder, or, at the least, the strongest influencer of the Bolognese school. He was a painter of a rugged, manly type, afterward tempered by Southern influences to softness and sentiment."

 

 

About The High Renaissance Period

Artists of the Renaissance were elevated in social standing and their art was no longer looked upon as simple handicrafts, but as divinely inspired creations. The spirit of an era awoke, revitalized with knowledge and creativity. Although art still served a specific functions, which were primarily religious, painters added more of their individual spirit and personal vision to their creations. John Ruskin, famous art historian stated, "The art of any country is the exponent of its social and political virtues . The art, or general productive and formative energy, of any country, is an exact exponent of its ethical life. you can have noble art only from noble persons, associated under laws fitted to their time and circumstance."

The major painters of the Renaissance were not only artists but men of great genius who gave the world their great intellectual gifts. Florentine and Venetian painting were both formed by extraordinary personalities. These independent creative geniuses tackled mathematical, artistic and philosophical problems of the highest interest, and presented solutions that have never lost their value. The sense of humanism pervading renaissance painting is still palpable. The painters touched on a multitude of  issues regarding the human condition - death, love, reason, religion, universal morality, social problems.

Until the Middle Ages men regarded themselves as following the Good Shepherd, and art consequently did not recognize the individual in particular. In the structure and position of  the figures, as in their expression, a general and uniform type of beauty prevailed. The early Renaissance marks the victory of individualism and the uncompromising prominence of the individual.  According to Renaissance historian Walter Pater  "Here, artists and philosophers and those whom the action of the world has elevated and made keen, do not live in isolation, but breathe a common air, and catch light and heat from each other’s thoughts. There is a spirit of general elevation and enlightenment in which all alike communicate. The unity of this spirit gives unity to all the various products of the Renaissance; and it is to this intimate alliance with the mind, this participation in the best thoughts which that age produced, that the art of Italy in the fifteenth century owes much of its grave dignity and influence.."


 

 
   
   

Key Descriptive Words  and Phrases associated with the Renaissance Movement rebirth, rediscovery of the classical world,  publication of Della Pittura, a book about the laws of mathematical perspective for artists,  sfumato, chiaroscuro, spiritually significant,  illuminated manuscript,  idealized biblical themes, scriptorium, illuminator, plague, Age of Discovery, curiosity about the natural world,  realistic use of colours and  light, Old Testament stories, Savonarola, vaporous and foggy backgrounds, Gospel parables, romanticized landscapes,  Christian symbolism.

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Major Painters of the Italian High Renaissance

Andrea del Sarto
Mariotto Albertinelli
Fra Bartolommeo
Jacopo Bassano
Giovanni Bellini 
Domenico Brusasorci
Giulio Campi
Domenico Di Michelino
Lorenzo Costa
Dosso Dossi
Francesco Francia
Garofalo
Ridolfo Ghirlandaio
Giorgione
Leonardo da Vinci
Lorenzo Lotto
Bernardino Luini
Michelangelo Buonarroti
Baldassare Peruzzi
Piero di Cosimo
Jacob Tintoretto
Marcantonio Raimondi
Raphael
Titian 

 

References - HISTORY OF PAINTING by Walter Pater