Paolo Veneziano

1333-1360

One of the Greatest Painters Of All Time

 Italian Byzantine Style Painter of the Venetian school

Stylistically influenced by the following painters;  -  Giotto Bondone  and  Jacopo di Cione,

Cause of Death - Fire


Throughout the Medieval period, Italian art was largely traditional, sticking to the techniques and style established by the Byzantine Church. Paolo Veneziano was one of the first to begin breaking away from the Byzantine formalism. He felt a real connection to classical Rome and frequently visited ancient Roman sites.  His paintings are darkly mystical, infused with an ethereal emotional intensity. Rigid Geometric patterning and precision in capturing details are the underlying impetus behind his lushly painted works.  

Motivation and Methods

During the time of Paolo Veneziano egg tempura was the medium used by most painters. Art historian and author Sarah Tytler explains "Colours were mixed with water or with size, egg, or fig-juice—the latter practices termed tempera (in English in distemper) before oil was used to mix colours. But painters did not confine themselves then to painting with pencil or brush, else they might have attained technical excellence sooner. It has been well said that the poems of the middle ages were written in stone; so the earlier painters painted in stone, in that mosaic work which one of them called—referring to its durability—'painting for eternity;' and in metals. Many of them were the sons of jewellers or jewellers themselves; they worked in iron as well as in gold and silver, and they were sculptors and architects as well as painters; engineers also, so far as engineering in the construction of roads, bridges, and canals, was known in those days. The Greek knowledge of anatomy was well-nigh lost, so that drawing was incorrect and form bad. The idea of showing degrees of distance, and the management of light and shade, were feebly developed. Even the fore-shortening of figures was so difficult to the old Italian painters that they could not carry it into the extremities, and men and women seem as though standing on the points of their toes."

The Church was the biggest patron of art between the 9th and 14th centuries and Veneziano enjoyed some financial success with steady commissions. He came from a family of painters and was  schooled in Geometry, Rhetoric, Music, Grammar as well as art. Veneziano' s  son Luca was also a painter and the two collaborated on many works.

His subjects, like his predecessors, are all religious – the Virgin Mary, the Life of Christ, the Apostles, Angeles and the Life of St. Francis.

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, ethereal and foggy backgrounds, Gospel parables, romanticized landscapes,  Christian symbolism.

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