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Important Farrarese School Painters

Farrarese Artists Centered around Ferrara, Italy

A unsympathetic, glacial and ascetic spirit pervades the work of  the school of Ferrara. The character of the Duchy of Ferrara is more northern then Italian. The city and surroundings sits on a flat plain, monotonous and lackluster, stretching out like a mighty morose illusion, filling the human spirit with religious mystification. In the time of the Renaissance the landscape consisted of endless fields separated by the occasional, straggly, leafless mulberry tree.

Severe and unrefined, defiant and ominous, the Palazzo Schifanoja towers aloft. The building was the site on many treacherous intrigues and bloody tragedies. The streets of Ferrara are plain looking and straight, and are flanked by palaces built of dark brick in the same severe and cheerless style.

Piero della Francesca was employed by the court of Lionello and instructed local Farrarese painters. Francesca passed on his preference for light grey values and wide extensive landscapes from which figures arose like statues. Roger van der also Weyden also played an important role in the development of the Farrarese style. He  spent some time in the city and local painters latched onto his Netherlandish asceticism.


The Farrarese School and the cycle of frescos in the plaza Schifanoja, is characteristic of the medieval spirit of the style. While the Florentines narrated a worldly manner, the Farrarese reach back to medieval allegory.  No other Italian school stands as near to naturalism nor took such delight in stark and disagreeable lines, callous hands and emaciated bodies quaking as if with fever. The color, the harsh juxtaposition of lemon yellow, blue, and vermilion, even heightens the harsh and solemn effect of the Farrarese paintings. 

 Important painters of the Farrarese School Listed Alphabetically

Lorenzo Costa (1460-1535) Italian, Ferrara School, High Renaissance

Dosso Dossi (1490 - 1542) Italian, Ferrara School, High Renaissance

Ercole de’Roberti (1450-1496) Italian, Ferrara School, Renaissance

Garofalo (1481-1559) Italian, Ferrara School, Renaissance,


Key Descriptive Words  and Phrases associated with the Renaissance Movement rebirth, rediscovery of the classical world, City-state, Humanism, Humanist, Francesco Petrarch, Reform, The Prince, Theocracy, The Inquisition, Human Reasoning,  publication of Della Pittura, a book about the laws of mathematical perspective for artists, sfumato, chiaroscuro, linear perspectiveHeliocentric Theory, vanishing point, Savonarola, spiritually significant,  illuminated manuscriptidealized biblical themes, scriptorium, emotion, illuminator,  Age of Discovery, axonometric drawing, curiosity about the natural world, mythology,  realistic use of colours and lightBonfire of the Vanities, Old Testament stories, ethereal and foggy backgrounds, Gospel parables, The Blackdeath, romanticized landscapes,  Christian symbolism.



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