Antonello da Messina


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Antonello da Messina

(äntōnĕl`lō dä mās–sē`nä), c.1430–79, Sicilian painter, b. Messina. Antonello appears to have had early contact with Flemish art. In his deft handling of the oil medium—his rendering of transparent surfaces and minute landscape details—a strong Northern influence can be seen. About 1475 he went to Venice. There in 1476 he painted the San Cassiano Altarpiece (Kunsthistorisches Mus., Vienna), of which only fragments now exist (Vienna). Created in this period is the work generally regarded as his signature painting, the vibrantly alive yet mysterious Virgin of the Annunciation (c.1475–76; National Gall. of Sicily, Palermo). Antonello's style affected the art of Bellini and other Venetians. He was also an excellent portrait painter, his subjects, often in three-quarters view, reflecting a broad range of emotional expressions, e.g. the roguish gentleman depicted in Portrait of a Man (1460s, Mus. della Fondazione Culturale Mandralisca, Cefalù). Other examples of his portraiture are in such collections as the Metropolitan Museum, Philadelphia Museum, and the Louvre. Other extant paintings include Ecce Homo (c.1470, Metropolitan Mus.); Madonna and Child (National Gall. of Art, Washington, D.C.); Pietà (Venice); and Crucifixion (c.1475–76, Royal Museum, Antwerp).

Bibliography

See G. Barbera, Metropolitan Mus. of Art catalog (2006).

Antonello da Messina

?1430--?79, Italian painter, born in Sicily. His paintings include St Jerome in His Study and Portrait of a Man
References in periodicals archive ?
He'd tacked a print of Antonello da Messina's famous Madonna to the door.
Readers' seats are concealed behind the bookcases and some are contained within framed balconies, like look-out towers, which are also irresistibly reminiscent of the famous fifteenth-century painting of St Jerome in his study by Antonello da Messina. The new geometry of the internal oak box is deliberately out of sync with the original external walls, giving the interior a seductive maze-like quality, ideal for losing yourself in, both physically and mentally.
The Venetian painters might have learned this framing technique from that mysterious figure Antonello da Messina, who lived in Venice for several years and taught both the Bellini brothers.
The unevenness of portraiture's development in different regions also becomes apparent: the peninsular courts held to profile portraiture far longer than did innovative Florence; in Venice, an oligarchy where personal assertion was looked down upon, the autonomous portrait did not gain wide acceptance until Antonello da Messina introduced a sober, northern-European influenced style in the second half of the century, whereupon a great efflorescence soon followed with Giovanni Bellini.
Jerome in His Study, painted by Antonello da Messina in 1475, or Johannes Vermeer's The Astronomer, from 1668.
While masters like Masolino, Fra Angelico, and Domenico Ghirlandaio garner much attention, those engaging with Northern models outside Florence's orbit--Piero della Francesca, Pisanello, and Antonello da Messina chief among them--are neglected by comparison.
Looking up Antonello da Messina in Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, you learn that he was "a person of good and lively intelligence, of great sagacity, and skilled in his profession," and that, after having studied for many years in Rome, he worked for a considerable time in Palermo, before returning to "his native place, Messina." Most important, when Antonello saw a painting by "Johann of Bruges"--Jan van Eyck--in Naples, "painted in oil in such a manner that it could be washed, endure any shock, and was in every way perfect," he was "so strongly impressed by the liveliness of the colors and by the beauty and harmony of that painting" that he dropped everything and went to Flanders.
Godibile per l'agile meccanismo della trama e la scoppiettante galleria dei colpi di scena, il racconto si avvale anche di una salda scrittura dove Carrera sfodera un florilegio di gustose metafore e similitudini ("La dottoressa gli sembrava di bellezza miracolosa, una madonna di Antonello da Messina con occhi color blu antigelo" 30)), allitterazioni, rime.
Jerome in His Study, painted in 1475 by Antonello da Messina (National Gallery, London).
Apart from Antonello da Messina, a native of Sicily, and Caravaggio, who spent only nine months there, Sicilian art lacks famous names of the kind found in concentration in art centres such as Tuscany or Rome, but its culture encompasses monuments of world stature, such as the Greek temple complexes at Agrigento and Selinunte, the mosaic decorations of the Roman villa at Piazza Armerina, the romanesque mosaics at Monreale cathedral, and the planned baroque town of Noto.
The matrimonial alliances of Paola, the daughter of the painter Antonello da Messina, exemplify, if somewhat spectacularly, this tendency.