Ercole de' Roberti

(c. 1450—1496)

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(b Ferrara, c.1450; d Ferrara, May/June 1496).

Italian painter, active mainly in Ferrara. He succeeded Tura as court painter to the Este in 1486, but little is known of his life. Earlier he appears to have assisted Cossa for some years, and with Cossa and Tura he ranks as the leading artist of the 15th-century Ferrarese School. His only surviving documented painting is the altarpiece with a Madonna Enthroned with Saints (1480) painted for S. Maria in Poroto at Ravenna and now in the Brera, Milan. Other works, however, can be confidently given to him because of his distinctive style. He inherited the tradition of Tura and Cossa, with their precise line and metallic colours against elaborately fanciful ornamentation, but he developed this manner with great originality, modifying it with a subtlety of handling that seems to derive from Giovanni Bellini. His work is often remarkable for its almost mystical intensity of feeling, as in his Pietà in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

Subjects: Art.

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