Domenico Veneziano


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(b ?Venice; bur. Florence, 15 May 1461).

Italian painter, an important but enigmatic figure, whose life is poorly documented. His name indicates that he came from Venice, but he is first documented in Perugia, in 1438, and was active mainly in Florence. Vasari credits him with introducing oil painting into Tuscany. Although this is incorrect, it seems to be true that he was responsible for bringing a new interest in colour and texture to a tradition in which draughtsmanship normally ruled supreme. His only documented fresco cycle, on scenes from the life of the Virgin (1439–45) in S. Egidio, Florence, on which Piero della Francesca was one of his assistants, is destroyed (except for a few fragments), and only two signed works survive. These are a Virgin and Child Enthroned, the largest of three much-damaged and repainted fragments from a frescoed street tabernacle (c.1440, NG, London), and the celebrated St Lucy Altarpiece of c.1445, painted for the church of S. Lucia de' Magnoli, Florence (the central panel is in the Uffizi, Florence, and the predella panels are dispersed in Cambridge (Fitzwilliam Mus.), Washington (NG), and Berlin (Gemäldegalerie). This is one of the great masterpieces of 15th-century Italian painting; its pearly beauty of colouring, mastery of light, and airy lucidity of spatial construction are reflected in the work of Domenico's assistant Piero, and also, for example, in that of Baldovinetti. See also Castagno.

Subjects: Art — History by Period.

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