The court of Ferrara was a leading centre of Renaissance art in the 16th century, and Dosso Dossi was its greatest and most idiosyncratic painter. Published to accompany a 1999 US exhibition of Dosso's work, this book examines nearly all his surviving paintings - mythological, literary and religious. While Dosso learned much from his contemporaries Titian, Raphael and Michelangelo, he developed a unique style marked by imagination, sensual delight and sharp wit. Each painting is reproduced and discussed in detail, and essays probe the artist's career and the visual poetry of his works, and present documentary information as well as technical analyses of his innovative working methods.
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From 1514 to 1542, Dosso Dossi was official painter to the court of Ferrara, one of the most enlightened centers of the Italian High Renaissance. His accomplished allegorical works and landscapes were very highly regarded--in 1568, Vasari, the leading critic of the time, described him as the greatest landscape painter in northern Italy. This book catalogs almost all of Dosso's surviving paintings, brought together in exhibitions by the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Getty Museum in L.A. The authors use Dosso's work to demonstrate changing ideas during the Renaissance about the nature of art and the creative process of the individual artist. A wonderful example is Dosso's painting Jupiter, Mercury, and Virtue, in which Mercury ensures that Jupiter is not disturbed as he paints butterfly wings. Dosso was controversial in his time for painting directly onto a canvas without preparatory drawings; the catalog includes x-rays of the paintings that show how Dosso changed his compositions. It is fascinating to see his thought processes revealed directly in the layers of paint themselves. While recognizing that Dosso was a "slightly lesser genius" than Raphael or Michelangelo, or even Titian, who also worked at Ferrara, the catalog is an enchanting window on a highly cultured artistic community in 16th-century Italy. Like so many publications by the Met, this will be the standard work on its subject for a long time to come. --John StevensonFrom Library Journal:
This exhibition catalog should generate interest in a northern Italian painter whose name is not as recognizable as that of some of his early 16th-century contemporaries. Dosso Dossi's art shows awareness of current trends in the work of Giorgione, Titian, Raphael, Michelangelo, Giovanni Bellini, Mantegna, Giulio Romano, Patinir, and D?rer. The blending of these influences in Dosso's religious and secular paintings is discussed in essays by Humfrey (art history, Univ. of St. Andrews), Lucco (art history, Univ. of Bologna), and five curators and conservators. The contributors also explore the characteristics of Dosso's poetic and often witty individual style, how it flourished in the humanist environment of the D'Este court, and the extent of his collaboration with his brother Battista and others. Technical analyses give insights into Dosso's improvisational painting techniques. The Met has collaborated with the Getty Museum, Italian organizations, and private collectors to organize a traveling exhibition of 58 works and this beautifully illustrated scholarly catalog. Recommended for academic and art libraries with Renaissance collections.AAnne Marie Lane, Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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