Art UK has updated its cookies policy. By using this website you are agreeing to the use of cookies. To find out more read our updated Use of Cookies policy and our updated Privacy policy.

(b Castelfranco [now Castelfranco Veneto], c.1477; d Venice, Oct. 1510). Venetian painter. Almost nothing is known of his life and only a handful of paintings can be confidently attributed to him, but he holds a momentous place in the history of art. He had achieved legendary status soon after his early death (evidently from plague) and through succeeding centuries he has continued to excite the imagination in a way that few other painters can match. The extraordinary discrepancy between his enormous fame and the tiny size of his oeuvre is explained by the fact that he initiated a new conception of painting. He was one of the earliest artists to specialize in cabinet pictures for private collectors rather than works for public or ecclesiastical patrons, and he was the first painter who subordinated subject matter to the evocation of mood—it is clear that his contemporaries sometimes did not know what was represented in his pictures.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

Do you know someone who would love this resource?
Tell them about it...