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Battle of the Sea Gods, with Envy (Invidia) on the Left

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Battle of the Sea Gods, with Envy (Invidia) on the Left

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Summary

Andrea Mantegna was the first Italian painter to make prints so that his work would be disseminated far and wide. This depiction of sea gods is the left half of a frieze (long narrative picture) inspired by an ancient relief. Mantegna turned this into an imaginary battle with gods and monsters, encouraged by Envy (Invidia), portrayed as a naked hag.

Printmaking in woodcut and engraving came to Northern Italy within a few decades of their invention north of the Alps. Engraving probably came first to Florence in the 1440s, the goldsmith Maso Finiguerra (1426–64) used the technique. Italian engraving caught the very early Renaissance, 1460–1490. Print copying was a widely accepted practice, as well as copying of paintings viewed as images in their own right.

Early Renaissance or Quattrocento (Italian mille quattrocento, or 1400) refers to the 15th century in Florentine art. Extraordinary wealth was accumulated in Florence among a growing middle and upper class of merchants and bankers. Florence saw itself as a city-state where the freedom of the individual was guaranteed, and where a significant share of residents had the right to participate in the government. In 1400 Florence was engaged in a struggle with the Duke of Milan. Then, between 1408 and 1414 again, by the King of Naples. Both died before they could conquer Florence. In 1425 Florence won the war against Milan. The Florentine interpreted these victories as signs of God's favor and imagined themselves as the "New Rome". In this new optimistic and wealthy environment, Florentine artists immersed themselves in studies of the humanities, architecture, philosophy, theology, mathematics, science, and design. They spurred a rejuvenation of the glories of classical art in line with the humanistic and individualistic tendencies of the contemporary era. Quattrocento was followed by the High Renaissance, North European Renaissance, Mannerism, and Baroque periods. Unlike the previous proto-renaissances, the innovations that emerged in Florence would go on to cause reverberations in Italy and Northern Europe, which continue to influence culture until today.

date_range

Date

1485 - 1488
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Source

Rijksmuseum
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Copyright info

Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication ("CCO 1.0 Dedication")

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