Antonello da Messina

BIRTHDAY6 September 1925
BIRTHPLACEPorto Empedocle

Antonello da Messina was an Italian painter, born in Messina between the 1429 and the 1430. He is considered the greatest exponent of 15th-century Sicilian painting.

Antonello carried out his early apprenticeship, between the cities of Messina and Palermo. Around 1450, Antonello da Messina went to Naples, to begin his career as a painter as an apprentice in Colantonio's workshop. There he came into contact with Flemish, Spanish and Provençal painting. Ten tablets with Franciscan Blesseds, made for the church of San Lorenzo Maggiore, are attributed to Antonello of this period.

The so-called "Crucifixion of Sibiu," dated 1460, is kept at the Muzeul de Artà in Bucharest, and inaugurates one of the basic themes of Antonellian production: that of the martyrdom of Christ.

It dates from 1475, the "Antwerp Crucifixion," preserved at the city's Musée Royal de Beaux-Arts. His first real commissions belong to 1457, when he was asked to execute the gonfalon of the confraternity of San Michele dei Gerbini in Reggio Calabria, a lost work.
To 1460, dates the execution of the "Madonna Salting." After 1460, we place the two panels of Reggio Calabria, with Abraham served by angels and St. Jerome Penitent, preserved at the Civic Art Gallery.
In 1461, Antonello painted a lost Madonna and Child for the Messina nobleman Giovanni Mirulla.

Between 1465 and 1470, Antonello made the "Portrait of a Man of Cefalù," now on display at the Mandralisca Museum.

In the following years, the artist traveled up Italy, touching on Rome, Tuscany, and the Marches, coming into contact with the works of Piero della Francesca. In 1474, Antonello went to Venice, where he learned about Bellini's painting. The "Salvator mundi" is his first signed and dated work.

Del 1473 è l’”Ecce Homo” del Collegio Alberoni di Piacenza, firmato e datato. Risale invece al 1474 l’”Annunciazione”, contenuta presso il Museo Bellomo di Siracusa. “San Girolamo nello studio”, conservato alla National Gallery di Londra, è dell’anno successivo.

Tra il 1475 e il 1476 eseguì la “Pala di San Cassiano”, conservata a Vienna. Del 1476 fu il “San Sebastiano di Dresda”, parte centrale di un Trittico di San Giuliano; qui la sua inventiva, portò Antonello a rappresentare la scena in un innovativo paesaggio contemporaneo, popolato di figure minuscole.

To his return to Sicily, we owe the "Annunciata" in Palermo, surely one of his most famous paintings; Mary, absorbed in reading, is caught in the moment when the angel has just left (or in the moment of questioning). From the same year is the "Portrait of a Man," preserved at the Museo Civico d'Arte Antica in Turin.

Between 1476 and 1478, Antonello painted the "Pieta" in the Prado Museum. Antonello's small tablet of "Christ at the Column," dated c. 1476, can be seen today in the Louvre Museum.

Antonello died in Messina in 1479. He asked to be buried in a habit; his tomb is kept in Messina, in the church of Santa Maria di Gesù Superiore.
Antonello was one of the first Italian artists to use the oil technique, which allowed the color to be spread in successive transparent glazes, which gave the painting a precision, a softness of stroke, and a luminosity, not obtainable with tempera.

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