Antonello da Messina

1430-1479

Antonello was born at Messina around 1429-1431, to Giovanni de Antonio Mazonus and Garita (Margherita). He was probably apprenticed both in his native city and in Palermo.

Around the year 1450, according to a 1524 letter of the Neapolitan humanist Pietro Summonte,[1] he was a pupil of the painter Niccolò Colantonio at Naples, at the time one of the most active centres of Renaissance arts.

Around 1455 he painted the so-called Sibiu Crucifixion, which was inspired by the Flemish Calvaries and is housed in the Muzeul de ArtĒŽ in Bucharest. Of the same years is the Crucifixion in the Royal Museum of Antwerp: his early works shows a marked Flemish influence, which it is now understood he derived from his master Colantonio and from works by Rogier van der Weyden and Jan van Eyck that belonged to Colantonio's patron, Alfonso V of Aragon; his biographer Vasari remarked that Antonello saw at Naples an oil painting by Jan Van Eyck (the "Lomellini Tryptych") belonging to King Alfonso V of Aragon; Vasari's further narrative, that being struck by the new method, set out for the Netherlands to acquire a knowledge of the process from Van Eyck's disciples is discredited today. Another theory, supported only by vague documentary evidence, suggests that in 1456 Antonello visited Milan, where he might have met Van Eyck's most accomplished follower, Petrus Christus. Since Antonello was one of the first Italians to master Eyckian oil painting, and Christus was the first Netherlandish painter to learn Italian linear perspective, their meeting is a tempting answer to both questions. But in fact, neither artist is known for certain to have been in Milan at the time.

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