Back to top

Carlo Crivelli

Painter

Born
1430 / 1435 in Venice
Died
1494 / 1495 in Venice

2 Works by Carlo Crivelli

One Work based on Carlo Crivelli

Biography

Carlo Crivelli was born into an artist family in Venice in the early 1430s. Both his father, Jacopo, about whose work nothing definite is known, and his younger brother Vittore were painters. Carlo probably received his first artistic training in his father's workshop, although works by the Paduan artists Giorgio Schiavone and Marco Zoppo obviously made an impression on him. He is first mentioned in Venice as an already accomplished painter on 5 March 1457, when he was sentenced to six months in prison and a 200-lira fine for adultery. Shortly afterwards, Crivelli turned his back on his birthplace in order to seek his fortune as an artist elsewhere, though he frequently referred to his origin in his signature: "Karolus Crivellus Venetus". The artist first appears to have been active - possibly together with Giorgio Schiavone - in Dalmatia, which was ruled by Venice; he is documented in Zadar on 11 September 1465. But he must have returned to Italy at least by 1468, settling in the Marche region. There he is continuously documented until his death in 1494/95 by signed and dated works in rapid succession and in official records. His earliest work verified by a signature and dating is the 1468 polyptych in S Lorenzo, Silvestro e Rufino in Massa Fermana. It appears that he settled in Ascoli; he is first documented there in 1469, and on 17 June 1478 he bought a house in the town. In another document, from 14 November 1478, he is mentioned as "Magistro Karulo veneto habitatoti civitatis Asculi". Carlo Crivelli's son died in Ascoli on 1 September 1487, and the artist appears to have left the city shortly afterwards, for he is subsequently documented mainly in Camerino, Fabriano and Matelica. On 1 April 1490 he was awarded the title 'Miles' (knight) by Ferdinand of Aragon, who would later be king of Naples. In the design of his altarpieces as polyptychs, Crivelli long followed the practice of the Vivarini; only in the early 1480s did he adopt the more modern picture format of the single, unified 'pala', perhaps under the influence of Bellini's altarpiece for Pesaro. In addition, the rich use of gold leaf and the rendering of individual picture elements like haloes or appurtenances in flat relief, which had fallen completely out of fashion in Venice itself in the second half of the fifteenth century, doubtless satisfied the conservative taste of his patrons. In altarpieces, and especially in small-format votive pictures with garlands of foliage or fruits and stone parapets, he continued to rework impressions he had received from Paduan artists like Schiavone and Zoppo.