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Alvise Vivarini


ca. 1445 / 1446 in Venice
1503 / 1505 in Venice

One Work by Alvise Vivarini


Alvise Vivarini, who came from a Venetian artist family, was born the son of Antonio Vivarini around 1445/46. He presumably received his artistic training either in his father's workshop or under his uncle, Barrolomeo Vivarini. Alvise is first documented in 1457 and 1458, when he is mentioned in his mother's will. In 1476 he was enrolled in the Scuola della Carità in Venice as an independent artist. His first surviving signed work comes from that same year, a polyptych for the Franciscan monastery in Montefiorentino in the Marches, now in the Gallerie Nazionale delle Marche in Urbino. In 1488 he competed with the Bellinis for the prestigious collaboration on the decoration of the Sala del Gran Consiglio in the Doge's Palace. The three canvases commissioned from him in this context were still unfinished upon his death and were lost in a fire in the Doge's Palace in 1577. Towards the end of his life, Alvise Vivarini appears to have been marked by illness; this may also explain why he was in debt when he died sometime between 1503 and 1505. Alvise's works are first unmistakably influenced by those of his father and uncle, still committed to the Late Gothic tradition, but he soon succumbed to the influence of Giovanni Bellini especially. Beginning in the 1480s, the influence of the art of Antonella da Messina becomes apparent, to whom Alvise owed his sculptural figural design with large, simplified surfaces enlivened by the play of light and shadow. In his late works, the figures become increasingly engaged in dynamic movement, their expressions at times dramatically heightened, a sign of Alvise's recognition of the changing style of his younger artist colleagues. As a painter of imposing altarpieces, narrative history pictures, intimate votive panels, and psychologically convincing portraits, Vivarini excelled in the entire range of image production in Venice at the time, successfully working for clients in the north-east of Italy as well as for local patrons.

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