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Melozzo da Forli | Master of Foreshortening 

Melozzo da Forli, Italian Renaissance painter

Angel Musician
Playing Violin
Melozzo da Forli
 c. 1480, fresco fragement
Quirinal Palace, Vatican, Rome, Italy

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Highly regarded in his own time, Italian Renaissance painter Melozzo da Forli was from the town of Forli. His Renaissance painting style was influenced by Piero della Francesca, and due to his skill in rendering perspective and illusionism, Melozzo da Forli is credited with inventing sotto in su, the extreme form of foreshortening. Few works of his still exist, but his skill as an artist can be seen in fragmentary form in the Vatican Quirinal Palace from his fresco of the Ascension (1478-80) for the dome of SS. Apostoli in Rome commissioned by Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere (later Pope Julius II). Unlike Italian painter Mantegna who also is renowned for his extreme foreshortening technique, Melozzo da Forli has only recently regained his popularity, being virtually ignored for several hundred years.

His Ascension is one of the most wonderful works of the Italian Renaissance, even in its heavily damaged state. The surviving fragments depict the Ascension, Apostles and music-making angels.

Melozzo da Forli was described by Giorgio Vasari as "a great artist for perspective," further commenting on the Renaissance painter's skill in daring foreshortening, Melozzo's trademark.

Brenda Harness, Art Historian


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