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Vittore Carpaccio Returned to Favor After Centuries of Neglect

St. Ursula cycle, Vittore Carpaccio

Meeting of the Betrothed Couple (detail)
1495, Tempera on canvas
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

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Venetian Renaissance painter Vittore Carpaccio (1472-1526) is another Italian Renaissance artist like Botticelli whose career fell into disfavor for many centuries until favor was restored in the 19th century. Although most of his life is undocumented, it appears that Carpaccio was chiefly influenced by Gentile Bellini. Carpaccio's teacher is unknown, and his work was long considered old-fashioned.

Carpaccio's most significant works are those cycles from the Life of St. Ursula (1490s) and Scenes from the Lives of St. George and St Jerome (1502-07). The St. Ursula cycle in particular is noteworthy for Carpaccio's rendering of the intricate detail of the Venetian scene.

An examination of Carpaccio's works was undertaken by art historian and critic John Ruskin in the 19th century, who is responsible for restoring Carpaccio's reputation to favor so that now he ranks second only to Giovanni Bellini among important Venetian painters of his generation.

Brenda Harness, Art Historian

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