Tuesday Art ATTACK- Jacopo Bassano "The Flight into Egypt (1545)"

By Christian Franzen

Jacopo Bassano was born in Bassano del Grappa, Italy in the year 1510. Growing up in northern Italy he was exposed to and practiced Renaissance painting in the Venetian style, which differed slightly from the style of southern Italy. He was the student of the Venetian master Veronese. During his years as an apprentice he developed a love for depicting landscape that would stay with him and characterize much of his work.
After completing his apprenticeship, Bassano opened an artists studio in the early 1530's in his home town that specialized in creating religious genre painting for the surrounding church establishments. In his early years of a practicing artist, Bassano was heavily influenced by the painter Titian. Looking at Titian's work encouraged Bassano to charge his paintings full of color pops. Interestingly, in many of Bassano's compositions during this time he places the figure of Christ deeper within the painting rather than directly in front like most all other painters of this time. 

In Bassano's work, The Last Supper which was completed in 1542 you can see the artists new interest in style of Mannerism. This new interest in Mannerism launches Bassano into a whole new level within his paintings. His once more stagnant figure compositions transformed into supercharged high drama/movement paintings. This new energy paired with his intense color pops set Bassano on another level as an artist, leaps above many of his contemporaries.

Towards the end of his life Bassano began to experiment with extreme lighting within his compositions. This eventually led to him beginning to paint outside at night to get a wide variety of darks. These paintings began to get more painterly as he progressed into them; leaving a lot of the technical tightness of his early works behind. This change to an emphasis on nature lead to him abandoning painting religious figures within enclosed spaces. Bassano transitioned into painting figures in an outdoor setting under his extreme lighting scenarios. The artist died on February 14th 1592 in his town of Bassano del Grappa

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