The Unbeloved Renaissance Artist

The Louvre Museum in Paris pays attention to the Italian renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna (c. 1431-1506) The French collections, starting with that of the Louvre, already house a noteworthy ensemble of Mantegna’s works which will be completed by some exceptional loans, from all over the world. Three hundred works of Mantegna are being exhibited in the Louvre Museum. The visitor will be able to follow the different stages of the artistic itinerary of this genius, born circa 1430-1431 in Isola de Carturo, a small village between Padua and Vicenza and already celebrated. The visitor will discover a painter who, like his humanist friends, was passionately interested in Antiquity, enamoured of perspective but, at the same time, endowed with an authentic sensibility, a poetic vein and a startling talent of observation. In addition to this chronological account finishing with an evocation of his heritage, several themes will also retain our attention: his complicity with his brother-in-law the Venetian Giovanni Bellini, his activity in the fields of engraving and decorative arts by providing models, and the precocious and lasting dissemination of his inventions over the whole of Europe. Though Mantegna was not appreciated for a long time, he is now regarded as one of the most important pioneers of the reception of ancient Greece and Rome. The relevance of this exhibition is the modern renaissance perspective and interpretation of ancient historical and mythical stories. How will our descendants look upon Western civilization, the use of the car, medical practice and war fare in the year 3 000 ? It seems far away for mortal beings, but it puts our present accomplishments, even the current financial crisis, into a temporary perspective.