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Italian Renaissance Learning Resources

In collaboration with the National Gallery of Art

Palma Vecchio

(Jacopo) [Giacomo] Palma (il) Vecchio

(b Serina, nr Bergamo, ?1479–80; d Venice, 28 July 1528). His birthdate is calculated on Vasari’s testimony (1550) that he died aged 48. By March 1510 he was in Venice, where he spent his working life. The stylistic evidence of his earliest works suggests that he was apprenticed to fellow Bergamasque artist Andrea Previtali, who had studied under Giovanni Bellini. . . . Palma Vecchio’s oeuvre reflects the change from an early to a High Renaissance conception of the human figure in secular and religious art. He specialized in certain themes that became established in the repertory of genres of the Venetian school in the generation after him. The principal of these were the wide-format sacra conversazione—that is, paintings of the Virgin and saints in a rural setting, for private piety but not devotional use—and half-length paintings of idealized women with some erotic intent.

Philip Rylands