Andrea Schiavone (Andrea Meldolla)

Datesabout 1510 - 1563
BornZadar, Croatia
DiedVenice, Italy

Andrea Schiavone was born on the Dalmatian coast, then under Venetian jurisdiction. He was probably in Venice by the late 1530s, where he was nicknamed "Schiavone," or "the Slav." His early training is unknown, though he was likely largely self-taught and studied Parmigianino's prints intensely.

Schiavone had established himself by 1540 and introduced Mannerist modes and motifs into Venetian circles. His specialties included furniture panels, a format that encouraged a loose painting style. His large and ambitious canvases were unprecedented in their impressionistic use of paint, forcing Venetians to re-examine the acceptable range of painting. Schiavone's broad, free brushwork was indifferent to defining contours; his color decorated rather than described. Contemporaries complained about this lack of finish; one called Schiavone's use of impasto "worthy of infamy." But younger artists like Jacopo Tintoretto and Jacopo Bassano, considered Schiavone's easel paintings and frescoes important models.

After about 1550, Schiavone incorporated more naturalism. Though he retained his open brushwork and vibrating textures, his color harmonies grew darker and more complex, his forms denser, his emotion quieter and more grave. The inventive paint handling in his late works influenced such painters as Palma Il Giovane. His many technically innovative etchings also influenced later artists.