Vittore Carpaccio

  • about 1460 - 1526
  • Artist
  • Italian

Vittore Carpaccio always managed to depict Venice in his painting. Britain and Brittany were transformed into the canal city in one of his most famous cycles, The Legend of Saint Ursula, commissioned by Venice's Scuola of Saint Ursula, a fraternity of merchants and craftsmen, for their meeting hall adjacent to a Dominican church. When he completed the cycle in 1498, Venetians delighted in the pageantlike scenes of familiar sights: dogs and pet monkeys, lounging cavaliers, flying flags, and bustling activity everywhere. A native of Venice, Carpaccio was born into a family of fishermen and boat builders. He was probably a student of Gentile Bellini, a Venetian painter of incident-filled narratives, and assistant to Gentile's brother Giovanni, but Carpaccio ultimately developed his own fanciful storytelling style. Though he painted religious works and secular panel paintings, his main vocation comprised huge, narrative canvases for the Venetian scuole, whose tastes for richly colored panoramas celebrating the city's success perfectly matched his talents. By tapping into the conservative patronage in Venice, Carpaccio continued painting until his death, virtually impervious to the new doctrines of painting introduced by such artists as Titian.