Palma il Giovane

  • (Venetian), 1544 - 1628
  • Artist
  • Italian

Palma il Giovane was obsessed with painting, reported his biographer: "[W]hen his wife was being buried, he began to paint, and when the women returned from the funeral, he asked them whether they had accommodated her well."

Great-nephew of painter Palma Vecchio, Palma was virtually self-taught, though he presumably studied in his father's workshop and apprenticed briefly in Rome. In 1567 the duke of Urbino recognized Palma's talents, supporting him for four years and sending him to Rome, where he remained until about 1573.

Adding naturalism to his Mannerist style, he varied the degree of exaggerationaccording to subject matter and patrons' taste. Palma's first major public commission arrived after a 1577 fire in the Doge's Palace: three scenes in its grand council hall. By the mid-1580s he had incorporated Tintoretto's versatile figure postures and Titian's thick surfaces, emphasis on light, and loose brushstroke. After Tintoretto's death in 1594, Palma became Venice's dominant artist perpetuating his style. After 1600 he painted mythologies for a small circle of intellectuals.