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Bassano, Jacopo (Jacopo dal Ponte)

Bassano del Grappa, Veneto, 1510/15 - Bassano del Grappa, Veneto, 1592

A painter's son, Jacopo was the head of a large family of artists who went down in history as "the Bassani" after their place of birth and close relationship, the active collaboration between father and sons -Francesco, Gerolamo, Leandro and Gian Battista- the great studio they established and ran, the vulgarisation of Jacopo's models and their very broad dissemination throughout Europe until well into the 17th century. This was combined with the success of the group's aesthetic, which was highly personal both in theme and technique. Like his sons after him, Jacopo painted chiefly religious compositions. A follower of Titian, he established a personal and distinctive, capricious and Mannerist style in consonance with the characteristic aspects of the Venetian world of the second third of the century, though with considerable independence. His knowledge of Tintoretto influenced him significantly to the extent that it transformed his figures somewhat, though his use of the latter's technique and light effects is particularly notable. In a later stage of his life he became specialised in biblical/pastoral paintings imbued with humble and everyday reality in which the essential scene is relegated to the background as a pretext for showing, with certain objectivity, a bustling rural world that contrasts with the heroic and spectacular nature of great Venetian painting. Indeed, the host of farm animals and household items alongside servants or people performing their work creates the impression of genre painting, which was then fashionable with the bourgeois and working classes, the habitual clientele of Jacopo and his workshop, who read Sannazaro's "Arcadia" and Berni's "Rimas". Such literature was a far cry from the grandiloquent historicist or mythological effusiveness of the paintings of the Venetian great masters. These realistic and direct aspects show the Bassani to be clear forerunners of Baroque naturalism. They are famous for their sets of several paintings -"The Flood", "The Seasons" and "The Months"- and also painted sequences of Old Testament and religious themes in general and scenes from the life of Christ in particular, handled with a sense of immediacy that is displayed by all the works of this highly original school (Luna, J. J.: From Titian to Goya. Great Masters of the Museo del Prado, National Art Museum of China-Shanghai Museum, 2007, p. 384).

Artworks (9)

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