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Life of GIOVANNI BUONCONSIGLIO


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  Italian painter, also called Il Marescalco. Probably apprenticed in Vicenza to Bartolommeo Montagna by 1484, he was influenced by many painters during his formative years. He is documented as having settled in Venice on 22 January 1495, where he may have revived a friendship with Cima da Conegliano, whom he may have known in Vicenza. The few works predating 1497 that have been identified as Buonconsiglio s are dominated by Lombard influences, the spatial and monumental qualities of Antonello da Messina and Mantegna being particularly evident, as well as the influence of Bramante. Among these early works are the signed Pietà (c. 1495; Vicenza, Museo Civico) and a related drawing depicting Christ at the Column (Paris, Louvre).
  Generally considered to be his masterpiece, the Pietà reaches a level of perfection he was never to surpass nor often even to approach. The awkward figure of Christ lies rigidly at an angle to the picture plane, receding into it at the left, with head and shoulders resting against the Virgin, who is seated on a low, natural stone bench. Balancing these figures are those of St John the Evangelist and Mary Magdalene, respectively standing and kneeling to the right of the picture s centre. Greys, blues and olives predominate, with the bright red of St John s mantle and the gold and green of Mary Magdalene s elaborate garments in sharp contrast. The landscape background of this early masterpiece shows that Buonconsiglio must have known Mantegna or Domenico Morone well; Bramante s influence is especially clear in the figure of St John. Also from this early period are the Beheading of St Paul (Vicenza, S Lorenzo) and a corresponding drawing of A Soldier (private collection), fresco fragments in Montagnana Cathedral, the St Catherine of Alexandria (Vicenza, Museo Civico) and a monochrome frieze (Venice, Collection Cini). A fragment from an altarpiece, signed and dated 1497, depicting SS Benedict, Tecla and Cosmas (Venice, Accademia), shows the dominating influence of Giovanni Bellini.
  
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Sts Benedict, Thecla, and Damian
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St Sebastian with St Roch and St Lawrence
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