Small Navigation Menu

Primary Menu

Bartolomeo & Benedetto Montagna and the Role of The Graphic Arts in Vicenza c.1480-1520

Citation: Verdigel, Genevieve (2020) Bartolomeo & Benedetto Montagna and the Role of The Graphic Arts in Vicenza c.1480-1520. Doctoral thesis, University of London.

GVerdigel PhD Thesis.pdf

Creative Commons: Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

The Italian Renaissance workshop was simultaneously a business, a collaborative practice and a space for experimentation. Disegno, a term that can be interpreted to refer to a physical object –generally a work on paper –or the act of depicting an invention in visual form, served as the thread that connected theseinterests. This thesis investigates the role of disegno inthe workshop operated by Bartolomeo Montagna in Vicenza, Italy, between circa 1480 and 1520. During this period, the Montagna workshop was not only the preeminent workshop in Vicenza, but also ranked among the most prosperous on the Venetian terraferma. Focussing on the output of the Montagna workshop consequently in a manner that has hitherto gone unexplored therefore contributes new insights into the management of Venetic workshops. The graphic arts –here taken to encompass drawings and prints –serves as the prism through which a number of key themes are refracted. The question of an artist’s formation is addressed through analysis of Bartolomeo Montagna’s drawings in their deployment of media and handling of form in relation to the graphic traditions of other Venetic cities. The specialisation of Bartolomeo Montagna’s secondson, Benedetto, as an engraver, invites an extended appraisal of both how artists were instructed in printmaking techniques, and factors that facilitated the workshop’s diversification into print production. Mobility is revealed as a drivingforce: the migration of publishers from Northern Europe was instrumental to the establishment of the print trade in Vicenza, the import of Northern prints fostered an awareness of the medium and its potential, while the reputation of the Montagna workshop attracted ‘peintre-graveurs’ from across the Veneto. Benedetto Montagna is newly afforded a pivotal role in the development of engraving in the Veneto by virtue of the exchanges of ideas and knowhow between engravers that must have taken place around him. When taken in conjunction with the workshop’s concurrent fulfilment of commissions for altarpieces, devotional paintings and fresco schemes, the fundamental concept that emerges in the workshopis that of co-working. Drawings produced by Bartolomeo Montagna and prints acquired from other artists are posited as the basis of the workshop’s visual archive; a repository of designs that was recycled in diverse projects and deployed by various individuals. Access to vital materials such as paper, copper and a printing press is similarly shown to have brought artisans into contact. This pragmatic approach to resources is ultimately shown to have streamlined operations within the Montagna workshop. What, therefore, does this thesis contribute to scholarship on theItalian Renaissance? The collaboration between Bartolomeo and Benedetto Montagna, as father and son, that was fundamental to their printmaking ventures offers a new dimension to our understanding of the interplay between artistic autonomy and the assertion of a workshop identity. The extended analysis of the family’s production and use of prints and drawings demonstratescompellinglythe importance of disegnoto the operation of a Venetic workshop. Finally, and crucially, the potential of the Montagna workshop to attract itinerant artists to Vicenza brings into question the hegemony of Venice in the artistic developments of the Veneto.

Creators: Verdigel, Genevieve and
Subjects: Culture, Language & Literature
Divisions: Warburg Institute
Collections: Theses and Dissertations
  • 2020 ()


View details