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Barbari Jacopo de'



Jacopo de' Barbari, sometimes known or referred to as de'Barbari, de Barberi, de Barbari, Barbaro, Barberino, Barbarigo or Barberigo

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(c. 1440 before 1516) was an Italian painter and printmaker with a highly individual style. He moved from Venice to Germany in 1500, thus becoming the first Italian Renaissance artist of stature to work in Northern Europe. His few surviving paintings (about twelve) include the first known example of trompe l'oeil since antiquity. His twenty-nine engravings and three very large woodcuts were also highly influential.

His place and date of birth are unknown, but he was described as a Venetian by contemporaries, including Albrecht Dürer ("van Venedig geporn"), and as 'old and weak' in 1511, so dates of between 1450 and 1470 have been proposed. Since the earlier part of the range would have him achieve sudden prominence at the age of nearly fifty, the later part would seem more likely. There have also been suggestions he was of German extraction; but it now seems clear he was Italian; there are surviving documents of his in Italian addressed to Germans. He signed most of his engravings with a caduceus, the sign of Mercury, and the Munich still-life (right) with this below his name: "Jac.o de barbarj p 1504" on the painted piece of paper. He was probably not of the important Venetian Barbaro family as he was never listed in that family's genealogy.

Nothing is known about his first decades, although Alvise Vivarini has been suggested as his master. He left Venice for Germany in 1500, and thereafter is better documented. There he worked for the Emperor Maximilian I in Nuremberg for a year, then in various places for Frederick the Wise of Saxony in 15035, before moving to the court of the Elector Joachim I of Brandenburg for about the years 15068. In Germany he was often known as "Jacop Walch", probably from "Wälsch" meaning foreigner, a term especially used for Italians.

He may have returned to Venice with Philip the Handsome of Burgundy, for whom he later worked in the Netherlands. By March of 1510 he was working for Philip's successor Archduchess Margaret in Brussels and Mechelen. In January 1511 he fell ill and made a will, and in March the Archduchess gave him a pension for life, on account of his age and weakness ("debilitation et vieillesse"). By 1516 he had died, leaving the Archduchess in possession of twenty-three engraving plates, which since many of his plates were probably engraved on both sides, means some engravings may not have survived.


Portret van Hendrik, graaf van Mecklenburg



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