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Vittore Carpaccio

Vittore Carpaccio
Vittore Carpaccio
Born Venice or Capodistria
Died 1525/1526
Nationality Italian
Known for Painting

Vittore Carpaccio (Italian pronunciation: ; c. 1465 – 1525/1526) was a Giorgione.


  • Biography 1
  • Work 2
  • Gallery 3
  • Main works 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The Dream of St. Ursula, 1495; Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice.

Carpaccio was born in Venice or in Capodistria in Istria (then part of Venice, now Koper in Slovenia), the son of Piero Scarpazza, a leather merchant. Carpaccio, or Scarpazza, as the name was originally rendered, came from a family originally from Mazzorbo, an island in the diocese of Torcello. Documents trace the family back to at least the 13th century, and its members were diffuse and established throughout Venice. His principal works were executed between 1490 and 1519, ranking him among the early masters of the Venetian Renaissance. He is first mentioned in 1472 in a will of his uncle Fra Ilario. Upon entering the Humanist circles of Venice, he changed his family name to Carpaccio. He was a pupil (not, as sometimes thought, the master) of Lazzaro Bastiani, who, like the Bellini and Vivarini, was the head of a large atelier in Venice.


Carpaccio's earliest known solo works are a Salvator Mundi in the Collezione Contini Bonacossi and a Pietà now in the Palazzo Pitti. These works clearly show the influence of Antonello da Messina and Giovanni Bellini - especially in the use of light and colors - as well as the influence of the schools of Ferrara and Forlì.

In 1490 Carpaccio began the famous Legend of St. Ursula, for the Venetian Scuola dedicated to that saint. The subject of the works, which are now in the Gallerie dell'Accademia, was drawn from the Golden Legend of Jacopo da Varagine. In 1491 he completed the Glory of St. Ursula altarpiece. Indeed, many of Carpaccio's major works were of this type: large scale detachable wall-paintings for the halls of Venetian scuole, which were charitable and social confraternities. Three years later he took part in the decoration of the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista, painting the Miracle of the Relic of the Cross at the Ponte di Rialto.

In the opening decade of the sixteenth century, Carpaccio embarked on the works that have since awarded him the distinction as the foremost Levant: a distinctly middle-eastern looking landscape takes an increasing role in the images as the backdrop to the religious scenes. Moreover, several of the scenes deal directly with cross-cultural issues, such as translation and conversion.

For example, St. Jerome, translated the St. George story addressed the theme of conversion and the supremacy of Christianity.

According to the turban on the ground in order to receive the sacrament.

Fortini Brown argues that this increased interest in exotic eastern subject matter is a result of worsening relations between Venice and the Ottoman Turks: "as it became more of a threat, it also became more of an obsession."[3] His relief of the façade of the former School of the Albanians in Venice reflects this interest, as it commemorates two sieges of Shkodra in 1474 and 1478, the latter of which Sultan Mehmed II directed personally.

At about the same time, from 1501–1507, he worked in the Doge's Palace, together with Giovanni Bellini, in decorating of the Hall of the Great Council. Like many other major works, the cycle was entirely lost in the disastrous fire of 1577.

Dating from 1504-1508 is the cycle of Life of the Virgin for Scuola degli Albanesi,[4] largely executed by assistants, and now divided between the Accademia Carrara of Bergamo, the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan, and the Ca' d'Oro of Venice.

In later years Carpaccio appears to have been influenced by Cima da Conegliano, as evidenced in the Death of the Virgin from 1508, at Ferrara. In 1510 Carpaccio executed the panels of Lamentation on the Dead Christ and The Meditation on the Passion, where the sense of bitter sorrow found in such works by Mantegna is backed by extensive use of allegoric symbolism. Of the same year is a Young Knight in a Landscape, now in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection of Madrid.

In 1515, he painted a Sacra Conversatione painting in then Venetian town of Capodistria which is hanging in its Cathedral of the Assumption.

Between 1511 and 1520 he finished five panels on the Life of St. Stephen for the Scuola di Santo Stefano. Carpaccio's late works were mostly done in the Venetian mainland territories, and in collaboration with his sons Benedetto and Piero. One of his pupils was Marco Marziale.


Main works


  1. ^ Fortini Brown, p. 69.
  2. ^ Jacobus de Voraigine, The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, tr. William Granger Ryan, Vol I (Princeton University Press, 1993), p. 240.
  3. ^ Fortnini Brown, p. 69.
  4. ^ Kathleen Kuiper (February 1, 2010), The 100 Most Influential Painters & Sculptors of the Renaissance (I ed.), Rosen Education Service, pp. 171–172,  


  • Patricia Fortini Brown, Venetian narrative Painting in the Age of Carpaccio (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1988/1994)
  • Daniele Trucco, "Vittore Carpaccio e l’esasperazione dell’orrido nell’iconografia del Rinascimento", in «Letteratura & Arte», n. 12, 2014, pp. 9-23.
  • Pompeo Molmenti, Gustav Ludwig, The Life and Works of Vittorio Carpaccio (London: John Murray, Albemarle Street, W., 1907)

External links

  •, 150 works by Vittore Carpaccio
  • Paintings by Vittore Carpaccio
  • , Roderick Conway Morris, International Herald Tribune, FEBRUARY 26, 2005Nurturing art in the Venetian scuole
  • Web Gallery of Art
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