Jacopo de' Barbari  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Jacopo de' Barbari (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, Still-Life with Partridge and Iron Gloves, one of the first known examples of trompe l'oeil since antiquity. His twenty-nine engravings and three very large woodcuts were also highly influential.


His paintings are mostly portraits or half-length groups of religious figures. He painted a live Sparrowhawk (National Gallery, London), which is probably a fragment of a larger work. The very early still-life of a Partridge, gauntlets, and crossbow bolt (Alte Pinakothek, Munich) is often called the first small scale trompe l'oeil painting since antiquity; it may well have been the cover or reverse of a portrait (however, a fragmentary panel by another Venetian, Vittorio Carpaccio, has a trompe l'oeil letter-rack of about 1490 on the reverse). In the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin there is a Portrait of a German Man and a religious subject. The Louvre has a religious group, and Philadelphia a pair of figures.

A disputed but famous work, the Portrait of Fra Luca Pacioli is in the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples. This shows the Franciscan mathematician and expert on perspective demonstrating geometry at a table on which lie his own Summa and a work by Euclid. He is accompanied by a not clearly identified student. The work is signed "IACO. BAR VIGEN/NIS 1495".

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