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ANTONELLO DA MESSINA (c. 1430-1479), Italian painter, was probably born at Messina about the beginning of the 15th century, and laboured at his art for some time in his native country. Happening to see at Naples a painting in oil by Jan Van Eyck, belonging to Alphonso of Aragon, he was struck by the peculiarity and value of the new method, and set out for the Netherlands to acquire a knowledge of the process from Van Eyck’s disciples. He spent some time there in the prosecution of his art; returned with his secret to Messina about 1465; probably visited Milan; removed to Venice in 1472, where he painted for the Council of Ten; and died there in the middle of February 1479 (see Venturi’s article in Thieme-Becker, Kunstlerlexikon, 1907). His style is remarkable for its union—not always successful—of Italian simplicity with Flemish love of detail. His subjects are frequently single figures, upon the complete representation of which he bestows his utmost skill. There are extant—besides a number more or less dubious—twenty authentic productions, consisting of renderings of “Ecce Homo,” Madonnas, saints, and half-length portraits, many of them painted on wood. The finest of all is said to be the nameless picture of a man in the Berlin museum. The National Gallery, London, has three works by him, including the “St Jerome in his Study.” Antonello exercised an important influence on Italian painting, not only by the introduction of the Flemish invention, but also by the transmission of Flemish tendencies.
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