18 October 2018, The Tablet

Different strokes, different folks: Mantegna and Bellini at the National Gallery


Different strokes, different folks: Mantegna and Bellini at the National Gallery

Mantegna's The Agony in the Garden, circa 1455
Photo: Photo: (c) The National Gallery, London

 

It seems a minor miracle that different artists in the canon of Western sacred art have taken the same subjects again and again – and still managed to make them their own. How could so many hands have painted a Madonna and Child, a Crucifixion or a Pietà and left a personal stamp? Picasso got to the bottom of the mystery when he said: “It’s not what the artist does, but what he is.”

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