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Francesco Squarcione

The tailor who changed art history

Squarcione's Madonna and Child

A tailor who loved to act, and who fell in love with ancient art, Francesco Squarcione (c. 1395 – after 1468) of Padua was a unique character. He travelled across Italy, collecting ancient statues, reliefs and so on, using them as subjects of his own drawings and allowing others to use them as well. His famous school/workshop attracted over a hundred students from across Italy, including Florentines such as Filippo Lippi and Paolo Uccello, and locals such as Carlo Crivelli and Andrea Mantegna. Mantegna became his star pupil at age 11 and studied Latin as well as art with Squarcione, then fell out with him left Padua for good.

For all that, there are only two works signed by Squarcione: the Madonna with Child in Berlin and an altarpiece in Padua.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Image by PD Art