Giovanni d'Alemagna


Giovanni d'Alemagna,[b] Italian pronunciation: [dʒoˈvanni daleˈmaɲ],[7] (c. 1411 – 9 July 1450) was a Venetian renaissance painter of German ancestry, active in Italy, with his brother-in-law Antonio Vivarini on religious paintings in Venice and Padua, that are preserved in the named cities together with those of Vivarini.[c]

Giovanni d'Alemagna
Johannes Alamanus

c. 1411
Died21 February 1450(1450-02-21) (aged 38–39)
Known forPainting


Giovanni d'Alemagna is remembered above all for the work done in Venice, characterized by decorative forms that recall Nordic influence. Between 1430 and 1435 he created a cycle called Stories of Christ, which are still exhibited at the Ca' d'Oro.

According to Ridolfo and Zanetti, Giovanni and Antonio Vivarini flourished about the year 1440, where they adduce authority for an altar-piece in San Pantalon, which bears the inscription of Zuane e Antonio da Muran pense 1444.[8]

Although it is difficult to distinguish the two artists' contributions, Giovanni is associated with the St Jerome (1444), which carries the signature 'Johannes'. This painting suggests that Giovanni's work was generally flatter and more decorative than Antonio's more naturalistic style.

Giovanni d'Alemagna and Antonio Vivarini ran an shop in Venice that specialized in multi-tiered, multi-paneled altarpieces and fanciful Gothic frames, which they subcontracted to various woodworkers.[2]

Giovanni and Antonio signed and dated the triptych representing the Enthroned Madonna with Child and Saints for the wall behind the officers' bench of the recently expanded meeting room of the Scuola della Carità (now part of the Gallerie dell'Accademia,[3] a result of the collaboration made in 1446 for this room of the hotel.[9][d] Resembling an altarpiece but functioning as an inducement to good decision making, this monumental painting shows the four doctors of the Church (Sts Gregory and Jerome at the left, Ambrose and Augustine at the right) in a courtyard around a massive Madonna and Child. The Virgin's celestial court is vividly rendered with marbled pink and grey architecture, rich deep colours, costly robes, and lovingly observed plant life.

In 1448, he worked at Vivarini's workshop, which was moved to Padua, together with Andrea Mantegna and Nicolò Pizolo, in the decoration of the Ovetari Chapel, but died soon afterwards.[10]

Enthroned Madonna with Child and Saints Gregory and Jerome (left), Ambrose and Augustine (right)
Triptych by Giovanni d'Alemagna and Antonio Vivarini (1446), Gallerie dell'Accademia


In VeniceEdit

  • Polyptych of the Body of Christ "or the Sepulcher", 1433, with Antonio Vivarini, Church of San Zaccaria, Chapel of San Tarasio, Venice
  • Polyptych of Saint Sabina, 1443 and Polyptych of the Virgin with Antonio Vivarini, San Zaccaria Church, San Tarasio chapel
  • Coronation of the Virgin, 1444 with Antonio Vivarini, Church of San Pantalon, Venice
  • Triptych of the Virgin and child in majesty surrounded by angels between the doctors of the Church (saints Gregory, Jerome, Ambroise and Augustine, 1446, with Antonio Vivarini, tempera on panels, central 339 cm × 200 cm and two sides of 339 cm × 138 cm each, Gallerie dell'Accademia de Venise, Venice.[11]


Explanatory notesEdit

  1. ^ Boni 1840. (Book excerpt—original in italian):
    Giovanni il Tedesco, od anche Giovanni d'Alemagna, lavoró in Venezia ed a Padova in compagnia di Antonio Vivarini. Di questo pittore, intorno alla cui esistenza era nato qualche dubbio, si conservano pitture nelle nominate cittá unite a quelle del Vivarini, ed hanno l'epigrafe: Zuane e Antonio de Muran pense. Era dunque Giovanni compagno d'Antonio e ben si scorge da' suoi dipinti qualche tratto oltramontano. Dopo il 1447, Giovanni piú non si nomina, ma soltanto Antonio, ora solo, ora con un altro Vivarini.
    (Book excerpt—translated into english): Giovanni il Tedesco, or even Giovanni d'Alemagna, worked in Venice and Padua in the company of Antonio Vivarini. Of this painter, around whose existence some doubt was born, paintings are preserved in the named cities together with those of Vivarini, and have the epigraph: Zuane and Antonio de Muran pense. Thus Giovanni was the companion of Antonio, and some of his paintings are visible from his paintings. After 1447, Giovanni was no longer named, but only Antonio, now alone, now with another Vivarini.
  2. ^ Diversely spelled Giovanni d'Alamagna,[1] Giovanni il Tedesco,[1][a][2][3] Johannes Alaman, Johannes de Alemania[4][5][6] Zuane de Murano and Zuane da Murano in biographical dictionaries of the nineteenth century, the spelling of his name, now attested by the artist's signature, is now followed by the painter's main biographers such as Johann Dominicus Fiorillo, Johann Heinrich Füssli, Filippo de Boni or Luigi Lanzi.
  3. ^ The paintings have the epigraphs, which has been transmitted in different spellings like Zuane and Antonio de Muran pense,[1] Zuane and Antonio da Muran pense, and Zuane and Antonio da Muran pense 1444.[8]
  4. ^ Manzutto 1985. (Book excerpt—original in italian):
    Il grandioso trittico, splendido frutto della stretta collaborazione fra Antonio Vivarini e il cognato Giovanni d'Alemagna, fu eseguito nel 1446 per questa stessa sala dell'Albergo (in origine peró sulla parete di fronte alla Presentazione di Tiziano). Vivace e ricca ne é l'orchestrazione coloristica, scintillante d'oro non solo negli ornati a pastiglia, ma anchi in tutti quei particolari che la raffinata fantasia dei due artisti volle impreziosire.
    (Book excerpt—translated into english): The grandiose triptych, a splendid result of the close collaboration between Antonio Vivarini and his brother-in-law Giovanni d'Alemagna, was made in 1446 for this room of the hotel (originally however on the wall opposite Titian's Presentation). Lively and rich is the coloristic orchestration, sparkling with gold not only in the pastille ornaments, but also in all those details that the refined imagination of the two artists wanted to embellish.
  1. ^ a b c Boni 1840, p. 429.
  2. ^ a b Paoletti 2005, p. 318.
  3. ^ a b Humfrey 1995, p. 49.
  4. ^ Rosenbusch 1801, p. 12.
  5. ^ Fabian 2000, p. 383.
  6. ^ Füssli 1816, p. 3099.
  7. ^ "Giovanni d'Alemagna - Enzyklopädie -". F. A. Brockhaus AG (in German). NE GmbH. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  8. ^ a b Lanzi 1828, p. 22.
  9. ^ Manzutto 1985, p. 412.
  10. ^ Humfrey 1985, p. 49.
  11. ^ Scirè 2008, p. 46-51.


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