- Jay A. Levenson
(b ?Venice, c. 1460–70; d Mechelen or Brussels, before July 17, 1516).
Italian painter and printmaker . He was the first Italian Renaissance artist of note who travelled to the courts of Germany and the Netherlands. His earliest known works appear to date from the late 1490s, suggesting that he was born c.1460–70. The birthdate of c. 1440 traditionally assigned to him reflects the misinterpretation of a document of 1512 in which his patron, Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands, awarded him a stipend because of his ‘weakness and old age’. In fact, at this date a man could be described as ‘old’ while in his fifties or even younger (Gilbert).
Barbari probably trained with Alvise Vivarini in Venice in the 1490s. His earliest dated work, the celebrated bird’s-eye View of Venice, a monumental woodcut produced between 1497 and 1500, can be securely attributed to him on the basis of style (12 extant copies, e.g. London, BM; original blocks in Venice, Correr). It also bears the caduceus, with which Barbari signed nearly all his works. Two other large woodcut compositions, the ...