Pisanello (c. 1395 – c. 1455) was a artist from Verona. He was an army officer, leading some social revolutions. In contrast to artists in from his era, he was not a stable life. He travelled all his life, living many years of his life in different cities . During his military service, he got imprisoned in Venice. In court at Venice he was released, not before being declared an anarchist.
In contrast for his revolutionary nature, he used to work with a International Gothic style (http://goo.gl/fk8TD9 ), painting large frescas on walls using lots of bright colours. This kind of style was very popular at his time, as it fitted well to huge wall paintings. The stories are one perspective, letting us enjoy the two dimensional word. Not only it was easy to be painted, but this style was also easy to colour, suited for wall-paintings that have to be ready within hours (in contrast to paintings on wood).
In the picture called “Luxury” there lays a naked woman on a rag, blessed with a mane-like hair. When flipping the picture, the rag appears to be a man’s hair; the eyes and the ear clues the man’s shape – putting his face as a luxurious couch.
The eyes and the ear:
The whole face?
This picture is an example of many pictures I have found to be a two dimensional pictures. The artist created two different pictures on the same frame. It is a way of understanding and enjoy better of the Classic art.
In another oil painting, the painter brings us the face of Leonello d’Este. The painter borught us Leonello’s picture which is now at the Carrara Academy. Leonello was a military person who oppressed Verona, being the scariest figure in town. The mighty city oppressor had also a desire for art. Pisanello painted him and his family.
In the Portrait of Princess Isabel d’Este, you may find great interest in its symbols. Notice the three colours butterfly, symbolizing family values, the amphora (a tool for restoring wine). You may also find the similarity between Isabel and Leonel, as they both have cold and strict face. I suggest that the butterfly tries to soften the feelings coming out of the picture.
Another picture is dedicated to saint Eustaquio, where the hero is known as a cruel experienced hunter. One night he dreams of a deer holding Jesus Christ, begging for mercy. From that night Eustaquio stops hunting and becomes saint. If we look ear the deer’s back we’ll see a woman gathering the deer’s excrements. This illustrates the ecological message – the deer is not hunted, and therefore is used without causing his death.
The next picture is called “Saint George”. It is based on a story about a city besieged by a dragon-like animal. The city citizens decide to sacrifice a young beautiful virgin woman to be eaten/preyed by the dragon. Just before being eaten, Saint George appeared from the sky and killed the dragon. The story was used as propaganda against the Ottoman Empire, as it was made clear that a divine help is needed to resist it. The story is also used as a theoretical base for many painters. It was the time in which the Ottoman Empire was at its rise, making significant victories at battle, just about smashing the Orthodox Empire.