Dossi, Dosso (Giovanni Luteri) (c.1490?-1542). The outstanding painter of the Ferrarese School in the 16th century.
His early life and training are obscure, but Vasari's assertion that he was born around 1474 is now thought unlikely. He is first recorded in 1512 at Mantua (the name `Dosso' probably comes from a place near Mantua--he is not called `Dosso Dossi' until the 18th century). By 1514 he was in Ferrara, where he spent most of the rest of his career, combining with the poet Ariosto in devising court entertainments, triumphs, tapestries, etc. Dosso painted various kinds of pictures--mythological and religious works, portraits, and decorative frescos--and is perhaps most important for the part played in his work by landscape, in which he continues the romantic pastoral vein of Giorgione and Titian. The influence from these two artists is indeed so strong that it is thought he must have been in Venice early in his career. Dosso's work, however, has a personal quality of fantasy and an opulent sense of color and texture that gives it an individual stamp (Melissa, Borghese Galleria, Rome, c.1523). His brother Battista Dossi (c.1497-1548) often collaborated with him, but there is insufficient evidence to know whether he made an individual contribution.
Photographs by Carol Gerten-Jackson.
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