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Lambert Sustris in Padua: fresco's en tekeningen

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image of Oud Holland - Quarterly for Dutch Art History

The Amsterdam painter Lambert Sustris stayed in Padua in the 1540s. During this period he worked, among other things, on a number of murals in palazzi and ville suburbane, and also in villas outside Padua and near Vicenza. Some of these murals still exist, others have vanished. A few drawings by Sustris associated with lost murals have however survived. In Padua, Sustris first worked in a subordinate position under Domenico Campagnola and Gualterio Padovano; later, having attained an independent status, he collaborated with the latter and with Andrea Schiavone, among others. Most of the buildings and mural decorations were designed to recreate and renew Classical Antiquity. Some were influenced by Raphael and the artistic climate in Rome and Mantua after 1530, in which followers such as Giulio Romano figured so prominently. Before going to Padua, Sustris had very likely been in Rome and perhaps in Mantua as well. His patrons in Padua, men like Alvise Cornaro and Marco Mantova Benavides, were members of the city's humanist circles, which were strongly orientated towards Rome and Classical Antiquity. The Amsterdam artist is largely responsible for the importance of the landscape in these paintings with their air of antiquity, paintings which in the case of the villas represent the earliest phase of villa decoration in the Veneto. Sustris' landscapes and figures alike clearly bear witness to a connection with Titian, whose paintings Sustris had probably furnished with landscapes earlier on. Further influences on Sustris' work during this period were primarily Raphael, Francesco Salviati and Parmigianino. Partly on the basis of the murals and drawings attributed here to Sustris, there are justifiable grounds for concluding that in recent decades the influence and position of Giuseppe Porta Salviati in Venice and Padua has been overestimated, to Sustris' disadvantage. Except for during his Padua period, the Amsterdam artist received few public commissions. He consequently sank into almost total oblivion fairly soon after his death. From as early on as the late sixteenth century some of his paintings, by virtue of their style and high quality, were taken for masterpieces by Titian.


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