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Squarcione, Francesco (Italian, 1397-1468)

Francesco Squarcione (b Padua, c. 1395; d Padua, after May 1468). Italian painter, teacher, draughtsman and printmaker. He is a controversial figure. His mediocre qualities as a painter are less contentious than his role as the head of a school for painters, possibly the earliest private establishment devoted to teaching painting and distinct the workshop system of instruction through apprenticeships. There are only two works signed by him: the Virgin and Child (imaged here, Berlin) and De Lazara Altarpiece (Padua).

Francesco Squarcione (b. 1397, Padua - d. 1468, Padua) was a Padovan artist. His pupils included Andrea Mantegna (with whom he had many legal battles), Cosimo Tura and Carlo Crivelli. There are only two works signed by him: the Virgin and Child (imaged here, Berlin) and De Lazara Altarpiece (Padua).

Squarcione, whose original vocation was tailoring, appears to have had a remarkable enthusiasm for ancient art, and a faculty for acting. Like his famous compatriot Petrarca, Squarcione was something of a fanatic for ancient Rome: he travelled in Italy, and perhaps Greece, collecting antique statues, reliefs, vases, and other works of art, forming a collection of such works, making drawings them himself, and throwing open his stores for others to study . Based on this collection, he undertook works on commission for which his pupils no less than himself were made available. As many as 137 painters and pictorial students passed through his school, established towards 1440 and which became famous all over Italy. Squarcione's favorite pupil was Andrea Mantegna. Squarcione taught Andrea Mantegnathe Latin language and instructed him to study fragments of Roman sculpture.

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