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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Andrea Mantegna was a key member of the Venetian school and the paintings from this period have become popular choices as art print reproductions. Here we discuss the various factors to consider when buying a Mantegna print for your home.

Whilst not being as famous as the spearheads of the Renaissance, such as Da Vinci, Raphael or Michelangelo, this is an artist who is placed in the next rung of painters who were still entirely significant and influential. Those who study the Italian Renaissance will come across artists such as these fairly regularly and then can spend time understanding how each one added different factors to the overall group of artists. In the case of Mantegna, it was his combination of sculpture and visual art within his paintings that helped him to stand out. Most major art retailers will have a selection of his most famous paintings for sale as art prints, because of the popularity that he continues to enjoy. Generally speaking, it is his more famous artworks that are reproduced most often, and some retailers will only offer a smaller selection of his oeuvre, normally concentrating on the best known pieces from his career and offering quality over quantity.

There are many options that you will be presented with when choosing an art print, and it is important to consider all of these in order to make sure that your final product is precisely what you want and need. For example, firstly you need to work out where the item is being sent from, as shipping costs can be extremely large, sometimes even more expensive than the product itself. There may also be import taxes that are not always mentioned when buying the print or poster. It is best, therefore, to buy from a domestic seller. You may also want to frame your print too, and this can provide a beautiful item that looks really smart on your wall. It will add extra costs, though, and so it is worth comparing the prices of framed and unframed prints to see whether it is worth paying extra or not.

Most sellers will have different sizes available, and simply select which best suits your tastes and also the place in which you intend to hang it. Naturally, a frame will add further space around the sides and that may need to be considered. It is normally best to consider the detail within the specific artwork to see what size it needs to be - a highly complex piece, for example may be lost entirely if you choose a reproduction sized too small. Mantegna's oeuvre is varied in this regard, with some paintings being simple portraits, whilst others featuring far more ambitious content that stretches across huge canvases. He also produced some religious work that may offer some intimate scenes which could be to your taste as well, and these prove popular amongst Christian followers who might desire something for personal devotion or simply to help strengthen their faith.

The most popular artists for print reproductions today are more contemporary artists, from around the late 19th century up to the present day. There is still, however, a considerable interest in Renaissance and Baroque artists, typically within the older generations who still appreciate the impressive technical skills of these painters as well as the more traditional themes that they covered. There are also some who will use these paintings to reinforce memories of visits to regions of Italy, and perhaps they even saw the original version in person whilst on a tour. Aside from that, the religious depictions may hold a higher value that helps promote their own lifestyle, allowing their religious convinctions to continue within their own home through carefully selected decor.

Andrea Mantegna as a Printmaker

A side note to the topic of Mantegna prints is that of the artist's role within the medium of printmaking during his own lifetime. He encouraged members of his studio to produce series of prints which could then be sold at nominal prices which helped to finance their other projects. Their studio is believed to be the biggest producer of prints in all of Venice during that period and also signifies a figure who understood how to generate an income from their undeniable technical talents. The printmaking industry has proven useful to many artists in both Italy but also across Northern Europe as a means to spreading artist's reputations and also bringing in extra income that can help to fill in between large projects.

The studio would output two different variations on their designs, using two different printing techniques. One was accomplished using a roller or printing by hand and the result from this process was believed to have been somewhat weaker in appearance, but an easier process to accomplish. The better option was through a more traditional printing press that required more instruments and took longer to achieve but ultimately produced a more vivid finish that better represented the original work. None of the members of the studio, including Mantegna himself, would document their work particularly well and so there remain huge question marks over the creators of the original engravings and even how performed the printing process. These questions are unlikely now to ever be answered, though perhaps more clues lie within the prints that have been discovered for future generations to uncover.

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