The Engravings of Benedetto Montagna: Their Conception and Reception within the Social and Artistic Milieu of the Early Sixteenth Century Veneto
This thesis will focus on the production of a single printmaker, Benedetto Montagna (c.1480–1555), in order to engage with broader issues concerning the visual and social culture of the early cinquecento. Montagna’s graphic oeuvre encompasses religious, allegorical and secular scenes which are simultaneously referential and idiosyncratic. However, the specifics of the prints’ chronology, technicality and iconography have yet to be satisfactorily ascertained, thus representing a conspicuous gap in the scholarship of early print production and culture which this thesis will strive to resolve. Comprehension of the fundamental qualities of the circa 55 engravings currently attributed to Montagna will be evinced through their situation in relation to the paintings of his father, the print production of his Italian and North-European peers, contemporary illuminated manuscripts and printed books. Research will aim to elucidate the details of Montagna’s publishers and patrons, in turn offering new insights into the prints’ function and reception within their intended humanist and religious markets. Ultimately, through operating on a micro and a macro level, this thesis will aim to offer a greater comprehension of the seminal role the mass-(re)produced printed image played within Renaissance society in the dissemination of cultural forms.