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Andras Medulic

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A Croatian painter and engraver, called by Italian authors Medola, Medula, Schiavone, Schiaon, etc., b. at Sibenik, Dalmatia, 1522; d. at Venice 1582. The son of poor parents, Andreas was accustomed, while still a boy, to study closely the pictures and woodwork on the walls of the churches and public buildings of his native town, and, on his return home, to sketch on paper all that he had seen. So tireless was his devotion to his drawing that his father took him to Venice, and there entrusted him to his godfather, Rocco, a painter of very little merit. Under Rocco Medulic, first as apprentice and then as salaried assistant, compelled to work from early morning till evening to procure bare nourishment and clothing, strove to perfect himself in his art. He began by studying and copying the works of the then renowned painter, Francesco Mazzuola (known as Parmigiano ), and the paintings of Titian. From these celebrated painters Medulic learned that grace and delicate lightness of touch, that animation of colour, which constitute the pre-eminent characteristics of his own pictures. While still young in years, chance procured for him the acquaintance of Pietro Aretino, commonly known as the "Divine" and the "scourge of princes" (Flagellum principum), from whom Medulic received always a most friendly reception and much valuable instruction. About this time Medulic began to copy the engravings of Parmigiano, the first to execute pictures on copper with nitric acid. J. Paolo Lomazzo, contemporary painter and writer, states that Parmigiano was Medulic's instructor in this branch. Medulic, however, was no mere imitator; the individual character of his painting gave rise to a special school in Venice, the "Scuola di Schiavone".

Tintoretto was not ashamed to work with the needy youth, to assist him, and even to study his beautiful style of colouring, recommending in writing all painters to study colour from Medulic's pictures, adding every painter is blameworthy, who does not possess at least one picture of Medulic's in his studio". Among those who occasionally purchased his pictures and greatly prized them, was Titian himself who when commissioned by the Venetian Government to choose the best painters in Venice to decorate with mural paintings the public library of St. Mark, included Medulic's name with those of Tintoretto, Paul Veronese, Battista Zelotti, Giuseppe Salviati, and Battista Franco . Medulic retained throughtout life great veneration for Titian and is indeed proclaimed by many authors (Filibeau, Rahmdor, Nagler) his most celebrated imitator. For the Ruzzini family in Venice, Medulic painted the "Baptism of Jesus", but the subdued colouring cannot bear comparison with his other artistic achievements. For the Pellegrini he painted : "Jesus at Emmaus with Luke and Cleophas ", for colour one of the greatest masterpieces of the Venetian school ; "Pilate Washing his Hands", an equally typical example of Medulic's style; "Madonna with Child in the Desert, with St. Joseph and St. John the Baptist". For the Gussoni he painted "St. Cecilia Playing the Organ" (half length), with two attendant angels, and "Madonna Presenting her Son to Holy Simeon ". In the house of the Priuli in the Via San Salvadore, Medulic painted in fresco some scenes from the life of St. John; for the Foscarini the "Descent of the Holy Ghost ". A great number of works, now scattered throughout the world, were painted for the churches of Venice and other cities and for individual collections. On 22 May, 1563, the judges appointed from among the celebrated painters of were Titian, Jacob of Pistoia, Andreas Medulic, Paul Veronese, and Tintoretto. Medulic also worked with nitric acid on copper, and, according to some authorities, was the first to engrave with a dry needle. His etchings are highly for their elegance, beauty, and vigour; among his best works of this class may be mentioned, "Moses Saved by Pharaoh's Daughter", "Abduction of the Trojan Helen", "Sts. Peter and Paul", "Curing of the Lame Man ", (after Raphael ). Medulic died in poverty, leaving scarcely sufficient to pay for his interment in the church of St. Luke at Venice. The following works must be placed in the same rank as the pictures of Titian himself "The Last Supper" in the Berghese Palace, Rome ; "Madonna and Child, with Sts. Francis and Jerome" in the Royal Academy of Arts, Venice ; "Jesus Bound Between a Malefactor and Two Soldiers" at Paris ; "Pilate Washing his Hands" in the Royal Academy, Venice.

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