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Vincenzo Catena

Vincenzo Catena (1470 – 1531) was an Italian painter of the Renaissance Venetian school.

He is also known as Vincenzo de Biagio. His name is known from an inscription on the back of Giorgione’s painting of Laura. Little else is known about the life of the painter.

Nothing is known of the date and place of Catena’s birth. The earliest known record of him is in an inscription on the back of Giorgione’s Laura, in which he is described as the painter’s Cholego. Catena’s early style is however, much closer to that of Giovanni Bellini than the innovative work of Giorgione, and it was not until a few years after Giorgione’s death in 1510 that his influence began to show itself in Catena’s output.[1] There are about a dozen signed paintings by Catena in existence, although only one of these, the Martyrdom of St Christina (1520) in the church of Santa Maria Mater Domini in Venice, can be dated with any certainty, from an inscription on its marble surround.

His first creative stage was anchored to the post-Antonellian 15th century tradition, made to a lesser extent by Bellinian iconographic elements and formal plasticisms derived from Cima da Conegliano, but largely influenced by the language of Alvise Vivarini. The best examples of this period were the Sacred Conversations and the Virgin with Child and Saints adored by doge Leonardo Loredan (1506).

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At a later time, Chain, thanks to the frequentations of humanists such as Bembo and Trissino, approached the artistic atmospheres elaborated by Giorgione and Titian. Taking advantage of the intense studies of the colors and shapes of Palma the Elder made some significant works, such as the Sacred Conversation and Donor, the Portrait of a Lady and the Portrait of Man, characterized by chromatic brilliance and formal geometric geometry.

Around 1520 Catena stayed in Rome, highlighting Raffaello’s influence in the Holy Family with S.Anna and beginning his last artistic phase, beginning with the famous Pala of S.Cristina, characterized by a marked landscaping lyricism. Next, Chain painted the Adoration of Shepherds, Dinner in Emmaus, Portrait of Giangiorgio Trissino and the Holy Family adored by a Knight.

It is not negligible his collaboration with master Giorgione.

Catena’s wills indicate that he was a man of some wealth, and that he had friends in Venetian humanist circles.