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Cosmé Tura

Tura, Cosmé or Cosimo (kōzmāˈ tōˈrä, kôˈzēmō) [key], c.1430–1495, Italian Renaissance artist. He was a leading master of the school of Ferrara and court painter to the city's ruling Este family. Often vividly emotional, Tura's figures range from the graceful to the grotesque, as in the gentle Mary and contorted Jesus of his c.1472 Pietà (Correr Museum, Venice). Combining material splendor with asceticism, his stylistically idiosyncratic paintings are frequently filled with sharply portrayed natural details—diversified landscapes, squirrels, monkeys, fruits, etc.—that serve as both plastic and iconographic elements. His works are executed in a harsh, nervously linear, and rather angular style, with bold and sometimes strident coloring. Examples of his art include two organ panels, Annunciation and St. George Slaying the Dragon (cathedral, Ferrara); Christ on the Cross (Milan); St. Jerome (National Gall., London); Portrait of a Man and Saints (National Gall. of Art, Washington, D.C.). Attributed to him is a portrait of a member of the Este family, The Flight into Egypt, and St. Louis of Toulouse (all: Metropolitan Mus.). Although he was celebrated during his lifetime, Tura's reputation barely survived the painter himself, largely due to a general preference for the smooth, classical styles of Florence and Venice. Interest in him was revived in the late 19th and early 20th cent., partially due to the efforts of Bernard Berenson, and scholarly attention to his work has continued into the 21st cent.

See biography by S. J. Campbell (1998); monograph by J. Manca (2000); study by S. J. Campbell, ed. (2002).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: European Art to 1599: Biographies

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