CARPACCIO is the minstrel, the tale-teller; more than any of the others of his school of Venice he fascinates and entertains. His canvases delight us with what seems a strange and wonderful mingling together of the Bible and `The Arabian Nights,’ yet his piety is unaffected and his gaiety is steadied by a flavor of Flemish earnestness. He is a true Venetian of Venice, that marvelous hybrid in the arts, with its Byzantine sense of color, its quaint overlay of northern influence, its solid Italian good sense and realism; and it is partly because he tells us, with the sincerity of one who is still to a certain extent a primitive master, the wonderful story of this meeting of East and West and North, that his pictures hold us so long.
Like Gentile Bellini, Carpaccio loves a panoramic development of a subject with a regular architectural setting and a foreground filled with busy figures; but although he is a much less skilful draftsman than Gentile, he has far more invention and poetic sense. Indeed, though he is inferior to Giovanni Bellini in depth of feeling, or loftiness of style, he unites in a very happy way the qualities of the great Bellini brothers. His drawing is often faulty; his figures spindle-shanked, short-bodied, and sometimes cloven almost to the waist by their long legs; his faces are frequently homely, others of them are lacking in construction; but the charm of his work makes up for all, while the lightness of treatment of his sacred legends is qualified and ennobled by some of the clearest and most golden color to be found in the whole range of art.
( Originally Published 1903 )
Masters In Art – Vittore Carpaccio:Vittore CarpaccioThe Art Of CarpaccioAndré Pératé ‘La Grande Encyclopédie’Bernhard Berenson ‘Venetian Painters Of The Renaissance’W. J. Stillman ‘Old Italian Masters’E. H. And E. W. Blashfield And A. A. Hopkins, Editors ‘Vasari’s Lives’The Works Of Carpaccio