Antonello da Messina: the Sicilian Painter



Testo in italiano


In the portrait gallery of the great Sicilians of every age stands out the great Renaissance painter Antonello da Messina, whose works are found in the great museums of Europe and America.

He was born in Messina between 1425 and 1430.

We are in the Gallery Museum of Abatellis Palace in Palermo where we find in the expositive hall dedicated to him, the Virgin Annunciate, a work of the second half of the fifteenth century that Antonello painted in adulthood.

Antonello travels and completed his training first in Naples (at the Colantoni workshop), then in Venice (at the Bellini school).

Here he came in contact with the Flemish painting that he himself innovated with the Mediterranean features, probably visiting the Netherlands!

Antonello was an innovator in the Italian Renaissance painting, since he introduced the portraiture (that was firm to the Byzantine canons) and through the miniature to both religious and secular subject reached the highest levels.

In the 16th century, The Vasari spoke of it as one of the great painters of the Renaissance like Rafael and Michelangelo, the only Sicilian mentioned among the numerous ranks of the Tuscans!

In the rooms of the Abatellis are found works of the medieval period as in the new rooms works of the 600′ and of the 700′, however it is in the same room of the Virgin Annunciate that we find portraits of bishops and a valuable gothic “shrine” where the most famous work of Antonello was supposed to be kept!

Many museums in the world request the Virgin Annunciate, but the stress that could cause the move has led the Government of Sicily to declare it immovable for which it is observable in its details only in Palermo, considered the “Mona Lisa” of Sicily for the aesthetic details in the posture of the hands, in the popular face and in the movements of the lectern that suggest an angelic presence!




Author: Claudio Paterna, Cultural Department of Splendid Sicily

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