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Circle of Stefano da Verona (Stefano di Giovanni) (Italian, Verona (?) 1374/75–?ca. 1438 Castel Bragher) | Two Heavily Bearded Men | 2009.340

Circle of Stefano da Verona (Stefano di Giovanni) (Italian, Verona (?) ca. 1375–ca. 1438 Castel Bragher). Two Heavily Bearded Men. Pen and brown ink; 5 9/16 x 4 7/8 in. (14.1 x 12.4 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Harry G. Sperling Fund, 2009, 2009.340

Exhibition Objects

  • Two Heavily Bearded Men
    Two Heavily Bearded Men

    Circle of Stefano da Verona (Stefano di Giovanni) (Italian, Verona (?) 1374/75–?ca. 1438 Castel Bragher)

    Date: n.d.
    Accession Number: 2009.340

  • Three Standing Figures (recto); Seated Woman and a Male Hermit in Half-length (verso)
    Three Standing Figures (recto); Seated Woman and a Male Hermit in Half-length (verso)

    Stefano da Verona (Stefano di Giovanni) (Italian, Verona (?) 1374/75–?ca. 1438 Castel Bragher)

    Date: 1435–38
    Accession Number: 1996.364a, b

  • Studies of a Stag
    Studies of a Stag

    Attributed to Stefano da Verona (Stefano di Giovanni) (Italian, Verona (?) 1374/75–?ca. 1438 Castel Bragher)

    Date: n.d.
    Accession Number: 2005.54.1

  • Studies of a Stag
    Studies of a Stag

    Attributed to Stefano da Verona (Stefano di Giovanni) (Italian, Verona (?) 1374/75–?ca. 1438 Castel Bragher)

    Date: n.d.
    Accession Number: 2005.54.2

  • Seated Man with a Book and a Scroll
    Seated Man with a Book and a Scroll

    Veronese School, Workshop of Stefano da Verona (Stefano di Giovanni) (Italian, Verona (?) 1374/75–?ca. 1438 Castel Bragher)

    Date: first half 15th century
    Accession Number: 1975.1.262

  • Bearded Nude Male Figure Running Toward the Right
    Bearded Nude Male Figure Running Toward the Right

    Veronese School, possibly a follower of Stefano da Verona (Stefano di Giovanni) (Italian, Verona (?) 1374/75–?ca. 1438 Castel Bragher)

    Date: mid 15th century
    Accession Number: 1975.1.422

Early Renaissance Drawing in Verona

March 10–June 8, 2014

A selection of early fifteenth-century works from the Robert Lehman Collection and the Department of Drawings and Prints features drawings attributed to the artist Stefano da Verona (Italian, ca. 1375–ca. 1438). Stefano represents the dynamic artistic culture of northern Italy during the early fifteenth century, fostered by the region's close ties to France and Burgundy. These cross-currents are associated with the broader International Gothic style that flourished between about 1380 and 1430 and was characterized by its elegant courtly qualities and attention to naturalistic detail.

Stefano may have trained in Pavia, near Milan, in the late 1390s with his father, Jean d'Arbois, a French painter once active at the court of Burgundy. An itinerant artist, Stefano worked throughout northern Italy, settling in Verona relatively late in his career, in 1425. His artistic milieu included northern Italian masters such as Michelino da Besozzo, Giovannino de Grassi, and Pisanello, who were renowned for their naturalism, especially their detailed studies of animals. Pisanello left behind a significant legacy of paintings, drawings, and medals (two are on display in the exhibition). While Pisanello was once considered Stefano's pupil, it is more likely that the affinities between their styles resulted from their activity in Verona and the influence of Michelino da Besozzo.

Stefano's graphic manner differs markedly from the northern Italian model-book tradition in which highly finished drawings on vellum (prepared animal skin) were used as stock motifs reproduced in paintings. His rapid pen-and-ink sketches on paper are extraordinary for their spontaneity, freedom of expression, and bold, fluid style. They reflect a pivotal period in Italian art when drawings began to assume an experimental and creative purpose, serving as exploratory exercises, not necessarily as preparatory for paintings.