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Characteristics of Venetian Art

Buffy Naillon

During the Renaissance, the Italian city of Venice was a city of rich canals and architecture and produced painters whose art appealed more to the people's emotional life and senses.

The Venetian style of painting provided a sharp contrast to other painters of the Italian High Renaissance whose works centered more on the intellectual.

Light and Color

Venetian artists during the 16th century embraced light and color in their work. The Venetian School artists used color to create a rich, luminous effect in their work. They accomplished this by carefully layering and blending colors so that the resulting canvases teemed with a new life and richness -- influenced by the waterways and colors around Venice.

Work on Canvas

Unlike other artists working at the time, who used a series of drawing studies to work out compositional elements of their paintings, Venetian artists worked out these issues directly on their painting canvases.


Like most art movements, the Venetian painters came under the influence of art movements outside of Venice. Mannerism, a style from central Italy that revealed the turmoil of events in Europe, began to influence Venetian artists. Mannerism paintings showed human figures in complex and distorted poses and used strange color combinations or variations of colors. Mannerism highlighted the human figure and emotional complexities and paved the way for Baroque art in the 17th century.

Venetian Masters

Each art movement produces some greats, and among those of the Venetian School were Titan, Veronese and Tintoretto. Titan was considered a versatile Italian painter, who had equal skills in creating portraits and landscapes as well as religious and mythological subjects. Like many painters of the Venetian region, he was particularly skilled at using rich color and luminosity in his paintings. Veronese was considered one of the best decorative artists. Tintoretto's mastery of perspective space helped him set the stage for Baroque art.