(active 1451, d. ca. 1479, Bologna)


Italian illuminator and painter (also Taddeo da Ferrara). Bertoni hypothesized a Lombard origin for the artist on orthographic grounds, and Crivelli's style seems to support this, although at least 20 years of his working life were spent in Ferrara. The earliest surviving document concerning Crivelli is his personal account book for 1451-57 (Modena, Archivio Storico). It is calculated that during this period Crivelli was engaged in more than 100 projects. In carrying out these commissions, he employed a sizeable shop of apprentices and assistants, including Cristoforo Mainardi (fl 1454) and Jacopo Filippo d'Argenta. In 1452 Crivelli contracted to illuminate 'uno trato sopra lo evangelio di san zoane che fe santo agostino' for Novello Malatesta. This has been identified with a copy of St Augustine's Sermons on the Gospel of St John (Cesena, Biblioteca Malatestiana).

Crivelli's most important commission was the costly and magnificent Bible of Borso d'Este, one of the greatest achievements of Italian manuscript illumination. A team of artists headed by Crivelli and Franco dei Russi took six years, from 1455 to 1461, to completely decorate this large, two-volume work. Crivelli left Ferrara sometime shortly after the death of Duke Borso in 1471 and worked sporadically in Bologna until his death.

Although he may have been a student of Pisanello, Crivelli's style is characterized by the sort of mannered artfulness and powerful illusionistic effects that can be associated with northern Italian court artists like Andrea Mantegna. Like the work of these artists, whose careers flourished in the second half of the 1400s, Crivelli's miniatures demonstrate a creative use of motifs derived from the art of classical antiquity.