DOSSI, Battista
(b. ca. 1490, Ferrara, d. 1548, Ferrara)


Italian painter (original name Battista di Lutero), part of a family of painters. Dosso Dossi and his less talented younger brother Battista Dossi were the leading painters at the court of Ferrara under Alfonso I d'Este and Ercole II d'Este. Their father was a native of the Trentino who became bursar at the court of Duke Ercole I of Ferrara and whose property, the Villa Dossi in the province of Mantua, gave the brothers their surname. Their activities were typical of Renaissance court artists: decorating palazzi and villas with frescoes and canvases, usually on mythological or poetic themes; providing designs for tapestries, theatre sets, festival decorations, banners, coins and tableware; painting portraits and small-scale devotional works; gilding their employer's furniture and decorating and varnishing carriages and barges. Most of this work, mentioned in ducal records, is now lost. They also painted altarpieces and, when permitted to do so by the Duke of Ferrara, larger decorative projects for other patrons.

Battista Dossi worked with his brother in Ferrara, then he moved to Rome in 1517 to work with Raphael. After Raphael's death, he returned to Ferrara and worked mainly for the Este family, designing floats, medals, gold jewelry, and cartoons for tapestries. An eclectic, prolific artist and decorator, he also painted altarpieces (Nativity with Saints and Donor, 1536, Galleria Estense, Modena). He was a typical exponent of the sixteenth-century courtly culture.