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Francesco del Cossa

about 1435/6 - about 1477/8

Cossa was, after Tura, the leading painter at the Este court at Ferrara in the 15th century. He was the son of a stone-carver and is first recorded as working in Ferrara in 1456, with his father, on an altarpiece. Much of his work at Ferrara is destroyed; his main surviving works there are the frescoes painted before 1470. Cossa later moved to Bologna, where he apparently settled.

Cossa's style derives from the work of Mantegna and the circle of Squarcione; and also the work of Donatello in Padua. At Ferrara a highly accomplished version of this style, notable for ornamental detail, formed the basis of a flourishing local tradition. Cossa influenced the work of Ercole de' Roberti, who was probably his pupil and assistant. Ercole perhaps helped paint the Saint Vincent Ferrer altarpiece.