Pictures Around Cromer
A Muse (Calliope?)

Cosimo Tura

Cosimo Tura. A Muse (Calliope?) on the Visitor Information Centre, Louden Road / Meadow car park

A Muse (Calliope?)

Cosimo Tura

Tura’s Muse can be found outside the Visitor Information Centre

Cosimo Tura A Muse (Calliope?), 1455-60
Cosimo Tura, before 1431–1495
A Muse (Calliope?), probably 1455–60
Oil with egg on poplar, 116.2 x 71.1 cm
Layard Bequest, 1916
© The National Gallery, London

A Muse (Calliope?), 1455-60

Artist Cosimo Tura

Oil with egg on poplar 116.2 × 71.1 cm

This imperious lady once looked down from the walls of the studiolo (study) at Belfiore, the hunting retreat belonging to the dukes of Ferrara, part of a decorative scheme showing the nine Muses. The theme was chosen by Leonello d’Este, Duke of Ferrara, and was begun by a painter called Angelo da Siena. After Leonello’s death in 1450 and Angelo’s in 1456, Leonello’s brother Borso hired Tura to produce the work.


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Cosimo Tura

Tura was employed as court artist at the d’Este court of Ferrara, first by Borso d’Este and then by Ercole I. He was the first great Ferrarese artist. His highly decorative style emerges from what is known as International Gothic, modified by the sculptural qualities of North Italian art. He was especially indebted to Andrea Mantegna.

Nothing is known of Tura’s artistic education; the influence of Piero della Francesca has sometimes been detected in his pictures. Tura was one of the first painters in Italy to master the oil technique of the Netherlandish painters, such as Rogier van der Weyden, whose work was known in Ferrara. His closest affinity is with the group centred on Padua, and trained by Squarcione or deeply indebted to his art, such as Mantegna. Tura may have been in Padua in the years 1452-6(?).