An influential artist of Italy’s early Renaissance, Cosimo Tura, sometimes known as Il Cosmè or Cosmè Tura, helped to define the painting style of the School of Ferrara. Perhaps his best known work is in the fresco cycle he completed, Salone dei Mesi or Salone of the Months, for the House of Este’s Palazzo Schifanoia. The piece is a cherished work of art that has survived the ages amongst some restoration.
It was under House of Este patronage, from Duke Borso d’Este (1413 – 1471) and his successor Ercole I d’Este (1431 – 1505), in Ferrara that Tura developed and exhibited his definitive style to Italy. He had a noted contrast, yet collection of influence from the styles of painting from Tuscany, Mantua, Lombardy, Bologna, Florence and Venice, establishing the Ferrara school as its own.
Tura’s main influences were that of his teacher Francesco Squarcione (1397 – 1468) and subsequently another of Sqaurcione’s pupils Andrea Mantegna (1431 – 1506). Mantegna’s highly refined sense of perspective was a unique attribute in the developing Renaissance painters, something also shared in another of Tura’s influences, Piero della Francesca (1412 – 1492). Under his studies with Squarcione in Padua, Tura also developed an interest, and therefore an influence from the works of Donatello (1386 – 1466) in the city.
In collaboration with his Ferrara contemporary, Francesco del Cossa (1430 – 1477), Tura painted the Palazzo Schifanoia frescos between 1469 and 1470. The work is a cycle of the 12 months depicting pagan allegories with the Olympian Gods, constellations and the zodiac. Tura also did drawings for a larger portion of the structure’s frescos, depicting life in the Ferrara court of Borso d’Este. Tura had been appointed the court painter for Borso d’Este since 1456.
Tura’s style was highly elaborate and expressive, as seen in another piece he painted for Leonello d’Este (1407 – 1450), A Allegorical Figure of Calliope, a Greek muse of epic poetry. There is also the Annunciation piece Tura did for the organ doors in the Este’s Duomo. Of his works at the Uffizi Gallery is his Saint Dominic, painted in 1475 for the San Luca in Borgo, in Ferrara. His works also appear in cities around the world, including, San Diego, Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Venice, Ferrara, London, Dresden, and Paris.