A painter, engraver and printmaker from Padua, Italy, Campagnola was said to be a child prodigy, who later aroused jealousy in his master teacher, Titan (1485 – 1576). He was born to a German artisan, but was adopted by Giulio Campagnola (1482 – 1515), who taught him painting, engraving, and woodcutting. After his adopted father died in 1516, Campagnola become a prominent printmaker in Venice. His skill in woodcutting allowed him to prepare the woodblocks for himself, saving him time and not having to employee others.
With an influence from the brilliant work of the German artist Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528), Campagnola developed a fresh, flowing style said to be even more daring than that of Titian. This was especially true in the comparison of Campagnola’s nudes to Titian’s, as noted by the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913.
The landscape paintings Campagnola did were sometimes misattributed to Titian as well. His landscape drawings and woodcuttings were equally brilliant, creating raised foregrounds to lush vistas with castles, bridges, ruins and high mountain peaks behind them. The landscapes he drew and painted were praised and the French artist Michel Corneille (1642 – 1708) made engravings of some of them.
Campagnola did fresco work in the Scuola del Santo in Padua, perhaps assisting Titian. In Padua he produced his most work, and most regarded at that. His well known frescos in Padua were The Four Prophets and The Holy Family, for the Scuola del Carmine. One of his portrait works collected from Ferdinando de’ Medici, Portrait of a Man, is at the Uffizi Gallery. Much of his work is acclaimed for having a distinct linear quality and effective use of deep shading. Some of his etching work survives as well.