Set in Stone
Signing Carlo Crivelli of Venice
This article explores how and why the fifteenth-century Venetian painter, Carlo Crivelli (1430/5-c. 1494), signed his pictures. Until recently, Crivelli’s work has received comparatively little critical attention; this is ironic given that he was acutely aware of his reputation and artistic legacy, an awareness that is expressed through his signatures. Whether carved into fractured stone, or emblazoned in gold on an affixed label, Crivelli’s signatures contemplate his role as a creator of religious images that would outlive him. While the carved inscription signifies permanence and durability, labels, sometimes crumpled and appearing as if about to fall away, suggest transience and ephemerality.