Family of Venetian painters who played a dominant role in the art of their city for three-quarters of a century. Jacopo (b Venice, c.1400; d Venice, 1470/1) was the father of Gentile and Giovanni and father-in-law of Mantegna. He was a pupil of Gentile da Fabriano, with whom he probably worked in Florence in the early 1420s (although the documentation is equivocal). From the 1430s he carried out a number of prestigious commissions in north Italy, including a fresco of the Crucifixion in Verona Cathedral (1436) and (after defeating Pisanello in competition) a portrait of Leonello d'Este in Ferrara. However, all these works have perished, and his surviving pictures are mainly fairly simple and traditional representations of the Madonna and Child, of which only one is dated (1448, Brera, Milan). Attractive though they are, they do little to suggest why he achieved such high esteem in his day, and a better indication of his quality and originality as an artist can be gained from his drawings. Two large, bound volumes of these survive (BM, London, and Louvre, Paris); together they contain almost 300 drawings, mainly finished compositions, some of them very elaborate. They show that he was keenly alert to new ideas, and many of them are remarkable for bold perspective effects, conveying an exhilarating sense of space. The volumes were inherited by Jacopo's sons, who used them as quarries for ideas.Gentile (b Venice, c.1430/5; bur. Venice, 23 Feb. 1507) is generally thought to have been the elder son, although the evidence for this (and for his birthdate) is inconclusive. He presumably trained with his father, and is known to have collaborated with him around 1460. By 1465 he was working independently, and for the next 40 years he was one of the leading painters in Venice.