Vittore Carpaccio was born in Venice, circa 1465, son of a leather merchant. Although there is not much documentation on his early life, it is known that Carpaccio was apprenticed by Lazzaro Bastiani, who was the head of a leading atelier in Venice.
In 1491, Carpaccio completed one of his principal and earliest accomplishments, the Apotheosis of St. Ursula altarpiece, with subjects drawn from the Golden Legend by Jacopo da Varagine. Man of Carpaccio’s artworks was large scale detachable wall-paintings for several of the Venetian schools, which served more as social and charitable confraternities. Three years later, he painted one of his best-known works, The Miracle of the Relic of the Cross at the Ponte di Rialto, as part of the decoration of the Scuola di San Giovanni Evangelista.
During the early 1500s, Carpaccio created the works that awarded him the position of the foremost Orientalist painter of his time. Between 1502 and 1507, he executed a series of panels for the immigrant Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, in which Schiavoni means “Slavs” in the Venetian dialect. These artworks are considered Orientalist because they show a new interest in a distinctly middle-eastern looking landscape called the Levant, as the background to religious scenes.
Scholars state that his increasing interest in exotic eastern subjects is a result of the worsening relations between the Ottoman Empire and Venice, as the threat grew, also grew his obsessions towards the matter. One of his artworks of the period, as bas-relief sculpture, celebrated two sieges of Shkodra.
Between 1501 and 1507, Carpaccio, alongside Giovanni Bellini, worked decorating the Hall of the Great Council in the Doge’s Palace. Like several other significant artworks by other artists, said decoration was entirely lost during the disastrous fire at the Doge’s Palace in 1577.
From 1504 to 1508, the artist executed the Life of the Virgin, majorly completed by his assistants. Scholars suggest that said artwork was a result of influence from the painter Cima da Conegliano developed during his later years.
A couple of years later, Carpaccio finished the panels for The Meditation on the Passion and the Lamentation on the Dead Christ. In the same year, Carpaccio painted the Young Knight in a Landscape, which is often considered the first full-length portrait in the whole Western painting.
During his last years, Carpaccio executed commissions for the city of Capodistria, where he lived until his death.