Bellini, Giovanni

(active c. 1460-1516)
   Giovanni Bellini is credited with transforming Venice into one of the most important artistic centers of the Renaissance. He was the son of Jacopo Bellini, brother of Gentile, and brother-in-law of Andrea Mantegna, who deeply influenced him early on. Giovanni's Agony in the Garden (c. 1460; London, National Gallery) is in fact based on Mantegna's work of the same subject painted a decade earlier, though with less pronounced foreshortening and detailing. He also omitted Mantegna's usual references to the ancient Roman world. Giovanni's Pesaro Altarpiece (1470s; Pesaro, Museo Civico) likewise borrows the architectural elements and figural arrangements from Mantegna's San Zeno Altarpiece (1456-1459; Verona, San Zeno). To this period also belongs his Pietà (1460) in the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, the Polyptych of St. Vincent Ferrer in the Church of S. Giovanni e Paolo, Venice (1464-1468), and the Virgin and Child (1460-1464) in the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo. This last work is one of many half-figured Madonnas Giovanni painted, a format he popularized and that came to be identified with the Venetian School. In 1475, Giovanni's style changed as a result of his exposure to the work of Antonello da Messina. Antonello arrived in Venice in that year, bringing with him the new application of oil glazes in layers he learned from the Early Netherlandish masters. Giovanni adopted this technique, resulting in a richer palette and velvety surfaces. His Frari (1488; Venice, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari) and San Giobbe altarpieces (c. 1487; Venice, Galleria dell' Accademia) exemplify this shift in his style. In both, he softened the contours of figures and objects, warmed up the colors, and bathed the surfaces with a golden glow — changes that would later become pivotal to the development of the art of Venetian masters such as Titian and Tintoretto. In these two altarpieces, Giovanni also established a new type for the Venetian enthroned Madonna and Child, with figures that are elevated from the saints and flanked by columns or pilasters, perhaps inspired by Fra Filippo Lippi's Barbadori Altarpiece (beg. 1437; Paris, Louvre) where the Virgin stands on a platform in front of an aedicula above the accompanying saints and angels. The influence of Antonello is also perceived in Giovanni's portrait Doge Leonardo Loredan (c. 1500, London, National Gallery). The clear rendering of details, the nonidealization of the figure, and his placement in front of a parapet onto which Giovanni signed his name are all elements he learned from Antonello. These works present a lighter palette, common of Giovanni's art of the 1500s, seen also in his San Zaccaria Altarpiece (1505) for the Church of San Zaccaria, Venice. This painting follows the format of the earlier Frari and San Giobbe altarpieces, yet here an aura of silence permeates the scene as the figures do not interact, instead immersing themselves in reading or meditation. Also, the landscape now predominates. Though the figures are enclosed in an apse, the sides of the structure are open to allow a glimpse of the outdoors.
   Though Bellini favored religious subjects, at times he also tackled mythologies and allegories. His Feast of the Gods (1514; Washington, National Gallery), painted for Alfonso I d'Este's Camerino d'Alabastro in Ferrara, illustrates a passage from Ovid's Fasti. His Young Woman with a Mirror (c. 1515; Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum), a soft, delicate nude set against a dark wall with a window that permits a glimpse of a distant, loosely painted landscape, is thought to represent an allegory of Vanity. In this last work, Giovanni signed his name on a fictive crumpled paper next to the figure, an element again borrowed from Antonello who, in turn, borrowed it from the Early Netherlandish masters.
   In 1483, Giovanni was recognized by the Venetian Republic for his artistic achievements with an appointment as official painter. His reputation was not limited to Venice. Albrecht Dürer visited the region in 1506-1507 and made it a point to meet Giovanni, writing later that the man was already of advanced age but still the best painter in the city. Bellini's impact on the development of art is immeasurable. He established many of the standards the new generation of Venetian masters would follow, particularly the compositional types, rich tonalities, loose application of paint, and superb effects of lighting.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bellini, Giovanni — ▪ Italian painter born c. 1430, Venice [Italy] died 1516, Venice  Italian painter who, in his work, reflects the increasing interest of the Venetian artistic milieu in the stylistic innovations and concerns of the Renaissance. Although the… …   Universalium

  • Bellini, Giovanni — ► (1430 1516) Pintor veneciano, llamado Giambellino. Trabajó en la decoración del palacio ducal de Venecia. Es uno de los coloristas más puros de la escuela veneciana. Obras: La transfiguración, La oración en el huerto, el tríptico de la iglesia… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • BELLINI, GIOVANNI —    brother of the preceding, produced a great many works; the subjects religious, all nobly treated; had Giorgione and Titian for pupils; among his best works, the Circumcision, Feast of the Gods, Blood of the Redeemer ; did much to promote… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Bellini, Giovanni — detto Giambellino …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Giovanni Bellini — (c. 1430 – 1516 [His precise date of death is not recorded, but he was known to have died by 29 November 1516 [] ] ) was an Italian Renaissance painter, probably the best known… …   Wikipedia

  • Giovanni Bellini — Autorretrato Nacimiento h. 1433 Venecia …   Wikipedia Español

  • Bellini — • Giacomo (Jacopo) Bellini, father of Gentile and Giovanni Bellini. Teacher of his sons who were the chief founders of the Venetian school of painting Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Bellini     Bellini …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Bellini — Bellini, Gentile Bellini, Giovanni Bellini, Jacopo Bellini, Lorenzo Bellini, Vincenzo …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Giovanni Bellini — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bellini. Giovanni Bellini …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Giovanni Mocenigo — Pour les autres membres de la famille, voir : Mocenigo. Portrait de Giovanni Mocenigo par Gentile Bellini Giova …   Wikipédia en Français

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