Self-portrait by Giovanni Bellini in the Musei Capitolini (Rome)
Giovanni Bellini is the most famous artist of the Bellini family; he is a supreme master of the early Renaissance and the Father of Venetian painting. He was among the first to exploit oil-painting techniques in Venice. Giovanni’s altarpieces and portraits are famous for their splendid and warm light. Bellini’s work sings of the harmonious relationship that should exist between man, nature, and God. The profound mood and spirituality of his religious pictures result from his belief in God’s presence in light and nature.
His figures respond to light and often turn their faces and bodies toward it, in order to enjoy its physical and spiritual benefits. Bellini may have been the first artist who really looked at clouds and studied their structure and formation. Notice his love of detail in rocks, leaves, architecture, and rich materials such as silks. Over the years the sharp contours disappear, only the gradation of tones remains.
“Giovanni Bellini is very old but still the best of all …”
Albrecht Durer, 1506
Giovanni Bellini’s major works are St. Francis in the Wilderness, c. 1480 (New York: Frick Collection); Barbarigo Altarpiece, 1488, (Murano: San Pietro Martire); The Madonna of the Meadow, c. 1501 (London: National Gallery); The Doge Leonardo Loredan, 1501–04 (London: National Gallery); San Zaccaria Altarpiece, 1505 (Venice: San Zaccaria)
- Robert Cumming. Art: complete encyclopedia. – 512 p. – Moscow: Astrel, 2005.