Published by Marsilio Editori. Text by Peter Humfrey.
Italian Renaissance artist Giovanni Bellini (c. 1435/40Ė1516) is considered the most important practitioner of Venetian painting in the latter half of the 15th century. Born into a family of painters, Bellini began studying art at a young age, painting primarily in the prevailing Gothic style of the early Renaissance. As time passed and he evolved as an artist, Belliniís wide-reaching influence came to inform the maniera moderna inherited by Giorgione and Titian. His unparalleled ability to both harness the expressive power of light and recreate the poetry of natural landscapes became the foundational tenets of the Venetian school of painting for centuries to come.
This volume provides an accessible guide to Belliniís work and the lasting influence of his career on Western European painting. Organized chronologically, the book maps the development of Belliniís own craft alongside the greater technical experimentation of the Quattrocento, detailing the artistís abandonment of traditional egg tempera technique for oil on canvas and taking into account the influence of contemporaries Andrea Mantegna and Antonello da Messina. Concise and up-to-date, this publication effectively conveys the magnitude of Belliniís contributions to Western European painting in the wider context of the era.
An emblematic master painter of the Quattrocento, Giovanni Bellini remained active beyond that period and into the era now known as the High Renaissance. While his colleagues died or faded from view, Bellini, in the first decades of the 16th century, continued to be creatively vital: indeed, he flourished as never before.
The six paintings Bellini made during his final years (1513Ė16) constitute a distinct group that differs significantly from his previous works in style, support, subject and mood. Their subjects were stipulated by his patrons, but in a period in which he relied more and more on assistants, Belliniís decision to undertake and personally conceive and execute them points to a special commitment on his part to their creation. The Feast of the Gods at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and other works that follow it, such as the Woman with a Mirror in Vienna and the Drunkenness of Noah in BensanÁon, display a greatly expanded range of subject matter and a new degree of inventiveness.
New technical investigations have played a key role in grasping the novelty of Belliniís last works. Recent scientific investigation at the National Gallery of Art marks a major advance in the technical analysis of works of art. And it literally sheds new light on The Feast of the Gods, allowing us to see more clearly than ever before images or motifs hidden below the paint surface. With an abundance of color plates, this book is the fruit of this research, and provides a deep dive into Belliniís greatest, final, triumphant phase.
Giovanni Bellini (c. 1430Ė1516) was one of the most influential Venetian artists of the Renaissance. He is celebrated for his pioneering portrayal of natural light, seen in such paintings as The Agony in the Garden, and for his altarpieces. His brother-in-law was Andrea Mantegna, who may have influenced Belliniís early works (Antonello da Messina, who visited him in 1475-76, is also considered a likely influence). Belliniís career spanned 65 years; toward the end of his life, DŁrer wrote of him that he ďis very old and yet he is the best painter of all.Ē