Giovanni Bellini

active about 1459; died 1516

Bellini was one of the most influential Venetian artists. He lived and worked in Venice all his life; his career spanned 65 years. He is celebrated for his pioneering portrayal of natural light, seen in such works as 'The Agony in the Garden', for his tender and graceful pictures of the Virgin and for his altarpieces. Dürer, in Venice in about 1506, wrote that Giovanni 'is very old and yet he is the best painter of all'.

Portrait of Giovanni Bellini
Detail from Vittore di Matteo Belliniano, Portrait of a Man (Giovanni Bellini)
Musée Condé, Chantilly
© RMN/René-Gabriel Ojéda 

Giovanni Bellini was born into the leading dynasty of Venetian painters. He seems to have been the younger brother of Gentile Bellini. His development was first shaped by his father, Jacopo. His brother-in-law Andrea Mantegna also influenced early works, such as 'The Blood of the Redeemer' and 'The Agony in the Garden'. The visit of Antonello da Messina to Venice in 1475-6 may also have influenced him.

Many signed paintings survive, as well as a number of workshop productions, including works on this screen. 'The Assassination of Saint Peter Martyr' is now thought to be by him rather than by his workshop. In his old age Bellini executed a few secular narrative paintings, of which the greatest is 'The Feast of the Gods', later modified by Titian.

Related paintings

Doge Leonardo Loredan
Giovanni Bellini
1501-2
Doge Leonardo Loredan
Madonna of the Meadow
Giovanni Bellini
about 1500
Madonna of the Meadow
Saint Jerome reading in a Landscape
Giovanni Bellini
perhaps 1480-5
Saint Jerome reading in a Landscape
The Agony in the Garden
Giovanni Bellini
about 1465
The Agony in the Garden
The Assassination of Saint Peter Martyr
Giovanni Bellini
probably about 1507
The Assassination of Saint Peter Martyr
The Blood of the Redeemer
Giovanni Bellini
probably 1460-5
The Blood of the Redeemer
The Dead Christ supported by Angels
Giovanni Bellini
perhaps 1465-70
The Dead Christ supported by Angels
The Virgin and Child
Giovanni Bellini
probably 1480-1500
The Virgin and Child
The Adoration of the Kings
Attributed to the workshop of Giovanni Bellini
about 1475-80
The Adoration of the Kings
The Circumcision
Workshop of Giovanni Bellini
about 1500
The Circumcision
The Virgin and Child
Workshop of Giovanni Bellini
probably 1480-90
The Virgin and Child
The Virgin and Child
Workshop of Giovanni Bellini
perhaps about 1475
The Virgin and Child
The Virgin and Child
Workshop of Giovanni Bellini
about 1490-1500
The Virgin and Child
 
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