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 Giovanni Bellini  (c. 1430 - 1516)

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About: Giovanni Bellini


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Lived/Active: Italy      Known for: religious figure painting

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from Auction House Records.
The Madonna and Child in a landscape
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Giovanni Bellini was born sometime between 1430 and 1438; the son of Jacopo Bellini.  He was brought up in Venice with his brother, Gentile, in his father's workshop, but became interested in the Padua School. He became the companion of Mantegna there. After 1460 he began to form his own essentially Venetian style.  Up until 1460 he worked with rigid and searching delicacy of line.  After 1460, his style became increasingly more suave, calmer and more gracious. In 1490, atmospheric envelopment and rich harmonies of color.  In a way, he discovered style of early sixteenth century Venice.

There are more of his works than his brother Gentile, or his father Jacopo.  He  painted great altarpieces in the church of St. Francisco in Pesaro and after that continued only with that type of work.  He was surrounded by pupils and imitators, his greatest pupil being Giorgione.

In the course of his long career Bellini led Venetian painting from a provincial position into the full current of the high Renaissance.  Instead of using light primarily to outline the shape of things, Bellini suggests their place in a surrounding of natural light and atmosphere, as the Flemish did.  Bellini learned the Flemish oil technique of combining under-painting in the egg-tempera medium, applied in tiny separate strokes and of over-painting in the newer oil-mixed colors.  Development of this method, with its smoother blending of stroke and greater translucence of pigment, transformed Venetian painting with a new glory of rich color.

He was still painting at the age of 80, when he created one of the first large Arcadian compositions, an amazing achievement for his age. He died in Venice in 1516.

Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:
Metropolitan Miniatures; the National Gallery; Italian Renaissance Painting
From the internet, the Artchive

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