Giovanni Bellini Biography | Oil Paintings
1-16-1430 Venice, ITA - 11-26-1516 Venice, ITABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Giovanni Bellini studied and worked under his father, Jacopo, and did not embark on an independent career until he was in his thirties. However, this did not stop him from becoming the great reformer of Venetian painting by introducing a new tonality and approaching the Renaissance model. Until the middle of the century, the art of Venice drew inspiration from Byzantine models, led by Giovanni Bellini, he soon transformed the Venetian school. The new style characterized by a use of atmospheric effects, where light, color, and the details of landscape blend perfectly, and the outlines are only vaguely defined.
Some of Bellini's early works were inspired by similar compositions painted by his brother in law Andrea Mantegna, but he soon displayed a distinct way of rendering light and atmospheric effects. Soon his work was on a par with the greatest art of central Italy.
Antonello da Messina's presence in Venice prompted an exploration of a more subtle use of light, though in solemn, large format compositions, which Bellini quickly assimilated. Giovanni Bellini became the official painter of the Venetian Republic from 1483 until his death, and the leader of the local school in charge of a successful workshop, where two generations of artists were trained, including Lorenzo Lotto and Titian. As the Republic's official painter, a highly prestigious position with very few duties, virtually the only thing to do was to paint the Doge's portrait, and a huge salary is drawn from the salt tax. There were numerous other benefits as well, such as being exempt from taxes.
Bellini, The Spring of Venetian Renaissance Painting.
Giovanni Bellini's oeuvre is extremely varied, including many versions of his favorite subject, Madonna and Child, as well as portraits and altarpieces. In the early sixteenth century, his works showed an even more delicate, intense research into light effects. Virgin And Child Between St Catherine And St Mary Magdalen shows Giovanni Bellini's sensitive approach to light is not only evident in his exteriors and limpid, sun-drenched landscapes. He also reveals his mastery in paintings with dark or neutral backgrounds, as in this case. Mary Magdalen, on the right, emerges from the darkness as an image of pure beauty.
Influenced by Giorgione's unconventional paintings, the aging Bellini extended his repertoire to include profane subjects. Nude Woman In Front Of The Mirror executed the year before his death, is the definite proof of Bellini's untiring inventiveness. It is his first and only large female nude which, softly caressed by the light, possesses an air of sweet, innocent purity. The large painting The Feast of the Gods, representing a large group of figures in a pastoral setting, for the Duke of Ferrara Alfonso d'Este, sparked a new interest in mythological subjects in Venetian art.
Bellini made predominant both the utilization of oil painting, not quite the same as the gum based paint painting being utilized at the time by most Italian Renaissance painters and the utilization of masked imagery fundamental to the Northern Renaissance. His most imperative commitment to workmanship lies in his experimentation with the utilization of shading and atmosphere in oil painting. In the historical perspective, Giovanni Bellini was essential to the development of the Italian Renaissance for his incorporation of aesthetics from Northern Europe.
Art Movement History: Renaissance.
Artists Influencing Bellini: Jacopo Bellini, Andrea Mantegna, Antonello da Messina.
Painters Giovanni Bellini Influenced: Lorenzo Lotto, Titian, Giorgione, Albrecht Durer.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.