Hailed as the “savior” of Venetian painting by Jacob Burckhardt and declared by Albrecht Dürer to be the foremost painter of the city, Giovanni Bellini is a pivotal figure in the development of Italian Renaissance art. With Giovanni Bellini, renowned art historian Oskar Bätschmann charts the fraught trajectory of Bellini’s career, highlighting the crucial works that established his far-reaching influence in the Renaissance.
The artist struggled to break out of the long shadow cast by his accomplished father Jacopo and father-in-law Andrea Mantegna, and Bätschmann chronicles Bellini’s development of distinct aesthetic and painting techniques that enabled him to set himself apart. Bellini also insisted on choosing his own subjects and themes, independent of the preferences of his patron Isabella d’Este, and thus set new standards for the role of the artist.
Anchoring the analysis are a wealth of vibrant color reproductions that include such famous works as The Feast of the Gods and Madonna and Child, as well as photographs of Bellini’s lauded altar-pieces at the churches of San Giobbe, Murano, and San Zaccania. Drawing on these masterpieces, Bätschmann argues that Bellini’s artistry and skillful blending of colors created a new aesthetic more akin to music than to previous approaches to painting. And by leading viewers to understand this subtle, refined sensibility, Bellini transformed them into knowledgeable admirers of art.
A lushly illustrated and expansive study, Giovanni Bellini is essential for all historians and admirers of Renaissance art.