The Sacred Conversation in the Accademia in Venice

The Sacred Conversation in the Accademia in Venice
05 November 2017 Comments are off

Giovanni Bellini (c. 1430 – 26 November 1516) was born and raised in Venice and became the best known of the Bellini family of Venetian painters. The artistic pedigree in this family extended over several generations. His father was Jacopo Bellini, his brother was Gentile Bellini, and his brother-in-law was Andrea Mantegna. He is considered the father of Venetian Renaissance painting; using slow drying oil paint and working directly on to the canvas with little prep-drawing his work took on a more sensuous expression of the human form, rich in contrasting, primary colours. His sumptuous coloring and fluent, atmospheric landscapes had great effect on the Venetian painting school, especially on his pupils Giorgione and Titian.

His sacred compositions took on a more human quality, using local people as his models that help transmit often complex narratives to a much wider audience. The Sacred Conversation of 1490 (hangs in the Accademia) is a sort of family portrait that includes Maria and her child, with S. Caterina and Mary Magdalene in quiet contemplation.

The painting clearly shows how Bellini was able to gradually throw off the last restraints of the Quattrocento manner; slowly acquiring a complete mastery of the new oil medium introduced in Venice by Antonello da Messina about 1473, and mastering with its help all, or nearly all, the secrets of the perfect fusion of colors and atmospheric gradation of tones. The old intensity of pathetic and devout feeling gradually fades away and gives place to a noble, if more worldly, serenity and charm. This master was unknowingly laying the foundation of a new art with new techniques.

The Accademia in Venice is open on:

Tuesday through to Sunday 8:15AM – 7:15PM and on Monday from 8:15AM – 2PM

Peter Kilby
About the Author

Peter Kilby is an artist, writer, story-teller, journalist and avid traveller who has lived and worked in Italy since 1987. He created Perfect Traveller to bring the world of art and history closer to you. Download the “free” Perfect Traveller app and enjoy the best audio tours available; about Italy today and yesterday. Sign Up to this website and submit your travel stories and become part of the Perfect Traveller community.

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