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Giovanni Bellini

Giovanni Bellini

Giovanni Bellini

Giovanni Bellini (1430 – 1516) was a Renaissance painter who revolutionized Venetian painting, making it more sensuous and vibrant. He was also famous for his portraiture and helped make this art form especially popular in Venice.

Bellini created deep, rich tints and detailed shadings, and his atmospheric landscapes had a significant effect on the Venetian painters, especially on his pupils Giorgione and Titian.

A Tour of Giovanni Bellini’s Art

  • Saint Francis in the Desert
    • “Saint Francis in the Desert” by Giovanni Bellini portrays Saint Francis of Assisi stepping out in the sun from his cave. Francis lived under poor conditions in the beginning and used to take part in isolated spiritual retreats at monasteries. The composition is thought to be a meditation of St. Francis, and although it has been cut down in size. The signature of  IOANNES BELLINVS on a small, creased tag is visible in the lower-left corner.

      Depicting Francis in religious ecstasy, whether receiving the stigmata or praying and singing his Canticle of the Sun. This composition is a non-traditional and does not follow any of the established iconographic motifs. Museum: Frick Collection, New York

  • Portrait of Doge Leonardo Loredan
    • “Portrait of Doge Leonardo Loredan” by Giovanni Bellini is part of a longheld Venetian tradition of painting formal portraits of the City’s rulers dressed in state robes. In Bellini’s picture, he is shown wearing his robes of state. The hat and buttons are part of his official state wardrobe. The composition of the portrait is in the style of the sculpted portrait busts famous at the time and inspired by Roman sculpture.

      Leonardo Loredan (1436 – 1521) was the 75th Doge or ruler of the Republic of Venice for twenty years, from 1501 until his death. Bellini’s portrait of Loredan was one of the first frontal portraits of a reigning Doge. Before this period, mortals were portrayed in profile, while the frontal view was reserved for more religious subjects. Museum: The National Gallery, London

  • Self-Portrait
    • Self-Portrait by Giovanni Bellini is one of several self-portraits amongst the dozens of other portraits in his works. This portrait was created about 1500 and showed his long high brown hair beneath a black cap. His name is clearly labeled at the bottom of the composition.

      Giovanni Bellini was born in Venice. He was brought up in his father’s house, and up until the age of nearly thirty, his work displays his unique feelings and human pathos. At the time of this painting, he the conservator of paintings in the great hall of the Doge’s Palace. Museum: Capitoline Museums


  • Title:                   Self-Portrait
  • Artist:                 Giovanni Bellini
  • Created:             1500
  • Medium:            Oil
  • Dimensions:      61.6 × 45.1 cm (24.2 × 17.7 in)
  • Museum:           Capitoline Museums

Giovanni Bellini

A Tour of Artists


“Giovanni Bellini is very old, and yet he is the best painter of all.”
– Albrecht Durer


Photo Credit 1) Giovanni Bellini [Public domain]

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