Giovanni Bellini Biography

1430-1516

Its not clear if Jacobo Bellini is Giovannis father because it has been generally assumes this is so his mother Anne Bellini did not mention him in her will and this has led to doubt in some scholars (arc, Bellini)  There is certainly documentary evidence he worked alongside Jacobo and Gentile Bellini in both Venice and Padua.

Initially Giovanni trained with Jacobo Bellini and this meant his early works were much more traditional in style but when his sister married Andrea Mantegna Giovanni turned more to the early renaissance style of painting and much of his later works show this influence.  What Bellini is probably best known for is his ability to bestow in his Madonna's a quiet contemplative air that expresses motherly love and devotion at one and the same time.

In the last years of his life he had more commissions than he could ever hope to fill and this is borne out by some of his patrons having problems obtaining their paintings.

notable dates

1507 Gentile Bellini dies and Giovanni finishes the painting of St Mark his brother never completed

 1513 Giovanni has  position as sole master (since the death of his brother and of Alvise Vivarini) in charge of the paintings in the Hall of the Great Council but this is threatened by a former pupil, Titian's, application to take his place which was granted but after a year rescinded and then re-granted. 

1514 Giovanni agreed to paint a Bacchanal for the duke Alfonso of Ferrara, but when he died in 1516, it was left to be finished by his pupils.



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