Los Angeles, CA
This exhibition offers a unique opportunity to experience masterpieces by Giovanni Bellini (about 1430–1516), one of the greatest Venetian painters of the Renaissance. Landscape played a prominent role throughout his long and illustrious career, complementing his religious subject matter and enhancing the meditational nature of paintings intended for the private devotion of highly sophisticated patrons.
Bellini’s evocative landscapes are as much the protagonists of his paintings as are the religious subjects that dominated 15th-century Italian art. One of the most influential painters of the Renaissance, he worked in and around Venice, and while his landscapes are highly metaphorical, they also accurately reflect the region’s topography and natural light. Created for sophisticated patrons, Bellini’s works present characters and symbols from familiar sacred stories, set in a dimension of reality and lived experience to a degree unprecedented in the history of Italian painting.
Distinguished by a refined sensitivity to the natural world, Bellini transformed traditional symbolic motifs into convincing yet poetic depictions of the Venetian mainland, marking the beginning of a new chapter in the history of European painting.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Praised by Albrecht Dürer as being “the best in painting,” Giovanni Bellini (ca. 1430– 1516) is unquestionably the supreme Venetian painter of the quattrocento and one of the greatest Italian artists of all time. His landscapes assume a prominence unseen in Western art since classical antiquity.
Whether or not you go, the exhibition catalog, Giovanni Bellini: Landscapes of Faith in Renaissance Venice, focuses on the main function of landscape in his oeuvre: to enhance the meditational nature of paintings intended for the private devotion of intellectually sophisticated, elite patrons. The subtle doctrinal content of Bellini’s work—the isolated crucifix in a landscape, the “sacred conversation,” the image of Saint Jerome in the wilderness—is always infused with his instinct for natural representation, resulting in extremely personal interpretations of religious subjects immersed in landscapes where the real and the symbolic are inextricably intertwined. Drawing from a selection of masterpieces that span Bellini's long and successful career, this volume includes a biography of the artist, essays by leading authorities in the field explicating the themes of the J. Paul Getty Museum’s exhibition, and detailed discussions and glorious reproductions of the twelve works in the show, including their history and provenance, function, iconography, chronology, and style.
Select Giovanni Bellini: Landscapes of Faith in Renaissance Venice to learn more or to purchase this book.