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Giovanni Bellini- The transforming influence of Venetian Renaissance Style


As a Renaissance-era painter, Giovanni Bellini must have had high benchmarks to surpass. Hailing from Italy’s most famous painter family, Giovanni had big shoes of his father and brother to fill. His father, Jacopo Bellini, is considered the founder of the Italian Renaissance painting style, and the same influences are seen in his paintings.

Even his brother and brother-in-law were painters. However, Giovanni Bellini became a well-known painter with time. While his father may have founded the Venetian Renaissance style, it was Giovanni Bellini who infused sensuality and vibrancy into it. All in all, Giovanni had a huge, transforming impact on the Venetian school of painting.

Early Life

Giovanni Bellini was born in Venice to the Bellini family in 1430. He learned the renaissance style of painting from his father Jacopo and also worked in close association with his brother Gentile Bellini. It is possible that the two Bellini brothers collaborated on their early works and influenced each other’s styles. Giovanni painted in the Old Tempera method, which becomes clear in his early paintings.

His paintings have a characteristic sunset color background that brings romantic lighting to the works. In fact, his style combined his religious inclinations and empathy towards humans to depict scenes in a beautiful way. He got his first painting appointment in 1470, working at the Scuola di San Marco. His first commissioned painting was probably the Deluge with Noah’s Ark. Another of his early works is St. Jerome in the Desert.

Famous Artworks

His most famous artworks include Madonna and Child with the Infant St. John the Baptist, which he created in the 1480s. He also painted the Christ Blessing in 1500. He further painted the San Zaccaria Altarpiece in Venice, finished in 1505. Another altarpiece that Giovanni painted was that of San Giobbe. In 1507, after his elder brother’s death, Giovanni completed his unfinished painting of the Preaching of St. Mark.

Another of his late work that is famous is the Feast of the Gods, started in 1514 and left unfinished by him.

Final Years and Death

In his final years, Giovanni was commissioned more paintings than he could have finished. He started the Feast of the Gods in 1514 but could not complete it. After his death in 1516, his disciple Titian completed his unfinished painting. Till his death, Giovanni was known as the best Venetian painter of his time.