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Giovanni Bellini

Hailed as the “savior” of Venetian painting by Jacob Burckhardt and declared by Albrecht Dürer to be the foremost painter of the city, Giovanni Bellini is a pivotal figure in the development of Italian Renaissance art. With Giovanni Bellini, renowned art historian Oskar Bätschmann charts the fraught trajectory of Bellini’s career, highlighting the crucial works that established his far-reaching influence in the Renaissance.

The artist struggled to break out of the long shadow cast by his accomplished father Jacopo and father-in-law Andrea Mantegna, and Bätschmann chronicles Bellini’s development of distinct aesthetic and painting techniques that enabled him to set himself apart. Bellini also insisted on choosing his own subjects and themes, independent of the preferences of his patron Isabella d’Este, and thus set new standards for the role of the artist.

Anchoring the analysis are a wealth of vibrant color reproductions that include such famous works as The Feast of the Gods and Madonna and Child, as well as photographs of Bellini’s lauded altar-pieces at the churches of San Giobbe, Murano, and San Zaccania. Drawing on these masterpieces, Bätschmann argues that Bellini’s artistry and skillful blending of colors created a new aesthetic more akin to music than to previous approaches to painting. And by leading viewers to understand this subtle, refined sensibility, Bellini transformed them into knowledgeable admirers of art.

A lushly illustrated and expansive study, Giovanni Bellini is essential for all historians and admirers of Renaissance art.

256 pages | 82 color plates, 104 halftones | 8 1/4 x 10 3/4 | © 2008

Art: Art--Biography

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"A virtuosic analysis of the methods of one of the quattrocento’s painterly superstars--Giovanni Bellini--but the general reader will perhaps gain the most pleasure from Bätschmann’s insights into the fierce rivalries between artists, the chaos and clutter of the era’s studios and workshops, and the hard-fought battles to secure patronage. . . . The great virtue of Bätschmann’s book is that it combines this intimate portrayal of the artistic milieu with a scholarly examination of Bellini’s career. . . . Oskar Bätschmann is to be applauded for producing a scholarly yet passionate book."

Jonathan Wright | The Tablet

"Imaginative, rich in insights and exceptionally stimulating. . . . Admirable monograph which should invigorate Bellini studies. . . . An elegant volume which makes the products of many university presses look like desktop efforts."

Art Newspaper

“This splendid monograph is a thoughtful and carefully reasoned presentation of Bellini’s career as an artist, with ancillary discussions of contemporary Venetian painting. Bätschmann has amassed an extraordinary amount of information—historical, stylistic, bibliographical—in a generally chronological presentation of Bellini’s career that covers not only the artist’s life and production, but also reconstructions of some of his lost works and references to others that were critical in establishing the artist’s reputation . . . This book will interest not only students of Bellini, but also those who wish to understand the motivating factors in the history of Venetian Renaissance painting. Recommended.”


Table of Contents


1 Training

2 Orientations

3 Transformations

4 Invention

5 Composition

6 Harmony



Select Bibliography

Photo Acknowledgements


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