October Painting of the Month

Venice. Where does one begin? There is so much wonderful art and architecture in this city, it is difficult to know. The Accademia, which is the city’s traditional gallery helped inform that choice by opening its doors to the public for free entry today. After the queues subsided late afternoon we browsed in relative calm, and of course saw the greats; Veronese, Titian, Tintoretto and the Bellini’s.

Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516) came from a dynasty of painters but history has put him in primary place , perfecting the art of oil painting in the south, tutoring Giorgione and Titian, as well as at some time around 1500, hosting a visit from Leonardo Da Vinci.

Accademia, Venice, Adlestrop,
Giovanni Bellini, Madonna and Child with Saint Catherine and Saint Mary Magdalene, 1490, Accademia, Venice

This sumptuous conversation between the Madonna and Saints Catherine and Mary Magdalene, painted in 1490, will have been for private devotion. The ladies undoubtedly resembled Italian favourites of the period. The brushwork is astonishing giving the faces an almost diaphanous appearance, exuding a radiance of their own. The painting was designed for a dark space and the effect of lighting would have had a very powerful effect, as it does in its current location, on its own on one wall in the gallery. 

…and look at the Christ Child gazing up to heaven and the Virgin biting her lip as if aware of the events which will unfold.

The city is currently full of contemporary art with the biennale exhibition in full swing so it is good to give the Old Masters proper place. Ciao.

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