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Bellini Madonna and Child

Art in Renaissance Venice, 1400–1515

Paintings and Drawings from the Museum's Collections

November 8, 2011–February 5, 2012

This exhibition of Renaissance Venetian art in the Metropolitan Museum's collections features approximately fifty paintings and drawings by preeminent artists active in Venice from the late fourteenth to the early sixteenth century. The selection, drawn from the Robert Lehman Collection, the Department of European Paintings, and the Department of Drawings and Prints, unites works by masters such as Giovanni Bellini, the Vivarini, Marco Zoppo, and Vittore Carpaccio.

Paintings and drawings, mostly sacred in subject, illustrate the transition from the Venetian Gothic style of the early fifteenth century to mid-century, when artists began to respond to the Renaissance vocabulary of Florence and Padua. The exhibition presents a comparison of the two primary artistic dynasties, the Bellini and the Vivarini, and explores their workshop practices and specializations in the context of the Venetian art market. The selection also highlights Venetian artists' increasing use of compositional formulas and formats, which enhance the physical proximity and spiritual communion among the figures portrayed, as well as that between subject and viewer.

Left: Giovanni Bellini (Italian, Venetian, active by 1459–died 1516). Madonna and Child, ca. 1470. Tempera, oil, and gold on wood; Framed: 31 x 26 in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Robert Lehman Collection, 1975 (1975.1.81)