Pietà with the Virgin and Saint John
Giovanni Bellini (Italian, Venice, active by 1459–died 1516 Venice)
Tempera on wood
17 3/16 x 12 3/4 in. (43.7 x 32.4 cm)
Accademia Carrara, Bergamo, Guglielmo Lochis Collection, 1866
Not on view
Although greatly appreciated by its nineteenth-century owner in Bergamo, Guglielmo Lochis, this painting was only universally recognized as one of Giovanni Bellini’s early masterpieces about 1950, when the critic Roberto Longhi praised it. He noted its striking evocation of Byzantine art, both in the hieratic position of the figures and the exquisite Greek lettering above. Bellini returned to this subject but never surpassed the haunting sadness of this scene, with the tears welling in the eyes of the Virgin and Saint John and the play of their hands tenderly cradling Christ’s bloodless arms.