Madonna and Child

Artist: Giovanni Bellini (Italian, Venice, active by 1459–died 1516 Venice)

Date: late 1480s

Medium: Oil on wood

Dimensions: 35 x 28 in. (88.9 x 71.1 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1908

Accession Number: 08.183.1


Few artists changed as radically as Bellini. This beautiful picture was painted in the late 1480s and in its rounded forms, diffuse lighting, employment of a viscous oil medium, and innovative, asymmetrical composition it looks ahead to the work of Giorgione and Titian, who Bellini taught. The cloth of honor is pulled aside to reveal a distant landscape. The transition from a dormant to a verdant nature and a dawn sky is a metaphor for death and rebirth. It was this sort of work that so impressed Albrecht Dürer when he visited Venice, declaring that Bellini was the best painter.
The fine Venetian frame dates from the early sixteenth century.