Pinacoteca di Brera Informazioni

Madonna and Child

Giovanni Bellini

The Madonna and Child, dated 1510, is the latest of the works by Bellini in Brera. When he painted it, Bellini was around eighty and one of the most prestigious figures of the Venetian Renaissance, a sort of charismatic patriarch who, at the end of his career, showed that he was able to take in and guide a new direction in style.

The space of the picture is dominated by the monumental figure of the Virgin seated on a throne, wrapped in loose drapery that dilates the volume of her body in line with 15th-century schemes for construction of the image. But the harshness and incisiveness of line that characterized the Pietà hanging in the same room (1465-70) have vanished, and the entire composition is now built up out of color alone. Behind the Madonna stretches a landscape that is perhaps the true protagonist of the painting, pervaded by a warm luminosity that makes it look more like a magical evocation than a realistic description.
With this painting, Bellini perfected the pictorial representation of that special atmosphere and natural light which were to characterize the whole of Venetian production in the 16th century, achieving this stylistic effect through a precise change in the technique of execution: in fact examination under infrared light, carried out during the restoration of 1987, revealed the almost total absence of preparatory drawing, reduced to a summary sketch without hatching or shading on which the image was constructed solely by the spreading of paint.

Download hi-res image TITLE Madonna and Child
AUTHOR Giovanni Bellini
DATE 1510
DIMENSIONS cm 85 × 115
Work on display
Related artworks:
By the same author In the same date/era In the same room

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