Thursday, 9 June 2011

Inspiration: BELLINI

Bellini is my absolute favourite painter. He creates such serenity and beatific visions with his oils, I long to be able to create entire worlds the way that he did. He combines legendary figures with barren landscapes in a wholly pleasing way. BELLINI: ABSOLUTE BABE.

Giovanni Bellini (c. 1430–1516) was an Italian Renaissance painter, probably the best known of the Bellini family of Venetian painters. His father was Jacopo Bellini, his brother was Gentile Bellini, and his brother-in-law was Andrea Mantegna. He is considered to have revolutionized Venetian painting, moving it towards a more sensuous and colouristic style. Through the use of clear, slow-drying oil paints, Giovanni created deep, rich tints and detailed shadings. His sumptuous coloring and fluent, atmospheric landscapes had a great effect on the Venetian painting school, especially on his pupils Giorgione and Titian.

Both in the artistic and in the worldly sense, the career of Bellini was, on the whole, very prosperous. His long career began with Quattrocento styles but matured into the progressive post-Giorgione Renaissance styles. He lived to see his own school far outshine that of his rivals, the Vivarini of Murano; he embodied, with growing and maturing power, all the devotional gravity and much also of the worldly splendour of the Venice of his time; and he saw his influence propagated by a host of pupils, two of whom at least, Giorgione and Titian, equalled or even surpassed their master. Giorgione he outlived by five years; Titian, as we have seen, challenged him, claiming an equal place beside his teacher. Other pupils of the Bellini studio included Girolamo da Santacroce, Vittore Belliniano, Rocco Marconi, Andrea Previtali and possibly Bernardino Licinio.

In the historical perspective, Bellini was essential to the development of the Italian Renaissance for his incorporation of aesthetics from Northern Europe. Significantly influenced by Antonello da Messina, who had spent time in Flanders, Bellini made prevalent both the use of oil painting, different from the tempera painting being used at the time by most Italian Renaissance painters, and the use of disguised symbolism integral to the Northern Renaissance. As demonstrated in such works as St. Francis in Ecstasy (c. 1480) and the San Giobbe Altarpiece (c. 1478), Bellini makes use of religious symbolism through natural elements, such as grapevines and rocks. Yet his most important contribution to art lies in his experimentation with the use of color and atmosphere in oil painting.

Jesus Christ

The Bellini Christ always remained one of my favourites. In my childhood, I was far more drawn to feminine figures in art, and the Bellini was much more thin and frail than the masculine counterparts by Titian and Goya. His skin was always grey, either to show his Holiness, or his corpse-yness. His fingers made me think of birch twigs, shining silver in the moonlight. He had pleasingly round shoulders and rosy nipples.


The Bellini Crucifixion is the first one burnt into my mind, the image I immediately pull up when talking about the scene. I remember encountering it for the first time. Almost twice as tall as I was, in a dimly lit room, It towered over all, grim in it's subject, inspiring in it's richness. Compelling, arresting, distressing, angry, disgust, coldness.

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