Working with his brother, Gentile, as an assistant in his father’s studio, Bellini’s early style of painting – mostly tempura on wood – showed the Gothic influences taught by his father, Jacopo. Most of Bellini’s initial works appear more structured and less dimensional, with somewhat angular forms. By the mid-1470s, Bellini painted with oils, and his work became softer, with a greater emphasis on color and light. His later style is contributed, in part, to his brother-in-law, Andrea Mantegna, considered a master of perspective.
Many of Bellini’s paintings are religious in nature, with the Madonna, Christ, or various saints as the central figure, most in landscaped scenes; and his depictions of Madonna with Christ show a mother’s depth of emotions. Bellini also painted altarpieces and historical portraits, and received more commissions than he was able to complete.
Bellini is cited for his contributions to Venetian art during the Renaissance, and through his workshop he influenced many painters of the Italian Renaissance, most notably Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) and Giorgione (Giorgio Barbarelli da Castelfranco).
Written by Janice Mancuso