Art in Renaissance Venice, 1400–1515

Bellini Madonna and Child

Art in Renaissance Venice, 1400–1515

Paintings and Drawings from the Museum’s Collections

November 8, 2011–February 5, 2012

 This exhibition of Renaissance Venetian art in the Metropolitan Museum’s collections features approximately fifty paintings and drawings by preeminent artists active in Venice from the late fourteenth to the early sixteenth century. The selection, drawn from the Robert Lehman Collection, the Department of European Paintings, and the Department of Drawings and Prints, unites works by masters such as Giovanni Bellini, the Vivarini, Marco Zoppo, and Vittore Carpaccio.

Paintings and drawings, mostly sacred in subject, illustrate the transition from the Venetian Gothic style of the early fifteenth century to mid-century, when artists began to respond to the Renaissance vocabulary of Florence and Padua. The exhibition presents a comparison of the two primary artistic dynasties, the Bellini and the Vivarini, and explores their workshop practices and specializations in the context of the Venetian art market. The selection also highlights Venetian artists’ increasing use of compositional formulas and formats, which enhance the physical proximity and spiritual communion among the figures portrayed, as well as that between subject and viewer.

Left: Giovanni Bellini (Italian, Venetian, active by 1459–died 1516).Madonna and Child, ca. 1470. Tempera, oil, and gold on wood; Framed: 31 x 26 in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Robert Lehman Collection, 1975 (1975.1.81)


6 comments on “Art in Renaissance Venice, 1400–1515

  1. dfb says:

    Great post, wish I could see it! My favourite city in the world is Venice and its artists produced some of my favourite art.


    • Can you believe I missed Venice when I was studying in Florence. I saved the best to last and then wore out.Can you believe the light? Amazing. I loved Assisi. No wonder the paintings of yours are so full of that soft.In Rome it is even different.( I was there during the restoration. They ruined it-the Sistine Ceiling-my prof. cried. I’m so glad I saw part of it)When were you there?


      • dfb says:

        Thank you Heather! I’m ok at landscape and seascape but, unlike yourself, I’m not great at portraits and figures. Oh, Italy! Really, after England (yes, England, still! :)) Italy must be my favourite place in the world. I’ve been lots of times, mostly to Venice, Florence twice, Rome only once and… never to Assisi, I must go as my second name if Francis!


    • The light! It changed my painting forever. No wonder your paintings are so soft. Is that part of it?


  2. granbee says:

    I had seen reviews of this Venetian Renaissance show at the Met in NYC in the New Yorker. None match up to your post here, Heather. Why did I know about Bellini, but not Vivarini? Anyway, I am sure having two dynasties stimulated creative production.


    • exactly. I want to do a post on Michelangelo (di Lodovico Buonarroti); The Pope had so much control I don’t think he has been credited far to much for his painting thus overlooking his draftsmanship, creativity and drawing ability. Money, was such an intergral part of his work. His relationship with the Church was deep one and disturbingly controlling. Money, family history,and attaining apprenticeship is so difficult in understanding, who and why, were “immortalized”.


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