Italy's Renaissance 11: Venice cover

Italy's Renaissance 11: Venice

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In the latter years of the 15th century, Venice had a distinctive, thriving, and influential art scene. Considered to bring a primacy of color over line, the Venetian tradition begun by Bellini was seen to contrast with Mannerism, which was prevalent in much of Italy. The Venetian style is viewed as greatly influencing the subsequent development of painting. Two Quiz Questions - and you'll have complete this Series! Congratulations!


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Italy's Renaissance 11: Venice

Venice

In the latter years of the 15th century, Venice had a distinctive, thriving, and influential art scene.

Learning Objective

List the major artists of the Venetian school and the principal characteristics of their art

Term

sacra conversazione In art, a sacra conversazione is a depiction of the Virgin and Child (the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus) amidst a group of saints in a relatively informal grouping, as opposed to the more rigid and hierarchical compositions of earlier periods.

Bellini's San Zaccaria Altarpiece

Bellini's San Zaccaria Altarpiece

Bellini's San Zaccaria Altarpiece (1505) typifies the Venetian style.

Artist Giovanni Bellini

Image Courtesy Didier Descouens

(CC BY-SA 4.0)

Venice

Key Points

1 During his long career, Bellini has been credited with developing the Venetian style, along with his pupils Titian and Giorgione.

2 The Venetian school, characterized by softness, tranquility, and the use of warm colors, is easily contrasted with theaesthetic ideals of Mannerism.

3 The Venetian school was influenced by traveling artists from elsewhere in Italy, including Leonardo da Vinci and Antonello da Messina.

Venetian Artistry and Bellini's Legacy

Beginning with the workshop of Giovanni Bellini (c. 1430 to 1516), major artists of the Venetian school included Giorgione (c. 1477 to 1510), Titian (1489–1576), Tintoretto (1518–1594), Veronese (1528–1588), and the Bassano family (1510–1592).

Bellini has been described as reaching the High Renaissance ideals; his work certainly expresses the key distinctive factors of the Venetian school. Throughout his career, he gradually developed a softer style that used glowing colors to represent form and suggest an atmospheric haze. Applying this approach in his San Zaccaria Altarpiece (1505), the high viewpoint, the uncluttered and interconnected figures arranged in space, and the subtle gestures all combine to form a tranquil yet majestic image.

Pietà (1465-1470 circa)

Pietà (1465-1470 circa)

Dead Christ Supported by the Madonna and St John (Pietá) c. 1465

Public Domain Image

Giovanni Bellini

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 pupilsGiorgione and Titian.

Considered to bring a primacy of color over line, the Venetian tradition begun by Bellini was seen to contrast with Mannerism, which was prevalent in much of Italy. The Venetian style is viewed as greatly influencing the subsequent development of painting.

Outside Influences

Venetian painting was also influenced by Renaissance artists from other regions. Antonello da Messina (c. 1430 to 1479) introduced the techniques of Early Netherlandish painting,

which were probably acquired through his training in Naples. Antonello travelled to Venice c. 1470, to see Giovanni Bellini's paintings. He spent much of the next several years in Venice, where he both influenced and was influenced by Bellini's work. Antonello's works of this period began to show greater attention to the human figure in regards to both anatomy and expressivity. Antonello's San Cassiano Altarpiece especially influenced Venetian painters, as it was one of the first of the large compositions in the sacra conversazione format which was perfected by Giovanni Bellini .

San Cassiano Alterpiece

San Cassiano Alterpiece

By Antonello da Messina, 1475-76

Antonello's San Cassiano Altarpiece greatly influenced the Venetian school.

Public Domain Image

Da Vinci and Giorgione

Leonardo da Vinci also visited Venice in 1500; Leonardo went to the Senate of Venice and offered his services as an engineer.

He had devised a diving apparatus, and wanted to use it against a possible invasion by the Ottoman fleet, drilling holes in the bottoms of their ships. His design was remarkably similar to modern scuba gear.

Da Vinci's visit was particularly influential for the young painter Giorgione. It was about this time that Giorgione began using a very fine chiaroscuro technique known as sfumato - the use of gradual shades of colour to express light and perspective. His painting The Tempest has been called the first landscape in the history of Western painting. The subject of this painting is unclear, but its artistic mastery is apparent.

The Tempest

The Tempest

Artist Giorgione, between circa 1507 and circa 1508

Public Domain Image

Question 1

Which is the following was NOT an artist of the Venetian school?

A Giorgione

B Da Vinci

C Bellini

D Tintoretto

Question 2

Which artist is NOT associated with Renaissance Venice?

A Veronese

B Titian

C Bronzino

D Bellini

Answers

Question 1: B Da Vinci

Question 2: C Bronzino

Originally posted to Boundless

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(CC BY-SA 4.0)