Baptism of Christ Giovanni Bellini Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Giovanni Bellini is known for his great work of art in painting. The Baptism of Christ is one of his work of art.

In this painting he used the Flemish technique of oil painting, the technique allowed him to produce the painting with an extraordinary life - like quality that had an unparalleled depth of emotion. The oil based technique allowed him to produce the painting in an intense colour and an amazing range in tone.

This portrait depicts his feeling in religion. In the painting Christ is being baptised by John who seem to be pouring something on Christ while there are three men on the side witnessing the baptism.

In the planning, over a painting that is thinly drawn, Giovanni develops the colour depth of the painting and the background he paints it with transparent layers of colour. He then picks the thread work in the drawing that is more decorative and paints them using opaque colours while using very fine brush strokes. Lastly, Giovanni builds up the tonal range of the painting using highlights which are usually opaque; this final step helps to unite all the elements in the painting.

Giovanni Bellini used various materials in the painting of the Baptism of Christ. First he used supports that are an important surface for supporting oil paint. Primers were also used, a primers is the very first coat applied to the support. It ensures that the colour does not sink into the support. Brushes and knives are also part of the materials used. Knives are mainly used to mix and blend the colours being used and without forgetting oil paint was also used.

The painting was commissioned by Battista Graziani who was from Vicenza. He had been grief-stricken by the deaths of his children who were born prematurely. After going on a journey to the Holy land, he decided to put up an elegant altar which was dedicated to a saint who shared his name. Bellini worked on the painting late in his career but nonetheless prosperous in his work of art. The result of this was the colourful brilliance of the painting showing the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist.

Today the painting is located in the Chiesa di Santa Corona in Vicenza, Italy, which is a municipal museum. The painting is at Garzadori in the altar of the church.