Drunkenness of Noah 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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The Drunkenness of Noah is an oil painting by Giovanni Bellini who was an Italian artist. He finished the figure in 1515, and it is kept in Museum of the Fine Arts Archeology of the Besancon in France.

Drunkenness of Noah was the last masterpiece by Giovanni Bellini, and it was attributed to the old master during the 20th century. The painting represents an episode that was recorded in the Old Testament in which Noah is drunk after taking wine from one of his vineyards, and he has fallen asleep naked. Ham, who is his son, discovers him sleeping, and he laughs at the scene of the father's nakedness before informing his brothers.

After informing them, his brothers take the responsibility of covering him up. Just after recovering from the drunkenness, Noah curses Ham's son declaring that his grandson will be a slave in Canaan. The painting also features bunches of grapes as well as a cup on the foreground. It also includes a vineyard in the back, which shows that he is drunk. His three sons are represented on either side Japheth and Shem on the right and left avert their eyes while covering their father with a piece of cloth. However, Ham who is the third son of Noah laughs at his father.

Although the Bible inspired most of his work, his later painting introduces greater attention to the landscape, atmosphere, and background than it was previously. As Venice transitioned from early years of Renaissance to later years, the hallmark of the artistic style and methods became the exaltation of the sensuality and the atmosphere over shape and form. Giovanni was instrumental in aiding this transition shifting from the Mantenga's influence and utilising oil paints in most of his paintings.

The love of Venetian landscape and background is apparent in most of Giovanni’s works like the Drunkenness of Noah and the Madonna of the Meadow. In most of his paintings, the background and landscape weren’t usually emphasised for the fear that detailed landscapes could divert the attention from the sight being depicted. Instead, Bellini utilised backgrounds to enhance his images, often including relevant details into his landscapes, which represented half of the story. Most of the figures he painted toward the end continued to have fewer contour lines that were in favour of using the oil paints and the Venetian preference for sensual to create images with soft and glowing edges.