Madonna and Child 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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Being one of the most influential artists in the 1400AD, Bellini’s art of Madonna and the Child is a work of art. The 1509 painting was commissioned by the Mocenigo family who remained with it until 1815. It is today displayed at the Detroit Institute of Art.

This oil painting is that of Madonna holding Christ, the Child beside a velvet curtain. The 88.9 x 71.1 cm oil on wood panel has an intentionally detailed background. From a distance, one can see two cities. On the right from a range, is a knight riding on a horse, probably hosting a hunting party. A little distance in front of the knight two men are resting beside a tree having a conversation. Their scallop shell emblems identify them as pilgrims. The city on the right is a bit closer with towers and stone perimeter walls. Outside the city are two smartly dressed men having a conversation. A bit far past the cities one can see hills and the green vegetation extends to the front. In front of Madonna is a pear and her face seems to be calm.

The two different cities in the background are said to portray the two different reigns at the time. The landscape is said to be a picture of the death and rebirth of Christ. This can also be shown from the transition from a dormant to a greenish nature and a dawn sky. Madonna is said to depict the second Eve and the pear in front of her as the sign of the virgin and the redemption of man through the second Eve and the child. The entire painting can, therefore, be summarized as the life and death of the Child Christ and the reigns in which he lived plus the freedom that he came to bring among the human race.

Born from a household of artists, most of his work is said to have a couple of similarities with his brother-in-law’s work, Andrea Mantegna. His paintings, since he was young have always followed the tempera method. As with Madonna and Child and other works, Bellini drew his inspirations from a religious perspective but with a bit less harshness and less religious forces.