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Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi/ Photo: Thierry Ollivier

Virgin and Child

1480 - 1485

Giovanni Bellini

Probably dating from the early 1480s, this work is very representative of the early Venetian Renaissance and the art of Giovanni Bellini (1430–1516). The technique of oil painting was at the time an innovation that distinguished Venice from the other centres of Italian art. Among the many depictions of the Madonna and Child painted by the artist throughout his life, this one is characterised by the elegance of the gestures, the graceful faces, the strength of the colouring and the exceptional finesse of the drawing and modelling. The intensity of colour is accentuated by the use of a monochrome black background rather than the usual landscape, something rare for Bellini. The Virgin is shown with her hands joined in prayer before her son. The Christ Child sits on his mother’s red mantle, the colour of the Passion but also of her love for him. His right hand rests on a book, which symbolises the Holy Scriptures and thus his destiny already written.

Artwork Details

Artist: Giovanni Bellini
Title: Virgin and Child
Geography: Venice, Italy
Date: 1480-1485

Medium: oil on wood panel

Classification: graphic arts (drawing, painting, engraving, calligraphy)
Dimensions: 109 x 85 cm
Inventory number: LAD 2009.013
Contact for images : [email protected]
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