Gentile Bellini – Venice 1429 ca., Venice 1507
Gentile Bellini trained at his father Jacopo‘s workshop together with his brother Giovanni. He was first of all a skilled portraitist: the “Blessed Lorenzo Giustinian” of 1465, located at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Venice, marks the beginning of his long career.
Thank to his talent, in 1479 he was given the task of official painter of the Venetian Republic at the court of Constantinople. Here he paints the portrait of “Sultan Mehmed II” (London, National Gallery). His main work, the decoration of the Great Council’s hall with the cycle of “Scenes on Venetian history”, was lost in the fire of the Doge’s Palace in 1577.
The Florentine origin perspective
The mature style of Gentile Bellini is thus represented above all by works painted for the Scuola di San Giovanni Evangelista. Here he uses the Florentine origin perspective to set crowded scenes of Venetian life in real city environments, as in the “Procession in St. Mark’s Square” (1496) and in the “Miracle of the True Cross at the Bridge of S. Lorenzo” (1500), both today at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice.