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Bellini, Giovanni (1430–1516)

  1. George Thomas Kurian

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0141

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Kurian, G. T. 2011. Bellini, Giovanni (1430–1516). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Venetian painter, considered the greatest of the group known as Madonnieri (Madonna Painters) who specialized in painting the Madonna in a variety of settings that includes trees and landscapes, as in Madonna of the Meadow (1505), but always holding the Holy Child upright. The Madonna always appears grave and pensive, usually with a white coif covering her hair beneath a blue hooded mantle. She holds the robust infant in her arms or on her knees. Mary adopts the classic devotional pose as she gazes on the Word made Flesh and meditates on the mystery enshrined in the vision before her. She is the corporeal ciborium, the earthly bearer of the Godhead. Occasionally there are other figures kneeling accompanied by their saintly patrons, but the Virgin remains impassive and unheeding. Bellini excelled in creating the mood in the painting and he was more interested in the atmosphere rather than the action.


  • Bellini, Giovanni (1430–1516);
  • venetian painter, the greatest of the madonnieri;
  • the Madonna, grave and pensive;
  • Bellini, art form known as sacra conversazione;
  • golden mosaics, of St. Mark's cathedral;
  • Bellini, and haunting images of pieta