Bellini

Bellini

[buh-lee-nee; It. bel-lee-nee]
Bellini, illustrious family of Venetian painters of the Renaissance. Jacopo Bellini, c.1400-1470, was a pupil of Gentile da Fabriano. He worked in Padua, Verona, Ferrara, and Venice. Many of his greatest paintings, including the enormous Crucifixion for the Cathedral of Verona, have disappeared. Several of his Madonnas (Uffizi; Louvre; Academy, Venice) are still extant. Jacopo's sketches in two notebooks (Louvre and British Mus.) are his most important legacy. They reveal a variety of interests, including problems of perspective, landscapes, and antiquity.

His son Gentile Bellini, 1429-1507, studied with him and with Mantegna, working in Padua and then in Venice. He excelled in portraiture and in depicting ceremonial processions. His paintings, such as The Procession in the Piazza of San Marco and The Miracle of the True Cross (both: Academy, Venice), are valued for their faithful representation of contemporary Venetian life. In 1479 Gentile was sent by the state to the court of Muhammad II in Constantinople. Subsequently a Middle Eastern flavor appeared in several of his paintings, including the portrait of Muhammad II (National Gall., London); the portrait of a Turkish artist (Gardner Mus., Boston); and St. Mark Preaching at Alexandria (Brera, Milan).

The last was completed by his brother, Giovanni Bellini, c.1430-1516, who was first active in Padua where he worked with his father and brother. Also influenced by Mantegna, who became his brother-in-law in 1454, Giovanni painted the Agony in the Garden (National Gall., London), the Crucifixion (Correo Mus., Venice), and several Madonnas (Philadelphia Mus. and Metropolitan Mus.). Whereas Mantegna and Jacopo and Gentile Bellini were known chiefly as admirable draftsmen, Giovanni developed another style. His sumptuous coloring and fluent, atmospheric landscapes had a great effect upon Venetian painting, especially upon his pupils Giorgione and Titian. He created several imposing altarpieces; best known are those of the Frari and San Zaccaria in Venice and the St. Job (now in the Academy, Venice). Other examples of his art are several fine portraits such as the Doge Loredano (National Gall., London). He painted St. Francis in the Desert (Frick Coll., New York City) and St. Jerome (National Gall. of Art, Washington, D.C.), as well as some allegorical fantasies such as the Restello series (Academy, Venice). He also created mythological scenes, including The Myth of Orpheus and The Feast of the Gods (both: National Gall. of Art, Washington, D.C.). The zestful Feast, one of his last pictures, was painted in 1514 for Isabella d'Este, with finishing touches added by Titian.

See G. Robertson, Giovanni Bellini (1968); H. Tietze, The Drawings of the Venetian Painters (1944, repr. 1970).

Bellini, Vincenzo, 1801-35, Italian opera composer. He acquired his musical training from his grandfather and father, and began composing religious and secular music in his childhood. His first opera, Adelson e Salvini, was successfully performed in 1825. His most celebrated works are the operas La Sonnambula and Norma (both 1831). In their profusely melodic style they exemplify the bel canto tradition of the 18th cent., and their roles demand great virtuosity of the singers. Bellini's last opera, I Puritani (1835), was influenced by the dramatic style of French grand opera. Unlike that of his immediate predecessors, Rossini and Donizetti, his operatic output was small. It was characterized by careful composition, great attention to the relationship between words and music, and an originality of harmony that gave rise to his music's sensual, ecstatic quality. He greatly influenced the work of Verdi.

See study by H. Weinstock (1971).

(born Nov. 3, 1801, Catania, Sicily—died Sept. 23, 1835, Puteaux, France) Italian composer. Born into a musical family, he was educated at the Naples Conservatory. He wrote his first opera at age 24 and went on to complete nine more before his death at age 33. The most famous are The Pirate (1827), The Capulets and the Montagues (1830), The Sleepwalker (1831), Norma (1831), and The Puritans (1835). His works, which rely strongly on beautiful vocal melody (bel canto), rivaled those of his contemporaries Gioacchino Rossini and Gaetano Donizetti in popularity.

Learn more about Bellini, Vincenzo with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Nov. 3, 1801, Catania, Sicily—died Sept. 23, 1835, Puteaux, France) Italian composer. Born into a musical family, he was educated at the Naples Conservatory. He wrote his first opera at age 24 and went on to complete nine more before his death at age 33. The most famous are The Pirate (1827), The Capulets and the Montagues (1830), The Sleepwalker (1831), Norma (1831), and The Puritans (1835). His works, which rely strongly on beautiful vocal melody (bel canto), rivaled those of his contemporaries Gioacchino Rossini and Gaetano Donizetti in popularity.

Learn more about Bellini, Vincenzo with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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