Giovanni Bellini: The Last Works

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Giovanni Bellini (d. 1516) worked to the end of a long career that left an indelible mark on Venetian painting. His longevity and indefatigable devotion to his art created a problem for art historians, however, for he is one of those Quattrocento masters who remained active into the period we call the High Renaissance. But while his colleagues became irrelevant, Bellini, in the first decades of the Sixteenth century, continued to be creatively vital. Indeed, he flourished as never before.

Vasari and other early writers failed to distinguish Bellini’s late works from the rest of his production. Focused on Titian as the quintessential “old age” artist, subsequent writers have also paid little attention to Bellini’s late work as a separate phase of his career. Such studies as there are treat everything he painted after the turn of the century as a whole and in approximation to Giorgione, said by Vasari to have invented the “maniera moderna” in Venice.