Descended from a family of famous Venetian painters. He studied first from his father, Jacopo Bellini, then in the workshop of Mantegna, whose wife was his sister Nicollos. In the early 1470s. Bellini goes completely to the Dutch technique of pure oil (before that he wrote with tempera connected to oil), which, starting with Vasari, is associated with Antonello de Messina’s stay in Venice in 1475/76, who introduced the painter to the technique of writing with "pure" paint. Apparently, around 1475 Bellini traveled along the Adriatic coast, where he became acquainted with the art of Piero della Francesca. In 1479, Bellini, appointed official painter of Venice, began to decorate the Great Council Hall at the Doge’s Palace, replacing his previously chosen brother Gentile. Paintings of Giovanni on the plots of Venetian history were killed during a fire in 1577.
One of the greatest painters of the Italian Renaissance. He was born and grew up in a family of a large Venetian painter, who had a thriving art workshop in the city. A famous painter was the elder brother of the future master. Giovanni is the younger son of Jacopo Bellini, the younger brother of Gentile Bellini, nicknamed Giambellino. Creativity Bellini turned Venice into an important center of Renaissance art, equal in value to Florence and Rome. It is from Bellini’s work that the concept of "Venetian school of painting" is associated with the transparency of the air environment, radiant, as if sun-filled, with color, even golden light, soft and free painting style, based on the subtlety of chiaroscuro modeling. The style of his work was honed over a long career and turned into something uniquely individual.
Despite the loud glory of the artist, very little is known about his life. Few of his paintings are dated, and the fact that he often resorted to the help of students makes it difficult to attribute works. The decisive role in the creative formation of Giovanni Bellini was played by the influence of his father, as well as the artistic environment of Padua of the 1440s, where Jacopo worked at that time, and especially the Florentine sculptor Donatello.
Giovanni studied first from his father, Jacopo Bellini, then in the workshop of Mantegna. Andrea Mantegna was almost the same age as Giovanni Bellini, and in 1453 married his sister. Starting in 1460, the young artist begins to help his father and older brother in the performance of artistic orders.
From the art of Donatello and Mantegna, the artist learned the rigidity and linearity of his early style, interest in linear perspective and archeology. This strict style distinguishes the works of the Padua period of creativity of Giovanni Bellini; his typical example is the painting "Madonna, worshiping the Infant Christ"
(ca. 1455, New York, Metropolitan). She is one of the first in a series of numerous works of the painter on this plot.
Especially known are some of his specific type of religious-themed composition, a series of large altar images of the Madonna with the Child and the saints. The undoubted talent of the portrait painter is confirmed by the creation of a number of amazing images.
At about the same time, Bellini and Mantegna painted Prayer of the Bowl (apparently in the early 1460s, both in the National Gallery in London). At the heart of the works of both authors is a drawing from Jacopo Bellini’s album.
Around 1480, Bellini painted the big picture of St. Francis (New York, Frick collection). The main character of the painting is inside the landscape, not against its background; nature here is evidence of the mystery of Divine Creation.
Since 1475, Giovanni Bellini has worked with his father and brother on the decoration of the Venetian Doge’s Palace. And when in 1479 the elder brother of the artist left for Constantinople with a diplomatic mission, Giovanni was officially appointed instead of him the head of the works. The return from the Netherlands to Venice in 1475−1476 by Antonello de Messina, who brought the secrets of oil painting to Italy, helped many Venetian painters to get acquainted with this technique. Bellini was very interested in her artistic possibilities, and he first began to work in a mixed technique, and then completely switched to oil painting.
However, Bellini’s interest in color and light effects could have arisen earlier under the influence of Piero della Francesca and other masters.
To an even earlier time are his experiments with a mixed tempera-oil technique. In the future, compositions like sacra conversazione took a central place in the work of Giovanni Bellini. The altar of San Jobbe (Venice, the Academy Gallery) from the church of the same name in Venice dates back to the late 1470s.
In 1483 Bellini received the official title of the artist of the Republic of Venice. He was very famous and revered in the city, he had a large workshop where almost all Venetian painters who became famous later, including the great Giorgione and Titian, studied. It was not for nothing that Giovanni Bellini was called the "father of Zenetian painting."
In 1488, Bellini wrote a small triptych sacra conversazione for the Franciscan church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice. This is one of the first works of Bellini, written only in oil.
The altar of San Zaccaria in the church of the same name in Venice dates from 1505 and is one of the best works of Bellini in this genre.
Along with large altar compositions designed to decorate churches, Giovanni Bellini, starting in the 1450s, painted images of the Virgin and Child for private orders.
Throughout his work, Giovanni Bellini painted portraits. As a rule, these are images of young people. In general, the portraits of Bellini can be called the study of the structure of the person depicted rather than the study of his psychology, which is quite consistent with the tastes of Venetian patricians: too clearly expressed individuality seemed inappropriate for a person in public service.
Bellini was not only the author of compositions on religious subjects. From his father and brother-in-law, he inherited an interest in the literature and the visual arts of antiquity, as evidenced by the paintings that came out of his workshop on allegorical plots and images of episodes from Roman history. One of the last and most famous works of the artist — "Feast of the Gods" (1514, Washington, National Gallery). This is the first of the paintings on the mythological plot, created by the order of Alfonso d’Este for the alabaster cabinet in his castle in Ferrara.
Two of Bellini’s disciples, Giorgione and Titian, were destined to become the greatest Venetian painters of the High Renaissance.