Virgin and Child by Bellini

The Virgin and Child (Madonna and Child) is an oil painting by Giovanni Bellini on a panel (50 x 41 cm). It is located in Room XX of the Borghese Gallery.


When Giovanni Bellini created this painting, he was about eighty years old. Moreover, the artist was considered one of the most prestigious painters of the Venetian Renaissance by that time.

The Virgin and Child (Madonna and Child) is often compared to the Madonna and Child of Brera from 1510, the Madonna del Prato from around 1505 and the Madonna with Child from Detroit Institute of Arts from 1509.


The Virgin’s pose, holding the Child with her left hand and placing the palm of her right hand under his foot, is also found in another two paintings by the artist. One of them (Art Association Gallery, Atlanta) also includes the curtain separating the outer world from the sacred space in which the Mother is absorbed by her Child. The landscape is punctuated by some minutely depicted figures, which infer from the late Gothic tradition, learned from his father, Jacopo.

The panel in the Borghese Gallery is, however, more lyrical in character, as may be noted in the landscape on the right, which reveals that the artist, now in the final stage of his career (1510), has been influenced by the innovations of Giorgione’s painting.


Even though at the bottom, in the center, there is the inscription “Joannes Bellinus / faciebat,” the attribution of the panel to Giovanni Bellini has been called into question. When the artwork was listed in the fidei-commissum of 1833, it had only been in the Borghese Collection for a few years.

Borghese Gallery in Rome,
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Author: Giovanni Bellini

Giovanni Bellini

Giovanni Bellini was an Italian painter who, in his work, reflected the increasing interest of the Venetian artistic milieu in the stylistic innovations and concerns of the Renaissance. He was considered to have revolutionized Venetian painting, moving it towards a more sensual and coloristic style. His great coloring and fluent, atmospheric landscapes greatly affected the Venetian painting school, especially his pupils Giorgione and Titian.

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