eldest son, Gentile (1429-1507), was taught painting in the workshop of his father. He had no shortage of commissions, his talent as a portraitist revealed itself at an early age. Gentile’s career was spectacular. In 1469, he was appointed count palatine by Emperor Frederick III, and in 1479, at the age of fifty, the Republic of Venice sent him to Constantinople to paint the portrait of Sultan Mehmet II
: a great honor. The famous portrait of this oriental monarch, conqueror of Byzantium, is now in the National Gallery, London. Mehmet “…could hardly understand,” wrote Vasari, “… how any mortal could possess the, as it were, divine skill of imitating nature so vividly.” Bellini returned, a whole year later, piled high with gifts and honors, including the title of “bey” (knight).