Bellini was the founder of a Venetian dynasty of artists. He was active
in Venice as early as 1424; a document dating from the previous, in
he is mentioned as assistant to the Umbrian Gentile
da Fabriano, refers to him as Jacopo Veneto.
In 1441, Jacopo went to Ferrara, where he was victorious in a painting
competition with Pisanello. In honor of his teacher, or so, at any
Vasari maintains, he gave his eldest son, born in 1429, the name of Gentile;
in the following year his second son, Giovanni,
was born, his legitimacy is in some doubt. Some historians think him to
be the son of Jacopo's mistress and not his wife, though there is no
evidence, and the guess is based only in the fact that Jacopo’s widow,
Anna Rinversi, in her last will, dated November 1471, did not mention
as one of her heirs. In 1453, Jacopo married off his daughter,
to the painter Andrea Mantegna,
who was at that time working in Padua.
Too few pictures by Jacopo Bellini have survived for us to see them as
a representation of his work. He largely followed the model of the
Gothic masters, or, still more, the Byzantine tradition in Venice. His
Madonnas: Madonna of the Cherubim,
and Child look like Byzantine icons.
As very few oil paintings by Jacopo are known, all the more importance,
then, is attached to two of his sketch-books one in the British Museum,
the other in the Louvre with about 230 drawings. Carefully guarded by
sons as a collection of patterns, these drawings can be appreciated as
works of art in their own right. They show also that Jacopo took great
interest and concentrated his attention on perspective.
Jacopo’s work was very popular at the time.
<>The Art of the Italian Renaissance. Architecture. Sculpture.
Drawing. Könemann. 1995.
Painting of Europe. XIII-XX centuries. Encyclopedic Dictionary.
Moscow. Iskusstvo. 1999.
Jacopo Bellini: The
Louvre Album of Drawings by Jacopo Bellini . George
Genius of Jacopo Bellini
by Colin T Eisler. Harry N Abrams, 1989.
Venetian Painting in
the Fifteenth Century: Jacopo, Gentile and Giovanni Bellini and Andrea
Mantegna by Otto Pacht,
Margareta Vyoral-Tschapka, Michael
Pacht. Harvey Miller,