Madonna col Bambino (late 1480s)

Bellini, Giovanni (c.1430-1516)

Madonna col Bambino (Madonna and Child)
late 1480s
Oil on wood, 88.9 x 71.1 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Separated from our everyday world by a parapet, the Madonna nonetheless draws the viewer in with her gaze. A cloth of honor, a rich textile often displayed behind her, has been pulled aside to reveal a distant landscape, where we witness the transition from dormant to verdant nature—a metaphor, like the dawn sky, for death and rebirth. The asymmetrical composition looks ahead to the work of Titian. When Albrecht Dürer visited Venice, he met Bellini, then in his seventies, and declared him “still the best in the art of painting.”

The fine Venetian frame is of the period. (MET)