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280 × 210 mm
256 pages
186 illustrations, 82 in colour
20 Feb 2008

Giovanni Bellini Oskar Bätschmann

Hailed as the ‘saviour’ of Venetian painting by Jacob Burckhardt and declared by Albrecht Dürer to be the foremost painter of the city, Giovanni Bellini is a pivotal figure in the development of Italian Renaissance art. With Giovanni Bellini, renowned art historian Oskar Bätschmann charts the fraught trajectory of Bellini's career, highlighting the crucial works that established his far-reaching influence in the Renaissance.

The artist struggled to break out of the long shadow cast by his accomplished father Jacopo and father-in-law Andrea Mantegna, and Bätschmann chronicles Bellini's development of distinct aesthetic and painting techniques that enabled him to set himself apart. Bellini also insisted on choosing his own subjects and themes, independent of the preferences of his patron Isabella d'Este, and thus set new standards for the role of the artist.

Anchoring the analysis are a wealth of vibrant colour reproductions that include such famous works as The Feast of the Gods and Madonna and Child, as well as photographs of Bellini's lauded altar-pieces at the churches of San Giobbe, Murano and San Zaccania. Drawing on these masterpieces, Bätschmann argues that Bellini's artistry and skillful blending of colours created a new aesthetic more akin to music than to previous approaches to painting. And by leading viewers to understand this subtle, refined sensibility, Bellini transformed them into knowledgeable admirers of art. A beautifully illustrated and expansive study, Giovanni Bellini is essential for all historians and admirers of Renaissance art.

'imaginative, rich in insights and exceptionally stimulating . . . [an] admirable monograph which should invigorate Bellini studies . . . an elegant volume which makes the products of many university presses look like desktop efforts' – The Art Newspaper

'This admirable account of Giovanni Bellini is underpinned by emotion as well as intellect . . . a fluent, thoughtful and informative introduction to the work of arguably the best-loved Venetian artist of the Renaissance.' – Apollo magazine

'offers a virtuosic analysis of the methods of one of the quattrocento's painterly superstars – Giovanni Bellini – but the general reader will perhaps gain most pleasure from Bätschmann's insights into the fierce rivalries between artists, the chaos and clutter of the era's studios and workshops, and the hard-fought battles to secure patronage . . . Oskar Bätschmann is to be applauded for producing a scholarly yet passionate book and his publishers share their share of the plaudits for allowing it so many wonderful illustrations.' – The Tablet

'This splendid monograph is a thoughtful and carefully reasoned presentation of Bellini's career as an artist, with ancillary discussions of contemporary Venetian painting. Bätschmann has amassed an extraordinary amount of information – historical, stylistic, bibliographical – in a generally chronological presentation of Bellini's career that covers not only the artist's life and production, but also reconstructions of some of his lost works and references to others that were critical in establishing the artist's reputation . . . This book will interest not only students of Bellini, but also those who wish to understand the motivating factors in the history of Venetian Renaissance painting. Recommended.' – Choice

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Oskar Bätschmann is Professor of History of Art, University of Bern, and Co-Director of the Institute for the History of Art. He is the author, with Pascal Griener, of Hans Holbein (Reaktion Books, 1999).