c.1400; Venice, Italy
c.1470; Venice, Italy
Jacopo Bellini was an earl y Italian Renaissance painter, who is sometimes referred to as the founder of the Renaissance style. Little is known about his childhood and adolescence, but what is know is that he was exposed as a youth to works of the great Gothic masters, including Brunelleschi, Donatello, and Masaccio. By 1424, when he was roughly around 24 years of age, he was already a well-known artist, beginning a workshop which he would run until his death, and by 1429, he had established himself as Venice’s most important painter.
Unfortunately, only around 20 of Bellini’s paintings remain, as many have been destroyed throughout history. Because few of his paintings survived, much emphasis is placed on his sketch books, which contain over 300 drawings, many of which are complete works of art in themselves. There are two remaining sketch books, one of which is housed in the Louvre, in France, and the other is housed in the British Museum in London. Both contain drawings that show an interest in landscape art and architectural design.
In his paintings, Bellini experimented with linear perspective, and he was one of the first painters to make human figures diminish in space the same way architectural figures do. One of Bellini’s most important legacies was his son, Giovanni Bellini, who also grew up into an important artist, who used oil for paints, making the oil painting popular.