Portrait of the Doge Loredano


Portrait of the Doge Loredano By GIOVANNI BELLINI

GIOVANNI BELLINI was the son of the painter, Jacopo Bellini, the brother of the painter, Gentile Bellini, and the brother-in-law, through his sister's marriage, of the painter Andrea Mantegna. For many years of their lives both brothers collaborated with their father in the execution of his large historical paintings and processional banners. By the example of his family and the influence of Donatello and Mantegna, he came to be himself an important factor in the development of the great Venetian style of painting. Little is known of the details of his life; and although a great volume of the work of his hand has survived the centuries many important paintings known to have been executed have been lost. He was a painter of portraits and of religious and allegorical pictures.

THE PORTRAIT of the Doge Loredano is the work of the matured Bellini. Here lives for us, to know him and to judge him, the proud tyrant who instituted the Inquisition which for nearly two centuries dominated the life of Venice. Of the portraits of the doges which the Venetian Republic commissioned Giovanni Bellini to paint only this of Loredano survives. The Loredano family was notable in the Republic, having given it many statesmen and several doges. Leonardo Loredano, the subject of this portrait, was born in 1438. He was elected doge in 1501, and died in 1521. The portrait shows him at the age of 67.

Of the school of Venice in the richness of his color, of Padua in the severe precision of his draughtsmanship, Giovanni Bellini's portrait is an unequivocal revelation through the painter's own devout and kindly nature of the essential dignity and kindliness of man.


Madonna and Child, circa 1475

Madonna and Child
Giovanni  Bellini
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