On the Painting:
Giovanni Bellini has become one of my favorite painters. I’m not even sure why because his work doesn’t have that classical beauty of idealized perfection.
But all his paintings of the Madonna are so simple, sweet and striking. Mary is serene, poised, but young. When you see the full painting (this is zoomed in just to Mary’s face), the baby Jesus is always doing something so very toddler-like, whether he’s crawling away, unable to hold up his own head, or tottering precariously off her lap, and Mary is gently handling it.
It emphasizes the humanity of the Son of God – Jesus being fully human AND fully divine.
In this painting, Mary looks like a highschooler. That’s what I always think about. She has the soft chin and cheeks of a baby face, but the eyes of a mature woman. It’s precisely the correct age for Mary during the Annunciation.
Bellini was an artist for 65 years of his life. He saw the beginnings of oil paint and quickly became a master at the new medium. Painting in Venice for his entire career, he became known as one of the most influential Venetian artists and the teacher of many famous artists to come.
This alla prima study is part of my training arc for painting the Litany of Loretto Marian series, which I’ve begun to develop on my Patreon! You can find out more about it here.
No prints will be made of the master copy studies.
Painted on an archival panel; linen mounted on 3/8″ plywood. It cannot hang by itself, but will fit in most standard 5×7 frames.