Bellini's Feast of the Gods

Bellini's Feast of the Gods
Bellini's Feast of the Gods

Giovanni Bellini (c. 1430 – 1516) was extraordinarily famous in his time for his religious works that decorated the best churches of his native Venice . Examples in this sense abound, such as his Pietá or the famous image of the Virgin with some saints. However, Bellini did not only paint religious-themed paintings, he also did a few mythological works such as the one we are dealing withThe Feast of the Gods


Bellini's Feast of the Gods

The artist began working in the family workshop of his father,Jacopo Bellini. There he would learn with his brother, Gentile, all the techniques of the trade. From the preparation of boards and canvases, to the grinding of the pigments. In addition to the fact that he would receive all the tricks to know how to draw and paint, since it is known that his father made numerous notebooks recounting all those techniques with a very didactic character.

All of this undoubtedly Giovanni learned skillfully, and especially the matter of colors, something very characteristic of all Venetian painting. And in order to exploit this colorist vein even more, he decided to abandon the technique of tempera mixed with egg since it seemed to him that it gave very muted tones. That is why he investigated the new oil technique that had come from northern Europe.

That new technique was going to be quite a discovery for him since itit allowed for new modelling, as well as mixing and remixing colors, creating powerful effects of both light and shadow.

All this is shown to us in all its splendor in this work that he already made in the last years of his life, in 1514 and that today is kept in theNational Gallery of Art of Washington in the United States.

In it we see a large group of characters bathed in intense light, which stands out even more against the dark background of the forest where the scene is set. They are all mythological beings in full celebration dominated by the god of wine: Bacchus. It is a scene inspired by the poetic work Fastos of Ovid. There are all the episodes that he tells us about how the nymph Lotis is sleeping drunk, and how the god of virility Priapus tries to lift her skirt. Jupiter, Mercury stretched out on a barrel or Poseidon courting deities as terrestrial as Cibeles or Ceres are also a little drunk.

But beyond what he narrates, what is interesting is the color of Bellini, who undoubtedly knew and admired Giorgione, and which in turn will be a benchmark for Tiziano. In fact, it is said that Titian, after 1516, the year of Bellini's death, slightly modified the landscape of this canvas, since it was to accompany his paintings of the Banacal and the Offering to Venus in one of the rooms owned by the duke. from Ferrara.

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