Without a doubt, techniques in the study of works of art have advanced a lot with new technologies, today experts are able to know the date of a piece and even discover the elements it hides behind thick layers of paint. But despite the advances that have been made even today, there are some pieces that are a great mystery to art historians. Proof of all this is the work that concerns us here and which is en titled Sacred Allegory or Sacred Allegory by the Renaissance artist Giovanni Bellini (1433 – 1516)
Bellini was a member, perhaps the most outstanding of all of them, of a long saga of artists, he is also one of the best representatives of the Venetian school, with a brilliant color that he obtains thanks to the use of oil. Actually, there is not much information we have about his life, but it seems that his artistic training began in his father's workshop and in his production we can observe a fervent religious feeling that becomes more evident as the years go by. until, in its last stage, that religiosity gives way to a more personal and above all much freer artistic creation.
The work we are analyzing here is one of those pieces belonging to the last stage in fact, according to the sources found in this regard and the investigations of thehistorians it seems that the work dates from the end of the fifteenth century, specifically between the years 1487 and 1500.
Currently, the piece is in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and is an oil on panel that measures about four hundred and nineteen centimeters wide and about seventy-three centimeters high. According to experts, it could be a commission from Isabella d´Este, perhaps a fantasy for her studiolo in Milan or an interpretation of Purgatory based on the poem Pèlegrinare de l´Ame written by Guillaume de Deguileville.Be that as it may, the truth is that the main scene takes place in the foreground, it is a terrace with a checkered floor and in which some figures can be seen such as Mary, mother of God, to the left of the composition seated on a throne. Saint Sebastian also appears represented as a young man pierced by arrows and the figure of another older man, perhaps representing Saint Job or Saint Jerome. Saint Paul appears outside the balustrade and in the center of the composition naked children absently play what is happening around them.