2010 Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Venice
IAS-Sponsored Session

Giovanni Bellini I: Toward 2016: Critical Assessment and Examination of an Early Source

Fondazione Cini – Sala degli Arazzi
Friday, 9 April 2010, 2:00–3:30pm

Organizer and Chair: Carolyn C. Wilson, Independent Scholar


Peter Humfrey, University of St Andrews
“Bellini in Rome: A Summing-Up”

In 2008 the most comprehensive exhibition of Giovanni Bellini since 1949 was held at the Scuderie del Qurinale in Rome. Certain aspects of the display were controversial, and many fewer of the major masterpieces were present than in 1949. The exhibition nevertheless provided an exceptional opportunity for our generation to examine a large assembly of high-quality paintings side by side, and to test old questions relating to Bellini’s chronology and his use of shop assistants. The present paper will attempt to summarize what has been learned from the exhibition itself, and assess how the catalogue advances our knowledge and understanding of the painter.

Anchise Tempestini, Gallerie degli Uffizi
“Giovanni Bellini: il catalogo delle sue opere tra XX e XXI secolo”

La ricostruzione del catalogo di Giovanni Bellini, sulla base degli scarsi documenti, delle firme, delle fonti storiche, comprese le due edizioni delle Vite di Vasari, si è consolidata, dopo il fondamentale contributo di Crowe e Cavalcaselle (1871), ad opera soprattutto di Fry (1899), Gronau (1930), Dussler (1935 e 1949), Gamba (1937), Pallucchini (1949 e 1959), Heinemann (1962), Bottari (1963), Robertson (1968), Pignatti (1969), Huse (1972), Goffen (1989), Tempestini (1992, 1997 e 2000), Humfrey (2004), Bätschmann (2008), Lucco e Villa (2008), senza dimenticare i contributi sparsi in vari interventi di Longhi (1914, 1927, 1946, 1947, 1949). Si sono così confrontate metodologie molto articolate, da quella basata sull’idealismo, alla pura visibilità, all’attribuzionismo, al positivismo, fino ad approdare oggi ad un’indagine fortemente basata non solo su ricerche storiche, ricostruzione della personalità, interpretazione dei simboli e confronti stilistici ma anche e soprattutto su indagini tecnologiche sui supporti, la tecnica pittorica e i disegni sottostanti.

Amy N. Worthen, Des Moines Art Center
“An Inconvenient Text: The Supplementum Chronicarum as a Source for Information about Gentile and Giovanni Bellini”

Jacopo Filippo Foresti’s Supplementum Chronicarum, first published in 1483, appeared in twenty-one editions through 1581. The text was updated and corrected by Foresti until 1503. The edition of 1486 was the first to mention Gentile Bellini and it included a report of Gentile’s trip to Constantinople. Andrea Mantegna and Giovanni Bellini were first included in the 1503 edition. This entry featured the phrase, “Gentile minimus frater.” Although hardly proof of Giovanni’s seniority, Foresti’s contemporary assertion deserves consideration. It was probably Vasari’s source for his often-discounted statement that Gentile was the younger. Recently, Fortini Brown, Agosti, and Chong have addressed implications of some Supplementum texts, but did not explain how and why Supplementum texts differ. The 2008 Bellini and Mantegna exhibitions glossed over or ignored Foresti. But because the chronology of Giovanni’s early development and dating of works depends on his birth date, the Bellini primogeniture problem continues to tantalize.

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