Fondazione Cini – Sala degli Arazzi
Saturday, 10 April 2010, 4:00–5:30pm
Organizer and Respondent: Carolyn C. Wilson, independent scholar
Chair: Peter Humfrey, University of St Andrews
“Sebastiano Luciani e Giovanni Bellini: le due pale d’altare nella chiesa di San Giovanni Crisostomo”
La formazione lagunare di Sebastiano è tradizionalmente associata alla figura di Giorgione, come testimoniato da Vasari nelle Vite. La stessa formazione che Vasari riconosce a Tiziano, ma che da tempo è stata ridimensionata alla luce dell’importanza di Giovanni Bellini, vero caposcuola per tutta la generazione dei pittori nati intorno al 1480, incluso Sebastiano. La questione dei rapporti fra i due pittori sarà discussa soprattutto in relazione alle committenze in San Giovanni Crisostomo (con datazioni purtroppo ancora oscillanti), che vedono realizzarsi due pale d’altare curiosamente affini e drasticamente innovative sul piano iconografico: sia il giovane Sebastiano, nell’altare maggiore, sia il vecchio Bellini, nella pala Diletti, dipingono la figura principale, il santo dedicatario della pala, di profilo, in atto di leggere. Una assoluta novità in opere di quelle dimensioni, e che accomuna, certo non casualmente, il giovane Sebastiano, pronto per partire per Roma, e il vecchio caposcuola, alla fine del suo percorso.
“Poetry in Motion: Bellini, Titian and the All’antica Relief”
Giovanni Bellini’s influence on Titian is inevitably discussed in terms of style. Titian, who probably worked with Bellini around 1506, is seen as borrowing the older master’s compositional structures as well as adopting specific motifs from his extensive repertoire of figural types. Frequently overlooked, however, is Titian’s introduction to the use of classical antiquity in Bellini’s workshop. Although Bellini’s response to antiquity may seem slim compared to his father’s or his brother-in-law Mantegna’s, he did incorporate fictive depictions of classical sculpture into his pictures. In works such as The Coronation of the Virgin and The Continence of Scipio, Bellini creatively used all’antica details as a commentary on the picture’s principal theme. Likewise in Jacopo Pesaro Presented to Saint Peter and Sacred and Profane Love, Titian employed all’antica reliefs as a poetic narrative to reinforce the underlying meaning of the work.
This study explores Titian’s sustained reaction to the magnitude of Giovanni Bellini’s excellence both in painting and in the rarefied realm of Venetian culture. When Titian entered Giovanni’s studio at the dawn of the sixteenth century, Giovanni, a Venetian citizen of the highest rank next to the nobility, had long worked for, and to a degree associated with, patricians and humanists. Indeed, Giovanni’s work was declared to have earned painting the status of a liberal art. Emulating his master’s success, the ambitious Titian sought to win acclaim among the patriciate and even after his own fame was established, he used Pietro Aretino to advertise his excellence to Venetian humanists in comparison with Bellini. Artistic inspiration between the two was surely reciprocal. Giovanni arguably used Titian’s innovations until his death in 1516, whereas Titian recollected his first significant teacher in his own last paintings some sixty years later.