Gentile Bellini's Miracle Of The True Cross

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In the 15th century Venice was a wealthy city and the center of trade and art in Europe. Gentile Bellini was a 15th century Venetian painter well known for his portraits and large-scale paintings of contemporary Venice. This paper examines Gentile and his depiction of not only the miracle in the piece Miracle of the True Cross at the Bridge of San Lorenzo, but of contemporary Venetian society. The artist was born in 1429 and was from a family of influential leading painters of Venice including his father Jacopo Bellini, his younger brother Giovanni Bellini, and his brother-in-law Andrea Mantegna. He was active in about 1460 and was well known for his portraits. One of his earliest commissions was painting the organ doors for the Church …show more content…
This painting illustrates an event that is said to have taken place shortly after the relic of the True Christ had been given to the Scuola in 1369. During the annual march to the church of San Lorenzo, the relic fell from the bridge into the water but somehow remained suspended above the water and escaping all that tried to capture it until Andrea Vendramin, Grand Guardian of the Scuola, jumped in and rescued it. In the right foreground, a group of gentlemen is said to be a portrait of Gentile and his brother Giovanni and in the left foreground stands Catherine Cornaro, the Queen of Cyprus, all of whom are contemporary figures that did not exist when this miracle occurred. The clothing of all the characters in this painting is also contemporary of the 1500s as demonstrated by the style and layers of the women's gowns, particularly of the queen and her ladies. The main focus of this painting is on Andrea Vendramin showed floating above the water and propelled to the shore by the divinity of the relic, compared to his other brothers in the water that are submerged and working hard to keep afloat. The eyes of the bystanders are on Vendramin which also shows he is a central character in this painting. Other bystanders who are not looking at Vendramin are looking up to the sky as if recognizing a miracle has happened. The background of this painting is comprised of buildings with features of the medieval era including the pointed arches and rounded cone

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