(b. ca. 1440, Murano, d. ca. 1499, Murano)
Tempera on wood, 157 x 271
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice
The works of Bartolomeo Vivarini can be compared with those of Cosme Tura and Carlo Crivelli although they do not achieve the same high poetic quality. The influence of Renaissance ideas on his work is hampered by a tormented plasticity which is still Gothic, by strong contrasts of tone and a decorative line. The Conversano Polyptych is painted with the same unfailing constancy, the same archaic flavour that we find in all his brightly coloured altarpieces. In the central Nativity scene the countryside appears to climb with a "Gothic steepness" up to the narrow sky devoid of any atmospheric effect.