(b. 1472, Venezia, d. 1526, Capodistria)

Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

Tempera on panel, 421 x 236 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

In preparing the altar-piece to decorate the third altar on the right in the Church of San Giobbe, Venice, Vittore Carpaccio certainly kept in mind the magnificent panel painted by Giovanni Bellini for the same church little more than twenty years before. Compared with Bellini's picture, the marble sections of Carpaccio's niche are even more monumental and the figures more nicely balanced in their perfectly judged movements, including those of the angels intent on playing their instruments, the crumhorn, the lute and the lyre. And each passage of the perfect formal structure is lent firm definition by the light which slants in from the right and strikes cold gleams from the incorruptible pictorial subject. Once again, Carpaccio offers an expression of his humanistic vision through which he measures the visible world on a limpid, reflecting grid of space, colour, light and shade.